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"The shabbiest US president ever is an inexpressibly sad specimen" -- George Will, Wash.Post

quake's world

Futbol
the spur
bbc football
bbc football daily podcast
ball street
guardian football
WSC
one touch football
200%
bbc five live radio, plus quality podcasts

Beats
jukebox

YouTube progressive politics channels
TYT [young turks]
ring of fire
majority report with sam seder
david pakman
rational national canada
some more news
humanist report
progressive voice
secular talk
robert reich
democracy at work
brian tyler cohen
dollemore
now this news
steve shives
samantha bee
kim iversen
global news u.s
politics news u.s
graham elwood
dose of dissonance

Other likeable links

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/the-birth-of-a-new-american-aristocracy/559130/
America's toxic class divide link

the guardian
washington post and podcasts
new york times, the daily podcast
the intercept and podcasts incl. deconstructed
slate plus slate amicus podcast
splinter news
source politics
dem underground
TPM talking points memo
sludge exposing corruption
washington week youtube site
msnbc & msnbc you-tube
rachel maddow blog
think progress
common dreams
daily kos
politico
democracy now
raw story
robert reich website
axios
the daily beast
media matters
bob cesca show
euronews online
npr news
truthdig
how appealing
public citizen
pro publica
vox
move on
democracy forward
daily DC
democrats.com
stephanie miller
stephanie harlowe
xe.com currency currency exchange converter
seeking stillness
the last quiet places
mac option key symbols
free dictionary.com
annualcreditreport.com the one that's actually free, link fixed
inside ev's inside electric vehicles
allcarselectric.com [aka] green car reports
plugincars.com electric vehicles summary
election protection

Usually reliable online TV streams
al jazeera in english changes URL a lot
france 24 in english, and french [both: frequent URL changes]
PBS newshour episodes, live 3-4pm M-F pacific USA time
CBS news "cbsn" cbs hi rotation rolling feed, USA live
DW german intntl news in english, frequent URL changes
sky news uk, live on you-tube
crtvg, galicia, espana, us feed
tvr britanny, france, new link Nov 2018
elonce tv argentina
rte dublin, ireland
rtl muenchen deutschland
center.tv dusseldorf, deutschland, updated 2016
telemolise southern italia
bbc britain
sfgovtv san francisco, calif., usa
amp 1 the monterey channel, calif., usa

San Francisco & Monterey online radio
kqed san francisco radio
kalw san francisco radio
kazu nat. public radio for the monterey bay

Other radio
bbc world service

Radio programs and podcasts
the takeaway
PRI
On point
philosophy talk [live on kalw]
on the media

Previous posts and links

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg tries to show that he really is human. He eats a sandwich and virtually inspects the devastation in Puerto Rico.


london


san francisco
arriving by luft re-add Nov 2015

gran canaria

monterey county

Local voters ban fracking in Monterey County despite aggressive opposition from big oil and gas



May 2019
Football's rotten masters
The shoddy state of FIFA and UEFA, and the ruling footballing authorities in general, seems to be a permanent stain on the beautiful game. For the powers that be the exploited expendable fans come bottom of the list. Just one current/recent example out of many pertains to the Europa Cup final: "While the Premier League clubs received 33,286 tickets, 4,000 were sold to fans worldwide and the rest have gone to the local organising committee, Uefa, national associations, commercial partners, broadcasters and to corporate hospitality packages." -- BBC Football. Ugh! As an adaptation of a Buddhist saying goes: "As soon as you want something, they've got you."

Here's another one to throw into the mix -- how families were to be separated from each other at the Women's World Cup finals and it's pretty depressing. Of course these brigands will always try to do token "damage control" after any media spotlight on this sort of contemptuous mayhem, but the rot is never cut out.

And when will the authorities get serious about all the alleged financial dodginess going on at the club level? Hint: Never.

Meanwhile this Liverpudlian 'Tuber is raking in the bucks for his video clip as previously featured here. But when will he concede that, before all this, Liverpool fans attacking the Man City bus was much worse?

Brokeahontas
"Trump sold himself to this country as a business genius. Turns out he's a reverse billionaire. Elizabeth Warren should start calling him Brokeahontas." -- Bill Maher.

CA, OR and WA vs Donald Trump
Trump. "He's losing. Badly. The West Coast is crushing it against Trump. Using the law to fight a bully, the Constitution to challenge an authoritarian, and facts against Fox News-driven fantasy, California, Oregon and Washington have stalled some of the most despicable of Trump's retrograde policies.

"And this is the place to say that, yes, Trump loathes the rest of Blue America as well, and many of those states are on the front lines against Trump.

"But this president has a particular strain of hatred within his tiny dark heart for the Pacific states. And they hate him back. After the wipeout in last year's congressional elections, only a mere 38-mile strip of the Pacific shore in the lower 48 states, in Washington, remains in Republican hands.

"In California and Washington, the ranks of the uninsured have fallen to record lows because of Obamacare. Would any other sitting president go out of his way to reverse that lifesaving progress? He recently directed his Justice Department to try to kill the entirety of the Affordable Care Act." -- Timothy Egan, New York Times "Revenge of the Coastal Elites".

Pro-Brex Tories & Labs battered in local England elections
The pro-Remain Lib Dems utterly obliterated the despised, Brexit drunk, self-dealing Conservatives [and pro-nazi UKippers] throughout local England elections [Northern Ireland not in at time of writing], with the Greens and independents also gaining significantly.

It is a massive repudiation of the batshit Brexit suicide pact by the corrupt "big two" parties, and resentment against the infusion of dirty money to line UK politician's pockets slushed over by the American extreme right that currently controls the US.

To get an idea of how out of touch MAGAt brain Teresa May is she claimed it showed that the English citizenry want Brexit to speed forward as quickly as possible, even as she and her party's pro-Brexitism were the target of angry comments written on tens of thousands of the ballots.

"Stand for nothing" Labour's lame-ass Jeremy Corbyn is spouting the same tired old rubbish as Teresa May herself. The "big two" parties just don't get it, and likely never will. Britain is being broken before our very eyes by two hopelessly corrupt and beholden major parties.

As with Trump and the US Republicans, naked greed and rampant self-dealing has crazed the ruling elite to such an extent they have lost touch with both the people on the street and with reality itself.

Yangs Wang demonetized
Whilst the right-wing hate sites continue to flourish on YouTube, anything speaking to truth, or a way out of the nightmare the world finds itself in at so many different levels, is punished. Now Yangs Wang has been demonetized. The horror! YouTube exploits other people's hard work and then pulls the plug on rewarding those content creators. Fortunately not all the creative types trying to get the progressive message out there are dependent on the corporate masters for their crust of bread so the message continues anyway, at leat until they are all banned. If only some other platform that actually worked halfway decently could fill the void left by YouTube's effective creative demise, but Google have the technology down, while the alternatives are technologically pretty awful.


April 2019
American Xtians: "Hate is the answer"
The USA's biggest Christian charity reportedly channeled $56.1 million to purported hate groups. Meanwhile, the redacted Mueller report came out right before the Easter weekend as the fascist right hopes to hide behind the holiday break to distract and defuse the outcry.

League Table of healthy diet nations
by Rob Francis
"Israel had the lowest rate of diet-related deaths, at 89 per 100,000 people, followed by France, Spain and Japan. The UK ranked 23rd, with 127 diet-related deaths per 100,000 and the US was 43rd with 171. Uzbekistan was last, with 892" writes Sarah Bosely in The Guardian.

One of many interesting points is: more important than not eating junk food is eating the food your body really needs. This reminds me of being at the tennis center recently and one of the kids asking the group whether we'd heard of the new all-meat diet and would that help him play better? My opinion was that it was not a good idea and urged the student to at least include lentils. "What's lentils?". And this was in the nation at #43 in the league table, nowhere near the relegation zone. Lordie! as an FBI agent might exclaim.

March 2019
Trump reckons his ass is off the hook
"Donald Trump is positively thrilled that the Mueller investigation reportedly found no evidence that he conspired with Russia in 2016. He will probably try and make you forget about the part where Mueller did not exonerate him of any criminal activity." -- Splinter News.

"Barr says he's quoting Mueller when he says 'The investigation did not establish that Trump campaign members conspired and coordinated with the Russian GOVERNMENT in its election interference activities.'

"The key word here, of course, is 'government.' What Barr and his Republiscum cohorts are counting on is that most Americans don't understand the nature of exactly how Russia operates in the post-Soviet era. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, Putin's government does can be directly traced to it as a governing body. All is done through oligarchs, cutouts, and shell companies.

"So, semantically speaking, I'm sure this statement, whose sole purpose is to whitewash American idiots, is actually technically correct.

"If you don't understand this, I strongly suggest you give yourself a crash course in Iran-Contra where you can pluck from the documents of the time many such jewels of semantic whitewashing...many, in fact, written by Barr himself." -- Pandora Awakend's Journal.

Let's investigate the fixed shambolic Brexit vote
As over a million anti-Brexit marchers descended upon London, the Guardian reports that "calls grow for public inquiry into Brexit" as the nation sobers up to the brutal reality of the chaos and self-harm about to be unleashed on a once proud but now shattered nation teetering on the precipice of social, political, and economic catastrophe thanks to Tory dereliction of duty.

A nation dependent upon others for food*, raw materials, and increasingly on manufactured goods, now giving up its status as financial center of the globe, can ill afford this diabolical decision. Even without it, the damage done will already be of gargantuan proportions and not entirely repairable.

*"'Food security in Britain is in long-term decline' says The Guardian. Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reveal the UK produces 60% of what it needs to feed itself, compared with 74% 30 years ago." -- The Week.

Also from The Week on March 24, 2019: "An estimated one million people marched through central London yesterday to ask that MPs grant them a fresh referendum on Brexit. Protesters carrying EU flags and placards called for any Brexit deal to be put to another public vote. Speakers at the rally included Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and former attorney general Dominic Grieve."

The U.S. can still save itself from the ultra right-wing Trumpist White House travesty of looting by and for the rich, and rife corruption and self-dealing, but Britain's decision cannot be reversed by an apology or late realization that "sorry, we made a terrible mistake, can we come back as a basket case?"

"My government claims I don't exist. I'm demonstrating that I do and I'm not going anywhere," tweeted a volunteer medic [and doctor] at the march.

This is not America
Demonstrating what Splinter News called "efficiency & cooperation, the government of New Zealand announced legislation to ban all semi-automatic weapons on Wednesday, just six days after the attack that killed 50 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch." [link to NYT article].

Manafort spells danger for Da Boss
An NPR reporter described Paul Manafort's sentencing as just dessert for "greed, opulence, and unsavory activity" and that aptly sums him up. Even though the following was not the specific cause for recent legal complaints against him, Manafort consorted [and benefited to the tune of millions of dollars] with a violent Russian puppet dictator who caused his Ukranian people to suffer through a brutally self-dealing reign of terror and looting of the public purse.

Worse for Trump's ex-campaign manager Manafort, alleged crimes connected with mortgage fraud are being prosecuted by New York state lawyers which will be "pardon proof" against Trump, so the newly convicted felon may have sufficient motivation to cooperate because Da Boss ain't gonna be dere to spring yez to use his mob-speak communication style.

US Federal Aviation Admin's invitation to the world seemed to be "Fly our friendly coffins" until global pressure sobered them and/or the White House up. What took you so long, Trump? $$$$$$$? The software fix for the nose down issue was delayed for 5 weeks because of Trump's shutdown.

Batshit Brexiteer
looks at
fiasco his
low IQ
helped create

May's Brexit deal battered
Tues, March 12, 2019: A hoarse and croaky Teresa May admitted defeat as her weird Brexit deal was sunk by a whopping margin, decried on the right by the batshit Brexiteers who crave a disastrous so-called "No deal" [in reality a WTO deal or more accurately a "special needs nation" deal for incompetent countries] and on the other side by those who wish to see the U.K. secure its brightest future by remaining as part of the EU.

