What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 31, 2016

Orwell, Trump And What Passes For Our New Political Reality. (2 + 2 =4)

A day or so ago, this happened:
President Obama struck back at Russia on Thursday for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, ejecting 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services.

The administration also penalized four top officers of one of those services, the powerful military intelligence unit known as the G.R.U.

Intelligence agencies have concluded that the G.R.U. ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations, with the approval of the Kremlin, and ultimately enabled the publication of the emails it harvested to benefit Donald J. Trump’s campaign.
Note the word "concluded" used.

You can read the FBI/DHS report here.

In response, Trump praise-tweeted the guy at the head of the government that US Intelligence agencies concluded committed the cyber attack against American citizens.

Which side is he on?  Who are our allies and who are our adversaries?

It reminded me of this passage from 1984:
On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns — after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces — at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. Winston was taking part in a demonstration in one of the central London squares at the moment when it happened. It was night, and the white faces and the scarlet banners were luridly floodlit. The square was packed with several thousand people, including a block of about a thousand schoolchildren in the uniform of the Spies. On a scarlet-draped platform an orator of the Inner Party, a small lean man with disproportionately long arms and a large bald skull over which a few lank locks straggled, was haranguing the crowd. A little Rumpelstiltskin figure, contorted with hatred, he gripped the neck of the microphone with one hand while the other, enormous at the end of a bony arm, clawed the air menacingly above his head. His voice, made metallic by the amplifiers, boomed forth an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres, deportations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing of civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken treaties. It was almost impossible to listen to him without being first convinced and then maddened. At every few moments the fury of the crowd boiled over and the voice of the speaker was drowned by a wild beast-like roaring that rose uncontrollably from thousands of throats. The most savage yells of all came from the schoolchildren. The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremendous commotion. The banners and posters with which the square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them had the wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents of Goldstein had been at work! There was a riotous interlude while posters were ripped from the walls, banners torn to shreds and trampled underfoot. The Spies performed prodigies of activity in clambering over the rooftops and cutting the streamers that fluttered from the chimneys. But within two or three minutes it was all over. The orator, still gripping the neck of the microphone, his shoulders hunched forward, his free hand clawing at the air, had gone straight on with his speech. One minute more, and the feral roars of rage were again bursting from the crowd. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed.

The thing that impressed Winston in looking back was that the speaker had switched from one line to the other actually in midsentence, not only without a pause, but without even breaking the syntax.
The speech shifted realities midsentence and the crowd shifted with it.  They believed what they were told and not what they saw.  What was true must've been a lie.

After Trump the orange snowflake tweeted him some Putin-praise, Trump-puppet Rudy Giuliani said:
There's no question that the intelligence that President Obama has been getting has either been incompetent or politicized.
Yes, that's right, Rudy. The agents of Goldstein had been at work!

On the other hand, Orwell reminds us elsewhere that:
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
Russian Intelligence hacked American citizens and then Donald Trump denied the hacking and praised the Russian leader instead.

This is the new normal.  Resist the new normal.



December 30, 2016

Jack Kelly UPDATE

My source informed me this afternoon that Jack's last Post-Gazette column is THIS Sunday not LAST Sunday.

We are nothing if not sticklers for the truth.

THE FBI/DHS REPORT And The Delegitimization Of The Trump Presidency

On December 29, a Joint Assessment Report (JAR) issued by the FBI and Homeland Security described the efforts the Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) went through to "to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election."

From the report, this is the most important sentence:
The U.S. Government confirms that two different RIS actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party.
It's confirmed.

And with that confirmation, this happened - by Executive Order, President Obama expelled about 3 dozen Russian diplomats accused of being spies.

Of course Trump said this:
President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday “it’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things” after the Obama administration issued sanctions against Russia for its alleged 2016 election hacking.

“It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said in a written response released four hours after the announcement. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation."
Next week?

The FBI confirms Russian Intelligence hacked their way into the US political system and you're waiting until after the Rose Bowl Parade to get the details?

From The Atlantic we read:
“It’s all just an attempt to delegitimize Donald Trump.” That’s the argument you hear from Trump supporters each time new information comes to light about how hard Russian spy services worked to damage Hillary Clinton. You heard it again on Thursday.

The Trump supporters are 100 percent right: The information is delegitimizing. The president-elect of the United States reportedly owes his office in considerable part to illegal clandestine activities in his favor conducted by a hostile, foreign spy service. It’s hard to imagine a crisis of presidential legitimacy more extreme than that. But that’s no argument against airing this information. It’s precisely why the information must be aired. [Italics in Original.]
You remember the years our BFFs on the right spent demanding to see Obama's Birth Certificate (even though two were issued), right?  (Reminder: The little-handed pussy-grabber was one of them.)  That was their attempt to delegitimitize Obama's presidency.

To an extent, it worked as this poll data from the NYTimes show.  Just before the election ("election"?) a fifth of the electorate and a third of Republicans believed the lie that Obama wasn't born in the US.

That was a false attempt at delegitimization whereas this shit is real.  The Russians tilted the scale - the FBI and Homeland Security confirmed it.

And if Trump decides (as he can) to undo this Executive Order?
“If a future president decided he wanted to allow in a large tranche of Russian intelligence agents, presumably a future president could do that,” a senior Obama administration official said on a Thursday press call. “We don’t think it would make much sense to reopen Russian intelligence compounds. ... We don’t think it makes much sense to invite back in Russian intelligence agents.”
Especially since they're from the same intelligence services that helped him win the election ("election"?) in the first place.

Hmmm, wouldn't that be...treasonous?

Resist normalization of the vulgar sexual predator/war crimes loving Trump.

December 29, 2016

A Thought For A Thursday

Carrie Fisher was badass.

Thank you, K O'Shea - I will do my best.

This was her mother (she's in between Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly).


That's Debbie Reynolds - she was dancing with frickin Gene Kelly at 19.

She was badass, too.

December 28, 2016

It's Wednesday - And So Trump Is Lying (He Also May Be Breaking The Law)

From Huffingtonpost.

Trump claimed that 100% of the money from Trump Foundation goes to "wonderful charities."

That's a lie:
The Donald J. Trump Foundation, established in 1987, admitted to the Internal Revenue Service just last year that it engaged in “self-dealing,” a prohibited practice in which a nonprofit leader uses an organization’s money to benefit his or her own interests.

According to a Washington Post report earlier this month, the foundation’s 2015 tax filings confirmed it had transferred income or assets to a “disqualified person” that year (in this case, a “disqualified person” could be Trump himself or a member of his family or business) and had engaged in similar practices in previous years.
And:
In 2014, Trump’s charity made its largest donation of the year to a foundation associated with Citizens United, the conservative group best known for its fight against campaign finance restrictions. Trump’s foundation handed over $100,000 to the foundation, which was pursuing legal action against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ― a Democrat who also happened to be investigating Trump University at the time.
Trump has also said he's going to dissolve the foundation in order to clear up any conflicts of interest.

