restlessknights

The knights are restless and for good reason.

Archive for the category “Politics”

Rag Mop Does It Again

Rag Mop is a name for the Donald that has not yet caught on. If Trump can use an Elton John song to label the leader of the un-free world, can’t I use one for Donald by the Ames Brothers? Am I dating myself here?

Since Trump got the Electoral College majority last November (assuming the Russians didn’t hack that one, too), I’ve had to place shoe-proofing around my T.V. set. Otherwise I would have been forced to replace the screen, several times a day.

We now live in a world whose most powerful nation is controlled by a narcissistic maniac. If you think those are harsh words, over a half million people responded to a request to submit a single word to describe this unprecedented President. Over 26,000 words came back, many of which you wouldn’t want your child to hear. Overwhelmingly, the words were not favorable.

None of the experts in the field saw the election results coming, including the great Nate Silver, CEO of Five-Thirty-Eight – the polling group that never, ever gets these predictions wrong.

What was not obvious to Silver, nor to Trump’s Democratic challenger, was that Rag Mop knew how to get his people to show up on Election Day. He figured out that his supporters do not use critical thinking for many of life’s most important decisions. Does who will be the leader of the free world qualify for that distinction?

His rival in 2016 has since learned to strike the word “deplorables” from her lexicon. What should have been obvious, Hill, is that you don’t get voters by insulting them. Unfortunately, her bevy of advisers failed to warn her about that. I haven’t read her New York Times Best Seller, What Happened? I assume she addresses that in the book.

And no matter what Rag Mop says, and about whom he says it, seems to have no ragMopnegative consequences on the folks whose support he won (well, at least according to that great bastion of democracy, the Electoral College).

A few members of Trump’s staff tried to warn him not to launch a verbal attack on North Korea. But I guess no one got around to telling him that the United Nations was established to preserve peace in the world? Otherwise why else would he use that platform to deride four member nations? Or, as Rag Mop might say it, “Who knew that you had to be diplomatic when addressing that fake world body?”

The President needs to watch the amazing Ken Burns documentary series about Vietnam, if only he could pull himself away from Fox and Friends. He would see the futility of wars, especially those America fought after WWII (Cuba, Korea, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq). The series (roughly eighteen hours long – giving me several restless nights) begins with the Korean blunder of 1950. It lasted just three years, but managed to kill over 36,000 Americans, not counting the 7,747 the Pentagon forgot to report (since corrected). N. Korea suffered over a million casualties, and S. Korea about the same number. China reportedly lost about 600,000 of its military, but estimates vary widely

The U.S. cannot claim a single victory in any of those conflicts, but Ronald Reagan sure did kick the shit out of those Grenadians.

But these tragic events, some of which still continue today, seem to have no end, and profit no one, with exception of the Military Industrial Complex, Ike warned us about. Yet Rag Mop waves his nuclear finger at Rocket Man without any regard to the possible consequences. If I were living in any adjacent region to N. Korea, all of my nights would be restless.

Trump ran on the slogan “Make America Great, Again.” Are we sure he didn’t mean, “Hate, Again?”

And speaking of making our county great, again: Exactly what was the time period in which this greatness occurred? Was it the ‘great’ way African Americans were treated from our nation’s inception (and in many cases, still – ask Colin Kaepernick)? Or perhaps it was our treatment of the indigenous people (remind me not to open an ice cream store called “Custard’s Last Stand”). We honor President Jackson by putting his face on the Twenty, without regard for the Trail of Tears that occurred during his administration. This was a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi, which had been designated as Indian Territory.

Why not remove ‘Old Hickory’ from that bill, and replace him with a female American SBA_onTheTwentyreal hero like Susan B Anthony, or Clara Barton? That would be one way of establishing American greatness (even Syria has a female face on it’s currency –a depiction of Queen Zenobia). That might make up for the fact that it took 140 years from our Declaration of Independence to grant women the right to vote? To be fair, we were not much different from other nations on the subject of women’s suffrage. The delay in granting it was blamed on guess what: World War I, one of the most costly and dumbest conflicts in world history.

I won’t fail to mention that the Nazis were not the only ones to use concentration camps.

takeiFence

Takei Fencing After being let out of the fence

We interred the entire Japanese American population, including Star Trek star, George Takei. We didn’t grant German Americans the same experience. It couldn’t have had anything to do race, now, could it?

 

 

 

Another brilliant move by the Offender-in-Chief is his ever-changing travel ban. As of this writing, the citizens of the following countries are not permitted to migrate here: Chad, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela. I was trying to recall the last time I was attacked by a Chadian. But countries that actually had participants attacking the U.S., namely Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, were excluded from the ban.

Apple stockholders and iPhone addicts (like me) should be grateful that the ban didn’t exist in 1952. This was the year Steve Jobs Syrian-born father (Abdul Fattah Jandali) fled the Middle East.. Without Jandali’s arrival in the U.S. there would be fewer Jobs (including Steve). Take a bite (or byte) out of that, Donald.

Our stunning victory over the Axis powers in 1945 was where America defined its greatness.  Our entry into that war, however, was prompted by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – and not by Axis attempts to take over the entire world. So, great again? I guess it depends upon how you define the word “Great.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The Knights Are Already Restless, – and Trump’s only been on the job 12 days!

