Buyer’s Remorse

Number 6 in a series

It haunts your troubled sleep. It drags down your day. It gags like a prickly pear cactus stuck in your throat. It’s called buyer’s remorse. And for a reason.

You had reservations. It had a nice sheen, and it tinkled when thumped. But it had a hollow feel to it. It seemed to lack a degree of substance. And there was the stench. Something was not right. You attributed its malodorous quality to rough handling by others. Not your friends. Did I mention how shiny it was?

You purchased it, and you brought it home, to your house. Where you lived with your family. People who trusted your judgment and advice. Who looked up to you. Previously. And you brought this home. Along  with the odor. The awful  smell that would not go away. And you showed it to your family. And they asked about the odor. You reminded them how shiny it was.

Now it sits there. And you know you can’t take it back. Back to the place where you purchased it. That place is no longer there. That place was just a store front. Set up for a fleeting period. To make the sale. And then move on. Buyer’s remorse hangs like rotting road kill around your neck.

And here is when you first began to notice:

Mika Brzezinski:Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine of himself, lying every day, and destroying the country It’s a good feeling..

That wasn’t enough. Brzezinski and Morning Joe co-host (also fiancé) Joe Scarborough continued to mock President Donald Trump. Continuing from above:

She didn’t stop there, continuing to mock Mr Trump by calling him the man with the “teensy” hands – which are out of view on the cover – before adding: “Yeah the guy with the little hands … I was talking about Trump.”

The president is notoriously sensitive about the size of his hands, so much so that he assured the American people there was “no problem” in that regard during a televised presidential debate. Read into that what you will.

During the segment, Ms Brzezinski also criticised the Trump administration at length and said its officials should not act “lobotomised” because they are scared of the president, Reuters reported.

The Morning Joe hosts featured live interviews of Mr Trump during the 2016 election, to the point where they were accused of being too close to him, but have become much more critical.

The honeymoon is over. Within a span covered by an egg timer, the Leader of the Free World answered back, displaying the aplomb and maturity that has marked his public life:

I heard poorly rated speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

This to be clear. The foregoing was not found scribbled on the restroom wall in a TA truck stop alongside Interstate-35. This is on White House stationery and emanating from  1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capitol. This is is an official communication of the United States of America. Things have sunk that low. And conservative America is erupting  in buyers remorse:

Fox News anchor Julie Banderas blasted President Trump’s attacks on Mika Brzezinski Thursday, saying “that’s not how you run a country” and imploring Trump to “just walk away.”

Banderas hit Trump’s tweets during a segment with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Fox News carried the interview instead of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s remarks at a White House press briefing, according to The Washington Post.

Continuing:

Banderas knocked McDaniel’s defense of Trump, saying the president didn’t “need to stoop to that level.”

“I don’t care who you are. You don’t stoop to the level of that. I mean that’s like me scolding my 4-year-old for using a bad word and then me repeating it. That’s just not how you run a country or you parent a 4-year-old,” Banderas said.

“I mean I have to be honest, you know, if you see this negative commentary on a show, change the channel. Ignore it. I mean that’s what I tell my kids: When somebody’s mean to you, don’t fight back. Just walk away.”

Banderas also defended former President Barack Obama’s lack of reaction to attacks on him during his presidency.

“People used to call him a Muslim. People used to call him under-qualified, a sellout to America, a hater of Israel,” she said. “I mean they called him every name in the book, but you didn’t see him lash out.”

The Hill further reported:

After Trump slammed “Morning Joe” co-host Brzezinski and suggested that she had been “bleeding badly” from a “face-lift,” Republican lawmakers rushed to denounce the remarks, saying they were beneath the dignity of the presidency.

“The President’s tweets today don’t help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said in a statement.

“It’s hard to understand, and not presidential,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, according to NBC News’s Frank Thorp. “I’m just embarrassed — embarrassed isn’t the right word — I just regret it.”

“Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote on Twitter.

And more. However, evidence abounds the rot penetrates to the core. From acting Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

Filling in for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for the second time this week, Sanders spent most of the briefing struggling to defend President Donald Trump’s viciously personal tweets directed at Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

“I think the American people elected somebody who’s tough, who’s smart, and who’s a fighter, and that’s Donald Trump,” Sanders said, painting him as the victim of “bullies” in the media who criticize his actions and policies on a daily basis.

Reiterating some of the language expressed on Morning Joe of late, she said, “Frankly, if this had happened in the previous administration, the type of attacks launched on this program, the things they say ‘utterly stupid,’ ‘personality disorder,’ ‘mentally ill,’ constant personal attacks, calling multiple members ‘’liars,’ liars to their faces, while they’re sitting on their programs, the rest of the media would have said, guys, no way, hold on.”

Deeper than that. From the First Lady of the United States:

“As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” the first lady’s communications director Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to CNN when asked about the tweets.

It is all too clear from this most recent excursion to the depths of depravity there will be no redemption.

To conservative America I take great joy in reminding you that it was you who spied the package on the shelf, you smelled the package, you admired the package, you bought the package. There will be no taking it back to the store. You paid for it with your souls, and now you own it. It is your own brand writ large. It is what you have come to stand for, now all grown up and installed in the highest position in the land. This piece of putrid flesh is not only your embarrassment, it belongs to all of us, as well. This mental midget, the culmination of American conservative politics, is deranged, impetuous, petty, pathologically dishonest, immoral. And he has access to the nuclear codes.

There are some who may say, “John, tell us what you really think of the current president.” To that I will respond. You know where I live. Come by to visit. Buy me a beer. I will tell you. I may even buy the beer.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Media Research Center

Number 4 in a series

(Photo by Jonathan Ernst, Reuters News Service)

I’ve mentioned the Media Research Center before. They are committed to providing a counterweight to  liberal bias in mainstream media (news outlets). They have an interesting way of going about it. I receive daily mailings from the MRC, one of which is called Cyber Alert (Your Daily Media Bias Intelligence Briefing). There’s a numbered list of items for readers’ consideration. Today’s item 3 is of interest:

3.  CNN Reporter Thinks Trump Admin Is Endangering Media, Compares to ‘War Zone’

CNN has become a self-serving propaganda mill for journalists the past few months, reaching a new level of shamelessness. Wednesday’s New Day ran the headline, “TRUMP WHITE HOUSE INTENSIFIES WAR WITH MEDIA,” with reporter Clarissa Ward (filling in for co-host Alisyn Camerota) worrying that by labeling the media as fake and such, that the White House is putting the lives of journalists in danger…

“Trump White House intensifies war with media.” That’s worth checking out. Follow the link. There follows some back and forth about whether this “war with the media” is actually putting lives in danger. The image above from Google Images gives color to the mood in question. What, then, does this war with the media look like?

