Saturday, December 10, 2016

CIA Drops Bomb - And Republicans Are Deaf To It

Remember our fathers' generation, when aiding Russian agents was considered the ultimate betrayal of America? Well, apparently that's okay now, according to some Republicans.

A report from the Washington Post, confirmed by other news sources such as CNN, shows that a secret CIA assessment confirmed what we suspected all along - that Russian hackers actively sought to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

The Obama administration knew about this and wanted to break the news to the public back in mid-September. The public, of course, already had its suspicions, and it was no secret that Russia was probably involved, but some Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, said that would be a partisan influence upon the election.

Think about that. A foreign power actively sought to tamper with the United States election process, and McConnell and others actually thought that was a partisan issue? Since when is a violation of our national sovereignty, especially if it involves tampering with the voting process, anything other than an act of war upon the United States?!

Apparently, it's okay to call Obama a socialist while paling around with Ruskies to undermine the vote or mislead the public. What the fuck has happened to America?!

Think about Obama's remarkable restraint. He had this bombshell in hand, and chose to hold onto it. He even convened Republican and Democratic leaders together to release the information as a consensus view. Republicans actually balked in response to this chivalry! And when James Comey dropped his non-news-story mystery box that thwarted Hillary's huge lead, Obama held onto this news story still!

Okay, I know he's a great man for being so honorable, but when you're fighting such dishonorable opponents.... Oh, shit, let's get real. He just plain fucked up!

Damn it, Barry! You're my hero! Why couldn't you play hardball just this once?!

The day this report came out, Rush Limbaugh was decrying the mainstream media for making such an issue about "fake news," saying that the mainstream media IS, in fact, fake news.

Fucking really?

Up is down, black is white, day is night... At this point, the frog has not only been boiled to death, the beaker has boiled over, and the water completely evaporated. What's now left of the frog is now sizzling at the bottom of the glass surface, slowly charring. That might sound like a tasty treat if you happen to be French, but if you're American, it's our national tragedy.

Julian Assange, in a recent TV interview, said that Russia was not the source of his leaks. That would be what legal scholars call a lie. Assange is now not just an enemy of Hillary Clinton. He is an enemy combatant against the United States! He complains about being confined to the embassy of Ecuador in London. Perhaps he should count himself lucky to not be confined to Gitmo.

In my previous blog post, I pointed out that it is conservatives, not liberals, living in a bubble, and we now have the polling data to prove it. Now we've come to realize just how incredibly thick that bubble is, and what indestructible material its made out of.

We can't burst that bubble. We can't even shatter it. It's made of titanium. We have to blowtorch our way in.

And that could take a long, long while.



Friday, December 9, 2016

When Skepticism Saved The World

The loser in this year's presidential election was not Hillary Clinton. The loser was the Truth.

A recently published poll by Public Policy Polling shows that Trump supporters live in their own, private reality, just like Trump himself does. They believe, even now, that he's honest and tells it like it is. If by that, they mean he's blunt, they may have a point. But Trump has been caught lying on camera so often that it's stunning that the word "honest" could be applied to him by anyone.

Here's what the poll shows:

40% of Trump supporters believe that he, not Hillary Clinton, actually won the popular vote. 60% of them honestly think that millions voted illegally for Hillary. (If so, why do so in California and not Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida or Wisconin?)

29% of Trump voters think that votes from California shouldn't count. (!) Only 53% think they should count. 11% aren't sure. (How the hell can you not be sure?)

73% of Trump voters think that George Soros is paying people to protest against Trump. So where's my check, already?

67% of Trump voters actually think the unemployment rate has gone up instead of down during Obama's tenure. Wow! That's one hard rock they're living under!

Think that's bad? 39% of Trump supporters believe the stock market has gone down during Obama's tenure. What the fuuuuuuuuck?!

14% of Trump supporters think that Hillary is connected to a child sex ring out of a Washington D.C. pizzeria. That seems like a low number, until you see that only 54% of them think she isn't. 32% are, incredibly, unsure.

76% of Trump voters view CNN unfavorably. 84% of them view the New York Times unfavorably.

Only 16% of conservatives think that Trump should release his tax returns. A whopping 61% percent think he shouldn't.

So, it's official. When it comes to the truth, Trump supporters don't fucking care. In other words...


One of the more interesting stories I saw this morning involves an 18 year old boy from Macedonia whose fake news stories have garnered him a tidy fortune. All he has to do is say something favorable about Trump, scandalous about Hillary or negative about Obama and he gets hundreds of thousands of hits.

It's time to face facts. Skepticism is needed in America now more than ever. With one voice, those of us who are actually informed need to take the message out to the countryside billboards and proclaim that we need Truth with a capital "T," that when Truth upsets your entire world, your entire world needs to change, that when Truth comes to you through a news source you dislike, the solution is to accept the Truth and not change your news source.

About a month before election day, I had a conversation with a bartender in which I cited Snopes as debunking a Hillary story he believed. He replied, in all honesty, "Oh, Snopes is a liberal conspiracy web site."

Fucking WHAT?!

In a debate with a softball teammate of mine about global warming, I included a link to NASA's website showing the North Pole arctic ice cap melting away month by month from the 1980's to today. And he said, in all honesty, "Oh, that's just CGI."


It's gotten so bad that people will casually dismiss NASA or Snopes as "liberal," and apparently liberal equates somehow with untrustworthy.

We need to tell people that Truth is Truth. Truth is not whatever agrees with your team colors.

This could be the era in which skepticism saves us. Or it could be the era in which truth is lost forever. Or at least until the advent of the Singularity.

