Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Continuing from last week, I’m posting more on death by alternative medicine. Some time ago I chose Tuesdays to carry the sad news about people dying from false belief. Alternative medicine (AltMed) is one of today’s significant mass murderers. Take the case of Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States:

Beginning on June 20, 1923, the Hardings sought to escape the heat and scandal of Washington on a 15,000-mile transcontinental train trip and voyage to Alaska. The president was 57 at the time. The recently unsealed diary and notes of naval physician Joel Boone reveal Boone’s grave concerns about the president’s heart condition. The warnings were ignored by longtime Harding homeopath “Doc” Sawyer, who made no effort to stop Harding from speaking in the blistering heat, driving the golden spike to complete the Alaska Railroad, or doing other arduous tasks. In this Sawyer had the absolute approval of the first lady, who was now enjoying the height of her national popularity and didn’t want the trip canceled. She viewed the incompetent Sawyer as her own Rasputin, who’d miraculously kept a chronic kidney ailment from killing her.

When Harding suffered a bout of food poisoning from tainted crab meat at Cordova, Alaska, Doc Sawyer ultimately weakened the president’s sick heart by treating him with heavy doses of purgatives to flush out the toxins. On Aug. 2, 1923, when Boone was out of the sickroom in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, Sawyer plied one too many purgatives – in Florence’s presence – and Harding died. There was a quick coverup regarding who was in the room and at precisely what time the president died. Mrs. Harding refused to permit an autopsy or a death mask, protecting her beloved Sawyer. “Now that is all over,” she told Evalyn McLean after Harding’s death, “I think it was all for the best.”

You don’t have to be poor and stupid to fall to quack medicine. Often the victim is rich and stupid.

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Buyer’s Remorse

Number 24 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. Some people out there by now have got to be feeling the heat. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

How about our petulant President’s life-long divorce from reality? The above meme is a screen shot from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, and it is most interesting. To make it visible to search engines I am posting the text:

Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea.Not much of an agreement we have!

Yes. Yes! Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. I reprinted that, capitalizing “Ballistic” and “Missile” for no apparent reason, just as it was in the original tweet, for no apparent reason. Anyhow, this is dreadful news, and it has been brought to our attention by the President of the United States in an official United States Government communication.

If only the least part of it were true:

Iran’s supposed missile launch was fake, US officials say

By Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News

EXCLUSIVE: Iranian state television released video footage Friday claiming to show the launch of a new type of medium-range ballistic missile, a few hours after it was displayed during a military parade in Tehran.

But it turns out Iran never fired a ballistic missile, sources say.

The video released by the Iranians was more than seven months old – dating back to a failed launch in late January, which resulted in the missile exploding shortly after liftoff, according to two U.S. officials.

By now I am beginning to think Donald Trump gets his news off the back of a box of breakfast cereal. Should I also hope that Trump supporters are starting to show some buyer’s remorse? Should I further hope that Sarah Palin wins the Nobel Prize in physics?

People Unclear

An ongoing scandal – number 17

I’m wondering whether I should quit putting out these memos. Apparently nobody reads them. Included in “nobody” would be former judge Roy Moore of Alabama. That he has not read the memo has been long apparent. From the Huffington Post:

Alabama Senate Front-Runner: Evolution Is Fake And Homosexuality Should Be Illegal

By Antonia Blumberg

U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore has approached his work over the decades as he once approached mastering kickboxing and building a house with [his] own hands: with laser focus and a fervent belief that he has God on his side.

Moore, 70, is vying to become the next U.S. senator for Alabama, and his chances are looking good. A poll released Monday by Louisiana-based JMC Analytics and Polling found that the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court holds an 8-point lead in the Republican primary run-off over his opponent, U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed by Alabama’s governor in February to temporarily fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whoever wins will face Democrat Doug Jones, whose odds are low in the overwhelmingly red state.

Right out of the gate this says something. Especially it says something about the great state of Alabama, previously discussed. The matter of Roy Moore has been covered previously here:

There is one thing his critics (that would include me) can appreciate about Judge Moore, and that is he does not hide his intent behind noble claims of advancing morality in the name of all faiths. It actually is refreshing to see a public official, such as Moore, come out and state that this country is for Christians (Jews if they behave themselves), and the rest of you idolaters can just go screw off. I’m sorry. Did I say Christians? I meant some Christians. Joel N. Shurkin has researched and posted a better hash of this issue than I could ever have done:

Including a fairly lengthy discussion of Moore’s doings and past history. In brief, from Wikipedia, Roy Moore was elected Chief Justice of Alabama in 2001, and apparently without much hesitation, he commenced to trample on constitutional law by commissioning a monument enshrining the biblical Ten Commandments and having the sculpture installed in the Alabama Judicial Building. Consequences ensued.

