The Hidden Truth

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There’s the truth and then there’s the whole truth. And while today’s fast-paced media usually try to tell the truth, they don’t always tell the whole truth.

For example, you might read a review that describes what a film is about and how well it tells a story. But you probably won’t learn who funded the film.

And that’s really important in those politically driven movies that appear from time to time.

That “Clinton Cash” movie, for example, which supposedly reveals how Bill and Hillary Clinton amassed a fortune by selling favors while she was Secretary of State. It premiered in New York and Cannes in May.

Even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ve probably been hearing a lot of damaging stuff about the Clintons and their foundation. It was the movie that triggered the smear campaign (which now includes a false AP “news” report and other aberrations).

I bet you haven’t heard who put up the money for the movie.

That mercerwas a hedge fund billionaire named Robert Mercer (at right). And Mercer just happens to be the man who is currently funding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Last night on MSNBC, Rachel outed him as Trump’s number-one backer and the guy who pays the bills at the ultra-right-wing web site, Breitbart.com. (You know, of course, that Trump just hired Breitbart’s Steve Bannon as his campaign CEO.)

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Mercer has a record of financing “think tanks and insurgent candidates, super PACs and media watchdogs, lobbying groups and grassroots organizations”  to promote his radical right-wing agenda.

So what is the whole truth behind that “Clinton Cash” movie? It’s based on a book by Peter Schweizer, which was debunked by critics as an appalling collection of  “blatant errors, retractions, and reliance on sources that do not exist.”

And why did Schweizer write the book? Well, it might have something to do with his day job as president of the Government Accountability Institute, one of those think tanks that Mercer funds.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Does it make you sad? Does it make you worry?

It should.

The truth about the Clinton Foundation

Rachel’s take on Mercer.

The Times article

More on Schweizer

 

A Cast of Villains

trumpsDonald Trump’s campaign would make a great James Bond movie. He has assembled a cast of villains that would put Goldfinger and Dr. No to shame.

As John Avlon observes in the Daily Beast today:

There’s the exiled Paul Manafort, steely-eyed, hair-dyed and bathing in blood money. His replacement, Steve Bannon, is ruler of the alt-right trolls, fanning the flames from his fortified Hollywood villa, known as the Breithart Embassy. Off in the wings sit Roger Ailes and Roger Stone, the OG dirty tricksters, unrepentant Nixonistas still running the “positive polarization” play almost five decades ;ater. 

And now the plot thickens with the entrance of Nigel Farage, described by Avlon as :the beer swilling leader of the anti-immigrant, ethno-nationalist UK Independence Party.”  (As you probably know, that’s the party behind Brexit, one of the greatest mistakes of this century.)

Unfortunately, these are not Hollywood villains. This is real life.

I don’t know what Donald Trump is up to, but I find troubling hints of a very dark agenda when I browse the web.

Avlon suggests Trump may be losing this election on purpose as a prelude to creating a media empire worth billions. And he’s not alone in that belief.

But what if Trump wins?

This is a man who associates with the scum of the earth. A man without morals or scruples. A liar and a cheat who will say anything and do who knows what to achieve his goals.

He has known Mafia associates, and he is a Putin pawn who is heavily indebted to the Chinese government.

As I click the mute button on my TV, I see his grotesque, contorted countenance mouthing eerily, and I wonder that the media provides him with so much free exposure. Do they really believe he is a legitimate candidate for President of the Unites States?

I can only pray that Avlon is right, that Trump’s stratagems are meant to enrich him through a gigantic media project, not burden us with a creature like this in the White House.

Click for Avlon’s article.

Trump’s inner circle

 

Usain and the Illuminati

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It’s been a while since I’ve heard the Illuminati conspiracy theory. You know, the one about a secret super-rich group actually controlling world politics? The belief has lurked in the shadows for many years, almost forgotten as new and juicier conspiracy stories emerge.

But it’s back in the spotlight again. And you would never guess who’s involved.

Usain Bolt.

Yes, that Usain Bolt. The one who won three gold medals in Rio. The “fastest man alive.”