If you get depressed easily, maybe you should’t read this. If you’re not, perhaps a trip to your psychotherapist might be in order.

It’s been only thirteen days since the President Elect became the President Erect. I use that term because it describes the biggest schmeckel  to ever be ushered to power by the very un-democratic Electoral College. Obviously, the Humanities is not a subject taught there.

Sorry, GW Bush, but you’ve been out-putzed, and it didn’t take that long. Just when I, and most of my associates, thought that the Bush-Cheney team couldn’t be out-schmucked, along comes a new leader whose public appearances will be greeted by Heil to the Chief (yes, I spelled that correctly).

Only Trump’s most loyal supporters — and those who have not learned that it is highly unlikely that robotics-caused job losses will return to the U.S. (or anywhere else, for that matter) — will become disenchanted. Notice I didn’t say ‘impossible.’ I already made that mistake when I and most every other political ‘expert’ assured us of a Trump loss, or even a shellacking.

Eisenhower alerted us to the Military Industrial Complex. but Obama should have warned us about the Superiority Complex, something his sucessor demonstrates daily (make that hourly).

A few of my less-evolved buddies say, “Give him a chance. Isn’t it too early to judge?” But I think his nominees for the Cabinet and other vital security positions are giving us a few clues. It’s like saying, “Don’t judge that nuclear blast until you see the results. It could be just another one of those harmless mushroom clouds.”

He’s nominated Neil M. Gorsuch to be the next member of the Supreme Court. Trump tried everything he could do raise Scalia from the dead, but when Antonin learned who the new President actually was, he said, “No thanks, I’d rather stay where I am.” The late justice didn’t indicate just where that was, and the sound of raging fires did obscure much of what he said.

The Democrats in the Senate could fail to join 52 Republicans when the vote for approval takes place. But why should they? After all, did the GOP even consider Obama’s nomination of moderate, Merrick Garland, almost a year ago? You bet they didn’t! This is a little fact that John Dickerson, host of Disgrace the Nation, failed to point out to conservative guest, Hugh Hewitt, author of The Fourth Way: A Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority,” when Hewitt appeared on his show on January 29th.

Hewitt (whose mother loved him so much, she nearly named him twice) stated that the Democrats have no reason to attempt to block a SCOTUS nominee. The turtle look-alike, who leads the Republicans in the Senate, also seemed to suffer from amnesia when he insisted that Senate Democrats treat Trump’s nominee with the same respect his troops showed to the former President’s.

Trump’s record low approval ratings for any President’s first thirteen days in office was not statlibcantlooklimited to the millions of illegally-voting Hillary supporters, or any non-members of the American Nazi party. In a rare glimpse of the statue that represents American liberty, the Lady was echoing the sentiments of most people on the Trump-threatened planet.

The President is following the lead of many elected officials from the GOP, in insisting that Climate Change is a hoax. And he’s made the appointments to support that position, untenable as it is.

Now I’m not suggesting that Republican members of congress have been influenced by campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, but OpenSecrets is. If you think Lady Liberty is shielding her eyes now, wait till she learns that Exxon Mobil Mogul, Rex Tillerson is the new Secretary of State. Let’s hope that this Rex is not a dinosaur when it comes to protecting the environment, as hopeless as that hope seems at the moment.

But to make up for that poor choice, Trump is leveling the playing field by appointing Texas former Governor and oopser, Rick Perry, to run the very department whose name he couldn’t remember during the 2012 presidential campaign. The Energy department is responsible for our nuclear arsenal. Comforting to know that a pro is in charge. But just to be clear, when reminded by fellow challengers for the presidency which agency that was, the EPA was mentioned, not the DOE.

But don’t you worry. Trump’s got that department covered as well. His pick to lead he Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruiit, is a staunch defender of the industry that is speeding the destruction of that very same environment. A rumor is going around that the agency will be renamed the EDA (the word ‘Destruction’ replaces ‘Protection,’) but who really cares? Certainly not the parents and grandparents of the children that will inherit this planet.

Trump promised to drain the swamp, clearly having no understanding of the word ‘drain.’ Most of that swamp, by the way, was polluted by his fellow Republicans, who have ruled both houses since 2010, making appointments extremely challenging for Barack Obama.

Now Roe vs Wade is under attack. Planned Parenthood will be defunded. This will ultimately lead to a return of back-alley abortions, or women having no alternative but to bare a child she cannot afford to clothe, feed, or educate. Seems fair. How else will we recruit troops to fight the next oil war?

Trump has surrounded himself with very talented truth avoiders. Reince Preibus (who I often mispronounce as ‘Raunch Pubis’) is the new Chief of Staff. His Press Secretary, Sean Spicer calls his boss’s support among the people as “tremendous,” quickly taking on the vocabulary of the firer-in-chief (as his dismissal of the former acting Attorney General, Sally Yates would attest). All she said was she could not enforce a ruling that was unconstitutional. The nerve! And the most ingenious truth avoider, Kellyanne Conway, will be sure to set us all straight.