Suit was filed against this legal breach, and a federal court ordered the monument be removed. Judge Moore was the person in charge of the facility, and he refused to comply with the court order. For this official impropriety he was removed from his position of Chief Justice. Additional political involvement ensued, following which Roy Moore again ran for Chief Justice and was again elected by the people of Alabama—may Jesus have mercy on their souls.

Once again Judge Moore misapplied his position by defying a higher court that ruled against Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. He resigned his position and is now running for the United States Senate, a position he is likely to obtain.

What makes Roy Moore’s ascent to such an elevated position is his lack of understanding of some basic truths. We can start with his defiance of modern science. From The Washington Post:

The last 50 years, Moore argued, have witnessed the tragic removal of God from public life, from schools, from government, something that was never intended under the Constitution’s establishment clause. “There is no such thing as evolution,” he said at one point as he waited for his lunch. Species might adapt to their environment, he continued, but that has nothing to do with the origins of life described in the Bible. “That we came from a snake?” he asked rhetorically. “No, I don’t believe that.”

Of course, Roy Moore is correct in believing snakes are not ancestral to people. Studies of biological evolution indicate snakes and people share a common ancestor with no direct line of descent from one to the other. What is obvious from his statement, however, is complete ignorance of some high school science. What is appalling is his flaunting of his ignorance followed by Alabama voters’ acceptance. Would always your worst enemies be ever so benighted.

But here is what’s adding drama to this mess. Current President Donald Trump, no stranger to benightedness, is supporting Moore’s opponent Luther Strange in the Republican primary race. I am keenly aware how much Donald Trump dislikes losing, but this race has all the look of a big smashup for Trump. It’s going to fun to watch.

Of secondary interest is who is supporting Moore. Prime would be former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, neither of whom seem to have their heads on straight. Palin is no stranger to these pages, for a time getting her own series. Few deserve the honor more. Palin’s association with the factual world is tenuous at best. From an old news story:

Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said.

After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said “she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,” recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

It is small comfort to know that Steve Bannon is the more rational of the two.

Call me an alarmist if you wish, but the United States is about to be saddled with yet another nut case senator. Could things get much worse?

Wait! Donald Trump is President of the United States. Never mind.

People Unclear

An ongoing scandal – number 16

Apparently some people working for United States government did not get the message:

Rep. Randy Weber Tearfully Begs God To Forgive America For The Sins Of Legal Abortion And Marriage Equality

By Kyle Mantyla | April 27, 2017 10:33 am

Last night, nearly two dozen members of Congress joined Religious Right activists in Washington, D.C., for the annual “Washington – A Man of Prayer” event, held in Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol.

Organized by The Jefferson Gathering, which is a project of right-wing pastor Jim Garlow’s Skyline Church in California, the prayer event was kicked off by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan while Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., served as honorary hosts.

All right. This is so not news. There has got to be more. Fortunately there is more:

Over the course of an hour and a half, 20 different members of Congress took to the podium to lead the gathering in prayer, including Rep. Randy Weber of Texas, who repeatedly choked up while begging God to forgive this nation for the “sins” of legal abortion and marriage equality.

Never once mentioning the election of Donald Trump as President. Yes, the United States has committed numerous sins, and Congressman Weber knows just which ones need to be forgiven. But who, pray tell, is it who is supposed to forgive us of these sins? Only Weber knows. He invokes a non-existent entity rather than some authority empowered to forgive all sins. All he needs to do is to ask me. I will offer forgiveness. And you can take Sunday morning off.

Snowflake-in-Chief

Number 36 of a series

This is the person who paraded through life insulting people and trampling on the truth with great disregard. Then he steps up to play in the big leagues, and hard reality hits. He has no response but to hit back and in the most appropriate fashion. To wit:

Humiliated by terrible reviews of his UN speech, Trump blames Obama and the Clintons

World leaders, and Trump’s own chief of staff, looked on in stunned horror as Trump threatened nuclear war with North Koreabragged about his electoral college results, and echoed propaganda from Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s address earned bad reviews at home, too. Journalists panned the speech as “menacing” and “needlessly offensive.” Hillary Clinton thundered that the speech was “dark and dangerous,” and former Obama press secretary Josh Earnest condemned the speech for having no “coherent strategy.”

So, that was most uncool. The President gives it his best shot, and all his opponents can do is throw tomatoes? Well, they picked the wrong guy to mess with. President Donald Trump knows how to handle their kind:

After allowing North Korea to research and build Nukes while Secretary of State (Bill C also), Crooked Hillary now criticizes.

