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Dog Gone

The deplorable Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as Attorney General of the United States. He is actually a step worse than the most incompetent AGs of prior presidents, notably Dubya’s Alberto Gonzales who was so execrable as AG that he could not find even a patronage job from righties as an attorney after he left office.

Sessions has taken more money from big oil than any other member of Congress; he is fully owned and operated by the fossil fuel industries. He is a bigot of the worst order, and a religious zealot of the worst extremism.

Shame shame shame on the right. Shame on Rump; he is not president of the entire United States. He is further demonstrating he is the president only of special interests and the deplorable worst elements of the United States.

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Anyone else remember all the right wing nut claims of executive order overreach leveled at Obama? I can’t be the only one with a clear memory, but for those who might be a bit fogged by the razzle dazzle of the overwhelming amount of bold faced lies and bullsh*t, I will document it for you below.
 
Over the weekend, the Appellate Court refused to reinstate the apparently unconstitutional Rump Immigration ban against Muslims.  Further, the Rump spokes-puppets incorrectly claimed that Obama had used a similar ban — he didn’t; and that the Rump ban was both Constitutionally and Statutorily well founded.  That doesn’t appear to be true either.

 

It only serves to underline the rank hypocrisy and double standards applied by the right, as well as their failure to understand or accept objective reality facts.  I have long maintained that conned-servatives embrace lies (aka “alternative facts”) because the real facts are not on their side.

 

I’ve also strongly advanced the argument that conned-servatives don’t properly assess or identify ACTUAL risks versus their hobby horse fears of all varieties.  The right uses fear to justify attacking our freedom, particularly those aspects of freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, without ever making us safer or better in any other way.

 

And here is an example of that, citing the right wing think tank the Cato Institute by way of Fact Check.org.

Only 17 of the 154 foreign-born terrorists were from the seven countries covered by the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban. But none of the 17 was responsible for any deaths — even though the seven countries combined represented almost 40 percent of all refugees accepted into the U.S. in the last 10 years.  As of Jan. 31, a total of 255,708 refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have been admitted to the U.S. since the start of 2008. Those countries account for almost 40 percent of the 642,593 total refugees who have come to the U.S. in that time period, according to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.
“The first sentence of his order states that it is to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States,’” Nowrasteh wrote in a blog post. “However, the countries that Trump chose to temporarily ban are not serious terrorism risks.”

Cato Institute, Sept. 13, 2016: The annual chance of being murdered was 252.9 times as great as dying in an attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist on U.S. soil.

Here is the failed right wing claims about the respective presidential executive orders overall, the  fact check from Snopes (it’s impressive): …READ MORE

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I love to laugh at the crazy right wingers who insist that NOW that Rump is their temporary president, the other nations of the world are going to ‘respect us’ (by which they appear to mean fear us). They like the idea of being a bull(y), not a chicken.

 

Yeah. Not so much.  In fact these morons from the conned-servative ideology cannot name one country or subset of a region that now respects us more.

 

In the spirit of Chinese New Year, appropriately enough the year of the Rooster, behold the level of mockery with which the conned-servative temporary president is regarded:
 

Maybe it is just me, but that looks nothing to me like respect.  Rather to me it screams contempt for Rump.

 

From CNN:
 

A giant rooster sculpture, sporting the President-elect’s signature hairdo and hand gestures, has been erected outside a shopping mall in Taiyuan, in China’s northern Shanxi Province.
 
The sculpture was commissioned by the company that owns the mall and will be its mascot, Cao Mingliang, the deputy director of planning department from N1 ArtWalk Mall, told CNN.
 
Cao said a series of products and smaller replicas will be available for sale in the future, though some are already being sold on Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce giant owned by Alibaba.
 
Wei Qing, whose Shenghe Yangtai Business is selling replica roosters, told CNN he thought sculpture was hilarious.
 
“I think the rooster is very cute and funny, the hairstyle and eyebrows look very much like Donald Trump. I’m sure it will attract a lot of customers,” he said.
 
At least four stores are selling the Trump rooster, with prices starting from $57 to a whopping $1,739 for a statue that’s 32 feet tall.
 
This isn’t even the first avian doppleganger Trump has had in China this year. State-run People’s Daily tweeted out an image of a bird sporting a similar hairdo to the President-elect last month.
 
Trump-related products and gag gifts have proliferated since the real estate mogul announced his candidacy for president.

Rump is a gag gift, a punchline to a colossal joke, President Angry Bird brain. They won’t just be eating our nation for lunch in China, they will be eating Rump for lunch. Big negotiator, baloney. Chicken baloney.
 

