You Have the Power to Bring Change


Confirmation hearings are about to start up for the various Trump nominees. It’s sure to be a hell of a shitshow, especially with the likes of Jeff Sessions.

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He’s from Alabama and named for Jefferson Davis. This should be fun.

For the last eight years, the Republicans and the Tea Party have done an excellent job of blocking everything from basic legislation all the way up to a Supreme Court nomination. Various staffers who worked for the Democrats in Congress took notes as this was happening, and have now released a guide on how we can use similar tactics.

These tactics work. They’re part of why the ethics committee situation was resolved the way it was. We need to learn and use them in our own fight against Trump and Trumpism.

Wherein I Say “Eh”


So the Dakota pipeline protest. I really should have an opinion about this. Well…

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That pretty accurately sums it up.

I’m not overly-impressed by the tactics being used against the protesters, but I’m also not overly-impressed by the protests themselves.

See, I’m a pragmatic person at my core. I’m also an idealist, but that idealism is bolstered by my pragmatic tendencies. I recognize that a pipeline is probably the best, safest, most affordable way to get oil from point A to point B. Pipelines are safe, and generally problem-free when run properly, and what’s the alternative? Moving billions of gallons of oil by truck? Trucks have accidents; accidents where oil spills.

So I’m not really against the idea of the pipeline itself, and I don’t really care about the location of it. But I’m also generally not pleased with the way that the protesters are being treated. The whole “militarization of the police” is a very, very bad thing, and this is a great example of that.

But really…I don’t much care. The pipeline will probably be built, and probably should, and I’d much, much rather the protesters save their energy for the fights to come against the Trump regime.

Hillary Hate and How to Cure It – Playing the Trump Card


For those of us on the left, let us never forget that despite whatever flaws you think Hillary has, this is the man we’re working to keep out of office.

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No caption needed, really.

Somehow there are people out there on the left, and some in the center, who seem to genuinely believe there is no real difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when it comes to positions on various issues.

Well, those people are what we call, “incredibly wrong”. There’s  a massive difference. It boggles the mind, really. In just about every key area, Hillary is on the side of the left and the people of America, and Trump is on the side of Trump.

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Low Standards Indeed


So Mother Teresa is now St. Teresa. Bah.

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Pictured: Not a decent person.

For those not in the know, who believe all the propaganda about Mother/St. Teresa, take a moment to read this bit by Christopher Hitchens; a man who has probably done more good for the world than she ever did. You can also read over this, which is short and fascinating.

I don’t doubt that Mother Teresa meant well, but that only gets you so far. As near as I can tell, this woman did absolutely nothing what so ever to improve the lives of the poor of India, much less anywhere else in the world. She was a rather low character of questionable morals.

Though, really, that whole above paragraph pretty much also applies to the Catholic Church in general, so I guess she is worthy of being one of their most notable representatives on Earth.

And So it Begins


The Olympics are underway in Brazil. Hooray! It’s the first time the Olympics have been in South America, and I’m sure they’re going to be fine.

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Of course there has been much hand-wringing and concern by the media. Would there be too much pollution in the rivers? What about protests? Security? Poverty? And, oh, god, Zika!

But…those of us who have some perspective can remember…

In 2014, all the buildings were falling apart, and unlivable…except they seemed to work out ok in the end.

In 2012, people were concerned when, only months before the games, venues were still under construction….except that they were all done by the time the games happened.

In 2010, there wasn’t enough snow…until there was.

In 2008, pollution and human rights violations would make the games horrible…except that they were very well-received.

In 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000, and 1998, the worry was cost overruns, bribes, and security, security, security! The games would never survive…

Except that they did, and they even managed to survive the most recent terrorist attack at a games event, when white Christian terrorist Eric Rudolph detonated a bomb during the Atlanta games in 1996.

I’m sure in the end, the Rio games will be just fine, and will go down as a success, just as much as all the other games have. I’m also sure that we’ll have more worry and hand-wringing in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024, 2026, 2028, 2030, 2032, etc, etc…

Live-Blogging the Clinton Acceptance Speech


Here we go! Press F5 to update occasionally. Enjoy!

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7:05pm MST – As we begin, Chelsea is giving a speech introducing her mother. She still looks quite a bit younger than I think she should.

