"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"
click pic to reminisce

Giants Tix August 2017  

Posted by howard in nyc


The frustration at such a dismal season I have no doubt is greater in the context of such tremendous recent success.  In some ways this feels worse because our team has won three WS within the past eight years.

I am enjoying the games nonetheless, and the Ws and well-played games are coming more often in recent weeks.  They got plenty of talent and building blocks for next year, and it is fun to see it shake out.

My health is slowly improving, while I thought I'd make it west in August, more likely September.  So, more tickets for y'all, gentle readers.

As usual, I put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when I am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The Giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value is typically $81 for weekend and day games,  but occasionally $100 or $63.  Weekday night games are usually $63 or $39. I'll cite the face value, but the price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

I won't be posting much political stuff, unless Thump says/does something ridiculous.  Oh, wait…

Shoot me an email anytime, or comment on the blog.

Wed, 8/2 Athletics 7:15p $81  sold
Thu, 8/3 Athletics 7:15p $100  sold
Fri, 8/4 D-backs 7:15p $81  sold
Sat, 8/5 D-backs 6:05p $81  sold
Sun, 8/6 D-backs 1:05p $81  sold
Mon, 8/7 Cubs 7:15p $81  sold
Tue, 8/8 Cubs 7:15p $81  sold Marv
Wed, 8/9 Cubs 12:45p $100  sold Dayna
Thu, 8/17 Phillies 7:15p $39
Fri, 8/18 Phillies 7:15p $63
Sat, 8/19 Phillies 6:05p $100  sold Marv
Sun, 8/20 Phillies 1:05p $81  sold Talbott
Mon, 8/21 Brewers 7:15p $39
Tue, 8/22 Brewers 7:15p $39
Wed, 8/23 Brewers 12:45p $81  sold Marv

Money in Politics  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,

2017_07_16 19:45

(I am working with a friend on a possible podcast series.  My preparation for one of our trial runs developed into this essay.  We posed the question, how to move past the undue influence of money in politics. What began as a two minute script enlarged into this much longer rant. )

How to move past the effect of money on politics.

TL:DR - Money has always had influence in our politics, in opposition to the power of the masses of voters.  The relative power and influence of these two forces has varied over time, but in recent decades the power of big money has reached 100% control of national elections (congress and presidential); the federal government is free to completely ignore the needs and desire of the masses, and serve only the interest of the big money interests.  We can fix this, simply (but not easily.  It takes awareness, education, and intelligent (as opposed to emotional) voting out the bastards.  But awareness, education and non-emotional intelligent voting is hard.

“The love of money is the root of all evil”

I may not be a Christian, but I am a big fan of the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth.  I like this quote the best.  The whole quote, each word.  Not ‘money is evil’.  Love of money.  Not merely evil, nor simplistically all evil.  The root of all evil.

Money has significantly corrupted nearly every institution and nearly every aspect of American society and culture.  ‘The love of money”, to the near exclusion of all other considerations may be a more accurate statement.

I can speak for hours just describing the corruption of education, from preschool to graduate school, corruption of medicine and health care, corruption of our previous efforts to clean up and preserve our water, air and general physical environment (Flint much?), corruption of our police and criminal justice/prison systems (all that surplus military gear that cops now routinely wear ain’t gonna buy itself),

And by corruption, I do not mean simply bad people stealing money; I mean the gross deviation from normal, natural goals that were previously a given, in favor of devotion to the singular goal of profit’ to the exclusion of any other ends, and the total fealty to the false idol of ‘the free market’. 

I’m gonna see a unicorn before I see a free market in any major area of American life.

But while correcting these corruptions are complex and multifaceted, the effect of money on politics is, by contrast, incredibly simple to describe, and even simpler to fix.  So simple and easy, even I can see it clearly.

First, to describe the problem.  Money has been central to American politics since the founding, when Madison and Hamilton made the deal regarding the location of the nation’s capital on the banks of a Virginia river, in return for central government assumption of wartime debts owed by the states.  This debt assumption Hamilton parlayed into capitalizing the early northeastern private banking system (leaking word of the deal to his buddies in New York), and establishing the creditworthiness of the new nation.  Part good, part shady as hell, but set the tone for the next 250 years.  (This is pretty sugarcoated in the musical play; you have to actually read a book on Hamilton to learn the real story, w/o a beat or bass line.  Or stay tuned for a future post or podcast, cuz I love this story.)