  1. Jun 28, 2017 08:06:14 AMThe #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!
  2. Jun 28, 2017 05:58:59 AMSome of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S.
  3. Jun 28, 2017 05:49:22 AMThe failing @nytimes writes false story after false story about me. They don’t even call to verify the facts of a story. A Fake News Joke!
  4. Jun 27, 2017 07:47:17 AMSo they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!

Plus a bunch more. More recently:

I heard poorly rated speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

Previously reported:

CNN Newsroom
6/27/17 3:13

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think it’s the constant barrage of fake news directed at this President, probably, that has garnered a lot of his frustration. You point to that report. There are multiple other instances where that outlet that you referenced has been repeatedly wrong and had to point that out or be corrected. There’s a video circulating now, whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know.

But I would encourage everybody in this room and frankly everybody across the country to take a look at it. I think if it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism. I think that we have gone to a place where, if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America, and I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary. And certainly more disgraceful. And I hope that that’s not the direction we’re headed. I hope that outlets that have continued to use either unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all, we’ve been going on this Russia/Trump hoax for the better part of a year now with no evidence of anything. Things like the success at the VA barely get covered. They may get covered for an hour at a time, but this story gets covered day in, day out, and I think America is frankly looking for something better. They’re looking for something more. And I think they deserve something better from our news media.

High five to the MRC for going to bat for President Trump, since that appears to be their main job . And what a job it is. Here is a president who has passed off more than 300 fabrications since taking office, has mired his administration in a messy probe into collusion with Russian intelligence operatives, has staffed his administration with the most over of the politically ripe,  and  has fumbled away opportunity after opportunity to get a bunch of stuff done, all the while alienating this country’s friends and cozying up to our enemies. That in addition to becoming an international embarrassment. Details on request.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town—number 30 of a series

I was having a conversation with some of my liberal  friends, and the general agreement was reached that we are glad we did not elect a woman for president. That’s because women are too sensitive and are not up to the rough and tumble of top-tier politics:

Trump asks for apology over Russia probes

President Donald Trump on Monday asked for an apology over the investigations into Russia’s election meddling and possible collusion with his 2016 campaign because those probes, which are ongoing, have not publicly turned up any proof of coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.

In addition, in a flurry of tweets, he also accused his predecessor of purposefully ignoring Russian efforts to interfere in last year’s presidential election for fear of altering the course of an expected victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

When I brought this to the attention of my liberal  friends I found they were already lining up to apologize. Not only were they ready, they already had their backs turned and their pants pulled down. In the background an old phonograph was softly giving forth a sweet rendition of “Blue Moon” by Rodgers and Hart. It was so sweetly sentimental  I had to pause and wipe an eye before joining them.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

The world outside is a dangerous place. You can never have too much protection. So, how is this working out?

Police report: 10-year-old in Bradley Co. accidentally shot himself with his parents’ gun

by Hannah Lawrence Tuesday, May 9th 2017

A ten year old boy accidentally shoots himself in Bradley County, and according to an incident report he used his parent’s gun.

Family says the boy is ok and now out of the hospital.

Tuesday, NewsChannel 9 pieced together what happened through a police report and emergency radio traffic.

I’m guessing the parents are still waiting for the bad guys with guns to show up and try to break into  their house.

The Quintessence of Dumbshitia

Number 3 in a continuing thread

People keep asking… Actually, nobody has asked, but here it is. Dumbshitia is an imaginary world I have concocted, and that is where the dumb shits dwell, hence the name. Here’s another one.

Yesterday the cameras (unfortunately) were turned back on in the White House briefing room, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was fielding questions. A reporter brought up the case of a story CNN got completely wrong a few days ago. The story was retracted by CNN, CNN apologized to any and all defamed by the story, and three CNN news staff resigned (were fired). One of those maligned by the story accepted the apology offered by CNN, but apparently President Trump did not. Why not?

Sanders saw the opportunity to drill down, and she exercised that opportunity, twisting  the knife until  it snapped off at the hilt, so to speak. The Media Research Center (MRC), which is often a source of material covered in this blog, posted a transcript, apparently from CNN:

CNN Newsroom
6/27/17 3:13

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think it’s the constant barrage of fake news directed at this President, probably, that has garnered a lot of his frustration. You point to that report. There are multiple other instances where that outlet that you referenced has been repeatedly wrong and had to point that out or be corrected. There’s a video circulating now, whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know.

But I would encourage everybody in this room and frankly everybody across the country to take a look at it. I think if it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism. I think that we have gone to a place where, if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America, and I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary. And certainly more disgraceful. And I hope that that’s not the direction we’re headed. I hope that outlets that have continued to use either unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all, we’ve been going on this Russia/Trump hoax for the better part of a year now with no evidence of anything. Things like the success at the VA barely get covered. They may get covered for an hour at a time, but this story gets covered day in, day out, and I think America is frankly looking for something better. They’re looking for something more. And I think they deserve something better from our news media.

That about does it. Except that Sanders proceeded to step right into it, deeply. Continuing:

SANDERS: If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it is just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room. But news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources, use stories without sources, have, you know, you mentioned the Scaramucci story where they had to have reporters resign.

And that is something that can benefit from Skeptical Analysis.

“If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off…” Yes, the slightest mistake:

  • JUNE 21 “They all say it’s ‘nonbinding.’ Like hell it’s nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding — and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)
  • JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There’s no evidence of illegal voting.)
  • JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama’s 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)
  • JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)
  • JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)
  • JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)
  • FEB. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.)
  • FEB. 6 “It’s gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)
  • FEB. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo’s first question.)
  • FEB. 9 Sen. Richard Blumenthal “now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)
  • FEB. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn’s actions for weeks.)
  • MARCH 4 “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (There’s no evidence of a wiretap.)
  • APRIL 2 “Now, my last tweet — you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps — was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.” (There is still no evidence.)
  • APRIL 12 “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism.” (NATO has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts since the 1980s.)
  • APRIL 21 “When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.)
  • APRIL 29 “As you know, I’ve been a big critic of China, and I’ve been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)
  • MAY 4 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)
  • JUNE 21 “They all say it’s ‘nonbinding.’ Like hell it’s nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding — and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)
  • JUNE 21 “Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” (We’re not.)

That was since becoming President. Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star has commented on 337 false statement by Donald Trump since inauguration.

Previously:

Hopefully nobody will ask me to go on.

