Made in America

Ol' Heel Spurs 'Made in America Week' turned out to be a bit of a fizzle.

Apparently it's hard to find that many companies that actually make things in America.

Including, as it turns out, Trump Industries:

This week was supposed to be “made in America week.” Unfortunately, the festivities were ruined by the president’s own Mar-a-Lago golf club applying for 70 visas from the government to bring in foreign workers.

Trump’s Made in America Week Shows Us Why Nothing Is Made in America Anymore

There's a bit of hyperbole in that headline; some things are still made in America. Just not by Trump's family brand.

Made in America week was meant to kick of with 50 brands—one from each state—on the White House lawn to celebrate “each state’s effort and commitment to American-made products.” Noticeably absent? Any Trump family brand, disqualified because they’re largely manufactured in places like China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. When reporters brought this fact up with press secretary Sean Spicer, his defensive reaction spoke volumes: “There are certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country.” Spicer and the Trumps know that producing clothing on such a mainstream level while keeping prices low for a mainstream customer simply isn't possible.

Caterpillar remains one of Ol' Heel Spurs' faves, but Caterpillar actually employs more people outside the US than in its US facilities. Here's a look at Caterpillar's Chinese plants.

We have to wonder at how much of that 966M on the White House lawn, that was 'built' in American, was actually 'made' in America.

No matter. Ol' Heel Spurs' weekend Twitstorm dealt with the vital issues of the day - his 'complete power to pardon' (a bit of thinking ahead?); the 'Amazon WaPo;' the Hillary emails; and SessionsGate, wherein Massa Jeff's meetings with Kislyak seemed to hold Ol' Heel Spurs' rather short attention span.

Makin' Murrica Grate Agin ...


The payoff

Here's another swamp drainer from The Party of Family Values, and God's Suffering (Can't Get the Votes) Servant.

Newt Gingrich, that paragon of Republican values, gets his reward

And now, for his support of Trump, he is getting the ultimate patronage: the chance to live in Rome on the taxpayer’s dime while his wife, the president of Gingrich Productions, enjoys a plum posting. Newt, who converted to Catholicism several years ago, set his wife up nicely for the job by co-hosting two videos with her about Pope John Paul II, produced with a Gingrich political ally.
But if it is good news for the Gingriches, it is an(other) insult to Francis from Trump, who has sparred with the pope over immigration and climate change. Newt carried on a six-year extramarital affair with Callista in the 1990s when she, 23 years his junior, was a House staffer and he, as speaker, led the impeachment of Bill Clinton over his extramarital affair with an intern. National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters called it “astonishing that a party that celebrates family values at every turn has a president who is on his third wife and who has bragged about his extramarital affairs and who is appointing an ambassador to the Vatican who had a six-year affair with her future husband while he was still married to his second wife.”

We can only wonder when Ol' Heel Spurs' evangelical whores will gather again for a laying on of hands blessing and photo op. They may not, though. For decades, a good many evangelicals and especially fundies have considered Catlicks to be Jesus-eatin' Mary-worshipin' godless heretics. JFK's speech to the Dallas Ministerial Mob, while brilliant, had no lasting effect.



"The anger commenced not long after Tuesday’s collapse of the Senate GOP bill to replace Obamacare. The Senate Conservatives Fund promised to "identify, recruit, and fund conservative challengers” to GOP lawmakers who vote against a clean repeal."
There's a reason why these people won't vote for clean repeal. Go ahead, GOP, shaft these guys and move even further to the right. Open the door for the Democrats. What the hey, they may be a gaggle of far left whackos, but at least they can pass legislation and govern. We may not entirely like the legislation, and we may not entirely like the way they govern, but at least they can do it.

Ol' Heel Spurs and Chris Christie show just what vindictive bastards they are:

The other hit for Guadagno comes right here in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie's top  fundraisers privately say they are sitting out the race because, in part, she's been deemed disloyal to the governor after criticizing him on several issues, including his stay at the governor's beach house during the state shutdown.

Taken together, the withdrawals could cost Guadagno millions of dollars as she heads into the crucial weeks of her campaign against wealthy Democrat Phil Murphy, who spent $21.7 million during his primary campaign.

Yep. Open the door for the Democrats. Meanwhile ... Chris Christie gets a load from his fans:

It's magic!

For their next magic trick, the GOP will attempt tax reform.

