Harrington Blog 2

Beg Your Pardon, President Obama, but I was Just Wondering If…

by jharrin4

 

Day 5 of 2017. That means Barack Obama has 14 days remaining as our current President. On January 10th, from his home base of Chicago,  Mr. President will deliver a speech in front of a large live audience at a lakefront venue. The speech will also be screened on the White House Facebook page, and the White House website. Major broadcast networks are expecting to cover at least some of the evening’s address.

Citing President George Washington delivering a “farewell” presentation just before he left office, Mr.Obama is (according to numerous media mavens) said to have been crafting a similarly themed message, which will include thanking his various staffers, important administration appointees, and thoughts on “where we all go from here”. I’ve read that the speech is also designed to aid in the “smooth transition of power”.

Yes, about that power shift. Recall the November 8th, 2016, election. You know, the election that resulted in Democrat Hillary Clinton garnering nearly 3 million more votes than her Republican challenger, Donald Trump. However, the popular vote is not the arbiter of winning or losing an election for President. There’s that “electoral college” component, as well. In spite of not even coming close to winning the “popular” vote, Trump received more votes in enough states that generate “electors” for each state, and depending on the state’s population, those electors range in number between 3 and 54. Whatever candidate reaches 270 in this process is declared the winner. In that respect, Trump exceeded Clinton 306-232. Seemingly, a few  “battleground” states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were extremely close calls, but with Trump squeaking out wins by a combined total of about 107,000 in these three states, out of 13,097,321 combined votes.

Wow. Razor thin wins for Trump. That’s less than a 1% margin of victory. Coincidentally, those three states, as with many other “red” states (controlled by Republican legislatures) had so-called voter “fraud” protection laws in place, requiring special pieces of identification to be presented at the polling stations. These laws are considered  a solution  in search of a problem. There is virtually NO voter fraud in election history.One in millions and millions of votes having been cast, at worst. What they actually represent are voter suppression laws, with the targeted voter being college students, seniors, disabled persons or anyone who by strategic demographic designations, tend to vote Democratic. I am compelled to wonder how many such potential voters failed to meet these voter I.D. requirements in those three pivotal states? It had to have had an impact.

While those anti-democratic red-state laws have been around for many an election cycle, there is now also a documented (by Greg Palast, a credible investigative journalist), an even more corrupt practice of “interstate cross-checks,” a gambit that does its nefarious work by targeting certain people who possess distinct ethnic or racial surnames (African-American, Hispanic and Asian for the most part). How does it work? Let’s say there’s one person, oh let’s say someone named Edward Watson, living in one red state, and another, different, Edward Watson, living in another red state. The “cross-check” between the two states blatantly assume that it’s the exact same Edward Watson, attempting to vote twice, but in two different states. Sounds absurd, right?  Well, each state waits for its Mr.Watson to show up at the polls, where each has been flagged, and their names have already been scrubbed from their ballot place listings. I am not making this up! If you doubt it, again, look up Greg Palast. He has the proof.

Call this sour grapes blogging but the evidence is clear that this recent election for President was impacted by sinister tinkering. It’s what resulted in those electoral college numbers that can negate a popular vote margin of victory, be it 3 million or even more. These factors resulted in one media outlet stating the electoral college, when it sanctioned the state-by-state elector votes, “confirmed the runner-up of the election the winner”.

In my world, this is a dangerous development. It was what happened to Al Gore in 2000, when he lost the electoral college vote when the Supreme Court directed the state of Florida to stop counting votes, giving the election to George W. Bush in spite of Gore getting 500,000 more popular votes.  I used to think that nothing was more sacrosanct than the right to vote, and for that vote to be counted.

Not any more.