We need a Vulcan moment. In Star Trek, the planet Vulcan was filled with chaos and turmoil until the philosophy of logic saved it through the teachings of Surak. We need a Surak now, one who says in the words of  T'Plana-Hath, matron of Vulcan philosophy, "Logic is the cement of our civilization with which we ascend from chaos using reason as our guide."

It's up to us. Spread the word! The Truth must be accepted over ALL our comfortable illusions!



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Who Next For 2020?

Okay, Donald Trump has yet to be sworn in, and if we're lucky, there's still a chance the electoral college will do its job and keep that from happening. But recently there have been indications that Joe Biden wants to run for president in 2020. That forces the issue somewhat. Who do we want for 2020 when the imperative of dislodging Donald Trump gives us a chance to undo the inevitable damage?

Elizabeth Warren
My personal favorite. Elizabeth Warren was everybody's pick for Veep in 2016, but she turned down any opportunity to run. She's 67 now, which means she would be 71 by 2020, but then, Hillary was 70 and that didn't stop her. She's near the top of everyone's list, and #1 on mine.

Corey Booker
Want a likable candidate? How about the guy who once ran into a burning building to save people! Barack Obama with teeth? Sign me up!

Julian Castro
Super smart, successful, and Latino? We couldn't do much better than former HUD Secretary Julian Castro! Come to think of it, his twin brother, Congressman Joachin Castro of San Antonio, Texas, wouldn't be a bad pick, either.

Bernie Sanders
Could he try again? Lots of people think so! Certainly he has a large, devoted following. But he's 75 now, which means he will be 79 then. Will the youth vote flock again to a man who is almost 80? Hard to say. But certainly, the next Democratic Party candidate will need this man's blessing if he or she is to have any chance. He's either the next candidate, or he's the kingmaker.

Al Franken
Who better to follow in the footsteps of a total joke of a president than a former comedian? Saturday Night Live star Al Franken has been using his incredible wit to make people laugh for decades. I can just imagine the Twitter war between this guy and Trump already!

Kirsten Jillibrand
Let's face it, the electorate is shallow. Someone exciting needs to get the public to vote for a woman, and Kirsten Jillibrand might just be the ticket. She's got the expertise, she's got the resume, and let's be honest about it, she's got the looks. If Elizabeth Warren isn't our gal, I think Kirsten is probably our best shot at getting a woman into the Oval Office. And, to be frank, I think we need a second shot at that, seeing as how Hillary was deliberately tripped at the finish line by James Comey.

Tammy Duckworth
Here's a thought: How about an Iraqi war veteran who has served as the Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs before winning seats in Congress and then Senate in Illinois? Illinois produced a hot-shot Senator once before as you may recall, and his name was Barack Obama. And like him, she's of mixed "race," being half Thai-Sino and half Daughter of the American Revolution. I don't know about you, but I think that having the first female president would be only slightly more satisfying than seeing the first president in a wheelchair since FDR.

Joe Biden
Can Uncle Joe do it? I'll bet he wants to! He might be feeling a certain amount of regret over not jumping in back in October of 2015. He certainly has a large following of people who really like him. But perhaps 2016 proved that old blood can never win. And let's not forget, Uncle Joe is so much fun because he constantly says the wrong thing at the wrong time. His foot-in-mouth disease is the main reason he's vice president and not president. Plus, he's 74. Which would make him 78 in 2020. Only a year younger than Bernie? It might as well be Bernie himself then. Or else someone Bernie endorses right out of the gate. Still, Uncle Joe is a real trip! Maybe just the thing we need after four years of Trump.

Kamala Harris
Who's this? Why, she's the new Senator-elect from California, and the first woman ever to be California's Attorney General! She brings a golden resume to the table, and one hell of a mixed heritage, being the daughter of an Indian-American mother and a Jamaican-American father. Of course, genealogy only counts for so much, but when your opponent is Nazi-salute Trumpenstein, it can count for a lot. Fortunately, she would be a top-notch candidate no matter what her ethnicity might be. If you don't recognize her name now, jot it down. You'll probably see it again very soon.

Tim Kaine
He was supposedly the "boring" pick for VP by Hillary, but look what he brings to the table: A stellar record as Virginia's Governor, fluent in Spanish, and sharp, sharp, sharp! He might not look so boring four years from now.

Martin O'Malley
Oh, yeah! Him! That guy that couldn't compete with juggernauts like Hillary and Bernie in 2016, but who set himself up well for a later run by being one of the only other Democrats to score significant percentages against them. He eventually dropped out, but he dented the armor of his opponents a little, and performed superbly in the first debate.

Some other interesting names:

Sherrod Brown - Senator from, yes, Ohio! Any candidate that can deliver Ohio is worth taking seriously.

Cicilia Munoz - Smart and savvy member of Obama's cabinet, Cicilia Munoz has never been a Congresswoman or Senator. Yet that's just what people are looking for these days - qualified, yet an outsider. Plus, she's Latina! The daughter of Bolivian immigrants. Again, genealogy only goes so far, but against Trump...

Lincoln Chafee - Former Governor of Rhode Island who ran in 2016. He might run again.

Jim Webb - Veteran and former Senator from Virginia. He ran in 2016 as well. But if Tammy Duckworth runs, his soldier's resume won't stand a chance.

Lawrence Lessig - Oh yeah! The Harvard Law Professor who said he would enact election reforms, then resign. It was a great publicity stunt, and got people talking about the issue for a change. Unfortunately, Trump.

Do you like my list? Have you picked a favorite? I have. Several, in fact. And I hope you have, too.