But...
“The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete,” Amy Spitalnick, the press secretary for the New York attorney general’s office, said Monday in a statement to ABC News.
Oh and he maybe in violation of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978:
Labor Secretary Tom Perez called presidential transition questions sent to government agencies like the Energy department, seeking to identify employees who worked on climate change, against the law.

“Those questions have no place in a transition,” Perez said. “That is illegal.”
This is not a normal transition.  This will not be a normal admininstration.

Resist this new normal.

December 26, 2016

Jack Kelly Sunday (One Day Late - SORRY)

If this is Jack Kelly's last column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (as a source informed me last week) then it's truly disappointing.

Not disappointing that he's retiring - heck, the moment he's no longer tainting our common sense of reality by normalizing teh rightwing crazie, we'll all be better off for it.  No, I mean the column itself is disappointing even for Jack.

Let's start:
After thousands of unhinged leftists browbeat electors from states Donald Trump won to vote for someone else, he expanded his lead over Hillary Clinton.

“Most of the pleas to reject Trump are coordinated, automated, professionally generated, and, for those reasons, none too persuasive,” noted The Associated Press.

“We got a stack of letters from idiots,” said Arizona elector Edward Robson. “They don’t seek to understand or persuade — just to insist,” said Kansas elector Ashley McMillan Hutchinson. “As a mother of two small children, I know how to handle that.” Some electors reported death threats. Pennsylvania electors got police protection.
After his initial throat clearing, the next two paragraphs quote...the Associated Press, right?

Not exactly.  Everything leading up to Robson IS from the AP.

But that second part?  That's from The WSJ:
I noticed another theme in the thousands of missives I’ve received. They don’t seek to understand or persuade—only to insist. Most of these people want it their way and they want it now. As a mother of two small children, I know how to handle that.
I realize it's a small point but the mistake is clear: by not writing clearly, Jack Kelly is allowing his readers to mis-attribute his source material.  Isn't that kinda Journalism 101?

Why would someone at the P-G let him get away with such a simple minor mistake?

Then there's this:
The recount of votes in Rust Belt states backfired too. Mr. Trump gained votes in Wisconsin. “Irregularities” benefiting Ms. Clinton were uncovered in Wayne County, Mich. (Detroit), giving Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions more reason to make vote fraud a priority.
So how many votes DID Trump gain in Wisconsin?  From the AP:
The numbers barely budged in Wisconsin after nearly 3 million votes were recounted. Trump, a billionaire New York real estate mogul, picked up 162 votes and still won by more than 22,000 votes. The final results changed just 0.06 percent.
That's 162 votes out of about 2.8 million cast.

Some backfire.

And Jack gets Wayne County wrong, too.  About two weeks ago (more than enough time for Jack Kelly to find it) The Detroit Free Press reported:
“We don’t have any suspicion of fraud. We generally approach this as human error," [Chris Thomas, Michigan Director of Elections] said.
In any case:
But since it was stopped before it was completed, the election results certified by the Board of Canvassers on Nov. 28, which showed Trump winning by 10,704 votes over Hillary Clinton, stand.
Elsewhere The Detroit Free Press reported:
Whether the result of machine malfunction, human error or even fraud, the unexplained voting discrepancies in Detroit last month were not sizable enough to affect the outcome in Michigan of the presidential election, according to a new Free Press analysis of voting precinct records.
Now go back and look at how Jack Kelly characterized Wisconsin and Michigan and compare it to how it was reported.  See Jack taint our collective sense of reality.  Bad Jack.  Very bad.

And as far as any reasons to make Jeff Sessions see "vote fraud a priority."  We have this bit of reality to show to Jack - there isn't any.  From the NY Times:
After all the allegations of rampant voter fraud and claims that millions had voted illegally, the people who supervised the general election last month in states around the nation have been adding up how many credible reports of fraud they actually received. The overwhelming consensus: next to none.

In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia — Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between — said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation.
There's reality and then there's the "reality" that Jack Kelly wants us to see.  The two rarely have anything to do with each other.

Then there's this:
Mr. Trump’s bromance with Vladimir Putin is a legitimate concern. But Mr. Trump’s plans to develop America’s energy resources and to rebuild our military are not in Russia’s interest.

Ms. Clinton figured to be as soft a touch as the supine Mr. Obama. (After a big donation to the Clinton Foundation, Ms. Clinton as secretary of state approved the sale of 20 percent of our uranium reserves to the Russkies. After more donations, she approved the transfer of dual-use technologies (military and civilian) to Russia’s Silicon Valley.)
We already know that "the sale of 20 percent of our uranium reserves to the Russkies" is BS.

Jack brought it up last July.  Jack wrote back then:
Rosatom, the Russian nuclear agency, bought a Canadian mining company. “The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain,” reported The New York Times in April 2015.

The deal, which gave Rosatom control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium production, had to be approved by the State Department, because of the national security implications. The shareholders of Uranium One contributed $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. The deal went through.
This story is still bogus - it's bunk.  And it's almost two years since factcheck.org showed us the bogus bullshitting bunkitude:
The author of “Clinton Cash” falsely claimed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had “veto power” and “could have stopped” Russia from buying a company with extensive uranium mining operations in the U.S. In fact, only the president has such power.

At the time of the sale, Clinton was a member of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, which is required by law to investigate all U.S. transactions that involve a company owned or controlled by a foreign government. Federal guidelines say any one of nine voting members of the committee can object to such a foreign transaction, but the final decision then rests with the president.

“Only the President has the authority to suspend or prohibit a covered transaction,” the guidelines say.
Why would the P-G let Jack Kelly get away with insulting his (and their) audience with this?  TWICE?

But the very very interesting thing about that Jack Kelly column from July is that it contains this:
Trumpkins will applaud whatever [Trump] says. Republican “leaders” are too ethically compromised to complain.

After outlining well in his acceptance speech why America is in crisis, Mr. Trump said: “I am your voice. I alone can fix it.”

This is Chavismo, Caesarism. Only megalomaniacs say such a thing. Only morons believe it.
Do you still believe this Jack?

Do you still believe that Donald J Trump, the next guy to take the presidential oath of office, the next Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military force the world has ever known, is a dictatorial megalomaniac?   And that his millions of supporters are morons?

Oh, Jack.  If I could get just one column from you explaining that last part, it would be like finding Zuzu's petals in my pocket.

Jack, if it's true that you are retiring and that this was your last column,  do want to wish you the best of luck - this is honest and sincere.   These columns of yours that I've deconstructed over the last decade or so have been more educational to me than you can possibly imagine.

Nope. Nothing Deporable About THIS Trump-Guy!

Showing the world the depth of dignity we can certainly expect from the oncoming Trump administration, there's CBS:
A wealthy businessman who co-chaired president-Elect Donald Trump’s state campaign confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that he told an alternative newspaper he hoped President Barack Obama would die from mad cow disease and that the first lady would “return to being a male.”

