Thursday, January 19, 2017

Teetering on the See Saw

We're at the end.  President Obama will leave office tomorrow at 11 AM local time, and President Trump will begin what will likely be his only term in office immediately afterwards.

Tomorrow, as Trump is forever desecrating the Lincoln Bible with his tiny, urine covered hands, there will be an immediate shift in this country. A lot of Republicans, who feel very strongly about certain issues, will instantaneously change their opinion, taking the polar opposite opinion in mere seconds.  You might even get whiplash.  Here are some examples:

The Deficit:  (Up until 11 AM local time tomorrow) Under Obama, Republicans constantly railed against the Deficit.  It didn't matter the Deficit was created by W. Bush, who made sure all of his initiatives (Iraq War, Afghanistan War, the Medicare Part D expansion, upper class tax cuts he paid for by borrowing money from China with an IOU) purposely had the bills come due January of 2009.  It also didn't matter President Obama had a Republican House and Senate for six years who insisted on NEVER working with him on anything, and it didn't matter Obama had dramatically slowed the rate of increase on new debt single handedly. Nope, the GOP insisted the Deficit was the WORST THING EVER! (Immediately after 11AM local time tomorrow) Deficits will be a necessary evil in our modern world.  We all have credit cards, why not the Federal government too?  And the more money we owe, the better; let's triple or even quadruple the deficit.  There is no need to worry about the Deficit anymore!

Qualifications:  (Up until 11 AM local time tomorrow) Under Obama, it didn't matter the position the appointee was being considered for, unless they were over qualified, they wouldn't even be considered.  Not only did the pedigree need to be pristine, but they also had to provide a complete list of every cent they ever earned and how it was spent.  They had to provide 7 years of tax returns, comply with a full background investigation, and submit themselves for numerous committee screenings.  Even then, if the GOP didn't like how an appointee looked, they'd proudly reject them as unqualified.  (Immediately after 11AM local time tomorrow) Background checks, Schmakground Checks!  The only thing we need is the word of the President!  No need for anything further, like tax returns, conflicts of interest reports, or education and experience information.  And if the appointee displays zero knowledge of the position they're being considered for, any concern is just the Democrats and sour grapes!

Religion: (Up until 11 AM local time tomorrow) Unless the President is running every decision, bill, initiative, speech and breath through a litany of Christian clergy, approved by the most far right extremist Christians today, he's a secret Muslim, looking to hand over this great country to the Muslim Brotherhood...any day now...(Immediately after 11AM local time tomorrow) Where did this religious litmus test talk come from?  How unfair to question a person's private religious beliefs.  And who cares about a President with a disturbing list of extremely anti-Christian actions.  The Bible says forgive, and we've decided NOW we shall.

There are many more examples, too many to write about tonight.  This is the modern GOP.  They're soulless, empty people, many with a racist slant; greedy money worshippers with no morality, extremely inconsistent religious beliefs, and a mentality more fitting of the villain in a professional wrestling drama, as opposed to reality.  They only want to see Democrats cry; so much so, they're purposely trying to hurt us all to make it happen.

I guarantee I'll have a tremendous amount of things to write about for the next four years.  The fight to save America begins at 11 AM tomorrow.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dear 'Anti-' Christian Churches, You're Doing It Wrong

***Religious disclaimer***

I'm Catholic.  You do or don't do whatever religion (or no religion at all) you do or don't want to...

I recently had one of my right wing Christian friends (a huge Trump supporter) file a Twitter post about how the hosts go the HGTV show Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines, were being wrongly persecuted because they attended an Anti-Gay Church, in this case Antioch Community Church, a church whose leaders have expressed a position of anti-gay rights and anti-gay overall.  The gist of my friend's argument was these two were being discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, how Antioch and similar churches wanting to criminalize being GLBTQ wasn't the problem; it's the people offended by such bigotry (like the GLBTQ community and their supporters) who are the real problem.  Okay...

As a Christian, and a Catholic, the specifics of the Gaines' plight isn't what perplexed me, but rather a skimmed over element of the story:

How is there an 'Anti-' anything Christian church?

These 'Anti-' anything Christian churches sicken me.  They purposely ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ and his powerful message of love and acceptance.  The 'anti-' church leaders, human beings not divine entities, people who have strong personal feelings against a certain group of people, try to add provenance to their personal hatred by incorporating a Christian angle, painting their hatred and phobia as something pious and divine.  They usually do this by purposely misquoting the Bible, purposely removing the context of certain passages to try to make them fit an individual person's hatred, or purposely relying heavily on passages which are not direct teachings from Jesus Christ (Usually Paul's letters and Leviticus) to offset the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

A great example of this twisting of Christianity to fit a conservative message is the way pro gun people like to talk about Jesus telling the disciples to go buy swords, insisting Jesus is telling everyone to arm themselves.  The pro gun kooks always leave out the reason for Jesus' command to carry weapons, so the disciples would look like criminals and thugs (nothing about 'Stand your Ground').  Eventually, Jesus ordered his followers to drop their weapons, because if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.  This clear anti-weapon message from Jesus has been outright ignored.  Some churches even, proudly(?), encourage their parishioners to lock and load for church service.

To be an 'anti-' church, a message of hatred, bigotry, misogyny, religious intolerance and fear needs to be preached in some official capacity.  'Anti-' churches have sermons, lectures, or various group meetings, where the main message is a condemnation of whatever they're  'anti-'.  At some point during their hate speech, they attempt to legitimize the hate pep rally within Christianity by pulling a proverbial Hail Mary.  They put on an earnest smile and insist, "Even though I'm screaming these people are Satan's foot soldiers, let me be very clear, I don't hate them!  I love them! The church tells me to love, so clearly I'm not the problem, they are!"  My goodness...

If you're Christian, you believe Jesus Christ is the son of God, meaning you believe in his teachings (as laid out very clearly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and his teachings should take priority in your Christian life.  He never once condemned gays, not once.  Not only that, he tells us very clearly to turn the other cheek, welcome in strangers from strange lands, feed the hungry and to LOVE EACH OTHER!  You can't be 'anti-' anything and be Christian, according to Jesus.  And no!  The leader of your church who hates gays, feels interracial marriage is unnatural, feels wealthy people are more divine, Muslims are all terrorists, and women should be barefoot and pregnant, their personal feelings don't override base Christian doctrine!

We all have the right to have our own personal feelings.  Nothing can stop that.  But just because you desperately want to make your personal bigotries mainstream doesn't make the people offended by your hate the bad guys. And stop trying to use a religion based on love and compassion to validate your hatred.  Jesus would not be amused.  Only the most evil of human beings tries to take the teachings of love and acceptance from Jesus Christ and turn them into a thesis of hate.  If your Christian church is doing this, they're doing it wrong!

I'm no angel.  I'm a sinner, just like everyone else, and, in my belief system, I'll have to answer for my actions when I move on.  One thing I won't have to answer for is usurping the teachings of Jesus, supplanting his teachings with my personal feelings, and then trying to sell it to the masses as, "See, my hatred is sanctimonious as Jesus agrees with my racism/hatred/bigotry!"  I also won't have to answer why I purposely ignored a large portion of the Bible to make my political leaders more angelically palatable.  And, I won't pretend to be Christian for one hour a week, and then immediately forget most of what I worship for the next 167.

