Dec 24, 2017

The Dangers of Newspeak Are Very Real Thanks to Trump and His Fake and Fraudulent Persona

In the political world, this year has been a torturous one since DJ Trump became president, because it's a constant assault on our senses. It's like a case of a deranged person or a ludicrous ogre that you normally would dismiss and not bother with him. The evidence is so overwhelming of who he is that you want to stop paying attention, except in this case you can't because he is in the highest office of the land.

How many times are you going to bother with someone advancing the flat earth theory, or insult your decency? You can't reason with such person. I find that I want to forget his bad behavior and insulate myself. I'm a progressive liberal and I couldn't possibly support a Republican, but this is beyond strict partisanship--it's about the incompetency of the person who occupies the White House.

We have reached a point where we're losing common ground with reality. We have to have shared facts in order to have a conversation and a debate. We also have to have shared trust in the institutions that bind our society, from the judiciary, to the media, to the electoral process, to the scientific methodology, and everything in between. [Here's a piece in the New Yorker. The Distrust Trump Relies Upon]  Unfortunately tribalism is eroding such trust. The tribal leaders message is the only true one, whereas the rest is "fake news." 

Losing this common ground makes it easier for the fake news originators to put out their garbage. Curbing fake news isn't easy though if many people don't care (due to tribalism) or don't know how to evaluate a news item. Accuracy and quality are necessary in reporting the news, because it gives us the necessary common ground to have discussions and make decisions.

Having freedom of speech has its price, and fake new is one such cost. The same goes for democracy and all sorts of freedoms. They have to be exercised prudently, or at least there has to be a big majority of the population that has the ability to evaluate the news and the messenger. Otherwise, it's a recipe for authoritarianism. Our democracy depends on shared facts and a consensus on the legitimacy of our institutions.

 Here's how John Oliver [in his latest show of 2017] summarizes what Trump has been doing. One is being an expert troll, another is "what about-ism" which is deflection, and the other is whatever he doesn't like is fake news. He's not held to any standard, from the meaning of words, to statements, to actions. There is a constant assault on reason and truth. This is, again, not about politics or ideology, but about a person who is not qualified and trolled his way to the highest office. Many dictators rode to power on popular support. We have to keep fighting this trolling, this assault on reason and truth. 

Trump supporters like how he behaves but this is toxic to our society. It's prudent to always be inquisitive and to question established knowledge, but there's a specific process to do it. You can't dismiss anything on the basis of unsubstantiated opinion. Sadly, we see too many people who believe patently falsehoods or ridiculous conspiracies, like a flat Earth belief. [yes, this moronic belief is coming back and this is possible in a universe that nothing can be trusted]

This from a 12/23/2017 NYT editorial also summarizes Trump's persona:

As president, Trump employs the same charlatan’s gibberish that served him well as the owner of a failed casino and a fraudulent “university.” He says “terrific,” “phenomenal” and “incredible” to describe a routine meeting, or someone he just met. His favorite words for those who cross him are “loser,” “moron” and “lightweight.” As he explained last year, “I know words — I have the best words.”

Of late, Trump is down to a single best word to describe himself — “I.” He puts it in quotes, just like that. From a tweet in which he was trying to make down into up, on the loss he suffered with the Alabama Senate race, Trump wrote: ‘I also predicted “I” would win.’ Oh, I, me, mine!

“Liar,” as applied to Trump, is something that can be quantifiably proven. A mere 4 percent of the president’s public statements — 4 in 100! — have been rated true by PolitiFact.

Trump may be the greatest, most terrific, incredible fake person who coned his way to the top.

Nov 4, 2017

The Myth of a Loving God...

And the faithful keep sending messages like, "Merry Christmas," "May God Bless..."

Did you hear about the 7 year old who's dying of brain cancer and wants hand-made xmas cards now since he won't, most likely, survive until xmas?... His parents are asking for those cards and for donations for his funeral expenses.

If suffering matters, why do people still believe in a loving God who creates sickness, natural disasters, hunger, and evil? Where's "free will" in this? Where's the chance for a 7 year old to demonstrate his worthiness to his creator? Any decent person (even non-decent ones) wouldn't want little children suffering and dying... for any reason.

