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:

HistoryLesson

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.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

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Something is getting under the skin of the new snowflake president. Yesterday, speaking at CPAC, he denounced fake news:

President Trump Continues His Attack on ‘Fake News’ During CPAC Speech

President Donald Trump heaped criticism on what he called purveyors of “fake news” on Friday at a gathering of conservative activists that took him back to his roots as an anti-establishment candidate.

Speaking to a large group of conservatives who packed into a hotel ballroom outside Washington, Trump sought to clarify a recent tweet in which he said some in the U.S. news media should be considered an “enemy of the people.”

“I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be out there,” Trump said. “Let there be no more sources.”

Readers, this is hot stuff. Major news outlets, having nothing for the morning’s headlines, are inventing news. Not only are they inventing news, they are inventing sources for their invented news. Invented news, indeed! And who can doubt President Donald Trump. He is, after all, the master of invented news:

Feb 18
Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.

Obviously an expert.

The purveyors of this fake news are certainly not going to take this from a snowflake president without pushing back. When the White House excluded some of them, including Politico, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and even CNN, CNN‘s  chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper took to the waves to complain:

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What spin meister Tapper wants us to think is that facts the snowflake president finds offensive get dismissed out of hand with the label “fake news.” Which apparently is what is happening, but that’s beside the point.

Other news outlets are piling on, denouncing the snowflake president for calling fake news fake news. Who else is complaining? (You may ask). Fox News, perhaps:

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith defended CNN on Friday after the news organization was barred from spokesman Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session at the White House.

“For the record, ‘fake news’ refers to stories that are created, often by entities pretending to be news organizations, solely to draw clicks and views and are based on nothing of substance,” Smith said during his program.

“In short, fake news is made up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN’s reporting was not fake news. Its journalists followed the same standards to which other news organizations, including Fox News, adhere,” he added.

Denouncing the news and trumping up charges? No way! Remember, this is something White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said would never happen.

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Hey! Who’s the Master of Deception now? Eat your heart out, Little Joseph.

Readers, it’s just getting started. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Four Weeks In

Number 8 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 8:

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

The claim: “No, no, you have to understand, I had a tremendous victory, one of the great victories ever. In terms of counties I think the most ever, or just about the most ever.”

In fact: Trump’s victory was not close to one of the biggest of all time. He lost the popular vote, and his Electoral College margin ranks 46th out of 58 elections. Trump did far better in terms of counties, winning more than any candidate since Ronald Reagan, but he was well short of setting the record or even “just about” tying it: Richard Nixon won more than 2,950 counties in 1972, far exceeding Trump’s 2,623.

[Emphasis added]

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 eight 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 Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Mother of Jesus, please come back.

Mother of Jesus, please come back.

A very sad day today.

After seven years of medical training and hard work, a very good friend of mine has been struck off after one minor indiscretion. He slept with one of his patients and can now no longer work in the profession.

What a waste of time, effort, training, and money. A genuinely nice guy and a brilliant mortician.

 

Four Weeks In

Number 7 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 7:

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

The claim: “In terms of a total audience including television and everything else that you have we had supposedly the biggest crowd in history. The audience watching the show. And I think you would even agree to that. They say I had the biggest crowd in the history of inaugural speeches.”

In fact: “They” can mean anyone, but no expert is declaring that Trump had the biggest inauguration crowd in history. Obama’s 2009 inauguration drew far more people in person and far more television viewers. Trump’s claim relies on the people who watched the inauguration on online streams. It is possible that these people gave him a record, but it is impossible to know for sure.

When he has no evidence, President Trump feels free to make stuff up. Hopefully he’s not going to be doing this about the intentions of a foreign enemy.

This is seven 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.