7:07 – Hillary used to leave notes for young Chelsea detailing her plans for improving childcare in Arkansas. Cute, but…I mean, c’mon.

7:10 – We’re getting a good framing of “Hillary as caring mom”, which is nice. She’s always handled mothering well.

7:12 – The image of “Hillary as a fighter for you”, is also a good one.

7:16 – The speech is over, and now we go to the obligatory candidate video, narrated by Morgan Freeman, because of course it is.

7:19 – We’re getting repeats of a lot of the bits we heard the other night when Bill spoke. It’s a bit eh. The watermelon bit was amusing, though.

7:22 – Glad to see that the Democrats aren’t above exploiting 9/11. I really look forward to when this is no longer something viable for candidates to talk about.

7:24 – Ah, “the bin Laden situation”. Another thing I am kind of tired hearing about, and btw, we didn’t “bring him to justice”, as people like to say. That would have involved a trial, which we didn’t bother with.

7:25 – “There is more than enough of the American dream to go around…” Excellent.

7:27 – Finally done. It wasn’t terrible, but…eh. Now on to the main event!

7:28 – Whatever problems the Clintons might have had during their marriage, I still get the impression of two people who care deeply about each other. It’s nice to see.

7:29 – Ok, the video has been done for two minutes now. Can we stop with the song and get to the speech?

7:31 – She certainly seems quite choked-up, which is understandable!

7:33 – A few moments of self-deprecating humor. Always welcome!

7:35 – A thank-you out to Sanders. A smart idea, given the Sandernistas who continue to agitate.

7:38 – An emphasis on compromise by invoking the Founding Fathers. Quite wise, especially given the way the Republicans (and the extreme left), have viewed compromise as vice rather than virtue.

7:39 – “Rise together”. There’s a campaign motto for you.

7:42 – She’s taking Trump head-on. This is good.

7:43 – Now they’re chanting her name. Seems spontaneous, but my guess is that it’s an effort to drown-out some Bern Victims.

7:47 – “Love trumps hate” is also a great motto.

7:49 – She’s directly addressing her public perception and personality issues. That’s good.

7:54 – She’s never going to go down as a great public speaker, but she is making some excellent points about what really matters.

7:57 – Sanders looking dour. But to be fair, I suspect he’d look dour even if someone handed him a gold brick on a platinum plate.

7:58 – “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit!” I do like some of these lines.

8:02 -Appointing the right kind of justices is a good first step. Second? Making the Senate give them hearings.

8:04 – “I believe in science!” It’s quite sad that that’s a campaign point.

8:06 – Interesting to see how many non-white faces are out there. From what I understand, only about 20 of the delegates at the RNC were black. 20. I also like that she’s calling it, “Donald Trump’s convention”.

8:09 – Now talking about student debt. A definite plus for the Sanders crowd. And a sop out to those who want to go to technical schools. An excellent idea.

8:13 – Now calling out Trump on his various shady and hypocritical business practices. A wise move. The idea of “Trump as successful businessman” needs to be stomped down hard.

8:15 – She’s right to tout the Iranian deal, even if it was done after she left office.

8:17 – I’ve seen others talk about it, now I will, too. It’s strange, fascinating, and a little neat to see the Democrats co-opting all the religious and patriotic imagery that the Republicans have relied on for the last 35 years. It wears better on the Democrats than it did on the Republicans.

8:18 – “A man you can bait with a Tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

8:20 – “I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to get shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

8:26 – A reminder of how important it is to stand up to bullies. I like that.

And that’s that. I enjoyed it for the most part. Good, but not quite great. She said what needed to be said, and said it well enough, though. Even if she didn’t quite hit it out of the park, it was still a solid triple, and that’s fine.

So it Begins


The Republican convention is underway in Cleveland, which apparently resembles some dystonian nightmare. The convention itself has gotten off to a fairly chaotic start, and I think at this point we can assume that the #nevertrump movement is totally dead. They’ve shot their wad, and it’s time to go home.

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Make your own joke.

I won’t be blogging about the convention too much, not unless something really interesting happens. I might blog about Trump’s acceptance speech, but he’s started move his speeches into Castro territory, so maybe I won’t.

Either way, I’m much more looking forward to the Democratic convention.