Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 14 in a series

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A short history lesson:

At a rally in Sanford, Florida, Donald Trump railed against the Affordable Care Act. The GOP nominee called Obamacare a “disastrous law” and told supporters his first presidential act would be to repeal. “You’re going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it is going to be so easy,” Trump said.

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Right on! That was candidate Trump back in October explaining to fools like us. Fools like whom?

President Donald Trump said during remarks at the White House on Monday that “nobody knew” that health care “could be so complicated” as his party debates an alternative to Obamacare, which they have vowed to repeal.

What a difference a few days of on-the-job experience can make. There’s going to be lots more. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

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Quick History Lesson

The story continues.

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I posted on this topic over three years ago, and it continues to get traffic. The thread sprang from a meme a Facebook friend posted, offering a decidedly tilted interpretation of history:

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The aim is to convince readers that the Democratic Party is the party of suppression, and to make the point, party voting of previous decades is touted, somewhat lamely, in support of the argument. The argument conveniently overlooks that today the Democratic Party is campaigning for voting rights, while Republican politicians are pushing to suppress minority voting and are cheering the fall of historic voting rights legislation.

The argument was growing even before that. In July 2013 I posted an item linking the Republican Party with racial prejudice:

I am impressed. Did I say “impressed?” I am really impressed. In this jaded era, blown free of purity and naivety by the relentless winds of instant communication and instant gratification, on a planet that shrinks daily to the width of a smart phone screen and with hard reality just a click away on the TV remote, I am impressed that even an ounce of mental innocence remains, let alone the buckets full that spilled at a recent gathering.

CPAC Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Whites Arrive

A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.

The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”

The event was CPAC 2013 held in National Harbor, Maryland, from 14 to 16 March 2013. CPAC is the Conservative Action Conference, and the March event was one of several scheduled this year. I don’t have a copy of the event program, but CBS News posted a summary. The theme was “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives.”

To that I obtained immediate push back from an actual friend, not just a Facebook friend. From private correspondence:

I think you’re making a sad mistake to 1) equate the Tea Party to the KKK and the Nazi party and 2) regurgitate a summary of an event where the source of the summary is a political opponent. Politicians are in business to gain and keep power; there are bad apples in every group regardless of their stripes and suffixes.

There was some additional interchange, including elaboration by “Jim.”

The Nazi were, as I’m sure you’re aware, socialist. Mao and Stalin were “leftist”, so are you, being a progressive, an admirer of them? You and other members of the left choose to associate Neo-Nazis, the KKK and racism with conservatives because it suits your purposes, not that it’s a deserving fit. Finally, just because “a number cheered” doesn’t mean squat, you don’t know if it was one, two or twenty nor do you know how many were in the room. You, by the way, grew up in Texas which was the most racist place I’ve ever lived. So do you, by virtue of being a Texan, deserve the label of being a racist? This is my point, don’t paint an entire group by the few bad actors within the group.

The crux of Jim’s argument is we should not associate the Republican Party with racism just because some Republicans are racists. He missed the point, which I laid out in a response:

Yeah, I’m satisfied with the way I wrote it. Terry had a message, and he knew just where to take it, and he took it there. Accounts show that Terry’s message was not universally accepted at the meeting, but a number present cheered his remarks. In no nearly main stream political movement would his message find such a welcome but the Tea Party movement. If Terry’s message seems to reflect KKK ideology, then he is the one who made it so, and he alone can offer any clarification.

Nazism, KKK, racism are not generally linked to liberal ideology. They are more comfortable in a conservative political setting. If there is any thing not true about that statement, then somebody needs to explain what that thing might be.

If the Tea Party wants to distance itself from extreme right wing ideology such as Nazism, the KKK and racism, they need to denounce these and the people who promote them. People like Scott Terry should not feel so comfortable coming to a CPAC session.

