We Must Win Wars Again!

Reflections, Lee Teeter, 1988.

Reflections, Lee Teeter, 1988.

War. We need more war. We must win those wars! Fuck people, fuck the environment, fuck the economy, fuck healthcare, all we want is cannon fodder – get your young asses over here so we can kill you for no reason! Jesus Fuck.

In a speech to American governors, President Donald Trump attacked the military, saying “We never win wars anymore. We never fight to win. We have to start winning wars again.’

The message was a preface to Trump’s budget announcement that he plans to increase military spending. The United States already spends more in defense than any other country in the industrial world by multitudes. Trump explained that when he was in high school they won wars with major tank battles. In the past he’s spoken out on the lack of battleships that the U.S. military has.

Trump received four draft deferments during the Vietnam War for bone spurs.

That useless, craven caitiff found a convenient, and monied way to get out of the draft. He’s all for other people dying though. I still remember the name of the Lieutenant on my POW MIA bracelet. No word of him was ever heard, or at least no information was ever released. All the government cared about was covering up the travesty of that so called war. I remember handing out those bracelets, a call to action, a mass remonstrance to our government for their shameful actions. Looks like it’s shameful action time again. Trump will start a war so he can feel like a big man. Any takers on whether or not this asshole will try to reinstate the draft?

Fuck. Fuck you, Trump, fuck every single goddamn person who brought us here.

Full story here.

“Power can be addictive and it can be corrosive.”

Former President George W. Bush leaves after the presidential inauguration on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. CREDIT: Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP.

Former President George W. Bush leaves after the presidential inauguration on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. CREDIT: Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP.

Power can be addictive and it can be corrosive.” Normally, there wouldn’t be anything remarkable about that observation. In this case, there is – it was said by George W. Bush, about the Trump Regime. Colour me stunned.

During an interview on Today, former President George W. Bush responded to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and recent criticisms of the media by speaking in support of religious freedom and the free press.

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush told host Matt Lauer, weighing in on a question about whether the media should be considered “enemies of America,” as Trump said during his speech at CPAC last Friday.

“We need an independent media to hold people like me into account,” Bush said. “Power can be addictive and it can be corrosive. It’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”

[…]

When asked about Trump’s “Muslim ban,” an executive order that prohibits travel by immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, Bush alluded to the constitutional “bedrock of our freedom — a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.” Bush added that he supports an immigration policy that’s “welcoming and upholds the law.”

Bush also supported the call for a special prosecutor to look into alleged Trump campaign ties to the Russian government, saying that he was looking to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to recommend a special prosecutor.

“I think we all need answers,” Bush noted. “I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”

If Bush’s criticisms of Trump sound like they merely restate fundamental American principles, that’s because freedoms of worship and of the press are already part of this country’s constitutional guarantees.

Yet Bush’s statements are also oddly significant given Trump’s harsh criticisms of the press and Islamophobia. Trump rarely restrains himself from condemning Muslims in the aftermath of real or imagined terrorist attacks, but has yet to publicly condemn two deadly attacks perpetrated by Islamophobes since he took office.

Trump has also escalated tensions with the media by calling them the “enemy of the people,” sometimes claiming that major newspapers like the New York Times aren’t reputable simply because they criticize him. As a result, major news organizations like CNN, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, were denied access from the White House’s daily press briefing last week.

Via Think Progress. (There’s video at the link.)

Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one…

A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. CREDIT: AP /Rich Pedroncelli.

A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. CREDIT: AP /Rich Pedroncelli.

The Trump administration may weaken or eliminate the provision for full coverage of contraception in the Affordable Care Act, experts say, and it may not require any action from Republican allies in Congress.

The provision that allows women to receive full coverage for birth control — including insertion and removal of an IUD — could be eliminated or at least weakened through regulations, guidance, or law. Reproductive rights advocates are also waiting to see whether the Trump administration will continue to defend the mandate in the courts on Tuesday.

Newly minted Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price has a record of dismissing women’s need for full coverage of birth control. In an interview with Think Progress in 2012, Price said, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one … The fact of the matter is this is a trampling on religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”

During his confirmation hearing, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) asked Price about his 2012 statement on birth control because her constituents say birth control without a co-pay is essential to their health care. Price refused to commit to full coverage of birth control.

“There are avenues in the heath care system that doctors and hospitals take to make sure people can get the health care they need,” Price answered.

Price seems to think contraception is like having a doctor fill up a bag with pharmaceutical samples of something or other, to help out patients who can’t afford prescriptions. That sort of thing is usually done for a one time treatment. Contraception doesn’t work like that. As a former physician, I’m sure Mr. Price is aware of that, but that’s not as important as preventing people from having healthcare, especially those awful women. The way Price and his fellow travelers feel about it, contraception is a lifestyle choice, not a health issue.