A second referendum is the only way to go to unravel this current collective insanity. In the event of a Brexit, the Kingdom is no longer United and will inevitably break apart, creating a stampede for pro-EU Scottish and Irish citizenship by those leaving England - the business talent, the educated, the skilled, the more affluent - knowing that without the EU England is toast, a little Englander "no go zone" with roaming factions of rightwing warrior tribes battling each other for funds dangled by the US extreme right. Good luck with that trade deal with Italy, Poland, a right wing ruled protectionist and tariff crazed America, Russian and Chinese "investment", Saudi Arabia, and the United Emirates. Here's to you prime minister Tommy Robinson, let's hope Jesus loves you more than you can know! Will Scotland have the funds to rebuild Hadrian's Wall, to keep the English chaos out? Answer: yes, but not from Mexico. EU to the rescue!

Let's get rid of standard time
Joel Achenbach of the WaPo points out that it's not really daylight saving time that's drawing fire, it's standard time. In other words, make DST the year round time system and let's enjoy an extra hour of daylight in the afternoon. We're sick of politicians plunging the people into darkness when their lunch has barely been digested.

"Fox knew of Trump's hush payoffs before election. Then Rupert Murdoch spoke with his reporter."
says Sourcepolitics which in turn cites a New Yorker article entitled "The making of the Fox News White House."

Doddering Dotard too incompetent and dishonest to lead USA
DonOLD Trump, besieged by growing investigations that, at least, are likely to lead to post-presidential criminal indictment, has also shown himself - more than ever - an abject failure at representing the USA's interests in foreign policy. The latest snaps of him from Vietnam show a doddering, dementia-like appearance. This unhealthy, greed-crazed, deal flopping dotard is finished.

Oh, and Trump's siding with dictator Kim's mindbendingly cruel treatment of an American citizen, Otto Warmbier, is beyond words, beyond disgusting. Had he been an Xtian evangelist instead of a middle class Jewish American kid would Trump have declared war on North Korea? Oh wait..... that's already the status.


February 2019

Mark Hollis
Rarely do obituary type mentions appear on The Quake but Mark Hollis of Talk Talk, and then a solo recording artist, is someone to remember a day after his death [at this time of writing]. He was never comfortable as a new wave rock [or any kind of] "star", he tried to disappear completely from existence, and now he has, except for his legacy to listen to. Clip from RAI TV, Italy.

Born in Tottenham, mostly lived in Wimbledon with his wife and two kids -- thanks for existing!

Brexit likely shelved, Trump politically dead
Smug 2016
Brexiteer voter
now in
rueful mood

It's looking increasingly like the crackpot Brexiteers will be doing Euro-time for a while longer. They're lucky that the EU are providing the adults in the room, because the Tories and Labour party seem hell-bent on taking down the once green and once pleasant land that so many ex-Pats remember, but the powers-that-be seem sadly so utterly lost in this new era, with corruption and greed playing the same toxic role as it does in politics Stateside.

Across the pond Robert Reich's insightful article in the Guardian describes a feeling that is indeed in the air Stateside these days - slurring long-winded Donald Trump has lost the room. The exhausted, deeply disillusioned US public has already said "Begone!" before even a vote is cast next year.

Fox News wannabe but fake rebel *ucker Carlson resorts to cussing in a shocking hissy fit of aggressive and blind anger when he's owned by a relaxed guest, author Rutger Bregman, who doubtless has watched his book sales soar as a result - even Rupert Murdoch, the grossly flabby-looking owner of Fox News is reading it, looking deeply unhappy and ill! Frazzled furious *ucker Carlson lost it so badly he did not air the clip and actually tried to suppress it. Unsuccessfully! Bregman had taped it at his end. It will forever exist to the shame of tawdry tosser Tucker.

BBC's The Real Story asks whether referendums are ever a good idea, an excellent podcast that was also aired on its global radio outlets.

On the subject of great pods from the Beeb, this multi-part series End of days has been devoured by tons of listeners, addressing the assault on a Waco [Texas] cult led by David Koresh, whose members included almost thirty Britons. Miranda Sawyer of The Guardian: "I hadn't realised that many of the Waco cult victims were from the UK, mostly recruited from the Seventh-Day Adventist church. End of Days talks to their families and friends. There are moments when you want more specifics (the first episode is vague as to what David Koresh actually talked about), but it's a very interesting show."

Bernie's In!

Hallelujah! Bernie Sanders enters the race for Democratic president to be. Splendid. Here at Quake Tower celebrations erupted.

The Wall of Shame

The article by The Guardian written on the day Trump declares a bogus national emergency discusses the ramifications in play.

The now officially obese, bungling, lying fake president took a massive hit to his credibility after being effectively checkmated into backing down from a second government shutdown, but as the article suggests his attempt to salvage some face is unlikely to lead to a good outcome for anyone, himself included. As always, the hardest hit victims include the American taxpayers - the middle class - who are left to shell out to cover the egotistical stupidity of an incompetent and un-indicted co-conspirator, a child like pea brained idiot who's "running" [ruining] the United States by gross inefficiency and irresponsibility.

By announcing that he "didn't need to do this" the Washington Post points out he undermined his own case. Reader comment by Nooneasked seems to sum up the legal situation well: "Notwithstanding Trump's moronic comments. the case will probably be decided on largely legal grounds involving the statutory intent and purpose of the national emergency act. The President's best argument is probably that when Congress passed the emergency act allowing a President to redirect appropriated funds to deal with an emergency, while also including a procedure where Congress could negate a President's emergency declaration by joint Senate-House resolution, Congress thereby obviated the constitutional separation of powers issue which otherwise would prevent the President from overriding the appropriation power of the Congress. Furthermore, when Congress provided the legislative process for overruling a Presidential declaration of emergency, it rendered the validity of an emergency declaration a purely political question not reviewable by the courts.

"The best argument for opponents of Trump's emergency declaration is that whatever the largely statutorily undefined "emergency" may mean, no reasonable interpretation thereof could encompass this situation, where on Thursday, February 14, 2019, Congress specifically appropriated $1.3 billion for the wall, and the very next day, President Trump declared an "emergency" so that he could divert other already appropriated funds and spend $8 billion for a much more extensive wall. Whatever Congress meant in the statute by the term "emergency", it did not include allowing a President to simply and immediately override a specific funding determination by Congress, and have this Presidential decision overrule the specific majority vote by Congress on the precise issue, unless both the Senate and the House could by a two-thirds majority, also override a Presidential veto of a Congressional joint resolution disapproving the President's emergency declaration. In the absence of the statutory "emergency" the statute was not applicable here and no emergency declaration was permissible. This argument will probably prevail."

Brexit banter with Rob Francis: Hold a second Brexit referendum. Brexit is damaging to the British national interest, says Roger Cohen, saving me a lot of time because he's a professional scribe and knows the score, writing earlier this year in a much mentioned New York Times opinion piece.

Will the USA soccer league, Major League Soccer, ever not be boring?: Whilst various martial arts sports leap frog professional soccer in popularity among new generations [who also watch European soccer by the way], the MLS and its tiny but zealous army of online trolls continues to resist anything that would make it meaningful in any way, including denying promotion and relegation.

As the league continues to sputter along, completely off the radar of the American public even in heavily Latino areas where there is massive interest in the Euro leagues, the MLS conservatives will at least be able to go to their grave proudly exclaiming, despite the US being unable to even qualify for the World Cup against weak opposition, and the league being mind-bendingly dull, "at least we don't have promotion and relegation. We can die happy and fulfilled," with the other sports responding: "Happy trails, boneheads. And by the way, make the goals bigger!"

Some of us here at, or around, the Quake, do go and support our local MLS team as it happens, a club that's been around a lot - a lot - longer than the league itself, but that's just for the love of being at the futbol occasionally, plus the social aspect, and a bloody nice little stadium, to boot.

Eric the Red (Hat)

This West Virginia lawmaker Republiscummer resembles a cross between a "Deliverance" movie character and a gormless Al Bundy impersonator, without Al's humor, while regaling the interviewer with his apparently reasonable view that he will drown his son or daughter if they turn out be gay. How the inbreds laughed in Redneckland. It's okay to murder your family for such matters if you're Republican.

Al Bundy meet Ted Bundy in one bundle of fascist fun. He's an American Christian evangelical pastor, blinded by hate. That said, the batshit Xtian bible does say that if your children drink or disobey you, you should stone them to death, or you yourself will join them in hell. So he's only trying to save his own ass by looking for an excuse.

Now he's in trouble.

Repugs horrified by Green New Deal
Fox melts down over the Green New Deal and Samantha Bee reflects.

Who's really afraid of socialism?

Trump/GOP's "dealmaking" lost them $23.7b

Donald Trump's "Art of the Deal", when tested in action, cost him and his party the loss of 23.7 billion dollars by using his obstructionist, ego driven technique in an obsessive quest for more "Wall".

In Feb 2018, Democrats offered $25b, Republiscummers held out. In Dec 2018 Democrats reduced the offer to $1.6b, the 'scummers, now wanting 5.7b, held out, and in doing so, devastated the US with a shutdown, with long term damaging consequences yet to be fully realized. In Feb 2019 the Dems reduced the offer again to $1.3b, and the 'scummers appear to have accepted. If dumb Don puts his ego into the mix yet again and forces another hold-out, well, any future print run of his toxic book should be renamed "The Art of Being Dumb".

No wonder desperate right-wing groupies who bought Trump's bad faith book over the years are now realizing why their careers, if they ever had any, failed dismally to ignite using dumb Don's diabolical deal-sinking disaster of a negotiating technique. They're probably Jordan Peterson's biggest fan boys right now, scraping together every penny to paw through his turgid, tedious tomes, and waste valuable hours watching his vacuous, long-winded, endlessly rambling videos. Be careful whom you idolize.

Meanwhile, Trump's face saving gambit is now to invoke "executive action" to get more for his wall, signaling massive use of taxpayer money for gargantuan legal fees involved in the ensuing battle.

Blindly led MAGgots feel scammed by Trump's tax dupe

The MAGgots are revolting -- up in arms over being tricked by Trump's used-car salesman tactics that promised that goobers would benefit from his tax cuts [albeit only temporary for them but permanent for corporations] when it turns out only the top wealthiest citizens and corporations will. Many of his blindly devoted, but now furious base appear to be in shock when they saw that their refund was a few dollars more, or the same, or even less, if they got one at all. Some wonder how they can pay the layaway installments on their overpriced MAGgot hats! #GOPTaxScam

Trump can't see a problem because he's doing fine out of the tax scam, along with his wealthy backers, ensuring that tax bill deductions for their private jets are more than generous. How kind of him. The inverse version of Robin Hood continues to ride through his merry glen, with his band of cynical but merry men. "Still boggled that there was no 'crisis' from 2016 to 2018 when Trump decided to push for tax breaks for the wealthy instead of funding 'The Wall'." -- JamesFTInternet

Melanoma, Iwanka, meet RICO!?

Barbara McQuade, law professor from Michigan, writes that the highly publicized subpoenas issued recently by the Southern District of New York could likely be linked to a possible RICO case they're building [RICO = Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act]. This is why it's the real bombshell of the new year so far - it suggests that one or more of Trump's businesses or groups, whether officially registered or even an association of people, could ultimately be prosecuted for being organized crime enterprises. This ranks as one of the most serious crimes and the punishments can be very heavy for the individuals involved and found guilty.

The fact that a sitting president and/or family members could be caught up in a RICO swoop would have been considered the stuff of unbelievable fiction prior to the Trump regime.

There's been no shortage of mob speak from those associated with the currently ruling regime, spoken with pride and menace, but the people of the U.S. could exact retribution if it turns out that it's not just talk but criminally accountable.