But wait. This story is drawn from an item posted by Scott Whitlock on MRC News Busters. Here is what Whitlock had to say:

An anti-Trump journalist on Tuesday suffered a total meltdown, screaming at Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Brian J. Karem, a reporter for a local Maryland paper The Sentinel, lost it after Sanders fought back against a “barrage of fake news.” Sanders lectured the assembled journalists: “If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it is just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room. But news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources.”

Karem, who wasn’t called on, interrupted and yelled, “Come on! You’re inflaming everybody right here right now with those words!” He exploded, “You’re here to provide the answers and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country…”

Apparently this is what goes for a “total meltdown” in some circles. We have to wonder what Whitlock would call it if somebody actually experienced a total meltdown. Anything is likely in the world of Dumbshitia.

The Quintessence of Dumbshitia

Number 2 in a continuing thread

For the second day in a row I’m drawing from email sent by Trump News:

What Trump Just Removed From The White House Will ENRAGE All Muslims Throughout The Country!

This was posted Monday by , apparently aimed a conservative audience. The note at the top reads,  “The Top Conservative Topics Of Today.” Apparently there is a segment of the American electorate that conservatives figure they can do  without, which is, itself, an interesting proposition.

It’s interesting because Muslims align strongly with social conservatism:

  • Religiously devout
  • Fundamentalists in their religious convictions
  • Historically support legal systems based on religious teaching

And more. One would think American Muslims would support conservative candidates over liberals, since liberals tend to hold that religion and government are separate spheres of influence. Regardless, modern conservatives, particularly what is called the alt-right, hold Muslims in particularly low regard. Also Jews in many instances.

Anyhow, what President Trump has done which has caught favor with the alt-right is to skip over acknowledgement of the end of the Muslim holy month:

For eight long years under Barack Obama, the White House pandered to the Islamic world.

Even presidents before Obama were careful to tiptoe around Muslim sensitivities.

Not President Trump.

President Trump stands for what HE believe in, and doesn’t really care if others don’t like it.

Especially a Muslim world that demands so much of America, while giving so very, very little.

So, I doubt very much that Trump lost any sleep over his decision to abandon the White House tradition of hosting a feast marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Full disclosure: I have no  truck with any religious hogswallop, but then, I don’t need anybody’s vote. I am guessing American  conservatism, enshrined in the current administration, only needs some people’s vote. Meaning Muslims can go suck an egg.

And that pretty much tells the story. American conservatism has as a core value holding the Christian religion esteemed above all others—the one, the true faith. We get the story from state religion’s point man, Mike Huckabee, former Governor or Arkansas and sometimes presidential candidate:

Anyhow, the kids in our drama arrive at a church in Nottinghamshire and meet the pastor and the congregation. All is going swimmingly well until suddenly armed officials burst in and demand the congregation be disbanded. Parishioners are advised that failure to comply carries the sentence of death. The children witness first hand the denial of religious faith.

What the story does not point out is that those men from the king’s government, those men who ordered the church be disbanded, those were God’s own enforcers. The scene is cast as a denial of God by the government, but the producers of this drama apparently missed the irony. This is what it looks like when the government decides to protect the word of God.

Yes, that fairly well summarizes what today’s Republican Party has come to. Having my go at mixing metaphors, dumbshitia has come home to roost.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I have Hulu to thank for this one. My grandson sent me a link to a video featuring I Love the Nightlife by Alicia Bridges and Susan Hutcheson from 1977, a big disco hit in those days. The song is one of the numbers used in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert that came out in 1994, and the video contains clips from the movie. The Hulu release is from MGM. I’m getting details from Wikipedia.

Opening scenes show drag queen Anthony “Tick” Belrose (Hugo Weaving) going on stage to perform at a Sydney cabaret. The performance receives a cool reception, and Tick is backstage and depressed. He figures to move on.

Along with his co-performers, the trans-gender Bernadette Bassinger (Terence Stamp) and Adam Whitely (Guy Pearce), he sets out to do a gig in Alice Springs. Adam procures a tour bus, which they name Priscilla, hence the title. “Queen” is English slang for drag queen. You can tell the three are off to a bad start, and the bus is shown going down the freeway on  the left hand side.

The movie has not much of a plot. This is just the adventures of three drag queens in Australia’s hostile outback. Hostile in multiple ways. It’s a celebration of the bizarre as all popular conceptions of cross dressing, transsexuality, and homosexuality are magnified for effect. Here Adam rides atop the bus as it rolls along the desert highway, a spectacular, flowing costume billowing in the wind.

Much adventure follows, including an encounter with “Bob,” who has an absolutely wacko Indonesian wife, who puts on a performance that shades anything the three can match. The three accomplish a goal of hiking to the rim of King’s Canyon in full costume.

I took up this review as a project for my grandson, and I was prepared for 100 minutes of drab LGBT advocacy. Lacking a coherent plot, the movie manages to entertain by exploiting absurd situations. The bus breaks down in the middle of the dessert and Bernadette troops off into the wilderness to locate some assistance. Bob’s wife, already mentioned. Hooking up with a group of Aborigines, one of whom joins in an  impromptu performance. The absolutely wild costumes, which garnered awards, including an Oscar.

The 1970s disco numbers, lip-synced, help keep the mood light while bringing back memories for some of us. Notable are “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, and finally Mamma Mia, performed by ABBA. Adam rides atop Priscilla to the tune of ‘E strano… Ah! Fors e lui‘ from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verde and sung by Joan Carden.

The Quintessence of Dumbshitia

Maybe it’s time to  start a new thread.

The image is from an email sent to me by an entity calling itself “Trump News.” It is abundantly clear  this has no connection to President Trump, but Trump News purports to carry “the top conservative topics today.” I’m thinking if I want to know what interests conservatives, this is a go-to place. I juiced up the image so you could read the hyperlink at the bottom. Here’s what it linked to:

FINALLY! Sharia Law Has Been Totally OUTLAWED – Muslims In This State Are Going BALLISTIC!

This was posted a week ago by , and I am just now getting around to it.

But look at the screaming headline. Notice the use of all caps. Muslims are going BALLISTIC! It’s worth checking out:

Finally, one of the states of our union had the GUTS to officially BAN Sharia Law as having any legal authority.

Seems it should be obvious, but with political correctness run amok, we now need to officially declare that Islamic laws hold no sway over Americans.

Breitbart reports:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 45, more commonly known as “American Laws for American Courts,” or ALAC. It prohibits the use of any foreign law in the state’s courts, specifically in family cases that involve marriage or parent-child relationship matters.

