Yes, I’m a Rachel Fan


 

Has it been nine years, Rachel? Nine years???  Even taking weekends and nights-off into account, that has to be more than 2,000 shows.  And I don’t think I’ve missed a week’s worth. Yes, I confess. I’m a fan.

Sandra grumbles about that thing you do with the papers, shuffling them as if they contain notes you need to read. Everybody knows you don’t need notes. You probably don’t even need your teleprompter.

But I don’t mind. Shuffle papers all you want. Make faces. Wave your arms. If that’s what gets you off, I’m OK with it.

So what if you seem to wear the same outfit every night? So what if you don’t show off your legs like those other female anchors? And so what if you don’t wear makeup? I know you have legs even if I never see them. And you don’t need makeup. You look just fine without it.

And you’re so much more than a pretty face, anyway!

What you have, Rachel, is brain power. You cut through the BS like Alexander the Great slashing the Gordian Knot. And you’re brave. You don’t cower. You speak truth to power.

Of course you’re number one in cable news.  Who would watch Fox or CNN when they can get the real picture from you? Not me. And I have lots of company – as many as 4.1 million other viewers!

So why are you skipping Friday nights all summer long? I don’t want to watch troop movements and hear about faraway wars. I want to watch and hear you.

Come back, Rachel! Come back!

More on Rachel

 

Good Riddance, Governor

 

So the Democratic governor of West Virginia says he is changing parties. So I say, “Good riddance.”

Governor Jim Justice (photo) is the kind of Democrat  that drags the party down. Left to me, the Democrats wouldn’t wait for these Blue Dogs to quit, they would proactively send Justice and his ilk packing.

There have been defections in the past. You may recall the Southern Democrats, for example. These pathetic bigots defected when the Democrats championed civil rights. And now they’re just a footnote to America’s history while the party lives on.

Justice is no Democrat. He is a coal baron.

He is also a suck-up. He is craven enough to make his announcement at a Trump rally, where he knows he will get  brownie points from the president and cheers from the crowd.

That shows a lack of Democratic DNA.

Real Democrats don’t suck up. Real Democrats are proud champions of working Americans, defenders of the oppressed, supporters of the poor and the sick.

Real Democrats protect our precious planet from the looters and plunderers who would ravage its resources and contaminate its earth and water for their own profit.

Cleansed of moles like Justice, the Democratic Party can better pursue policies of  compassion, common sense and the common good, instead of doing the bidding of coal barons and Wall Street wolves.

And the Democratic Party will emerge triumphant as American voters inevitably realize what’s best for themselves, their children and generations yet unborn.

Justice’s announcement

More on Justice

More on Southern Democrats

 

Making up the News

One of the far right’s favorite ploys is accusing political opponents of dirty deeds they have done or are planning to do.

The “fake news” meme is an example.

I’m sure you agree that there’s fake news in circulation. But you also have to agree it’s coming overwhelmingly  from the right.

And it’s not just the crazy web sites that are guilty. Fox News is also a hotbed of misrepresentation and outright lies.

A lawsuit filed against Fox by private detective Rod Wheeler exposes the ugly depths to which the cable channel’s “journalists” sink in support of their right-wing agenda.

As reported Tuesday by Brian Flood of The Wrap:

Fox News and a Donald Trump supporter worked together to make up a story about the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee aide, in order to distract viewers from growing concerns regarding Russian collusion, according to claims made in a lawsuit that has been obtained by The Wrap.

The Fox story (which has become a favorite conspiracy theory among Trump supporters) includes fabricated quotes attributed to Wheeler in an effort to blame Rich for leaking politically damaging DNC emails.

In the lawsuit, Wheeler meticulously documents the way Fox News concocted their fake news story.  The detective said when he confronted Fox reporter Malia Zimmerman about fabricated quotes attributed to him, she said her boss wanted them in her story.

Fox contended that Rich was murdered because he leaked the emails.  The news channel later retracted the story, but the fake news had already spread to the conservative propaganda network.

I have no idea who shot Rich. Police investigators say it was a botched robbery attempt but no suspects have been cited and there’s a lot of skepticism about that explanation.

But I’m sure Rich wasn’t murdered because he leaked DNC emails.

The intelligence community unanimously concluded that Putin’s minions hacked the DNC website and released the emails to sabotage Hillary’s campaign for the presidency.

And I think the Fox folks stooped really low when they falsely accused the young man of being a leaker.

As a spokesman for Rich’s family put it:

It’s sad but unsurprising that a group of media outlets who have repeatedly lied to the American people would try and manipulate the legacy of a murder victim in order to forward their own political agenda.  I think there’s a special place in Hell for people like that

Read The Wrap’s story

 

Trump Could be in Danger

The conservative propaganda machine is touting the notion that “the radical left” is plotting to assassinate Trump. But I think the president has more to fear from organized crime than from political activists.

