Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy now? (or, the Age of the Orange Quisling)

This isn't going to be a post detailing the idiocy and ethical bankruptcy of our incoming President. That's all been detailed (and will continue to be detailed) on sites such as this. Instead, this is about how he got to where he is, and why it terrifies the hell out of me.

Donald J. Trump, you see, is the beneficiary of Russian hackers. Hackers who were almost certainly hired by this guy, who has taken great care to turn his own country into a massive human rights shithole after years of manipulating domestic politics, instituting repressive measures against opposition political movements and NGOs alike and an occasional convenient invasion of nearby countries such as Ukraine or Georgia. Trump's ties to that guy are more than a little, shall we say, blatant despite his protestations to the contrary. And then there's this little tidbit:

The FBI and five other intelligence and law enforcement agencies are working together on an investigation into whether Russia’s government secretly helped President-elect Donald Trump win the election, according to a new report.

The collaborative probe is partially focused on whether any covert money from the Kremlin financed hacking operations to benefit Trump’s campaign, 
McClatchy reported Wednesday.
Two people familiar with the matter told McClatchy the intelligence agencies involved include the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA) and representatives for the director of national intelligence. Two law enforcement agencies — the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — are also participating.

According to McClatchy, the interagency working group is informal and began scrutinizing possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race last spring. A key mission of the six-agency team, it said, is examining who financed the email hacks of major Democratic Party sources last year.
Admittedly, all of this made lead to nothing - but I doubt it. Why? Mainly due to the fact that when pressed by reporters during what can safely be termed the Press Conference of Doom Trump's response  later Tweet was just a bit, well, unbalanced:

President-elect Donald Trump vehemently denied that Russia has compromising material on him or that he has any personal connection to the country, tweeting on Wednesday morning that "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me" and asking his followers "are we living in Nazi Germany?"

The reaction of CIA director John Brennan, although calm in comparison, wasn't exactly supportive:

“What I do find outrageous is equating an intelligence community with Nazi Germany,” Brennan said on "Fox News Sunday." “I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.”
Brennan also defended the intelligence chiefs' decision to share the information with Trump.
“Bringing to the attention of the president-elect as well as the current president that this information was out there was a responsibility, in the mind of the intelligence directors, of the intelligence community," Brennan said.

The CIA director also responded to claims by the Trump campaign that the intelligence community is attempting to undermine and delegitimize Trump.
“Making sure that the president-elect himself was aware of it, I think that was the extent of what it was that the intelligence chiefs wanted to do," he said.
Brennan also vowed support for the new Trump administration.

Brennan has my sympathies. If I were in his shoes, I'd be heading for the exit about a minute after Trump becomes President. Not that he'd be alone in that, of course.

Problem is, how do you get out from under the fact that Trump seems completely oblivious to any concerns about this issue? Or the fact that most of the nominees for his cabinet look like a Russian-style oligarchy just waiting to happen? Or that most of them aren't exactly prime examples of doing anything other than previously wanting to dismantle the department he's being put in charge of (Rick Perry) or defending school kids from Grizzly attacks everywhere but not much in the way of promulgating public education (Dominionist Christian and Amway heir Betsy DeVos)?

Thing is, you don't. Congress has to.

Lotsa luck with that. We'll all need it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year, fellow serfs

Happy New Year, all.

I'm afraid that I may have lost my temper a bit about the situation concerning the Arizona Diamondbacks, but you may agree with me a lot more if you read this link.

Or you could just cut to the chase and read my rant from Facebook, reproduced here:

I had a rough day at work. So rough, in fact, that I fully and vehemently agree with former Maricopa County supervisor Andy Kunasek when he allegedly told Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick to “take your stupid baseball team and get out” and go back to “fucking West Virginia”.

The audacity of having yet another one of these kleptocratic, self-centered multimillionaire pukes gouge yet another local community out of money for their own personal paean to the greatness of themselves just about takes the cake for sheer chutzpah - and then shits it back out for the rest of us mere mortals to subsist on. It gets better, of course. Is Kendrick a political and financial ally of the Koch brothers? Of course he is. Does he come off as much of a whiner about how wronged his team is legally in addition to coming off as an utter greedhead? Well, he's suing Maricopa in order to get out of his current lease, isn't he?
I'm sick of all this shit. All. Of. It. If it wasn't for my continued interest in sports as actual sports and not glorified pro wrestling, I'd take every one of these shitbag owners, line them up against the wall at an struggling-but-succeeding inner city school (you know, the type that especially need the funds these assholes demand) and then have every single member of that school's honor roll piss on them from the roof. Because none of them deserve the dignity of being the subject of a firing squad. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Now reading

Safe House by Andrew Vachss.

John Glenn, 1921-1916

It's the end of an era for any of number of reasons, but this column by Charles P. Pierce puts it especially well:

In 1984, when John Glenn was preparing to run for president, I sat down in a bar on Beacon Hill in Boston for a chat with one of his chief strategists. This fellow smacked my gob across the room when he said that the campaign was planning to "downplay the hero stuff." My god, I thought. Without The Hero Stuff, Glenn was just a kind of boring old sod from Ohio. Without The Hero Stuff, he wasn't the first American to orbit the Earth. He wasn't the guy who spent the last of those orbits in a tiny spacecraft with a problem the gravity of which the folks on the ground could only guess. Without The Hero Stuff, he wasn't…an astronaut.
Those of us of a certain age remember when the evening news had some wonder to it. We remember when the country's ambitions weren't measured in profit and loss, and when people thought we could do anything if we put our mind to it. "The government" wasn't this cramped and alien thing, but the vehicle through which we could achieve the damnedest things. We watched the launches in our classrooms, the nuns working the beads furiously.
We were all part of The Hero Stuff.
John Glenn died Thursday at the age of 95. There aren't many of them left anymore. Pretty soon, there won't be any of them alive, and there were only a few of them who knew what it was like anyway. Some are long forgotten, and a very good thing is going with them.