One of the bill’s co-authors Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) thanked the governor, who signed HB 45 on Wednesday. Leach called the law “vitally important bill to further safeguard and protect our Constitutional rights!” In the last legislative session, Leach authored the comparable yet unsuccessful ALAC measure, House Bill 562.

Full disclosure: I used to live in  Plano, Texas.

So, apparently this cream of Texas intellect has put his blessing on an injunction against something that has been enjoined since the 18th century, when the United States Constitution became the law of the land. Just to be clear, here is a link to HB 45:

AN ACT
relating to requiring the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules and
provide judicial instruction regarding the application of foreign
laws in certain family law cases.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that:
(1) litigants in actions under the Family Code
involving a marriage relationship or a parent-child relationship
are protected against violations of constitutional rights and
public policy in the application of foreign law and the recognition
and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards by
courts of this state by a well-established body of law, described by
Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. KP-0094 (2016), which includes protections
provided under:
(A) the United States Constitution and the Texas
Constitution;
(B) federal law, treaties, and conventions to
which the United States is a signatory;
(C) federal and state judicial precedent; and
(D) the Family Code and other laws of this state;

And there is more. And, by the way:

And, oh yes, local Muslims are HOWLING.

And we are wondering why. Here is something about CAIR:

CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

And CAIR is concerned:

ACTION ALERT: OPPOSE HOUSE BILL 45

CAIR-Texas calls on community to oppose House Bill 45, the latest so-called “anti-shariah” bill.

CAIR-Texas is calling on members of the Muslim community and their interfaith partners to attend a public hearing on Tuesday, April 4, to show public opposition to House Bill 45, which we believe is designed to negatively impact Muslims’ civil rights and to demonize their faith.  We believe it aims to prevent Muslims from practicing their faith in areas such as Islamic marriage, divorce, funeral procedures and civil agreements.

CAIR is saying HB 45 is a so-called anti-sharia bill. Is it a so-called anti-sharia bill? Others besides CAIR think so, and they are not Muslims:

Texas Enacts ‘Anti-Sharia’ Law

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 45, more commonly known as “American Laws for American Courts,” or ALAC. It prohibits the use of any foreign law in the state’s courts, specifically in family cases that involve marriage or parent-child relationship matters.

One of the bill’s co-authors Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) thanked the governor, who signed HB 45 on Wednesday. Leach called the law “vitally important bill to further safeguard and protect our Constitutional rights!” In the last legislative session, Leach authored the comparable yet unsuccessful ALAC measure, House Bill 562.

To be sure, sharia law is religious-based, regardless of whether it has any legal standing in the United States:

Sharia, Sharia law, or Islamic law is the religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God’s immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.

It’s time to summarize. Sharia law is the codification of religious tradition into legally enforceable mandates. It’s something that has been  prohibited in the United States since 1791 with the adoption of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

And protection of religious liberty is what Governor Abbott, Breitbart, the Trump administration, and all these conservative politicians are all about. For a certain brand of religion.

There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.

That was Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos responding to the question of whether Christian schools should get public funding rather than rely exclusively on private donations. There are others:

It’s in jeopardy because of taxes; it’s in jeopardy because of regulation; it’s in jeopardy because of a legal system that’s run amok. And I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God and say, “God, You’re going to have to fix this.” […]

I think it’s time for us to use our wisdom and our influence and really put it in God’s hands. That’s what I’m going to do, and I hope you’ll join me.

That was Secretary of Energy (and former Texas Governor) Rick Perry speaking back in 2011. The Houston Post recounted his words comparing the office of governor to a pulpit:

Employing deeply religious language that national experts say affords both power and peril for his political career, Gov. Rick Perry in late May told a group of East Texas business leaders that he was “called to the ministry” at age 27, suggested that the governor’s office was his pulpit and that God put him “in this place at this time to do his will.”

Another of Donald Trump’s cabinet members is Dr. Ben Carson:

You go back to the very first chapter in the Bible — and I’m not a hard and fast person who says the Earth is only 6,000 years old — but I do believe in the six-day creation.

Ben Carson is Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Department is supposed to serve to promote urban development and to ensure affordable housing remains available to all. Filling that position is a person who exhibits little regard for his primary job title and also little regard for the people he is tasked with assisting:

“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview that was released on Wednesday. “You take somebody that has the right mind-set, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there.”

He added that helping people may not better their lives.

Elsewhere he has demonstrated the lack of mental acumen required for a person operating at cabinet level:

His proclamations extraordinaire include the following:

  • First of all, we have to understand how the Constitution works. The president is required to carry out the laws of the land, the laws of the land come from the legislative branch. So if the legislative branch creates a law or changes a law, the executive branch has a responsibility to carry it out. It doesn’t say they have the responsibility to carry out a judicial law. And that’s something we need to talk about.
  • A lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay.
  • My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archeologists [sic] think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain
  • Well, that’s easy to answer: I didn’t have an involvement with them [Mannatech]. That is total propaganda. And this is what happens in our society — total propaganda. I did a couple speeches for them. I did speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.
  • The pledge of allegiance to our flag says we are one nation under God. Many courtrooms in the land on the wall it says ‘In God We Trust.’ Every coin in our pocket, every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’ So if it’s in our founding documents, it’s in our pledges, in our courts and it’s on our money, but we’re not supposed to talk about it, what in the world is that? In medicine it’s called schizophrenia and I, for one, am simply not willing to kick God to the curb.
  • Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience. What they had was a deep belief that freedom is a gift from God. They had a determination to rise up against a tyrannical King. They were willing to risk all they had, even their lives, to be free.
  • In the class of 1968 at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, Mahmoud Abbas was one of the members of that class, and so was Ali Khamenei. And that’s where they first established relationships with the young Vladimir Putin.
  • But it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time. And a lot of pediatricians now recognize that, and I think are cutting down on the number [of vaccinations] and the proximity in which those are done, and I think that’s appropriate.

In summation, the Trump administration has the appearance of a crowd of religious zealots bent on overseeing a brand of  sharia law, substituting Christian values for Islamic values. President Trump, immediately following inauguration, fulfilled a campaign pledge to ban Muslim immigration, at least partially. He banned immigration, even travel, from seven predominately Muslim countries. His words and actions have tended to disparage Muslims. His administration, drawn from the United States population, does not contain any Muslims that I have been able to  identify. He has created a club of religious exclusion at the top of the political food chain, while his supporters, America’s political conservatives, continue to dismiss Muslims as second class citizens. He and his fans exhibit the quintessence of dumbshitia.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Sorry, Jesus. You didn’t get this one. There are multiple ways to die, and to die needlessly must be the cruelest. Like a slap in the face:

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a diabetic woman died following a workshop based around slapping as a form of “self-healing”.

