mushroom cloud nuclear

“You Lie!”

U.S. Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina listens to President Obama's speech after yelling out This paunchy middle-aged man is South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson.

You may remember Joe as the guy who, in 2000, was one of only 7 State Senators who voted to keep the Confederate Flag flying over the State Capitol.  At the time he stated:  “The Southern heritage, the Confederate heritage is very honorable.”

Joe, the South lost.  It backed slavery.  It backed segregation.  It backed Jim Crow.  And South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union.

And, if that history was so “honorable,” you wouldn’t whitewash it.

I suppose I could say “You lie!” but that’s your line.

Remember, Joe?  Remember in 2009, when you shouted that line at President Barack Obama during a Joint Session of Congress?

Here,  I’ll remind you:

I’d be shocked that someone from South Carolina shows so little respect for the Federal Government but, well, see above about South Carolina’s dishonorable role in the Civil War.

But, you did call it as you see it, Joe.  Tonight, you will get to hear Republican President Donald Trump.  In the past, this man has claimed

  • President Barack Obama was not born in the United States (he was)
  • His inauguration drew the largest crowds (it didn’t and it wasn’t even in the few)
  • Millions of illegal immigrants committed voter fraud and voted against him (there’s no evidence of this)
  • He’d “drain the swamp” (he didn’t – instead giving inside White House access to vehement white supremacists and Cabinet posts to wealthy billionaires intent on dismantling national safeguards)
  • He’ll release his taxes if elected (he won’t, and you backed him on this)

The list is a bit longer but since he’s only been in office 5 weeks now, I think it’s safe to say this is a reasonable pattern.

So I hope you listen carefully tonight.  You wanted to make sure Presidents tell the truth during their speeches.  I expect you to do the same tonight and shout “You lie!” whenever it happens.  If Republican President Trump’s speech tonight is like those of the past, you might wake up tomorrow quite hoarse from all your shouting.

In the meantime, kudos for introducing a bill to restrict US funding to the UN organization that monitors and helps prevent Nuclear Weapons Testing.  Because if we haven’t had a nuclear war yet, why spend money to enforce a test ban treaty?  Meanwhile, go right ahead and posture about North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.

I might call you to thank you for this piece of legislative insight.  Which of your numbers:

  • (803) 642-6416 (SC)
  • (803) 939-0041 (SC)
  • (202) 225-2452 (Washington, DC)

is the best one to reach you?

nixon resigns newspaper

Stop with the “Impeachment” Thing Already

impeach trump sign protestIf you’re like me, every news headline I read upon awakening makes it more likely I want to stay in bed.  There is no objective and rational person that can be happy with the Trump Administration.  Yes, I know over 80% of Republicans have consistently approved of Trump’s performance since his inauguration.  But I did say “objective and rational.”

Forget about “draining the swamp.”  Donald Trump has created a toxic dump right in the middle of Washington.    Among his achievements so far:

That’s not even including his illegal attempt to ban already-vetted Muslims from entering the country.  He claims all these policy disasters are consistent with the campaign promises he made and on which he was elected.  Well, he also campaigned on the destruction of ISIS by a plan to be developed in 30-days:

We are over 30 days since inauguration and Republican President Trump hasn’t mentioned a single word of his plan being complete and ready for implementation.

Go figure.

So let’s assume that you aren’t a Republican and therefore agree with me that Trump sucks and shouldn’t be elected as a Hall Monitor let alone President.

impeach obamaBut, please, stop talking impeachment.  That’s the surest way to exhaust yourself and, paradoxically, allow a longer time in office for Trump and his allies.  Impeachment only means that the House tells the Senate to put the President on trial.  In fact, 2 Presidents have been impeached:  Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.  In both cases the Senate decided not to remove them from office.

So, impeachment doesn’t mean removal from office.

Especially in the present case.  A 2/3 super-majority vote in the Senate (66 votes) is required to convict and remove the President from office.  The present Senate couldn’t even get a simple majority (51 votes) to defeat the supremely unqualified Betsy DeVos from assuming the Secretary of Education Cabinet position.

impeach bush gwbSo just stop it.  Wishing for impeachment is a super-waste of time and energy.  While it’s true that Trump has created a Superfund site of anti-American values, there won’t be an EPA to oversee its clean-up.  We’ll need another plan.

Besides, Trump isn’t the real problem.  The real problem is the Republicans in Congress.  They, after all, write the laws and know how to play the Washington game.  They also know how to play the public relations game far more effectively than the newbies in the Trump Administration.

They know how to make the Trump chaos palatable to their political base.