Basically, that will involve cutting taxes for the rich.
Administration officials have been working toward a proposal for months, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, neither of whom has deep expertise on tax policy, meeting behind closed doors with CEOs, businesses and tax experts.
“We are trying to actually be organized here. There are lots of internal strategy meetings on communications and policy,” said one senior White House official. “The administration has been working with outside groups, CEOs and businesses and has met frequently with conservative activists, who too could kill a plan.”
“We know this is even more important now, and the president is engaged on it,” the White House aide added.
In the absence of a confirmed assistant secretary for tax policy at Treasury, the NEC’s Shahira Knight has been acting as the face of the administration’s tax push. Recently, she spoke to groups such as the Tax Council, National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s tax committee on the administration’s path forward on tax reform, according to lobbyists present at those sessions.
Although Knight did not offer a specific time frame for when the administration would release its tax blueprint, she told attendees at the recent Tax Council session that the White House wanted Congress to use its template for a tax bill.
The senior administration official said the White House hopes to start rolling out a tax blueprint in August and then “build on it.”
So look at that.
The Treasury Secretary has no 'deep expertise' on tax policy. Neither does the director of the National Economic Council.
But they are actually 'trying' to be organized. They are going to 'start rolling out a blueprint' in August. Then build on it.
The current mouthpiece on tax policy is NEC's Shahira Knight, who speaks because ... we have no assistant secretary for tax policy. With a majority in the Senate, the GOP still doesn't have a 'confirmed' assistant secretary for tax policy. David Kautter is the nominee; Trump finally made that nomination on May 10. What's the holdup?


Trump and his pastoral whores

Trump threatens to change the course of American Christianity

Trump and his pastoral whores are well on their way to corrupting Christianity, making a complete mockery of the Gospel of Christ, turning it into a morally corrupt cesspool of political expedience and self-serving indulgence.

The court evangelicals have befriended Trump as a way to win his approval and advance their agenda of making the United States a Christian nation. If Trump believes in their agenda, he has done little to prove it. He does not attend church regularly and his references to Christianity are mostly scripted political talking points.

The court evangelicals have largely turned a blind eye to Trump’s indiscretions. When he recently made disparaging remarks about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, they were mostly silent. Only Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, made a public statement about the tweet. He told Fox News Channel that when Trump “hits them back on Twitter I actually appreciate that.”

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Court evangelicalism was on full display in Washington, during a Kennedy Center event honoring veterans.

Sounding like a 17th-century Puritan delivering a jeremiad calling the new Israel back to its spiritual roots, he described Trump as a messianic figure whom God had raised up to save the United States from spiritual ruin. Jeffress said, “but in the midst of that despair came November the 8th, 2016, and that day … God declared that the people, not the pollsters, were going to choose the next president of the United States.”

Yep. Trump, not Christ, is the chosen messenger. The new Lord and Savior of the 'Christian' Right.

Still isn't Trump's fault

It's never Trump's fault

Ol' Heel Spurs is completely babbling incoherently. He makes no sense at all.

Makin' Murrica Grate Agin! One incoherent twit at a time!

This makes no more sense than it did in March. Democrats are a minority in the Senate, and both the repeal-and-replace and the clean-repeal plans failed because the Republican caucus couldn’t unify. The Democrats were never a factor in the debate. That’s not surprising: Why would any Democrat work to repeal the party’s signature policy achievement of the last decade in order to replace it with a plan that would leave tens of millions of people uninsured and increase premiums for many? The broadside against Dems came only about 10 hours after promising that they would work together to replace Obamacare—and an a hour and a half before Trump called for the Senate to invoke the nuclear option and totally eliminate the filibuster.

Paying for the nursing home

The Buxton study, or survey, of The Smile Hi's 'consumers' shows that 49% of retail dollars come from tourists; 14% come from 'regional visitors;' and 37% come from residents. They derive their 'trade area' consumer profile through a 25 mile drive time, which is not particularly well-defined. Is this where they find their 'residents' and 'regional visitors?'

One presumes that 'tourists' would be from all over.

In any case, when it comes to funding the nursing home through sales tax revenue, we have 37% of the cost funded by local residents, Smile Hi people, with 63% of the funding coming from tourists - people who ain't from around here - and 'regional visitors,' whatever that means. Swinkians? Fowlerians? Las Animatians? Anyone within a 25 mile drive time who is not a resident of the Smile Hi?

However that is figured, the bottom line seems to be that with a 1% sales tax to fund the nursing home,  63% of the funding burden for the Smile Hi nursing home would come not from Smile Hi residents, but from people not from around here.

So the 1% sales tax seems to be a good way to not only pay for the nursing home, but to get someone else to pay for most of it.

Am I missing something here?

My understanding of the nursing home plot is that a 'health district' would be established. A board of directors, presumably elected in accordance with the statutes governing Colorado's special districts, would govern the nursing home.

The health district would hire workers to staff the nursing home.

This would function much in the same way as the rural fire district. The fire district, as you know, charges for ambulance and other services. A nursing home would also charge for services. Whether the charges would fully defray operating expenses is another story.

Given that, it makes little sense to sunset a 1% sales tax established to first pay off the bond required to construct the nursing home, and then ... to help with operating expenses. Maintenance. Upkeep. Repairs. And so on. Fees for nursing home services could, at least in theory, be kept lower if maintenance-related costs were not included because of a form of subsidy through a continuing sales tax.