Carl Paladino, a millionaire real estate developer who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010 as a Republican, made the comments in response to a survey by Artvoice, a Buffalo publication that asked local artists, performers and business owners for their New Year’s wish list.
Oh, but he said so much more.

Here's what he was asked in that Artvoice piece:
  1. What would you most like to happen in 2017?
  2. What would you like to see go away in 2017?
To the first question, Trumpie-Bro Paladino answered:
Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.
And to the second:
Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.
By the way, a "Hereford" is a cow.  But look at what he's saying: that Obama can get Mad Cow (aka BSE) from "having relations" with a cow.  So not only is Trump-pal Paladino a racist, he's also stupid since that's not how BSE spreads.

December 23, 2016

IMPORTANT POST-GAZETTE ANNOUNCEMENT

A very good source informed me a few minutes ago that the Post-Gazette's Jack Kelly is RETIRING  and his last column is THIS SUNDAY.

That's all I know.

More as it develops.

I Thought The Tribune-Review Editorial Board Would Be IN FAVOR Of States' Rights!

I guess not.

Take a look:
In the war of words over so-called “sanctuary cities” for illegal aliens, the state of California is raising the stakes. Proposed legislation would prevent law-enforcement agencies statewide from assisting immigration officials in deportation cases.

The measure advanced by California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, a Democrat, would block federal immigration law from being enforced in “safe zones” such as public schools, hospitals and courthouses, thereby guaranteeing illegals access to publicly funded government services.
Since this is the Trib braintrust, you have to know by now that they're not exactly honest about their characterization of the proposed legislation (ha - you didn't think I'd find it, did you?).

They say that the law would "block federal immigration law from being enforced" where the actual  text of the bill says nothing of the sort.  What it does say is this:
This bill would, among other things, prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and school police and security departments from using resources to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes, or to investigate, enforce, or assist in the investigation or enforcement of any federal program requiring registration of individuals on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national or ethnic origin, as specified.
The bill doesn't "block" anyone with "federal immigration authority" from doing his or her job.  It just blocks the mandatory use of local law enforcement in any federal immigration matters.

There's an adage that goes something like this: all politics is local.  And so I am wondering if, while the braintrust is on the surface talking about Kevin de León and California, they're not actually talking about Mayor Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh.

Anyway, back to the editorial.  Our braintrust friends frame their strawman this way:
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to deport or imprison up to 3 million illegals who have criminal records. But officials in New York, Chicago, and other sanctuaries for lawbreakers have vowed in recent weeks to defy federal deportation plans. They argue that cities have no legal obligation to follow federal immigration laws.

The Constitution — Article I, Section 8 — says otherwise: “The Congress shall have the Power To … establish (a) uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
Wait.  Wasn't it 12 million only a few months ago when the pussy-grabber was running for office?  Is Trump now going to be allowing those remaining 9 million to stay?  But what about all those campaign promises?

Was he just bullshitting his supporters?

Say it ain't so!

Anyway, the issue isn't about whether cities have a "legal obligation to follow federal immigration laws" but whether local law enforcement can be forced into federal service.

And for that, no less a liberal than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (remember him?  Clinton agents embedded deep in the heart of Texas killed him with a pillow some time ago) wrote this in Printz v United States:
The Constitution's structure reveals a principle that controls these cases: the system of "dual sovereignty." See, e.g., Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452, 457. Although the States surrendered many of their powers to the new Federal Government, they retained a residuary and inviolable sovereignty that is reflected throughout the Constitution's text. See, e.g., Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall. 71, 76. The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government's power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service--and at no cost to itself--the police officers of the 50 States. [Emphasis added.]
It's a pretty straight forward States' Rights argument way of saying, "Um, no."

On the local level, Mayor Peduto wrote in The Hill:
In 2014, my first year in office, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police adopted a policy to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers: Pittsburgh officers – as they do with all federal law enforcement personnel — are directed to work with the ICE to help detain all those formally determined to be subject to criminal investigations.

At the same time our police do not engage in investigatory detention of citizens based merely on allegations regarding their immigration status. To do so is not only unconstitutional but would unduly divert precious resources our local police need to perform their duties protecting Pittsburgh residents, investigating crimes, and building ties within city neighborhoods.
Makes sense to me.  But of course facts and reasoning have never been among the braintrust's strengths.  They can't even get straight with Scalia on a States Rights issue.

So sad.

December 22, 2016

December 22 - A Very Interesting Birthday!

Edgard Varèse was born today in 1883.

Most of you probably won't know the name - or any of the music he composed.  But he comes highly recommended:
Throughout his career, Charlie Parker publicly acknowledged his admiration for Varese, who was his Greenwich Village neighbor. “I had the pleasure of meeting Edgar Varese,” he once said on Boston radio, “The French composer. He was very nice to me. He’s willing to teach me. He wants to compose something for me.” Of these encounters, Varese remarked, “He stopped by my place a number of times. He was like a child, with the shrewdness of a child. He possessed a tremendous enthusiasm. He’d come in and exclaim, ‘take me in as you would a baby and teach me music. I only write one voice. I want to have structure. I want to write orchestral scores.’ I promised myself I would try to find some time to show him some of the things he wanted to know.” Unfortunately, while the two musicians met informally several times, Varese left for Paris to compose Deserts shortly after they met, and when he returned in the Spring of 1955, Parker was two months dead from lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer.
Here's some Varèse:


It's been reported that at the pieces premier in 1923, the audience laughed throughout the performance and hissed during whatever applause that followed.

But 1923 also saw the Beer Hall Putsch - the failed coup in Munich by some early Nazis - so perhaps, PERHAPS, we've evolved past such vulgar reactions to civilization.

Anyway, enjoy the Varèse.

December 21, 2016

Meanwhile, Outside

From NOAA:
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2016 was the fifth highest for November in the 137-year period of record, at 0.73°C (1.31°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F). This value is 0.23°C (0.41°F) cooler than the record warmth of 2015 but 0.05°C (0.09°F) higher than the average November value for the 21st century to-date (2001–2016).
For some context, here's a few charts:


Trump says, however, that this is a hoax.  That it's not really happening.  That it's all a Chinese commie plot to make Amurika less competitive.

Meanwhile, from the Little-handed pussy-grabber's choice for his Environmental Protection Agency there's this:
On climate change policy, which the Obama administration has made a top priority in recent years, Pruitt has consistently denied the scientific consensus on global warming.

"There's a tremendous dispute, as you know, that's going on in the marketplace about how much this global warming trend that the administration talks about, if it's true or not," Pruitt said on a October 2016 episode of "Exploring Energy."

"Is it truly man-made and is this just simply another period of time where the Earth is cooling, increasing in heat? Is it just typical, natural type of occurrences as opposed what the administration says?"