However, they are also more vulnerable than Trump.  You have more access to them.  It takes less money to defeat them.  And many are up for re-election in 2018.

Destroy the Republicans in Congress and Trump is left neutered.

impeach reagan buttonAnd it will be necessary to destroy the Republicans.  They are a weaponized political party.  When the Tea Party screamed at Democrats in 2010 about hypothetical  death panels, the Democrats didn’t make protesting illegal.  When the public is screaming at Republicans about actual repeal  of the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA aka Obamacare), suddenly Republicans are tone-policing and making government protest practically illegal.

To make America great again, we will need to remove the present GOP from the nation’s political stage.

So, let’s review:

  1. Trump sucks.
  2. Congressional Republicans suck.
  3. Impeachment nearly impossible.
  4. Republicans vulnerable.

We should therefore focus our attention on someone  from Congress whom we can do something about:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  He is more vulnerable than he appears.

Ready to go after a domestic enemy?  I’ll be back soon with more.
nixon bumper sticker

Sony and Snooping and Hollywood and Hypocrisy

For years, corporations have told the peasants that privacy means something new. Apparently the corporations didn't get their own memo.

For years, corporations told the peasants that privacy means something new now. Apparently the corporations didn’t get their own memo. Take it away, Ms. London…

[every move you make, every step you take, i’ll be watching you]
Whenever I bring up the topic of Internet privacy to someone, I usually get the same response:

“I have nothing to hide.”

So I immediately ask the person:  “What’s your annual salary?”

At which point we both discover there’s something to hide.

But most people don’t feel it’s important enough to maintain privacy when you consider the “free” goodies you can get on the Internet.  Like launching birds with elastics to land on pigs.  What.  Wait a minute.  You haven’t played the game in a while?

Doesn’t matter.  They still have your data from when you downloaded the app.

Perhaps, however, you were clever and decided not to participate in the digital social network.

Doesn’t matter. They still have your data from when your friends downloaded the app.

That’s right.  Most companies begin building their digital profile of you by simply asking your friends or, more exactly, your friends’ contact lists.  This includes the obvious snooping companies (like Facebook and LinkedIn) but also the not so obviously snooping companies (like Snapchat and Waze).

Did you consent to your info being handed out by your friends?

Of course, not.  Then again, Google Grand Poo-Bah Eric Schmidt has told us that

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Which translates from rich-speak as roughly “Fuck you, peasant.”  Emphasis on “fuck” in the unpleasant sense.  (Never mind that  Schmidt is a hypocrite first-class who has tried to have his own records – and affairs – scrubbed off the Internet.)

Spy vs SpySo corporations are slowly training us peasants.  They are training us to use “free” email services which are regularly perused and read by corporate employees. They are training us that spying is a natural part of the Internet. They are training us to put more and more of our data not on our own devices but in their cloud.  You know, the “safe” cloud that can only be hacked when pictures of naked women are involved.  (Ever wonder why smart phones and tablets have so little onboard memory?  Kinda encourages you to put stuff on the cloud, doesn’t it?)

Basically, corporations are training us that modern people have no right to expect privacy.

But, according to the United States Supreme Court, corporations are people, too.

Which brings us to Sony, that “person” who recently got hacked.  Among things that got leaked to a third-party?  Well, the usual stuff that corporations yank from the peasants:

  • The equivalent of a “contact list” – a lot of employee data.
  • Digital stacks of email.
  • And, oh yes, salaries. (Always with the salaries.)

Now remember that when you download an app by the Sony Corporation, you give Sony permission to do a lot of things.  Such as look at your contact list or text messages (actions that involve people who have nothing to do with downloading the app and have not given their consent to Sony for anything). Of course, person Sony (just like person Eric Schmidt) has no difficulty in telling you not to expect privacy. Or, to paraphrase Eric Schmidt:  “Don’t connect to the Internet if you don’t want to risk your privacy.”  (Why isn’t he saying something like that to person Sony?)

Welcome to Personhood, Sony.  You wanted it, you got it.  I know how sucky it feels to be violated by some third-party simply because we are, more or less, forced to participate in digital society today.

After all, you’ve done it to me, Sony.  And I haven’t even downloaded any of your apps.

But, I get it.  Like any of the super-rich, a corporate person’s reach is vast and there are plenty more societal consequences than when a peasant is violated. For example, theaters naturally wanted to avoid an opening day like The Dark Knight Rises.  As a result, they decided to take the hackers’ threats of physical violence seriously and not screen the Sony film, The Interview.  This left Sony in a bind: their business model requires that a certain number of theaters show the film.  Without those theaters, the business model falls apart anyway, so Sony decided to cancel the theatrical release.