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Behold the right in all their glory, from Rump, our temporary president on down the food chain to the despicable MN GOP in the state Lege.

 

From the latest Wonkette piece on the MN GOP passing health care ‘reform’ legislation

 

“Minnesota Republicans Pass Health Insurance ‘Reform’ That Doesn’t Cover Any Actual Medical Stuff”

You betcha: If this thing went into effect, you could buy health insurance in Minnesota that excluded coverage for costly stuff you don’t need. Like diagnostic tests or cancer treatment. Or Emergency services. Or much of anything. In essence, it would allow a return to the good old days of “Junk Insurance” policies that had low premiums, low deductibles, and didn’t cover hardly anything. But they were inexpensive, and by golly, those were the policies you couldn’t keep when Obamacare went into effect. And it’s a preview of the glories of keeping costs down by allowing people to buy insurance policies across state lines — if the bare-bones coverage that this Minnesota bill would provide still cost too much, you could go buy your insurance in some state that doesn’t require insurance policies to cover, say, “doctor visits.” Just think how much you’d save on insurance, unless of course you actually needed insurance!
 
It’s unclear whether the bill would pass the state Senate, where Republicans only have a one-seat majority, and it would certainly be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who just had his own health scare yesterday — he passed out while giving his state of the state address, and while he’s back at work today, he revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last week. Oh, look at item 22 on the list of things insurance companies wouldn’t have to cover: “Prostate cancer screenings.”

 

I am assuming the model for this graphic is not temporary president Rump, because while the overall size and shape are about right, the skin tones are not orange enough unless, like so many other areas, he’s only concerned with what shows…

 

I used to believe, and still do occasionally, that the Republicans were simply clueless as to how to govern.  But they know; they just don’t want to do it, not for the totality of our citizens. The MN GOP doesn’t care, for example, that junk insurance contributed heavily to the major cause of bankruptcy, and often foreclosure as well: overwhelming medical bills.  In turn that problem with bankruptcies leads to a weakening, a destabilization of communities and the state overall as well, particularly the tax base, but also the overall economy.
 

It might be more fundamental, that they don’t grasp the proper role of government, which would explain why they keep trying to privatize everything, and to end any participation of, in or by government, regardless of need or necessity.

 

But bottom line — pun intended on the photo — the right exists to redistribute wealth to the wealthy from the less wealthy, in whatever form they can devise, and the hell with the average citizen or the middle class. Like the “soup nazi” from the television series Friends, if I might slightly paraphrase — NONE FOR YOU. No medical care. No education. No roads. No libraries. No voting.  No post office. No retirement. No safe and clean environment. No safe drinking water. No food, clothing or shelter for the poor.

 

There is no limit to what the right wants to……end, well, except when it comes to corporate welfare and big bonuses and salaries for the obscenely rich.  Well………maybe there is one naked end…….goal, that is: naked greed.
 

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Worth viewing as we near the inauguration date

by Dog Gone on January 18, 2017 · 0 comments

I find this particularly informative as now apparently Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer has given his approval to those senators who wish to exercise their conscience boycotting the inauguration. This does appear to be unprecedented, since Lincoln’s inaugural.
 
This is not about petty politics, these are actions in response to unprecedented, unpresidential issues that relate to probable treason.
 


 

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References to unicorn droppings seems to be a frequent euphemism for unrealistic expectations or ludicrous political promises in the UK. I have become a big fan of the phrase while reading comments at the BBC web site on a range of topics, including in particular Brexit promises from the right relating to funding the UK National Health Services.

 

(An aside, gentle readers; be prepared for the unexpected should you choose to google the term Unicorn Poop.)

 

Similarly we might as well get out the shovels for the unicorn poop when it comes to Donald Rump and his promises of health care and health insurance for everyone, better and cheaper and serving more people than what was provided under the ACA aka Obamacare.

 

A recent poll from the Pew Research Fact Tank shows that a sharply increasing number of Americans, including the Conned-servatives who vote Republican, NOW believe that the federal government should ensure Health Care Coverage! As with the change in public opinion, which the right tends to consistently lag, this reflects a similarly dramatic change which in some respects parallels the shift in public opinion relating to the LGBT community and how they should be treated fairly. In that regard the shift is both unexpectedly rapid, and likely to be reflected in demands for legislative changes. This is a dramatic change that the political right would be wise to follow; however they appear hell bent on the opposite. That doesn’t bode well.