Danielle Carr-Gomm, 71, was found dead in her room on 20 October at Cleeve House in Seend, Wiltshire.

An inquest was opened and adjourned on Friday. Wiltshire police are treating Carr-Gomm’s death as suspicious and confirmed the arrest of three people, who have been released on bail until mid-January.

Of course, you can always fall back on Jesus. He will welcome you with open arms.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Mondays are slow days, but there is always a Quiz Question to puzzle, confuse, entertain.

Geography again. Everybody’s favorite subject. No fair running to Google maps. Just close your eyes and remember what it was like when you last drove through these places. Answer any or all. Highest score wins.

  1. Do Oklahoma and Colorado share a border?
  2. Same question—Oklahoma and Missouri?
  3. Michigan and Wisconsin?
  4. Iowa and Kansas?
  5. Minnesota and Nebraska?
  6. Oklahoma and New Mexico?
  7. Arkansas and Kentucky?
  8. Delaware and Pennsylvania?
  9. New Jersey and Maryland?
  10. Oregon and Utah?

Post your answers in the comment section  below. Then scurry over to Google Maps.

Update and Answer

Helen and Prasad have answered, apparently without resorting to  maps. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Do Oklahoma and Colorado – Yes
  2. Oklahoma and Missouri – Yes
  3. Michigan and Wisconsin – Yes
  4. Iowa and Kansas – No
  5. Minnesota and Nebraska – No
  6. Oklahoma and New Mexico – Yes
  7. Arkansas and Kentucky – No
  8. Delaware and Pennsylvania – Yes
  9. New Jersey and Maryland – No
  10. Oregon and Utah – No

Buyer’s Remorse

Some more of the same

I’ve been trying to figure out what Kellyanne Conway does for a living. Apparently others are having the same problem. One of those might be Alisyn Camerota, who anchors New Day for CNN. On Friday (23 June) Camerota interviewed presidential  advisor Conway and brought up the matter of Russian meddling in the 2016 election plus any subsequent hocus pocus. It was an odd interview, and I pulled up a transcript from CNN, part of which follows:

CAMEROTA: Joining us now, we want to get to the counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway. Good morning, Kellyanne.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good morning, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being with us. This is a busy day.

CONWAY: My pleasure.

CAMEROTA: As it always is, lots of breaking news. I want to ask you about Adam Entous’s reporting that he just shared from “The Washington Post” that this goes the furthest we’ve seen to connecting President Putin of Russia to actually giving the directive to interfere in the U.S. election and to try to hurt Hillary Clinton. What’s the White House’s response to this?

CONWAY: Well, the president has said previously, and we’ve got confirmation now from Jeh Johnson, from Adam Schiff, from Dan Coats, from Jim Comey, from Mike Rogers, that there’s no evidence of collusion, number one. And number two, that this doesn’t have an impact on the electoral result. And I think it’s very important to show no nexus has been proven between what Russia or any other foreign government tried to do and the actual election result. The only person making that case prominently is Hillary Clinton. And you have everything saying that there is no nexus, that not a single vote changed, and we’re going to stand by that. We know Donald Trump won fairly and squarely, 306 electoral votes, and it had nothing to do with interference.

CAMEROTA: We know that as well. But what about this new reporting that there are three dozen high-level officials that say they can connect President Putin with giving instructions to hack the DNC computers and to plant fake stories? What is the current White House doing about this?

CONWAY: Well, Alisyn, the president has said previously, and he stands by that, particularly as president-elect, that he would be concerned about anybody interfering in our democracy. We saw a lot of people interfering with our democracy by saying he couldn’t win here at home.

But I really am struck by former homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson’s testimony earlier this week which you covered extensively where he seemed very frustrated the DNC refused the help of the DHS because DHS knew that the DNC was vulnerable. The RNC I’m sure was vulnerable but had those safeguards and protections in place and had a different result. And so it’s very clear that even the Obama administration, there was concern. There were actions trying to be taken. But the question for the DNC is, why were you so arrogant in not letting the homeland security of your own administration help you?

CAMEROTA: That’s fine. But my question for you is, what is the White House, what is President Trump now doing from preventing Russia from doing this again?

CONWAY: This report is new and we’ll discuss it with him later. But he’s been very clear on the record he believes in any tie of numbers of measures to make sure that democracy flourishes and that our voter integrity intact.

CAMEROTA: Such as — I mean, against Russia what is he doing specifically to try to stop this?

CONWAY: Alisyn, I realize that we just like to say the word “Russia, Russia” to mislead the voters. And I know that CNN is aiding and abating this nonsense as well. —

CAMEROTA: Kellyanne —

CONWAY: You’ve asked me the same question three times now —

CAMEROTA: You’re not answering it, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: Yes I am.

CAMEROTA: And what’s he doing?

CONWAY: He has said, he has said very clearly that he wants the voter integrity and the ballot integrity to be protected.

CAMEROTA: And what action is he taking?

CONWAY: — any type of interference — at this very moment, at this very second?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CONWAY: Oh, yes, because we have nothing to say about Russian collusion affecting the electoral outcome. Those rabbit holes did not bear fruit.

CAMEROTA: Kellyanne, I don’t understand what you’re trying to do talking about collusion.

CONWAY: I’ve answered the question four times.

CAMEROTA: What action is the White House doing to stop Russian interference in elections?

CONWAY: The White House, the president has met with his national security team many times. He has an initiative on a commission on voter integrity, and he himself has used the power of the bully pulpit to express his resistance towards any type of outside interference. So again, I’ve answered the question several times in an ongoing process. You’re dealing with a very new report. So we will look at that as well as we do all —

CAMEROTA: Yes, fair enough. This is a new report. But the idea Russia interfered has been obviously around since now we know before the election.

CONWAY: Yes. Jeh Johnson seemed very frustrated with his own DNC about it. I agree with you.

[08:10:00] CAMEROTA: And in fact said there was great concern that if they did anything openly that they would challenge the integrity of the election process itself. And, look, you’ve heard from this new report that President Obama was afraid that — that Vladimir Putin would up the ante, would ratchet it up. But I understand. You haven’t read the report yet. That’s fine this morning. But, still, this has been going on for months. So the president talking about it, do you think that he’s done enough to sending a signal to Russia to stop this?

CONWAY: I think the president has been very clear on how he feels about this issue and many others. Do you know, Alisyn, he also has a full roster. I know CNN and others don’t want to cover it. He just last week opened up a $100 million investment in apprenticeship programs. And 90 percent of people who go through these skills, certification apprentice programs are employed in short order with an average of $60,000 salary. Where is the reporting on that? This week just back here, Secretary Price and I met with Obamacare victims. They’re real. They’re suffering. They’ve been left behind out of the Affordable Care Act. If you want the information, I’ll provide it you can interview them.