In a nation that is 38th in pre-college education, having Betsy Devos assume the position (a favorite Trump line) as Education Secretary, is sure to put us even lower in that ranking. But it doesn’t matter, because we are making America great again, and that’s what really counts.

He has also ostracized the press, almost in its entirely, as the most dishonest people in the world. Breitbart and Fox News were excluded from that ranking.

But I want to wish the new Commander and Chief well, almost hoping that he won’t follow in the footsteps of William Henry Harrison. The ninth President, differed in his speech making from #45, having stood on an icy inaugural platform for several hours, only to be rewarded with incurable pneumonia that killed him several months later. Trump took no such chances, by delivering one of the shortest inaugural speeches in American history. He had thought about Tweeting it, but then he would have been around fifty characters too short.

This is a Presidential Election?

I think I speak for a great number of people who’ve had restless nights over this endless election cycle. The night of Tuesday, November 8th, may be the most restless.

Having survived the ills of this planet for over seventy-five years (which lately seems like 175), never have I seen a presidential campaign where none of the candidates did anything right.

Our 2016 election compares unfavorably to even Hitler’s rise to the chancellorship back in 1933. Please note that der Fuhrer and der Tangerine Clown used similar tactics. FDR’s “all we have to fear is fear itself,” does not seem to resonate in the minds of a fairly large portion of the voting public. We can (almost) excuse the Germans, because Roosevelt’s words would not be uttered until almost nine years later, after Pearl Harbor was attacked, while the Versailles Treaty opened the door to Adolf’s twelve-year reign.

Both appealed to their constituents’ fear of an alien force, and played upon their people’s disenchantment with the status quo. While Trump boasts that he will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, Hitler tore down the Maginot line, and the French REALLY paid for it. Trump hasn’t let on just how the bill for the wall will be paid, but he doestrumpclowndailynews accept the Trump Express Card, one of the many of his failed enterprises.

But I digress. Let me return to my original premise. Between the major and minor parties, we had about thirty candidates (that people actually heard of) seeking the nomination. The Republicans could not field a single one that made a better case than the Clown from New York Town. The New York Daily News said it best.

Fellow candidates for the GOP nomination exchanged slurs here-to-for unheard of in any previous presidential race. The subject of hand-size dominated the airwaves, web sites and social media, which made Trump assure his prospective voters that he had no problem in “that” department. This is information we all require before knowing which candidate to entrust with the nuclear codes. Ted Cruz, who campaigned wearing his freshly pressed crusader’s uniform, bravely told his party, “people should vote their conscience on election day.”

cruzsaderuniform

I originally misunderstood the meaning of Crusader. I thought it referred to a Passover dinner with Ted presiding (oops, wrong religion).

But Cruz, in a bid to be re-elected Senator of Texas — yes, the same state that showed the wisdom to have Rick Perry as its Governor, ultimately endorsed Trump. I guess Trump’s accusing someone’s daddy of complicity in the murder of a U.S. President is hardly a reason not to endorse him.

And speaking of candidates with a Cuban heritage, there was Marco Rubio, who originally brought up the “hands” issue in a presidential debate, was dubbed “Little Marco” by Trump, forcing Rubio to return to Florida for re-election, to continue playing hooky as the state’s junior senator.

We’re not going to fault Bernie, who finally had the sense to quit the race, after coming to the conclusion that a seventy-five-year-old Jewish socialist would not stand a chance. But he did help perpetuate a Hillary-gap from which younger voters may not recover.

Going Libertarian? They’ve got Gary Johnson, who thought Aleppo was slang for someone suffering from leprosy.

And then there’s Hillary – you remember her. Her first mistake was remaining with Lecher Bill, after multiple dalliances. She’s faced a new dilemma when her hubby decided to visit with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, while her plane sat on the tarmac. The Republicans made political hay out of outlandish notion that they were not talking about their grandchildren. Well, what else would they have discussed? Even the Democrats groaned according to an article by Politico.

While serving her stint as Secretary of State, she unwisely used a private e-mail server (because we all know how safe public servers are —as Yahoo will attest). Despite the imminency of her presidential campaign, she and Bill continued to take advantage of her State Department status to raise funds for the Clinton Foundation from some questionable sources in exchange for favors unknown, Then she made the unfortunate choice of Huma Abadin as the vice chair of her campaign. The vice part particularly fit, given the notoriety of her estranged husband, Anthony, look at my dick pick, Weiner. The mistake here was bringing Huma on, without first burning her computer that she had shared with Weiner (would you touch those keys?). FBI chief, James Comey, picked the worst possible moment to deliver the October Surprise, conveniently refusing to talk about the investigation over the Trump University scam.

But the Donald candidate makes no mistakes. He can choose a man who was fired from of all places, Fox News, for simply following Trump’s own female-contact advice he shared with Billy Bush on that bus. Trump, who respects women more than anyone, believe me, didn’t realize or didn’t care that an open mic recorded their entire erudite conversation. He can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and not lose a single vote. He can go bankrupt four times and still enjoy the reputation as a clever businessman. He can claim that Climate Change is a hoax, despite the probability that that ‘hoax’ may submerge his Mira Lago golf course in Palm Beach. He can falsify documents enabling his future wife to work in the United States without the proper visas, while warning his supporters of illegal aliens invading our country. He can label an American-born judge as unqualified because his parents were born in Mexico. He can disparage the Kahns, parents of a slain American military man, and then accuse the husband of silencing his wife. And he pays no price.