 

More Americans say government should ensure health care coverage
As the debate continues over repeal of the Affordable Care Act and what might replace it, a growing share of Americans believe that the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Currently, 60% of Americans say the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, compared with 38% who say this should not be the government’s responsibility.
Just as there are wide differences between Republicans and Democrats about the 2010 health care law, the survey also finds partisan differences in views on whether it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say the federal government should be responsible for health care coverage, compared with just 32% of Republicans and Republican leaners.
…The survey also finds continued differences on this question by race and ethnicity as well as income. A large majority of blacks and Hispanics (85% and 84%, respectively) say the government should be responsible for coverage, while non-Hispanic whites are split on the issue (49% agree, 49% disagree). And while about three-quarters of those with family incomes of less than $30,000 per year (74%) say the government should ensure coverage, only about half (53%) of those with incomes of $75,000 or higher say the same.
Currently, 52% of Republicans with family incomes below $30,000 say the federal government has a responsibility to ensure health coverage for all, up from just 31% last year. There also has been a 20-percentage-point increase among Republicans with incomes of $30,000-$74,999 (34% now, 14% last year). But there has been no significant change among those with incomes of $75,000 or more (18% now, 16% then).
Those who think government should ensure health coverage for all are divided on a follow-up question about whether health insurance should be provided through a mix of private insurance companies and the government (29% of the overall public), or if the government alone should provide insurance (28% of the public).
…Most of those on the other side of the issue – people who say the government does not have a responsibility to ensure health coverage – say on a subsequent question that the government should continue Medicare and Medicaid (32% of the overall public), while just 5% of the public says the government should have no role in health care.
Among Republicans and Republican leaners, most of whom (67%) say the government does not have a responsibility for ensuring health coverage, there is very little support for the government not being involved in health care at all. Just 10% of Republicans favor no government involvement, while 56% say it should continue Medicare and Medicaid.
While Republicans in Congress have already taken the first steps toward repealing the ACA, Americans remain largely divided on what Congress should do with the health care law. Overall, in a Pew Research Center survey in December, 39% said it should be repealed, while an equal share (39%) said the law should be expanded. Just 15% of Americans said the law should be left as is. Although the public is divided on the future of the law, there is bipartisan support for a number of ACA provisions.

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Image result for John Lewis
A young John Lewis, from the days of Jim Crow,
arrested 41 times for his non-violent civil rights protests

Back in the late 1950s and through the 1960’s John Lewis fought for civil rights.  He was a non-violent protester who was severely injured during peaceful protests.

 

As a result of those peaceful protests, civil rights legislation was passed, and became law with the signature of then-president Lyndon Johnson.  Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the conservatives have worked tirelessly to bring back Jim Crow and to undo the provisions that guaranteed voting rights.

 

This is the shame, the stain, on conservatives and on our history that we let them get away with doing it.  No one understands that better than now-Congressman John Lewis.  Throughout the south, and in places other than the deep south which have Republicans in control of state legislatures we see voter suppression taking root.  This has been reflected in the decreasing voter participation among those targeted by voter suppression efforts.

 

I would argue that the lower the voter participation, the less legitimate, the less valid is any government of the people, by the people, or for the people.  To selectively take away the right to vote is not only a racial attack, it is an attack on the very premise of our nation, representative government, by limiting government representation as much as possible to conservative white people.

 

Nothing could be more in opposition to John Lewis, or to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

When we have a racist drug policy that disproportionately makes felons of minorities for what were previously not felony crimes, not only imprisoning them in largely for-profit jails which steal their labor for pennies an hour — sometimes as little as 8 cents an hour.  This is Jim Crow all over again.  To further deny these minorities the restoration of their voting rights has further shifted the participation in voting to white voters, and been part of the rise of white supremacy again in the south.

 

If anyone doubts that there is still an unrepentant population of white bigots in the US, we have only to look at the polling on those who desire to bring back anti-miscegenation laws which would again prevent intermarrying between people of different “racial” backgrounds.  This reflects not only a desire for racial purity that is synonymous with white supremacy, but also a completely false understanding by ignorant conservatives of race and the characteristics associated with that false understanding of race.

 

Make no mistake, Trump is himself a racist, and so are those who support him, or at the very least his supporters are tolerant of racism.  They are not supporters of MLK.

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While they like to give lip service to being the party of small government, and moan and groan about government over-reach ad nauseum, the GOP is the worst offender for unwarranted intrusion into the lives of citizens minding their own business.  The right is obsessed with controlling our sexual and gender identity, sexual orientation, and reproductive choices, attempting to variously criminalize those decisions, or to make them for us.  These are things which largely cannot be legislated, as gender and sexuality, and individual body autonomy are intrinsic and inherent parts of each human being.  The GOP, particularly the MN GOP, must get out of our bedrooms, our bathrooms, our locker rooms, and our pants.