Since then money has been integral to the electoral process.  Despite the constant of monied influence over the decades, there has been a shifting balance between the power of big money, against the power of, for lack of a better term, the masses of the people.  A balance whose equilibrium shifts towards one pole, then back toward the other.  In a time of Andrew Jackson, shifts one way.  In the gilded age of the late 19th century robber barons, the other.  Teddy Roosevelt’s time sees a shift, the 1920s of Harding and Coolidge, a shift the other direction.  The rise of organized labor and the necessities forced by the great depression empowered the masses; the postwar prosperity of the 1950s saw (slightly) more power in the now larger than ever, now international corporations.  But the people held significant influence and power in the system, as evidenced by the spread of opportunity to brown and female people, and the general good economic health of the middle and working classes.

This balance between the power of big money and the influence of the masses is a natural component of a capitialist system.  Eliminating the influence of money, establishing a utopian system, is not a worthy nor reasonable goal.

But, as this ebb and flow moved toward one pole quite steadily in the last three decades, the vector steadily increasing, something happened.  It reached the 100% point.  It reached an extreme state, which I believe had never previously be achieved in the USA, save maybe the moment of the establishment of the Constitution, but certainly had been reached in many societies in history. 

The electoral process became 100% controlled by big money and big money interests.  We only recently reached a status in which the voice of, the influence of, the needs of the masses of people holds zero sway in the actions of federal politics.  The 538 elected members of the national government (435 house, 100 senate, president + vice president), plus the top tier of federal judges including the supreme court justices, are free to completely ignore the voice of, needs of, and desires of the masses, as long as they satisfy the people who give them money.  Elections are nearly always won with only money and dishonest rhetoric; the actual record of voting and other behavior of elected officials and the public’s judgment of those records and behaviors have no impact on winning elections.  Politicians win reelection despite complete failure to fulfill prior campaign promises.

The exact historical moment this status was reached is a matter of opinion and dispute, but there is one example I like to cite as an important marker.

During the dubya administration, I am too lazy to look up exactly when, there was a major bipartisan immigration bill, which would continue the flow of cheap labor to feed the profit beast.  Apparently this seemed sure to pass.  The vocal opponents were dismissed as racist reactionaries, and they were discounted or ignored.

However, the vocal opponents, in time honored fashion, organized.  And went to work.  They wrote thousands of letters, made tens of thousands of phone calls, and sent literal hundreds of thousands of emails to congresscritters.  Mostly to GOP members.  Making clear not only their reasons for opposition to this bill, but their willingness to work against the re-election of those politicians.

And the bill failed.  Despite the desire of the big money to pass this particular law, despite the desire of democratic politicians to gain more voters for their side (Mexican-American immigrant families still consistently favor dems), a mass of voters stopped it.  Yay democracy.

Now, move ahead to 2008.  The financial crisis.  The usuals blasted over the media the crucial imperative to give the banks and wall street, who had caused the crisis, hundreds of billions of dollars immediately or there would be Blood and Tanks In The Streets. Dem and GOP leader alike spoke in solidarity for the immediate necessity to hand over $800 billion.  Now!  Or else, All will be Lost!

Again, a group of vocal opponents flooded Congress with objections.  The bill came to a vote.  And It Lost.  Enough members of Congress were told, and believed, that enough of their constituents would vote against them if they supported this bailout, they voted against passage.  Yay democracy again.

Here is the but.  But, the leaders of our government, twisted some arms, amended the bill with some giveaways, and loaded up the news media with a propaganda message on loud blast.  And they voted again, about eleven days later. And they passed the first installment, $800 billion of the great Bailout.

Interestingly, despite the assurances of the people ‘in control’ that if this money was not forthcoming MMEDIATELY, the ATMs would stop working, the entire economy would grind to a halt and there would be horrific violence and the army in the streets, somehow none of that came to pass.  The interim between votes proved this scare tactic to be a lie.  Back then I watched the main news media closely; they failed to point out this simple, giant lie.  The massive transfer of wealth, though, proceeded after that eleven-day delay.  They probably charged us interest and a late fee.

So, what is to be done.

