Sunday, October 20, 2019

Caption Sunday.

Image result for italian translator trump images   

I need a caption for this pic. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

We are all to blame.

MORE DISCLAIMERSThe following must read article was written by Gary Younge for The Guardian. (Shout out to one of Philly's finest writers, Will Bunch, for turning me on to it via twitter.)  

While writing a New Yorker profile on Donald Trump in the late 1990s, Mark Singer attempted to discover something about the businessman’s private thoughts, as opposed to his outsized, public persona. When Singer asked him what he thought about when shaving in front of the mirror, Trump did not really understand the question.

“OK, I guess I’m asking, ‘do you consider yourself ideal company?’” Singer said. “You really want to know what I consider ideal company?” replied Trump. “A total piece of ass.”

Divining, assessing and adjudicating the mental health of this US president has become more than just a parlour game. Following a 2017 conference, 27 psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health experts wrote a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, arguing it was their moral and civic “duty to warn” America that “for psychological reasons”, Trump was “more dangerous than any president in history”. They diagnosed him with everything from “severe character pathology” to “delusional disorder”, which can be added to the more common verdicts of “narcissistic personality disorder” and “antisocial personality disorder” which are regularly offered.

His behaviour and comments over the past fortnight would appear to not only confirm these conclusions, but to suggest his condition is deteriorating. There has been the appalling treatment of Harry Dunn’s parents, and his reference to his own “great and unmatched wisdom”. He sent a letter to the Turkish president, Recep Erdo─čan, warning him: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool. I will call you later.” On Wednesday, in a single press conference with the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, he attacked Google, Amazon, Germany, France, Spain, his guest and the European Union, as well as several US intelligence and law enforcement officials.

Later that day, Democratic leaders walked out of a White House meeting with him after he continually insulted them. But not before he told House speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I hate Isis more than you do,” and claimed “I captured Isis … in one month.”
As the threat of impeachment leaves him more isolated, and an election he may lose makes him more vulnerable, we can expect more bizarre behaviour and, consequently, more attempts to frame his actions as those of an unstable and unhinged despot. Such depictions are tempting. They should also be resisted.

Trump’s state of mind is, of course, relevant. He is the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military forces in the world. He has the nuclear codes. He is impulsive and capricious. He lies constantly, unashamedly and apparently compulsively. It is deeply worrying that the executive powers of the presidency lie in the hands of a man who is at one and the same time so brittle, aggressive, vindictive, ridiculous and self-obsessed. His decision to abandon a longstanding ally in Kurdistan and pull US troops out of Syria, against all military advice, is a case in point.

But to reduce his presidency to this – one man and his frail mind – is to ignore how he got there, all he has said and done since he has been there, and how he remains there. (It also risks reducing mental health to a lazy slur.) Just because he believes he will go down in history as a great man doesn’t mean we have to subscribe to the “great man theory of history” – the theory which claims events are moulded not by ordinary people, social movements and economic processes, but by key individuals who stamp their will on the world through force of personality.

For along with Trump’s personal frailties is a series of political characteristics that underpins his anomie. He is a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe and a nationalist. Those are not psychological descriptors but political ones, fortified by systems and ideology.

As such, his behaviour has been irascible but hardly erratic. The rhetorical objects of his disdain are not random. He has not lashed out at the National Rifle Association, the religious right or white people. Politically, his tantrums invariably find their mark in the weak, the poor, the dark, the female, the Muslim, the marginalised and the foreigner. (He will attack powerful people, but not simply for existing. They must cross him first.)

These inclinations were clear when he stood for the presidency. He has been every bit as bigoted, undisciplined, indiscreet, thin-skinned and braggadocious as his campaign promised. And he won.
This was not because people didn’t see those things, but because they either didn’t care, cared about other things more, preferred him to the alternative, or simply didn’t show up. As such, his victory marked a high point for the naked appeal of white supremacy in particular and rightwing populism in general, and a low point for the centre-left, neoliberal agenda.

True, he did not win the popular vote, but nonetheless close to 63 million people voted for him. True, his party lost the House of Representatives in the 2018 mid-term elections. But they also gained two seats in the Senate – the first time the party holding the presidency has achieved that since 2002 – in the wake of a synagogue shooting and mail-bomb attacks inspired by his rhetoric. True, more than half of the country wants to impeach him; but about 40% still approve of the job he’s doing. The one thing that stands between him and impeachment is the party behind him in both houses.
Even his thuggish “America first” foreign policy stands as part of a tradition. In 1964, when the Greek ambassador tried to point out the shortcomings of the US plan to partition Cyprus, President Lyndon Johnson replied: “Fuck your parliament and your constitution … We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr Ambassador. If your prime minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitution he, his parliament and his constitution may not last long.” He would never have put that in a letter. But three years later, Greece was under a brutal military junta backed by the US from which it did not emerge for seven years.