He continued, "What people don't realize is that what the scientists have done is input data into a computer and produced modeling as far as the trajectory of what's going to occur. It's predictive in nature. It's speculative in nature. It's not objectively measured, as far as us knowing for sure what's going to occur. Look, I mean, I think there should be a vigorous debate about that. I mean, I think that ... We ought to have true science. We ought to let science be science and let it educate and inform the policy makers on what should and should not occur."
Um, there already is "true science" - it's found at NOAA (among other places).  And the "vigorous debate" among climate scientists is over - the climate is warming and all the extra greenhouse gasses we've been producing over the last century and a half are to blame.

Meanwhile about those scientists, there's this:
Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.
Meanwhile, it's still getting warmer outside.

FYI



December 20, 2016

Tell Your LGBTQ Story at #AMPLIFY


Amplify LGBTQ is a storytelling project in the form of a series of blog posts that gives participants the chance to share their lived experiences as LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania in their own voices. It highlights the voices of marginalized members of the LGBTQ community who are not always invited to the table or whose voices are not heard.

The project is the brainchild of Sue Kerr at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents and was started in May of 2015.

Contributors who are 18 years of age and older and who have ties to Western Pennsylvania share their experiences through the AMPLIFY Q&A. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. Participants have the option to use a pseudonym or their real names and decide whether or not to share photos.

Bitch Media called AMPLIFY a cool project -- and we agree! So far, they have shared 179 stories. Please help them get to 200 by contributing your story or by passing along the links to others in your circle.

You can find all the links (archived stories, online Q&A, donate button, etc.) at http://www.pghlesbian.com/amplify/

They also just started selling T-shirts to raise funds for the project, so if you're looking for a last minute Xmas gift, check the shirts out here.

Resistance is Refusal. Resist.

Keith Olbermann, yesterday.


A partial transcript:
I'm Keith Olbermann and this is the resistance.

Our long national nightmare is starting. With the Electoral College presumably failing to do its duty as conceived under the Constitution (we won't know officially until the votes are counted on January six), Russia's puppet is probably now puppet-elect. So this changes everything.

No, it changes nothing.

These facts are the building blocks of resistance:
  • He is still elected by a minority vote. 
  • He's still wholly unfit for the job - the man you would expect to find if you are searching for the person who could most quickly and efficiently destroy a democracy and maybe a planet. 
  • He is still a moving breathing conflict of interest and will likely be guilty of an impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors within hours if not minutes of his own inauguration.
  • He is still a textbook case of corrupt self-dealing come to life.
  • He is still the leader of the most remarkable group of public service your self service ever assembled and most importantly Trump is still at best the local distributor for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Resistance means beginning with one simple act: refusing to legitimize illegitimate Authority.

[...]

It's a tautology of course but resistance then and now begins with resistance. You do not accept that which is not true.  More than half of republicans now refuse to believe Trump did not win the popular vote.  Resistance means find a Trump supporter everyday and remind them he [Trump] lost the popular vote.

[...]

Resistance means every public reference you make about him needs to underscore the fact that he was elected by a minority of the public and that his electoral college margin was the 46th largest of all time in other words the 13th smallest of all time. Trump is illiterate everyday.

[...]

Resistance means repetition. Humiliate him.  Humiliate him every day and those who support him.  We are in this nightmare because at some point we stopped punishing stupidity in this country.   We will not fix this core problem by appeasing the Cretans.  Besides which they will not be appeased.  They are too stupid to quit while they're ahead.  To borrow a Bush-era normalization of Terror, when you see something stupid call someone stupid.

[...]

And lastly this incoming administration rests on one inescapable truth and resistance means not moving on from it.  "A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump" wrote Ambassador John Shattuck in the Boston globe in a piece not posted until late last Friday afternoon. John Shattuck was this country's ambassador to the Czech Republic from 1990 through 2000 before that he was assistant secretary of state for democracy human rights and labor.  "He has brought it on himself by dismissing the bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ridiculous political attack on the legitimacy of his election as President."  In the Boston Globe the Ambassador outlined four possible explanations for Trump's dismissal of the investigation
  • That Trump was trying to shore up his political standing before the Electoral College voted. 
  • He was looking for leverage to use against the intelligence agencies once in office 
  • That he was testing his ability to convince the public that he and not the professionals knows the truth about national security threats and or 
  • that he is engaged in a cover-up of prior knowledge his or his campaigns of the Russian cyber attack.
"In each case the president-elect is inviting and interpretation that his behavior is treasonous the federal crime of treason is committed by a person 'owing allegiance to the United States who adheres to their enemies giving them aid or comfort' and misprision of treason is committed by a person 'having knowledge of the commission of any treason who conceals and does not disclose' the crime"

[...]

You don't have to use the "T-word." Others like "illegitimate" and "unelected" are nearly as good and there is also a passive-aggressive popular way to make this point clear.  It is like most of the points that finally defeated the Republicans of the Bush-era,  Those points succeeded not by suddenly knocking down walls but instead by eroding them as would a river.  Not using one word can be just as forceful as perpetually using another.

Never address Trump as president.  He is Trump.  Just Trump.  Never President.  The title of President?  That we must protect for a happier and more honest time.

Resistance means refusal.
Refuse. 

Resist.

December 19, 2016

Teh Crazie Is Still Crazie (WND is STILL Birther Central!)

Ah, the classics.  You just never get tired of them, do you?  Beethoven 7, Kind of Blue, The right wing crazie conspiracies...

By my calculation there are only 33 days left to the American experiment in democracy The Obama Administration and guess what?

World Net Daily is still pushing this:
Evidence that the document presented to the American public by Barack Obama as his Hawaiian birth certificate is fake soon will be heading to members of Congress, and the difficult discussions over what crimes may have been committed and what should be done could begin soon.

The atmosphere in Washington will be different under Trump, who will be inaugurated Jan. 20, since he publicly questioned Obama’s birth certificate in 2011. During this election season, he stated he now believes Obama was born in Hawaii.

But at a news conference Thursday, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the only law enforcement officer to formally investigate the allegations of fraud, presented evidence that the image of the birth document posted by the White House was fraudulent.
Only 33 days left and the nutzy right is still pecking at that Skinnerian button hoping to get that Kenyan food pellet.

And they're going to be in control of the whole shebang in 33 days.

December 18, 2016

Jack Kelly Sunday

In a column in this week's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, our friend Jack Kelly gives some significant column space (as well as some political cover) to an admitted torturer.

Shame on the new post-Obama/pro-Trump P-G for letting him do so.

It only takes a few minutes to peek through the cover Jack's thrown.  Take a look:
Large-scale attacks were “nice, but not necessary,” the planner of the 9/​11 attacks told his interrogator. Low-tech attacks could bring down America the same way “enough disease-infected fleas could bring down an elephant.”

Jihadi-minded brothers would move to the United States and “wrap themselves in America’s rights and laws” until they were strong enough to rise up and attack,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told James Mitchell, the former Air Force psychologist who helped develop interrogation techniques for the CIA. Mr. Mitchell’s new book, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying To Destroy America,” details his work.
The relationship between Mitchell and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is much more complicated (and illegal) than Jack Kelly wishes you to know.