Planned Parenthood clinics told NPR that, since the election of President Donald Trump, they have received more calls than usual from women interested in booking appointments for IUDs. An IUD is one of the most effective methods of birth control, since it is more than 99 percent effective. Without coverage provided by the mandate, a woman who works full time at minimum wage may have to pay a month’s salary for the cost of getting an IUD, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Women who use contraceptives consistently and correctly only account for 5 percent of all unintended pregnancies. But with financial barriers to access — especially access to effective but costly methods such as IUDs — women’s ability to prevent unintended pregnancies is significantly hampered.

41 years ago, I got an IUD through planned parenthood. At that time, I was a paid member, so it didn’t cost me a thing. I don’t remember the membership cost, but it was around 25 or 35 dollars. Way back then, people in general were favorable towards accessible, inexpensive birth control. There was still a very heavy stigma attached to single parenthood, and it was still considered to be shameful to be pregnant out of wedlock. The stigma was starting to fade in 1975, but it was still strong enough that the reasoning was contraception and pregnancy prevention was better than a bunch of single mothers. It was also easy  and hassle free to obtain an abortion back then. How things have changed.

In addition to what is happening in the courts, it is possible that an executive order could greatly expand exemptions for companies with religious or moral objections. A leaked draft of an executive order, first obtained by The Nation and Reveal earlier this month, would significantly weaken the contraception guarantee.

The order would appear to exempt any “closely held for-profit corporations” with moral or religious objections to meeting the requirements of the provision and lets them exclude coverage for contraception. Under the Obama administration’s religious accommodation, insurance companies have to provide separate coverage to women at no additional cost. Kinsey Hasstedt, senior policy manager for the Guttmacher Institute, said the draft is cause for concern, even though an official order has not been released.

“The leaked draft executive order would expand accommodations so it would be simpler for employers to reject some or all birth control options,” Hasstedt said. “It would be a dramatic expansion of exemptions.”

This draft uses broad terms to define religious freedom and requires the Department of Justice to defend “religious freedom.” It does specifically mention objections to abortion, contraception, and premarital sex, however.

The Religious Reich Republicans have been salivating for ages over the chance to kill off accessible, affordable contraception, and it looks like that chance has arrived. Think Progress has the in-depth coverage on this issue.

A Change Is Gonna Come.

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh, and just like the river I’ve been a-runnin’ ever since.
It’s been a long, a long time comin’,
but I know, oh-oo-oh,
a change gon’ come, oh yes, it will.

It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time comin’,
But I know, oh-oo-oh,
A change gonna come, oh yes, it will.

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around.
It’s been a long, a long time coming, but I know, oh-oo-oh,
A change gon’ come, oh yes, it will.

Then I go, oh-oo-oh, to my brother and I say, brother, help me please.
But he winds up knocking me back down on my knees, oh.

There’ve been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time comin’,
But I know, oh-oo-oh, a change gonna come, oh yes, it will.

– Sam Cooke, 1964.

Please, please, sign the letter to Mr. Trump. Share, get the word out, gather those voices!

And thanks to Kreator:

(Turn on the captions!)

Everything Changes
(Julio Numhauser)
English Translation: Sara Kärrholm

What is superficial changes
What is profound also changes
The mindset changes
Everything in this world changes
The weather changes over the years
The shepherd changes his flock
And just as everything changes
That I change is not strange

The finest diamond changes
Its shine from one hand to another
The little bird changes its nest
The feelings of a lover changes
The wayfarer changes his course
Even if this harms him
And just as everything changes
That I change is not strange

Changes everything changes
Changes everything changes

The sun changes its run
When the night subsists
The plant changes and dresses
In green for the spring
The wild beast changes its fur
The hair of the old man changes
And just as everything changes
That I change is not strange

But my love does not change
However far away I am
Nor the memory or the hurt
Of my land and my people
And what changed yesterday
Must change again tomorrow
Just as I change
In this faraway land

Changes everything changes
Changes everything changes

Please, sign the letter!

Back to the 1970s.

Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, 07/1972.

Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, 07/1972.

Trash and Old Tires Litter the Shore at the Middle Branch of Baltimore Harbor, 01/1973.

Trash and Old Tires Litter the Shore at the Middle Branch of Baltimore Harbor, 01/1973.

Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue Bridge. Looking East from West 13th Street, Are Obscured by Smoke from Heavy Industry, 07/1973.

Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue Bridge. Looking East from West 13th Street, Are Obscured by Smoke from Heavy Industry, 07/1973.