In other words, this particular form of insanity – if that is what it is – enjoys mass, if not majority, support, institutional defence and historical precedent. It is the mindset of more than just an individual. Trump’s presence serves a purpose and interests. If he is a lone wolf, how do we explain the likes of Boris Johnson or Silvio Berlusconi, who share so many of his “idiosyncratic traits”, from accusations of sexual harassment to a cavalier attitude towards democratic norms and casual racism.
“The great man of the age,” wrote Friedrich Hegel – using “great” to mean powerful rather than wonderful – “is the one who can put into words the will of his age, tell his age what its will is, and accomplish it. What he does is the heart and essence of his age; he actualises his age.”

As such, in his desire to blame everyone but himself, in his lies, bullying, despotism, insecurity, ineptitude, cheating, scapegoating, preening self-regard, vanity and ignorance, Trump is an emblem of the free-market, white supremacist nationalism that is ascendant in this moment.

Ultimately there may be a medical or therapeutic intervention that can help him; but only a political intervention can help us get rid of him. [Source]

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The n-word conundrum.

TWEET MEIt never fails, there is always someone in the majority population who has to write and pontificate about the use of the n- word, and why black folks can say it and non- black folks can't.

Here is a writer from The Blaze. (Of course she is a conservative, they are the only ones who obsess about being able to use the n- word. ) And this is her take from her twitter account on the subject.

"America is weird. There's this one word (you know the one) that's used casually ALL THE TIME in music and movies, and in entire communities, with no problems. But if you have the wrong skin color and say that word, regardless of context - EVEN IF IT'S A QUOTE - you're canceled.
    There's this tension right now where people want black culture (including slang) to be ubiquitous, but still off limits to non-black people. But culture doesn't work like that. If people are exposed to culture, they adopt it. Deal with it."

    Lauren thinks that America is "weird" because she can't freely use the n-word. Go figure.

    Here is the thing, Lauren. If a group of people choose to use a word that has been used against them in the past, it is their right to do so. I have Italian and Irish friends, and I would never use the G or the M word  whether around my Irish and Italian friends or not. It is not my word to use. And yet, they use these slurs among themselves, and I am perfectly fine with that. They can do it, but I cannot. It's really that simple.

    Women call each other the B word, Gays call each other the F word, but they are allowed, because they are in the class of people using the word among themselves. I, on the other hand, cannot use those words, and I am totally fine with that. If you are not, well then you deserve to be "canceled". (Whatever that means.) 

    Finally, here is another thing, black folks are not trying to push their culture on anybody, so I am not sure who the "these people" are that Lauren is referring to. Irish and Italian culture is "ubiquitous" as well, and yet, there are no opeds written about not being able to freely slur these groups because they slur each other.

    Lauren wants black people to "deal" with others using the n-word because, in her words, American culture demands it. I hope, for the sake of America, that we don't ever get to that place.    

    Monday, October 14, 2019

    It's only Monday.

    Image result for trump insane images ukraine

    What a week for Mr. trump. And folks, it's only Monday.

    So let's see what has been happening with the FOX NEWS president.

    He has single-handedly caused thousands of people  (See Kurds) to be slaughterd in the Middle East because of his foolhardy and sudden withdrawal from Syria. A withdrawal that was more than likely caused because of a phone call to the Turkish leader which centered around a hotel deal in Istanbul.

    What makes this situation even worse, is  the fact that brutal dictators like Assad are looking like the good guys in this entire fiasco.

    It has gotten so bad in this part of the world that Isis prisoners are walking out of prison, and are regrouping in large numbers. Incredibly, Mr. trump blames the Kurds for this.

    His co-conspirator in his Ukraine scheme is under criminal investigation, and two of the players in said scheme have already been arrested.   

    He starred in a despicable and violent video produced by his supporters which shows him killing his enemies and the media in a church. Yes, a church.

    He is afraid of the Dow tanking, so he has lied, once again, about a trade deal with China.Wall Street is on to him, so I am not sure how much longer this little game of his will go on.

    Oh, and the rats are jumping ship. Against the wishes of the White House, they are now starting to sing to Congress like Aretha Franklin.

    I can't wait for Tuesday.

    Pic from

    Saturday, October 12, 2019

    Caption Saturday.

    Image result for rudy giuliani vampire images

    I need a caption for this pic.