From Newsweek:
One of the chief architects of the CIA’s harsh Bush-era interrogation program has admitted in a media interview for the first time that he waterboarded terrorism suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

James Mitchell, a former U.S. Air Force psychologist, confirmed some of the specific details in a Senate committee report released last week and defended the practices, saying that valuable intelligence was obtained despite investigators’ conclusion to the contrary.

“Yes, I waterboarded KSM,” Mitchell told the Internet-based global television news outlet VICE News, referring to Mohammed, whose interrogation was described in brutal detail in the report and which has been deemed torture by human rights groups.
Now go back and look at how Jack describes the interaction between the two - how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed "told" things to his "interrogator" Mitchell, a guy who merely "helped develop interrogation techniques for the CIA" and not how Mitchell tortured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with the methods he and his colleagues developed.

Good going, Jack.  Nice to see you euphemise war crimes into what sounds like a friendly chat between adversaries.

And again, it's so nice to see the P-G letting him get away with it.  Yay torture!  Make America great again!

Let's look a little closer at Jack's source for this part of this column.  Did you know that they had a contract for $180 million from the CIA to develop the torture techniques?  The contract was cancelled after $80 million in 2009 (thanks, Obama!) but we also learn this from NBC:
John Rizzo, the acting CIA general counsel who met with the psychologists, wrote in his book, "Company Man," that he found some of what Mitchell and Jessen were recommending "sadistic and terrifying." One technique, he wrote, was "so gruesome that the Justice Department later stopped short of approving it."
Ouch.  The acting CIA general counsel found that some of the stuff Jack's source recommended was "sadistic and terrifying."

Did you also know that James Elmer Mitchell is a defendant in a lawsuit:
...for their commission of torture; cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; non-consensual human experimentation; and war crimes.
Let's all remember that President-elect Trump has promised to bring back waterboarding.  This is what's going on in a post-Obama world - Trump's torture programs are being normalized (as with the above Jack Kelly column).

Resist the normalization of torture.  It doesn't work from the Army Field Manual:
The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor. condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.
and it's a war crime:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.
It's disgusting and immoral to see it any other way.

Jack Kelly and the P-G should know better - but apparently they don't.

From SNL - Hillary Actually



My biggest fear of a Trump presidency is found in the last two cue cards.
If Donald Trump becomes President
He will kill us all
Or at the very least, he'll get us all killed.

December 16, 2016

Donald Trump, The Constitution, And Those Pesky Emoluments

A few days ago Utah REPUBLICAN Evan McMullin tweeted:
And his first step was this:
Ok.  From Article II Secion 1:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
And previously Article I Section 9 includes:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
The Heritage Foundation says of the Emolument clause:
[T]he Framers intended the Emoluments Clause to protect the republican character of American political institutions. "One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption." The Federalist No. 22 (Alexander Hamilton). The delegates at the Constitutional Convention specifically designed the clause as an antidote to potentially corrupting foreign practices of a kind that the Framers had observed during the period of the Confederation. Louis XVI had the custom of presenting expensive gifts to departing ministers who had signed treaties with France, including American diplomats. In 1780, the King gave Arthur Lee a portrait of the King set in diamonds above a gold snuff box; and in 1785, he gave Benjamin Franklin a similar miniature portrait, also set in diamonds. Likewise, the King of Spain presented John Jay (during negotiations with Spain) with the gift of a horse. All these gifts were reported to Congress, which in each case accorded permission to the recipients to accept them. Wary, however, of the possibility that such gestures might unduly influence American officials in their dealings with foreign states, the Framers institutionalized the practice of requiring the consent of Congress before one could accept "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from...[a] foreign State."

Like several other provisions of the Constitution, the Emoluments Clause also embodies the memory of the epochal constitutional struggles in seventeenth-century Britain between the forces of Parliament and the Stuart dynasty. St. George Tucker's explanation of the clause noted that "in the reign of Charles the [S]econd of England, that prince, and almost all his officers of state were either actual pensioners of the court of France, or supposed to be under its influence, directly, or indirectly, from that cause. The reign of that monarch has been, accordingly, proverbially disgraceful to his memory." As these remarks imply, the clause was directed not merely at American diplomats serving abroad, but more generally at officials throughout the federal government.
Remember this when reading about President-elect Trump's business dealings with India or Russia or China.

But don't be surprised if our Republican Congress gave consent to any/all such bribes gifts to President Little-hands Pussy-grabber - but if they did, they'd surely be in violation of the spirit of the Constitution they all say they revere.

Don't be surprised.  This is the new normal.  Resist the new normal.

December 14, 2016

First Ladies



The Arctic Is Getting Warmer

From Time Magazine:
A series of records collapsed in the Arctic this year as the region faced unprecedented changes due to man-made global warming, news with wide-ranging implications for the health of the planet, according to a new report.

The report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that in 2016 the Arctic experienced the warmest land temperatures on record, the lowest snow cover on record and the lowest fall sea-ice cover on record.
Some sciency details from the report:
  • The average surface air temperature for the year ending September 2016 is by far the highest since 1900, and new monthly record highs were recorded for January, February, October and November 2016.
  • After only modest changes from 2013-2015, minimum sea ice extent at the end of summer 2016 tied with 2007 for the second lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1979.
And so on.

Of course it's all a Chinese hoax (did President-elect Trump's SVR handlers tell him that??).  And we know the little-handed pussy-grabber knows this by his cabinet nominations.

For example, Montana's Representative in the House, Ryan Zinke, is Trump's nominee for Interior Secretary.

In 2014, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported:
Zinke said he is a geologist and that he has seen no scientific evidence that fracking is environmentally dangerous or that climate change is changing the weather.
And they reported that he said this in an earlier radio interview:
I’m a conservationist, but when there’s a volcano in the Philippines that erupts and produces more C02 than humans have produced in 200 years – is C02 really the problem?
Let's start there. In their very next paragraph, The Bozeman fact-checks Zinke:
A U.S. Geological Survey fact sheet on volcanic carbon dioxide production cited peer-reviewed scientific studies that concluded human activities produce 35 billion metric tons per year, dwarfing the 0.26 billion metric tons produced by volcanoes.
So that would mean that Zinke was either a) mistaken or b) lying.  In either case, he should know better.

And as far as the science showing that climate change is "changing the weather", all we need do is to refer to the above NOAA report about the Arctic.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore thinks Trump is going to get us all killed and Bill Moyers asserts Trump's a traitor:
In 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson, a man named John A. Stormer self-published a book called None Dare Call It Treason. It accused America’s left-leaning elites of paving the way for a Soviet victory in the Cold War. The book sold 7 million copies, but Johnson crushed Goldwater in the election.