Oct 3, 2017

Republicans and the NRA are AGAINST Safety and Common Sense

Another mass shooting, in Las Vegas this time, the deadliest in our history, until the next one of course. Our fundamental right to be safe is trampled by the right of people to own military-grade weapons according to the NRA, most Republican leaders (not necessarily their base), and a conservative judiciary.

So, what else is in the news? Oh, hurricanes, flooding, and lots of human suffering. It must be God's will. Let's all pray so we can change his mind to either not indiscriminately punish his creation and/or help the victims. Well, good luck with that! 

But, the humans who could do something about it--I'm talking about the elected representatives--are failing to do much in terms of safety and to alleviate suffering. 

Those leaders are concentrated in the Republican party which is clearly anti-safety.They want to eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), take away health care, deregulate pollutants, kill consumer protection laws, and are against any sensible programs that reduce violence, poverty, and help people live longer and healthier.

This essentially the party that claims to be the guardian of law and order and national security but in reality it's really bad for people's health and safety!

As the stories and pictures of the Vegas shooting begin to emerge, I leave you with the young faces of the Sandy Hook children, as a horrific reminder of how a society has been allowing WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) to be readily available.

Sep 28, 2017

One of the Best Editorials About Peaceful Protests During the US National Anthem.

Dale Hansen, a Dallas sportscaster, nails it!

We should not cede the definition of patriotism to the scoundrels or the intolerant and the ignorant!

In the 1943 West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette,  Justice Robert Jackson wrote for a 6-to-3 majority that the state could not compel children to salute the flag. Reversing a court decision from just three years earlier, Jackson wrote, in the midst of war, what remains one of the enduring statements of confidence in what truly makes America great. “To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine,” he wrote, “is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.

Apr 25, 2017

Analyzing the Trumps..... (it's not pretty)

As Ivanka Trump said in her book, The Trump Card [check John Oliver's interpretation here], perception is more important than reality, her father, the president of the US, suffers from an acute syndrome of ego-maniacal narcissism.  I could see why someone would vote for DJT and think he's doing a terrific, fantastic job in is first 100 days, simply because his fans loathed Obama and they're happy hated Hillary isn't in the White House. 

But any reasonable person has to acknowledge Trump's lies, character flaws, bad temperament, lack of knowledge about important issues, his impulsiveness and lack of good judgement, his flooding the so-called swamp with more muck, and his nonresidential demeanor, etc. So anyone who still thinks Trump is fit to be president they have to argue that all these don't really matter. I just can't see how anyone can make this argument.

At any rate, here's a excerpt from a Rolling Stone article:

The most current iteration of the DSM classifies narcissistic personality disorder as: "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts." A diagnosis would also require five or more of the following traits: 

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., "Nobody builds walls better than me"; "There's nobody that respects women more than I do"; "There's nobody who's done so much for equality as I have").

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love ("I alone can fix it"; "It's very hard for them to attack me on looks, because I'm so good-looking").
3. Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions ("Part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich").
4. Requires excessive admiration ("They said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl").

5. Has a sense of entitlement ("When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy").
6. Is interpersonally exploitative (see above).

7. Lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings
and needs of others ("He's not a war hero . . . he was captured. I like people that weren't captured").

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her ("I'm the president, and you're not").

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes ("I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters").

NPD was first introduced as a personality disorder by the DSM in 1980 and affects up to six percent of the U.S. population. It is not a mood state but rather an ingrained set of traits, a programming of the brain that is thought to arise in childhood as a result of parenting that either puts a child on a pedestal and superficially inflates the ego or, conversely, withholds approval and requires the child to single-handedly build up his or her own ego to survive. 

Either way, this impedes the development of a realistic sense of self and instead fosters a "false self," a grandiose narrative of one's own importance that needs constant support and affirmation – or "narcissistic supply" – to ward off an otherwise prevailing sense of emptiness. Of all personality disorders, NPD is among the least responsive to treatment for the obvious reason that narcissists typically do not, or cannot, admit that they are flawed.

Apr 10, 2017

Bill Maher: Republicans are Dicks. Who knew?....

What would a "dick" do? He would go out of his way to screw others, demonstrate incompetence and ignorance. Anybody you know?...

Gun Violence in America: Why "Good Guys with Guns" Isn't the solution...

Another shooting at a school today, 2 adults 1 child dead. This latest gun violence incident by an estranged husband who killed his wife in an elementary school classroom also took the life of an innocent student. The perp had a history of domestic violence and weapons charges, but of course in the US obtaining a gun is not hard.