Something else people had to protest about, and fight tooth and nail to implement change – the utter disregard and damage being done, not only to our environments, but to all life. People fought like hell for change, and it took time, but change was effected. The photos? Life pre-EPA. It was wasn’t pretty. It was a choking stink. It was piles of garbage everywhere. Now the EPA has been gutted, and the Tiny Tyrant has been busy rolling back every single bit of fucking progress made in this area. A lot of people reading this weren’t born yet in the early ’70s. Unfortunately, you’re going to get a right taste of what it was like, and not in a good way.

More photos? See here. Feel like a bit of reading? See here.

The Police State of America.

Area

Back in 2014, this was one sentence in a long comment written to an oblivious ass about events in Ferguson, Missouri:

A lot of us recognize the dire nature of this situation, and that sooner or later, that rumble will mow down our towns.

The rumble is here. It’s been here for a while, those at the No DAPL camp got to see it up close and personal, more than once. That noise you hear is the boot stomp of a police state, soon to be wherever you live in the States. Legislators have been busy for a while, coming up with various ways to strip people of their rights, and to punish them severely for attempting to exercise those rights. We’re not only back to the bad old days of COINTELPRO (don’t need that anymore, they have Palantir), it’s much worse now. Lately, I’ve been posting a bit of music every day, from the bad old days, which reflected the protests and fights we were in, music which helped to mobilize people. Turns out, we need that more than ever now. Young people, unlike old farts like myself, don’t have the experience of just how far our government is willing to go to shut down dissent. While past experience informs my current alarm, what’s happening now is worse. Much, much worse. Don’t be thinking it’s okay because you aren’t the protesting kind of person – your rights have been shredded and tossed to the wind too. Once open dissent is shut down, it’s never long before it isn’t safe to criticise or be thought unloyal. The loyalist business has already infected the white house, and that’s gotten worse too, with people being fired for having been critical of Trump.

Flint Taylor, a founding partner of the Chicago-based People’s Law Office, told AlterNet that he believes that Trump’s three executive orders on crime and policing have emboldened these state-level initiatives. One decree, titled “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers,” is premised on the false claim that there is a war on cops. The order instructs the executive branch to “develop strategies, in a process led by the Department of Justice (Department) and within the boundaries of the Constitution and existing Federal laws, to further enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.”

Sessions, who heads the DOJ, has said that he does not believe systemic police brutality is a problem worth addressing.

“The language of this executive order is focused on ‘preventing violence,’ which was the exact language of the memoranda that former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wrote justifying the neutralization—i.e. destruction—of everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to the Black Panthers,” said Taylor. “One of the key aspects of COINTELPRO was to ‘prevent violence.’ That was the cover for destroying movements.”

“Together with all the other preliminary indications from the Trump administration, this executive order bodes extremely ill, particularly for communities of color, in terms of unleashing the already awesome and racist power of police departments in cities across the country.”

Meanwhile, right-wing Republicans in Congress, with apparent backing from the Trump administration, are advancing efforts to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The initiative, which emanates from far-right conspiracy theories that the Sunni Islamist group is infiltrating the U.S. government, is aimed at crushing Muslim civil society organizations at the core of resistance to Trump.

Amidst a climate of authoritarianism, anti-protest laws are advancing alongside so-called Blue Lives Matter bills that protect police officers under hate crime laws meant to safeguard historically oppressed communities. These initiatives are spreading across the country, with Republicans now in control of roughly two-thirds of the partisan legislative chambers in the United States.

“I definitely think there are a lot of Republicans who feel that Trump is a dog whistle to start writing bills that infringe on people’s rights, because we’re seeing that on a federal level,” said Grimm. “They are taking advantage of this time to make sure that people who don’t agree with them don’t have the right to express that. This is how you move toward fascism and nationalism, by getting rid of dissent.”

That’s just a bit of the full article running down all the current legislation looking to strip rights and quash dissent.

There’s also this:

Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.

Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Federal Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.

The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal cell phones.

Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media. It’s not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The State Department’s legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks — that memo was immediately posted by the Washington Post.

But with mounting tension inside the West Wing over stories portraying an administration lurching between crises and simmering in dysfunction, aides are increasingly frustrated by the pressure-cooker environment and worried about their futures there.

Full story at Politico. It should not need to be said that open, transparent governments don’t need to fear leaks. Authoritarian regimes, however…

A Tiny Trump Tantrum.