The people that support (or tolerate) Madam Secretary have one strike against them: They think. That may not be true for many of Trump’s troops. That’s why he can make a statement, then reverse himself during the same appearance, and still not lose trust with his constituents.

 

 

 

The Tenth Crusade

What a fitting subject to be included in the Restless Knights blog.

Most people believe that the Crusades ended around the end of the 13th century. What they don’t realize is that one is still going on, right here in the 21st.

Only this time it’s going by a different, although similar title. “The Cruzsades.”

Its purpose is basically the same as the first nine; to make the world safe for Christianity, because what we all know is that it is under threat. Well, some of us do.

While the world has a good laugh at our expense, regarding our presidential politics, we have lined up, on the Republican side, the uncanniest of candidates in our nation’s history.

I can’t remember a single election where those running for the highest office in the land were competing on the size of their members – and I am not referring to those claiming to be the party faithful. Up until Rubio stepped off the debate platform, Republican voters had to choose between which candidate had the biggest putz, and which one was the biggest putz. You can appreciate what a challenge that would be after stepping into that voting booth on primary day.

As the contest rolls on, seemingly without end, it appears to get more and more absurd. Cruz, self-appointed head-Christian, gets on his knees — every single day — to pray that he will be the chosen one (and he’s not even Jewish). During a recent prayer vigil, Jesus told Ted that he’d CarlyCruzsaderbetter pick his Vice Presidential choice soon, because Hillary was sure to be his opponent in November, and a woman with similar qualities would be his best option. But instead, he chose the female who had done some damage to the Donald in an early-season debate. The only thing similar between Carly and Hillary is their reproductive system.

Since the Cruzsades have already begun, Carly did look pretty good in uniform, and battle-ready — an important qualification. Carly also showed that fetus that she alleged Planned Parenthood put up for sale. You can’t get more pro-Christian and anti-reproductive rights more than that.

Ted believes that the nation is just not Christian enough, and he’s got some ideas on how to fix that. For example: Old Glory is a couple of hundred years old, and is due for a makeover. No. He’s not going to make Puerto Rico a state, but he’s got a better idea. What better way to remind Americans that we are a Christian nation than to design our flag accordingly.cruzOldGory

With a Cruz win, this emblem will be unfurled everywhere. Betsy Ross will turn over in her grave, but that’s the price she pays for not designing it that way in the first place.

But why are we talking about the Great Cruzsader as if he were the apparent winner in Cleveland? Because the party faithful (and I mean FAITHful) will not permit the owner of Trump enterprises to be the GOP nominee. Is it because Trump University only taught one thing: Don’t believe anything the Donald says. Could it be because three of Trump’s companies have declared bankruptcy? Are they saying we shouldn’t put our trust in a man who lost money in gambling casinos? Many people do, but not when they own those very same casinos.

He promises to make America great again, but what he’s really accomplished can be be shown on this banner:

TrumpIngrate

From a Restless Knight – Rest in Peace

I’ve spent many a restless night imagining a GOP win in November, and the Supreme Court appointments the next President is destined to make. I don’t know which of the remaining candidates will make it to the top, and frankly, it won’t really matter. I’m sure he is envisioning Scalia think-alikes (I say “he,” because Carly has mercifully made her exit, leaving an all-male field). Her nominees would have been those slightly to the right of Himmler, with regard to women’s reproductive rights.

The jovial Scalia, with his many liberal friends including ladies on the Supreme Court, could actually have competed with old Heinrich on women’s rights and those anti-biblical gay marriage rules.

Scalia&Kagen

Antonin Scalia posing with fellow hunter and Justice Elana Kagan

The death of Scalia affords an additional opportunity for a Trump or a Cruz to name one more justice to the high court. To give you an idea what that could mean, the chart below shows the ages of the eight remaining members of the Court:

Justice Born /Age Nominated By
Anthony Kennedy 7/23/1936

Age: 79 yr 6 mo

Ronald Reagan
Clarence Thomas 6/23/1948

Age: 67 yr 7 mo

George H. W. Bush
Ruth Bader Ginsburg 3/15/1933

Age: 82 yr 11 mo

Bill Clinton
Stephen Breyer 8/15/1938

Age: 77 yr 6 mo

Bill Clinton
John G. Roberts 1/27/1955

Age: 61 yr 0 mo

George W. Bush
Samuel A. Alito, Jr. 4/1/1950

Age: 65 yr 10 mo

George W. Bush
Sonia Sotomayor 6/25/1954

Age: 61 yr 7 mo

Barack Obama
Elena Kagan 4/28/1960

Age: 55 yr 9 mo

Barack Obama

It is likely that several of those listed above could be awaiting Angel of Death visits within the next five years. The problem is that most of those are Democratic Presidential appointees, with the exception of Anthony Kennedy, who Reagan thought would be far more conservative than he turns out to be. Scalia, 79 when he died, was Anthony Kennedy’s age.