Friday Funny

One of a series

Religion-ThankGodForDisasterBettyBowers

It’s Friday again, and I’m running out of funny. Just kidding. There’s always enough funny to go around, especially on Friday. Religious nut case Pat Robertson is a reliable source, even if others were to run dry:

I think, somehow, the Lord’s plan is being put in place for America and these people are not only revolting against Trump, they’re revolting against what God’s plan is for America. These other people have been trying to destroy America. These left-wingers and so-called progressives are trying to destroy the country that we love and take away the freedoms they love. They want collectivism. They want socialism. What we’re looking at is free markets and freedom from this terrible, overarching bureaucracy. They want to fight as much as they can but I think the good news is the Bible says, “He that sits in the heavens will laugh them to scorn,” and I think that Trump’s someone on his side that is a lot more powerful than the media.

In case you miss the point, an imaginary holy man is coming to the defense of an imaginary president and accusing his detractors of running athwart an imaginary entity. What could be funnier than that?

The Golden Shower

Something interesting

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The Golden Shower is bearing fruit, maybe not of the kind he wanted. This isn’t to say the Pee Pee Tape actually exists, but it’s becoming daily less relevant:

FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories

Washington (CNN) — The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate.White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

I have called President Trump a number of things in the past, liar and fool being among them. But I have never called him a crook and a traitor to his country. That’s the job of the FBI.

Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and the former USSR go back decades. From The Washington Post:

Trump’s relationship with Putin and his warm views toward Russia, which began in the 1980s when the country was still part of the Soviet Union, have emerged as one of the more curious aspects of his presidential campaign.

Even during his campaign, with much to lose by his refusal to put some distance, Trump continued to tout his close ties to Russian oligarch Vladimir Putin. While former American presidents, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, pushed back at Russian expansion in East Europe, the new president is taking action to accommodate these intrusions. From CNN:

Trump lawyer pushed pro-Russia deal for Ukraine, politician claims

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — The setting was a Manhattan restaurant, and after 25 minutes what allegedly emerged was a pro-Russian peace plan for Ukraine that its author believes may have ended up in the White House.

In a CNN interview, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko said he discussed his left-field proposal for Ukraine in January with US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who offered to deliver the plan to the Trump administration.The exact details of the plan are unclear, yet reports have suggested it revolves around leasing Crimea — annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014 — to Moscow for 50 to 100 years. In exchange, Russia would withdraw its troops from the separatist regions in Ukraine’s war-torn east.

The previous president received flak from candidate Trump over the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. From The Washington Post:

Trump tells Ukraine conference their nation was invaded because ‘there is no respect for the United States’

KIEV, UKRAINE — Plunging into a burning geopolitical conflict, Republican front-runner Donald Trump said Friday that Russia had pursued an aggressive policy in Ukraine because “there is no respect for the United States.”

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin does not respect our president whatsoever,” said Trump.

But he held back from promising more U.S. support for a nation where almost 8,000 people have been killed since April 2014, saying that it was Europe’s responsibility.

That was 2015. It’s now 2017, and Mr. Trump is now the American  president. Tape or no tape, the new president appears to have something to gain by going soft on communism.

Four Weeks In

Number 6 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 6:

6. Jan. 23, 2017 — Private meeting with Congressional leaders

The claim: Trump told Congressional leaders that “he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in last November’s election because between three million and five million ‘illegals’ cast ballots, multiple sources told Fox News.”

In fact: This claim, also reported by numerous other major media outlets, simply has no basis in reality. Trump’s own lawyers said in a legal filing that “all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud.” The National Association of Secretaries of State — the state officials who run elections — said they “are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump.”

Clearly the emperor has no clothes. Whereas other of Trump’s comments might be passed off as exaggeration and miscue, this is gold-plated fabrication. A whopper by any name.

This is six 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.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

GunDebate-MyRightToProtectMyChild

The Second Amendment ensures American citizens have the right to use firearms to protect themselves and their family, and it is heartwarming to see this right being put to good use. Take the example of a grandmother in Tennessee:

Nellums, initially identified by police as the boy’s mother, carried her grandson outside and told officers that his 3-year-old brother was playing with a gun when he dropped it and it discharged. The victim was taken to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital where he was in non-critical condition for a gunshot wound to the arm.