    Image from

    Wednesday, October 09, 2019

    The most powerful pig in the world.

    Image result for Trump Billy Bush
    What does the number 43 mean to you? If you guessed that it was the new amount of allegations of sexual misconduct by the 45th president of the United States you can move to the head of the class.

    The following is an excerpt from from the book, All The President's Women:  

    "They got back together a few months later, but Trump apparently hadn’t abandoned those old habits. In the period before he proposed to Melania, Trump engaged in a wave of allegedly unwanted touching. One of those incidents happened during a Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party in the early 2000s. Karen Johnson spoke publicly about the events of that night for the first time in an interview with us.

    Johnson said she was at Trump’s Palm Beach estate that night with her husband, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis, and another relative. The family visited the seaside club regularly; Johnson and her husband had even held their wedding reception there a few years earlier. Trump, whom she didn’t know before her wedding, had “chased some of my bridesmaids around,” said Johnson, but he had been “nice” to her.

    At the New Year’s Eve party, Johnson, wearing a black Versace dress, danced with her friends. Shortly after glittering balloons fell from the ceiling at the stroke of midnight, her husband said he wasn’t feeling well and the relative was ready to go. Johnson decided to make a quick trip to the restroom before they headed home. “I hadn’t seen [Trump] that whole entire night,” said Johnson, who was in her late thirties at the time. “I was just walking to the bathroom. I was grabbed and pulled behind a tapestry, and it was him. And I’m a tall girl and I had six-inch heels on, and I still remember looking up at him. And he’s strong, and he just kissed me,” she recounted to us. “I was so scared because of who he was... I don’t even know where it came from. I didn’t have a say in the matter.”  

    Of course, we know now, that some pigs never change. 

    "Donald J. Trump: You know and ...
    Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.
    Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
    Unknown: Whoa.
    Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.
    Unknown: That’s huge news.
    Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.
    She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —
    I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
    Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.
    Trump: Whoa! Whoa!
    Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!"

    Dear Christian evangelicals, this might be a good time to reconsider your slavish devotion to the pussy grabber.   

    Monday, October 07, 2019

    The Mammy factor.

    So the Amber Guyger trial is finally over.

    I have some thoughts:

    Those Negroes down in Dallas, Texas had me shaking my head after the verdict.

    Imagine a Judge coming down from her bench and hugging a convicted murderer and then giving the murderer her personal bible to study.  In all my years of practicing law in countless courtrooms before many different Judges, I have never seen a Judge do such a thing. It was wrong on so many levels.

    It gets better. The bailiff in the courtroom, in true Mammy fashion, stroked Amber's hair. Yes, she stroked her hair.  What was scary is that she looked so comfortable doing it.

    I am not finished. The victim's brother actually asked his brother's killer if he could get a hug, and then proceeded to hug Missy as if his very life depended on it. Let's not forget, folks, that Amber is a racist.  But that didn't stop these mentally enslaved black folks from doing what mentally enslaved black folks do.

    I am sure that there were some folks who were just loving all this Kumbaya stuff up. "Can't we all just get along".  Not me. I always wonder why black folks are always expected to be so forgiving,  when we never get forgiveness in return.   

    Finally, in a shocking twist to this story, the prosecution's key witness was gunned down execution style just days after the trial.

    Now, as you can imagine, conspiracy theories rule the day.  Some folks claim that there are racist cops in the Dallas PD who were seeking revenge against the person responsible for having one of their own put away. 

    It should be interesting to see where this all leads. It could all be just a coincidence and Mr. Brown was shot and killed for something totally unrelated. Or, maybe, as some are speculating, something could really be rotten in Dallas.

    Stay tuned.

    Saturday, October 05, 2019

    Caption Saturday.

    President Trump

    I need a caption for this picture.

    Picture by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images from Politico.

    Thursday, October 03, 2019

    Time for the 25th Amendment?

     Image result for trump unhinged images  The following article was written by George T. Conway for The Atlantic, and it is a must read for these troubled times in America.

     "On a third-down play last season, the Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith stood in shotgun formation, five yards behind the line of scrimmage. As he called his signals, a Houston Texans cornerback, Kareem Jackson, suddenly sprinted forward from a position four yards behind the defensive line.

    Jackson’s timing was perfect. The ball was snapped. The Texans’ left defensive end, J.J. Watt, sprinted to the outside, taking the Redskins’ right tackle with him. The defensive tackle on Watt’s right rushed to the inside, taking the offensive right guard with him. The result was a huge gap in the Redskins’ line, through which Jackson could run unblocked. He quickly sacked Smith, for a loss of 13 yards.