I just watched an old Charley Rose interview with the recently departed jurist, and can understand why people liked him. This proves the point that you don’t have to hate someone because you disagree with just about everything they stand for. In Scalia’s case, I might make an exception.

One of Scalia’s last acts was to become part of the 5-4 decision striking down Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CCP), one of President’s signature achievements. This had enabled the U.S. to take the lead at the Paris Summit on addressing the very serious issue of Climate Change. With the climate initiative in trouble, there will be little motivation for other COP21 signing countries to stick with their commitments. The remaining Republicans in the Presidential race have all vowed to repeal the CCP, on the day of inauguration. They appear to be champing at the bit to do so.

Scalia was at a hunting lodge when he bit the bullet. Maybe it was that other Supreme Court’s punishment for killing some of His helpless creatures, as if letting the planet sink in a mire of toxicity and rising seas were not criminal enough.

The Senate, which has final approval of the nominated justices has been given a command by their General, Mitch (Make Him a One-Term President) McConnell: Stall, stall, stall, with the hope that it will delay the appointment to the next administration. Many Republican voices are echoing a statement that has no basis in reality (what else is new?). Lame ducks should not make Supreme Court appointments. Maybe Marco Rubio should observe the rule, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” As this Politifact article confirms, conservative superman, Ronald Reagan did nominate Kennedy to the high court during the final year of his administration

Now the Republicans have a real dilemma: There is currently an even number of remaining justices on the Supreme Court. Contests ending with a 4-4 tie will have the effect of allowing lower court rulings to stand. Most of these do not serve the GOP cause. See the USA Today article for more information.

GOP Debate – One Restless Knight, Indeed

bobbyNothing makes this knight more restless than a bunch of clowns gathering on a stage, pretending to look out for the best interests of this country. CNN could have included the child’s table (held earlier that day), because what’s another four more clowns piling out of a car?

I salute CNN, not for dignifying the Presidential race by inviting fifteen cretins into Mrs. Reagan’s airplane hangar, but for the intelligence to extend the debate to enhance their revenue, which was in serious need. It reached almost 24 million viewers, almost out Foxing the previous debate.

donald Some have wondered how the President’s official jet wound up as part of the Reagan Library (including me). According to Yahoo News (which seems appropriate while fifteen Yahoos stood up on that stage): “Lobbying, in a word, is what landed this prize. At one point in his presidency, Reagan flew SAM 27000 with then-Secretary of the Air Force James McGovern. In the midst of a conversation, Reagan said, “Mr. Secretary, this is a pretty nice airplane…. Can I have it?”

I have a low attention span to begin with, but having to get through three hours of greatest barrage of lies since I went to high school, and told my parents I did not play hooky.

And speaking of ‘stretching the truth,’ these Presidential hopelesses made Pinocchio’s pinnochionose look like a tiny pimple. I think Carly Fiorina’s was so long, the camera had to move back several feet. Not that the Donald was the pinnacle of truth, nor were any of the others.
carlyEvery evil player needs a scapegoat. For Hitler it was my people, to these saviors of America, it was Planned Parenthood. Carly made a impassioned appeal to Hillary and Barack to watch a video falsely attributed to Planned Parenthood. And as one of the more intelligent audience members attested, Obama’s not even an American, let alone a Christian, so why would he care? Did any of these distinguished pretenders offer any rebuttal to that ridiculous statement? If you said, “yes,’ you weren’t watching the show, but it was very late in the evening.

It wasn’t until the fact-checkers showed up during Anderson Cooper’s summary that the lies were revealed. It would have been nice if a “Bullshit” light would flash as each lie was told, but CNN wouldn’t have been able to afford the electric bill.

CarsonThere were two medical doctors up on that stage, neither of which thought to discredit the theory that autism was caused by vaccines. Ben Carson, who has made spectacular claims of his own, like “Obamacare was therand worst thing to happen to America since slavery,” must have been out of town (or off the planet) during the Vietnam and Gulf wars. The other doctor, the poster child for Better Haircuts of America, Rand M Poll (married to Marge N O’vera) conveniently forgot to challenge the remarks of Mr. Bridgegate , the rotund, proud defunder of New Jersey Planned Parenthood.

cristieFinally, taking lying to a new level, the Donald shouted down Jeb’s claim that he, Jeb, prevented Trump from getting casinos in Florida (what was Jeb smoking when he posed for that picture?). Sorry, Donald, just because you said it, it doesn’t make it true, in fact it usually makes it patently false. Donald insisted that if he did want those casinos, Florida would have had them. The proof lies in the fact that they are not in Florida, therefore Trump didn’t want them there. Donald has been consistently denying that four of his companies filed for bankruptcy. Why would this self-made success ever need to declare insolvency? Does self-made include those who were born with silver spoons in their mouths? Trump’s father was a successful real estate developer in New York, when Donald was a gleam in his mother’s eye. I can imagine what that gleam turned into, once that clown emerged from the womb.

The Two-party System

What is wrong with our two-party system? A better question would be, “What is right with it?” November 4th is just around the corner, after which, according to the experts of punditry, both houses of Congress will be firmly in the hands of Republicans. This prospect makes the Restless Knight still more restless, and has, in fact, driven him back to this blog after a several month absence.