The greatest influence over our election was the Fake News Media “screaming” for Crooked Hillary Clinton. Next, she was a bad candidate!

Kim Jong-un may have nuclear missiles, but Donald Trump has Twitter. Go Trump, go! You tell ’em.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 23 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. Some people out there must by now be feeling the heat. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

How about our petulant President’s obsession with unworldly affairs?

NFL Commissioner, Players’ Union Angrily Denounce Trump

Full disclosure: I have zero interest in the NBA and the NFL and only marginal interest in MLB. Players making more in a year than I made in a lifetime live in a world apart from me, and I feel little inclination to contribute to their wealth by watching them participate in what is supposed to be a pastime. Now some of these multi-millionaires want to use their position of advantage to push closely-held agendas. Having said this, I may agree with some or all their political statements.

But now we have our highest elected official using his own position of power to weigh in against other millionaires. All on company time. The bully pulpit of the presidency is being leveraged to wage a campaign of personal preference. Are we supposed to be proud?

And what is this obtaining for the most powerful person in the country? It will be interesting to know:

Trump Attacks Warriors’ Curry. LeBron James’s Retort: ‘U Bum.’

A response was not short in coming:

U bum already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!

So now we have another millionaire, who remarkably may enjoy more popularity than the President of the United States, getting down and dirty with the Snowflake-in-Chief. Across the board there is the appearance professional sports is putting distance with this president:

Backlash After Trump Slams NFL Players’ Protests, NBA’s Stephen Curry

President Donald Trump sparked a backlash from some of the biggest names in professional sports on Saturday after he attacked football players who refuse to stand during the national anthem in protest and rescinded a White House invitation to the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.

The NBA champions Warriors team said they would not be going to the White House after Trump tweeted that “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

What’s next? NASCAR? The initial reaction to Trump’s election last year was generally positive. After all, the public statements and proposed policies of the candidate aligned well with the conservative bent of drivers and fans. A chill has since set in:

NESN Fuel Major NASCAR Sponsor Asks Fans Who Agree With Donald Trump To Shop Elsewhere

by Ben Watanabe on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 2:49PM

Marcus Lemonis has no problem with some customers taking their RV and outdoor needs elsewhere. Close followers of NASCAR know Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, is a major player in the sport. His brand is the title sponsor of the truck racing series, while its subsidiary Overton’s has sponsored multiple races and cars this season. With that in mind, NASCAR chairman Brian France — who last year endorsed Donald Trump for president — might want to watch his words. Amid the flood of CEOs rushing to distance themselves from Trump’s business councils after the U.S. president’s wishy-washy denunciation of white supremacy last weekend, Lemonis on Wednesday appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” where he seemed to suggest he wouldn’t be shattered if people who supported Trump’s comments decided to shop elsewhere.

What a fiasco! We provide millions of dollars a year in Secret Service protection for this guy, and he spends his time on this? Wasn’t he supposed to be defeating ISIS or something?

And don’t even think about getting your money back.

People Unclear

An ongoing scandal – number 15

The meme doesn’t have anything to do with this installment of People Unclear. But it was handy, and the Reverend Jeffreys needed some more exposure. Anyhow, here’s what’s wacko today:

Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists claim

A Christian numerologist claims that the world will end next Saturday when a planet will, supposedly, collide with Earth.

Saturday, 23 September 2017. That’s today, and I’m planning on taking the rest of the day off. After I take Barbara Jean out to dinner.

No, wait! This deserves more. It needs some Skeptical Analysis. Here’s more from Fox News.

According to Christian numerologist David Meade, verses in Luke 21:25 to 26 are the sign that recent events, such as the recent solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey, are signs of the apocalypse.

Let’s examine that:

Luke 21:25-26 King James Version (KJV)

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

And that is that. Nothing about 23 September, in any year. But wait! Fox News has still more:

Sept. 23 is a date that was pinpointed using codes from the Bible, as well as a “date marker” in the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

This is getting deeper than I can probe before dinner. Back to Fox News for additional detail:

Meade has built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he believes will pass Earth on Sept. 23, causing volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, according to British newspaper The Sun.

The Sun link points to the following:

Conspiracies about the mysterious planet named Nibiru suggest it could be headed towards Earth to destroy it on September 23.

It was first mentioned in 1976 by author Zecharia Sitchin in his book The 12th Planet.

He believed the planet is home to ancient aliens called the Annunaki who he claimed created the human race.