Thus, while President Obama is two weeks from being an ex-President, that soon-to-be President, “runner-up” or not, happens to be an ex-reality television creature, and long-time real estate hocus pocus practitioner. Known simply as The Donald to many, Mr.Trump  improbably won the Republican nomination after a long series of debates, first  his GOP hopefuls, then against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. I say improbable because, as was made perfectly clear during each debate, The Donald casually denigrated and belittled his opponents displaying a crude contempt for not just the other debaters, but even the debate moderators. Ad hominem attacks were common, in the extreme. His blunt and rather shocking insensitivity made a charade of the supposed formal context of the debate format. Rather than comporting himself like a candidate for President, he trashed talked  as if he were a besotted patron perched on a dive bar stool, blustering and blathering away, talking over others, criticizing their looks, their clothes, dismissing alternative opinions like the classical loudmouth who knows better than anyone; a thin-skinned, pompous ass who has to have the last word, using personal insults in lieu of possessing any actual profundities. You know, the type of tipsy blowhard who spews out one too many put-downs and finally gets the bum’s rush, with a boot up the ass and a bloody nose for good measure.

Well, maybe that happens at the corner tavern, but in the national spotlight, Mr.Trump was never held to account, not by the Republican Party, not by the event moderators (though some gave it a feeble attempt) and certainly not by the national, mainstream media. Rather than this show being cancelled, it was as though the public was invited to watch a surreal, aberrational, looping episode of Archie Bunker meets Cheers meets The Onion. Someone, please, has to pull the plug on this show!

No way. Like one of those over-the-top TV commercials selling some piece of consumer crap, the come-on, the offer always has more to offer, as in but, wait, there’s more! Just when you thought The Donald couldn’t top himself, each debate was the analog of but wait, there’s even more! Trump, the “brand,” the “product, was the flesh and blood incarnation of wait, there’s still even more! For example, along the campaign trail and in the debates he felt comfortable and confident in asserting: Mexican are likely rapists and/or drug dealers; Muslims are all actual or potential terrorists, with a need for establishing a national registry for those of the Islamic faith; the master of the “double-down” on his xenophobia, he then belittled the grieving parents of a Muslim-American Army officer killed in the Iraq conflict; furthermore, Trump denigrated Senator John McCain’s years of being a POW during the Vietnam war, saying he didn’t consider McCain a hero, and that soldiers claiming PTSD also were suspect; pretty offensive in an objective analysis, no? But wait, wait! Yes, there’s even still MORE! Trump blatantly mocked a disabled reporter by mimicking physical and speech impediments; he alluded to Megyn Kelly, a Fox News anchor who was one of the moderators during one of the debates, as a “bimbo,” when he took umbrage at one of her debate questions directed at him, and then, again, doubling down on his grotesque personae, said  “You could see blood coming from her eyes. Blood coming from whatever.” Later, he can be seen and heard bragging that he can grab a woman by her, uh, genitals, without resistance, because, you know, he’s a celebrity.

And least anyone forget, during another debate, he literally invited Russian hackers to compromise the Democratic National Committee’s emails!

Oh, and yes, of course he somehow alluded to his penis size being “no problem” when Marco Rubio, who he referred to as “Little Marco” retorted to Trump that for a man of Trump’s physical stature, his hands appeared unusually small. So very “Presidential”.

With each cartoonish, immature, in-your-face, oh SO un-Presidential deplorable display, he kept the media spotlight. Remember, he was a big hit as the gruff host of The Apprentice. The media made him. He was a ratings goldmine. The counter-intuitive nature of the media’s focus on this wicked style-sans-substance brings to mind the 1975 movie Network, which essentially predicted reality TV and how lowest common denominator content could boost viewership. And while Dr.Frankenstein may have eventually regretted the creature he created, not so with the national media.

And while his opponents had to raise serious money to get a whiff of the spotlight,  President-elect Trump simply had to do exactly what he did. Which was be politically incorrect on steroids, and have an adoring, albeit dangerously irresponsible media, lap up his bile, providing fellow racist, misogynistic, xenophobic viewers to claim him as the best man to run our country. And please don’t anyone try analyzing his voters as anything but profoundly misguided at best, completely stupid at worst. If a person voted for him, that person OWNS all of his aforementioned warts indicative of a seriously flawed human being.