I just read in Vanity Fair magazine that conspiracy theorists are interpreting Usain’s gestures to the crowd as signals – Illuminati signals.

You didn’t know the Illuminati had signals? You don’t know much, do you?

You probably don’t even know that demonic forces made deals with some humans to give them supernatural powers in exchange for their allegiance.  And you probably don’t even know that the Freemasons are not just a bunch of grown-ups who dress funny and act like kids but a dangerous secret society associated with demons.

To enlighten folks like you, Vanity Fair’s Kenzie Bryant explains how the conspiracy theorists interpret Usain’s secret signals.

When Usain covers an eye with one hand and puts a finger to his lips with the other, for example, he is signaling the Masons’ “all seeing eye” and their oath of secrecy.

How did Bryant find that out? From a conspiracy theorist on You Tube who calls himself (herself?) “What is Real.”

And “What is Real” backs up these revelations by showing old photos of David Bowie, Lindsay Lohan and Lady Gaga making a similar gesture.

There’s more. I checked the web and found several stories about Bolt’s supposed occult connections. There is chatter about his Masonic ring, about Jamaican “voodoo” and the number 666 – and a lot of other sinister rubbish. Some of these conspiracy theorists say Usain sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his “superhuman” speed.

Indeed, one conspiracy theorists suggests Usain Bolt might actually be the Devil.

I find this kind of thing not just absurd but offensive. I know from credible sources that Usain’s mother brought him up to be a devout Christian and I see him obviously praying before each race.

So I suppose you’re wondering why I’m wasting your time with such nonsense. I have an excuse.

In this sick and nasty US election campaign, you will hear a lot of conspiracy theories. The latest is an absurd story about Hillary supposedly trading favors for donations to the Clinton Foundation when she was Secretary of State.

You must have heard it. The TV pundits are having a field day with the story.

When you think about it, though, it’s just as ridiculous as the idea of Usain Bolt being a member of the Illuminati.

What will some people dream up next?

Vanity Fair’s story

More on the conspiracy theory

More on the Illuminati

 

Talk is Cheap. And Endless!

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Surely by now, American voters – voters everywhere – are aware that anyone might say anything in an effort to get elected, but (as they say in Jamaica) “words are wind”?

I could stand on some podium and promise a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage if you-all made me President but would you believe me?

I could call my opponent a perverted horse thief with ties to a global human trafficking ring but would that make it true?

Of course not. Campaign promises and accusations mean nothing. You must know that by now.

Informed voters make their choice by studying the candidates’ lives, not by listening to their chatter.

Of course it’s impossible to shut out the chatter. The media are obsessed with it. CNN, for example, is a 24-7 trumpet for Trump and his surrogates. They’ve even hired that awful Corey Lewandowsky, who is still on Trump’s payroll.

This campaign season seems to go on forever. Could there be anyone in America who hasn’t already decided how to vote?

Is there anyone who could be swayed by Rudy Giuliani’s preposterous lies about Hillary’s health? Or Trump’s apparent change of heart on immigration? Or his sudden interest in the welfare of minorities?

Look, it’s over, folks. We all know how we’re voting – if we’re voting.

But we must suffer for three more months. The candidates have yet to hold their debates. The ads will continue to overwhelm our TV screens (there’s even one next to this blog!).

The phone calls, emails and  letters will continue to descend upon us, begging and begging for our money and our time.

What a waste! Surely there’s a better way to do this.

 

A Champion’s Heart of Gold

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Usain Bolt certainly doesn’t need my applause. He is the world’s darling. But there’s so much more to this man than the world sees.

bolt2The thing that impresses me the most is his humanity. Fame and fortune have not gone to his head. Far from it.

The “world’s fastest man” is one of the most unassuming and modest human beings you will ever meet. And more.

To go with those Olympics gold medals, he has a heart of gold.

He performs acts of kindness wherever he goes. On a visit to Brazil last year, for example, he joined blind Paralympic sprinting champion Terezinha Guilhermina as her guide in an exhibition (top photo).

It wasn’t a publicity stunt. He does that kind of thing all the time. Without fanfare. Without any ulterior motive. He is just that kind of guy.