Enter now the faux-brave keyboard “patriots” who are crying about this cancellation.  Their basic argument:  a cross between “America caved!” and “Freedom of Speech!”

Um, no.

America didn’t cave.  America did nothing.  Sony made a decision.  A business decision. Sony is a corporation, a person (says the Supreme Court).  It’s not America.  It’s not a country.  Hell, Sony is not even headquartered in a single country.  It’s a multinational (a citizen of the world, perhaps?).

And “freedom of speech”?  Just as the right-wing went berserk over French Freedom Fries 11 years earlier, the left-wing is presently going berserk about how Hollywood is censoring itself.  As if the left-wing had never heard of the Hays Office or the arbitrariness of the MPAA system.  Actor George Clooney gripes about not getting anyone to co-sign his petition.  Writer Aaron Sorkin wants the unions to get involved and support its exposed members.  And on my Facebook feed, I see plenty of people – who are usually skeptical of the Warren Report or Global Climate Change or both – swallow this “America under attack!” narrative in its entirety.

There’s outrage out there, I tell you.  Outrage!

How quickly we forget that the United States government was the first major institution to put America under a cyberattack.

How quickly we forget that the US government was the first major institution to put America under a cyberattack.

So let’s review a bit of history.  Hollywood is hardly weak.  In fact, Hollywood, in the form of the MPAA and several unions (including the DGA and SAG), openly lobbied Congress to break the Internet as we know it and eliminate Net Neutrality. Hey, Mr. Clooney:  that was the free speech issue, not whether a studio decides to release a film or not.  Where was your petition then?  Or did you support your unions in their efforts to change the way the Internet works? Even now, the “weak” MPAA is still trying to overturn Net Neutrality, though in a more secret manner.

And where were the Hollywood petitions and public outrage in 2006 when we discovered that AT&T fed entire phone conversations to the NSA without any warrants whatsoever?  Wasn’t this a massive government-backed hack as well? Or are there different standards when it is organic people (the non-corporate kind) who get violated by a government?  Where was your editorial on that concern over privacy, Mr. Sorkin?

If Hollywood and those rallying around it over a Seth Rogan movie had bothered to raise the issue of wholesale NSA spying on the regular (organic) citizens back in 2006, we wouldn’t have needed Edward Snowden to point out a few things in 2013.  But apparently, the violations of privacy only become a national crisis when a corporate (non-organic) person is involved.

Hack historian Newt Gingrich declared “America has lost its first cyberwar.”  Well, he was half-right.  America has indeed lost its first cyberwar but it was the United States government and their corporate allies who successfully attacked (and continue to attack) America.  And not a peep from the attackees.  Better these organic people focus their attention on supporting a corporate person who already enjoys more government privilege and access than they will ever have.

It’s much easier to fight for your “right” to watch a film.  Much easier to mumble “freedom of speech.”  Much easier to be a pretend patriot.

It’s less scary that way.

For if it’s true that a tiny, isolated country can successfully muster asymmetric cyberwarfare against a corporation more than 3x its size (by valuation), imagine what the mightiest military-industrial complex the world has ever known can do to its own peasant citizens.

Good thing those peasants have nothing to hide.

Going Postal

United States Post Office logo

[stamp out tyranny]
Today the United States Postal Service revealed they will no longer deliver letters on Saturdays.  This is a blatant power-grab from a group of individuals that ignores our Constitution and our fundamental rights.

As an American Patriot and Constitutionalist, I am very pro- Article I (Section 8, Clause 7).  Congress should not approve this blatant trampling of the Founders’ intent; these demands by the US Postal Service are a direct infringement on all our God-given, Article I (Section 8, Clause 7) rights.

Oh, sure: you are probably think that Article I (Section 8, Clause 7) doesn’t describe the number of days of delivery.  But do you believe this is where the Postal Service will stop?  First, they come after Saturday letter deliveries.  Next it will be Thursday package delivery, maybe even Tuesday office hours.  After that, what next?  A War on Christmas stamps?

We are just a step away from a full Publisher’s Clearinghouse ban!

Are you going to stand for that?

I’m writing both my Senators and my Congressman today.  So should you.

And I’m also informing these elected representatives that I won’t be fooled by some compromise deal.  Even if Congress votes down this outrageous ban on Saturday delivery, they also better not reduce the size of the magazines that can be delivered.

The Founders put the Post Office clause into the Constitution because they never wanted to deal with another Stamp Act.  It’s time for all true patriots to stay stationery! Fight for Article 1 (Section 8, Clause 7)!