Comments posted to the original item provide a view to the core of the argument. Go to the original to read all comments. Here is part of one:

So you assume that abolishing slavery and elevating humanity is a liberal concept, and not a conservative one? And then you just “assign” this assumption to a political party based on your bias? You believe that conservatives, now politically associated with republicans, would not vote for the 13th, 14th, or 15th amendments? Shame on you for convoluting the facts. Dishonesty seems to be the flavor of politics these days, BOTH parties. If you think it through further, it is clear to me that the current democrat party has figured out how to keep african americans as slaves, and bonus: African Americans love them for it! They make up about 13% of the population, yet the bulk of government assistance and generational welfare by PERCENTAGE rate. Almost 40% of black males ages 18-25 are UNEMPLOYED. Home ownership, salaries, future prospects—all worse in the last 8 years under democrat rule. Yet somehow the democrat party has figured out that keeping African Americans under educated and dependent on generational welfare, all the while pretending to care about them by supporting their own notion that they are being “kept down” by the white man/national bias, earns democrats the coveted African American vote.

So, that says a lot about that. There is another facet to the story, and it’s the one central to this post. This comment was also posted to the original item:

Please stop your crap about the Confederate flag — it’s NOT racist except in the minds of people like you.

Yes, that’s it. “It’s not racist except in the minds of people like you.” Not racist except in the minds of people like me? Like me? In the minds of people like me and also in the minds of people like Jose Torres and Kayla Norton. See the screen shot from ABC News yesterday. CNN has posted an item on-line:

(CNN) — A Georgia couple who rode with a Confederate flag-waving group that made armed threats against African-Americans at a child’s birthday party were sentenced to prison Monday.

Jose “Joe” Torres, was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act.

Let me guess. These people would have voted for Hillary Clinton. No? I just hate it when I’m wrong like that.

Four Weeks In

Number 11 of a series

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Holy moly! There’s more here than I can keep up with. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I still have 69 to go. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 11:

11. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: Regarding Healthcare.gov: “Remember the $5 billion website?”

In fact: Healthcare.gov did not cost $5 billion. The Obama administration offered a figure of less than $1 billion, while an analysis by Bloomberg found that it cost just over $2 billion.

Despite existing evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Readers, here is a guy who invents alternative facts out of thin air.

This is 11 so far and 69 to go. The first week of the Trump administration is not completed, and he’s averaging more than two a day. If you are one of those who feel comfortable with this, then please get help right away. They have good people. They have the very best people.

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

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You don’t have to be a Bible thumper to die in the name of closely-held belief. Step right up to the New Age of false promises:

WASHINGTON — Case 7682299: Aug. 1, 2010. A mother gives her toddler three homeopathic pills to relieve her teething pain. Within minutes, the baby stops breathing.

“My daughter had a seizure, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing about 30 minutes after I gave her three Hyland’s Teething Tablets,” the mother later told the Food and Drug Administration. “She had to receive mouth-to-mouth CPR to resume breathing and was brought to the hospital.”

There are eight cases of death involving babies who took these products. It is not been determined if there is any connection with the product and the fatal outcomes. In true fashion homeopathic products contain no active ingredients. What then, is the issue with the FDA requiring Hyland’s reformulate its products?

The report from STAT News points out that some doctors blame these products directly for children’s deaths.

 

Buyer’s Remorse

Some more of the same

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Did you ever buy something on-line, and when you received it you figured out it wasn’t what you wanted? There’s a lot of that going around:

Republicans take evasive maneuvers to avoid feisty town halls

With President Trump’s White House mired in controversy and his party’s legislative agenda initially stalled as a result, congressional Republicans are discovering a new outlet for their creative energies as they head home for next week’s recess: avoiding their constituents.

As many observers have noted, rank-and-file progressives have recently taken a page from the tea party’s playbook, and begun to disrupt in-person town-hall events with their representatives, booing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and prompting police to escort Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., to his car.

But as the opposition has grown more organized, Republicans have responded in kind, developing an elaborate array of evasive maneuvers to help them dodge unsympathetic constituents altogether. The upshot has been a game of democratic cat-and-mouse that would seem cartoonish if less serious matters were at stake.