    Special-teams players began taking the field for the punt. But Smith didn’t get up. He rolled flat onto his back, pulled off his helmet, and covered his face with his hands. He was clearly in excruciating pain. The slow-motion replay immediately showed the television audience why: As Smith was tackled, his right leg had buckled sharply above the ankle, with his foot rotating significantly away from any direction in which a human foot ought to point. The play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel said grimly, “We’ll be back,” and the network abruptly cut to a break. There was nothing more to say.

    Even without the benefit of medical training, and even without conducting a physical examination, viewers knew what had happened. They may not have known what the bones were called or what treatment would be required, but they knew more than enough, and they knew what really mattered: Smith had broken his leg, very badly. They knew that even if they were not orthopedists, did not have a medical degree, and had never cracked open a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. They could tell—they were certain—something was seriously wrong.

    And so it is, or ought to be, with Donald Trump. You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and you don’t need to be a mental-health professional to see that something’s very seriously off with Trump—particularly after nearly three years of watching his erratic and abnormal behavior in the White House. Questions about Trump’s psychological stability have mounted throughout his presidency. But those questions have been coming even more frequently amid a recent escalation in Trump’s bizarre behavior, as the pressures of his upcoming reelection campaign, a possibly deteriorating economy, and now a full-blown impeachment inquiry have mounted. And the questioners have included those who have worked most closely with him.

    No president in recent memory—and likely no president ever—has prompted more discussion about his mental stability and connection with reality. Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly is said to have described him as “unhinged,” and “off the rails,” and to have called the White House “Crazytown” because of Trump’s unbalanced state. Trump’s former deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, once reportedly discussed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, the Constitution’s provision addressing presidential disability, including mental disability.

    Rosenstein denies that claim, but it is not the only such account. A senior administration official, writing anonymously in The New York Times last September, described how, “given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment”—but “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.” And NBC News last week quoted someone familiar with current discussions in the White House warning that there is “increasing wariness that, as this impeachment inquiry drags out, the likelihood increases that the president could respond erratically and become ‘unmanageable.’” In September, a former White House official offered a similar assessment to a Business Insider reporter: “No one knows what to expect from him anymore,” because “his mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet, and the next thing you know his entire schedule gets tossed out the window. He’s losing his shit.”
    Even a major investment bank has gotten into the mix, albeit in a roundabout way: JPMorgan Chase has created a “Volfefe Index”—named after Trump’s bizarre May 2017 “covfefe” tweet—designed to quantify the effect that Trump’s impulsive tweets have on interest-rate volatility. The bank’s press release understatedly observed that its “volatility fair value model” shows that “the president’s remarks on this social media platform [have] played a statistically significant role in elevating implied volatility.”

    The president isn’t simply volatile and erratic, however—he’s also incapable of consistently telling the truth. Those who work closely with him, and who aren’t in denial, must deal with Trump’s lying about serious matters virtually every day. But as one former official put it, they “are used to the president saying things that aren’t true,” and have inured themselves to it. Trump’s own former communications director Anthony Scaramucci has on multiple occasions described Trump as a liar, once saying, “We … know he’s telling lies,” so “if you want me to say he’s a liar, I’m happy to say he’s a liar.” He went on to address Trump directly: “You should probably dial down the lying because you don’t need to … So dial that down, and you’ll be doing a lot better.”

    That was good advice, but clearly wishful thinking. Trump simply can’t dial down the lying, or turn it off—even, his own attorneys suggest, when false statements may be punished as crimes. A lawyer who has represented him in business disputes once told me that Trump couldn’t sensibly be allowed to speak with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, because Trump would “lie his ass off”—in effect, that Trump simply wasn’t capable of telling the truth, about anything, and that if he ever spoke to a prosecutor, he’d talk himself into jail.

    Trump’s lawyers in the Russia investigation clearly agreed: As Bob Woodward recounts at length in his book Fear, members of Trump’s criminal-defense team fought both Trump and Mueller tooth and nail to keep Trump from being interviewed by the Office of Special Counsel. A practice testimonial session ended with Trump spouting wild, baseless assertions in a rage. Woodward quotes Trump’s outside counsel John Dowd as saying that Trump “just made something up” in response to one question. “That’s his nature.” Woodward also recounts Dowd’s thinking when he argued to Trump that the president was “not really capable” of answering Mueller’s questions face to face. Dowd had “to dress it up as much as possible, to say, it’s not your fault … He could not say what he knew was true: ‘You’re a fucking liar.’ That was the problem.” (Dowd disputes this account.) Which raises the question: If Trump can’t tell the truth even when it counts most, with legal jeopardy on the line and lawyers there to help prepare him, is he able to apprehend the truth at all?