CAMEROTA: I think that, Kellyanne —

CONWAY: The markets love this presidency. There’s so much real people impact happening here that doesn’t get covered on the altar of Russia.

CAMEROTA: Kellyanne, I think that a lot of people think that Russia trying to interfere in our democracy is a big story.

CONWAY: It is, but there are other stories. And I know we’re all capable of covering many of them. You have a 24/7 cable news outlet that certainly can fill lots of are content. I’m giving you great story ideas because we hear from people every day. They want him, and certainly in these special elections, people rejected this Russia obsession because they like the fact there’s job creation, regulation is being rolled back, health care is —

CAMEROTA: Yes, we do cover, obviously, the jobs report, Kellyanne. And I know everyone’s a producer and everybody has ideas of what CNN should cover. But Kellyanne, I think that —

CONWAY: We’re helping.

CAMEROTA: Thank you — is that the president has not given a terribly full-throated announcement that he believes that Russia interfered. He says things like, they may have. It may have been China.

CONWAY: Alisyn, so we’re just asking, we’re having the same conversation through six different semantic differences. That’s fine. It’s your show. You can ask me what you want. But I will just remind you as politely as I can that this entire conversation was irrelevant to voters in these four special elections. Everybody tried hard as they could to make it something other than job creation, rollback of draconian, byzantine regulations, the unleashing of entrepreneurship, including if these small business owners, and I was one for over 20 years, gets a 15 percent to 20 percent tax bracket. That will be monumentally transformative in our country’s economy. This is important things that people want to focus on. Yesterday the Senate released their health care legislation.

All right. And there was a lot more, as the interview moved to other topics. Here is a link to the full interview.

So, I’m going to attempt to summarize:

Camerota: Good morning Kellyanne. Who does your hair?

Conway: President Trump is the best since Abraham Lincoln.

Camerota: Enough with the pleasantries. Does the President have plans to do something about current and future meddling by the Russians?

Conway: I like your shoes.

Camerota: Thanks, Kellyanne, but you didn’t answer my question. Does the President have a plan?

Conway: Alisyn, you’re getting snippy.

Camerota: About the Russians. Does President Trump plan to deal with this matter.

Conway: Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Camerota: Kellyanne, about the Russians…

Conway: Alisyn, bitch. I have already answer that question four times.

[At this point Conway seems to have lost count. By my count she has answered that question zero times.]

Camerota: Kellyanne, you have not answered my question…

Conway: We won, and you losers lost. How about all of you go suck an egg.

Which leads me to wonder:

Hey, Kelly-Anne, what’s your game now?
Can anybody play?

[With apologies to the Hollies]

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

This is another from The Shadow collection. It’s International Crime, from 1938 and starring Rod La Rocque as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow. This was before I was born, and I’m not sorry I missed it. Significant aspects of the story are way lame. This appears to be a Grand National Picture, although the titles do not mention Grand National. You have to get the production company off the movie poster on Amazon or Wikipedia, where I am getting other technical  details. Screen shots are from Amazon Prime Video.

Here La Rocque reprises his Shadow role from The Shadow Strikes. and Behind the Mask. It’s difficult to take any of the Shadow plots seriously, this one especially.

Here the Shadow is a radio crime commentator. He has a nightly broadcast, during which he recounts numerous incidences of crime while giving out sound advice to citizens in general. Here he speaks while his able assistant works the controls.

In barges cute Phoebe Lane (Astrid Allwyn) with a story about an impending crime. She’s a royal pain, but Cranston  can’t get rid of her, because her uncle owns the newspaper/radio station. She says a complete stranger (had an honest face) told her a specific movie theater will be robbed at 9 p.m.

Cranston alerts the police and rushes over there. Commissioner Weston (Thomas E. Jackson) is not pleased with Cranston’s butting in.

Sure enough. the advice about a robbery was a ruse to siphon police away from the scene of an actual crime. A safe has been blown up as its owner opened it, killing  the wealthy taxpayer. Cranston is there ahead of the police and gets stuck in the slammer as a material witness.

Bonded out, Cranston quizzes Phoebe, who now recalls the person with the holdup tale spoke with an accent. Cranston tries several accents until Phoebe recognizes his phony Austrian accent. They need to look for an Austrian.

But where to look? Why, where Austrians dine. Any Austrian criminal villain is bound to be dining out right now at a fancy Austrian restaurant, so the two put on  their glad rags and make the tour. Until Phoebe spots the man. He is international financier Flotow (Wilhelm von Brincken),  and when Cranston saunters over to Flotow’s table and pretends to be a fellow Austrian, Phoebe chimes in and gives away the scam. Flotow recognizes her from her picture in the newspaper atop her home body column.

More ensues, but the critical mass is that Flotow and associate put the squeeze on Roger Morton (John St. Polis), brother of the murdered man. They force him to write a suicide note and then hand him a gun.

But just then Cranston and the police enter and put an end to the crime spree. We see Cranston and Phoebe doing a follow-up broadcast.

Hokey to the highest degree, of course. Particularly that part about shopping around at Austrian restaurants looking for the stranger who gave Phoebe the bogus crime story.

La Roque began appearing in films about age 15, and had a long and successful career. But this was one of his final roles. Three years later he was Ted Sheldon in Meet John Doe, which starred Gary Cooper. He died in 1969.

Time was about up for Grand National Pictures. That company lasted from 1936 to  1939. We have seen them before.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Mother of Jesus, please come back.

I have this friend Bill, who’s a police officer, and he was telling me this strange tale.

He was doing  his nightly patrol in his police cruiser, and he was checking out cars parked beside a city park. There were two cars, and he put his flashlight in the window of one. Nothing. Then he moved over to the other and uncovered a man and a woman getting it on in the back seat.

“Hey, people,” he admonished them. “Take this somewhere else.”

The man spoke up. “It’s all right officer. This is my wife.”

“Sorry, fellow. I didn’t know,” Bill responded.

The man told him, “Neither did I  until you put the light in her face.”

Friday Funny

Number 64 of a series

Let me know if you find this funny. I know I did, and so did a bunch of others. This was last September on Outnumbered, which comes on Fox at noon. Eric Trump, son of the current president, was on, and he was explaining his father’s rise to greatness despite coming from a childhood of disadvantage. From the video on YouTube:

He’s built an amazing company. He’s become the epitome of the American dream. He’s gone from just about nothing to…

And that’s where I, and most others, stopped listening.