A major issue in last year’s election was the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. There was no doubt. The first order of business would be to repeal the ACA:

When we win on November 8th, and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. I will ask Congress to convene a special session.

That seemed unequivocal. Not so fast:

Republicans suddenly realize burning down the health-care system might not be a great idea

The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not going well, in large part because it turns out that making sweeping changes to a system that encompasses one-sixth of the American economy turns out to be rather more complicated than they imagined. Their backtracking has an interesting character to it, in particular how they’ve been gobsmacked by the transition from shaking their fists at the system to being responsible for it.

I’m not too sure what “gobsmacked” means, but Republicans have been done it. Representatives and Senators showing up for town hall meetings back home have been catching some heat, and some have responded in innovative ways. Not always with success:

Crowd erupts in anger when GOP senator shows up late to town hall then tries to stall with group prayer

Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy faced an angry crowd at a town hall meeting in Metairie on Wednesday when he showed up late and then tried to have the crowd participate in a group prayer.

“Pray on your own time!” shouted one angry constituent, according to NOLA.com. “This is our time.”

A group of women located near the back of the room reportedly chanted, “Separation of church and state.”

“Wow, they booed the name of Jesus,” said Cassidy after the prayer — led by Louisiana State Chaplain Michael Sprague — got drowned out by protests.

The town hall was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but protesters began to arrive at 11 a.m. and by early afternoon, the parking lot was full. Some attendees parked blocks away at other locations in the neighborhood.

Victor Frankenstein’s monster never got this hot a reception. Texas’ own Louis Gohmert (District 1) became concerned about the kind of reception he could expect in his far northeast corner of Texas, about as red as I can imagine. He went so far as to cancel his scheduled meeting. Bad move. He made the mistake of invoking a former representative from Arizona, one who seems to have more backbone:

Gabby Giffords Shuts Down Congressman Who Used Her 2011 Shooting as Excuse to Ditch Town Hall

Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman who was shot during a “Congress on Your Corner” event in 2011, slammed Republicans on Thursday for failing to show up to town hall meetings with their constituents out of fear of facing protesters.

“I was shot on a Saturday morning,” Giffords wrote in a statement. “By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber—at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead—held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.”

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” she continued. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

The sharp words were a direct response to a controversial statement released earlier by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), in which he invoked Giffords’ shooting to defend his decision not to meet with his constituents.

“Threats are nothing new to me, and I have gotten my share as a felony judge,” Gohmert said. “However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.”

Are voters angry at the direction their new government is taking? Are they disenchanted over the unending flow of misinformation emanating from the silver-tongued one and the daily administrative buggery? Certainly that, but is some of it appears to be buyers’ remorse. For sure the preponderance of protests at these meetings is from Democrats seeing a new government conniving to undo a lot of work accomplished in the previous eight years, but Republicans are crying foul, as well:

Trump voters covered by Obamacare don’t like the GOP’s health care ideas

Now, however, both Trump and GOP lawmakers have to live up to their promises and take their turn at designing an alternative health care law. And the details they have provided aren’t looking so great to their voters, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

KFF’s issue brief relies on focus groups conducted in December in the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Researchers interviewed 48 people, some of whom relied on the Obamacare insurance marketplace and some of whom had benefited from the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — and found they’re not excited about a lot of the GOP’s health care ideas.

Too bad, dudes. You bought it, and it’s too late to take it back to the store.

Four Weeks In

Number 10 of a series

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It’s amazing what a new President can accomplish during the first four weeks in office. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I’m not about to catch up. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 10:

10. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: With regard to his speech to the Central Intelligence Agency earlier in the week: “They showed the people applauding and screaming and they were all CIA. There was — somebody was asking [press secretary] Sean [Spicer] – ‘Well, were they Trump people that were put’ — we don’t have Trump people. They were CIA people.”