Politicians need to remember they represent the people of the United States, not themselves, their families, or their wealthy backers. If the system is broken through financial perversion of the political process, the heartening news is that the judicial arm seems still functional enough to potentially bring bad eggs to justice.

"My impression is that in this country this kind of corruption has always been tolerated to the extent you're discreet about it. Don't rip off the citizens, don't demand bribes for building permits and stuff, but if you want to cut corners as far as self-dealing and so forth go for it but just for Christ's sake don't let it be a scandal. Trump was part of that world. But because he's mentally ill he thought he could ratchet it up to international scale and get away with it as a president. That's how much the genius dealmaker misunderstood the fundamental terms of this particular deal." -- mattinpa, forum post on TPM.

Meanwhile.....

Medicare for who? Pelosi aide exposes Nancy as not being committed to Medicare for All.

Trump regime big wigs criminally implicated

Politicus article describes how Mike Pence and others are likely implicated in criminal charges based on subpoenas issued by the Southern District of New York, suggesting a possible penultimate move that's almost on the doorstep of Donald Trump himself: MSNBC video.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump's "State of the nation" speech reinforces how his foreign policy is a garbage fire.

U.S. flounders in league table of Freedom

The U.S. has fallen below Greece, Latvia and Mauritius in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil liberties. "The current overall U.S. score puts American democracy closer to struggling counterparts like Croatia than to traditional peers such as Germany or the United Kingdom," says the report. More at Michelle Goldberg's article in the New York Times sub-headed "Under Trump, America is no longer in the top tier of democratic countries."

Is Kamela Harris the one?

Senator Harris. She's wonderful, she's amazing, say the media. But there's always a but..... examining Kamela Harris' rightwing past, with Mehdi Hasan: "Her record as a district attorney and as attorney general in California stands in stark contrast to the progressive ideals she now claims to hold." The Intercept podcast discusses.

January 2019

Stone busted, timid Trump wimps out

It finally happened, mouthy groupie celeb wannabe hanger-on Roger Stone gets the pre-dawn handcuffs unceremoniously clinked around his weaselly wrists, while timid tawdry Trump, "the world's worst negotiator" [Jennifer Rubin, WaPo], collapses at the feet of Nancy Pelosi and agrees to reopen the government without getting his wacko wall demands.

The story that got missed because of everything else: Michael Bennett destroys 'scummer Ted Cruz.

The wretched Republiscum got absolutely battered on this recent Freak-out Friday since Trump's occupationist regime stole the White House. This surely is the beginning of a reckoning for the White House -- Donald has been reduced to the ineffectual, Russia loving, America hating POS that he is, and the Republicans now smell defeat both for themselves and their fatally misplaced coattail ride on the evil orange satan.

Thanks to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats standing up to the fake president our highly esteemed and respected government servants are going to get paid, no thanks to the Republiscum traitors.

Payola corner

Musical flashback in time. Two songs alleged to have been promoted into the charts [US, UK, or both] via "payola", paying DJs or radio stations to expose them via airplay [or even the chart-makers themselves]. Both releases were deserving of chart acclaim either way, and an online search showed no current evidence of these rumors being either true or prosecuted, and if anything has added to the songs' mystique.

Ram jam "Black betty" allegedly payola'd in the UK; Chilliwack "My girl" legendary and iconic 70s/80s era AM top40 giant KFRC San Francisco alleged to have dubiously assisted this Canadian act's hit success in the US.

Rightwing's goal is to shut down America
Trump's grody to the max
Clemson gridiron yuckout

The ultra rightwing Republican executive and legislative machine is not even bothering to hide its goal of permanently shutting down what it feels is unnecessary government institutions not just by appointing departmental leaders who are openly hostile to the goals of that government branch, which it has already mostly achieved, but by literally shutting down the whole thing, in which it has also - for now - mostly succeeded.

In a similar vein, reader fbraconi commented on an article by opinion columnist Paul Krugman of the New York Times: "One of the few positives of Trumpism is that it has stripped American conservatism of all of its ideological pretenses. Its core of racism, sexism, xenophobia, environmental exploitation and greed has been fully exposed. The reason Republican leaders sound like morons is that Trump has shown them they don't have to couch their aims in elaborate sophistry; in fact, their voter base responds more enthusiastically when the message is delivered raw than when it is wrapped in sophisticated political and economic theory.

"The president and the Republican leadership barely bothered to offer any policy rationale when they tried to repeal the ACA, passed massive tax cuts for the rich, pulled us out of the Paris Climate Agreement and set about dismantling environmental regulations. Why bother developing intricate policy arguments and memorizing arcane evidence when making things up on the spot works just as well?"

In Some More News: "The fake border crisis, Steve King, and our lying, racist president".

A Washington Post podcast discusses Trump's secrecy around Putin being part of a much broader pattern.

"You're nicked"

Cohen to spill the beans on Trump

CNBC was one of the first to break the news that rodent-like Michael Cohen will publicly deliver the goods on dastardly Donald, whom he now hates. Seemingly his cultish worship of the orange satan is finito. Make sure those home-cooked lentils are steamed and ready to serve, pop pickers.

February 7 was to have been the big day but got postponed, but his testimony may still occur before the Mueller report. However, will Cohen's testimony taint what he's told Robert Mueller's investigation? There are problematic issues.

"Then, just like a Bolt
out of the blue...."

Are friends electric

Green Car Reports: "In all, electric-car sales have taken off, and hit a milestone, reaching 1 million sales in the U.S. in November, with half of those in California." Just arrived to market [instead of just being theoretically available as before] is the much anticipated Hyundai Kona electric vehicle.

GCR reader rbbartho posted: "I own a Chevy Bolt and very happy with getting nearly 230 mile range, 120 MPGe, no gas stations, oil changes, or maintenance. Go EV's.....they're only going to get better."

Pseud's Corner: Cringey right wingers cornered by even more cringey pseudo intellectual Jordan Peterson
The intellectual destitution of the north American right is nowhere better encapsulated than in fake philosopher and pseudo intellectual Jordan Peterson seen here boring the pants off high level right-wing "celebrities", including lens shattering Donald Trump Jnr, who have no idea what he's babbling on about, partly because, as usual, he's spouting meaningless rubbish, but also, even if they were listening to someone profound [which Peterson isn't] it would be totally going over their heads.

Take a look at them, they're wide boys [and girl] who don't look like they generally stand around nibbling avocado and cucumber sandwiches while discussing the intricacies of quantum physics and string theory.

Being right-wing looks like a very awkward place to be. Cringe factor: 100%.

Looking back at 2018 one last time and, giving us a boost as we prepare for the new year is the delightful memory of last year's election that turned Orange County completely blue as the GOP got wiped out in the mid-terms. In the supposedly immortal words of Ronald Reagan: "Like I've always said, Orange County is where good Republicans go before they die." And die they did.

MSNBC beats Fox "News" in the ratings. One thing this article does is actually mention demographics. There are armies of American trolls and Russian bots continually trumpeting about how Fox News has generally been above MSNBC over the years. If they trot out any numbers at all they cite the generic totals not the "break-outs", the age brackets, which is what advertisers buy.

A TV or radio outlet can be winning overall numbers and, yes, still go out of business or change format if they can't deliver a strong age delineated target audience of "not old people". But since Fox "News" is not even regularly #1 even in the generics any more that means the trolls will move on to other topics to be fake or disinformative about.

This is all the more impressive since Fox, like CNN, practically gives their "product" away. Many Americans have to go out of their way to proactively seek out and consume MSNBC.

The downside is that it's not viable to watch MSNBC in real time other than Rachel Maddow's first segment because you'll get brain damaged from the endless commercials, and life it too short to be wasted on attempts to sell you rubbish products. That said, Fox's products are even worse, and many aimed at geriatric people, a sign of their woes.

December 2018

Can a passenger land a plane?
A video showing a passenger landing a [simulated] plane says the answer is "no", because they prepped her before hand and that it took longer than usual. Er... well, um... interesting anyway. Remember, seatbelts save lives.

"Why is anyone surprised that Trump's willing to shut down our government when it's clearly not the one he works for?" -- Stephen Colbert.

Just what the world needed, a new Fox news channel.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes reads a Twitter user's tweet: "It's hilarious that Trump hates being president but can't quit because then he'll go to jail."

Did you know: the average net worth of a Briton stands at around $280,000 including real estate according to a recent Guardian article: "the average Briton saw their wealth, including property, increase by 1% [over the year] to GBP213,000."

America in crisis
Putin wins Syria, Trump stabs ally in the back

Trump/Ryan/McConnell trifecta in numbers:

--> 4M working age Americans lost health care
--> $1.5T corporate handout
--> $779B deficit
--> Worst Dec stock market since 1931
--> 17% increase in hate crimes
--> 2,654 migrant kids taken from families
--> Over 40,000 gun deaths in 2017
          Representative Joe Kennedy

America just conceded defeat at the hands of anti-US Putin-led Russia as the collusionist Republican government stabbed another of our allies, the Kurds, in the back. Putin is pleased about beating the USA in Syria but ecstatic to see Mattis gone.

The unravelling of a impostor presidency is an ugly thing. It's gonna get worse before it gets better. The United States is in freefall.

"My President changed military policy to something Putin wanted without even consulting the military while simultaneously threatening shutdown over a racist ineffective wall the majority of American taxpayers oppose and all I got was this lousy 500-point stock drop." Says John Fugelsang, who also wrote "Any person who sincerely claims they follow both Jesus and Trump probably knows very little about either."

Donald Trump, Dec 20, 2011 tweet: "Iraq in political turmoil one day after we leave---I told you so."

The fake president is determined to use what he sees as his best and only weapon to survive the tsunami that's about to wash him [and possibly us] away, to take the US into a state of complete chaos, and, if he feels like he's going down, which he is, to take us all down with him.

Now for the real test of America's strength. How do we deal with a president who is acting solely in the best interests of a hostile, foreign power, backed by a political party that won't stand up to him? What mechanisms, if any, can come into play to get us out of the nations' worst crisis since the Bay of Pigs.

He's certainly bringing home the bacon for his hero and boss, Vlad Putin. At the price of the very survival of the democracy and security of the United States of America.

You Josh me - another possibly bent Repug?

"Most Republicans wait until they come to Washington to join the culture of corruption - but Missouri Senator-elect Josh Hawley decided to get a jumpstart by engaging in possibly illegal activities during his campaign for Senate. The attorney general of Missouri, Jay Ashcroft, is investigating Hawley for misusing public resources to help his Senate campaign after the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF) filed a complaint," writes DD Martin of the American Independent via Sourcepolitics.

Previously: It's rare to start the day without seeing endlessly depressing newsfeed story titles without a single shred of hope, never mind inspiration, to hold on to. But to get two consecutive pieces of positive tiding in a single day - unheard of, surely.

Even with the ultra right feralist, I mean federalist, cultists now sitting on the Supreme Court, that once hallowed body actually [in effect] defended Planned Parenthood in a ruling that protects the rights of citizens to sue states for cutting off public funding to that kind, caring organization. The fact that we now say "thank you" on those rare occasions when we don't get screwed over is itself pretty sad, but let's not turn negative quite yet.
We are a better people than the voices we're hearing from the Republican leadership  
David Jolley [R]

What was the other one? Can't remember now but trust me, it was heart warming. Oh yes, the EU high court saying Britain can reverse Brexit. It's one thing, however, to lead a horse to water..... without it prefering to drink from the nearby bucket of kool-aid offered by the alt-right US backed stable boy instead.