It's completely unknown at this point whether or not the nursing home could pull in enough to defray costs. Of course, that could easily be addressed by simply upping the fees to make sure that such costs are covered, in which case there would be no need for a continuing sales tax once the bond is retired.

Of course, residents of the Smile Hi could simply refuse the sales tax altogether at the next election, in which case there would be no nursing home. Where that leaves grammy and gramps then becomes moot.

There would be no 'for-profit' company operating the nursing home. If a 'for-profit' could run a nursing home at a profit, there'd be some interest in that. So far, there is not. Does this sound familiar? It should. Think of the grand scheme of the Kit Carson Hotel.

Am I missing something here?

And there's still the matter of dog ordinance violations. That could be simply and easily addressed. Just find out which council member has the most dogs, add one more to that number, and then re-write the ordinance to cover that.

The new wogs

The latest on what the Clowns of Congress are trying to pull out of the their backsides ... including the latest twits from the Twit-in-Chief.
This is rich:
"For all their years of campaign vows to repeal and replace Obamacare, they never put in the hard work of crafting consensus legislation to replace it."
They've had eight years, and the best they can come up with is ... let's just repeal Obamacare and start over.
Meanwhile, where does this genius leadership leave those who are dumped out of Obamacare?
I suppose they could all go to work in one of Ivanka's sweatshops. No ... wait ... she's all about offshore, where she doesn't have to worry about paying all those wogs bennies like healthcare.
Perhaps we can get the Pastoral Whores of the Oval Office to pray for the poor:
"And Trump's temple preachers looked down into the pit of injustice and they turned away their faces and said, 'Our kingdom is not as the kingdom of this world. Our life on earth is but a pilgrimage. The soul lives on humility and patience,' at the same time screwing from the poor their last centime. They settled down among their treasures and ate and drank with princes and to the starving they said 'Suffer, suffer as he suffered on the cross, for it is the will of God."


Wog: In British English, "wog" is an offensive racial slur usually applied to black, Middle Eastern, or South Asian/Maritime Southeast Asian peoples. In Australian English, "wog" is a term used as a racial slur mostly for people from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region in general, including the Mediterranean region of the Middle East (i.e., the Eastern Mediterranean or the Levant and North Africa). In modern America, it can be applied by those who hold a 'conservative' political viewpoint to anyone not a 'conservative,' and who is poor. Race and ethnicity are important considerations to 'conservatives' in applying the term, but poor whites are also included in the term.

Ivanka's 'life work'

"Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is “my life’s mission.” Her father continually urges companies to “buy American and hire American.” But her fashion line’s practices collide with those principles — and are out of step with industry trends, The Washington Post found.

Ivanka Trump’s brand does not disclose the countries where its goods are made or the factories that produce them. Using clothing labels, The Post traced her products to Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Low-wage laborers in these countries often aren’t able to advocate for themselves.

K., a 26-year-old sewing-machine operator who works at a factory in Indonesia that produced Ivanka-branded knit dresses, told The Post that she makes the equivalent of $173 a month, the West Java province region’s minimum wage.

The brand’s business is “growing rapidly,” according to the company’s president, Abigail Klem. Revenue was up 21 percent in 2016, with continuing growth in 2017, executives said."



So. Two more senators have jumped ship, refusing to accept the abomination that is TrumpCare™. Pence got himself horselaughed out of the governor's convention, figuratively, if not literally, over his 'misconstrual' of how TrumpCare™ will screw over Medicaid. Junior looks ever more like some kind of juvenile fool, dancing at the hands of Russian puppeteers. Much like his low-rent, gilded toilet fixtures 'I won't have time to play golf' old man. The good-little-doggie Trump worshiping 'pastors' taking silly selfies in the Oval Office while laying hands on their Great God Trump look more and more like the political whores they are. The GOP controls the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office, and they can't muster enough juice to wipe their own asses, much less govern These United States. Oh ... and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is refusing to roll out the red carpet for Ol' Heel Spurs. The United States of America, far from being made Great Again, looks like either a bad remake of a Keystone Kops flick, or a redo of the Three Stooges Go to Washington. Perhaps God's trying to tell you something, you buffoons. It's about time to bomb someone. Launch some Tomahawks. Rattle some sabers. Kill a few Muslims. Syrians, perhaps, if that won't offend Putin, the other Great God of the evangelicals. Get the patriotic juices going and distract at least the 81% from the crass, gross incompetence infesting the White House and Congress. And we thought the Democrats were bad. What a farce.

Doggie style

From evangelical prayers to a Pat Robertson interview, Trump is blowing all the dog whistles he can

Whistling in the obedient little evangelical dogs.