I can’t see how American and Russian mobsters can let the Muller investigation continue. The special counsel is sure to dig up stuff the mobsters want to keep hidden. And one way of ending the investigation would be Trump’s removal.

Trump’s links to money laundering and other mob activities are no secret. Who knows what else Muller will find if he is allowed to keep digging?

And it’s not just the American mob that might want the Muller probe aborted.

Vladimir Putin is suspected of ordering numerous assassinations. Political opponents, dissident journalists and others who get in his way tend to die violently. Some deaths are made to look like accidents. Others are obvious murder.

He might be happy to keep Trump alive as long as he sees the American president as a useful pawn. But if the investigation of Trump’s past activities threatens Putin and his pals, the Russian “oligarchs” wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate Trump.

I don’t have any evidence that organized crime and the radical right are connected. But I feel in my bones that they are. I know that billionaires are funding the “conservative” revolution in America, and I suspect mob money (domestic and international) might support some of those propaganda web sites.

Perhaps that’s why the right-wing noise machine is fingering leftist activists as potential Trump assassins. They could be diverting suspicion from their allies in the underworld in preparation for the hit they know is coming.

Funding the radical right

 

Let the Washing Begin

Surprise! We have a washing machine! It arrived through torrential rain at 7 a.m. today. And what a washer it is! Huuuuuge!

Sears finally managed to replace the Kenmore in accordance with our home appliance warranty. But it took nearly five weeks.

Weeks of daily badgering from me, two service calls from DLS Appliance Experts to try and repair our unresponsive Kenmore, and a Kafkaesque series of miscues.

At times I suspected Sears of deliberately stalling. It looked as if they hoped I would abandon my efforts to make them live up to our contract. I  even figured the home appliance deal might be a scam.

But it seems Sears’ heart is pure after all. It’s the corporate giant’s brain that’s addled.

Here’s a conundrum for you.

Not five miles from our home is a mall. In that mall is a Sears retail store. In that store are – as they might say in Jamaica – enough Kenmore washing machines “to stone dawg (dogs).”

But when the Sears folks finally give up on their clumsy attempts to revive our Kenmore washer, they don’t just ship me another Kenmore out of their store at the mall.

They buy a massive GE machine that has to be much more expensive than our Kenmore. And they hire a firm in Tampa to deliver it.

As you might know, Tampa is more than 30 miles away from our Lakeland home (and the Sears at the mall).

But I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I guess.

We have a working washer at last. And it didn’t cost a cent more than a $75 service call fee stipulated in the home appliance warranty.

So, with dirty laundry overflowing the laundry room, it’s time to stop complaining and  get washing.

 

Waiting for the Movie


 

I am eagerly looking forward to the Trump movie. No, I haven’t heard that one is in the works, but I’m sure a movie will get made. And it could be hilarious.

I envisage some kind of Godfather spoof.

Think about it. Alec Baldwin as Trump…  Joe Pesci as Anthony Scaramucci… Jim Belushi as Steve Bannon… Roseanne Barr as  Sarah Huckabee Sanders… Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer… Zoey Deutch as Ivanka… Al Pacino as Michael Flynn… Robert De Niro as  the Russian ambassador… James Gondolfini as Felix Sater… Ray Liotta as Jared Kushner… John Cazale as Reince Priebus…

The dialogue would be ready made. Quotes from Scaramucci’s rant, for example. And those raunchy gems from Trump’s lawyers.

Best of all perhaps are Trump’s own quotes, his tweets and that infamous confession about where he grabs attractive women. Of course, the movie would have to be R rated at best.

I know what you’re thinking. The Trump White House is no laughing matter. It’s a tragedy. But it’s a lugubrious tragedy with farcical episodes.

To quote Robert De Niro:

America was once “an inspiring uplifting drama,” but now has turned into “a tragic dumbass comedy.”

And as Abe Lincoln said, we have to laugh because we must not cry.

Scaramucci’s rant

De Niro’s speech

 

Here We Go Again

I am beginning to feel like Charlie Brown in that classic Peanuts strip. You know, the one in which Lucy keeps pulling the football away when Charlie Brown tries to kick it.

I’m talking about Sears and our washing machine.

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that Sandra and I have been without a washing machine for four long weeks.

The Catch 22 is that I have a Sears Home Warranty plan, and they are supposed to fix my appliances if they break down. So I don’t want to buy a new washer. But Sears has been fixin’ to fix this one for the past month – without success.

They finally phoned a week ago to say they were replacing the Kenmore front loader with a GE model, and it would arrive in “three to five business days.” I’ve been trying since Wednesday to get more specific information but Customer Service hasn’t been able to enlighten me.