Like so many other sports millionaires, Bolt has a charitable foundation of his own. It promotes educational and cultural development in Jamaica. Last year, the foundation gave $1.3 million to his former high school, for example.

He built a sports complex in Jamaica, raised funds for pediatric cardiac surgery, and paid $4 million to renovate a local health center…

His acts of kindness go on and on.

Indeed, police in Jamaica had to ask him to stop handing out money to strangers as it was causing “violence.”

Bolt gives not just his money but his time.

He sponsors – and personally participates in –  treats for Jamaican children, especially sporting events. And he takes the time to mentor up-and-coming Jamaican track stars.

It’s all part of a pattern.

As his mother, Jennifer (pictured above, with dad Wellesley), told one of the multitude of global media interviewers seeking an insight into Bolt’s nature:

He’s trying to get everyone to love because… he has gotten a lot of love. He likes to share some of that joy with others.

Peace and love, Usain. Peace and love. All the world, especially we Jamaicans, share your joy.

 Bolt’s biography

Jamaica’s sprinting legacy

 

God Punishes Gays? Really?

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Some people find satisfaction in other people’s misfortune. They interpret it as God’s punishment for doing something they disapprove of.

perkins2Tony Perkins (at right) is one of those self-righteous people. He has become famous for crusading against gays, saying (among a lot of other crazy things) thst God sends natural disasters to punish them.

As head of the Family Research Council, a right-wing hate group, he shows up on TV from time to time, predicting fire and brimstone for people who don’t share his (professed) sexual orientation.

It doesn’t occur to him that God made gays and a just God would never punish them for being the way he made them.

But now, Perkins may want to revise his thinking.

The natural disaster that has left thousands homeless in Louisiana (and killed 13) flooded his home. He posted pictures (like the one above) on Facebook and asked for our prayers.

I can only hope that after this he will pray for all of us – including our gay brothers and sisters – not wish God’s wrath upon anyone.

More on Perkins

More on the flood

 

Watching the Olympics

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If you wonder why my blogs have been somewhat sporadic lately, the reason is simple: I have been watching the Olympics.

I know, you’re going to tell me I’m crazy to care who wins the water polo and handball events, and the other arcane sports that get showcased every four years. But it”s all worth watching. Even field hockey, even synchronized gymnastics (which I didn’t know existed), even ping pong.

In fact, I miss lawn bowling. Those old guys sure knew how to roll those little balls. Maybe the Olympics gurus will include shuffleboard one day. Just so we old coots can identify.

After all, they brought back golf.

Whatever the sport may be, it’s always fascinating to see human beings performing at such a superior – sometimes superhuman – level. And if you watched Simone Biles (above) and the other gymnasts competing in the floor exercises the other night, you must know what I mean.

Or Michael Phelps. There may never be another swimmer like that guy. We saw history being made in the Olympics pool. That’s for sure.676585-e2f9ba14-499c-11e5-8295-722838184ac6

And how about Usain Bolt?

Look I used to compete in track-and-field events when I was in school, and if you think it’s easy to do what Bolt does, you should try it yourself.

I am tingling with anticipation as I await the finals. You think he might set another world record? I wouldn’t put it past him, even at his advanced age. He didn’t break a sweat winning the 200-meter semifinals.

And you should try doing what those Kenyans and the other long-distance track stars do. Their legs are churning so fast after running thousands of meters, you might think they were competing in a hundred-meter dash.

I hope kids watching the Olympics on TV are impressed enough to put down the video games and try to excel at some physical activity.  It would do them a world of good, and it would be good for society, too.

 

Medicare for All. Now.

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The health insurance companies are making the prospect of government run competition look more appealing every day. For example, Aetna (which recently bought out my insurer, Coventry) is opting out of Obamacare in all but four states next year.
health careAetna is not alone. More than 40 companies have abandoned Obamacare in various states so far.

They cite sensible sounding “financial” reasons. But I suspect they’re deliberately sabotaging Obamacare. What their flunkies in Congress tried and tried and tried to do and couldn’t, they’re trying to do themselves.