 
It should be an accepted premise of government that any legislation that interferes with the free will and action of citizens should serve a demonstrated NEED for such legislation.  In the case of the transgender and bathrooms, there have been more instances of Republican politicians arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than there have been documented incidents, much less arrests or convictions, of transgender persons behaving inappropriately or illegally.  One of those GOP pols, Larry Craig, was arrested right here in Minnesota, at the International Airport.

 

As noted by the Intellectualist:

 

According to Media Matters, there haven’t … been any reports of men ‘pretending’ to be transgender to gain access to women’s spaces and commit crimes against them. You know who have been arrested in public bathrooms for sexual misconduct?Republican politicians.
Without even diving too deep, we found three GOP legislators who were picked up for lavatory indiscretions.
Their names: Larry Craig …, Jon Hinson, and Bob Allen.

We may need laws against GOP politicians using public bathrooms. By contrast, trans people are doing just fine.

It has long been my contention that not only are a number of conned-servatives are controlling, authoritarian hypocrites, but also that many are bigots, (bigotry being defined as “sincerely” believing broadly denigrating and factually false things about a broad group of people in order to in some way demean or discriminate against them). In the case of transgender people, American or otherwise, it is a fact that there have been more Republican members of Congress arrested for illegal sexual conduct in public bathrooms than there have been arrests of transgender people for either sexual assault or sexual harassment, both of which are the justification for transgender bathroom bill legislation.

 

The most recent example of that is HB 41, a bill introduce by three of the most consistently stupid members of the state legislature since the super star of MN lege stupid, Michele Bachmann, moved on to a larger public platform for embarrassment. Her most recent public embarrassment was the lie that President Obama had extorted foreign governments to walk in gay pride parades.  Because you can’t make up stupid, especially dishonest stupid, the way Michele Bachmann can.  Sadly all too often, when the facts are not on the side of conservatives, like Bachmann, like the authors of HB 41, they just make up stuff; worse they come to believe their lies.

From lgbtqnation:

 

Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on the Family Research Council‘s “Washington Watch” radio program late last week to discuss the incoming Trump Administration.
In her appearance, which was captured by RightWingWatch, she denounced the State Department for forcing foreign government ministers to march in gay pride parades. It is unclear what she is referring to.

Financial incentives are withheld from countries unless they advance, for instance, the gay agenda. In a country that doesn’t believe in the gay agenda, the Obama State Department has said, “Look, you have to have a Gay Pride parade. You have to make sure that you can show us that ministers are marching in this Gay Pride parade.” What? The US government is telling another government, “You have to have Gay Pride parades”? That’s unbelievable! “You won’t get your PEPFAR money, you won’t get your USAID money, unless you follow our radical social agenda”?

HB 41 is the latest effort at a bathroom bill, a bill to make life more of a living hell for transgender students.

From OnTop magazine:

 

Three Republican members of the Minnesota House have introduced a bill that targets transgender students.
The Student Physical Privacy Act (HF 41) seeks to “protect and provide for the privacy and safety of all students enrolled in public schools and to maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, and other facilities where students may be in various states of undress in the presence of other students.”
It defines “sex” to mean “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” The bill would designate restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms and shower rooms for the “exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by the students of the female sex only.”
The bill’s authors are Representatives Duanne Quam of Byron, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa and Eric Lucero of Dayton.
Introduced on Thursday, the proposed legislation has been referred to the Education Innovation Policy committee.

 

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Reince Priebus on Face the Nation: Failure

by Dog Gone on January 11, 2017 · 0 comments

On Sunday, January 8th, Reince Priebus apppeared on Face the Nation, an interview which included the statement that we have 25 million uninsured people in the United States.  He further posited that this represented a failure of Obamacare to cover every person. He kept calling Obamacare a failure.

 

It is in fact a success, a success that is, or was, growing.

 

I would argue this was a bold faced evil intentioned lie.

 

The reality is that under Republicans prior to the Democratic sweep of the Senate and White House, there was ZERO effort on the part of Republicans to address health care issues, other than to find new ways to enact wealth redistribution to the wealthy, both corporate and individuals, the life and health of average Americans be damned.

 

Number of serious or new replacement ideas from the GOP? ZERO.

 

Number of uninsured Americans the GOP sought to provide health care or insurance coverage? ZERO.

 

THAT is failure. And they are continuing that failure, not learning from it or improving on it.

 

It was not an exaggeration when then-Congressman Alan Grayson back in 2009 referred to the Republican plan for health care, as “Die. Die Quickly.”.

 

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Like White on Right, er, Rice

by Dog Gone on December 22, 2016 · 0 comments

There has been a rise in white supremacy supporters, and other racists.  There has been a rise in supporters of religious intolerance, misogyny, and intolerance towards the LGBT.

 

This is not fictional, it is a factual.  But the right, well, the right keeps trying to pretend; they don’t want us looking at the man behind the curtain, to borrow an analogy from the vintage movie, The Wizard of Oz.

 

The harsh reality is that the right, especially the Trump campaign, has been perfectly happy and willing to accept anyone, no matter how deplorable, on their side.  That has included the dregs, the same disreputable crowd that formed the John Birchers back in the mid 20th century, and worse.  And the respectable, decent, responsible right (sarcasm) which has been so tolerant of driving out moderates, has looked the other way.

 

Watching the 2015 movie, Woman in Gold, I was struck by what that particular slice of history tells us about the rise of authoritarianism.  Helen Mirren’s character observes how the Austrians welcomed the Germans, and only later tried to claim they were victims of them.  Now we see occasionally where the right is embarrassed, or in denial, about their political bedfellows. But it is too little, and it is way too late.

 

We have heard the accusation by our intelligence services of Russian meddling in our elections.  Vice News went further in connecting the dots between the neo-nazis and other deplorables and the mainstream Conservatives, including the proposed Trump administration.  I would argue the list below compiled by Vice News is far from exhaustive or encyclopedic.  Information like this makes it all the more important that we push back against conflicts of interest and that we push back against the influence and interference of other nation states and their governments intruding into our government.  And always, always, always, follow the money.  Because this is about all forms of power, and money is only one of them.

 

Austria’s far-right party cozies up to Russia

The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party said his party had signed a friendly pact with the Russian government in Moscow on Monday and vowed to be “a neutral and reliable intermediary and partner in promoting peace” between the United States and Russia.
FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache also revealed in a statement that he’d traveled to New York a month earlier to meet with Ret. Gen. Mike Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser.
Monday’s announcement sought to establish Austria’s growing populist party on the world stage, but it served the dual purpose of signifying Russia’s growing ties to Europe’s far-right movement.
“The FPO continues to gain international influence,” the statement said, although it did not not elaborate on the contents of the agreement with Russia.
Monday’s meeting in Moscow was also attended by the FPO’s recently defeated presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, and members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party.
Originally founded by Nazis shortly after World War II, the FPO has become one of Europe’s leading platforms against migration. Like many of Europe’s rising far-right populist parties, it also supports scaling back the European Union and cutting down on sanctions against Russia, which were imposed by the EU and U.S. governments in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimea region in Ukraine.
Russia’s recent meddling in European domestic politics has stirred plenty of anxiety among EU leaders, who accuse Russia of funding these populist movements in an effort to weaken Western democracies. The issue was a major preoccupation among EU leaders during a summit in October.
Monday’s meeting is hardly the the first time Russia has been linked with Europe’s far-right populist parties.

  • France: The National Front Party (FN) borrowed 9.4 million euros from Russia to help fund its reelection campaign in 2014. FN’s leader, Marine Le Pen, has made her admiration of Russia well known — she famously supported Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and opposes the EU and U.S. sanctions. Earlier this year, Le Pen sought a 27 million euro loan from a Russian-owned bank to finance her presidential bid.
  • Hungary: In May 2013, leaders of the far-right party Jobbik met with members of Russia’s parliament at Moscow State University. A member of the same party was accused in 2014 of acting as a Russian spy.
  • Bulgaria: The leader of the neo-Nazi Ataka Party, Volen Siderov, traveled to Moscow in 2012 for Putin’s 60th birthday party and expressed support for the Russian president.
  • Slovakia: The far-right Our People’s party is an ally of Moscow. Leader Marian Kotleba sent a letter of support to Ukraine’s pro-Russia leader, Viktor Yanukovych, just before he was ousted in a popular revolution in 2014.

The meeting between Strache and Flynn took place at Trump Tower, where, according to the statement, they discussed ending the United States’ and EU’s “harmful and ultimately useless sanctions” against Russia. It is the latest indication that historically chilly relations between the U.S. and Russia will warm under the incoming Trump administration.
Several key members of Trump’s Cabinet have shown close ties to Moscow in the past, most notably Trump’s pick for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has a history of friendly relations with Putin. Flynn has also expressed an openness to working with Moscow, and once sat next to Putin during an event.

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