Most of the electorate is either too blind to notice our elected leaders in action (or should I say, inaction), too ignorant or too apathetic. Either excuse for allowing the status quo is, frankly, inexcusable.

For the upcoming election I’ve been practicing the craft of filling in a ballot and holding my nose at the same time. The differences between the party mascotted by an elephant and the one represented by an ass are too few to tally. Because of American election finance laws, unique among democracies, taking money from special interests is the only chance a candidate has of keeping up with the negative campaigning of his or her opponent. In my state of Florida, the airwaves are deluged with a constant barrage of campaign nastiness, although the words, “Governor Scott – too shady for the Sunshine State”, do have resonance.

I wish I could remember the name of the skeptic who said, and I’m paraphrasing, “the only difference between a dictatorship and American democracy is that we get one more ballot choice the than they do.”

Others have asked, “Why vote? It only encourages the bastards.”

A minority of Americans vote in so-called ‘off year elections’; a few more in Presidential contests. One reason for the shameful turnout vs. other democracies is our failure to become involved in the primary process, where the really important decisions are made. This lack of public participation lets the vested interests dictate those narrow choices that will appear on your ballot.

DarrellIssa

What Congressman Darrel Issa (R. California) would look like on the House floor

You have seen Nascar events where the participants display the logos of their supporters emblazoned on their uniforms. This leaves no doubt in the viewer’s mind which corporation is backing which driver. I know I’ve said this before, but elected officials should be forced to don similar patches on their clothing to indicate the special interests that want to see them succeed. Do you think it’s the spirit of democracy that makes them contribute? Or is it the donation of cash for the specific purpose of having that elected official support that corporation’s (or individual’s) agenda?

Both parties expend much energy narrowing the field of those participating in debates. You won’t see independents on the debate stage. Candidates must toe the line of their party’s ideology, or be excluded from the process. This allows you to hear what the parties want you to, and not what might be in our best interests. The process further damages the democratic process by limiting running choices. Candidates need lots of cash to be viable, and without party backing the odds of being competitive with the chosen ones are Slim and None, and Slim has already left town.

A Proposed Solution

Kickstarter is a funding platform to raise money for a specific cause, such as starting a business. As its name suggests, it ‘kickstarts’ a project by raising cash needed to launch whatever your project happens to be. The projectee “partners” with individuals and all benefit from the results IF the project succeeds. What if you knew of a potential candidate for political office, whose principles you share, but hasn’t the faintest chance of getting on a ballot due to what I mentioned above? Or if your ideals call out to you to run for office yourself, but you see the futility of attempting to be accepted by a major party, couldn’t ‘kickstarting’ be an obvious choice?

GrowlerWerks

Why not kickstart a political campaign? If Growlerwerks can raise enough money to place fresh, cold, carbonated beer on the market, why can’t we launch the Presidential Campaign of a Bernie Saunders (one of the rare honest politicians), who has no chance to get party backing?

My thanks to Dan Carlin and his Common Sense podcast for planting this idea in my head.

If you have a better solution, the Restless Knight would love to hear from you.

Well, Shut Me Down

Maybe my nights shouldn’t be restless, just because our do-zilch Congress has decided to shut down the government.

Some of the esteemed members of that august body are asking their constituents if they have felt the effects of the closure. At least my Congressman, Vernon Buchanan wanted to know in his latest “InstaPoll.” impact

I usually respond to his polls, only so that my lonely voice can be heard amidst the din of his “learned” electorate.

I decided not to answer the question, because he might get the impression that closing the U.S. Government is a perfectly splendid idea, as long as most of his constituency has not yet felt any impact. There is no impact on me, personally, for the maltreatment of women, minorities and gays, but it doesn’t mean that those are also splendid ideas.

The Koch Bros are spending some of the money they “earn” from honest folks and use it to help kill the Affordable Healthcare Act. Because Congress’ 42 failed attempts to kill the bill, approved by an earlier legislative session (whose members had not gone completely berserk), and confirmed in a Supreme Court ruling, the Kochs are doing their patriotic duty.

So, many government agencies, such as non-essential ones like the EPA (We don’t need no stinkin’ environmental protection), certain Veterans Services (What? They need services?), and National Parks are closed, among many *others.

Here are some images taken directly from those closed venues:Rushmore10-2013

OldFaithfulTexted10-2013

liberty10-2013 copy

*The NIH has stopped taking on new patients, while the Centers for Disease and Prevention will halt its seasonal anti-flu program. Non-essential, indeed.

While this situation exists, Homeland Security will not provide employers verification as to the legal status of potential employees.

The Justice Department will have to curtail their policy of arresting bankers and others who were responsible for the financial collapse of 2007-08. Oh, wait. They weren’t doing that, anyway. The DEA will have to stop invading legal cannabis clinics. What will they do for fun?

Labor law violators can have a field day. There will be no agency to crack down on labor abuses. At last: We can now catch up with Bangladesh. OSHA will have no O to SHA.

If you’re looking to apply for a passport, or renew your current one, you may have a problem, such as the building housing the passport office can’t pay their rent.