“The notes are incomplete,” one lady informed me cheerfully. And that meant there was no data on the delivery date – or on the company assigned to do the delivery.

So I phoned first thing this morning and miraculously the notes seem to have been updated. And the notes say the “estimated delivery date is August 3.”

This has to be some kind of scam. They must be trying to make me give up and buy a new washing machine. No company can be as messed up as Sears seems to be.

 

Trump’s True Believers

I was wondering why any American would still believe Trump’s baloney, then Rickie, my neighbor across the street, gave me a clue.

He and I get completely different information.

I get my “facts” from CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo News and the local newspaper. His “facts” come from web sites like Alex Jones and Breitbart.

In my world, Trump is a  bully and a thug whose sanity is in question.

In Rickie’s world,  Trump is a brilliant, generous reformer who is being persecuted by an evil establishment. In the face of hostility and obstruction, he is getting things done and fulfilling his promise to “make America great again.”

Obviously, Rickie isn’t getting his “facts” from the mainstream media.

Does that mean the residents of at least 17 US states no longer depend on mainstream media for their information?

For in those states, Trump enjoys an approval rating of at least 50 percent.

And in 15 other states his approval is at least 40 percent.

No kidding.

If you look at the accompanying map (click on the map to enlarge it) , you will see that many of Trump’s states are rural and thinly populated, states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Montana and Wyoming. But they also include big, rich states like Texas and Arizona.

Don’t these folks listen to TV? Don’t they read the newspapers? Or is it that they buy Trump’s lie about “fake news”?

If so many people believe the “fake news” propaganda, American democracy is in trouble.  For a democracy to function, the people must have reliable information and accept it as accurate.

Dictatorships flourish when the people are fed false facts by state controlled news outlets. Despots and demagogues thrive by spreading distrust of the independent media.

What’s really going on

 

A Time for Outrage

 

Is health care a “basic human right,” as some politicians contend? Or is it a privilege, as others insist? And why does it matter?

To me, the real question is not about rights. It’s about basic human decency.

What kind of person would see a neighbor hurt in a car crash or stricken by a heart attack and refuse to help?

Only a monster. Right?

So there must be monsters among us.

These monsters would prevent cancer survivors from getting health insurance, deprive disabled children of the care they get from Medicaid and kick the aged and infirm out of nursing homes.

They argue that their neighbors’ health is not their responsibility. They say it’s the sick who are to blame for their own health problems. They contend disease  is the punishment for bad lifestyle choices. And they insist individuals must pay for their mistakes, not expect the government to bail them out.

Obviously, this is nonsense. Are they suggesting that children should be punished for the lifestyle e choices their parents made? Are they blaming the old and enfeebled for living too long? Are they suggesting that all illness and disease result from lifestyle choices?

And are they so merciless that they would refuse to help those who had made bad choices, anyway?

It’s hard to believe that such people exist. But they do. And their political representatives are scheming to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Legislation being considered by the Senate today would slash Medicaid and leave millions without health care so they can give the rich a lavish tax break.

Surely, no decent American can be silent at a time like this. Surely, there will be a tidal wave of outrage and revulsion across the land.

 

When People are Pawns

 

America is losing its most precious asset – its humanity.  I used to think of Americans as generous, compassionate people. And I still see signs of these admirable traits. In the success of so many crowd funding projects, for example… In the open-handed response to the needs of children’s hospitals… In random tales of individual kindness… In the massive philanthropy of tycoons like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet…

But kindness and compassion are disappearing in politics.

The Senate is supposed to vote today on a health bill that punishes the poor and sick to enrich the powerful and wealthy.

And if it fails, it wll not just be because a few Republican senators balked at its sheer inhumanity but because it does not go far enough to satisfy far-right ideologues.

They want Obamacare reversed completely. Why?

This is not a question of the economy or national secdurity. It’s a matter of life and death. Millions with preexisting conditions, for example, would be unable to buy health insurance. And nearly a trillion dollars would be cut from Medicaid to reduce the taxes  rich families pay.

I cannot see any justification for this kind of cruelty.

The wealthiest Americans don’t need a tax break. Income inequality is already causing major economic and social stress in America.

As technology evolves and automation increases, some sectors of the economy will inevitably suffer while other sectors flourish. In such an environment, the government must intervene to protect the human beings impacted by irresistible change.

But many Americans oppose such government intervention. Like King Canute standing on the shore trying to stem the flow of the tide, they are trying to deny economic reality and turn back the clock.

This devotion to an economic ideal ignores the basic needs of human beings. Humans become mere pawns in a deadly chess game. Our lives no longer matter.

More on the health care vote