The story of Teresa May chickening out of her vote on her batshit Brexit plan doesn't quite classify as "dancing in the streets" material unless it ultimately leads to a proper [2nd] vote on Brexit now that the citizens of the UK know just how bad it's gonna be, without the wool pulled over their eyes by the blatantly dishonest propaganda that propelled the previous one. That said, poster SydenhamFox makes an incisive counterpoint in response to the linked article: "I think Polly Toynbee underestimates how right wing a very significant amount of our population is. Most of my family are seemingly impervious to logical debate. They want a hard Brexit come what may, even if it makes them worse off. I just don't get it myself. I think a People's Vote could very well be a disaster for those of us who would prefer Remain. This is not about the 'Leave' voters being misinformed last time. It's about a new kind of populism. We need Parliament to get a grip on this, possibly cross party, in the national interest. Not a new referendum." Unfortunately Syd is too vague with his solution, so second referendum it is, then.

Or..... take advantage of the EU court ruling and just say "Sorry, pretend none of this ever happened. Blame Steve Bannon, Tommy Robinson, and their UKipper buddies", even though it was the Tory party putting themselves above the country, as usual. Tell the EU: "We won't ever kid you about leaving again, nor will we seriously consider leaving unless we ever get our act together. Since that will never happen, we're in for the long haul mes amies."

Nick Ayers telling Trump to take a running jump with his offer of Chief of staff also looks like the Republirats are starting to abandon the sinking SS Trump ship and doggie paddling to the shore while they still can. Not, however, really unmitigated good news because the caliber of people who may ultimatelty fill those empty positions [if any do] will just get lower and lower than they already are, filled with even worse criminals, spies, swamp dogs, anti-democracy vote stuffers etc.

Finally, quick hey to the visionaries at the Phoenix police dept, they charged a blind man with assaulting one of them. It's a weird story, and apologies, this happened in June, not sure why it's being fed as a current story. Charges dismissed. Blinding result.

"America has to prove that it can indeed survive a criminal presidency"

Groovin' with Mr. Blow, New York Times article: "It is very possible that the president of the United States is a criminal. And it is very possible that his criminality aided and abetted his assumption of the position. Let that sink in. It is a profound revelation."

The death throes of Trump's totalitarian tempest

What's just gone down is a very big deal as Frank Dale of Think Progress touches upon in the linked article. He writes that "these latest developments in the Russia probe - which are believed to be the first time in our lives that a President's own DOJ' is saying the commander-in-chief has 'directed a felony' - come a week after Cohen revealed Trump and his family apparently pursued a huge real estate deal in Moscow through the summer of the 2016 campaign.

"Amid the many details in Cohen's latest plea deal with Mueller was the disclosure that Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, likely lied to Congress about his family's business in Russia."

None of Trump's usual defence mechanisms can save him from the gathering storm, or from Stormy and Karen for that matter.

"Republicans in Congress can't save Trump, his attorney general can't save him, and no amount of desperate tweets can save him. Accountability is on its way, and it's arriving very soon," opines Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.

Despite what one of Trump's lawyers famously said, Dana Millbank pointed out back in November that, sadly for the lying fake occupationist president: "the truth still is the truth". And, in a rare political story that should have a happy ending and restore faith that the American system of governance can withstand an oligarchic onslaught as damaging as Trumpism, the truth is finally catching up with [as yet] unindicted co-conspirator Donald Trump.

The Trump Organization and the Trump family empire are being legally battered as we speak.

All hail President Pelosi..... there is such a world [at least, until Bernie takes over]. "The United States presidential line of succession dictates that if the President and Vice President are found unfit for office, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives becomes President." [Sourcepolitics]. Mehdi Hasan of The Intercept asks if this is the Democrat who can beat Trump in the rust belt in 2020?

When it comes to helping residents reach their full potential, a recent report discussed in the Washington Post's Wonkblog ranks the USA as 25th for men and 32nd for women, as measured by World Bank's Human Capital Index. Even Slovenia and Italy rate above the US, as do many others.

Oregon's a total trip

(CNN via KION-TV) - Oregon's Secretary of State has just approved language for a potential ballot initiative that would legalize psychedelic mushrooms.

Now organizers need to get 117,578 signatures to actually put their initiative on the ballot. If they get the requisite number of signatures, Oregonians could vote on the decriminalization of psilocybins, or magic mushrooms, in the 2020 general election.

If Oregonians were to approve the initiative, it would decriminalize psilocybins and allow for the licensed manufacturing and administration of the substances. In recent years, some studies have shown that "magic mushrooms" can have positive effects, especially those undergoing cancer treatments and chemical depression.

Trump now firmly in Mueller's sites

"Trump should be freaked out right about now," says the Washington Post as Michael Cohen strikes a plea deal regarding his lying about the Trump election campaign's Russia project.

Says the TPM website: "It puts Cohen in touch with Trump, Trump's family and high-level Russian government officials about efforts to develop a new project in Moscow just months before Election Day."

"We can expect even bigger bombshells - and White House threats against Mueller - in the coming weeks," says the New York Times: it "ratchets up the pressure on Congress to protect Mr. Mueller."

It is indeed..... Mueller time, as President Trump emerges as "individual 1" a person of interest in the Mueller probe.

Young whites are leaning more & more Democratic

The New York Times cited a study by Catalist that found that between 2014 and 2018 white voters aged 18 to 44 shifted sharply in favor of the Democrats. In 2014, whites 18-29 supported Dems by 1 percentage point; in 2018, these young white voters backed Dems by 26 points, a 25 pt swing.

Whites 30-44 went from voting Rep by 21 points in 2014 to backing Dems by 9 pts in 2018, an even larger 30 pt shift.

The Republican party depends on overwhelming white support to remain competitive.

Batshit Bannonites brokered "Britain breaking" Brexit balls-up

Smug 2016
Brexiteer voter
now in
minority opinion
Rule Britannia, stiff upper lip as the UK goes under. Sterling getting battered, a land in chaos, predictions that Brexit will hurt what's left of the UK economy even more than thought, turning a second world nation into a third [that's the bottom rung by the way, chaps], the news gets more dismal by the hour.

For those of us who long ago left for brighter shores, we wagged our fingers and exhorted: "Don't **** things up more than they already are." Guess what happened? They ****** things up more than they already were. Bloody marvelous.

But of course the right-wing leaders who "masterminded" it in cahoots with American far-right zealots, alleged including cultist followers of former White House svengali Steve Bannon, duped the people, gots scads of $$$ from dodgy American right-wing sources [several hell-bent Brexiteer politicians including at least one UKipper already under scrutiny, probably more to come], made out like bandits, laughing all the way to the very banks whom, we are now assured, won't actually collapse with all their ill-gotten gains stashed inside.

Bannonites have no particular interest in the United Kingdom's wellbeing. Rather, Bannon's avowed goal is "to drive a stake through the heart of the EU." The American alt-righter is having a much tougher time of that elsewhere in Europe where mechanisms to thwart outside foreign influence are sturdier, but Britain was a pushover [apologies to Scotland, they're collectively as aghast at the suicidal death-wish of Englanders as most everyone else].

That said, the majority of Englanders now say, after the bus ad slogans were proven to be lies, they'd vote to remain in the EU, and not long ago almost half a million people marched on the streets in a massive show of pro-EU solidarity.

In Cali, your
vote counted!
November 2018

The Blue Wave happened after all

For the first time ever, over 100 million voters turned out to vote in the mid-term elections. And the message was clear. Other than the 35% hardcore Republiscum Trumpanzee voters, who actually believed the scum's lies that they were going to protect preexisting conditions when they had actually voted in congress to get rid of it, the great majority of Americans are sick and tired of the Trumpist/1% owned GOP's wholesale self-benefiting rape of our nation.

The biggest story of the mid-terms surely has to be that, with the House results completely in, it was indeed a Blue Wave, with the Democrats [including a pro-Dem Independent] boasting a total of 235* [*corrected to include the Independent] of the 435 total seats, including a whopping 40* [updated] flipped seats, as indicated by Politico election results.

Blue is the new Orange

The new Orange is Blue is perhaps the second biggest story of the post-election results. California's Orange County, long regarded as a GOP bastion, went completely Democratic.

Two new Dem winners: Golden, and Porter
by Rob Francis

Yet more wins for the Dems, many of whom were trailing, including Maine Democrat Jared Golden beating Bruce Poliquin, with Katie Porter [D] over Mimi Walters [R] in previously hardcore Republican Orange county, Calif. Also, a fraction ahead in Orange County Calif is Gil Cisneros [D] leading Young Kim [R] by a whisker, Gilly having trailed and been almost written off a day or two ago. Now even disappointed me [about the Senate] is going "just wowza!" over the house.

Mail-ins and absentees often help the Dems, but in Maine the "ranked choice" state system [considered the most valuable for voters] swung the result in Golden's favor.

So, in the house, at the time of writing, Dems are up to 232, a significant jump from last time I looked [225], so now a big 33 seat advantage over the Repugs. That, and some more likely [D]'s predicted, moves the house into a true Blue Wave, with So Cal's Orange County's Repug house candidates completely wiped out, just as in New England. Both all blue and true.

Not so in the Senate, where the odds were stacked heavily against the Dems, where it's Dems [including 2 independents -- hello Bernie] totalling 47, four seats shy of the 'Pugs who, as expected, already clinched the Senate.
Golden leapfrogs Poliquin in Maine to win for [D]. Sinema [D] defeats McSally [R] for Senate in formerly red Arizona.  
The Quake

Also, a note to Florida's anti-democracy Repugs: unlike the bent red states, in California every vote counts, including mail-ins.

A classic case in point is the stunning comeback of super Tony Thurmond, the Dem supported candidate for schools chief, who until recently trailed rightwing financed Republican lackey Marshall Tuck by a whopping 86,000 votes. As the mail-ins and provisionals continue to be aggregated, Super Tone has edged ahead by a few thousand. I was proud to have been a mail-in and this gives me reassurance that, yes, California counts every vote and is a beacon for true democracy in contrast to the rightwing fascistic outrages of the Rick Scotts of this world. We got sunshine AND democracy!

Also fantasmagorical is that Costa Mesa welcomes enthusiastically their new democratic congressman.... Harley Rouda [pictured]. As mentioned below, the Dem House win keeps growing.

It was a heck of battle to weed out the loathsome and smug Republican specimen, Dana Rohrabacher, but it happened. Seriously awesome.Yes, after 17 years, the deeply disliked old boy Dana Rohrabacher was tossed out by the formerly ultra-red Costa Mesa district of California. Known for his yelled racist on-film comments, being proudly pro-Putin and pro-Russian oligarchy, along with a shopping list of other dislikable attributes, he just became the latest casualty of the Blue Wave, another of the despicable hard-right rotters whom Democrats ensured the doors firmly hit their asses on their way out.

Dem House win keeps growing by Big Farmer

Got busy and was out of town for a while, so naturally delighted to see that the Dems victory count in the House grew by three more since I last checked in, up to 225 at the time of writing. Niiiice!

So, like everyone, mixed feelings about the results but the most basic goal was achieved: taking the House. The endangered fabric of American democracy is saved - for now.

In his meltdown after reality set in, Trump glimpsed the delusion of his immortality and impermeability, but like Adolf Hitler, who never surrendered even when the avenging wolves were right on his doorstep, he quickly resumed building back up the walls of his ego. Runaway greed and and self-fabricated delusion, especially in psychopaths or people with psychotic tendencies, are supremely difficult to overcome, even if he wanted to do so based on expediency and the promise of better outcomes.

So the battle rages on and the question of American democracy's ability to survive and recover from the Trumpist onslaught will remain an unanswered one for at least another two years. And then, perhaps something more ominous still - the real danger of a right-wing totalitarian onslaught led by someone who actually knows how to avoid being ultimately sunk by their own psychological flaws, as was the case with Adolf, and probably will be with Herr Trump.

Also: The Guardian's Today in focus looks at what it takes to take on the EU and win or lose, as the case may be, plus a look at US women in the mid-terms.

Will Dems get a bone: the House?