Now that the CIA has determined that the Russians intervened in the presidential election to help Trump win, the Cold War politics of left and right have been flipped. If Stormer rewrote his book for 2016, its thesis might go like this:

Beware of Donald Trump. Witlessly or willfully, he’s doing the Kremlin’s bidding. Anyone who enables him — on his payroll or in the press, by sucking up or by silence, out of good will or cowardice — is Vladimir Putin’s useful idiot. This is a national emergency, and treating it like normal is criminally negligent of our duty to American democracy.
So we're all gonna die and/or Trump's Putin's useful idiot (as are many many others) so what's a little less Arctic ice when we're talking about the (possible) end of American democracy?

The coming Trump presidency is not normal. Resist it.

December 13, 2016

What Is It WIth Trump And Fraud Investigations?

Remember this?
President-elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly bragged that he never settles lawsuits despite a long history of doing so, has agreed to a $25 million settlement to end the fraud cases pending against his defunct real estate seminar program, Trump University.
That was the suit that said that Trump swindled "thousands of innocent Americans out of millions of dollars."

Well the news hit yesterday about President-elect Pussy-grabber had in mind for Thomas Jefferson's old job:
Donald Trump on Tuesday morning formally announced that he will nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state.

Trump touted Tillerson as "the embodiment of the American dream."
Beyond the ties to Putin's Russia and the Award he received from Putin's Russia, we can also see that he's involved in a lawsuit as well.

This one's about how Exxon knew the climate science was real and yet misled the public about it in order to pump more profits out of the ground.

Tillerson's in on that one.  From the NYTimes:
[New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman] called his efforts a straightforward fraud investigation, like many that he and his predecessors have taken on in subjects as wide-ranging as the crash of mortgage-backed securities and Volkswagen’s diesel engine deceptions.

Mr. Schneiderman also mentioned, as an example of questionable public statements by Exxon Mobil, congressional testimony in 2010 by its chief executive, Rex Tillerson, who said that while the company acknowledged that humans were affecting the climate through greenhouse gas emissions to some degree, it was not yet clear “to what extent and therefore what can you do about it.”

Mr. Tillerson added, “There is not a model available today that is competent” for understanding the science and predicting the future.

Mr. Schneiderman disagrees, and cited the industry’s own extensive climate research and the actions it has taken in response, including exploration in the melting Arctic and raising the decks of offshore oil platforms to compensate for rising sea level.
The allegations are that Exxon was lying to its shareholders in order to maintain its profits.

Friends with Putin's Russia AND (possible - let's see how the lawsuit turns out) defrauder of American shareholders - what a great great American!

This is the new normal in Trump's America.  I will resist the new normal

December 12, 2016

An Important Message


This for our ultra-professional, triple-A rated intelligence community.

(Don't worry, they should be able to decrypt this, it's easy as 1-2-3.)

MYJLHV    MUBZCG     RBXNFR    IYSQPY  
OZMJOB    YZNZAN     WFDEIS    QGGFOA  
YZWCXM    BYREAE     LFZUYM    BQQSDS  
VKBWBZ    NZKP

--DMD

Message To Trump Voters: Your Side Of The Street Is Filthy (NSFW)


Prove It from Steve Cohen on Vimeo.

In the video, Tess Rafferty starts with:
Since I’ve posted the video Aftermath: 2016, I have been told that good people voted for Trump. I have been told that people who voted for Trump aren’t racist.  They have gay relatives, half-Mexican sons, are disabled themselves and love and respect women. I have been told they are good people.

(I have also been told that I’m a cunt who should have been aborted and should be raped by ISIS. But I’m sure those are good people, too.)

So you voted for Trump and you say you’re a good person? Prove it. You obviously like reality shows, you voted like you think you’re in one. Pretend you're a contestant on “So You Think You’re Not a Racist.”

Your first challenge is to clean your side of the street.
She then calls out Trump's racism, misogyny, and homophobia.  Then there's this to his voters who really really don't want to be called racist or misogynist or homophobic:
Say that all of the 1000 plus hate crimes that have been committed since Trump was “elected,” that all of the people who have said, “we don’t have to tolerate your kind now that Trump is President,” tell us all that these people do not speak for you. You’re probably wondering, “Do I really have to tell you that?” The answer is yes, you do. Because you blew your last chance to tell us that these people didn’t speak for you when you voted to elect Donald Trump to speak for you.

Your side of the street is filthy.
Aftermath: 2016 can be found here - and a transcript here (NSFW).  In that video she says what I've been thinking for some time:
I tried to be polite, but now I just don’t give a damn, because let’s be honest, we don’t live in polite America anymore. We live in ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ America now. So thank you for that, being polite was exhausting.
 Happy Monday.

December 9, 2016

We are well and truly fucked


What the actual fuck?

So we now learn that the CIA confirmed that Russia wasn't just trying to undermine confidence in the election, they were actively trying to get Trump elected. Most people with half a brain could see this already, but of course, this confirmation didn't come out before the damn election.

According to the article, they secretly briefed a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders in September, but "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present." Well no shit he would! And now his wife has been chosen by Trump to be the next Secretary of Transportation. The motherfucker decided to put party before country. What a surprise! And, because President Obama refused to release this information without bipartisan support, it's only coming out now. (Sorry, Obama. You should have brought on the drama with this one.)

There was also that report by David Corn in Mother Jones on October 31st:
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer's conversations with Russian sources, noted, "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance." It maintained that Trump "and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals." It claimed that Russian intelligence had "compromised" Trump during his visits to Moscow and could "blackmail him." It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on "bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls." 
The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was "shock and horror."
This was published just a couple of days after Comey's letter apprising Congress of new emails "that appear to be pertinent" to the investigation of Hillary Clinton. A letter which broke with all tradition, and the law, regarding the FBI interfering with elections. And, we know now, that while Comey had no problem slinging mud Clinton's way, the FBI and CIA were investigating Trump on far more serious matters -- like being a goddamn Manchurian Candidate!

So fuck this whole 'It's all Hillary's fault for fucking up with white working class males' meme. She had the Russians and our FBI actively fighting against her...and she knew it. And she still got 2.8 million more votes than Trump...and counting.

Fuck Мистер Trump. Fuck Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republicans. Fuck Putin and the KGB. Fuck Comey and the FBI. And fuck the certain set of so called progressives who said it didn't matter if it was the Russians who were behind the hacked emails, it was more important that some things in those emails could hurt Bernie's feelings, and then cried 'red baiting.'

I don't even know what country this is anymore.

Spokoynoy Nochi

Stephen Colbert On Pizzagate



A few takeaways:
  • On Mike Flynn, Trump's choice for national security advisor, who was found to have tweeted on #pizzagate - a tweet that began with a "U decide", Colbert says: "OK, then I decide that a guy who spreads this bullshit shouldn’t be in charge of national security."
  • And then, after demolishing any possible explanation of #pizzagate other than it's complete conspiracy theory bullshit, he ends with, "Look around the country. Wouldn’t you agree we need some more adults? So WikiLeaks, Alex Jones, and the subreddit sub-geniuses—and I mean this in the nicest way possible: grow the fuck up."
FYI - Right now, Alex Jones has this on his website:
This is a red level emergency.