My priest, Father Bill, made this statement on Sunday morning, "The Bible tells us to love everyone, and to not hate anyone."  Amen!  The anti-'s you should be as a Christian are anti-hate, anti-poverty, anti-discrimination, anti-shaming, anti-relucatnace, anti-injustice, anti-war, anti-conflict, and anti-wealth worshipping.  It's all right there, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

If you profess to be a Christian, it's time to stop listening to the people telling you who you need to hate, and it's time to start reading the words of the man who told us all to love.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Friday Link for 1/13/16



One week week before the Toxic Avenger and his mop bucket crew takes over the White House.  This is going to hurt, everyone.

With this beginning his last week in office, I decided to go with my three favorite President Obama comedy moments.  We can argue about legacy (in truth, President Obama's going to have a great legacy) but one thing we can't argue about is this; President Obama has got some serious comedic chops, and understands messaging, especially to the younger demographics, better than any President in history.  He's been very shrewd at using both of these talents with military precision to sell his initiatives.

Here are my three favorite Obama Comedy moments.  First, from the old 'Colbert Report,' President Obama delivers The Decree!

Next is the incredibly hilarious Funny or Die bit, 'Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.'

And finally, it's 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld.'  President Obama was very up front during this long interview.  Enjoy the video from the Washington Post:

Try to have a nice weekend everyone...Sigh...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fools and Their Money

This next four years are really going to suck.  The minority Democrats aren't going to be able to stop the Republicans from doing most of their reckless and nefarious agenda.

One of the agenda items is the repeal of Federal and State Income Tax.  Our taxes are primarily collected four different ways:  1) Federal taxes to fund the Federal Government, their Departments, the military and larger Federal projects, 2) State taxes to fund your state government, their departments, and their projects, 3) Property taxes, which primarily go to fund your city and county government, and (depending on the state) public schools, and 4) Sales tax, which are enforced on different levels within each individual state/municipality, depending on how each individual state/municipality is set up.

A Republican repeal of the Federal and State Income taxes wouldn't be for most of us, only for the wealthiest of Americans, the ones making a million or more a year.  The rest of us will actually see a massive increase in our taxes to cover the wealthiest's free ride.  The GOP loves spending tax dollars, even passing a 9 trillion dollar deficit extension late last night.  Republican politicians are betrothed to giving every cent, plus more, back to the wealthiest Americans, and since militaries, corporate welfare and pork projects aren't free, they'll never get rid of taxes for people making 200K or less a year.  Republicans have even proposed taxing the poorest members of our society to offset the tax breaks for the wealthiest.  But this reality doesn't stop the Republicans from telling voters making $50K a year, "we'll make sure you'll keep all your money, and all your problems will be solved!"  Voters desperate to get ahead, willingly get duped, hoping for a mythical no tax utopia to become reality.  It's a morons thought process, false Conservative promises hiding a lack of understanding of complex governmental management of tax dollars.

The GOP has cultivated frustration and anger which inhabits many people's lives; the regret from not finishing school, marrying the wrong person, not getting the job they wanted, getting laid off, losing their home, having an medical crisis in the family, problems with kids, having an alcohol or substance abuse problem, not living the life they thought they were going to have.  The despondent have hung their hopes on the Republicans, partially due to the Republicans selling of the Lottery Solution!  "Vote for us, and we'll give you all your taxes back.  You'll be a MILLIONAIRE!  Plus, we'll hurt the people you hate, the ones you've falsely blamed for your failures, and we'll make them suffer!  You'll have everything you ever wished for if you vote for the GOP!"

But for arguments sake, let's say the Republicans get rid of Federal and State taxes.  Your 50K a year is now a pure 50K.  You'll get 10K more a year!  Be careful with it!  The buying power of the Feds and the state are pretty big.  Now that they're no longer in the bidding process, basic materials and supplies are going to cost a lot more to do the exact same jobs.  There won't be a single project, whether still preformed by your local government or farmed out to a private sector business, which will be less expensive.  Not a one!  Everything will cost 3 to 10 times more than it does now.

Since your city still has to pay for police, fire, trash, local street maintenance, street cleaners, sewer, water, and everything else, expect your property taxes and/or local sales taxes to explode!  In some parts of the country some of these services are optional subscription services, but that's risky.  You're going to have to pay for most of them, quickly whittling away at your 10K!

The Republican voter feels current services would be ala carte in an income tax free world.  This is boneheadedly simplistic.  Your argument is you don't have kids, so you don't want to pay for Public Education.  Fine, until you need someone to preform a task which requires a level of education the public schools no longer provides because of massive budget cuts.  You insist you never use public parks, so you'll save money there, until your local parks become overgrown, unkept and unpleasant.  Only a fool would think the rest of the world would want to maintain the parks in someone else's neighborhood.  And I don't want to begin to broach the larger government services (FAA, food inspection, post office, court system), things every citizen needs functioning, all of them undoubtedly less efficient and far more expensive without a government to pay for/regulate.

Roads alone will cost you a fortune.  Prepare for toll roads everywhere.  Say you're lucky, only having to take one major highway into work everyday.  Great!  Pay $3 each direction, every day!  If you work 250 days a year, thats $1500 per year, FOR THAT ONE ROAD!  If you insist you'd just telecommute, without government oversight, it'll cost you a ton, as the unregulated telecommunication companies will know exactly the price point they need to be to make opting out of driving into work a begrudging choice.

Not only are you gong to burn through your extra 10K a year, you're going to have to pay quite a bit of the 40K too!  In return, you'll get about a third of the government services you currently enjoy.  But I'm sure Republican voters are all prepared to scream "Damn Democrats" when their masterplan blows up in their faces.

Republican voters, look in the mirror.  The person who's going to change your life for the better is you, not some politician dependent on you being a fool.  If you get your tax dollars back, which will NEVER happen with the Republicans, you won't become a millionaire, living the life you think you're owed.  Only you can change your life, and thanks to the Democrats, there are many avenues for you to do so, avenues which require hard work and sacrifice, but avenues where the tax payer funded government can help you find your path to success.

In Michigan, they've introduced a repeal of the State's Income Tax, to be rolled out over the next 40 years.  They've not disclosed how exactly they plan on paying for the stuff the Income Tax currently pays for, but they don't care.  That's why they made it a 40 year roll back.  They'll be long gone, living high on the hog off their benefactors fat, while the people they were supposed to represent are left to rot.

Fools and their money never choose wisely...that's why fools vote Republican.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

They Don't Deserve Our Respect

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook which asked a wildly loaded question, "Why is it so hard for educated liberals to empathize with Trump supporters?"  This comes on the back of other questions I've heard from the right, such as 'Why do Democrats not understand the nuance of voting for Trump,' and 'Why are liberals such sore losers, constantly insulting Trump voters?'   Like I said, loaded questions.  "Since we insist all Democrats are bad, let's ask questions based on our false narrative, phrasing it in a pseudo-authoritative way, making our insult seem like scientific fact!"

Trump's going to be a national disaster.  He just is.  As I type this, he's holding a press conference where he's regurgitating his campaign's talking points, wrapped in a bitterness he so willingly displays.  Much of the left hates him because he's a con man, but that too isn't what's gotten the left riled up.

Democrats, Progressives and Liberals are extremely angry, but not because they're sore losers.  It's because Trump and his supporters are sore winners.