Any attempt to reach for a utopia of zero influence of money on the electoral process is pointless and frankly impossible.  A simple return to the status of a short while ago, is not only possible, but incredibly simple.  It is a simple matter of political will of the masses.

They still let us vote.  If we simply vote em out, vote in only members of congress who actually vote for and pass legislation to this end, problem solved. 

Ah, but there is a catch.  The catch is equally as simple as the description of the situation, and the remedy.  The catch is, the masses need to become aware of the situation, the remedy, and be willing to do it.  Political will requires awareness, understanding, education to get there, setting aside myths and emotions about how bad the other side is compared to My blue/red side. 

I hope I’m wrong (this four word phrase may become my official catch phrase for this podcast series), but I don’t see that happening before our vote is negated either practically by various control methods of surveillance and propaganda which grow more powerful and ubiquitous each day, if not negated literally by removing the vote, or controlling the outcome of the vote via hacking. (PAPER FUCKING BALLOTS, people.)  It’s not who are the candidates that counts, it’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes that counts.

I wish all the major issues of the day were so simple to describe, address and solve.  Sadly I think this is much less likely to be addressed and fixed than many of the more complex problems.

There is another incident of the dubya era that is an example of the various forces and methods that led us to this state of 100% to 0% equation of money power to mass people power. 

One of the precious few positive things John McCain worked toward as a senator was legitimate, effective campaign finance reform.  Again, somewhere in the middle of the dubya years, McCain working with Russ Feingold crafted a bill with teeth, a bill that had bipartisan support, a bill that would not have fixed the problem but potentially could’ve made a huge difference, maybe even reverse the slide of the balance point to the other direction.  Possibly even a veto-proof level of support.


But, McCain and Karl Rove discussed the issue.  And they made a little deal.  If McCain watered down the bill, so much as to have no real effect in slowing much less revering the progress of big money toward 100% full spectrum dominance, in return the Bush crime family, and further elements of the GOP hierarchy, which Rove had influence over, would not stand in his way of his bid for the 2008 nomination.  In fact, some not insignificant support for McCain was promised, and subsequently delivered.  (Rove does have a good record of keeping his promises, so there is at least sometimes, some measure of honor among thieves.)

McCain wanted to be president more than he wanted campaign finance reform.  Perhaps he lied to himself that once his end was achieved, including this corrupt means, he would as president push the reform.  Somehow such coursed of action rarely work out.

But this compromise by McCain, on an issue that had become a signature of his political career, could’ve been punished by Arizona voters, had they elected someone else after this betrayal to the cause of campaign finance reform.  Not only Arizona voters failed to punish this corruption; millions of voters checked his box when he subsequently ran for president.

We keep voting for the people who screw us.  Who can blame them for continuing to screw us?  As long as they let us vote, we can blame only ourselves for voting for the people who then ignore us and our best interests.  Unless you bring your checkbook.


Giants Tix July 2017  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,

(sorry I'm late)

Yeah, this ain't their year, but at least this week they started playing some good ball, and actually won a few games.

As usual, I put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when I am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The Giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value is typically $81 for weekend and day games,  but occasionally $100 or $63.  Weekday night games are usually $63 or $39. I'll cite the face value, but the price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Shoot me an email anytime, or comment on the blog.

More political commentary to come.  So much bullshit, so little time. Thank goodness for baseball.


Fri, 7/7 Marlins 7:15p $63  sold
Sat, 7/8 Marlins 7:05p $100  sold Marv
Sun, 7/9 Marlins 1:05p $81  sold
Mon, 7/17 Indians 7:15p $63  sold
Tue, 7/18 Indians 7:15p $63  sold
Wed, 7/19 Indians 12:45p $81  sold
Thu, 7/20 Padres 7:15p $63  sold
Fri, 7/21 Padres 7:15p $63  sold
Sat, 7/22 Padres 1:05p $100  sold
Sun, 7/23 Padres 1:05p $81 sold Danya
Mon, 7/24 Pirates 7:15p $39
Tue, 7/25 Pirates 7:15p $63
Wed, 7/26 Pirates 12:45p $81  sold Marv

"He wanted to bomb the shit out of Syria.”  