    Behavior like this is unusual, a point that journalists across the political spectrum have made. “This is not normal,” Megan McArdle wrote in late August. “And I don’t mean that as in, ‘Trump is violating the shibboleths of the Washington establishment.’ I mean that as in, ‘This is not normal for a functioning adult.’” James Fallows observed, also in August, that Trump is having “episodes of what would be called outright lunacy, if they occurred in any other setting,” and that if he “were in virtually any other position of responsibility, action would already be under way to remove him from that role.”

     Trump erratic behavior has long been the subject of political criticism, late-night-television jokes, and even speculation about whether it’s part of some incomprehensible, multidimensional strategic game. But it’s relevant to whether he’s fit for the office he holds. Simply put, Trump’s ingrained and extreme behavioral characteristics make it impossible for him to carry out the duties of the presidency in the way the Constitution requires. To see why first requires a look at what the Constitution demands of a president, and then an examination of how Trump’s behavioral characteristics preclude his ability to fulfill those demands.

    The Framers of the Constitution expected the presidency to be occupied by special individuals, selfless people of the highest character and ability. They intended the Electoral College to be a truly deliberative body, not the largely ceremonial institution it has become today. Because the Electoral College, unlike Congress and the state legislatures, wouldn’t be a permanent body, and because it involved diffuse selections made in the various states, they hoped it would help avoid “cabal, intrigue and corruption,” as Alexander Hamilton put it in “Federalist No. 68,” and deter interference from “these most deadly adversaries of republican government,” especially “from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

    Though the Constitution’s drafters could hardly have foreseen how the system would evolve, they certainly knew the kind of person they wanted it to produce. “The process of election affords a moral certainty,” Hamilton wrote, “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity,” might suffice for someone to be elected to the governorship of a state, but not the presidency. Election would “require other talents, and a different kind of merit,” to gain “the esteem and confidence of the whole Union,” or enough of it to win the presidency. As a result, there would be “a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.” This was the Framers’ goal in designing the system that would make “the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided.” [Read more]

    Donald trump, for better or for worse, is the current president of the United States. And no matter what happens in 2020, these past few years will forever leave a stain on this republic.

    There is no doubt that the 25th Amendment should be invoked, but given the toxic nature of our body politic, that will never happen.

    Tuesday, October 01, 2019

    Lessons not learned.

    Image result for nixon images

    This doesn't feel like America in the years from 1972 to 1974, it just doesn't. Don't get me wrong, what trump and his gang has done to the Constitution and political norms in this country is even worse than what Nixon did, but these are different times.

    There was no FOX News, right-wingnut conspiracy blogs, newspapers, and podcasts protecting Tricky Dick like they have been protecting trump. These are hyper partisan times we live in, and the  cult of thirty eight percent protecting trump will not relent. There is nothing that this charlatan can do that will change their minds. They are all in, come hell or high water.

    We keep waiting to see if leaders in the republican party will grow a pair, or suddenly get a conscience, but that too seems to be wishful thinking. Listening to cowards like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham twist themselves into pretzels to defend the indefensible has been like a running joke. It all came to this when trump was caught trying to shake down the leader of a foreign country to help him dig up dirt on his main political opponent.

    Honestly, Nancy Pelosi should have started this impeachment inquiry months ago.Mr. trump has done more than enough to have an investigation opened into his actions. If only Americans weren't so busy "pursuing happiness" instead of focusing on what really matters: A real- estate huckster and con man  stealing a national election with the help of the Russian government. He got away with it, because Robert Mueller, bless his heart, thought that just doing things by the book would have an impact on trump and his criminal cabal. It didn't.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to Americans forgetting about what trump did with the Russians, the con man couldn't himself, and just days after the Mueller Report, he was at it again. This time he was shaking down a country that desperately needed military equipment to fight off the Russians who were invading their country. "I need you to do me a favor, though." Before I give you this three hundred million (that the American congress already approved you getting) I am going to need you to get some dirt on Joe Biden so that I can use it against him in the upcoming election in America. Unbelievable! 

    Mr. trump wants to meet the whistle blower who has exposed his corruption, and he thinks that he[she] should be executed. And, if he is removed from office, he believes that there should be a civil war in America. 

    Let that sink in for a minute. A civil war. People die in civil wars, and countries are destroyed.

    This of course means nothing to Mr. trump. His personal survival is all that matters. America be damned.

    This is hard to say, but compared to trump, Nixon was a statesman.