Now, most evangelical Christians aren’t dispensationalists. Few people are likely to be convinced that Trump is a divine instrument who weren’t already prone to thinking so. But by conflating religious identity, a narrative of legitimacy on the part of Trump, a narrative of delegitimization of the press, and biblical interpretations through which those already prone to defend Trump can bolster their existing defense on a cosmic scale, Trump is doing more than holding on to his base. He’s mobilizing them. If the worst happens, and Trump does find his presidency under threat, he can rely on supporters who not only think the media is peddling fake news but also see that news as an apocalyptic threat to their fundamental identity as believing Christians.

Yeah, but there's enough of 'em.

Yet in both Protestant and Catholic circles, some — including representatives of Pope Francis — are wary of this kind of rhetoric. In an article last month by two allies of Pope Francis, the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro and Presbyterian pastor Marcelo Figueroa in La Civiltà Cattolica, both warned against an easy binary division of politics or religion “that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil.” Referring to apocalyptic evangelicals, they write:

“Theirs is a prophetic formula: fight the threats to American Christian values and prepare for the imminent justice of an Armageddon, a final showdown between Good and Evil, between God and Satan. In this sense, every process (be it of peace, dialogue, etc.) collapses...And the community of believers (faith) becomes a community of combatants (fight).

Here's a great article, the one referenced in the preceeding paragraphs:


Souls - sold to the highest bidder

Well ... it's all part of the 81%. It's what happens when you sell your soul to the political gods.
During the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, Dwight McKissic, a prominent black pastor in Arlington, Tex., introduced a resolution that denounced white supremacy and the “retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the so-called alt-right.” The resolution should have been immediately adopted. It was not.
A contingent of predominantly white, old-guard members refused to take the resolution seriously, even while many black and progressive clergy members advocated its adoption. It was not until chaos ensued that a reworded resolution vowing to “decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ” was adopted.
In April, the Pew Research Center reported that 78 percent of white evangelicals, many of whom are Southern Baptists, approve of President Trump’s job performance. Around that time, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University said on Fox News, “I think evangelicals have found their dream president.”
Yep. Soul-selling. For political gods. Kneeling before the Great God Trump.

Shep snaps his shower cap

Shep Smith lost his mind temporarily, and actually told the truth over on Faux News the other day.

His rant has been described as a 'Cronkite moment,' in reference to Walter 'The Man America Trusts' Conkite's melt down after the Tet Offensive of 1968. Then, consummate hawk Cronkite somberly declared, in essence, that the war in Vietnam was lost (though at this moment, he hedged it a bit), and that we must now negotiate our way out of it.

The mantra among The Great Silent Majority (intermingled with, and often indistinguishable from The Moral Majority) had been and would continue and remains today to be that the war was lost because of the leftwing liberal press, the pinko long-haired (and therefore 'faggot') hippies, the un-American commie agitators and demonstrators, and so on.

The fact, however, was that the American press had largely been in lock-step with the lies being pumped out by the military, Congress, the Oval Office, and the Republican party. Cronkite referred to all this and these as the 'optimists' in his 'Cronkite moment.'

As the lies began to unravel, opposition to the war increased until Nixon was forced to accept (it passed 325–86 in the House, and 73–16 in the Senate), and sign into law, the Case-Church amendment in June 1973. That cut off all funding for direct US involvement in war effective at noon SEAsia time, on 15 August 1973.

I doubt that Smith's meltdown is the beginning of the end for our modern American nightmare, but the mere fact that a Fauxian anchor can finally see through the BS offers some hope. OTOH, Smith might shortly find himself working for MSNBC, co-hosting with Rachel Maddow.

Historical footnote: I was on my last tour Over There, on 15 August 1973, and we dropped the last B52 strike of the war, seconds before the noon deadline. The target was some patch of jungle in the northwestern part of Cambodia, part of the random 'area denial' patterns of attack that Congress found a bit disconcerting. The real tipper, however, was not just the increase in B52 bombardment in Cambodia, but the fiasco at Neak Long. That was the straw that broke the Congressional back.


"Bond ... James Bond ..."

Former spooks say the way Veselnitskaya's meeting with Trump Jr. went down fits with everything we know about Russian spycraft: The Kremlin was probably using this lawyer as a dangle to see if Trump Jr. would bite. And he did. Just Security’s Rolf Mowatt-Larssen and Ryan Goodman explain in a smart piece that the media is asking the wrong questions about Trump Jr.'s meeting: “It is difficult to conceive of a scenario in which a private citizen in Russia has access to derogatory information on a U.S. presidential candidate. The act of offering such information was likely, at minimum, a trial balloon, and at best (from Moscow’s perspective), a chance to pass certain information from an agent of the Russian government to the Trump campaign through the candidate’s campaign manager and son, thereby also implicating Donald J. Trump himself. Vesilnitskaya may have had her own agenda in requesting a meeting with Trump. That part could be legitimate. But Russian intelligence practice is to co-opt such a person by arming them with secret intelligence information and tasking them to pass it to Trump’s people and get their reaction. Did Trump’s associates like it? Do they want more? In sum, Vesilnitskaya’s advocacy of other causes is irrelevant to her mission on behalf of the Russian government. Based on what we now know, this interaction had all the hallmarks of an overture by Russian intelligence to the campaign, and it is utterly damning that Trump Jr. took the meeting, brought in Manafort and Kushner to the meeting, and none of them reported the events immediately.”
It's so obvious it reads like a plot for a cheap remake of a Sean Connery James Bond flick.
Boy howdy, but did they play Don Jonny Junior like a fish. It has to be a combination of naivette, ignorance, stupidity, and just plain arrogance borne of having more money than brains.