CL

Our terribly thin-skinned temper tyrant has declared he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. The tweet was uncharacteristically restrained, I suspect a staffer tweeted while Trump was raging a tantrum in the hallowed halls. Perhaps Alec Baldwin can host, or our former President, who recognizes fun when he sees it, and who owned his performance:

C5jOdozXQAAFHOx

Yes, please do! I don’t think Mr. Obama dare do that though, people would most likely not let him go.

No U.S. President has missed the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner since 1981. But one day after major news outlets were banned from a briefing with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump announced that he’s breaking the 36-year streak.

The dinner, which dates back to 1921, is a time for the president and press to exchange jokes about one another, while reaffirming the important role that news outlets play in a democracy. On Saturday afternoon, Trump tweeted that he’s skipping the annual event.

[…]

Just one day before Trump’s announcement, Press Secretary Sean Spicer prohibited CNN, the New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Politico from attending his daily briefing. He reportedly handpicked the news outlets allowed to attend, including well-known conservative organizations like Fox News, Breitbart, and the Washington Times. The Associated Press and Time decided to boycott in solidarity with the banned reporters.

The outright suppression of the press followed weeks of Trump claiming reputable news organizations report “fake news.” Earlier this month, he tweeted that news media is the “enemy of the American People” — similar to the type of propaganda used to discredit the press in Nazi Germany.

[…]

Trump’s attacks on the media have coincided with damning reports about members of his administration colluding with Russian officials. His decision to skip the annual dinner is just the latest symbol of Trump’s authoritarian leanings.

Full story at Think Progress.

Darkness, Darkness.

One of the best songs. The year was 1969, and this song ended up being the chosen anthem of the Vietnam war, by those stuck fighting it. It may not be war now, not yet anyway, but we’re in a fight against the worst of darknesses, of draconian laws and mass oppression. Help to fight, add your signature to the letter.

Darkness darkness, be my pillow
Take my head and let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your dream

Darkness darkness, hide my yearning
For the things that cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Towards the things I cannot see now
Towards the things I cannot see now
The things I cannot see now

Darkness darkness, long and lonesome
Is the day brings me here
I have found the edge of sadness
I have known the depths of fear

Darkness darkness, be my blanket
Cover my with the endless night
Take away away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now
The emptiness of right now
Fill the emptiness of right now

Darkness darkness, be my pillow
Take my head and let me sleep
In the coolness of my shadow
In the silence of my dream

Darkness darkness, be my blanket
Cover my with the endless night
Take away away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now
In the emptiness of right now
In the emptiness of right now

– Jesse Colin Young.

Please, if you haven’t, sign the letter.

Sunday Facepalm.

batman_legox750

Did you know the latest Lego Batman flick promotes the …. Gay Agenda!?! It does. Even worse, it promotes gay adoption, oh no! I haven’t seen the latest Lego superhero flicks, but I’ve seen the others, and they are nice, lightweight fun. I even have a little Lego Batman somewhere. It’s possible Batman met the rats and lost. Anyroad, John-Henry Westen of Life Site is a tad upsetty over all the homo queerness infecting Lego Batman.

It was chock full of pro-gay propaganda. Think the sexual innuendo of the Flintstones minus the real humor. It seemed the creators were so anxious to subtly indoctrinate the little ones into the gender ideology that making it humorous came as a distant second thought.

You watch The Flinstones for sexual innuendo? And humor? Really. I think some xians should simply not be allowed to watch television or movies. That stuff isn’t mentioned in the bible, anyway. Mr. Westen couldn’t actually be bothered to be specific about what bothered him, or provide examples of that chock fullness of the gay. Instead, he quotes a rambling, rather strange review by Michael Hamilton at PJ media, who apparently had a really difficult time with a few “my two dads” references, along with Batman and The Joker resolving their relationship into one of happy hate, realizing that a superhero will always need a villain, and I guess in this case, The Joker really needs the attention of a superhero, or else it’s just not fun. I’m sure I’ll see this at some point, and enjoy it in the same way as the others. They all fall a little flat here and there, humour wise, but I’m not a sprog, either, so what do I know about what they might find screamingly funny? Mostly, the latest Lego effort is about the importance of family, even for stoics like Batman, and sometimes, you have to make that family yourself. That seems a good message to me.

I have to wonder if either of these men watched the 1960s Batman, because I did, and that was one of the most flamingly camp shows ever. I loved that show, and I can guarantee it had a hell of a lot more innuendo than a slew of Lego movies will ever have. To the Batpoles! And as far as Jokers go, Cesar Romero was the most flamboyantly fabulous Joker ever, and always will be. I think the Christian homophobes are better off coping with the minor league jokes of Lego movies, but definitely stay away from Batman.

Cesar-Romero-as-The-Joker

Cesar Romero as The Joker. He had style.