Tuesday, January 31, 2017

By The Book

So far, Trump has taken his agenda right out of the big yellow and black book:

Attack the press--check
Discredit scientists, intellectuals, and artists--check
Create non-existent threats--check
Form an inner-circle to take over national security--check
Target immigrants and minorities--check

WARNING. If Trump continues to follow the book, and I don't believe he has the intelligence or imagination to do otherwise, his next move will be to provoke a "national crisis" in order to grant himself Emergency Powers. (The best example of this is Hitler burning the German parliament building, the Reichstag, and blaming the arson on his opponents.)
In our country, Emergency Powers would mean suspension of the Constitution.

If this happens, Americans will need to drop what they are doing and immediately flood the streets in protest. We will have reached the point where the government has to be stopped--by whatever means necessary. Our freedom to continue as a democracy will depend on this.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Goes Around . . . Nah, Screw That!

Although I am somewhat a product of 60's and 70's counter-culture, there is a belief in that culture that I've never been able to embrace. I do not believe in "karma."

My reason for rejecting karma can be summed up in two words:

Mitch McConnell

In an interview yesterday, our current Senate Majority Leader looked straight into the camera and accused Democrats of obstructing confirmation of Trump's appointees. This from the man who presided over the eight-year Klan rally posing as a legislature; who bragged that he would reject anything proposed by President Obama simply because he proposed it, and who made history by refusing to even vet Obama's Supreme Court candidate.

If hypocrisy is a building, Mitch McConnell is the Taj Mahal. If hypocrisy is music, Mitch McConnell is Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. And if there were such a thing as karma, instead of enjoying his comfortable life, Mitch McConnell would be living in a mud hut and picking undigested seeds from animal dung for his sustenance. The caricatures depicting him as a turtle are an insult to reptiles.

No, I don't believe in karma.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Reflection

As usual, I like to reserve Sunday for addressing theological issues. I woke up this morning wondering:

In light of some current events, could it be that it's still the seventh day and God is just resting?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Art Of The Real

I just saw some clips from a TV interview with President Trump that aired earlier this week. In one exquisitely embarrassing segment, featuring an outburst of self-aggrandizement not heard from a head of state since Louis XVI, Trump shows some of the "art" he has brought to the White House--including a picture of all the loving admirers at his inauguration.

Here is a picture that I would like the president to add to his collection. It shows a building in the Alaskan village of Shishmaref tumbling into the rising sea water caused by global warming.

He can hang it between the portrait of Vladimir Putin and the "Dogs Playing Poker."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

North Korea, Zimbabwe--And Us

President Trump has found some threats against our country to be so dire that they require immediate attention. During his first days in office, he has authorized:
1. A wall to stop illegal border crossings from Mexico
2. Harsh immigration laws to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the U.S.
3. New measures to fight voter fraud

1. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, illegal entry from Mexico is at a 50-year low. Better border security and a rising Mexican economy have dropped illegal crossings to 10% of the 2005 level. Most of the undocumented Mexicans now living here have arrived legally.

2. Since 9/11, 24 Americans have been killed by foreign-born terrorists. (14 by the same man.) 98% of terrorist attacks here have been from American citizens.

3. .0000001% of votes cast in the 2016 presidential election resulted in convictions or guilty pleas for voter fraud.

Currently, 31 Alaskan villages are in the process of moving or planning to move because of rising sea water. The Trump administration has shut down the EPA and is preventing it from releasing any figures on global warming.

We blinked, and the government of the United States joined Kim Jong Un's North Korea and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe as a country manufacturing "reality" in order to legitimize its agenda. We thought it couldn't happen here--it just did.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

No More Chances

Incredibly, some are still asking us to give President Trump a chance.
Hey, give me . . . a break!

Has anyone in the world ever been given more chances than Donald Trump?

Born into wealth and privilege, educated at the best schools, Trump started life with more chances for success than  the majority of people in the country. When his first chance came to serve that country, he not only dodged the draft but bragged publicly about the fun he had while others served. Bankrolled with millions in family money, Trump had a chance at becoming a respected businessman but bungled his way through fraudulent ventures into six bankruptcies and thousands of federal, state, and civil lawsuits. Running for president, he was given the chance to unite and inspire the country. He used it to insult immigrants, veterans, and the disabled-- and to alienate half the population of the earth with his misogyny.