Bond meets the female Russian lawyer ...

I'm thinking a voice over: "Trump. Donnie Trump. Junior."

Who knew what, and when

Mini-Donald's major fail

There’s no proof that Donald Trump Sr. knew of the meeting with the Russian lawyer, though there’s this: In the week between its scheduling and its occurrence back in June 2016, he made public remarks in which he said he’d be delivering a special speech about Clinton’s wrongdoing that was set — oh so interestingly, in retrospect — for a few days after the meeting. But that meeting, we’re now told, was a bust, with no great trove of Clinton-wounding revelations, and the speech didn’t happen as promised.

So ... Don Jonny Junior was going to this meeting, expecting to receive some real dirt.

Ol' Heel Spurs said he'd be spewing a special about Clinton dirt.

Then there was no dirt from the meeting .... and no special spewing.

Tell me there's no connection. And that Ol' Heel Spurs didn't know about it.

The Cost of Discipleship

The 'cost of discipleship' does not include the selling of one's soul to the gods and gospel of politics. Indeed, it is quite the opposite

The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus

What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between "cheap grace" and "costly grace." "Cheap grace," Bonhoeffer wrote, "is the grace we bestow on ourselves...grace without discipleship....Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know....It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life."

The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty.

Trumpian apologetics

We are seeing a new approach to Trumpian apologetics now.

It's the 'Everyboy does it' defense.

Well ... first ... no ... not 'everybody' does it. Not even close.

Second, that's about the most morally corrupt of the false logic arguments.

Newt Gingrich: "“If somebody in the middle of the campaign walks in the door and says ‘I have information that will harm your opponent,’ virtually every campaign in the world will say show me, what do you have.

You will recall that Gingrich's ethical challenges cost him his position as Speaker of the House; the tarnish also badly damaged the Republican presence in the House. It appears that he has learned nothing from the experience.

Sam Nunberg: “What would have happened if … somebody contacted Chelsea [Clinton] from Ireland, said they had dirt on Trump from a foreign investment or something? Would they not take that meeting? I’m not saying it’s a nice thing, but this is politics.”

That's an interesting view from one of the 'swamp drainers.' But how is a 'foreign investment' a 'foreign government,' and in particular, one that was hacking the US election process.

But the best one comes from a darling of the 'Christian' Right, self-proclaimed 'Christian' watchdog Todd Starnes. Starnes, a staunch Baptist, spends his time whipping his followers into a frenzied froth, using half-truths and innuendo about 'persecuted' Christians in America. He is not troubled by truth or reason. His line: “If digging up dirt on your political opponent is a crime, then what about Mrs. Bill Clinton?”

Ah. Indeed.

But I thought things were going to be so much better than the Clinton Crime Syndicate. If that is so, why is Starnes - and the rest of his ilk - using the Clinton Crime Syndicate as their ethical standard?

And ... all I can say to Starnes and the rest of his 'religious' followers is this:
It's a good thing for us that Jesus did not subscribe to the Starnesian ethical and moral standard during his camping trip out in the desert. Had Jesus succumbed to the Temptations, his reasoning would have been "Well, Satan did it!"

And where would that have left humanity? And where then, does that pathetic reasoning presented by Gingrich, Nunberg, Starnes, and all the rest of the Trumpian apologists leave America?

Perhaps these fellows, and especially Starnes the Baptist, would do better to peruse the scribblings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, on the relationship of church and state. On the role of Christianity in the secular world.

The 'cost of discipleship' does not include the selling of one's soul to the gods and gospel of politics. Indeed, it is quite the opposite.



Trump's cyber tweets cause dismay, confusion

The G20 provided a lot of entertainment. Even after the confabulation, we are getting after shocks.

The real corker was the CyberSecurity unit that was ... and then maybe isn't, or might be, or who knows ... whatever else it is, it's a perfect example of presidential buffoonery.

Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and Marco Rubio got a big horselaugh out of it.

Graham: "It's not the dumbest idea I ever heard of, but it's pretty close."

Rubio: Partnering with Putin on a 'CyberSecurity unit' is akin to partnering with Assad on a Chemical Weapons Unit.'

So Ol' Heel Spurs is having second thoughts about that, given that His Greatness was unappreciated.