Posted by howard in nyc in , , ,

2017_06_25 14:45

TL:DR - Military intelligence and CIA determined that Assad did not use sarin gas in the April 4, 2017 attack on jihadist rebel leaders.  They clearly communicated this information to President Thump, but he had already made up his mind (from watching TV news reports) that Assad did it, and he had already decided to launch a military attack, regardless of the facts. Hijinks ensue. Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh (My Lai, Abu Gharaib) tells the tale, in detail.

The April incident in which Assad was accused of a Sarin gas attack, and the vilification of the Russian government for a media cover up was complete, absolute bullshit.  This was clear if you did not depend on our failed legacy media for your information about the world.  Thump's response to this bullshit story, launching 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an evacuated Syrian air base was another horrendous war crime (nine civillians, including women and children were reportedly killed, when these smart weapons missed their targets) was widely and wildly hailed as bold and presidential by the media whores, many whom had previously been virulently anti Thump.

Seymour Hersh, probably the best and most important investigative reporter since Ida Tarbell, has published chapter and verse on exactly what bullshit went on in the corridors of power around this sordid episode.  Of course, Hersh published this article overseas; the man who revealed the My Lai, Vietnam mass murder/war crime, who described the depth of the torture and murder at Abu Ghareb decades later, and plenty of important work in between can no longer be read in any American mainstream media outlet.

The main article is long (24 minutes reading time according to the editor) but well worth the effort.  Among other things, it illustrates very clearly Thump's decision making in this life and death instance.  And it ain't pretty, but it is perfectly consistent with what we very well know of the President, (when we aren't foaming at the mouth in reaction to his latest outrage.) Source is the Sunday edition of Die Welt, (Welt am Sonntag) a major German daily newspaper.

Trump‘s Red Line Von Seymour M. Hersh

sidebar story, a conversation between an American soldier and a CIA spook a Security Advisor on the ground in Syria on post somewhere in Central Command.

"We got a fuckin‘ problem“

and a commentary piece, on Hersh and the backstory on this story.

The Fog of War Von Dirk Laabs

 This report details the fact that the intelligence community quickly and definitively established that the Syrians did not use chemical weapons.

"Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon."
But Thump didn't care about the facts; he saw dead children on CNN, and he quickly decided to bomb Syria in retaliation.  In retaliation for the propaganda aired by cable news, (or, in the parlance of our times, 'Fake News'); a plethora of deadly images misattributed, misreported and outright manufactured to push a lie about chemical weapons.

The intelligence made clear that a Syrian Air Force SU-24 fighter bomber had used a conventional weapon to hit its target: There had been no chemical warhead. And yet it was impossible for the experts to persuade the president of this once he had made up his mind. “The president saw the photographs of poisoned little girls and said it was an Assad atrocity,” the senior adviser said. “It’s typical of human nature. You jump to the conclusion you want. Intelligence analysts do not argue with a president. They’re not going to tell the president, ‘if you interpret the data this way, I quit.’”

Kinda like in 2013, when 0bama almost bit at the propaganda (that time pushed by some in the intelligence and nat sec agencies).  But Thump just flat out ignores intelligence facts he doesn't like, as opposed to his two immediate predecessors, whose minions instruct the spooks to come up with the intelligence that supports their forgone conclusions and decisions.  So, progress?

Thump's 'thought' process (perhaps decision process is more accurate) is both frighteningly alarming and pretty much what we should expect.  He has a long public record of snap decisions and pronouncements in opposition to facts, supporting his own interests or his whims of the moment.  He now has a five month record as president, which has seen quick 180˚ turns by him or his administration officials.  The Qatar/Saudi Arabia feud.  The role of NATO in the 21st century.  Even this story:  just a few days before the cruise missile attack, Tillerson and Haley were saying publicly and unambiguously that regime change in Syria was no longer an objective.  But a few days later, missiles are flying and Haley is again demanding that Assad must go.  (Oh, and private citizen Thump insisted in 2013 that the president must have congressional approval before bombing Syria.)

I could quote plenty more from these articles, but I'll list my takeaways.

1. There is a big disconnect between Thump and his highest officials (Tillerson, Mathis, et al) regarding this story, which I will bet is true throughout the administration.

2. Unsurprisingly, Thump will do what he wants to do, at the moment, facts consequences or even death of others be damned.