Say argghh, for the Ag Department, who have cut off support for the Women, Infants and Children Program, whose purpose is to provide healthy food guidelines for pregnant women. And we all know how those pro-life Republicans care about children (at least during the fetal stage).

And Washington DC – not to worry. You will be able to keep police and firefighters working, but don’t expect your trash to be picked up. Maybe we can have some Tea-Party congressmen volunteer as garbage collectors. At least then they would finally be accomplishing something.

Literally thousands of federal employees will be furloughed if the shutdown continues.

Restless nights, anyone?

Reason – R.I.P.

The Death of Reason

tombstone2

Reason is defined in the Catholic Encyclopedia as “The name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible.”  Too bad the leaders of that Church didn’t exactly subscribe to that code of morality. Also beginning to behave responsibly is only a small first step. Example: stepping out of your house to protest some evil thing a corporation (like a bank) or your government is doing is the first step. But when you don’t actually go to the protest rally, and choose to have a latte at Starbucks instead, you can’t exactly claim credit for activism.

Legislators are not the only forces stomping on reason. As reported by NPR, Tennessee magistrate, Lu Ann Ballew refused to allow the parent of a child to name it “Messiah.” And her reason was quite sound. “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” she said in an interview. Not only was she not reasonable, but worse: she used a run-on sentence. So, you folks out there named “Jesus” (and there are probably hundreds of thousands of you) or “Mohamed,” prepare to be called Jim or Moe, especially if you live in the Sippin’ Whiskey State.

Webster’s defines Reason quite differently. In one of several variations of the noun form, it‘s “the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways.” What a unique concept: Making decisions actually based on logic. Who’d a thunk it? But based on the actions of some state legislators and all of the U.S. Congress, logic has become a dirty word. This could explain our march back to the 19th century, in which we seem to be goosestepping.

CommonSenseThomas Paine, wrote a two-part book on the subject (The Age of Reason), the first of which was published in 1794. If you would like to examine its contents, you’ll find it here. The book focuses on religion, and Paine’s take on it (you could say it was a painstaking effort). He defined himself as a Deist, translating as: Belief that a creator god does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place he retreated, having no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it. Who can blame him? When God saw the mess he created he decided to bear no responsibility for it.  Paine was not the sole Deist of his era. In the cadre of Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington were Deists as well. So the notion that we are a Christian Nation, and must be ruled by the word of God is simply the result of using drugs that are illegal in most states.

Let us begin:  Friends, family and former beneficiaries of Reason

We are gathered together to celebrate the life of an idea that had lived for several centuries and has now disappeared. Though it did live, it was never fully accepted by the majority of world populations, who would rather have believed in bullshit then examine it for telltale odor.  For those of you that have come to this hall for the funeral for Journalism, it’s the next room on your left – and many of you will wish to attend both ceremonies.

Reason as defined by candidates and elected officials and political appointees:

Ignore the parts of the Constitution that are contrary to your point of view, and completely change the intention of the Founding Fathers. An example might be that many Americans accept the NRA definition of gun rights, and not the original wording: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” That is what is written in the Second Amendment. I don’t see anything about AK47s and Ar15s, do you? Hey you with that Glock 19. Where’s your militia uniform?

Another is the selectivity in the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I know, those 18th century folks were too stupid to include emails, phone conversations and Social Media.  Paraphrasing President Obama (not Bush), in a recent speech. “We have a court that will protect Americans against those kinds of invasions of your private information.” FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. See FISA Court. Rubber Stamp. The judges on this “court” are all appointed by Chief Justice Roberts. I hope you can appreciate how much fairness we can expect from that.

Some elected officials ignore reason in favor of biological urges. There are too many to count. But making it into the news recently was the re-emergence of Weiner (so to speak).  After losing his seat in Congress following a “revealing” discovery, he swore off junk texting (Junk Male).  But memory did not serve him in that as a Mayoral Candidate HE DID IT AGAIN? So he loined from past experience, as we Brooklynites would say. And if that is not unreasonable enough, check out the Parliamentarian for Queensland, who texted a picture of his John Thomas, suspended in a glass of red wine. Now anyone with the bad taste to pair his schlong with a red wine doesn’t deserve the trust of the people, even the Aussies. Isn’t it common knowledge that only a Penile Noir should be used on these occasions?

Many elected officials are using reason to try, for the fortieth time, to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, pejoratively known throughout the moronesphere as Obamacare. Instead of wasting our tax money on legislation that has as much chance to pass as Michelle Bachmann suddenly acquiring a brain or Dick Cheney acquiring a soul, why not work with the President on a jobs-creation bill? Putting people back to work, or moving folks off those temporary, part time, healthcare-free jobs (does not mean free health care) into dignified work would be a win-win.

The Supreme Court, the majority of whom were named by Republican Presidents, contributed to the death of reason by rejecting key portions of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark civil rights achievement by President LBJ dating back to 1965. They seem to prefer 1865, or better yet, to a time pre-dating the Emancipation Proclamation.

This august body has also reasoned that Corporations are people, in the notorious Constitution-defying Citizens United ruling. And why not? Corporations write the laws, thoroughly confusing and lengthy to make their understanding virtually impossible.