Inauguration crowds

Top US envoy Nikki Haley says 'everybody knows' Putin meddled in our elections but Trump told him ‘cut it out’

Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections. Everybody knows that they’re not just meddling in the United States’ election. They’re doing this across multiple continents, and they’re doing this in a way that they’re trying to cause chaos within the countries.

Not according to Ol' Heel Spurs. Or maybe not. The man seems to vacillate back and forth on that. Russia never hacked. Well, maybe they did. Then he 'forcefully' confronted Putin about the hacking. Then maybe the Russians didn't. It might have been 'many other countries.'

Where Ol' Heel Spurs is with this seems totally dependent on how recently he swapped spit with Bad Vlad.

Meanwhile ... back to comparing photos of inauguration crowds ...


The Book of GOP.

 Alabama representative Mo Brooks, who, arguing that poorer people should pay more for health care, recently said, “Those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy.” It’s not quite a direct quote from Proverbs, but it’s not too far from these: “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry” (Prov 10:3) and “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Prov 10:4). In short: Proverbs is probably the most Republican book of the entire Bible.

Well. There ya go. We should kill off Medicaid, food stamps, CHIP, free school lunches, farm subsidies ... let all those godless moochers get real jobs and figure out the path to righeousness, and they'll be OK. The Bible says so.

Well, not the farm subsidies. Just kidding. Some people deserve freebies. Especially if they are Republicans.

Trump likes the idea of Proverbs, even if he doesn’t know much about the text itself. Back in September 2015, Trump claimed, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, that among the biblical verses he most appreciated was “Proverbs, the chapter ‘never bend to envy.’ I’ve had that thing all my life, where people are bending to envy.” This would have been a more effective citation if there were such a line anywhere in the book of Proverbs.

Perhaps these people would do better if they focused on the New Testament, especially the Gospels, rather than on the Old.

The Master Plan

America cannot stop North Korea from building ICBMs

Well ...

That's true enough, unless Ol' Heel Spurs and his entourage of flag-wavin' saber-rattlers want to launch a preemptive strike ... but what exactly would they strike? The NORKs have expertly dispersed (Obama's fault), so a 'surgical' strike is a GOP wet dream. And the consequences are fairly predictable (see the Wayback Machine c. June and July 1950).

Meanwhile ...

It was not supposed to be this way. When Mr Kim boasted of being close to launching an ICBM, on New Year’s Day, Donald Trump retorted: “It won’t happen.” "

But it did.

America tried to enlist China, North Korea’s main trading partner, to persuade Mr Kim to desist. For a few months China made encouraging noises about curbing the flow of goods across its border with the North. But Mr Trump’s growing friendship with Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart, seems to have cooled (see article). Mr Trump recently admitted that pressing China into service “has not worked out”.

No, it didn't. The bottom line is that "Mr. Trump" may be hell on wheels when it comes to stiffing contractors on his bankrupted projects, but he's way out of his league in dealing with international politics. (Internal politics too, so far; Mitch McConnell and some of the GOP leadership have him tied in knots at the moment.)

We have this:

[Trump]once said that he and Mr Kim could settle all their differences over a burger at the White House.

A Burger Summit!

But "Mr Kim," though he has turned into quite the rotund little porker, doesn't seem to be into burgers. He's more into the finest Mar-A-Lago can pump out onto the banquet table.

It helps if people believe what you say

For all of Mr Trump’s bluster, he has no good way of stopping North Korea from developing an effective nuclear weapon. Deterrence and containment remain the best (and possibly only) options to ensure that Mr Kim is never tempted to use his horrifying arsenal. But if deterrence is to be effective, America’s threats must be credible. So Mr Trump must stop making promises he is not ready or able to honour—promises like stopping North Korea from developing an ICBM.

I'm not worried. Ol' Heel Spurs has a Detailed Master Plan:

We’ll see what happens. I don’t like to talk about what we have planned, but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about.They are behaving in a very, very serious manner, and something will have to be done about it.

There ya go.

Sleep tight, America.


American crises

An American leader addresses the nation:

An American pissant addresses the nation:

Fake news the 'Christians' love

US Veterans' Brotherhood posted this on their FB page:

Teenage Gang Member Disrespectfully Talks To A 54 Year Old Construction worker.

The 'Christians' are going nuts over it.

They seem to think this 'old' construction worker is administering some well-deserved street justice to some little punk who badmouthed him.

That's not true. The fellow receiving the prolonged beatdown - and who is not fighting back, and who never raised a hand to the 'old' guy - is actually 46-year-old Anthony Thomas. Thomas tried to stop the 'old' guy from beating up some teenagers who had put their feet up on the back of the 'old' guy's seat. I can't think of a better reason to beat the shit out of someone than that, can you?

Here is the full video:

and here is the Fox5 story on it. It's from Fox, so it must be true:

Man arrested for brutal assault

How anyone can find this to be a good example of 'Christian' behavior totally escapes me. Even if the beatee *was* mouthing off ... do we really get into fistfights with half-witted morons over it? I guess that 'turn the other cheek' thing is just so much bullshit. Augustine and Aquinas would both have had a field day with this one.