As president, Trump was handed the chance of honoring his campaign pledge to "drain the swamp." He packed his administration with the same Wall Street millionaires whose policies have spelled financial disaster for ordinary Americans. The chance to lead civilization against its biggest challenge in history has been met with his claim that "environmentalism is out of control." America lost all chance of maintaining its leadership in world diplomacy with his reckless saber-rattling that has provoked both our allies and enemies around the globe.

Perhaps the biggest chance blown by Donald Trump has been his chance to change--to change from a petty, narcissistic, con-artist bully into someone deserving our respect as President of the United States. Clearly, that's not going to happen. The inner-strength and grace projected by our previous leader has been replaced with paranoia and delusion. Facing all his new responsibilities, our president remains obsessed with his self-image and the need to continually reaffirm the boast of an adolescent boy that:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Welcome To Heaven, Here's Your Penis

It's Sunday, which seems an appropriate time for theological musings.
Here's something I've been wondering about:
Male ISIL martyrs are rewarded in heaven with a multitude of virgins. But so many of the suicide-bombers are women. What's their reward?

1. Nothing, they're just women.
2. 72 male virgins. Great! 72 awkward, pimply-faced boys poking them in the wrong places for 30 seconds and asking "Was that good for you too?"
3. Freedom to choose one of the heavens of non-sexist religious zealots--if they can find one.
4. Simply being released from the earthly ties to a gang of sadistic thugs that includes male-dominated sexual mayhem against women in its vision of paradise.
5. The supreme reward--transformation into a man! Upon entry into heaven, the female martyr is given the required male body parts and 72 girls to ravage.

Infidel martyrs might have to settle for just a harp.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Raise Hell. Please.

Call it pre traumatic stress--our Titanic of a new president has set sail, the Hindenburg of his cabinet is preparing to land. Our anxiety is well-founded. I can't help recalling Hunter S. Thompson's warning that "There is no such a thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment."
But here is another quote--one that may offer some much needed encouragement at this difficult time:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

These words of 18th Century philosopher and statesman, Edmond Burke, ring truer now than ever. I'm sure that he was calling on all who seek justice, and that he would join in our pride at the sight of all those strong women now gathered in Washington, doing what needs to be done.

Be careful, marchers. You are confronting a callous, dangerous bully, but please . . . RAISE HELL!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's Alive!

Forget all the pundits and politicians. I think that scientists, from several different fields, should be focusing their attention on our new president. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study a phenomenon so remarkable that no evidence for it has ever been recorded. With each passing day, Donald Trump is presenting himself more and more as something previously thought impossible to exist in nature:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Face Washing?

The Senate confirmation hearings over presumptive CIA head, Mike Pompeo, have reopened the waterboarding controversy.
A little research will show that waterboarding is an ancient, widespread, practice. Surely, if only by accident, at some place and time a recipient of waterboarding has died.
The claim by many in the U.S. government that this practice is merely "virtual torture" has me asking two questions:

1.) If one of our prisoners were to die while being waterboarded, would he be "virtually dead"?
(Despite the current zombie craze, for argument's sake let's define a dead person as someone who has stopped moving and breathing and will stay that way.)
Now, since a person can fake death for only so long, it seems that we would be faced with an actual corpse that was produced by virtual means. We would have to conclude that a simulated procedure, if applied too vigorously, can have real results. Perhaps if the race car you're driving in a video game crashes too many times, you could actually get a concussion. Who knew?

2,) But here is the really important question--one that I have never heard asked:
If waterboarding isn't torture, WHY DO IT?
A prisoner is taken from his normal cell and brought to another place (the non-torture chamber?) where specialists proceed to not torture him for a while. WHY? Exercise for the guards? Relieving boredom? Washing the prisoner's face?
If the object is gathering information, why not just go to the prisoner and ask him what you want to know? Of all the methods of interrogating a prisoner without torturing him, what's so special about waterboarding?

Quite simply, if waterboarding isn't torture, WHY THE BLOODY FUCKING HELL WOULD ANYONE BOTHER DOING IT?!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Keeping America Safe For Drunks, Gamblers, And Hookers

One of the obstacles to better medical care in America is fear of "socialized medicine." Of course, many of our institutions are already socialized--but only the important ones.

Every bottle of liquor sold in the U.S. is distilled under a federal license. How about gambling? It's only legal when run by the government. Some parts of Nevada allow prostitution--if overseen by . . . the government.