3.  Again, out of 59 missiles (one failed at launch), this article admits 24 missed their targets (Syrian, Russian and other sources say as many as 36 missed).  This article quotes a soldier as saying the Russians have the capability to stop Tomahawk missiles, between their electronic jamming techniques and their anti-missile artillery/radar/rockets.  The surfeit of damage done to the airfield, as presented by the US DoD photographs is the strongest argument that few missiles hit their mark.  The why is fascinating to me.  Technical failure?  Particularly if this was a way to clear old, obsolete stock from the shelves, and pump more money into the MIC.  Russians tried to shoot down/disable all 59 and they had a high failure rate?  Russians intended to shoot down some but not all, either to protect their own people and assets while not caring as much about Syrian personnel? Or as a face saving measure, while demonstrating, 'yeah, we can shoot 'em down.   Time, and if we end up in a shooting war with Russia will answer these questions that bug me much more than they should.

4.  The anti-Russia propaganda did not begin with the Wikileaks email disclosures and the election last year.  The grossly dishonest propaganda during the Ukraine crisis, and the shoot down of the Malaysian passenger airliner opened a new era of Russophobia.  This story, ostensibly about Assad gassing his own people, quickly became another opportunity to Blame Russia.

By now, there are several good articles that compile, chapter and verse, the falsehoods behind the election and dnc 'hacks'.  If I am so inspired, I'll post a couple here.  But they are readily available on line.

All this Russia hacking stuff is complete bullshit.  Last week the WaPo dramatically repackaged the same pile of lies, irrelevant half-truths and unnamed sources to feed the masses the same meal of bullshit.  It is sad how completely the legacy media is party to this blatant propaganda, and how many otherwise thinking people believe it.

There are plenty of events that are distressing signs of how badly corrupted virtually every aspect of our society has become.  Most days I read to keep up but I don't have the desire to tweet about it, much less write about it.  I'm gonna keep repeating:  Thump is a disaster, but he is merely a symptom.  Our foreign and domestic policies are a disaster; our politics are a disaster;  the only alternative we were allowed to vote for (or against) in November is a well proven disaster.  Yeah, I get tired of repeating the same theme, even with new current evidence.  Seymour Hersh, however, is always worth the effort.

But lest we forget, there was one prominent democrat who publicly disagreed with Thump's cruise missile attack. This leading figure, coincidentally hours before the attack, stated that the proper response was to destroy all of Assad's air bases.  I am sure that is just what the speaker would do, were she not cheated her big moment in history.  Hillary Clinton: US should 'take out' Assad's air fields CNN Updated 5:28 AM ET, Fri April 7, 2017

Hey, you think I'd get through a post w/o mentioning Secretary Clinton?  Of course you didn't.  But, I'm not alone.  From the convo between the soldier and the security advisor:

Security Advisor: What are the Russians doing or saying  Am I correct that we did little real damage to Russia or Syria?                        
American Soldier: We didn't hit a damn thing, thankfully. They retrograded all their aircraft and personnel. We basically gave them a very expensive fireworks display.                       
AS: They knew where ships were and watched the entire strike from launch to end game.                       
AS: The Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real Intel and know the truth about the weapons depot strike.                       
AS: They are correct.                       
AS: I guess it really didn't matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump. Fuck.                       

Just Another Day in America - Police  

Posted by howard in nyc


This caught my eye, not sure why, because the only unusual thing is that no one died.

Off-duty St. Louis officer injured by 'friendly fire' after police chase of stolen car

Let's count the things wrong here, shall we?

1.  Two cops grossly overreact to a black man approaching them, ordering him to the ground.

2.  After identifying man as a fellow cop, a third cop seeing a black man walking toward two white colleagues pulls his gun and opens fire.

3.  Cop doing the shooting misses; hits black fellow cop in the arm (thankfully) Cops are trained to shoot to kill, but not trained very well.  They usually miss.

4. Chief of Police blatantly lies about the event to reporter.

5.  As for the actual crime, car theft, the two people arrested were shot at as they fled.  For a stolen car.

6. Again, the cops missed, only one round hit one suspect in the ankle.

7.  The two arrested people are 17 years old, yet they are identified by name in the media.

8.  For the crime of stealing a car and fleeing police, each suspect is charged with 15 felonies.  !5 each.  Overcharge much?

9.  The worst thing wrong with this story:  just another fucking day in America.

Giants Tix June 2017  

Posted by howard in nyc


Well, at least Lou Seal didn't get caught on tape flipping anyone off.  They're showing us signs of good baseball which can be translated into hope, but they need to win more than they lose, for starters.