Nellums told police that when shots were fired at her home, she grabbed her gun from her lock box and went outside. She fired shots into the ground to scare off suspects. She then put the gun back in the lock box, but forgot to lock it. Police recovered the gun and Nellums was arrested. She will be in court Tuesday on the charge.

Americans are cautioned to be on alert in these trouble times and to keep their powder dry.

Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 13 in a series

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Bad news for supporters of the Schlemiel-in-Chief. Just when they think they might get a break, the truth rears its ugly head anew. This time it’s from those nasty fact-checkers at The Washington Post:

Donald Trump earned 59 Four-Pinocchio ratings as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s president, he has continued his proclivity for making dubious, misleading or false statements. He also often repeats the same debunked claims even though they have been fact-checked. It’s hard to keep up with all of Trump’s rhetoric, so the Fact Checker is assembling in one place all of his suspect statements from his first 100 days as president. You can sort them by various categories and see how many times he has repeated the same false statement.

Ow! That has got to hurt. And there is a lesson to be learned, one that Donald Trump has failed to pick up on. It’s typically referred to as Greener’s Law, and it’s explained here:

1931 John F. Steward, The Reaper, (New York: Greenberg) 239: “The manufacture of self-raking reapers was then at its height, and the makers of those machines were … led to believe that the Marsh harvester might become a competitor. So, with printer’s ink, by the barrel, the new comer was cried down.” 1964 Irving Leibowitz, My Indiana (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall) 76: “Pulliam’s power lies in the relentless, scorching heat of his newspapers. … Former Congressman Charles Bornson … used to say, I never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel.'” 1965 William L. Rivers, The Opinionmakers (Boston: Beacon) 177: “One Indiana Congressman said resignedly of [newspaper owner Eugene] Pulliam, ‘I never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.‘” [Remaining citations omitted.]

[Emphasis added]

The place I once worked in a Dallas suburb was close by  the Dallas Morning News printing plant. There was a railway siding that serviced the plant, and flat cars held large rolls of newsprint. There were tanker cars, as well, and I can only surmise what they contained. The Washington Post is an equally large operation. I made a screen shot from their page to show this neat graphic they created, just for Mr. Trump.

politics-trumpwashingtonpostfalseclaimsgraphic-02

Go to the page for a better view. When you mouse over one of the categories in the top row the bars representing that category will display, showing Trump’s fabrications for each day applicable. Readers, and especially Trump fans, when you get on the wrong side of somebody like The Washington Post, stand by for some heat.

Lest readers respond that responsible journalism must not be taking sides in a matter and especially should not be draining that much ink to lash out at a sitting president, keep in mind that this is no ordinary president. This is a president who built his campaign on lies and now attempts to run the Executive Branch on a bed of fabrications. For example:

17h17 hours ago
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!

Regarding picking fights, he seldom misses an opportunity:

Jan 24
Congratulations to for being number one in inauguration ratings. They were many times higher than FAKE NEWS – public is smart!
Jan 28
The failing has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!
Jan 28
Thr coverage about me in the and the gas been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its…..

Jan 28

 We can only hope President Trump does not decide to pick a fight with somebody who has nuclear weapons, uranium or no uranium.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Bat Shit Crazy

Ninth of a series

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It’s Wednesday. What’s bat shit crazy today? How about that weird theme park in Kentucky. Start with the story by Ed Mazza in The Huffington Post:

Creationist Ken Ham’s Giant ‘Noah’s Ark’ To Feature Dinosaurs vs. Giants Diorama

A new display going into the creationist Noah’s Ark attraction in Kentucky shows what appears to be gladiator-style fights involving humans, giants and a dinosaur.

Ken Ham, founder of the group that runs the attraction, tweeted images of the new diorama on Thursday.

If there is a reason to reject religion, this is one of them. Ham’s Answers in Genesis is described by Wikipedia as a parachurch organization promoting pseudo science:

Answers in Genesis (AiG) is a fundamentalist Christian apologeticsparachurch organization. It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientificyoung Earth creationism which rejects any results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative. The organization sees evolution as incompatible with scripture and believes anything other than the young earth view is a compromise on biblical inerrancy.