Will this election push back on the collective American psychosis? Even if the Democrats do take back the House, it's just a bone unfortunately [but vote anyway, of course!], and still leaves the nation in a long-term vice grip in which the right-wing is well on the way to permanent rule of the majority by the minority. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, the supreme court, "citizens united", absence of genuinely left major media to challenge the consumerist escapist illusion that keeps America in denial of its civilizational crisis born of its unbridled ultra pro-corporate capitalist consumerism. The right wing show goes on with or without Donald Trump. Like everything else in the utilitarian world of the right, he's expendable when he's no longer useful. Dem bones!

Alcohol's toll on a drunk driving cop

Flashing back to 2016 and a gripping arrest of a drunk driving sheriff's department lieutenant who doesn't get off the hook just because he's a ranking law enforcement officer. Compelling footage for so many reasons at so many levels. This multi-time drunk driving cop is still on the department payroll albeit pushing papers.

Peculiar fusion

Greg Sargent wrote in the Washington Post: "The public has seen Trump's fusion of ethno-nationalism and orthodox GOP plutocracy put into governing practice, and is rejecting it," citing studies by the Economic Innovation Group and CNN.

The GOP efforts to put, at vast advertising expense, the most palatable misrepresentation of this "peculiar fusion" as a last ditch effort to keep the entire Congress "probably won't be enough for Republicans to keep the House. But whatever is to be.... the need to lie so relentlessly about all these matters itself constitutes an admission of failure. The public has seen Trump's fusion of xenophobic ethno-nationalism and orthodox GOP regressive and plutocratic economic priorities, and is rejecting it."

October 2018

So much right wing terrorism, people forgot the Kroger shooting

With so much mayhem, horror, and death being perpetrated by proponents of the divisive Trumpist Republican right, much of the media forgot to mention, or gave only short shrift to, the shooting at the Kentucky Kroger grocery store. It couldn't possibly be that black Americans are less important, could it?

BBC News: "A 51-year-old white man tries to enter a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. But when he can't get in, he goes to a nearby supermarket and shoots dead two elderly black people."

When confronted by another shopper, who was believed to have drawn a gun, the racist murderer chided him to hold his fire because "whites don't kill whites."

Gun slaughter continues as alt-right POS shoots 11 innocent people

"Trump sympathizers have beaten, shot, stabbed, run over, or bombed innocent people. The president is radicalizing a generation of angry men." -- The Intercept.

Words have long since failed to do justice to adequately describe the grief, despair and utter outrage that the United States powers-that-be will not protect their own citizens against the filthy rich lobbyists, gun nuts, and alt-righters who have free reign to shoot up anyone they don't like without even a whimper of response. Tragically, it'll be the same again even after another horrific tragedy this time at a synagogue in Pennsylvania.

This time "the crime" of those slaughtered in the eyes of the Republican loonie murderer, drunk on alt-right and indeed White House manufactured fascist hate propaganda, was to try to help downtrodden people no matter their ethnicity or religion. For the selflessness of this genuinely spiritual and loving community, they paid with mass death.

Utterly disgusting, and every American, myself included, should hang our heads in shame for not doing what even Australia finally could do -- stop the insane gun violence, the mayhem of slaughter and rivers of blood, and make our country a safe place free from right-wing terrorism. How is this a civilized society if the general public is imprisoned by marauding armed hate-fuelled bullies?

POS Republiscum male in 50's hauled in for domestic terrorism
Cesar Sayoc [left],
crazed by Trump
stoked hatred

Middle aged racist male stripper and Florida pizza delivery man Cesar Sayoc, who slept either at his mother's house or in his "hate van", the archetypal Trump loser, hauled in for questioning along with his vehicle covered in pro-Trump and anti-left death-threat stickers. Top job by the security forces who showed they're still on the side of safety for the American people. This is the best thing to know right now.

The sick American right-wing, amid the stock market's drunken fluctuations, economic bubble warning signs flashing, their pet allies murdering journalists without strong response from the White House, Putin boasting he manipulated Trump to herald the end of America as a world power [and being invited by Trump to celebrate with him], GOP rigging the election, clearly the Republicans will stop at nothing to bring to an end America as we know it, and an end to American democracy, now with their latest weapon - out and out domestic terrorism stoked by a deeply dysfunctional "president" who has consistently urged violence against fellow Americans and cannot bring himself to confront "this bomb business" and accept his responsibility. We need a real leader. Desperately.

Most important mid-term election in recent history

For many it will be a referendum about the most petty, venal, misogynistic, wannabe dictatorial "president" ever. For others, it was the spineless manner in which the Republican Congress, supposedly representatives of the people, allowed [and indeed indulged themselves in] a wholsale looting of America for the benefit of themselves and the 1%.

Whatever happens, check back as The Quake builds up to the "Super Bowl of Politics: Fight to save America from Amerikkka". The enemy of democracy, the "new" soft fascist Trumpist version of the GOP [Geriatric Oligarchic Pedos], must be utterly destroyed. Let's put an end to the celebration of rank corruption that right-wing ruled Amerikkka has become.

The shite right are rushing to kill the left/liberal vote. US elections are run by partisan actors, some of those bent actors are themselves on the ballot, Florida, Georgia, and Kansas are just three examples [there are several others] where this is occurring. That shouldn't stop us from giving 100% to the cause. Voting is the most basic and important step we can take. Some our votes will be suppressed by the right. But vote anyway.

Unmasking bad guys

The internet researchers unmasking Russian assassins. NPR radio link to audio file.

Donald Trump is, and always has been, a bad businessman, but luckily for him, daddy's unbelievable success and wealth has allowed the orange menace, to this day, to be a massive and destructive pest, ultimately infesting the entire global population's quality of life. Trump University and Trump Vodka are well known disasters of his, but here are many more of his biggest flops, including an airline.

Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington [CREW] are among the heroes who brought attention to former ambassador Haley's "personal relationship gifts" received while trogging around and annoying people abroad. Is there anyone on the Trump team that isn't bent? The hollowed out State Dept is spineless to act unless the Dems win Congress and have some clout to get justice for the taxpayers and a non-beholden political leadership.

"The man [Trump] is the arsonist and the fireman. When he's the fireman, he claims he's achieved something. He's put out the fire." -- Sidney Blumenthal.
Self-pitying, hysterical,
conjuring up conspiracies,
vindictive.

Fight back!

Former Bush official Eliot Cohen wrote recently in the Washington Post that "perhaps the collapse of modern conservatism came out most clearly in Kavanaugh's own testimony - its self-pity, its hysteria, its conjuring up conspiracies, its vindictiveness. No one watching those proceedings could imagine that a Democrat standing before this judge's bench in the future would get a fair hearing. It was, rather, personalized grievance politics."

Tom Nichols: "To those conservatives who are willing to look away from Kavanaugh's bizarre, evasive, immature, intemperate, weaselly, disrespectful answers to the Senate, that's not conservative, that's just tribal loyalty over prudence and principal."

"Instead of acting like the minority and like victims, Dems need to go on the offensive and act like a majority. Investigate, interview, and use the power of the media loudly, with courage and fervor!" -- Allie Katz, as reported by Jon Queally, Common Dreams

Angela Calvillo, contributor to Crowdpac: "The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote, now let's amend it to secure a woman's right to her reproductive health."

Let's reward Dems who are progressive, and punish Republicans wherever and whenever possible. Senator Collins voted "yes" on Trump's Supreme Court nominee, the unhinged and blatantly agenda-drunk, booze crazed Brett Kavanaugh.

Support Collins' future challenger in Maine on Crowdpac. The enemy may have most of the billionaire's on their side and unlimited dark money from corporate donors, but ordinary American citizens can fight, and do whatever we can, to take back our nation from the right-wing greedsters and con[servative] artists who have rigged the US political system. Be a hero today.

Jennifer Rubin on Susan Collins: "It's one thing to cast a safe vote; it's another to embarrass oneself and sound gullible about a nominee who revealed his partisan stripes."

The KavanNO Debacle: The sham investigation.
The odds are that the disastrous Kavanaugh nomination will be pushed through but it's unlikely boozy Brett will have a smooth ride even after he achieves his self-interested ultimate career goal. The latest sham investigation's only use is to allow key Senators on both sides to throw an excuse at their electorate for voting whichever way they do. Even after his election to the Supreme court this controversy is likely far from done and dusted, especially if the Dems do well enough in the mid-terms to put some feet to the fire.

Matthew Miller of Politico Magazine asks us to "consider who [was] in charge of the FBI's invesrtigation: Director Chris Wray, who attended Yale Law School with Kavanaugh...and, like Kavanaugh, joined the Federalist Society...Rosenstein's ties to Kavanaugh run even deeper -- they worked together on Ken Starr's investigation of Bill Clinton in the 1990s."
New York Times

Brett Kavanaugh is a willing pawn in the radical right's "stealth bid to reverse-engineer all of America, at both the state and national levels, back to the political economy and oligarchic governance of midcentury Virginia, minus the segregation" as historian Nancy MacLean puts it. The billionaire backed originalist libertarian cult's historical inspiration -- James Buchanan -- represents "the true origin story of today's well-heeled radical right."

Dumb gibberish from Dumbald Trump: "Hurricane Florence. One of the wettest we've ever seen, from the standpoint of water."

Trump firing up GOP misogynists

"By mocking Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally, Trump is simply following his calculations for his 2020 campaign. He either knows or doesn't care how the Kavanaugh appointment will turn out. Instead, he is simply firing up his misogynistic followers and those who enable them. He doesn't care, really.

Nothing matters to Trump. Not common decency. Not the fears women have of being targeted and assaulted by men like Trump. Nothing. He doesn't care. He knows that speech like what he said at the rally yesterday will get cheers from the people who are like Trump, want to be like him or, in some cases, are afraid of people like him but have to live with them.

Will his calculations work? Possibly. Things have changed. No longer is being a boor and a braggart a cause of failure. If you can reach enough people who are just like yourself, you can win in today's climate. So, Trump plays to his peers and ignores others' fears." -- Mineral Man, Dem Underground

September 2018

Privileged Rage & Lies of the "Right"
Europe 17.5 USA 10.5 in
Ryder Cup 2018, HILITES

Saturday night live hearing rendition.

Kavanaugh is lying. His upbringing explains why. [Washington Post article].

"A witness who is not credible lashes out at his accusers and assumes a more reasonable demeanor under neutral questioning. That is exactly what we saw with Kavanaugh. While a falsely accused man has every right to be angry, Kavanaugh's rage - whether he is innocent or not - played poorly in large part because it was infected with self-pity and devoid of insight." [Politico article].

Freak-out Friday

The nomination moved forward but with the bar association, Yale, and the general public calling for an FBI inquiry which we now are getting [one week, though? Surely this will take longer?]. It's hard to believe this completely inappropriate candidate can really get away with hanging in this long. Go. Step down. Never come back.

Cancel Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh showed himself to be irrationally angry, immature, politically motivated, and blinded by self-interest and greed. He places his own self-aggrandizement and selfish agenda-laden career before the good of the country. Horrible, diabolical choice for Supreme Court. Shame on all Republicans.

Thursday or Friday, or one day next week, will likely live in infamy as a battered America looks at how the breakdown of its political mechanisms now leaves us with a nation "led" by people whose goals are the polar opposite of the wishes of the people. At the time of writing, loathsome Brett Kavanaugh is -10pts with registered voters [this from a highly right biased pollster: Fox], and the great majority of Americans want Rod Rosenstein to stay and for the Mueller investigation to keep going to its conclusion. But in the current US, the people's will counts for little and has almost no proper representation.

Vlad Putin will be watching, popcorn and vodka in hand, as the rest of the globe wonders, yet again, "what the **** just happened over there?". There is an explanation, but it won't fit into a sound byte, and there are also solutions, but they have no sufficient avenue of expression or actuation of executive and judicial remedies that could rectify the situation.