In December 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place where 26 children and staff were killed. In a disgraceful response the NRA and many conservatives repeated the mantra, "a bad guy with a gun can be stopped by a good guy with a gun." Dangerous simpletons.

I just found this clip and I think it's worth sharing.

Mar 16, 2017

Why The Conservatives are Hypocrites and Morally Corrupt

The conservatives claim to be faithful, especially those pious Xtians who miss no opportunity to tell us how morally superior they are. In reality, they and their party are morally corrupt when it comes to public policy meant to help the sick, the powerless, and the poor.

The Good Samaritan story? Who's that socialist person who redistributes resources, advocates something unsustainable, and reinforces bad behavior?...

Here's today's NYT Op-Ed:

Editorials, Op-Ed and Letters | OP-ED COLUMNIST

And Jesus Said Unto Paul of Ryan ...

What would Jesus tell House Speaker Paul Ryan about looking after the sick and the needy?

A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came up behind Jesus and touched his clothes in hope of a cure. Jesus turned to her and said: “Fear not. Because of your faith, you are now healed.”
Then spoke Pious Paul of Ryan: “But teacher, is that wise? When you cure her, she learns dependency. Then the poor won’t take care of themselves, knowing that you’ll always bail them out! You must teach them personal responsibility!

They were interrupted by 10 lepers who stood at a distance and shouted, “Jesus, have pity on us.”
“NO!” shouted Pious Paul. “Jesus! You don’t have time. We have a cocktail party fund-raiser in the temple. And don’t worry about them — they’ve already got health care access.”
Jesus turned to Pious Paul, puzzled.

“Why, they can pray for a cure,” Pious Paul explained. “I call that universal health care access.”
Jesus turned to the 10 lepers. “Rise and go,” he told them. “Your faith has made you well.” Then he turned back to Pious Paul, saying, “Let me tell you the story of the good Samaritan.

A man was attacked by robbers who stripped him of clothes, beat him and left him half dead. A minister passed down this same road, and when he saw the injured man, he crossed to the other side and hurried on. So did a rich man who claimed to serve God. But then a despised Samaritan came by and took pity on the injured man. He bandaged his wounds and put the man on his own donkey and paid an innkeeper to nurse him to health. So which of these three should we follow?”
“Those who had mercy on him,” Pious Paul said promptly.

Jesus nodded. “So go ——”

“I mean the first two,” Pious Paul interjected. “For the Samaritan’s work is unsustainable and sends the wrong message. It teaches travelers to take dangerous roads, knowing that others will rescue them from self-destructive behaviors. This Samaritan also seems to think it right to redistribute money from those who are successful and give it to losers. That’s socialism! Meanwhile, if the rich man keeps his money, he can invest it and create jobs. So it’s an act of mercy for the rich man to hurry on and ignore the robbery victim.”
How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven,” Jesus mused to himself. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven.”
“Let me teach you about love, Jesus — tough love!” Pious Paul explained. “You need a sustainable pro-business model. And you need to give people freedom, Jesus, the freedom to suffer misery and poverty.”
“The Lord God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,” Jesus replied, emphasizing the last two words. Then he turned to a paralyzed beggar at his feet. “Stand up!” Jesus told the man. “Pick up your mat and go home.” As the man danced about joyfully, Pious Paul rolled his eyes dismissively.
“Look, Jesus, you have rare talent, and it should be rewarded,” Pious Paul said. “I have a partner, The Donald, who would like to work with you: He’d set up a lovely hospital, and the rich would come and pay for you to heal them. You’d get a percentage, and it’d be a real money-spinner. Overhead would be minimal because every morning you could multiply some loaves and fishes. You could strike it rich!

Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God,” Jesus said. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received comfort.”

“Oh, come on, Jesus,” Pious Paul protested. “Don’t go socialist on me again. Please don’t encourage class warfare. The best way to help the needy is to give public money to the rich. That then inspires the poor to work harder, galvanizes the sick to become healthy, forces the lepers to solve their own problems rather than kick back and depend on others. That’s why any realistic health plan has to focus on providing less coverage for the poor, and big tax benefits for the rich. When millions of people lose health care, that’s when a country is great again!”
From everyone who has been given much,” Jesus told him, “much will be required.”
“Well, sure, this hospital would have a foundation to do some charity work. Maybe commissioning portraits of The Donald to hang in the entrance. But let’s drop this bleeding heart nonsense about health care as a human right, and see it as a financial opportunity to reward investors. In this partnership, 62 percent of the benefits would go to the top 0.6 percent — perfect for a health care plan.”