In fact: Most of the audience was indeed made up of CIA personnel, but Trump is wrong that there were no “Trump people.” Spicer told the press that “maybe 10” people in attendance were part of Trump’s entourage; CBS News reported that an official familiar with the event said Spicer was inaccurate, as Trump and his allies brought about 40 people.

Despite existing evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Readers, this is a guy who invents alternative facts out of thin air.

This is ten so far and only 70 left to go. However, we are well past inaugural day and running. If you are one of those who feel comfortable with this, then you are feeling more lonely by the day.

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

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Readers have been getting off easy recently. I’m going back to geometry questions, so give your brain a work out.

I found this on the Internet, but you shouldn’t go looking for the solution without first coming up with a solution. With a single line, does not need to be straight, divide the shape shown above into two identical parts. Post your answer as a comment below.

Actually, send me a copy of your solution by email, and I will post it.

Update

No solution. I have not solved it. Mike proposed a solution. See his comment below. Unable to post a graphic, he indicated the shape of the solution as follows:

XX
XXX
X

See the figure below:

Shape A is the original, turned upright. Shape B is Mike’s proposed solution in graphical form. My apologies if I misinterpreted Mike’s rendition.

What is apparent to me is that shape B cannot be fitted twice into shape A. I’m calling the Quiz Question still  unanswered.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting

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How come there’s never a Pee Pee Tape around when you need one?

An Actual False-Flag Operation at CPAC

Two men made trouble—and stirred up a social-media frenzy—on the third day of the Conservative Political Action Conference by conducting a literal false-flag operation.

Jason Charter, 22, and Ryan Clayton, 36, passed out roughly 1,000 red, white, and blue flags, each bearing a gold-emblazoned “TRUMP” in the center, to an auditorium full of attendees waiting for President Trump to address the conference. Audience members waved the pennants—and took pictures with them—until CPAC staffers realized the trick: They were Russian flags.

Most embarrassing. How embarrassing? Very embarrassing. Very embarrassing, especially when you consider our new president, the darling of this year’s CPAC convention, has long touted his admiration for Russia and its autocratic ruler, Vladimir Putin. A previous administration and the one before that held the Russian Federation under Putin’s leadership to  be America’s most fearsome adversary in the quest for democratic government in eastern Europe. President Trump’s financial ties to Russia and Putin are one thing. The possible existence of a Pee Pee Tape add flavor to the sauce. It’s a sauce Democrats are currently savoring.

Keep reading. The goose is not yet cooked.

Four Weeks In

Number 9 of a series

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It’s amazing what a new President can accomplish during the first four weeks in office. So many lies, so little time. I’m posting one each day, and I’m not about to catch up. Daniel Dale with the Washington bureau of The Star compiled the list. I’m posting them in chronological order. Here’s number 9:

9. Jan. 25, 2017 — Interview with ABC’s David Muir

The claim: “I think you’re demeaning by talking the way you’re talking. I think you’re demeaning. And that’s why I think a lot of people turned on you and turned on a lot of other people. And that’s why you have a 17 per cent approval rating, which is pretty bad.”

In fact: Saying “you” here, Trump wrongly conveys the impression that Muir himself has 17 per cent approval. In fact, there is no polling on Muir. Trump appears to have actually been referring to a 2016 poll about Americans’ views on the media. In that poll, the media’s approval rating was 19 per cent.

When he has no evidence, even despite existing evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Hopefully he’s not going to be doing this when it comes to assessing intelligence data. Only joking. Of course he will.

This is nine so far, but we are well past inaugural day and running. Do you feel comfortable yet?

Keep reading And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Here’s one more of the Bulldog Drummond series. I don’t know when the supply is going to run out, but when it does I’m proposing a Bulldog Drummond binging party. Stay alert.