We don't mind the government controlling booze, betting, and hookers, but draw the line at medical care--we wouldn't want this government-control thing getting out of hand.

So watch out if you ever find yourself stumbling drunk on government-guaranteed wholesome whisky between a government-certified healthy whorehouse and a government-certified honest casino. If you get injured and the medical bills start pouring in, those free market insurance companies are going to have you at their mercy.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Good Morning, We're Here To Spread The Good News About Pornography."

I indulged my curiosity this Sunday morning, as I occasionally do, and tuned in some TV preaching. I was informed by one prosperous-looking evangelist, before he begged for money, that our country is being "bombarded with pornography."

Funny, but I've never answered the door on a Sunday morning and faced a family of strangers trying to sell me porn.
I've never checked into a hotel and found that a national organization had left porn in the nightstand.
I've never seen one page of a twenty-page hometown newspaper or two out of three local TV stations devoted to porn once a week.
Sessions of my federal, state, and local government have never begun with opening words from a pornographer.
I've never walked through an American town and found the landscape adorned with enormous pornographic symbols, erected on tax-exempt property.

If you are a non-religious person in this country, which it is your right to be, you are being "bombarded" all right--and not with pornography.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Spot Quiz!

For all the "very talented" new arrivals in Washington that oppose both the reality of global warming and new immigration to the U.S.:

Q. Will ignoring the effects of global warming decrease or increase immigration pressure on the U.S. and other countries?

Clue: The Ganges River, which is drying up because of shrinking glaciers in the Himalayas, is the sole source of water for over a billion people.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Starting The Day Off Right

Reading about the Senate's confirmation hearings this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself agreeing with our prospective Attorney General. Jeff Sessions claims that the U.S. was built on "Biblical principles." Yes, genocide and slavery are found throughout the Bible.

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Cold, Dead Hands

People have been asking me to comment on the Fort Lauderdale shooting.
Well . . . . Okay.

What is there to say? We live in a democracy and the people have spoken. Apparently, the majority of Americans would rather risk getting shot than risk what they see as even the slightest chipping away at our sacred gun rights by prohibiting a mentally-ill terrorist suspect from flying with a gun.

Fine. Deal with it.

BTW: Like most Alaskans, I am a gun owner. I believe in sensible gun controls and I'd join the Girl Scouts before I'd join the NRA. I'll stop using this laptop to argue for a sane approach to gun ownership in America when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Putin Envy . . . On The Rise

There's much speculation going on over Trump's infatuation with Vladimir Putin. He is undoubtedly impressed with Putin's macho bearing and autocratic mode of operation. Putin's reckless aggression in Ukraine and Syria might even meet with Trump's approval, but probably holds little of his interest--along with anything else in the world that doesn't relate to himself.

I'm guessing that Trump is more taken with Putin's imprisonment of Pussy Riot. The all-girl band was sentenced to two years in jail for merely singing songs that poked fun at their nation's leader. Now that's something that our misogynistic, humorless, self-obsessed president-elect can understand.

If Trump could have his way, I'm sure that he'd have the cast of SNL whisked off to Gitmo.
And the scary part is that a growing number of Americans wouldn't object. For many of our countrymen, democracy has come to mean electing an iron-fisted dictator who thinks exactly the way they do--the formula for fascism throughout history

Putin Envy among some of our "patriot" groups claiming to support American democracy isn't just ironic--it's a real cause for alarm.

Just A Pushy Pair O' Pussy Pokin' Peas In A Pod

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Leap Of Faith

One of the interesting ironies of the modern world is that it's rapidly requiring a greater "leap of faith" to believe in science than in religion. Strangely, I have no trouble accepting the science, but I can't accept religion.

I am told that the seemingly solid desk I'm writing on is composed mostly of empty space with some invisible particles randomly whizzing around. This sounds ridiculous and is contrary to what I perceive with my senses. But I believe it. The Big Bang, black holes, unseen dimensions, and anti-matter are even stranger ideas--but they are part of modern science and I believe in them too. The ultimate nature of reality as described by Einstein, Hawking, and other physicists features concepts as fantastic as the parting of the Red Sea or any other miracle in the Bible. Still, I am able to make the leap and accept these scientific principles--while dismissing Biblical stories as fairy tales.

Maybe it's the personnel.