AiG began as the Creation Science Foundation in 1980, following the merger of two Australian creationist groups. Its name changed to Answers in Genesis in 1994, when Ken Ham founded the organization’s United States branch. In 2006 the branches in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa split from the US and UK to form Creation Ministries International. In 2007, AiG opened the Creation Museum, a facility that promotes young Earth creationism, and in 2016 the organization opened the Ark Encounter, a Noah’s Ark themed amusement park. AiG also publishes websites, magazines, and journals.

Readers of this blog have previously been exposed to creationist Ken Ham:

If you’re like me, you are by now saying, “This is really neat stuff.” Also, if you’re like me by now you’re saying, “How come none of this is mentioned in the Bible?” Creationists (and many devout Christians) tell me I should look for answers in the Bible. I have seen statements in the past that the Bible is the only book we need. I have heard that all usable knowledge comes from the Bible. Creationist Ken Ham comes close to this:

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

Unbelievable!

That said… I spill a lot of ink making fun of religion and those who buy into it. The fact is, religion is one of those human foibles that has lasted throughout history. There doesn’t seem to have been any time and in any culture where belief in the unbelievable has not been rampant. The young-Earth creationists, as epitomized by Ken Ham and AiG is one more, albeit egregious, example.

Back when I lived in Dallas I attended the creationists’ meetings and got to know people like Don Patton, leader of a local group. One thing that kept coming out was that many have religious conviction so based on the Bible that the Bible must be literally true to validate their lives. Despite protestations of some religious people, a literal take on the Bible is that the Earth and everything else turned 6000 years old back in 1997. It was a date easily marked, and I observed the exact date with a small celebration with friends. It was also my birthday.

The age of the Earth is critical to this brand of creationism, and to validate this, dinosaurs and humans must have co-existed. At this point religious faith runs head on into a considerable body of fact, making religion and science mutually exclusive. All evidence indicates the last of the dinosaurs left their fossils about 65 million years ago. Then the dinosaurs vanished forever from this planet. The oldest fossils considered to be from direct human ancestors are in the order of three million years old. This leaves a sizable interval when neither dinosaurs nor humans existed, making the story of Ken Ham’s diorama the height of absurdity. Bat shit crazy.

The story behind Ham’s Ark Encounter theme park involves more than private religious faith. It involves other people’s money:

A state agency remade by Gov. Matt Bevin last week has approved $18 million in tax breaks to a Grant County amusement park that will feature a “life-size” Noah’s Ark.

The $92 million Ark Encounter project, owned by the same company as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, is scheduled to open July 7.

The tax break initially was approved by the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority in 2014 under Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration, but it was later canceled after tourism officials learned that the theme park would hire only Christians. Bob Stewart, then secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said the U.S. Constitution prohibited the state from assisting a religious endeavor.

Ark Encounter officials sued the state in federal court, saying the state’s decision to withhold the tax break violated its free speech. In January, U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove ruled that the theme park was eligible to receive the tax incentive, which has neutral requirements that can be met by religious and secular groups alike. Gov. Matt Bevin said the state would not appeal the decision.

Most interesting. A theme park, which is little more than an edifice to proselytize for a religious sect is given public money in the form of a tax incentive. Make one thing clear: the state of Kentucky is not just giving the theme park a pass on paying certain taxes. This is tax money raised from other sources. Dan Phelps, known to us when he lived in Texas and was a member of The North Texas Skeptics, was also interviewed:

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, has said previously the project will hire only Christians but won’t discriminate among denominations.

“It is extremely unfortunate that the state is giving tax incentives to an organization that will discriminate against Kentucky citizens,” said Daniel Phelps, head of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and a longtime critic of the project.

In particular, note what Ken Ham has said. Jews and Muslims need not apply. I’m guessing this goes for atheists, as well. Somewhere the meaning of the Establishment Clause has been lost.

And this is just bat shit crazy.