Aw, rats! I have a copy of the Sitchin book, but it’s not handy right now, And Amazon wants $16 for a Kindle edition. Barbara Jean would never sign off on the purchase. However, a PDF download is available from FreePDF. Here’s the cover:

Here’s what Sitchin has to say by way of introduction:

GENESIS
THE PRIME SOURCE for the biblical verses quoted in The Twelfth Planet is the Old Testament in its original Hebrew text. It must be borne in mind that all the translations consulted of which the principal ones are listed at the end of the book – are just that: translations or interpretations. In the final analysis, what counts is what the original Hebrew says.
In the final version quoted in The Twelfth Planet, I have compared the available translations against each other and against the Hebrew source and the parallel Sumerian and Akkadian texts/tales, to come up with what I believe is the most accurate rendering.
The rendering of Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Hittite texts has engaged a legion of scholars for more than a century. Decipherment of script and language was followed by transcribing, transliterating, and finally, translating. In many instances, it was possible to choose between differing translations or interpretations only by verifying the much earlier transcriptions and transliterations. In other instances, a late insight by a contemporary scholar could throw new light on an early translation.
The list of sources for Near Eastern texts, given at the end of this book, thus ranges from the oldest to the newest, and is followed by the scholarly publications in which valuable contributions to the understanding of
the texts were found.

[Zecharia Sitchin, The 12th Planet. From the introduction]

Well, that explains a lot. A hair de loon writes a book of fables, sourcing another book of fables, and another master of confabulation picks up on that, and suddenly nobody has any place to go come Sunday, 24 September. And I had a trip out of town planned.

It’s a good thing I don’t believe in fairy tales. Unlike some politicians I could name.

The Golden Shower

Number 23

It’s a story that will not go away, possibly because I love it so much, and I want to keep coming back to it. It’s long past wondering whether Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel. It’s to the point we have Justice Department lawyers in a full-court press trying to unravel just how much involvement the Trump campaign had with Russian operatives bent on impacting the 2016 election. Almost every day there is a new headline. Here are two, starting with The New York Times yesterday:

Trevor Noah Thinks Paul Manafort Got Mixed Up With the Wrong Crowd

Guilty Associations?

As the special investigator Robert Mueller presses on with his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, reports have surfaced that Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman, offered to privately brief a Russian billionaire on the status of his primary campaign. Trevor Noah doesn’t think there’s any way to put a positive spin on that one.

“Manafort offered to brief a Russian oligarch on the campaign that he was running for Trump. Now, does that prove he did anything wrong? No, but ask yourself this: When has the phrase ‘Russian oligarch’ ever been a good thing? It’s like the phrase ‘a cappella concert,’ or ‘unmarked van,’ or ‘homemade condom.’” — TREVOR NOAH

Trevor Noah, of course, is not a news reporter. He’s a comedian pulling to his radio and TV audience. But this is an indicator as to how far this story has seeped into the daily conversation. Of more immediate interest is the infamous Steel dossier, the tale of which continues to surface. From The New York Times last Tuesday

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate panel probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election abruptly canceled an interview with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday after he issued a statement about his testimony in violation of committee policy.

The relevance crops up a few paragraphs in:

Cohen’s name surfaced in a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that reported Cohen played an important role in liaison with the Russian government and secretly met with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.

The Steele dossier, Cohen said in his statement, was “riddled with falsehoods and intentionally salacious allegations.”

“I have never in my life been to Prague or to anywhere in the Czech Republic,” he said.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials have said that while they cannot verify all the details in the Steele dossier, neither have they debunked it entirely.

To be sure, it is not what Michael Cohen did or did not do that is of much interest. What is of interest is whether this part of the Steele dossier has merit:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Americans should rightly cast doubt on allegations that a candidate for our highest office would engage in such activities. Then too, it could have been a ploy by Donald Trump to make President James Buchanan look good.

The truth is out there, somewhere, but it may turn out to be not very interesting. It’s the search for truth that is the thing. And it’s a gas.

There will be more. Keep reading.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 22 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

How about some tweets from the past. It would appear there is a topic of particular interest to the current President of the United States  Somebody else reviewed past tweets and brought these to my attention. Here they are, apparently for real:

Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.

: Saw editorial on TV. Forcing whites out of their properties & throwing them into the streets with nothing.”

How is ABC Television allowed to have a show entitled “Blackish”? Can you imagine the furor of a show, “Whiteish”! Racism at highest level?

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.

If you need me to explain this, post a comment, and I will elaborate.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Friday Funny

Number 77 of a series

Same as last week. Please note that Loyce Fredrikson’s avatar is an elephant.

Is there such a thing as “dumb shaming?” Is it a horrible thing to do? Should people be publicly humiliated for being terminally stupid? Is this funny or just plain nasty. Who cares? Loyce Fredrikson may be stupid beyond what the law allows, but inadvertently she is funny.