A 'Christian' Fast and Furious

Well well well ... and they're such a fine upstanding 'Christian' company, even giving their employees Sundays off to spend time with Jesus.

Hobby Lobby Purchased Thousands of Looted Objects, Smuggled Out of Iraq

This is a freakin' hoot:

"At no time did Hobby Lobby ever purchase items from dealers in Iraq or from anyone who indicated that they acquired items from that country," Green said in his statement. "Hobby Lobby condemns such conduct and has always acted with the intent to protect ancient items of cultural and historical importance."

That, my friends, is what is known as self-righteous bullshit.

"Federal prosecutors say that when Hobby Lobby, which is based in Oklahoma City, began assembling its collection it was warned by an expert on cultural property law to be cautious in acquiring artifacts from Iraq, which in some cases have been looted from archaeological sites.

Despite that warning and other red flags the company in December 2010 purchased thousands of items from a middle-man, without meeting the purported owner, according to prosecutors."

No, they never bought from a dealer. Their middleman did. If these were guns, we'd be looking at Fast and Furious.

Hobby Lobby is the 'Christian' company whose stores are overflowing with Chinese goods.

A 'Christian' company that makes its money from a regime that is one of the world's most oppressive persecutors of Christians.

And now, we have this.

How many Marines and Army troopers did we lose in Iraq? We had our people bleeding and dying over there, while Hobby Lobby was pulling this crap.

True 'Christian' patriots.


The hero d'jour for America's white Christian evangelicals - at least the 81% - is a fellow who goes by the Reddit moniker 'HanAssholeSolo.' This is the guy who edited the video of the fake fight from some years back, wherein Ol' Heel Spurs is shown thumping 'FakeNews' CNN.

White 'Christian' evangelicals are known to collapse in writhing faints over the use of 'curse words,' so it's really interesting that they once again apply a double standard. 'Asshole' apparently is quite acceptable to them in the context of CNN bashing. But that's not the real expression of double standards here.

HanAssholeSolo has been posting some interesting garbage for quite some time, over in his little nest of anonymous vipers on Reddit. He likes to post racist and anti-Semitic stuff as well as bash CNN and praise his Lord, Ol' Heel Spurs.

CNN tracked him down. CNN tracked him down using info and data than anyone with an ounce of intelligence and the ability to research could find. Ted Cruz, another paragon of 'Christian' virtue, thinks that CNN was criminal in this behavior. That's an interesting thought, and let's see how far he gets with it, but that's not the real story here.

Once CNN tracked HanAssholeSolo down, HAS (for short) wet his pants and started backpedaling all over the place. He even issued a long, rambling apology for his racist and anti-Semitic rants, and even for the rather idiotic (though the white Christian evangelists love it) GIF/video of the CNN bashing.

HanAssholeSolo lacks the courage of his convictions.

He's like that other group of White Christian Americans who engage in racist, anti-Semitic rants, and who are avid Trump supporters. Pull their hoods off, and they too run like cockroaches exposed to the light.

White evangelical America. Just another variation on a theme, so it seems. One group uses hoods and robes to hide under; today's 'hero' being worshiped by white Christian America - or at least the 81% - hides behind his 'asshole' moniker. Got news for ya, white 'Christian' evangelical America ... the 'asshole' thing fits very well.

Burning crosses, anyone?


The Fourth in the backyard

So as we are working in the garden this morning of our 241st celebration of independence, trimming back Leece's chamomile and mint, whilst Chinese Red Pork slowly cooks over Georgia pecan on the smoker ... I've been ruminating about the Fourth of July.

Leece's chamomile

Chinese Red Pork. Not Red Chinese Pork; that would be unpatriotic. Chinese Red Pork. Here is a good basic recipe. Cultural warning: Do NOT use ketchup. I mean, like, just don't. Some Sriracha will work if you want it a bit snappy; some sweet chili sauce also works.

I've been through a few of them.

Early on, most of our Fourths were celebrated on Marine bases. We kids, three of us, grew up mostly on Marine and Navy bases - Cherry Point, Quantico, Millington, Lakehurst, for example. The Marines can throw a pretty good Fourth of July bash. Civilian kids couldn't ... can't ... possibly understand the sense of America that military kids can develop, surrounded by men (at that time, mostly, though there were some women who were serving or had served, like Mom) who had fought the great naval and aerial battles of the Pacific, and later faced the Commie hordes in Korea.

Vietnam was a nightmare yet to come.

I managed to avoid the draft by going into the Air Force. Unlike many of my compatriots, I make no bones about it. I had no intention of serving as a blood sacrifice ordered up by my 'friends and neighbors' on the draft board.