If they can make it look as if Obamacare is failing, their political puppets will have a launching pad for a new assault on the program.

If the Republicans win in November, you can be sure they will find a way to roll back the health insurance clock, depriving millions of Americans of the coverage they can receive only under Obamacare. That includes people with “preexisting conditions” (like my friend Jan, who had breast cancer).

If Democrats win, they must introduce a government run health insurance program to compete with the private companies.

It should include the expansion of Medicare to cover people of any age. That would be the simplest thing to do.

And I don’t see how the private insurers could complain. They are always saying how inefficient the government is, so why should they fear government competition?

Of course that kind of competition would rein in their obscene profiteering at our expense. But that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

Click for Aetna story.

 

An Old Media Trick

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“What do they mean, Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate?”

Sandra looked puzzled, as she stood in the doorway to the den. I could hear muffled voices coming from the TV in the family room.

“She used the wrong computer,” I responded.

“Huh?”

Sandra looked even more puzzled.

“When she was Secretary of State, Hillary didn’t use the official computer to send some official emails,” I said. “She used her Blackberry. I guess it was more convenient.”

“And that makes her flawed?”

Of course not.

So why are the TV pundits beating that old email drum to death? Why does the issue live on long after she was cleared by the FBI?

They are seeking any bad stuff they can dig up to “balance” the bad stuff constantly spewing out of Donald Trump, that’s why.

It’s an old trick.

Media folks know that controversy builds audiences, so they do everything they can to provoke and sustain controversy. They will tell you they are being “fair” by “providing both sides.” But what they are really doing is trying to create the impression of a “fight.”

If they told the truth, they would concede that Hillary is a totally qualified, decent candidate who has spent her life trying to help the poor and oppressed – especially women and children. And they would have to admit that Trump is a know-nothing bully, who is dangerously unstable, a liar and a cheat, who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House.

Of course, that kind of newscasting wouldn’t hold audiences for long. The cable TV stations need constant “controversy” to sustain viewers’ attention all day, every day.

Fortunately, there are other TV channels  for us to watch – those that show old movies, for example.  And that’s what we should all be doing between now and November.

 

A (Joking?) Call to Arms

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Of course Donald Trump was joking when he suggested there could be a “Second Amendment” solution to a Hillary Clinton presidency. No sane person would seriously make a remark like that.

But who says Trump is sane?

And who says he doesn’t speak for his party?

It’s not the first time a Republican candidate has used “Second Amendment” as a euphemism for armed resistance. In the 2010 midterm elections, Republican candidate Sharon Angle argued that Americans should consider a “Second Amendment” remedy to government actions they don’t like.

And in 2012, Republican candidate Joni Ernst said she carries a gun not only to protect her family but also to defend her rights if the government tries to take them away.

As the American population evolves and the white Republican base diminishes, party strategists can see nothing but defeat in their future. And it looks as if they are trying to create a political climate in which a violent alternative to democracy is acceptable – at least to their base.

One tactic is to question the legitimacy of the democratic process. You saw it with the Birther movement, which absurdly insisted that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. You saw it when the party’s “Gingrich wing,” argued that Bill Clinton’s presidency was  not legitimate because he had won by trickery.

And from time to time, you’ve heard some high ranking Republican criticize the electoral process as “rigged.” When ACORN was unfairly accused of winning the election for Obama, for example. How? By voter fraud.

Yes, voter fraud. You know, those minorities and poor people, they just keep voting over and over, so the states have to pass oppressive laws to keep them from voting even once.

But how do you vote more than once? Surely, the folks at the polls have safeguards that let them know whether you already voted if you try to vote again? Apparently not if you’re black, Hispanic or poor.

Actually, the “voter fraud”  story has been debunked time and time again. But that doesn’t matter to the Republicans. They insist the Democrats can win only by cheating.

And, of course, Trump has taken up the cry. He is already branding the November elections “rigged.”

I find that ominous. Is he preparing his base for a “Second Amendment” response to a “rigged” election?

Nobody sane would do that, of course.

But who says Trump is sane?

 Trump’s conspiracy theory

His party’s conspiracy theories