In November we have a chance to maybe save the legislative branch from complete capture, but even that's not guaranteed, with voter de-registration, fraud, and suppression being aggressively perpetrated by the corporate and 1% backed right-wing.

Even if the legislative third of the pie is rescued, it may not be enough. But it's crucial for any hope of saving the US from this tailspin into disaster.

US BIG BIZ still dictating the fate of Brexit: Their massive infusion of propaganda money duped sufficient numbers of gullible UK voters into leaving the EU, now they want to make sure it's a hard Brexit, and the greedy and grateful right-wing British politicians are compliantly taking their big bucks. UK = bought and paid for, a long time ago.

Swampiest Swampman starts singing

"New details revealed Friday show how far beyond the law Manafort went in pursuit of his goals" wrote the Washington Post, and those goals involved dastardly deeds by the truckload, and the Trump swamp is squirming: now that the world's currently most famous criminal is ready to spill all the beans. The serious swamp stuff that is emerging could, as a by-product, sink tawdry Trump's occupation of the presidency of the most globally important nation on Earth [still].

The roller coaster ride may be far from over but it's time to be proud of being American again as, so far, the national mechanisms to thwart rampant foul play and corruption seem still up to the task. Without them, corruption eventually brings down functioning democracy to leave a nation to drown in the cesspool of a mafia run totalitarianism propped up by "the 1%" who alone benefit.

The man who's always correct [part two]

Our first rolling entry of the year began with: "The man who's always correct -- Professor Allan Lichtman, and the case for impeachment."

At that time it was hard not to think, "yeah but the Republiscum ain't gonna impeach the crook, maybe the good professor has gotten too cocky by half. Well, OMG, he's on track to be right again. Too much being right. Actually, he talked about probabilities and did mention that the Republicans were wimping out at the time, and he did say it was a "case" for impeachment, not a guarantee, but, with mid-terms 'n all, he's uncannily on the ball with his always thorough predictability models. A beacon in a political world of chaos and confusion. Here's a more recent appearance of his, this time on the MSNBC morning show.

Russian trolls spent years tweeting about Obamacare.

Any good news? Any? Well, maybe, kinda...

In the face of all the disgusting actions of the Republiscum and the fake president Trump's Blight House, whether it be diverting money for cancer research to expanding concentration camps for asylum seekers, subverting the nation's health care options, rampant and unashamed corruption, and any number of outrages perpetrated on the American people, is there any actual good news? Occasionally, a positive story does sneak through. "We are about to drive a lot of dark money donors into the light - it's gonna look like the climax of a Harry Potter movie where the creatures shrivel in the sun," writes Jon Queally of Common Dreams in an article about more potential transparency regarding dark money and who's providing it.

Oh but wait there's a catch. As one poster responds: "People - rich or poor have the opportunity to support their political cause - mine or theirs, but when the dollars are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars - either through personal or corporate accounts, this should be revealed. Doesn't appear that this decision moves us much further in that direction." And there was us thinking the Supreme court had actually tried to do something to thwart the complete monetization of political power. Dream on.

The Kavanaugh Nomination: The Hard Right's push to rewrite the Constitution

Adherents of the "originalist" hard-right movement appear to share a quest to, among other things, permanently quash progressivism and actually change the constitution to reflect a Messianic vision and execution of iron rightwing authoritarianism over the US. The Federalist Society, who pick the judicial nominations for the new era Trumpist Republicans, have focused on capturing the supreme court as soon as possible and for ever.

Their planned election of Brett Kavanaugh plays a crucial role in their master gameplan which right now includes garnering a majority of supreme court judges and make possible such drastic changes which will effectively impose an ultra right westernized version of Sharia law onto the US.

The weirdness and outrages perpterated recently by the right-wing and Federalist Society [like many hard right organizations the name is deceptive] is not haphazard madness, other than perhaps aspects of Trump's own declining faculties and mental illness. It's a concerted long term plan and it's coming towards fruition. The organized far right feel they must get control of the supreme court this time around before the post-election "real" [progressive and "non-bought"] Dems can do anything to stop this multi-pronged assault. For progressive and mainstream secular America this will mean giving ground that may not ever be recovered.

That's why defending what's left of our democracy, already unacceptably gerrymandered, is something every American of every generation must struggle to protect and restore on an ongoing basis. It never stops. An extremely organized and financially overwhelming multi-billionaires backed Federalist Society [like many hard right organizations the name is deceptive] onslaught will not voluntarily cease their goal to permanently impose their distorted and misguided vision onto the rest of us.

Fascism doesn't happen overnight in a sudden secretly concocted coup, though violent repression will be an ingredient at, and beyond, the endgame. It happens incrementally and then speeds up just as the majority are realizing something is very wrong. By then, it's often too late, as a previous generation of Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and Japanese, to name just four, discovered. The price, for them, was catastrophic.

On the bright side, millions of lost lives later, the darkside didn't hold sway forever. But the price to a nation that's been "fashed" will be colossal and it could include not just brutal repression of individual liberty but also your very life, and those of your kids and grandkids. Welcome to the battle.

Utterly lacking in compassion or empathy, Kavanaugh refuses to shake hand of father of slain daughter shot at Parkland.


Goons manhandle woman protesting rape by Mormon priest

Mormonism is in crisis with plummeting attendance, as reported by one its journalistic members, who especially mentioned young males with their pesky propensity to look stuff up on the internet, yet this controversial fringe Xtian spin-off group appears to be repressing revelations by members outraged at sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by Mormon authority figures, as disturbing reportage and footage publicized by Raw Story spread to the Washington Post and beyond, reinforcing the horrific dangers of rampant abuse perpetrated by American pseudo and mainstream "Christianity" in all its various and usually bizarre guises. Aforementioned journalist Jana Riess also recently linked a 2012 document via Mormonleaks on the same general topic as this post. Jana writes: "This two-page document seems to chronicle only about two months in 2012, which of course begs the question: how many more such memos are out there, detailing the Church's attempts to hide, obfuscate, delay or otherwise deny justice to victims? So filing reports like this is a kind of quarterly thing, just business as usual?" Scary bunch. Keep your kids safe.

August 2018

Trump & Republicans eating it

Another wacky week ends with an ABC/WaPo poll that says just 36% approving of tosspot Trump's job performance. Even Fox were in damage control as the poll they commissioned did not give them the fake pro-Tramp numbers they wanted and showed even rightwing nutcases are starting to smell a presidential rat.

Meanwhile, in fake news land: "There's two types of people. Those who watch porn and those who lie about watching porn," babbled pro-Trump Republican conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, inadvertently admitting to falling into both categories after his cell phone screen got caught showing trans porn by his "doc cam" peering down onto his desk from behind. This time he didn't have to fake being entertaining. I guess there's now a third group of which he is the leader: those that watch trans porn and don't manage to keep it a secret.

Republican candidate for Florida governor, Ron DeSanitise's first address following Andrew Gillum's Democratic primary victory to be Ron D's rival for the same job included a racial slur. A look at the 'Scummer's recent past catches him hanging out on a white nationalist group's Facebook site, suggesting his verbal monkey business was not accidentally uttered or just an unfortunate turn of phrase.

Going back a bit, Noam Chomsky on the amazing primary upset of recent times as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the Democratic establishment.

Noose tightens as Pecker & Weisserberg roped in by R. Francis

Donald may be having a hard time keeping his pecker up these days. Publisher David Pecker has agreed to tell investigators how he turned his checkout-stand rag mag into a clearinghouse for payments for dodgy dealings. He joins Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Org finance boss, in an ever growing list of co-operators ready to expose the Commander in Thief, I mean, Chief. The list grows so fast that as soon as you upload one, it's out of date.

"The rats are leaving the ship. He [Trump] has lost Richard Gates, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, and now David Pecker," said a guest on the MSNBC morning show near the end of the week from hell for the Orange One [Aug 19-25], presciently adding: "He'll probably lose others from the Trump Organization." Badda boom: as if on song, money man Weissy said he's ready to chirpy chirpy cheep cheep!

By the way, I've always been suspicious of the National Enquirer, not just for its notoriously unbelievable tales [so I'm told], but because I've yet to witness, after decades of shopping, anyone actually buy it, not even before the internet destroyed such tabloids' supposed, ahem, "business models".

It's like the endlessly repeating mattress outlets at strip malls covering America, always deserted. One isn't necessarily suggesting they're mostly money laundering fronts, but how many mattresses do Americans really, allegedly, need? And where have all the people gone?

New subpoena for Cohen spells big trouble for Trump family

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow did a great job explaining the low-down on how this story emerged, but props that she credits the gum shoe reporters at the New York Times who, back in May, were at Albany state courthouse and realized something potentially explosive was about to ignite, which now looks set to inflame the tawdry Trumps' weaselly world.

Dozy Donald can't pardon his way out of this potential Excedrin sized headache which makes it the biggest threat that he and his family may have to face so far. It's being worked by the legal beagles of the New York state tax department, and so the bent fake president can't use his super power of the pardon to get himself or his family off the hook.

It involves the Trump's so-called, ahem, "charity" foundation. Nothing to do with money laundering or tax evasion, then.

"This week, it seems more likely that America is heading toward a gradual recovery from the trauma of the Trump presidency. For Republicans, there is a last chance over these next two months to finally show some guts and principle by separating themselves from Trump." -- David Ignatius, Aug 23, Washington Post

Weasel Wednesday: Wittes warning for Trump

Trump can't fire his way out of this one, writes Benjamin Wittes of The Atlantic. Cohen's Tuesday bombshell of fingering the deranged Orange orifice has the weaselly POTUS in a very serious pickle.

If Trump still thinks his ticket to ride is still to spout "no collusion" he's gonna soon wish it really still was only about collusion [if he has the mental capacity to take in what just happened on Tues Aug 22]. The pressure just got way more intense than that.

Gotta love Wittes' response to Trump's tweet. DJT: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer. I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!" BW: "This is the first presidential tweet I can remember with which I wholeheartedly and unreservedly agree."

"Treasonous" tawdry Trump's terrible Tuesday

August 21, 2018 is another milestone date in the tawdry, destructive, poisonous reign of a fake president beholden to foreign influence and deeply committed to the dismantling of the democracy and integrity of the United States.

Another two members of Team Trump's inner circle, deeply involved in his bent campaign and the emerging felonious violations being exposed, are going down in flames, hereafter branded as convicted criminals.

The noose tightens another notch around the meaty, weirdly orange colored neck of the occupationist fake president.

At any moment the disgusting fake leader could engage in further obstruction of justice by firing Mueller or pardoning his criminal fake "friends" like Paul Manafort [pictured], guilty on 8 counts of financial crimes, all the while as cowardly Republicans refuse to act towards impeachment of the clownish, disgusting reality TV show huckster.

Trump now has in effect become Michael Cohen's as yet un-indicted co-conspirator [get ready for that to be the catch phrase of September] in campaign and election related criminality.

It was possible again, as Robert Khuzami [Deputy US attorney, SD of New York] revealed Cohen's guilty plea, to be an American and refilled with pride and a strengthened belief that our nation has the possibility of saving itself from the darkness of the current Trumpian Republican corruption, dishonesty, and probably much much worse.

What could go more wrong, all on this mind-bending day? As if all of this wasn't enough, Omarosa then went on to MSNBC's grating Chris Mathews program where she revealed a tape of Michael Cohen getting on a plane. Huh?

What if the Pope took a truth serum?

What if the Pope was given a truth serum for a day? Here's what the press might report under such a scenario: "The Roman Catholic Pontiff today announced the end of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide. Speaking from a balcony to a crowd of worshippers, he said: 'We have failed utterly to act as Jesus taught us. Our priests have committed sexual abuse crimes against children all over the world, and the Church itself has covered up those crimes for centuries. We cannot call ourselves Men of god, for we have long acted as representatives of Satan. The Roman Catholic Church is no more. It is hopelessly morally bankrupt and is now defunct. We encourage the faithful to abandon their faith, as I have done today." [Announcement inspired by Mineral Man].