Infowars, Breitbart, the Drudge Report and other independent sources are destroying the mainstream media narrative like never before, and the establishment is getting desperate.

In an effort to try and censor the liberty movement and free speech, the mainstream media is now attempting to label legitimate news sources like Infowars as "fake news" to push towards a government-led shut down of Infowars.com.

The Washington Post has even gone as far as to label sites like Infowars as "Russian propaganda fake news" web sites, exemplifying the last attempt of a dying media conglomerate to force out any and all dissenting voices.

Even more concerning, the United States House of Representatives quietly passed legislation targeting 'Russian propaganda' websites.
I wonder if Jones means H.R. 5181, the "Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016" - but that can't possibly be the case, because Jones said that The House "quietly passed" the legislation and H.R. 5181 was only introduced in the house. 

Last May.

But what the heck, we live in a post-fact world now, right?

But even if it isn't that legislation, look at what Alex Jones is saying: that the MAJORITY REPUBLICAN, TEA-PARTY CONTROLLED House of Representatives is quietly looking to shut down Infowars, Breitbart and the Drudge Report.

And you believe that (or any of the other conspiracy theories floating around right wing media), you need to GROW THE FUCK UP.

December 8, 2016

President Obama, Two Days Ago

In a speech at MacDill Air Force Base outlining his administration's approach to counter-terrorism, President Obama said:
So let my final words to you as your Commander-in-Chief be a reminder of what it is that you're fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for. The United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom. We're a country that was founded so that people could practice their faiths as they choose. The United States of America is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny, or carry a special ID card, or prove that they’re not an enemy from within. We’re a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination and arbitrary rule, here in our own country and around the world.

We’re a nation that believes freedom can never be taken for granted and that each of us has a responsibility to sustain it. The universal right to speak your mind and to protest against authority, to live in a society that’s open and free, that can criticize a President without retribution -- (applause) -- a country where you're judged by the content of your character rather than what you look like, or how you worship, or what your last name is, or where your family came from -- that's what separates us from tyrants and terrorists.

We are a nation that stands for the rule of law, and strengthen the laws of war. When the Nazis were defeated, we put them on trial. Some couldn’t understand that; it had never happened before. But as one of the American lawyers who was at Nuremberg says, “I was trying to prove that the rule of law should govern human behavior.” And by doing so, we broadened the scope and reach of justice around the world. We held ourselves out as a beacon and an example for others.

We are a nation that won World Wars without grabbing the resources of those we defeated. We helped them rebuild. We didn't hold on to territory, other than the cemeteries where we buried our dead. Our Greatest Generation fought and bled and died to build an international order of laws and institutions that could preserve the peace, and extend prosperity, and promote cooperation among nations. And for all of its imperfections, we depend on that international order to protect our own freedom.

In other words, we are a nation that at our best has been defined by hope, and not fear. A country that went through the crucible of a Civil War to offer a new birth of freedom; that stormed the beaches of Normandy, climbed the hills of Iwo Jima; that saw ordinary people mobilize to extend the meaning of civil rights. That's who we are. That's what makes us stronger than any act of terror.

Remember that history. Remember what that flag stands for. For we depend upon you -- the heirs to that legacy -- our men and women in uniform, and the citizens who support you, to carry forward what is best in us -- that commitment to a common creed. The confidence that right makes might, not the other way around. (Applause.)

That’s how we can sustain this long struggle. That's how we’ll protect this country. That's how we’ll protect our Constitution against all threats, foreign and domestic.
Yea, like this guy:


Of course the devil horns made by the "M" in "TIME" are completely coincidental.

December 7, 2016

Some Actual Weather Scientists Debunk Breitbart's Weather Truthiness

Hey remember this?

It's only from a few days ago but it was the story on how some climate truthiness from Breitbart made it all the way to the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

As climate science, it was completely wrong and frighteningly indicative of what we can expect from President small-hands pussy grabber (and his enablers in the GOP) for the next four years.

Luckily, Kait Parker of Weather.com spoke up:


A couple of takeaways:
  • Science doesn't care about your opinion about the fact that the planet is warming
  • Breitbart claimed that land temps plummeted when actually land and ocean temps have gone up
  • Breitbart cherry picked its data to support its truthiness
Climate science is true.  Rightwing truthiness that it's either ending or non-existent is false.

Or as Neil deGrasse Tyson said:
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.
Let's make the facts louder than the opinions.

The Resistance - Keith Olbermann (NSFW)

Why a know-nothing ego-maniac has no business on the phone with world leaders.


Resistance is necessary.

December 6, 2016

Two Republicans Who Get It And A Congressfull Who Don't

I am not sure if you read about this but there's a REPUBLICAN ELECTOR in the electoral college who's refusing to vote for Donald J. Trump.

His name is Christopher Suprun.  And lest you think he's a RINO, he's actually a yuge fan of Ronald Reagan (read the editorial and you'll see).

He's also a fan of the Constitution.  And here, now, that's what's important.  Good for him.

He gives his reasons for not voting for Trump in this editorial in the NYTimes:
The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.
Here is Federalist 68 if you want to check Suprun's work.  Hamilton's always a good read.

He also says:
Mr. Trump does not understand that the Constitution expressly forbids a president to receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. We have reports that Mr. Trump’s organization has business dealings in Argentina, Bahrain, Taiwan and elsewhere. Mr. Trump could be impeached in his first year given his dismissive responses to financial conflicts of interest. He has played fast and loose with the law for years. He may have violated the Cuban embargo, and there are reports of improprieties involving his foundation and actions he took against minority tenants in New York. Mr. Trump still seems to think that pattern of behavior can continue.
We cannot normalize Trump's behavior.  This is not normal.  He is not a normal president-elect.

Then there's Evan McMullin.  A Republican, he ran against Trump in Utah.  In his Times editorial, he outright says calls Trump an authoritarian.  He begins by telling a story from when Trump met with some congressional republicans this summer.  A member of Congress asked him about his commitment to Article I.  McMullin writes:
Mr. Trump interrupted her to declare his commitment to the Constitution — even to parts of it that do not exist, such as “Article XII.” Shock swept through the room as Mr. Trump confirmed one of our chief concerns about him: He lacked a basic knowledge of the Constitution.

There is still deeper cause for concern. Mr. Trump’s erroneous proclamation also suggested that he lacked even an interest in the Constitution. Worse, his campaign rhetoric had demonstrated authoritarian tendencies.

He had questioned judicial independence, threatened the freedom of the press, called for violating Muslims’ equal protection under the law, promised the use of torture and attacked Americans based on their gender, race and religion. He had also undermined critical democratic norms including peaceful debate and transitions of power, commitment to truth, freedom from foreign interference and abstention from the use of executive power for political retribution.
Two faithful GOP members who get it.