GettysburgAddressTo account for this sad reality, let us address Abraham Lincoln’s memorable document: We need to make a word replacement. This quote from the last paragraph of that historical speech, “- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Let’s substitute the word “corporation” for the word “people.” Because, in the words of Walter Cronkite (Funeral next door), “That’s the way it is.”

Phobia Phobia

The only thing we have to fear is the mis- pronunciation of the word "fear"

FDR at his
first inaugural address

FDR coined the phrase, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This is listed in the Official Psycho-therapists’ Dictionary as phobia-phobia. But according to the current President, following in the footsteps of that great protector of the Constitution, George W. Bush, we have lots of things to fear besides fear (speaking about things that cause restless nights).

But W was not the first President to ignore some of the rights granted by that great document.

Our 2nd President -photo courtesy of the ACLU

Our 2nd President -photo courtesy of the ACLU

John Adams was the first, with the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. The only thing we had to fear then, were the French, as the law was enacted as a result of an undeclared conflict with France (No, the Freedom Fry was not the first time), known then as the Quasi-war. And all this time, I thought we had been engaged in a struggle with those nasty Quasies. It was the Federalists who pushed that legislation, while the Democratic-Republicans (yes, you heard right) counseled against it. The Federalists were concerned that the revolution in France might encourage the citizens of the new American Republic to follow in France’s footsteps. Adams was not receptive to the possibility of the punishment meted out to Louis and Marie by disgruntled (and restless) citizens.

Our 16th President. Photo courtesy of Mobilize.org

Honesty, Abe?

Next it was the Great Emancipator, who, during the Civil War, suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. There were those who didn’t believe Abe had acted constitutionally. But in a war, Presidents have to worry more about the enemy than they do public relations..

Our current situation is the result of a policy that does not endear us to many members of the Muslim Faith. They seem to object to having their countries attacked, in some cases without provocation.  They get antsy when drone aircraft, directed by experts in the CIA (forgive the oxy-moron), decide on killing anyone who fits the profile. This designation appears to be any male within the so-called terrorist age range. Guilt or innocence seems to play no part in the decision process. So unlike most wars in our past, where the warring factions eventually sign an armistice, there is no one with whom to sit down – no Palace of Versailles, no USS Missouri, and no Appomatox Courthouse. Although the Korean War was never officially ended, we are not at war with any nation. We have, in effect, a war in Perpetuitistan.

So thanks to Herr Cheney, his lackey, Bush and now Mr. Obama, the USA Patriot Act rules the day. You can go to the link to see a summary, but in essence it means that it’s fine to flout the Fourth Amendment. I find it amazing that our brothers are willing to forgo that unambiguous amendment, the intent of which is to protect our rights, but will defend the Second Amendment to the death (literally).

I know there are bad guys out there who are so frustrated they are willing to commit violent acts against innocent people. Their Mullahs promise them a heavenly reward of up to 72 virgins for carrying out the will of Allah. They will not listen to my advice, which is to have sex before considering blowing oneself up, and take a little pleasure while they are still breathing. If they could relieve their natural frustrations here on Earth, as any healthy young male is wont to do, maybe there would be no such thing as an Underwear Bomber. Some “enlightened” Americans do everything they can to seek revenge for that violence, including shooting Sikhs because they wear turbans.

The government is protecting its ass (if not your rights) by garnering about 886 million emails. That’s more than I get in my spam folder in a week. Could you imagine going through close to a billion emails? Christian Mingle alone is accountable for more than half – just kidding; Canadian pharmacies actually hold the record. NSA claims they are only looking at metadata (data about the data) and not the emails themselves. This is also said to be true of phone calls and text messages. Now we are not talking about social media such as Twitter, Facebook and all the others, where folks have voluntarily chosen to give up their rights of privacy.  The FISA Court (established in 1978) is supposed to protect us from intelligence agency snooping, by authorizing only those attempts to spy on citizens that are suspected of crimes against the United States. Do we trust this court to be judicious in its decisions to allow or disallow that kind of privacy invasion? So far, their record is perfect. They’ve never said “no.”

I don’t blame us for wanting protection against things or people that could potentially harm us. This includes candidates for mental institutions who have been excluded from gun competency checks by our dedicated members of the U.S. Senate (despite a majority having voted for those checks). How about parents who do nothing to prevent their children from grabbing an unsecured AR-15?  And what about food supplies unchecked by an FDA that is seriously underfunded? May I mention toxic pollution in violation of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Acts  (Oh, you want clean water and air – picky, picky)? I would like the “Intelligence” agencies to live up to their names, and actually do something intelligent, like talking to one another BEFORE an act is committed. I think that might be far more effective than having our shoes removed before each flight.

I don’t feel safe, not because the government is or is not spying on me. I don’t feel safe because the food I eat from the Gulf of Mexico is contaminated by chemicals BP used to allegedly clean up their oil spill (see Corexit). I don’t feel safe because Nuclear power plants licenses are renewed years after their assumed life expectancy. I don’t feel safe because we allow China to send us any product regardless of its safety (lead bibs for kids, tainted pet food, toothpaste you could put into you radiator to cool your engine).

So, to keep me from being any more restless, PLEASE protect me from the protectors.

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