That said, stories of non-Roman "Christian" child abuse and cruelty by pastors, officials, mega church hucksters, evangelical used-car salesmen, cult leaders, Witnesses, hit the global news in a constant stream, mostly [but not restricted to] often horrific accounts from the USA.

Why are Trump political hires so immoral?

As the Trump regime lurches from one scandal, dogfight, and lawsuit to another, the Washington Post asks why, oh why, oh why-oh? "We've certainly never had a president who was so eager to tell everyone that his administration is a wretched hive of scum and villainy." Indeed.

Sacha uses "pervert detector" on Roy Moore

Master of disguise Sacha Baron Cohen uses new techology, a "pervert detector", on unsuccessful Republican Congress candidate Roy Moore, who's bid was buffeted by sexual misconduct allegations, and who subsequently threatened fire and brimstone if the Sacha clip was ever aired. It ran on Showtime.

In "some more news": If you don't want to be called a fascist, stop supporting Donald Trump, a fascist.


July 2018

Trump's last few months before becoming a lame-duck?

Amazing how rapidly the November elections are approaching. Will the destructive Trump agenda effectively become history if the Democrats win the mid-terms, or will lame Donald "duck" his defeat by imminently declaring war on Iran and martial law as the final avenue to retain and cement his hold on power, something unpopular right-wing politicians globally do [that is, invade a neighbor or start a war when they see their power and/or popularity slipping away]? Either way, the repercussions are gonna be gargantuan.

Trumpism = Fascism....
Why Trumpism is just a synonym for fascism.

World Cup morphs into English football season

The World Cup 2018 is over, and among all the terrific stuff we also witnessed a clutch of world class goals. And now the English football season is already upon us, and the question everyone is asking is: will Spurs buy any star players? And should they? They've done amazingly well under Poch by gelling the existing talent. But that doesn't satiate the addiction to new shiny toys.

Truth hurts Trump

Ex-White House stenographer says truth bothers Trump.

Meanwhile the anticipated mega-fine by the EU on Google has come to pass. Too little too late say the experts but if it's put to good use then it's a still a nice addition into the piggy bank of the last remaining global bloc that actually fights for its citizens' freedom. In tangent, Japan cements a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU as Trump's pro-Russia but anti-allies version of Amerika gets further marginalized.

Trump collusionists But-hurt as Feds nab Maria
Maria Butina's arrest around the time that Trump was groveling to Putin in Helsinki is a decisive new step in the collusion noose that is tightening around the meaty but gurgling neck of the fake president and his Republiscum cultists. Whilst Trump's endless tweets and words continue to help build a case against him, this is the most significant step against the occupationist forces that has arisen this month so far, and ties in the NRA as a pipeline for Russian money laundering into support for the collusionist Trump regime.

"Treasonous" Trump sides with Russia against U.S. over meddling

The poodle has yapped his support for his master and handler Vladimir Putin, indicating he chooses to trust the Russian leader's lies over the findings of the US intelligence agencies. "Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly."

This is what happens when a president of the United States appears to actively support a foreign country to deliberately harm the nation's actual democratic system in order to further his own personal interests and boost his own ego.

This is not fiction. This just happened before our very eyes. We are approaching America's "D Day", do or die. Either we put an end to this occupationist fake presidency as soon as possible or this country will have to accept it just lost the war for control of its own democracy and freedom, and is now under the control of Russia. This is what it's come to. There may be a Russian invasion of eastern Europe before we sort it out. The Republicans care only about saving their hides in the mid-terms and care nothing for their country or the well-being of the world.

"Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of high crimes & misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin." -- John Brennan, former CIA director.

"I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful." Jeff Flake, July 16.


Day/DateSEMI-FINALScore
Tu July 10France vs Belgium1:0
Wd July 11England vs Croatia1:2

Croatia nicks it
Spurs star Trippier scores
Semifinal, July 11, 2018
England 1
Croatia 2
FINAL SCORE

FULL TIME: England, down to ten men with an injury and no subs left, bow out at the semifinal stage to a professional and talented Croatia, a small country who typically punch well above their weight, who go though to meet France in the final.

30min EXTRA TIME: OK into the final 15min segment of extra [tie-breaker] time, and, heartbreak, Croatia score [Mario Mandzukic with an assist from the ever threatening Perisic, surely man of the match].

Brilliant header from Stones cleared off the line. So close to England joy, denied. England have steadied the ship and all square by the time of the additional time break but not before another big save by Jordan Pickford, his 4th in the game.

Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose and Dier have come on as subs joining for most of the additional tie-breaking half hour to give Spurs almost half the total of all the England talent on display [Kane, Alli, Dier, Rose, Trippier], and if Walker hadn't left for Man City it would be pretty much "England Hotspurs". Will this extra 30 minutes develop into the edge of the seat stuff of the regulation second half or will it calm down a bit?

Well this is knife-edge stuff. Could go either way but England need to mentally and physically re-calibrate and regroup because they were overrun since conceding the equalizer. Not on ly that, Croatia looked like they're just getting warmed up, England look punch drunk and spent. But things could change. We 'ope.

2nd HALF OVER: England all over the shop, including moments of actual panic like a dangerous back pass intercepted. It's stressful stuff to watch for Englanders as it turns into Pickford vs Croatia. The England outfielders are are in shock. Seriously weird.

Since the equalizer this game has exploded. The tenseness of the crowd has turned into fever pitch. England need to find a way to stop the almost total Croatian dominance since the equalizer, including Perisic hitting the post.

England croaks, Croatia equalizes. The opponents have shown they know how to play, crisp passing, good vision, know how to create space, and it led to an impressive headed equalizer from Perisic. Walker having taken a bad knock may have contributed to his inability to foil the scoring header, but Croatia never looked worried about being a goal down, they seemed like they knew they had what it took to turn it around, and they did.

END OF 1st HALF. Talking of Kieran Trippier, he scores from a free-kick within five minutes! "Bending, dipping, over the wall..." "Such precision...." "Kieran Beckham!"

This Cup final has catapulted Harry Kane into global household fame even beyond his already massive status among football fans the world over. Tottenham's Kieran Trippier and Dele Alli also in the starting line-up.

Exciting times, let's hope it's a more stimulating match than the other semifinal.

It's kicked off. The biggest match England's played in a very long time and a chance to make the World Cup final, with France having made it already by beating Belgium yesterday.


UN Human Rights Council alarm over US Gov violating citizens' rights

Philip Alston [pictured lower left] of the UN Council on Human Rights highlighted the grave danger to democracy and the civil and political rights of United States citizens resulting from US government policies undermining human rights. Anticipating this warning, White House weasel Nikki Hailey has of course announced that the US is leaving the Council, defending the US government's present position that, among other things, there is no human right to food [it's just a nice thing if people do happen to have access to food].

"The president is a national security threat." -- Ed McMullin, former CIA operative.

How Buddhist meditation kept the Thai boys calm in the cave.

A Twitter hate storm goaded by right-wing media against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was met with a cool as you like response from what could be the future first woman president, presently still in her 20s: "Surprise! Thank you for this amazing educational opportunity. You can, in fact, pursue an agenda of healthcare, fair wages, and education while supporting small businesses. Having mega-corporations pay their fair share means you can give small mom & pops a break". Young socialist takes on the aging right-wing trolls and wins effortlessly, to the acclaim of twitter. Maybe there is a red wave coming, but not the one the fake occupationist president had in mind.

Trump voters are furious at the viciousness in the way people make fun of them.


EPA swamp-dog self-dealer Pruitt exits

Just one needed blow against GOP corruption: the most unpopular man since Donald Trump, the swamp-dog of self-dealing as head of the EPA Scott Pruitt exits. One more scum down, many more to go. "Scott Pruit is resigning in order to spend more money with his family," tweeted Alexandra Petri. Taxpayer money. Graft money. Environment busting money. Meanwhile the fake president lauds his work. I thought the orange blob was supposed to be fighting corruption? Instead, it's running rampant under the far-right Republican rip-off.

Now on to "stuff the Quake watches". Is Jordan Klepper far from finished? Or is it over. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the unforgettable utterance "you are killing my grandfather" can probably be tracked back to this BritCom from the mists of yesteryear. Although I haven't yet tracked that specific line being said on the show so far, it'll give me an excuse to watch more than two episodes.

Definitely ahead of its time in its own weird and wonderful way. What seemed like hastily assembled filler, to prop up commercials when it came out, seems to have become a left-field cult smash. Most ethnic viewers are surprisingly enthusiastic, often the biggest fans, since it became accessible worldwide by the likes of Youtube and overseas cable/sat channels looking to devour ever more "retro" content. Even big on Bollywood.


Oh wow. Did you see Japan vs Belgium?

Oh wow. Belgium and Japan in match of the tourney? Which, on the subject of Japan, makes me grateful I'm a dual American citizen by not being Japanese, because they won't allow it. There's a move, especially by younger Japanese or spouses thereof, to try to get their homeland to get with the program in this era of cosmopolitanism. Since the Japanese population is dwindling by not reproducing, sheer necessity may prod them into the brave new world, better sooner than later.

Meanwhile, the match is over. Japan, two goals up, lose 2:3. Despite a series of amazing quick reaction saves from the sometimes erratic Japanese goalkeeper, star studded Belgium powered back -- just in time -- with the winning goal from ex-Spur Nacer Chadli. So Tottenham Hotspur's Belgian defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen [who also scored] live to fight another day. The announcer/DJ seemed to like Gala's "Freed from desire" as the musical way to celebrate, but I thought she was Italian-NewYorker, if that matters. Oh wait, it went to #1 in Belgium.

With world class players including Manchester City's De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, Manchester United's Lukaku, and Chelsea's Eden Hazard, alongside THFC's contingent of Belgians [which also includes the hugely popular midfielder Mousa Dembele], I had them pegged as the dark horse winner of the World Cup. But perceived as a small and unglamorous country, with perhaps only techno and trance fans recognizing the amazingness of its citizens, this thrilling win is getting them the attention they deserved a lot earlier. Sorry to lose the last Asian nation Japan, though.

More reaction soon.

Was the goal that majorly helped France beat Argentina [to go thru to the quarter-finals] perhaps the best goal of the tournament? Well, of course there have been some absolute crackers and otherwise wondrous goals to behold, but this is gonna be a lot of people's pick so far. Benjamin Pavard unleashes a stunner and he's one of the new heroes of the French [although of course Kylian Mbappe's amazing game for Les Bleus garnered even more media hype]. France seems to have a pipeline of many up-'n-coming talents and that bodes very well for the nation's futbol future, even as so many of the other national giants of the game [Spain, Argentina, and Germany to name but three] have fallen by the wayside before even the quarter-finals, with Italy failing to even qualify.

Softening the blow

Softening the blow of another Trumpian Supreme Court judge being the outcome of justice Anthony Kennedy's resignation, there was some excellent news that could herald a true blue turning of the tide.

One was the primary election of the anti-establishment Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in the Bronx. The other, less heralded but potentially a game-changing result that could tip Florida blue, was the election of an Anglo Democrat, Eileen Higgins, in Miami's Little Havana in what has been, since the 80's, a massively pro-Republican Cuban-American neighborhood that could be entering a political sea change. Now, we see that the Democratic party, even fielding a non-Cuban candidate, won the support of the rapidly diversifying district. This trend should accelerate even more as older ultra-right anti-Castro ex-pats die out, replaced by heavily pro-blue central American immigrants.