As usual, I put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when I am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The Giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value is typically $81 for weekend and day games,  but occasionally $100 or $63.  Weekday night games are usually $63 or $39. I'll cite the face value, but the price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Shoot me an email anytime, or comment on the blog.

Fri, 6/9Twins7:15p$81
Sat, 6/10Twins1:05p$81sold Dayna
Sun, 6/11Twins1:05p$63
Tue, 6/13Royals7:15p$81sold Marv
Wed, 6/14Royals12:45p$81sold Marv
Fri, 6/23Mets7:15p$63
Sat, 6/24Mets4:15p$100 sold
Sun, 6/25Mets1:05p$81
Mon, 6/26Rockies7:15p$39 sold Todd and Ryan
Tue, 6/27Rockies7:15p$39 sold
Wed, 6/28Rockies12:45p$63sold Marv

Comey in a Coal Mine  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,


I don't know if James Comey was the finest FBI director in the post-J. Edgar Hoover period, or if he was a bumbling incompetent political stooge.  Don't care all that much either.  But there is one thing I noticed during the last ten months, when his profile has been high.

He pissed off Republicans (when he recommended no charges against HDRC, in the breath following his reading of a convincing indictment of her criminal conduct wrt mishandling intelligence materials)*

He pissed off Democrats, when he publicly announced days before the election that classified documents were found during the investigation of sex fiend Anthony Weiner, on a computer used by his wife, Candidate Clinton's aide de camp Huma Abedin.

(I can't imagine there being less furor had Comey chosen not to announce the appearance of this pretty significant evidence; not only would that have been a substantial cover-up, it would've been a failed cover-up, as underlings in both the FBI and the NYPD made it very clear, via anonymous tips to members of the press, that if Comey did not announce this set of facts, they would.)

And, he pissed off Donald Thump.  I went ahead an assumed that anyone who could piss off that many people, across the board, must be doing something right.  Just gravy that I hate the politics of all these pissed off people, but, full disclosure (in case anyone has forgotten my strongest bias against all established political power structures and individuals, with rare exceptions.)

The blatant hypocrisy of the leading power structure Democrats, who were screaming for Comey to be fired in October, who now decry not only his firing by Thump, but those logically impaired to take this dismissal to be Proof! of Thump's guilt wrt da Rooskies.  And to invoke Nixon's firing of a prosecutor who was unravelling the felonious threads of the myriad illegal activities of that crew speaks to the idiocy of this outcry.

These Dem idiots praised Comey when he announced no charges in July 2016; pilloried him when he announced new evidence in October; and now sanctify him because Thump fired him.  Parallel to these twists of logic, they have periodically praised both the CIA and FBI as unassailable paragons of truth and virtue, in defiant ignorance of the dark histories of these spy institutions.  Except when criticizing the FBI because of the narrative of a given week.

I am probably being unfair, pairing the FBI with the forces of darkness based in Langley, unfair to both my own views as well as to the historic record.  While not perfect, the post-Hoover FBI is a completely different agency than what was before, and overall I respect and admire The Bureau.  I certainly trust them much more than nearly any other aspect of policing, investigation and enforcement at any level, local state and federal.  The FBI has legitimately foiled numerous terrorist plots pre-9/11, and came within a hairs breath of preventing that attack.  Without a further litany, and with recognition they have made some mistakes, I like the FBI and I think overall they do an admirable, competent job.  Further disclosure, I have friends in the Bureau, longtime pickup basketball partners.  Yeah, wrap your mind around that one, people who have known me long and well; I have friends in the FBI.