Jesus turned to Pious Paul on his left and said:Be gone! For I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; and I was sick, and you did not help me.”
“But, Lord,” protested Pious Paul of Ryan, “when did I see you hungry or thirsty or sick and refuse to help you? I drop your name everywhere. And I’m pro-life!”

Jan 26, 2017

Trump Started His Presidency With Lies, while Conflicts Between His Huge Ego and Small Mind Rage

Meanwhile, in an alternative fact universe...

It is about claims to reality that are fraudulent, meant to deceive, and boost the ego of a pathological narcissist.....   (and, you said, give him a chance to work for the country... look at what he's preoccupied with....  a juvenile's obsession with anything remotely critical of him).

From his interview with ABC's David Muir:
MUIR: What you have been presented so far has been debunked. It has been called false.
TRUMP: Take a look at the Pew reports.
MUIR: I called the author of the Pew report last night and he told me that they found no evidence of voter fraud.
TRUMP: Really, then why did he write the report?
MUIR: He said no evidence of voter fraud.
TRUMP: Excuse me, then why did he write the report? According to Pew report, then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters. They grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear, but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear. 
The Pew study focused on outdated voter rolls, which showed people still registered to vote after dying or moving. It found no evidence of people actually voting illegally.
We found millions of out of date registration records due to people moving or dying, but found no evidence that voter fraud resulted.
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) November 28, 2016
Voter lists are much more accurate now than when we issued that study in 2012, thanks to the 20 states sharing data through @ericstates_info
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) November 28, 2016
Despite the lack of evidence, Trump has repeatedly claimed he lost the popular vote because 3 million to 5 million “illegals” voted in the November election. He repeated the lie in his first meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Monday. On Wednesday, he announced a “major investigation” into voter fraud.

I guess it'd be like investigating Obama's birth certificate for 8 years while saying "you wouldn't believe what my people are finding".....Geesh, what a fraud! Any decent person when presented with facts and rational arguments would not keep repeating falsehoods because then they become intentional lies.

When Stupidity Dictates Public Policy

This is when ideology, (especially those ideas derived from ages and societies steeped in ignorance), prevents even good-meaning people from doing sensible things that actually may help humanity.
Take for example abortion, which is something nobody likes. I mean everybody wants to see as few abortions as possible; none would be ideal. We can all agree to this. Right? Now, what do you think makes abortions rare? What are those factors that reduce abortions? We have the answer, and it is being pro-active, reach out, educate, provide access to health care.

Why in 2016 (source) we had the fewest abortions in the US since 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade (legalizing abortion)? The facts are there, and they show that sex ed and most importantly women having access to various methods of birth control is what reduces abortions drastically. This is what has made abortion to decline for the last 20+ years.

What do you think Trump and the conservatives are doing now?.... Something that works or something that doesn't?  The con leaders either prefer wilful ignorance or want to impress the religiously conservative base....  So, yeah, now with Trump and Pence at the WH, they'll begin to teach ..abstinence and the fear of God as preferred (but failed) method against abortion, while they'll be de-funding women's health clinics and education in human reproduction.

Are we great yet?


Jan 9, 2017

Obama Is a Muslim Terrorist, Gun-grabbing Socialist, and the Destroyer of the US Economy.... (or, so we were told by the cons)

As we're drawing closer to the unthinkable, that is, uttering the phrase, "president Trump", there might be time for Obama to live up to the worst fears of the Republicans, tea partiers, and conspiracy idiots.

Now, of course, this won't happen, but it actually won't be noticed by the knuckleheads who've been accusing president Obama of all those things that were actually lies, that he wasn't, and he didn't.  I don't think they'll really notice the tricks Trump will be pulling off to not do what he promised during the campaign.

Happy new year. The resistance begins on January 20th, 2017. I mean, believe you me, Trump is already responsible for bad weather, disease & pestilence, the middle class woes, Putin's grab of power, the rich getting richer, billionaires in charge of our government, and the Giants' loss in the playoffs.