Unfortunately there are those establishment Republicans who don't.  From Jamelle Bouie at Slate:
Why doesn't Paul Ryan or Reince Priebus care about Trump's conspiracy theorizing? Because there's no partisan incentive to do so. Indeed, there's an even stronger incentive to ignore what the president-elect says. As speaker of the House, Paul Ryan will have huge influence on the scope and direction of domestic policy. He will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to scale back the welfare state, bringing his libertarian ideology to bear on programs like Medicare and Social Security. With his dream so close at hand, why would Ryan risk his relationship with Trump by challenging his rhetoric? Why would he jeopardize his program?

If it wasn't clear during the election, it is now: Republican leaders will excuse Trump's worst behavior as long as he signs their legislation. Which is to say that Paul Ryan and his colleagues will tolerate Trump's attack on American elections and American democracy, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their program of cutting taxes and slashing the safety net.
The new normal. I will resist the new normal.

December 4, 2016

Donald Trump Retweets And Gets Taken To School By A Trans Woman

This was on SNL last night:


And this is how the next leader of the free world reacted:
Luckily he was retweeted (with some pointed criticism) by a greater American than Donald Trump will ever be, a woman who's trans woman named Danielle Muscato.

Here are all her tweets in one easy to read chunk (slightly edited for clarity):
Jesus fucking Christ, . You are the president-elect. Pick your fucking battles, man. You're embarrassing yourself.

Baldwin's impression isn't "Sad." You know what's sad? In 7 wks you'll be responsible for 330m lives & you can't think of anything better to do than tweet abt a comedy show. You know that actual lives are at stake, right? You're pathetic.

This is not a joke, Donald. Don't you have anything better to do? Are you so narcissistic that a PARODY is your priority?

Do you know how many trans people were murdered since Election Day? Do you know how many veterans killed themselves?

Do you know how many children went to bed tonight without enough food to eat? Do you even care? What is *wrong* with you?!

No, of course you don't know those things. You don't even know what a "blind trust," and you call yourself a businessman.

You're pathetic. You ran for prez for attention. You are a fake,a fraud. You never wanted to win anyway; we can all see it.

You are not fooling anyone. You're scared, and overwhelmed, and you have absolutely no idea what you're doing. And it shows

You think we're all too polite, too aghast, to call you out. I see through you, Donny. I'm calling you out. You're a joke.

With every fiber of my being, I am disgusted by you. And you know what the real secret is? You're disgusted by you, too.

That's why you surround yourself with gold, and beautiful women that you objectify. You know you're a loser, so you try to make yourself feel better, feel successful, authoritative, with things, and money. You are an impostor. You are a fraud.

I'm ashamed of you. The world is ashamed. You spout NONSENSE, millions of illegal voters?! Even you don't believe it—absurd

Do you think we're stupid? You think we don't know what you're doing? Trying to control the narrative, get your followers to distrust the media, the polls, news reporters, so that they must turn to YOU for what's true, what's real? There's a name for that. It's "propaganda." We know what you're doing. We will not allow you to suppress votes with this nonsense.

We will not allow you to trample our civil rights! We will not allow you to destroy the progress we've made! WE WILL RESIST

I call upon progressives, Democrats, independents AND Republicans to #RESIST Donald Trump. #RESIST fascism, crony capitalism, hypocrisy!

When Donald Trump "lies," acknowledge and call out as propaganda! When he tests boundaries, acknowledge and call out as fascism! #RESIST

We CANNOT "wait and see." Donald Trump is telling us, here and now, what he is going to do. BELIEVE HIM.

"Millions" of "illegal" votes is not a claim about reality, despite Donald Trump's pretense. It is a warning; a threat. Pay attn—RESIST!

[He's] TELLING US he'll suppress votes. Our democracy is at stake. We cannot wait,let him enact policy, then whine—We must resist

Donald Trump tweets so we forget that his kids will run his company in a "blind trust" (!) while sitting in on diplomatic meetings.

Donald Trump tweets so we forget that he is stacking his cabinet with the very same people he promised to remove from his influence.

Donald Trump tweets so we ignore that he's clueless at governance. The more outrageous his tweets, the harder it is for us to keep up.

We see you, Donald. We know exactly what you're doing & it's not working on us. You're a disgrace & you should be ashamed.

The next 4 years will be brutal for me & my fellow civil rights activists. Not all of us will survive. But we will #RESIST.

We will #RESIST til racist police are imprisoned. We will #RESIST til FULL equality for women—We will #RESIST. We are ready

We will #RESIST until abortion is accessible to everyone who needs it. Until LGBTQ are safe & healthy, until PoC are safe.

You can fight us on it—and you are, and you will. But you will lose. Because history is on our side. We may not live to see [it] but we know we will win. We will fight you every step, so be ready. You can't stop progress, no matter how hard you try.
Resistance is not futile.  It's necessary.

December 2, 2016

Post-Truth, Truthiness, And The House Science Committee

From The Washington Post, we read:
Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016's international word of the year, after the contentious “Brexit” referendum and an equally divisive U.S. presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to the Oxford University Press.

The dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
A little while later they write:
For what it's worth, “post-truth” is not to be confused with “truthiness,” a subtly different term popularized by Stephen Colbert more than a decade ago that described the phenomenon of “believing something that feels true, even if it isn't supported by fact.
And then finally:
And if anything, the rise of truthiness cleared the path for “post-truth,” as in: “In a post-truth world, truthiness is all that matters.”
Which brings us to the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and this tweet yesterday:
And as HuffingtonPost points out:
The tweet linked to an article posted on hyper-conservative Breitbart News, which points to the oft-used and completely incorrect assumption that because it’s getting cold out (i.e. winter) the climate can’t be changing.
Breitbart is where Steve Bannon, President-elect Pussy Grabber's chief strategist, came from.

Let's look a little deeper at that Brietbart truthiness.

From its first paragraph, you should know something goofy is going on:
Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record.
Note the time frame (6 months "since the middle of this year") and the geographic frame ("Global Land Temperatures") - each is a limit on the data.

But first let's look at the source of Breitbart's piece - it's a piece in the Daily Mail about how the most recent el Nino could be the cause of the recent higher global temperatures.  What's left out, of course, any acknowledgement that the climate still is getting warmer despite the localized ups/downs of el Nino/el Nina.

Something that's shown in this tweet by an actual climate scientist:
I'm sure that within those rising red rectangles, there were el Nino peaks and valleys.

Still doesn't change the fact that this decade is warmer than the last, which was warmer than the one before that and so on.

In the end, I am not sure if this is Post-truth or just "truthiness" but what the Republican-led House Committee on Science tweeted is still something untrue masquerading as a fact.

Fair is foul and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.  (Let's hope we fare better than Macbeth.)

Science in Trumpistan - the new normal.  I will resist the new normal.