I was trying to spend minimal time and attention on the Comey firing, as I see this episode as trivial in the big picture.  My view is simply that Comey did not kowtow sufficiently to Thump, that recently confirmed by the Senate justice department official Rosenstein had a bug up his butt about Comey's letting Hillary off the hook, and the Bureau will continue doing its work despite a political change at the top.  But I came across an interesting analysis that put forth some of the deeper issues that are not trivial, and as usual phrase and present the analysis much better than I possibly could.  Most importantly, reminding me (and us) that should Comey be replaced by a partisan criminal (anyone remember L. Patrick Gray, the man who succeeded Hoover, who despite his loyalty to Nixon resigned after he could not stomach putting himself deeper into the criminal coverup than he already had, which was substantial and really should've resulted in a jail term, as he admitted to burning Watergate documents, knowing they were evidence, but somehow he skated by jumping ship very early, I could go on because I love the Watergate tale, but I'll stop, primarily because that was completely different as there was a bunch of real crimes, for which real evidence emerged immediately, like the arrest of an employee of the re-elect committee in Larry O'Brien's office, yet months after the "Rooskies Hacked The DNC and Elected Thump" nonsense began last summer, there is zero proof and zero hard evidence of any such thing man it feels good to spew all this onto the screen./barely_hinged_rant)**

Connor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic wrote a piece in The Atlantic a few years ago that outlined the danger of the surveillance state that came to maturity during the last administration:

All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama
More and more, we're counting on having angels in office and making ourselves vulnerable to devils.

This week he has a vitally important article on Comey's firing, citing the views of an insider, Ben Wittes, who generally defends the actions and integrity of our federal security agencies, but has changed his tune.  As Friedersdorf says, "(Wittes) is as informed as anyone about the workings of the national-security bureaucracy and federal law enforcement. And his predisposition is nearly always to trust it."  But Wittes views this administration differently, and this piece cites some of his warnings published prior to Comey's dismissal.  Very good article by Friedersdorf, not too long.

Two Dead Canaries in the Coal Mine
If you’re not worried about FBI Director James Comey getting fired, this man might change your mind.

Once again, the focus on the superficial, the silly and the spurious, by the media and generally the public discourse, distracts attention from the huge dangers of this administration.  War.  Health care, and the amazing act of the House bill to take away the one single thing that Obamacare got right, the pre-existing condition coverage.  Surveillance and secrecy targeted at the mass of American civilians, as well as potential misuse of the Justice Department under AG Sessions as we go forward (for God's sake, they announced today cracking down on marijuana).  And missing the point of the simple banal evil of this President and his minions.***

Just a reminder.  Shit wasn't all peaches and cream on November 7, 2016, and suddenly we derailed with Thump.  The major themes of bad things in this nation were entrenched by Dubya and Obama, and we have not grossly deviated under Thump.  War.  Wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, with massive illegality gone unpunished.  Healthcare becoming worse and crappier, while the profits of Pharma and Health Insurance cartels ever accelerating.  War on Drugs and mass incarceration. The inevitable collape of the economic house of cards (simply when, not if), which has thus far screwed primarily the working people, the lower down the scale the worse the screwing.  Massive deportations - Thump has deported at a minuscule rate compared to Obama, but if he overcomes this area of incompetence, he may catch up.****


*Welcome back, Chelsea Manning, who is due to be released on May 17th from her literal tortured imprisonment.  She broke the same laws that there is clear evidence Secretary Clinton broke, according to Comey's presser last July.  One big difference, however, if not for the illegal murderous actions of the Obama administration, there were no secrets for Chelsea to make public.  But, equal justice under the law is just an ideal we are striving toward, or slouching away from.  And secrets are not kept only from our enemies, but the vast majority of secrets are to hide from us, the public, the illegal and/or immoral shit our government is doing.  You might even conclude that often, the 'enemy' of the government is not a foreign power, but is us.  Cue Pogo.

**This witch hunt for Russian influence has lasted for months, and yielded nothing whatsoever in the realm of logical proof or even hard evidence.  Here is where logic begins and should end regarding this silliness.  The DNC claimed their email hack was done by Russian government agents/entities.  The FBI investigated.  The FBI asked to look at the computer servers.  The DNC said no.  The FBI repeated this request, multiple times.  The DNC refused, repeatedly.  Should by End of story, right there.

But there is more.  The DNC instead offered a report from their computer security contractor, who blamed the Russians.  They insisted, 'trust our own investigation.'  Oh, that computer security contractor also issued finding in another high profile case, accusing the Russian government of hacking; their findings were subsequently proven to be false.  But, FBI you can't look at the evidence, you have to trust us.

You couldn't make up this bullshit.  Of course the media that most people consume ignores this sequence of facts, because 'everybody knows the Rooskies hacked the DNC and interfered with the election.'  Thank goodness the facts are readily available, albeit with a bit of effort, on the web.  I will remember these days when free access to facts and even some truth is available, because surely such access will be shut down in the future.  The crackdowns on 'fake news' by the US Government, by Facebook, by Google, are just censorship, and big giant steps toward that eventual shutdown.