To understand this, let's go on a history lesson.

1970's - This all started with Watergate, the Republican scandal trying to fix the 1972 election by breaking into the Watergate building.  Republican insiders, upset about getting caught, learned from their mistakes, and decided to take a different tact.  If they could convince enough Americans the Democrats were EVIL, control the news, and dramatically outspend the Democrats in elections, they could control the election process itself, and take control.  They started to court religious extremists, especially in the Southern US, who hated Roe v. Wade, giving Christian churches a higher priority seat within the Republican party realm.  Thus began the 'Godless Democrats' talking point, a political takedown at the pulpit, where Democrats were accused of being Satan incarnate.  When Christians blindly voted for Trump in 2016, people don't realize the seeds of those votes were planted 45 years ago.  The GOP successfully argued money equals speech, and hence, limiting money in campaigns was the equivalent of limiting speech.  They realized style was more important than substance and tried hard to get Reagan to replace Ford on the 76 ticket.  They failed, but in turn they got Jimmy Carter in the White House, a candidate they immediately labeled as weak and ineffective.

1980's - Reagan was the clear GOP front runner coming into 1980, and Republican strategists started trying new campaign tactics.  Reagan began using phrases like 'Strapping Young Buck' on southern tour stops, undeniable racist tinged language to alert white southerners which candidate was on their side.  This was the beginning of the blatant racism of today, a pool of filth Trump and his supporters gleefully wallow in.  Reagan won (with help from the extremely mysterious ending to the Iranian Hostage Crisis), and he, with help from the GOP insiders, created what are Republican standards today; anti-union, anti-minority, anti-women's rights, anti-government and the tax burden being the responsibility of people making 100K or less a year.  He got rid of the Fairness Doctrine in media, instantly changing the primary goal of our media from quality to ideology.  Thus began conservative media driving the right's 'Republicans are good, Democrats are bad' zealotry.

Then came Iran Contra, the Reagan administration's selling of arms illegally to Iran, and in turn using the proceeds to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, something Congress had specifically made illegal. This was undeniably orchestrated by Reagan and his Administration, but could they convince the American people they were innocent after getting caught red handed breaking the law?  They found a patsy in Lieutenant Colonel (LT) Oliver North.  For the record, as a person who served in the Army, there is NO WAY a single LT could do all the things North took credit for.  He might've been able to get weapons, but the armory folks have nothing to do with flight clearance, especially over foreign countries.  Sadly, the lie worked.  With a media failing to do basic follow up reporting, the Administration was able to walk away from the charges, and even got their most ardent supporters convinced the Democrats were just sore losers.  Thus began the warping of reality to fit the narrative the GOP wanted to feed their followers.

1990's - This decade is where the modern Republican machine went from crawling to sprinting.  After H.W. Bush lost a second term, the party started moving away from being 80's moderates, and started giving more clout to the extremist members of the party.  With the rise of the 24 hour news outlets, and the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a law which opened up ownership rules in media, leading to conservatives owning 90% of all media in this country, they learned that crazy people, while journalistically abhorrent and questionable, got viewers.  The more Newt Gingrich and the far right Republicans screamed, the more airtime they got, a harbinger of the craziness we'd see under Obama.  They started endless investigations of President Clinton, misogynist attacks on Hillary Clinton, and created a new GOP standard; fight the opposition party tooth and nail on everything.

In the 90's, the Republicans also started a war on facts and science.  The right had been a big endorser of the tobacco industry, and when the inevitable truth about cigarettes came out, they lost some of their bigger bankrollers.  They didn't want the gas/oil/coal industry to suffer the same fate, so they began an active campaign to 1) create their own science when it came to undeniable scientific evidence of climate change, and 2) convince their followers of some weird conspiracy, where every scientist on the planet was trying to ruin our lives with cleaner water and air.  In the end, the 90's were an unabashed success for the Republicans. They managed to get Clinton impeached, completely derailed climate change policy for decades, and planted the seeds for Hillary's eventual loss in 2016.

2000's - Since the Republicans had never delivered on the promises they'd made to the blue collar working class under Reagan and H.W., they needed foot soldiers.  The Republicans welcomed in the far right extremists (religious crazies, anti-government wack jobs, racists, and Libertarians) to act as their new foot soldiers in the W. Bush campaign.  These people automatically believe the worst in their political opponents, and bellow it loudly to anyone who'll listen.  They used a bias Supreme Court to award W. the Presidency in 2000 (even though Al Gore was the rightful winner) and started a new Republican 'policy' front; 'if a Democratic voter doesn't vote, of if their vote doesn't get counted, that's one less vote against the Republicans.'  Republicans, buoyed by screams of voter fraud, tried to find any way to prevent Democratic votes from counting.  9/11 gave the Republicans the endless war they always wanted, and the marketing campaign against the Democrats, 'since you're anti-American terrorist lovers, and since we support the troops, YOU hate America!'

It was at this point the Democrats started waking up.  During the W. Bush Presidency, the current feelings Democrats have towards Trump supporters began forming.  What had seemed like unconnected rhetoric was undeniably being revealed as a larger plot, exposed with the most misguided of insults.  When calling Democrats anti-Christian, anti-worker, pro-minority and anti-America didn't work, Republican voters started in with insanely far fetched comparisons, to Hitler, Stalin, Commies, Religious extremists, or bin Laden.  When the Democrats tried in ernest to point out there's a big difference between a Democrat and a Nazi or a Communist, the Right's foot soldiers wanted to hear nothing of it, screaming Nazi and Commie at louder levels, with far right media recording it all.  Add to that the hollow realization that the Republicans had actually lied the American people into a war, and enough was enough.  The Democrats fought back in 2006 with the 50 State Strategy, unexpectedly winning the House and Senate, and setting the stage for President Obama in 2008.

Obama - Republicans, realizing Democrats actually being Democrats would be hard to counterpunch, started convincing Democrats they couldn't win unless they were 'Republican lite.'  Former moderate Republicans who'd become outcasts, rural Democrats, and conservative media pushed this false notion, helping to create the mess the Democrats are in today.  Too many Democrats in 10,12,14 and 16 trying to be 'Republican lite' were soundly beaten by actual Republicans.

The angry, irrational, insane vitriol of the Republicans coalesced into the tea party, with people screaming for Obama's Birth certificate, insisting he was from Kenya, accusing him of being a Muslim and an extremist Christian (at the same time), and, in case you didn't notice, HE'S BLACK!  And when Hillary became the likely nominee in 2013 the GOP started the endless investigations into her; 7 Benghazi investigations, 3 E-Mail investigations, 2 Clinton Foundation Investigations.  Number of charges against her, ZERO!  But the right ALWAYS was eager to investigate more.

In 2016, the Republicans insisted they were against the elites, but whole heartedly backed a billionaire living in a New York City Penthouse who likes to surround himself with golden things (like showers!) and who hates the working class of America.  Republicans insisted their Trump support wasn't born from racism, but everything Trump and his supporters said was dripping with bigotry.  Republican voters insisted the policies of Trump were the real reason they were voting for him, but even today, he has yet to explain ANY of his policies, outside of how much he loves Russia and is willing to use the Presidency as a money making machine for himself.  All of it came together for the Republicans, and (beyond my worst nightmares) Trump won.

The Democrats were in shock, and dumbfounded, wondering what happened.  They were blindsided by the slow moving train which had been heading their direction since 1975.  I think many on the left, as they crawled out of their funk, were ready to resign themselves to President Trump, but that's when Trump and his supporters became sore winners.  Trump did a victory tour, insisted the 2.9 million vote margin in favor of Hillary was actually a massive victory for him, with a mandate.  Trump supporters were thumping their chests, trying to rub the Democrats faces in Trump, culminating in a relentless storm of bizarro news stories and opinion pieces, insisting the idiots who voted in this train wreck were the smart ones, that Democrats were too intelligent and rational to 'get it.' "The stupid Democrats don't see how complex and sophisticated us morons really are!"

I see you guys, and I still only see Racists and Idiots.

All Trump voters are doing right now is creating a future excuse for the inevitable catastrophe.  They know this is going to blow up in their faces, so they're already insisting, "It wasn't us actually voting him into office!  It was those big mean, sore loser Democrats who never gave Trump a chance."

Democrats, the insults, hatred, and condemnation you're wanting to heap on Trump and his supporters is valid, justified, and LONG overdue.  Don't shy away from hammering these clowns with EVERYTHING you've got.  Let's make sure they crawl back into the holes they dared peak out of 16 years ago.  Let's take back America before it's too late!

Here's the response I posted to my friend's Facebook article:

After 35 years of being screamed at, insisting our facts don't matter, our research doesn't matter, our opinions don't matter, our votes don't matter, our background and experience doesn't matter, and that the left itself does not matter, people on the left don't feel the need to respect and recognize an individual with very little self thought or intelligence, who bellows a 1/10th truth in our faces, usually with a gun and/or Bible on their hip, insisting they're the smart ones now because they're flawed opinions are bolstered by agenda driven politicians and a compromised far right media.

Well said, if I do say so myself!  If I might add:  Trump supporters, go F- yourself.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Troll Bridge

I'm very quick to block trolls.  These are the people who have an insane amount of time every day to cruise the internet, searching for people who disagree with them, trying to convince them they're wrong, and, when that doesn't work, unleashing a torrent of insults and varying threats, all in a pathetic effort to maintain the facade, the fake superiority bubble they thrive in.

These Trolls (mostly men, not completely, but at least 95%) go to someone else's webpage, Twitter feed, Facebook feed, or work page comment section, spewing their verbal defecation, pompously surveying the filth covered landscape they've created, like a two year old proudly holding up a finger painting made with human waste.  Since these are YOUR online realms, not theirs, it's the online version of a person kicking open the door to your house, preceding to take their pants off, going to the bathroom on your floor and then screaming, "YOU HAVE TO LIKE WHAT I JUST DID IN YOUR HOUSE!"


There are three different type of trolls.  Troll #1 is the guy who immediately starts in with the insults, ignorance, racism, bigotry and far right agenda.  You begin reading the first sentence of their post and by word three or four it becomes apparent you've wasted your time.

Troll #2 tries to be sly.  They know if they begin saying what they want to say, they'll be ignored, so they start off slow, making it seem like they want an ernest conversation.  You counterpoint their initial foolish claim with facts, and their response is to jump to a completely different point unrelated to what you started discussing.  You then bring in facts to counterpoint their second foolish argument, and then they jump to a different angle, or they start trying to, hilariously, offset your BBC and New York Times accredited facts with fake news stories from 'Conservo-Right Digest,' 'Righto's Weekly,' or 'Fox News'; anything to prevent from admitting they're wrong about anything.  By the time you get a few interactions into the conversation, Troll #2 gets enraged by your continued use of facts, furious you haven't insisted Troll #2 is a 'SUPER -GENIUS!'  They lose it.  Their final post is usually on par with a Troll #1's first.

Troll #3 is the best!  He's the guy who sits on the periphery of your conversations with the other Trolls, and waits for you to block Troll #1 or #2.  They then unleash a diatribe.  How you're anti-American for not letting Trolls come into your house and go to the bathroom on your floor.  How you're afraid, terrified of trying to debate the 'SUPER -GENIUS' that is Troll #1 or #2.  How you're a coward for not letting them violate your personal online experience.  Ask them, 'how exactly did you know I blocked Troll #1 or #2?'  Since this highlights their little Troll enclave, they lose it, usually putting forward a Troll #1 type of post.

Here's the deal, don't try to interact with them.  They're so desperate for validation, they need to violate other people's lives to feel better about theirs.  You'll NEVER bring them over to reality and truth.  They're not about to recognize their flawed and incompetent arguments.  They think they're the smartest people they know, and their lashing out with insults and threats is their firewall, preventing them from facing the undeniable truth; they're idiots.

Block them.  You do not owe them ANYTHING!  Just say goodbye.  Your life will be SO much better when you start purging the idiots from it.  And here's the best part: you'll forget who they are within hours of blocking them, while they'll be furious for months, upset you didn't call them the 'SUPER -GENIUS' they're convinced they are.

That's why it always puts a smile on my face when I hit 'block'.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Friday Link for 1/6/17

Nice to have The Late Show with Stephen Colbert back after the holidays.  There seems to be random rumors floating around about how CBS is upset with him and his ratings.  I'm not buying it.  He's so good at what he does, the most natural host of a late night talk show since Carson.  Dead serious about that comparison.  He pushes the envelope better than anyone else.

I think the rumors come from Republicans who are upset about his political leanings.  Judging from the ratings, not including special events (such as when Letterman retired) Colbert is holding pretty tight to The Tonight Show on a regular basis, better than anyone else has.  I think he fits CBS's late night's 'outside' role, and he's a great interviewer.

The only criticism I have for him (as if I matter) is to not cave to network stooges; continue with non-traditional, out of the box late night interviews.  Scientists, authors and business leaders are just as interesting interviews as the biggest actors.  There is nothing wrong with being brainy.

Colbert has the best bit on all late night television, Community Calendar.  He has his guests sit down and do the Community announcement like segment you'd find on cable access in small towns across the country.  Here are three of the community calendars, including last nights hilarious episode with Adam Driver.  I'll also include Nick Offerman and Jeff Daniel's versions.   Enjoy on a Friday night!

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rushmore Verses Crazy Horse

The last 35 years, the Republican Party has embraced a "there's no way the Federal Government can do ANYTHING better than the private sector" talking point.  Mind you the entire argument is a fraud.  There's no way you could do something as massive as the Post Office as efficiently and as cost effectively in the private sector.  If you got rid of federal food assistance tomorrow, the private sector/churches/charitable organizations wouldn't be able to stop the inevitable starvation of millions of Americans, including many children.  And stuff like roads, snow removal, water treatment; if the government stopped everything, this country would be broken and unable to function within 6 weeks.

This doesn't stop the right's anti-Government arguments, as Republicans insist a world without government would lead to everyone getting massive pay raises, bread being 10 cents a loaf, and no crime or blight anywhere.

Last year, I took my family to South Dakota.  We visited Mount Rushmore and numerous other sites across Western SD.  As we rolled into Rapid City, one of the more conservative areas in the US, you couldn't help but notice the abundance of shanty-esque mobile homes everywhere, the lowest of low income housing, where a shocking amount of South Dakotans reside.  The massive gap between the haves and the have nots, the undeniable consequences of far right conservative policy, are evident everywhere in Rapid City.  It was as noticeable as the lack of trees, which allowed you to see people's houses from shocking distances, a fact which emphasized the wealthier neighborhoods up on high, staring down on the poor wretched working class in their squalor beneath them.

I could write 20 blog pieces on how South Dakota highlighted failed conservative policy, but there's one point in particular which really hit home; the stark differences between how the Federal government runs Mt Rushmore and the Badlands, verses the private enterprise which is the Crazy Horse Monument.

As you drive into the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore unfolds in front of you.  From the first view you have of the glistening white rock which makes up the heads of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, you see why it's one of our national treasures.  You walk through the main entrance with the mountain right in front of you, passing through the Avenue of States, and you come to a viewing area which gives you the mountain's splendor:

Still one of my favorite pictures.  There's a path you can take which walks in front of the monument, with informational kiosks on each of the four Presidents, and a display on the process to create the carvings.

Pretty good view from there too!  The total cost for me and my family to visit Mt. Rushmore?  Ten dollars, paid to the private company the Federal Government contracted with to get the parking ramp built.  That's it!  Sure, tax dollars pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the monument, as well as the Interstate quality road to get to the site, but since we're only talking a percentage of a cent a year, it's a fine value.  For a few cents from every tax payer, we get the national parks; memorable, Federally owned, breathtaking tourist attractions, scattered from coast to coast.  And these parks make a lot of money for the local communities.

Badlands is a little further east of the Black Hills, but also worth the trip.  We paid $15 to get our vehicle in there, but our admission was good for the entire day.  And the views there...

Stunning!  There are numerous other state and national parks in western South Dakota, and they're all wonderful.  It's a great example of tax dollars working successfully.

The Crazy Horse Monument is a different story.  It's a privately held monument, but one that's overdue.  Saluting the Native American population with a magnificent statue is worthwhile project.  As we entered Crazy Horse, we knew we were in for a different experience.  It was $28 just to enter, more than the cost of admission for Rushmore and the Badlands combined.  Even though they started blasting in 1948, nearly 70 years ago, the monument's still a rough outline, likely not to be finished for decades, if it ever does get finished.  As opposed to the other parks in the area, where the primary goal is to honor the land, everything about the Crazy Horse Monument seems to be about supplementing the income of the family who owns it, the Ziolkowskis.  

This is as close as $28 gets you to the actual monument:

It's still pretty, but from a distance (notice the no walking sign on the side of the road).  There's a tram which goes close to the bottom of the monument, for an additional $4 per person.  To get on the monument itself, you're looking at a donation of $100 or more, per person.  The 'welcome center' at Crazy Horse is all about getting more money out of you, with a cornucopia of cheap tourist baubles, over priced food, and flea market vendors.  

There's an effort by the family who owns the memorial, the Ziolkowskis, to give back to the Native American population, but there's also an undeniable feeling the main goal of the Crazy Horse Monument is to make a buck for the Ziolkowskis. They seem to be raking it in.

The Ziolkowski's family narrative of their history with Crazy Horse is one based on the mantra 'we didn't need the government!  We're doing this all ourselves!'  Here's where we find the first example of 'American West can do attitude' hypocrisy; Crazy Horse is a 501c3 non profit.  With the help of  the Federal government's qualification, they operate as a non-profit, tax free.  If they truly were a 'we can do it on our own' outfit, they wouldn't need the government's special tax status.

This monument has been in the works for almost 70 years, and the emphasis at the site is far more on the Ziolkowski's story rather than the Native American's.  More than once it felt like the Ziolkowskis were using the unjust treatment of the Native American's for the last 400+ years as cover for their money making operation, even encouraging Native American distrust of the US Government to keep people from asking the most obvious question; how did it only take 14 years to build Mt. Rushmore, but 70 years after they started with their project, how are the Ziolkowskis nowhere near completing Crazy Horse?

The government has helped Crazy Horse by building roads to the monument and erecting signs, directing people to their front door.  They've also helped with sewer lines, electricity, police and forest fire crews, government services the Ziolkowski's depend on.  And as you compare Crazy Horse to the other monuments of the area, you easily come to the conclusion that if Crazy Horse was another Federal Monument like Rushmore, it would've been finished decades ago.  I understand the Native American's distrust of the Federal Government.  This isn't a call for a government takeover; just an observation.

There are other privately owned attractions in the area.  We visited a mammoth burial site in the southern part of the Black Hills and it was sensational, but it too was a little pricey.  If Crazy Horse was out by itself, I don't think anyone would notice its faults, but when it's placed next to Rushmore, it becomes overpriced, underwhelming, and a perfect example of how the private sector can be out performed by the government.  Because tourism dollars flow into Crazy Horse, there seems to be no urgency to complete it.  This isn't an 'American West can do attitude.'  This seems more like a lack of motivation on behalf of the Ziolkowskis.

I recommend seeing Crazy Horse for three reasons.  First, it's impressive, even from a distance.  Second, even though probably only a small portion of your $28 entrance fee actually goes to completing the monument, this monument needs to be completed.  Third, you're out there anyway for the other monuments, so you might as well.  Go visit Rapid City, visit the monuments and parks, but don't be surprised if, unlike the Federal Government operated Mt. Rushmore and Badlands, when you leave Crazy Horse, you feel like you didn't get your money's worth.   

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/30/16

2016 is not a serial killer.  I don't fear it as such, rather I'll always look back on 2016 as a disappointment.  I think Trump's fans won't be fondly remembering 2016 in a few years either.  So long; good riddance.

The hardest loss for me was Prince.  The blog went purple for a year in honor of him, and there's rarely a day I don't listen to one of his songs.

The biggest disappointment was not Trump's election, per say, but rather the realization the United States, a country which has controlled it's international fate for the last 125 years, was finally brought to it's knees by the combination of a foreign country hacking our political parties, our state election offices and our entire election, and the inexcusable acceptance of said hacking by the Republicans.  We used to control the world, now we're the controlled.  We're no longer a super power...

But that all said, I might've found the best video ever to send off the craziness that was 2016.  This is perfect!

I'm a big fan of Parks and Recreation.  It's a wonderfully clever show filmed in the style of The Office, filmed from the perspective of a never seen documentary film crew following around the characters as they work in the Park and Rec department of an Indiana town.  The show was jammed packed with jokes, so many you had to watch it twice to catch them all.  Adam Scott's character on the show was Ben Wyatt, a municipal budget consultant, and an amazing character.  In many episodes, he represented the viewer's perspective, as the insanity swirled around him.  Next to Jason Bateman, Scott is the best straight man in Hollywood right now.

One of the quirks Ben Wyatt had was to look into the camera when something particularly bizarre happened or was said.  It added so much to the show.  Someone spliced together all of the times Ben looked into the camera.  It's fantastic!

As you watch this, think about the year that was and ask yourself how many times did you stop and do a double take just like Ben Wyatt.

Goodbye 2016!  You will not be missed...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Oncoming Storm

Twenty five years ago, when someone overseas would ask what the difference between Democrats and Republicans were, I'd answer, "they're not too different.  Actually, they're close on the political spectrum.  The main difference is Democrats feel there are some larger societal problems where the government has an obligation to help it's citizens.  Republicans feel as if giving everyone all their tax dollars back and letting them decide what services they want, regardless of how much more expensive it'd cost, is the best solution."

That was then...

Republicans today have been effectively brainwashed into thinking the Democrats are the greatest evil the planet has ever seen.  After 20 years of ridiculous comparisons to Hitler, Stalin, Communism, Fascism, Atheist theocracies, and anti-Americanism, the modern Republican has turned the Democratic Party into an amalgamation of all of them; a demon straight from Milton.  They never validate any of the allegations against their opponents, just bathe in them, basting their fears in the drippings of an irrational 'them vs. us' narrative.  It's how they validated their vote for Nazi sympathizers.

They've become controlled, implanted with Republican color glasses which prevent them from ever holding the party they vote for accountable for anything, a filter which allows them to see undeniable racism, sexism and hatred as wholesome, American values and Christian doctrine.  They blame everything bad happening to them directly on the Democrats, even when Democrats haven't been involved in their local government for three decades.  They don't think anymore, they only react as told.

The people pulling the Republican voter's strings have spent the last eight years taking what should've been a major milestone in American politics, and turning it into an incubator of the worst of society.  The election of our first non-white President was turned into a new Republican rallying cry; a whites first voting standard; a racist litmus test in which they (white male Christians in control of North America for the last 500 years) are now (somehow) the weakened victim, their rights violated by the mere suggestion of equality for all.  It's where the mantra of 'white genocide' originated; a hatred infused political message summed up in the statement, "how dare they push a black president on us poor white people!"

It's Rovian politics.  Take your enemies strength and turn it into a weakness, and turn your biggest weakness (in the case of the GOP, their undeniable racist followers) into a 'strength.'  The Democrats are partially to blame, as they looked with adoration upon President Obama, insisting they didn't need to tout the positivity of the times they were living in, that the positivity would speak for itself; that the Obama Presidency validated them, that they'd been proven right.  That was their mistake.  The Republicans were allowed to create the right's racist narrative surrounding our first non-white President, and it's evolved into a disgusting mainstream voting platform.  It explains how every Republican voter today has embraced at least one racist issue (border walls, interment camps, religious screenings).

But it goes even further, summed up perfectly by one of my regular righto callers to my radio show, Randy in Coon Rapids.  When I asked him about the woefully inadequate Ben Carson being named to the position of Housing and Urban Development, Randy said, "the best part of it was how outraged I, and the rest of the Democrats, were at the nomination," adding "I love seeing you guys so upset!"  He gave up the ghost.  The Republican's priority, when it comes to voting, is no longer 'whose governing ideology do I agree with more,' but rather 'who will the Democrats hate more?'  It's terrifying to see them cheer on such incompetence, but when the goal is not effective government, but rather rubbing their opponents faces in the mess, it's what you get.  Republicans only want to see Democrats cry.  That's what makes them feel better about themselves, and their choices.

And here's reality - our political world is NEVER going back.  Members of the Democratic Party who want to return to a simpler political time, a mythical political time, need to understand that.  A world of intense, educated political debate, with each side offering their well crafted 75 page footnoted dissertations on policies, holding to a non-existent gentleman's agreement to 'agree to disagree' when there's no consensus, is all gone.  That political time, if it ever existed, will never return, not in our current, immediate self gratification society, a society which feels persecuted when they have to watch a whole thirty second commercial before their video streams.

Republicans are pro-wrestlers.  They don't want to have a debate.  They want to kill the Democrats, or at least trick them with a fake handshake so they can throw their faces into the steel cage. They're having success because they're built for succeeding in our modern warped world, and unless the Democrats change, they're going to become extinct.

The current Republican dominated election system can be defeated, but to do so will take a herculean effort.  Here's what we need to do:

  1.  Get a 2018 Democratic candidate running immediately in EVERY district in Minnesota (and nationwide).  If more than one candidate wants to run, great, but make sure they're targeting the real opponent, the Republican.  The current Republican system is based on a 10 month election cycle.  They're not prepared to campaign 24/7/365.  Yes, that's a commitment, but it's what needs to happen to win.
  2. EVERY district, even districts where the Democrats only pull 10%, need to have a Democratic challenger.  If the Republicans don't have to defend a seat, that money goes to pick off Democrats in Democratic leaning seats.  Make them fight for every seat they hold.  Take nothing for granted, and do not leave any district unchallenged.
  3. Stop thinking Facebook and Twitter posts are enough to win the day.  They're not.  They only give people a false feeling of accomplishment.  The only people those memes are talking to are people who primarily agree with them, so while motivating the troops is a great thing, it doesn't win over the masses.
  4. Jeff Stein, an exceptional political mind in Iowa, says it best - all politics is local!  Forget about selling large ideals to the masses and focus on a Democratic message around the issues which are priorities to the local community.  Identify a winning strategy with local appeal, one that embodies Democratic principles, and run with it.
  5. Get out of Democratic comfort zones and talk to the Republicans who never get approached by Democrats.  Every senior center, every agricultural meeting, every church picnic, every community event.  If Democrats are afraid to go into the lions den and preach their gospel, you're already giving up on voters.  That's no longer a luxury for the left.
  6. Everywhere you go demand the Republicans stand by their election promises, or explain why they failed to deliver.  Too many Republicans never deliver for their district, and are NEVER called out on it.  Make people realize the Republican campaign promises were lies and half truths.
  7. Start asking for time on every radio station which hits your district.  Start writing editorials in every newspaper in the district.  Start asking for interview time on all local television in the district.  Media outlets are usually conservative leaning, so kick open the doors and ask, politely, for equal time to talk about the issues.  If they refuse, start making sure everyone you know is aware of the unfair bias.  Applying pressure from the audience usually works.  
  8. Being media diverse is important, so have an ACTIVE presence on all social media platforms, especially Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram.  This give you maximum coverage in all demographics.
  9. Find someone to make you a good looking webpage.  Doesn't have to be fancy, just competent and easy to navigate.
  10. Expand your formats! If you want to go into longer speeches, a blog is an excellent option.  Record your blog posts and offer them as a podcast.  Record a twice a month podcast where you talk about a specific issue in the district and what you'd do to address them.  Cross promote all of this on all of your formats.
  11. Stop trying to win over 2% of Republicans you pray are the difference makers.  You should be targeting the entire district.
  12. There's a very distinct difference between a Moderate Democrat and Republican Light.  If you don't want to be a proud Democrat, then don't run as one. 

Democratic issues are the issues which are popular to most voters.  By embracing them, and making them your focus, you immediately bring respectability and legitimacy to your campaign.  Yes, this is going to be hard work.  It's going to be a tremendous amount of hard work, but it's what needs to be done.  It's time to put down the strongly worded memos and it's time to start body slamming them!

This is now...

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/23/16

For Goodness sake, do not try to go into the candy aisle at a Target store the day before Christmas Eve!

If you're like me, you've probably had a bit of a stressful day.  How about a smile to turn those frowns upside down!

Saturday Night Live's all time best holiday skit, and it's not even close!  Warning - Adult themed!

Adam Ruins Everything and the real story on why 'It's a Wonderful Life' is such a holiday tradition today! (you have to click on that one)

Then, my all time favorite holiday bit, Patton Oswlat's dismantling of 'The Christmas Shoes.'  It seems appropriate since we actually started looking at the lyrics of Christmas music this year (maybe it's because of Trump and his grabbing tendencies), and people realized the lyrics of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' were not as friendly as portrayed ("hmm, that seems kind of rape-y...")  Mind you, a lot of naughty language, for 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' and Patton!  No seriously, this is EXTREMELY naughty!

You'll have to click on the link for that one too!  Thanks!

I hope these put a smile on your face!  Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas, and Holiday, Spirit

I love the holidays, but man are they stressful.  I have gotten to the point where I condense as much of the stress into as few days as possible, mainly three.  Saturday was one.  Yesterday was another.  Today was the last.  To prove the stress, I have a head cold that has it's name written all over it.

Here are a few wonderful holiday images.  Enjoy.  I'll be posting more over the next few days, but I do need some downtime.  2016 has been a bear.

If you can't make it up to the 8th floor of the Minneapolis Macy's store, they do a wonderful, free Christmas exhibit, with the entire north pole and Santa.  This goes back to when it was Dayton's and then Marshal Field's.  We've done it every year with our kids.

The IDS Center has a lovely tree...

And a menorah!  Happy Hanukkah everyone!  It begins on Saturday!

My mother has always had style.  This decorative piece was quite stunning.

The Holiday show at The Minnesota Orchestra.  Who's that handsome fella?

And the tree in front of my house.  Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kurt Daudt Grabs His Shinebox

Kurt Daudt is a liar.  This is an indisputable fact.  It's one of many disgusting traits the Minnesota Speaker of the House has, but it's probably his worst.  Kurt Daudt is a used car salesman.  Not a honest one, but the guy who tries to sweet talk you into an absolute crap car, and then insist when the car gets towed back to the dealership he never misrepresented the lemon.  Eventually he has some slack jawed, dim witted stooge pull a gun on the irate customer (kinda like his Montana incident).  To understand Speaker Daudt, let's look at how he's played the game, and witness the copious evidence of his lying.

In 2015, his first year as Speaker of the House, Daudt's strategy was to use a friendship with Senator Tom Bakk, the Democratic former Senate majority leader, as a wedge between outstate Democrats, the metro area Democrats and Governor Mark Dayton.  He did this by waiting until the very last second to introduce legislation, not even giving House members time to read it before having them vote.  He then threw it up to Bakk's Senate, where there was little expectation of a double cross.  Daudt made sure some things Bakk and a few moderate Democrats wanted were in the bill, but there was little knowledge of the "other stuff" Daudt had snuck in there.  It worked. When the Democrats in the House and Senate actually read what they voted on, their jaws dropped, but it was too late.  Governor Dayton had to allow some things through.  Daudt's plan worked like a charm, with Bakk, who I think was well aware he'd been used by Daudt, having to stick with the votes he'd been duped into.

In 2016, everyone was expecting a double cross from Daudt.  It tells you a lot about the character of the man when EVERYONE expects him to be deceitful.  Daudt's new strategy was to lie.  We know he outright lied about the timeline for passing unemployment aid for the Iron Range miners.  We know from multiple sources, including some Republicans, he lied about Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) being included in the final regular session bills.  When he introduced bills at the last second again, the session ended up a mess, with poorly written legislation having to be vetoed by the Governor, and other bills being shelved by Daudt, to prevent votes on anything HE had not approved, including the SWLRT, which he had snuck out of the bill.

But this is where Daudt's winning streak started to take a turn.  Governor Mark Dayton isn't a guy who backs away from a fight.  He doesn't play games or allow his opponents weakness to go unchallenged.  The Speaker pulled a fast one on him in 2015, but the facade was over.  Dayton knew the kind of man Daudt was, and he also knew Daudt wanted certain bills passed during a Governor authorized special session.  Since the House and Senate Democrats were unable to fight the Speaker effectively during the regular session, the Governor decided to use his power to demand Daudt compromise.  Daudt, who's more committed to his ideology than to the state of Minnesota, started lying almost immediately, acting contrite and accommodating in private negotiations, and then insisting he never promised what he had promised when the cameras were rolling.  Little did he know he was grossly overplaying his hand.

In late summer, after Dayton refused to play Daudt's games, Daudt had to get serious.  He was willing to okay the SWLRT, and it alone, but only if he got major concessions from the Democrats on a whole bunch of other issues.  Daudt tried to use the Federal Transportation funding deadline of August 31st on SWLRT to force the Democrats hands, but Dayton outmaneuvered him, got three local agencies to cover the cost of the SWLRT and immediately took Daudt's sole concession off the table.  Realizing he'd have to give up on another issue which he didn't want to, Speaker Daudt threw a temper tantrum and stormed away from the special session negotiations.

During the 2016 campaign season, Speaker Daudt and the Republicans got strategic wins in November elections, with promises of an immediate (Lie!) special session to deal with MNSure, Minnesota's problematic health care program.  Governor Dayton also wanted to fix MNSure, but he knew Daudt also wanted to get certain regular session bills resurrected before the new year, so the talks of a special session meandered through November.  If there was going to be a special session, it had to happen before Christmas, and, per the Governor's demands (only the Governor can call a special session in Minnesota).  Dayton wanted, in writing, the exact bills that would be voted on, and the signatures of both majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate before agreeing.  In early December a tentative agreement had been reached on a MNSure fix, a trimmed down Bonding bill, and a corrected Tax Bill (where Republican bad wording was fixed).

Then Daudt, once again, did what he does best; he lied.  He insisted things he'd agreed to in private were "add ons" from Governor Dayton, and acted as if updating dates on the Tax Bill was a concession to the Democrats.  I'm not sure why he tried this power play, but it was stupid.  Governor Dayton had had enough.

Dayton, in one of the best smackdowns I've ever seen, sent a letter to Speaker Daudt while he was in the Virgin Islands on a freebie, I mean a professional conference, actually sending it to the resort Daudt was lounging around at, calling out the Speaker's non-stop lying.  He also released a copy to the media, making sure everyone was aware that while the Governor was trying to find solutions for Minnesota, Daudt was partying in Hawaii and the Caribbean.  Here's that letter:

Note how Dayton exposes Daudt by saying multiple people heard him agree to the things he was now insisting were deal breakers, how Dayton calls out Daudt for not communicating with the Governor (while Daudt was getting another drink from the cabana boy) and how the Governor had created a firm deadline for a special session agreement.

Daudt somehow scrambled back from the tropical paradise in a day, only to be greeted by a Governor who had decided to initiate a new tactic which would defuse Daudt's lies.  He insisted, since Daudt was prone to lying about what happened in private negotiations, all negotiations going forward (for this year and the next two) would happen in public, starting last Friday with a final round of 2016 special session negotiations.  Daudt, clearly uncomfortable and ill prepared for this new format, started off the public negotiations by insulting the Governor, calling his Virgin Islands letter a tantrum.  Dayton, who had very clearly made his point, walked out.  Daudt, outmaneuvered yet once again, stuttered a few lines and sulked off.

This is the worst thing that could happen to Daudt.  If the Governor sticks with his plan for public negotiations on all bills, and he ABSOLUTELY SHOULD, Daudt has to be honest, something he's incapable of being.  Dayton already has experience carrying the entire DFL platform on his back from his first two years as Governor, and he knows the Republican House and Senate can't override his vetoes.  They have to work with him.  Dayton just took away all of Daudt's tricks.