People, how come nobody allowed me to come from just about nothing? Oh, the curse of an opulent upbringing.

And that is funny.

Yes, we have no covfefe.

There is an old song, and I made some changes to the lyrics:

“Yes, we have no covfefe
We have-a no covfefe today.
We’ve string beans, and onions
Cabbageses, and scallions,
And all sorts of fruit and say
We have an old fashioned to-mah-to
A Long Island po-tah-to
But yes, we have no covfefe.
We have no covfefe today.”

You need to know that came immediately to mind on hearing this announcement:

(CNN) — President Donald Trump did not record his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, he tweeted on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation kick-started by the President himself.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump tweeted.

Now we can get back to things of more interest to voters. Such as who had the largest inauguration crowd.

Minor Absurdity

The cartoon is by one of my favorites. Scott Adams has been poking fun, through Dilbert, at American business and society on a grand scale since 1995, drawing from his experience working in business and project development. He has other interests, besides:

Russia Hacked our Election! (So what?)

I see a consensus forming that Russia attempted to influence our election with fake news and other social media shenanigans.

But why?

It’s an entry in Scott Adams’ Blog, and it’s worth some diagnosis. Here are a few snippets along with my comments:

If you start with the assumption that Russia is an enemy of the United States, you probably assume they do bad things to us simply to weaken our power and effectiveness. For example, this article hypothesizes that Russia’s intention was to breed distrust between whoever became president and our intelligence services. I guess that hypothesis sort-of-almost makes sense. But I wouldn’t say it passes my personal sniff test.

What is absurd in a minor way is his use of the term “assumption.” Take that away and also substitute “Vladimir Putin” for “Russia,” and you get a picture that has considerable credence. Former KGB foreign intelligence officer in the and current president, seemingly for life, of the Russian state gives all the appearances of being a very bad character. Any difference between Vladimir Putin and a heavy-handed dictator is difficult to discern. Not to sound conspiratorial, but people who oppose Putin tend to die a lot, in the most prejudicial ways. No examples given. None need be.

That Putin, through Russia, is opposed to this country and to much of Western political influence is manifest in his actions in  Georgia and Ukraine. Adams might want to have his sniffer tested.

Then there’s the more popular theory that the Russians were colluding with the Trump campaign because Putin thought he could somehow control President Trump via blackmail, or business ties, or something else we’re imagining. I guess that could be true. Sort of. But that doesn’t pass my sniff test either.

Again, Scott, get thee to a clinic to have thy sniffer tested. If Putin is not exercising blackmail over the President of the United States, it would only be because he has no need to. The accommodation given to the Russian dictatorship by Donald Trump is without parallel in history.

President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second left, at the White House on May 10, 2017. Fourth from right is Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak. Russian Foreign Ministry Photo / AP

Photo attribution is given to the Associated Press, but I have it on good evidence that I need not worry about stepping on their copyright, because the ultimate source is an agency of the Russian government. The President of the United States invited the Russian press but excluded any member of the American press. This came the day after President Trump fired the director of the FBI, apparently because Director James Comey would not lay off investigating Trump’s dealings with the Russians. And finally, if the Russians want to come at me for copyright infringement, then let them have at it.

Then there’s the hypothesis that Russia was messing with our democratic system to weaken the country by sowing distrust about the election process, or possibly by electing a president they believed would be less effective. But I have a hard time believing the Russians thought Trump would be ineffective. Maybe they just thought he would be divisive, and perhaps they thought that’s good for Russia in some way.

Scott has a “hard time believing Trump would be ineffective.” Then he must have a hard time believing the Russians are not stupid. That Trump is ineffective is manifest on a broad scale. The president the Russians did not believe would be ineffective is proving to be an embarrassment to his own party. Republicans may swoon at his tweeted goals, but they are confounded by the litany of prevarications and contradictions coming daily. Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star has cataloged 300 (and more?) miscues from Donald Trump since 20 January this year. Considering the term “ineffective” we need only to think “NATO.” NATO, set up by retired General Eisenhower and President Truman after World War Two to oppose Soviet expansion in Europe, is a constant obstruction to Putin’s European ambitions. Our effective president first declared NATO a non-entity, then forswore our obligations under the treaty, then reaffirmed these same obligations. How many different ways are there to spell “ineffective?”

As Putin accurately pointed out in a recent interview, hackers can make their attacks seem to come from other sources, including Russia. I assume there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Trump-supporting Americans with the skills to hack poorly-secured servers. Even if you assume Putin wanted to hack American servers, he would have needed to get in line to do it. Given all the American hackers who opposed Hillary Clinton, there is perhaps a one-in-a-hundred chance Putin’s hackers (if they exist) got to the DNC and Clinton’s servers before the hordes of non-Russian hackers did it. So even if Putin tried, the odds are low that his team got to the good stuff first.

It’s hard to get past “Putin accurately pointed out in a recent interview.” It is heartening to know we can  count on a Russian dictator for sound advice. What I find interesting is that Scott, who formerly worked in the industry, is not current with the technology. He is also not up on the findings of people who do this sort of thing for a living. The people who do this sort of thing for a living, e.g., the CIA, FBI, NSA, have found the attacks came from the Russians, disguised has having come from elsewhere. American  intelligence services also determine the blame ultimately falls at the feet of Vladimir Putin. In response, Scott is going to have to tell us our intelligence agencies are lying to us. But this he has not done. Additionally, Scott’s analysis of cyber attacks is naive at the least. He appears to buy into the Hollywood view of spies breaking encrypted passwords. Unfortunately for him, that is not the way this stuff is usually done. All successful attacks I have seen reported in  the news have been by way of “social engineering” You trick somebody into revealing the password,  or you plant somebody (Edward Snowden) inside to steal the information you want. Scott may want to read up on the history of computer intrusion.

Let’s say Russia did attempt to influence American voters to support Trump. The first question I have to ask is this: Aren’t all the big countries trying to influence elections in all the other countries, all the time? If Russia did try to influence an American election, wouldn’t that be business as usual? Do we imagine the United States is NOT trying to influence foreign elections through our own fake news and social media manipulations? I always assumed we do that sort of thing. I base that assumption on the following observation about human beings:

Is it possible Scott previously denied the Russians did this stuff, and now he is saying so what if they did it? Our intelligence services say that is exactly what the Russians, under the direction of Vladimir Putin, did.