There was no Russian interference in our election.  There is no Russian control or influence over Thump.  I say and think this confidently because so many empty words have been spilled to the contrary for many months now, yet zero evidence has been offered. This is not something that I 'believe' or that I 'feel'.  This is a conclusion based on the facts as presented to the public.  Of course I am eager to change my view in the face of new information, or even evidence.  That is kinda what I strive to do - figure out what is going on based on actual fact, reliable information, and rational thought.

 Further, the pernicious lies about Russian blame for all manner of crimes and misdeeds has been a regular feature for years now, again in the absence of any evidence to support US charges.  This informs my view of this issue.  As but one example, we're still waiting for the proof, the radar and satellite proof promised by Obama and Kerry of Russians shooting down the commercial airliner over Ukraine nearly three years ago.  (Dutch analysis of faked Twitter accounts and fraudulent photos on the internet don't count.) . And all the other routine lies from our government, regarding war, economics, law and justice, et al.  Amazing how people who say they recognize that the government/politicians routinely lie will embrace the particular lies that soothe their emotions or support their viewpoint.  Cue Carlin.

If you want easily provable foreign influence over our electoral politics, I humbly offer Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the biggest fish in that particular pond.  The long list of foreign entities registered to lobby Congress.  The Podesta Group activities in Ukraine, as well as the Biden boy.  But, Rooskies!!!!

***Once again, the mass media as well as some thinking people who should know better by now, are bending over backwards to parse and analyze Thump's words and actions, and are overcomplicating their reasoning and scrutiny.

We've seen this before, during this brief administration as well as in Thump's presidential campaign and in his public life over three prior decades.  He lies; he acts impulsively; he says something yesterday and says the opposite today.  His inner staff who function as direct extensions from the president to the public contradict one another, or when they speak in unison Thump soon thereafter contradicts their pronouncements.

Just last month, the Secretary of State said on Sunday that Syrian regime change was not a priority.  On Wednesday Thump bombed Syria with 60 cruise missiles.  And two days ago, Thump met with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the US, moving a step closer to consensus between the two nations on a plan for no-conflict zones in Syria.

You can be excused for missing the news of this really important (if you like peace) diplomatic action by Thump on Wednesday.  Because the media was too busy yammering about Comey and paid much less attention to the highest level meeting between the US and Russia since this administration began.  I went to Google News on Wednesday afternoon to learn about this summit; there were 19 headlines before I got to this story, most on Comey, the rest on the typical trash that passes for news.

But please, if you seek to find deeper meaning or strategy to Thump's actions much less the words spewed by him and his surrogates, you are gonna come up empty.  There is no there there.  Thump is a conman and a bullshitter.  He is not competent at this job, despite your opinion of his intellectual gifts or deficiencies.  He has not surrounded himself with particularly competent people, save for the competence of continuing the financial rape of this country and the continual concentration of wealth in the hands of the very few.  If you are not yet convinced, there will be plenty more of the same to come.

****There is a deepening completely false meme developing, that things were cruising along smoothly last year, as the wildly successful Obama administration wound down.  Then those evil Rooskies ruined our free and fair election (forget the screwing of Bernie Sander's run at the nomination), installing this usurper who has single-handedly initiated the decline of a great and good country, in a mere 110 days or so.  This complete garbage is setting in the thoughts, well more like in the emotions, of millions of people, thanks to the leadership of the Dems and the media, in sad parallel to the meme of the Socialist Kenyan who will take our guns and our Medicare, sincerely felt by millions of loyal GOP Americans.  This Russia shit, as well as the fake image of Obama in complete opposition of the actual record of his administration, is Birtherism and Bengazhi for millions of otherwise intelligent, functioning people on the so-called left.

Something else I'm gonna keep repeating, it takes a really insane country to nominate those two clowns, and ultimately to elect this joke of a man.  Thump is a symptom of a deeply dysfunctional country, as is the nomination of Clinton and all this current hysteria.

America is really insane right now.  It ain't boring, at least.

Hell, this belongs, it don't cost nothing extra, and it always belongs:

This one too: