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Dog Gone

Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania
(location of the three Yankee Pennamite Wars)
Crospey Francis Jasper, 1823-1900

As we celebrate the founding of our nation with the Declaration of Independence, in the more recent context of the challenges this nation faces in our modern era, it is worth reviewing a bit of history. The American Revolutionary War ended with the Peace of Paris, aka the Treaty of Versailles (there have been many other treaties of Versailles) in 1783.


We began and fought the War of Independence as a nation founded not by the US Constitution but by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. That perpetual Union did not last all that long, ending in 1786, when it was replaced by the current, much modified United States Constitution which went into effect in 1789. From the official web site of the US Senate:

Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government. Its first three words –– “We the People” –– affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.


The Declaration of Independence wisely anticipated this possibility of the necessity of government changing so as to better serve the people, not plutocrats, not corporations-as-people, with these words, which follow the much better recognized words of the “We the People” preamble:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Sadly few of my fellow Americans, and then mostly newly naturalized immigrant citizen, are knowledgeable about our history. When you look at the original foundation of this country, founded in bloody revolution, and then look again at what amounts to a second bloodless revolution with the replacement of the Articles with the Constitution, changing profoundly who we are today and how we became our modern nation.

There were middling better known events, like Shay’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion, that contributed to the need to create a better, stronger, and very different founding document. Less well known but perhaps more indicative of those stresses were the Yankee Pennamite Wars, aka the Pennamite Yankee Wars, of which there were three. The wars primarily involved Pennsylvania and Connecticut, but other states involved themselves as well. The final resolution came in 1799, when the disputed Wyoming Valley became part of Pennsylvania.

Because of the vagaries of early cartography, there was a part of what is now Pennsylvania that was awarded in colonial land grant days to more than one claimant colony, subsequently involving multiple states in this series of conflicts. In brief summary, the first Pennamite ‘war’ ran from 1769-70, the second in 1774, and the final conflict, which the more limited federal government of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was inadequate to address — and the distant government of the UK which had created the problem was inadequate and impotent to do so as well.

The two important elements to take away from this relatively obscure bit of our history are the need for a strong and adequately large federal government, in part to resolve conflicts between the states and between local jurisdictions as well, in order to have a strong and functional nation. Another element is that any such federal government must exist not to serve special interests, but must exist to serve the people of this country — and corporations are not people. But the most important lesson, one that had to be relearned only a little more than a half century after the resolution to the third Yankee Pennamite War, was that we CAN resolve the challenges to this nation peacefully, without bloody revolution, without shooting our fellow Americans.

I wish all of our readers and their friends and families a happy and safe celebration of our Independence Day, and I hope this humble post will contribute to any thought you give the topic today and going forward.

If this leads you to browse a little history, I hope you consider checking out the Yankee (Connecticut) and Pennamites (Pennsylvanians) conflict that shaped who we are today.


Voila! Hooray for Macron!

by Dog Gone on May 7, 2017 · 1 comment

A little Edith Piaf, then maybe I’ll add a good video of the Marseilles. If the numbers improve appreciably, I may throw in some dubbed Jerry Lewis.


Why the celebration?


Because in an election that for some time had been polled as possibly close, or with a tRump like win for Le Pen,, but it did not happen.  With fears that the French equivalent of the disastrous Fascism of the fairly far right wing nut, a leader also controlled by Putin and backed by Russia, trying to pull off an inside take over of the government of one of the more significant member countries of both NATO and the EU, this mattered.  This mattered very much.


It has been said in the past that ‘X’ number of Frenchmen (and women) can’t be wrong, to which the comedic rebuttal has often been that all those Frenchies couldn’t be right, just look at their fandom of Jerry Lewis (hugely popular in his day).


Marine Le Pen has lost, lost big, lost (as of the count as I write this) 65.1% for Emannuel Macron to 34.9%  for the perennial fascist.


Or if I vilify female Nazi wannabees, to ape a turn of phrase from the male chauvinist pig/cochon,  Rush Limbaugh,”Femi-fascista” Le Pen.

No Frexit (French Brexit) now, no pull out of NATO either. No governmental racist policies — and for a country that includes the Dreyfus affair in its history, that is saying something.

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The new and UNimproved travel ban that targets Muslims tries to justify the need for national security with the claim that there are 300 investigations into refugees.  The Trump administration ban is horrible, it panders to fear but provides no benefits.

Not convictions. Not even prosecutions. “Investigations”. Let me be clear, investigations clear people as much or more than investigations lead to . Investigations into crimes or terrorism look at a lot of people, many who are guilty of nothing as a process of elimination.  And 300 investigations, not prosecutions, not convictions, in the overall number of refugees, from these countries, is a ridiculously small number that in no way justifies this kind of ban. And the existence of investigations should not impress a court, because the existence of investigations proves nothing and should carry no weight in court.

Taking a look at just a few of the Islamo-terrorism crimes, in no particular order, that people think about when Muslims are used by bigots to make people fearful, 9/11 was committed by Saudis Saudi Arabia is not on this list of banned countries.  The Pulse Nightclub shooting, in Orlando was committed by an Afghan-American who was born in the US; Afghanistan is not on the list of banned travel.  The San Bernadino shooting in California, the shooter was a Pakistani-American, born here, and his wife, born in Pakistan; Pakistan is not on the banned refugee list.  The Boston Marathon bombing, one of the brothers was born in the USSR, the other in Kyrgistan, although they identified as Chechen-American.  The USSR which became Russia and includes Chechnya, and Kyrgistan are not on the list of banned countries.  All of the shooters, other than 9/11 terrorists, were Americans either born here or living here for some time or born here.  All except the 9/11 terrorists became radicalized HERE, and NONE of those countries in their background in any way ARE ON THE MUSLIM BAN LIST.


In a separate piece of news, we learned today that apparently one of those who is being investigated, or at least having his right to travel reviewed, is Khazr Khan, the father of the Muslim soldier who gave his life to protect this country. Kahn and his wife spoke out during Hillary Clinton’s campaign, parents who were subsequently shamefully vilified by Trump and his campaign. There is no evidence of any legitimate reason Khan should be singled out for this ‘review’ or investigation, other than a politicized attack by Trump on this patriotic American citizen.

Since some 50,000 refugees entered this country just last year alone, and we have been taking in refugees since long before the Obama administration — so what? What is the REAL significance of this vague assertion (another one without evidence)? The biological father of Steve Jobs came here as a Syrian political refugee back in the mid 1950’s.
So who are these suspect refugees? Absent any other information as to how long they have been here, what screening they underwent in order to arrive here and in particular the information we have from Homeland Security that national origin is no predictor of terrorism and that most terrorists are radicalized AFTER arriving here, that assertion by the spectacularly less than honest Trump administration to justify, or attempt to justify, the anti-Muslm ban (and that is still what it is) is worse than meaningless.
I predict that this ban will fail for exactly the same reasons as the previous executive order — because it is malicious, bigoted and incompetent, and in no way does what it claims to do. So far the reality is that ZERO refugees from any of the remaining six countries have committed terrorist acts against the United States on US soil. And if actual terrorism is the standard, then we should be banning refugees and immigrants and visa seekers from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Chechnya, among others, and not from the countries Trump has singled out for apparently unfounded persecution. We are not safer in the US because of bans like this, we are under greater fascism and authoritarianism. We are afflicted by official bigotry and hate and intolerance and ignorance. THAT is dangerous. That is UN-American.


Here is a little more on why recused AG Jeff Sessions getting busted for perjury could be a big deal to investigating Trump’s apparent collusion with the Russians to rig the outcome of the election.


From USA Today:


“Trump and other White House aides have repeatedly denied any contact between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
The ties between Sessions’ staff and the current White House are many. Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was Sessions’ communications director before joining the Trump campaign in January 2016, and former Sessions chief of staff Rick Dearborn was director of the Trump transition and is now Trump’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs.
…Sessions was perhaps Trump’s most loyal supporter in Congress last year, and he chaired Trump’s national security advisory committee.”

Sessions directly benefited from Trump’s questionable election.  He gained personally from this apparent collusion, gaining a position arguably more powerful than being a senator, and one from which he could shield Trump from investigation.  While there is no clear quid-pro-quo, no evidence so far that Sessions was promised the AG slot, or some other political plum, if Trump won, I think we can consider it implied from the outcome.


As a Trump National Security advisor, the CHAIR of Trump’s National Security Advisors, Sessions would know damn well about the efforts of the Russians against the US, from hacking Americans (and not ONLY the DNC) but also in the proxy war in Syria as it relates to terrorism and ISIL. Sessions was much more than “called a surrogate a time or two” in his relationship to Trump and the campaign. He was a key insider, which makes his connections to Russia all the more suspect.


If the DoJ and the FBI can get leverage on Sessions for his conduct — like perjury — Sessions might throw Trump under the bus to save his own hide. Not just Trump but also Trump staffer Stephen Miller who is a former Jeff Sessions staffer. Or at least Sessions might try to reduce the punishment from his actions in some way if not seek total immunity. Sessions has never struck me as a particularly strong person who would fall on his sword for someone like Trump; rather he is and has always been something of an opportunist, a man who took more money from special interests like Big Oil to act against the interests of his constituents than any other member of Congress.


I have always found the Guardian to be reliable, one of the great newspapers world wide for being accurate and careful in what they write.


And today the Guardian wrote a piece that calls Jeff Sessions a liar. Still. New. It says that after Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador at the RNC convention, casually, which appears to be true, SESSIONS ALSO MET WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR PRIVATELY AT THE RNC, OTHER THAN HIS CASUAL PUBLIC ENCOUNTER.


That makes his explanation of his failure to admit this to the Senate Confirmation senators’ questions under oath. THIS raises the issue of credible perjury by Sessions, if it can be proven — and I would expect it can be proven, if it is being leaked in this way by Justice or others who are whistle blowers.


“According to a justice department official speaking anonymously to the Washington Post when it first reported the story, the meeting was casual: Kislyak and other ambassadors approached Sessions after he finished giving a speech. Sessions then spoke with Kislyak alone, the official said, citing a former staffer for the senator. To say the meeting was “set up by the Obama administration” is false.”

Further it clarifies that contrary to claims from the White House or Sessions, this was not a meeting set up by the Obama State Department. What is true is that the US had a long standing pattern of inviting ambassadors from other countries to our political conventions as an educational opportunity, organized through the State Department. No subsequent meetings at the convention could be characterized as this kind of very public attendance by the Russian ambassador.


Nowhere do we see this attendance at the Republican Convention by the Russian ambassador or anyone in his embassy doing this with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic convention.


Further, it appears that Jeff Sessions attended the GOP Convention on the Trump campaign dime, using campaign donations funding for that trip, not his own $$$ and not any senate funds to do so. This has been reported by a range of sources, including the Wall Street Journal and San Francisco Gate:


“The use of political funds instead of legislative funds is an important distinction because the Trump administration maintains that Session was acting only in his role as a then-U.S. senator when he talked to Kislyak.”

This looks like the first sparks of the fire behind the smoke.  Meanwhile Trump adds to the smoke with more lies, more false accusations, and his spokespuppets try to walk back what he tweeted uncontrollably from his gold-plated throne in Florida, aka the twitter sh*tter.  And more sparks fly, more fire and smoke, the downfall of the Trump administration heats up.

Fact check: what did Trump’s tweets about Obama’s ‘wiretaps’ mean? (The Guardian)

Report: Sessions used political funds for GOP convention, where he met Russian envoy (SFGate)



Governor Sam Brownback is a teabagger, a right wing radical.  He and his policies have left Kansas in a big smoking crater politically and economically.  It is unlikely he will ever hold public office after his current term expires, because that is the epic scale of his failure.


Trickle down economics does not work.  The only thing it does, the only thing it EVER has done, is to be redistributive, taking money from the poor and middle classes and then giving it to the 1%.  It explodes the wealth and income gap enormously.  And it creates massive debt and deficits for the state or nation that enacts it.  Greed, not greatness is the driving motivation.


Image result for arthur laffer
Laffer, not laughing now

Earlier this week, the legislature in Kansas took a GENUINELY bi-partisan approach to governance when it repealed the failed tax policy of Brownback and Laffer.  Brownback promptly vetoed the repeal, and the House side of the Kansas Legislature then overturned the veto with a vote 1 over the required number.  Sadly the Senate, which is much much smaller, tried to do the same, but fell 3 votes short.


So for now the tax policies of Brownback stay, but it is likely there will be another attempt at repeal and it is expected the next try will be successful.  It is sufficient that they nearly succeeded in Kansas, and that they plan to try again.


The architect, so to speak, the designer of disaster, was one Arthur Laffer, who previously advised Ronald Reagan to implement trickle down economics which was a huge failure, is now abandoning the sinking ship that is Brownback and Kansas to promote the same tax policies with Trump’s administration.  What Brownback and his Republican legislature put in effect was entirely on party lines, was nearly identical to what Trump is now planning to do with the cooperation of the Republican controlled Congress.


Let me outline some of the outcomes of the Reagan effort, which parallels the much earlier “Horse and Sparrow” debacle of the same tax plan in the 19th century.

“Reagan significantly increased public expenditures, primarily the
Department of Defense, which rose (in constant 2000 dollars) from $267.1
billion in 1980 (4.9% of GDP and 22.7% of public expenditure) to $393.1
billion in 1988 (5.8% of GDP and 27.3% of public expenditure); most of
those years military spending was about 6% of GDP, exceeding this number
in 4 different years. All these numbers had not been seen since the end
of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973.
In 1981, Reagan significantly reduced the maximum tax rate, which
affected the highest income earners, and lowered the top marginal tax
rate from 70% to 50%; in 1986 he further reduced the rate to 28%. The federal deficit under Reagan peaked at 6% of GDP in 1983, falling to 3.2% of GDP in 1987 and to 3.1% of GDP in his final budget.
The inflation-adjusted rate of growth in federal spending fell from 4%
under Jimmy Carter to 2.5% under Ronald Reagan; however, federal deficit
as percent of GDP was up throughout the Reagan presidency from 2.7% at
the end of (and throughout) the Carter administration.
As a short-run strategy to reduce inflation and lower nominal interest
rates, the U.S. borrowed both domestically and abroad to cover the
Federal budget deficits, raising the national debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion.This led to the U.S. moving from the world’s largest international creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation.”

So to recap, Reaganomics caused a huge decline in federal revenue, and we became the world’s largest debtor nation after being the world’s largest creditor nation.


The ONLY reason that things improved towards the end of the Reagan administration were the reversals of his tax cuts with ELEVEN tax increases. But NEVER have the 1% returned to an level of paying their fair share. The burden of making up the deficiencies from Reagan forwards has always fallen on those who earn less and have less financial resources than the wealthy, who benefit disproportionately from government.


From CBS News:

Meanwhile, following that initial tax cut, Reagan actually ended up
raising taxes – eleven times. That’s according to former Republican Sen.
Alan Simpson, a longtime Reagan friend who co-chaired President Obama’s
fiscal commission that last year offered a deficit reduction proposal.

Raising taxes, that is just what they are doing in Kansas, but only after significant harm. And that is what we have to look forward to from Rump and the Republicans AGAIN.

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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.


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

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


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.