But let’s get back to Russia’s presumed payoff for somehow destabilizing the United States. I think we need to check that assumption because Putin seems like a smart guy. It’s hard for me to believe he thinks he would come out ahead by destabilizing the world’s most important military and economic power. And that is doubly true when you are teaming with that country to fight ISIS, put a cap on North Korea, and keep the economy chugging along. It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario in 2017 in which Russia gains by poking America with a sharp stick. The probable outcome seems more bad than good. Who wants a pissed-off nuclear superpower looking in your direction? It doesn’t pass the sniff test. If Putin were an idiot, I could see him wanting to cause this sort of trouble just because he was dumb.

Scott goes on to say Putin is not dumb.

He finds it difficult to believe Russia (Vladimir Putin) would seek to check us who “are teaming with that country to fight ISIS.” Please replay the most recent state of this teaming to defeat ISIS:

The U.S. downing of a Syrian government jet over the weekend marks an escalation in the long Syrian conflict, although Russia’s bold response Monday to view U.S. aircraft in the region as legitimate “targets” is seen more as “bluster” than anything else.

Yes, the United States and Russia are so hunky-dory on all matters of defense. Yes, Scott, this does pass the smell test.

I’d like to introduce a new hypothesis to explain why Russia might have wanted to influence American elections: They believed a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a disaster to the world, including Russia.

The best observation is that Putin strongly opposed Hillary Clinton and desired strongly that she not become president. Not so much the rest of the world, where Clinton holds great popularity. Trump and Putin not so much.

Did Putin or other Russian nationals try to influence American elections? I assume so. I also assume America has done the same – in terms of influence on their local politics – to Russia, and to every one of our allies.

Finally, Scott Adams turns his argument around. That the Russians were behind the attacks on the 2016 election is something that does not pass his smell test, and finally that—his smell test notwithstanding—it is true. His assumptions aside.

And that is what I call a minor absurdity.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

Sometimes you cannot have too much protection. What is needed is more guns in the hands of more people. At other times:

Innocent bystander shot outside popular downtown Minneapolis
bar

Steve Ericson, KARE 10:26 PM. CDT May 14, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS An innocent bystander was caught in gunfire during a fight and subsequent shooting outside a popular downtown Minneapolis bar on Saturday night.

The shooting happened around 8 p.m. outside Lyon’s Pub at 16 South 6th Street. Authorities say there was some sort of argument between two groups of younger people when several shots were fired.

Obviously, too slow on the draw. Needs more practice.

Trump News

More From Trump News

Yes, your memory is correct. I subscribe to a newsletter from Trump News. That’s the name of the sender when their daily report shows up in my inbox. The site is EnVolve.com, and the screen shot above is from today’s mailing. Please pardon, but I jacked up the contrast so you can read the caption beneath the photo. The link points to a page that elaborates:

Negative Liberal Media REFUSES To Report What This Republican Patriot Did!

Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers took a moment to support the victims of last week’s shooting at a congressional baseball game practice by donating blood on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

It is no surprise to see the Vice President doing this, as he often examples what Patriotism looks like for the everyday citizen. Also not surprising is the clear lack of media coverage that such service would generally merit. Clearly, the negative liberal media would hate to ever show that any Republican, especially the Vice President, could ever have a caring heart for others.

And that’s the message for today. A deranged gunman, a Bernie Sanders supporter, shot up a baseball  practice session, wounding several, including Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana District 1. And patriotic Vice President Mike Pence stepped forward to donate blood. And the liberal media (meaning the mainstream news outlets) refused to report it. “REFUSED.”

Refused, that is, except for ABC News:

Mike Pence, other lawmakers donate to Capitol Hill blood bank in honor of Scalise

By DAVID CAPLAN

Vice President Mike Pence was among those on Capitol Hill Tuesday who rolled up their sleeves and donated blood in honor of the victims of last week’s shooting at congressional baseball practice at an Alexandria, Virginia, park.

That was posted today. The blood drive is still ongoing and will continue tomorrow. It will be interesting to see just how many mainstream news sources refuse, absolutely refuse, to cover the story. So far Washington News 8 has covered it, as well as The Hill.

Regarding Trump News, I am dead certain this is not an official Donald Trump outlet. From all appearances it is an independent enterprise established to capitalize on Trump’s notoriety and his fan base. Another thing I am sure of is that Trump supporters read Trump News, and they accept its news as factual. It’s another sign we live in interesting times.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This one has been a long time getting to these pages—30 years to be exact. From 1987 it’s Over The Top, starring Sylvester Stallone as he-man truck driver Lincoln Hawk. It’s a Golan-Globus production, so you sort of know what to expect. The two cousins are noted for a tableaux of off-kilter productions, including:

That’s just up through the 1980s, and there are many I didn’t list. This one was directed by Menahem Golan. Screen shots are from Amazon Prime Video, which is a trove of hard-to-find productions. I promise more of these in the future. Details are from Wikipedia. The story in a few sentences.

Michael Cutler-Hawk (David Mendenhall) is graduating from a prestigious military academy.

Meanwhile, his father is coming to pick him up and take him to see his mother, who is dying.

The mother is sweet Christina Cutler-Hawk (Susan Blakely). Her husband long ago deserted her and their son, due to interference from her filthy rich and domineering father, Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia).

The kid did not even know his father existed, and is not impressed by having to ride home in a second-hand big rig tractor. But dad introduces Mike to an entirely different life—eating at a truck stop serving truck driver fare and crowded with dudes wanting to challenge Dad to an arm wrestle at $1000 a pop. Dad beats one tough guy and declines the invite from another, even more massive, hulk.

Mike gets his chance when he encounters flak from a tough kid. He loses his first round, but his dad reminds him that soul counts for much in competition and in life. He slams to tough guy in the second round.

The mother dies before the kid gets home, and the kid rejects his dad, noting that in ten years he never got a birthday card. Grandfather Cutler takes custody of the kid, against all legal standards, and big Hawk responds by ramming his rig through the Cutler estate security gate, across the fountain-festooned front yard and through the front door of the house.

Of course, big Hawk gets thrown into the slammer for this, and he seeks to redeem himself by selling his rig and investing the proceeds in a Las Vegas bet on himself in the world championship competition. The remainder of the movie shows the kid escaping the Cutler estate, stealing granddad’s pickup truck, taking a flight to Las Vegas, and cheering his dad to victory.

Yeah, you and I are on the same page here. Stallone was one piece of beef in those days, but seeing him put down guys with biceps thicker than his waistline really is a bit over the top.

The movie is well directed and photographed. The story is strictly manufactured. Stallone had his own take. From the Amazon screen notes:

Years later, Sylvester Stallone explained why he agreed to appear in this movie, saying, “Menahem Golan kept offering me more and more  money, until I finally thought, “What the hell – no one will see it!”

The joke’s on you, Sly.