June 2018

Republinazis called out at Mexican restuarants

The evil architect of the Republican's policy of child snatching and concentration camps for minors, Trump's alt-right handyman Stephen Miller is so cowardly that he hides behind Homeland Security spokeswoman Kirstjen Nielsen. Now both share the same distiction of being named and shamed as they smugly dined at..... Mexican restaurants. This, along with the national outcry against the loathsome White House occupationist government's internment "policy", precipitated a backdown by the dishonest fake president, who previously lied about not being able to act without Democrats.

This, along with all the other grotesqueness of the current Republican regime, is changing the political landscape of upcoming generations. The Democratic Socialists, who shamed fascist Nielsen, is currently the fastest growing American political group.

The mysogynistic Christian right "remained silent and let the babies suffer. We won't ever forget," writes SemDem at Daily Kos.

Trump's new concentration camps, apart from exposing the ethical and moral bankruptcy of the American right, is costing the US taxpayer more than half a million dollars per day, not including all the expenses that graft and corruption adds to the bill.

Meanwhile, lost in the shuffle and chaos [amazingly], is a failed effort by the Repugs, this time anyway, to slash Medicare and social security to pay for the tax cut for the extremely wealthy. Any wonder people are not happy with the occupationists led by "six lies a day" Trump.

Outcry as Trump rips families apart

What are the American people saying against Trump regarding separating families and placing children in roach and rat infested concentration camps with entire walls covered by Hitlerian blow-up photos of Fuehrer Trump?

The resistance and strength of disagreement, along with compassion for those being so cruelly treated, was palpable from the vast majority of respondents on public radio street interviews conducted by member stations, this from a network usually muzzled and neutered since the infusion of blood money from the extreme right-wing Koch brothers.

"My Dad, who was a veteran, would tell him, 'This is not what we fought for in WWII, so that Americans could go down the same path as Nazi Germany,'" says poster Clio2 at the Daily Kos.

Meanwhile the demented right-wing apologists, unable to mount any kind of moral or ethical argument for Trump's crazed insanity, claim, as does Ann Coulter, that the children separated from their families at the border are "child actors". Beyond words.

Lock 'em up!

Faith in the survival of beleagured American democracy and justice is dramatically boosted, sending the pro-Trump Republimafia into denial and panic at the jailing of the fake President's campaign manager, whose grotesque mafia-style acts of tampering with the course of justice left a judge no alternative but to put this grinning goon behind bars. The tentacles of justice are squeezing ever more tightly around the necks of the traitorous Republimafia top brass, with Trump himself audibly tight throated and desperate sounding.

In other heart warming news, Politico reports how the Feds reassemble shredded docs and access encrypted messages from Michael Cohen's electronic devices.

World Cup kicks off

The 2018 World Cup kicked-off with a landslide 5:0 win for Russia over Saudi Arabia, hours after the 2026 hosting award was announced and the "USA Mexico Canada" bid was the winner. Luckily, Trump won't be around any more and our neighbors will have forgiven us, and it's all a sizzling success. In a related podcast American fiasco Roger Bennett discusses the World Cup and America's relationship with the biggest sport in the world.

Isolated Trump's isolationism

There's growing alarm at the international isolationism of the Trump regime, and the GOP's willingness to stab our historical allies in the back, is formenting the seeds of global resistance against the demented mindlessness of the current White House squatters, which in turn is likely to increase opposition at all levels domestically.

May 2018

Eire batters Xtian alt right

Deeplhy disturbing Christian behavior that were intially mindbending to process, stretching back into history, of orphans in church care being horrifically abused, forced to labor as slaves, even those small children killed and buried in mass graves, has not endeared the cruel oppressive Roman Catholic church in the minds of modern and diverse Irish citizens, and in what some see as a pent-up backlash and rejection of a corrupt church and its influence over fawning neo-conservative politicians, the abortion ban has been rejected in a tidal wave of change described as a "quiet revolution" by its visionary leader and prime minister Leo Varadkar, who added: "the people have spoken."

The New York Times reported the reaction of Gail McElroy, professor of politics at Trinity College Dublin: "This is devastating for the Roman Catholic hierarchy. It is the final nail in the coffin for them. They're no longer the pillar of society, and their hopes of re-establishing themselves are gone." This is a true sea change. Once a theocracy goes into a decline and loses its political authority, it's irreversible. This will also happen in the US, but it's more like a gradual erosion. Seems the Irish are joining Britain in a barely contained contempt of organized Christianity.

Staunch EU member Ireland is now looked up to in admiration by progressives on both sides of the Atlantic as it bucks the neo-right populism, the chaos, the fatigued despondency engulfing both British and American socio-political landscapes. Bravo Ireland!

EU wants to tame Facebook

Walled online communities have never held any appeal to people of an independent mind, but the public at large have collectively sold their soul to the likes of Facebook. The Euro Union is not FB's biggest fan, at least not in the site's present incarnation that runs roughshod over subscribers exposed by increasingly weakened US public protection. Starting May 25th, Europeans can withdraw their consent for personal data being used and demand that any company forget them.

Not so fast. Facebook moved all its data to America to escape regulations. But not so fast again. The EU is said to mull soaking them financially [they already fined FB $122m over disclosures in the WhatsApp transaction], although a recent meeting between FB's leader and the EU was regarded as farcical by some observers who felt the interview was too sheepish.

Americans may benefit from the Union's privacy crusade only tangentially so far, but if the European community gets tougher, as conjectured, its members could wind up flush with $$$ to, say, upgrade their transport systems and infrastructure, something US'ers could really do with, but are unlikely to ever get. They may have to forego their non-existent tram ride into the non-existent pedestrian town center, perhaps hang out online with their imaginary friends instead.

The Golden State killer.

April 2018

Repugs still complicit in Trump fiasco

"GOP leaders stand silent as President Trump trashes the rule of law, attacks federal judges and declares America's free press the enemy of the people. These lap dogs even remain muzzled as younger Americans are chained to a future of crippling debt." -- Joe Scarborough, Washington Post

April 9: Trump's Black Monday

Every citizen who's proud to be American and has been horrified at the corruption, criminality, and even possible collusion [or even treason] since the Trump election campaign and subsequent Republican election "victory", is breathing a massive collective sigh of relief. It's almost euphoric. It's Donald Trump's Black Monday, as the FBI seizes records of the Grump's personal lawyer in three simultaneous pre-dawn raids on Cohen assets.
Trump, Manafort, Flynn and others have to be mentally incompetent. How else can you explain that they got involved in presidential politics knowing they had all those skeletons in their closets? Put yourself in Trump's shoes. You have spent your career laundering money, raping women, and dealing with criminals, and so far you've gotten away with it. So what's your next move? Place yourself in the biggest spotlight in the world and invite your criminal accomplices to join you. Subject yourself to the most intense media scrutiny in history. What could go wrong?  
wizbing, forum poster mediamatters.org

DMD of Scottsdale Arizona comments on an article in the New York Times: "When the history of this period is written, Robert Mueller will go down as an American hero, whose integrity, fearlessness and commitment to the rule of law will serve as an example to us all."

The scandals and revelations are now coming thick and fast as the outraged Grump is shooting his mouth off more than ever, cornered like a guilty right-wing rat [no offense to actual rodents].

Orwellian Fake News script

Forum poster Ongoing responding to an article in the Washington Post entitled 'The real problem with Sinclair's fake news script' wrote: "Western oligarchs like the Mercers and the Kochs are making common cause with Russian oligarchs to destroy democratic governance and turn the United States and other democratic countries into Latin American style oligarchies with a very small segment of very rich people, the majority of the population destitute and no middle class. Sinclair is a hard right propaganda organization.... the next step in a dictatorial propaganda ministry."

Meanwhile, the Blue Wave washed away another Republican election hope on Tuesday [April 3] when Democrat leaning Rebecca Dallet convincingly won a Wisconsin Supreme Court race by over 11 points.

March 2018

Trumpism: brainless, sinister, clownish

"There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth, and it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability." -- Mona Charen, booed by "fellow" conservatives.

Meanwhile, Wolf PAC has persuaded a handful of "blue" states to request an Article V convention with the hope that it will reform campaign finance law.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee on the Internet. He invented it, what does he think of it now?

The kids are alright & they're all that's left

There is great news amid the carnage of the Trumpian wrecking ball that has placed the United States' environment, social fabric, democracy, healthcare, education, and soon its economy, on life support.

That good news is that, for all the media control by the billionaires and the right wing military-industrial cartel, for all the capture of social media by hostile foreign actors, the youth of America has not only survived the 24/7 brainwashing but is providing the beacon of liberty and safety that could inspire the rest of us to get America out of the distorted, nepotistic, and corrupt nightmare it's degenerated into.

Impressively, its not a generation of college aged youth like it was in the late 60s and early 70's, these are middle and high school aged children who are bringing wisdom and a thoughtful and well articulated path to lead a nation out of despair and frustration both at the insanity and horror of the constant gun massacres, but also at the utter depravity and disfunction of the "bought and paid for" US socio-political wasteland.

It's inspiring and actually mind-blowing to see the energy and vision of a new generation rise up like never before. They feel they've got no choice. Their very lives are on the front line and the adults won't act to protect them.

The extent to which the American system is able to be salvaged at this juncture is of course in question. Taking the money out of politics isn't on the horizon, though we must continue to fight its corrosive effects. But the kids have shown that accepting our fate is an option that leads to wholesale slaughter.

USA obesity crisis almost 10 times worse than Japan

Fat people in Japan are not very common. In most global communities they're everywhere in plentiful quantity.

Why do Japanese citizens seemingly have little problem looking like normal humans whereas most of the rest of the world are so overweight? "What I've learned" youtube channel has some observations.

dhamma


lam rim
dhammatalks by thanissaro bhikku
audiodharma insight meditation center
bubbles of illusion dharma talk
jikoji zen dharma talk podcasts
"what it means to be a buddhist" [dharma talk] this minute is the great matter
shasta abbey rm daizui dharma talk podcasts

sangha

amaravati uk
hayagriva aus.
buddhist society of w.australia, perth, aus.
chattanooga insight usa
sacramento dharma center usa, three buddhist groups in one new home
austin buddhist center usa
jikoji usa
zen mountain monastery usa
monterey bay zen center usa
tassajara usa
metta forest monastery usa
reddit buddhist forum

practice

meditation timer [download here]

why meditate? the basics

zen studies podcast from the beginning [wonderful resource]

buddhist global relief

"In your entire life there is only one person you need to meet and that person is your true self. The point of our practice is to meet ourself." -- dharma talk, kannon do

"To be alive and to know you're alive is the greatest miracle of all. Present moment breathing in, wonderful moment breathing out." -- thich nhat hanh

"Meditation is the key that unlocks your mind, permeating post-meditation with awareness. Wisdom arises from the still mind." -- bhante henepola gunaratana

"You are not the victim of your thoughts. You are the originator of your thoughts." -- ajahn sujato

"We can learn from nature enough to be enlightened." -- ajahn chah

"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." -- dalai lama

"There is no permanent self, but we have to be somebody. There is nothing to rely on. This is the hard thing we learn when we sit." -- angie boissevain, dharma talk

"The training is the enlightenment." -- dogen

"Always we must be willing to be disturbed by the truth." -- becoming buddha

namo amitabha
buddham sharanam gachchami

In 2012 a study in Israel showed that meditators were less inhibited by 'cognitive rigidity': in other words, they were more open to completely new solutions to problems.

Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi was asked what he thought of his students. He said, "I think they are all perfect. And they could all use a little improvement."

other

the benefits of buddhism
dhammakaya anthem
the buddha garden
om and om
om mani padme hum
[namo tassa] bhagavato arahato sammæsambuddhassa re-add jan 2017
thai buddhist song, with voiceover
four noble truths
misunderstanding buddhism
positive psychology: catching up with ancient buddhist insight [pdf]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMGSFhXU1I8