This came out in 1939, so I missed it by a year. Even a couple of years later it would have been wasted on my, the plot being too convoluted. Then, maybe not. It’s Bulldog Drummond’s Bride, featuring John Howard as Captain Hugh Chesterton ‘Bulldog’ Drummond and that good looking Heather Angel as Phyllis Clavering, Bulldog Drummond’s bride.

Wikipedia, from which I am drawing technical details, lists Paramount Pictures as the production company, but opening credits show, first, The Criterion Collection, followed by a splash screen proclaiming “A Janus Films Presentation,” then (from the film itself) “Congress Films, Inc. Presents,” and finally the title credits and the movie. I watched this on Amazon Prime Video, but you can also catch it on YouTube:

It’s a crashing opening. A London postman is collecting from a box in front of a bank when he is suddenly bowled over by a massive explosion from inside. Out runs a bank robber, loot in hand, and off down the street. A painter named Garvey (Gerald Hamer), working in an apartment nearby, is alerted by the explosion, and presently the robber, Henri Armides (Eduardo Ciannelli), climbs in through the window. The two are in cahoots.

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Enter Drummond and bride-to-be Phyllis. They are making their way to their new apartment, which takes them right past the bank while police are throwing up a cordon around the neighborhood. The two cannot proceed further, and embrace amidst the hubbub.

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It will turn out eventually, that the new Drummonds’ future apartment is exactly the one where Armides has taken refuge. He changes painter’s rags with his partner in crime and casts about for a place to stash the swag. He finds a place in what will later turn out to be Phyllis’ portable radio.

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Then, when Drummond’s friend and cohort, Algy Longworth (Reginald Denny), drops by, Armides pretends to have gone bonkers from lead poisoning (paint), and smears himself, and also Algy. It’s his plan to escape the police cordon in disguise. The swag remains in the radio.

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But the radio winds up in France. A telegram from Phyllis instructs Drummond to ship the radio forthwith by air.

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Armides escapes from the mental hospital where he has been taken and reunites with Garvey. They search Drummond’s digs for the radio, seeing instead a telegram from Phyllis being slipped under the door. It advises Drummond that the radio has arrived safely in France. The crooks decide to waylay Drummond with that old fishing line-pistol trap, set to spring when Drummond opens the door.

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Of course that doesn’t work. It never does. But Drummond gets wise. The crooks have taken the telegram, but they leave the envelope behind. Drummond contacts the telegraph office and gets a repeat of the message, concluding the crooks are on their way to France and sweet Phyllis. Drummond and Algy speed away by air to France to save Phyllis.

But Drummond’s affectionate prior supervisor, Col. J.A. Nielson (H.B. Warner), takes it upon himself to waylay Drummond and dissuade him from interfering with police matters. He fakes a message to French police, and Drummond is thrown into a French jail when he arrives. As luck would have it, Garvey is in the same cell, having been nabbed by the police in his attempt to hoax Phyllis out of the radio.

Dinner for Garvey arrives. It has been sent by persons unknown, but we soon figure out who sent the snack. The dinner includes a note instructing Garvey to break the wine bottle, which he does, after sharing the wine with Drummond. Garvey does not know Drummond and supposes him to be a master criminal, which he admires.

Inside the bottle is an explosive device that Garvey uses to blow a hole in the wall, enabling the pair to escape.

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But Drummond’s friends have caught up with the situation, and Mayor Jean Philippe Napoleon Dupres (Louis Mercier) insists on performing the marriage ceremony right on the spot.

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That doesn’t happen, because Drummond is hot on Armides’ trail, and there is a protracted fight on the rooftops. Drummond retrieves the radio and the money, but Armides escapes.

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The wedding is concluded, and a bottle of wine is sent in. Drummond recognizes Armides’ work and tosses the bottle with the explosive into a well, where Armides has taken refuge. Poetic justice.

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It’s a farce of crime and romance, where the audience laughs while multiple people die. Without the screen presence of Ms. Angel this might not be worth seeing. Too bad there are no nude scenes.

The description I have just laid on should explain why this comes in as the week’s bad movie. Contact me if you need more.