I ended up spending a lot of time in Vietnam and over in Thailand, deeply involved in the secret and illegal bombing campaigns in Cambodia and Laos, as well as more mundane in-country ops. I watched our presidents and generals lie through their teeth about our purpose and progress.

Our Fourths Over There tended to be rather spectacular events. The Smile Hi fire department puts on a pretty good show but they've got a long way to go to beat a couple of cells of B-52's dropping hundreds of 500 pounders on elephants and cyclists (well, yes, there was all that ammo and weaponry loaded on the pachyderms and bikes but really, B-52's?).

We celebrated with unit parties, grilling up whatever we could steal from the chowhalls and supply dumps on homemade barrel grills though I often wonder about that orange stripe on that barrel grill at Binh Thuy ...

I ended up liking USAF. Vietnam aside, USAF had a purpose, and a mission, and I liked that. If the Soviets had jumped bad, Strategic Air Command was going to turn everything from the East German border to the Urals into a plain of molten thermonuclear glass.

That was the theory, broadly stated, and I guess the Soviets believed it, because they never jumped bad. So I stayed in for a bit more than 20 years, and I have always considered it my great honor to have been able to serve in that manner.

USAF also had a pretty good handle on celebrating the Fourth in fine fashion.

But here's the thing. You can't get caught up in the flag-waving and superficial, if not outright false, patriotism. Blindly following the flag-wavers is what got us into any number of messes, including Vietnam, that makes a mockery of what we stand for a nation. The so-called 'Silent Majority', blindly following the 'leadership,' has gotten us into more trouble than not. The 'Silent Majority' is responsible for Vietnam; it is responsible for the fiasco in Iraq. The 'Silent Majority' is what allowed the suppression and mistreatment of African-Americans, Hispanics, religious minorities. We have much to be proud of, as a nation, but if you look at our history, it is the shit-stirrers, the 'long-haired hippie pinkos', the protesters, the marchers, who have forced us as a nation to confront our devils and mistakes, and fix them. Or at least try.

It is our responsibility as citizens, as patriots, to challenge authority, to ask WTF? when our political leadership leads us astray or otherwise just doesn't get the message.

We have been handed a fine legacy by the Founders, and by all who have served the nation with honor and integrity, and by all those who built the nation over the generations by simply going to work, raising their kids, and dealing with the vagaries of life.

It is our responsibility as patriots, as citizens, to carry that legacy forward. Phony 'Americanism'; false 'patriotism,' blindly waving the flag, swallowing a toxic mess of shallow and self-serving and morally corrupt religion and politics, mixed with greed, lust, gluttony, and hate ... and calling that 'Making America Great Again' isn't going to cut it.

Your mileage may vary, but that's my story and I'm a-stickin' to it.

God bless America.


John Adams, John Hancock, and Lexington Green

We have the "John Adams" mini-series queued up for some good ol' Murrican TV later on today. It's pretty good. Paul Giamatti does a fine job of portraying John Adams, as does Laura Linney as Abigail Adams (arguably the brains of the outfit, keeping the incendiary John somewhat tethered).
More than a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the British screwed the pooch royally (sorry, couldn't help myself) at Lexington and Concord. We had the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, to warn the Americans of the approach of the British - or so the fable goes.
In reality, the main purpose of the midnight ride was not so much to warn the various townships, though that was certainly part of the mission, but to warn Sam Adams and John Hancock. The two had attended the Massachussets Provincial Congress in Concord, and had decided not to return to Boston, where they anticipated arrest by the British authorities. So, they stayed at the Hancock-Clarke house in Lexington, as guests of Rev. Jonas Clarke.
Revere and his sidekick William Dawes (the 'other' rider) met with Adams (Sam, not John) and Hancock, and convinced them to hightail it before the Brits arrived and arrested them. They did. They fled the scene in the wee hours of the morning, going to Burlington.
So you see, Sam (not John) Adams and John Hancock were not even at Lexington, or Concord, on that fateful morning when "... once the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world." Of course, no one knows who fired that shot (two shots, actually, while some accounts show more) but let's not overly criticize Emerson.
John Adams, the 'other' cousin, was not at Lexington or Concord as these events unfolded. Nope. He was at home, in Braintree, though he did show up the next day, after the battle(s), to see what he could see.
What all this means is that despite a number of otherwise credible sources claiming that it was John Adams and Hancock who defiantly faced the British army and cried, "We recognize no sovereign but God and no king but Jesus!" it is ... fake news.
It never happened. John wasn't there, and neither were Sam nor John Hancock. And no one else said that.
After the 'incidents,' there was an investigation. Both sides, in fact, held a Bengazi-like investigation. Sworn testimony was taken. Under oath. From a number of people who were there. In none of those accounts is there anything about this stirringly inspirational retort to the power of the King of England. Nada. Zip. Nothing.
It never happened.
But Independence Day did. And here we are. Shouldn't that be sufficient? Do we not have enough to be thankful for, and proud of, without embellishing it with fake stories?
God bless America.

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