Watching Stephen Hawking slumped in his wheelchair, I am more willing to accept his mind-numbing idea of a 13-dimensional universe than anything coming from a big-haired televangelist in a $5,000 suit and Rolex watch begging me for money.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Trickle Down On Me Once, Shame On You. Trickle Down On Me Twice . . . .

Q. What's the difference between ISIL's War on America and Donald Trump's new Tax Plan for America?

A. ISIL targets all Americans for destruction. Trump's Tax Plan targets only 99% of Americans.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Don't Let This Make You Sick . . . You Probably Can't Afford It

Congress came back yesterday, which means that you're going to be hearing a lot about fixing or gutting Obamacare. You're going to be fed a huge load of crap about why our medical care is so expensive.
Here are a few of the real reasons:

Aetna CEO, Mark Bertolini, salary . . . . . 17.3 million
Cigna CEO, David Cordani . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.3 million
United Health CEO, Stephen Hemsley . . 14.5 million
Anthem CEO, Joseph Swedish . . . . . . . . .13.6 million
Humana CEO, Bruce Broussard . . . . . . . .10.3 million

The annual salary of just one of these parasites would pay for 20 MRI machines or 300 nurses. The next time you need a high-tech diagnosis or a dressing changed, go see Mr. Bertolini (below)--I'm sure he'd be a big help.

Until we decide as a nation that the purpose of medical care is making Americans well, not making insurance companies rich, IT'S ALL JUST PISSING IN THE WIND.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Divine Intervention . . . Thanks!

I see that one of the nation's leading homophobes, Franklin Graham, is back in the news. He has declared that the "hand of God" is responsible for the election of Donald Trump. Apparently, Reverend Graham expects the new administration to be more appreciative of his relentless gay bashing.

People like Graham fascinate me. Given the opportunity, I would ask the reverend one simple question:

Do you really believe that homosexuals are perverts--but people, like yourself, that spend their lives preoccupied with homosexuality are normal?

Monday, January 2, 2017

To Those Of You With A Personal Home Arsenal Big Enough To Arm A Small Country But Continue Ranting About Your "Gun Rights": Please, Shut The Fuck Up. Thank You.

The Big Lie, a lie so pervasive that it has become accepted as the truth, has been used to manipulate people throughout history. In America, one of our Big Lies is:
"They're coming for our guns!"

No one is coming for our guns.

After two and one-half centuries of hearing this battle-cry, and still no one coming for our guns, isn't it time to see this propaganda for what it is? I know how much fun it must be to puff up your chest and shout slogans like "From my cold, dead hands!" but the simple fact remains:

No one is coming for our guns.

With two weeks left in his presidency, if Obama were going to confiscate all our guns, don't you think he would have started by now?
And exactly how would this be accomplished? Would he or any other president personally go door to door and grab our guns? Or would this be done by the army, local police, the Illuminati (whoever the fuck they are), the Girl Scouts, a secret horde of Muslim terrorists that has been hiding in the White House? And where would the collection sites be for the guns? Who would oversee that operation, and what would be done with the guns, and what would happen to the citizens resisting this seizure . . .
When you try picturing the actual nuts and bolts of confiscating 300 million guns, you can instantly see the absolute absurdity of this conspiracy theory.

In his eight years in the White House, President Obama did not sign a single law limiting gun rights. Not one. None. Zero. As a matter of fact (hang into your NRA hats!), the only gun bills signed into law by President Obama have expanded gun rights (1.The right to carry in national parks. 2.The right to transport guns on Amtrak.) That's right--as Obama explained in a recent speech, it is now easier in most states to own and carry a gun than before he was elected.
These are facts, and the nice thing about facts is that they can be checked. Go ahead, you're already on a computer, try to find the laws President Obama has enacted to limit your gun rights. But I'll save you the trouble. There aren't any.

No one is coming for our guns.

The Second Amendment makes the U. S. unique among nations. In most states, an American citizen can buy almost any kind of gun he wants, and as many as he wants, and carry them almost anywhere he wants. If that isn't enough gun rights for you, I guess it will just have to do!
Currently, many of our other rights, the rights at the core of our democracy are being threatened. If that democracy is to endure, we need to stop being sucked into the gun rights conspiracy, and other smokescreen issues, and concentrate on the rights of free speech, assembly, privacy, religion, and all our Constitutional rights that really are under attack.