Daudt will attempt to talk Dayton out of doing the negotiations in public.  Daudt will try to find someone in the Republican Party to be the 'good cop' to his 'bad cop.'  Daudt will try to find enough Democrats to build a consensus to override vetoes, but consensuses mean concessions, and Daudt is too much of a jackass to actually follow through on working with the other side.  Since he's not going to be a decent, non-lying human being, Daudt has nowhere to go.  Daudt wants to be Governor is 2018, so an extended Republican initiated, Minnesota government shutdown only makes him look like he's incapable of putting his personal agenda aside for the betterment of Minnesota.  Daudt will desperately try to blame a government shutdown on Governor Dayton, but Dayton is not on the ballot in 2018.  They'll both look bad, but Daudt is far more culpable.  And considering the Federal Republicans seem to be eager to put forward an agenda which will anger a lot of people, including Republican voters, it gets worse.  Daudt has ZERO appeal with anyone but the racists and idiots who voted for Trump, many of whom are about to kiss their Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security goodbye.  He's screwed!

Dayton has all the power, and that's what really angers Daudt.  Dayton plays the game better than him, out hustles him, outwits him, and doesn't care what Kurt Daudt thinks.

Kurt, any happy feeling you had from election day should be gone.  Dayton owns you.  You know it, and it's killing you.  Run home little boy, and grab your shine box.  The Governor wins again!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/16/16

This weekend before Christmas, we have a major clash of two of the biggest personal drivers in most kids's lives: the holidays and Star Wars.  'Rogue One' is now open.  Just when you didn't think your kids could get more annoying with their Santa demands, now they have a Star Wars movie to whine about seeing too!  Time to spike the eggnog.

Why not a laugh for the holidays, courtesy of a group I've featured here before, the Auralnauts!  Their take downs of the Star Wars films are epic themselves and just in time for the holidays, they've turned the battle for the ice planet Hoth into a delightful holiday mixer, with lasers!

I'll also link to the full Empire Strikes Back take down.  I swear to God, I almost wet myself when C-3PO taunts Han by insisting the faulty nature of the Millennium Falcon is a representation of all of his personal failures in life.  Happy Holidays!

You'll have to click on the link for the full episode:

Stay warm this weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tag, You're It!

Two things I've learned about the Republicans this year.  The first is my comment, about how Republican voters will vote for anything, even a turnip, as long as it has an 'R' next to its name, is unbelievably true.  I used to say it as a joke; not anymore.  Even though all of the GOP voters hem and hawed throughout the year, talking about how unelectable Trump actually was, how he embodied everything the GOP was supposed to be against, when it came time to vote, they all loyally checked his name.

The second is how my other joking comment, about a GOP voter coming home and finding their spouse having nasty, insane sex with their local Republican politician, how they'd immediately scream, 'Damn Democrats!', is also shockingly true.  Republican voters are incapable of viewing Republican politicians negatively, even when they're dreadful, and they'll need to be sent to a deprogramming clinic to ever be able to compliment a Democrat, even one who saves a baby and a puppy from a burning building.

Since the election, Donald Trump basically admitted to defrauding the students at his university by paying $25 million to make a lawsuit go away, has openly talked personal business with every foreign leader he's met with, prior to talking about US policy interests, has promised to dismantle all government funded healthcare (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security), acknowledged his promise to jail his opponent was an outright lie, meant to fuel the hate rage fantasies of his supporters, has welcomed in racists, KKK sympathizers and Nazi sympathizers into his inner circle, has picked incompetent boobs, corrupt zealots, and unethical billionaires to be his administration, has had it confirmed he indeed received a tremendous amount of help from the Russian government who actively infiltrated the American election, has insisted he doesn't need to hear the daily intelligence briefings (as President), has put out a litany of insanely childish and inappropriate Twitter comments, has delivered on about a quarter of his promise to keep Carrier in Indiana, at a cost of a few million tax payer dollars, and took time out of his busy transition schedule to meet with Kanye West, a hip hop artist who clearly needs an extended medical rest, to say it nicely.

The response from Republican voters...silence.  I swear under their breath you can hear the 'Damn Democrats' they so desperately want to scream.

Can you imagine what these same voters would be like if Clinton would've won, and (forgetting all of what I mentioned above) she would've tried to appoint a cabinet member who didn't have three masters degrees and twenty years of management experience related to the position they were up for?  They'd be screaming about incompetent cronyism.  Instead, they cheer on Ben Carson, a man who thinks the pyramids were not burial sites for pharaohs, but rather grain storage bins, being in charge of Housing and Urban Development!  I go back and forth of whether Carson is more terrifying or hilarious...

I can honestly say, if a President Elect Clinton refused intelligence briefings and instead met with Kanye West, I'd be furious.  Can you imagine how furious Republican voters would be at that?  But Trump does the same exact thing; crickets and tumbleweeds.

The Republican's problem is after thirty years of attacking Democrats, turning every innocent gesture into a crime against humanity, they don't know what to do.  They spent the last three decades investigating Democrats, and when the investigation turned out to be nothing, they'd start another investigation, just because.  Now, with no Democrats to investigate, they're silent.  Their minds have no idea how to process negativity coming from Trump and the Republicans.  They know these next four years are going to hurt everyone who's not a millionaire, but as opposed to say something, they quietly hope the inevitable outcome won't materialize.  They're hiding their shame in reticence.

This unfamiliar territory, being on the receiving end far more than on the giving end, also explains why Republicans blow up at anyone who implies Trump's 'Not My President.'  They've insisted, when the GOP controlled everything, the world would come together, harmony would be universal, and everyone would be a millionaire.  Guess again!  After 8 1/2 years of making up outrageous Obama lie after outrageous Obama lie (Kenya, Birth certificate, Muslim Brotherhood, Rev. Wright, taking guns, death panels, internment camps, forced abortions, Jade Helm!, Benghazi!!!), the Republicans are now the ones trying to deny undeniable reality: their President is a tweeting, embarrassing, self induced smear campaign.

Hillary leads in the popular vote by 2.8 million, almost more than Nevada itself, bigger than 15 other US state's entire populations (many of the same states the GOP touts as the 'real Americans' who pushed Trump to victory), officially enough voters to make her margin of popular vote the 19th largest metro area in the country, bigger than Denver, St. Louis and Baltimore.  FAR more people wanted her as President than Trump.  He won, but he needed to quirkiness of the electoral college to place him, the second place finisher, as the victor.  This wasn't some electoral college landslide either.  He barely won, even with the FBI and the Russian interference, voter suppression at record levels, an obscene dark money advantage and a bias, incompetent media.  He won because 108 million eligible voters didn't vote, not because the vast majority of Americans wanted him as president.  Only 20% of the country wanted Trump, and most of those people were either only voting for him because of his undeniable white power message, or because the Anti-Hillary brainwashing worked.  Instead of trying to unite the country behind him, Trump couldn't help himself; he had to be a jerk.  He insisted the math numbers are wrong and this is a massive landslide, taking a victory lap to rub it in everyone's face.  Now Trump voters are acting surprised when most Americans tell President Elect Asshat and his supporters to 'F-off!'  They drank their own cool-aid, and now reality is setting in; their utopia is further away than ever, they're not millionaires, and they're facing 4 years of protests, divisiveness and outright hatred for their horrifically flawed savior, a savior they themselves know is a disgusting troll of a human being.  They're throwing a temper tantrum.

That makes me so freaking happy!  Good luck the next four years, you racists and idiots!  Hope you're not too thin skinned!