In my last blog entry I noted the alarming cast of characters Trump has nominated for his Cabinet or to be his advisors or staffers. They include a white supremacist (oh, and Trump was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan!). Some of the nominees appear to be in opposition of the very agencies they will command, from the EPA, to education, health and human services, while the Republican congress that he will have in support openly desires to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

There are voices in the nooks and crannies of the secondary electronic and print media that equate the specter of a Trump presidency with the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany.

But wait!  As in President Obama. Begging your pardon but I was wondering if…

…you might have more to say next Monday than so long, thanks to whomever, and here’s what the future can bring. And let’s have a “smooth transition of power”.

Pardon me, and can you pardon the 80% of the citizenry that did not vote for this looming attack on decency and compassion, on our health and safety, by pulling a political rabbit out of a hat? I truly believe that you know what really happened on November 8th. The sanctity of the vote? Government of, by and for the people? Did you not see and hear what was on display? Do you not see that the runner-up is being allowed to “win”? The runner-up who adores Vladimir Putin, and seems to think nuclear attacks are viable options? Did you not notice the FBI Director interfering with the Clinton campaign, along with the Russian hackers?

You have the power of the “pardon” President Obama, an act that demonstrates either a sense of being merciful or seeking to right a wrong

And there is something terribly, terribly wrong with this country at this moment. People should not fear their government. Government should fear its people. But the flim-flam man and the neo-con congress that worships money over people are about to be allowed to take over our country.

Don’t you see, this is not good, President Obama. I know you know…

And what is good Phaedrus, and what is not good–

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

–Plato

And another thing…

by jharrin4

 

The DNC and the pathetic excuse for journalistic truth-seeking can take credit if Hillary doesn’t win on November 8th. The Democratic higher-ups backed the wrong horse in the  race to the White House, and now they are paying for it by watching Hillary gasping for air as the home stretch looms large. She’s still slightly ahead of the nag nagging her in spite of her being the supposed thoroughbred in the race while her snorting opponent, racing WAAAAY out of its class, and not even properly groomed and trained, somehow sticks with her, now close to a neck-and-neck position.

Not that the DNC’s thoroughbred has been handled all that well, either but my god, their  political thoroughbred should have been emulating Secretariat as he demolished his opposition by 25 lengths, circa the 1973 Belmont Stakes. No contest long before they even got into the back stretch! But well, as it turns out Hillary is no Secretariat, and she may be winded now and likely to into fade into ignominy owing to a third horse, this one breaking out of the starting gate rather late but…

…late break or not, the best horse in the race was Bernie Sanders. Bernie was the equivalent of a race horse with little in the way of national recognition, a “claimer” as it were, with small-time backing, 25 lengths behind from the get-go, behind even the rancid nag chasing the big money Philly given all the benefits of her DNC handlers and corporate sponsorship.

So, to complete this race horse analogy, Sanders, who was clearly making up ground rapidly, passing Trump and hearing more and more “go Bernie” cheers from the political grandstands, was shockingly closing in on that Wall Street backed thoroughbred. But Bernie’s cheering section was not loud enough and not deep-pocketed enough to overcome the late start, and the dismissal as a serious, legitimate, competitor by the press and the bumbling DNC stable hands.

Now Bernie is out of the race–in spite of his clearly demonstrating his ability to finish ahead of both the thoroughbred and the smelly nag Trumpling along in the slop. If he were permitted to be taken seriously by the race “experts”.

One of the two remaining creatures left gallomping toward the finish line, snorting and dripping with stinky sweat, has to win. Or maybe they’ll both pull up lame. Nah. My guess is even if both break down, one or the other will be dragged across the finish line. Whatever the case, Bernie, the outsider, the Silky Sullivan in the race who couldn’t overcome the long odds and misdeeds of the media coverage and the DNC stable, will become the scape(horse) of this election if the thoroughbred runs completely out of gas. Yeah! If only that damn Bernie hadn’t come along, she’d wouldn’t have had to burn so much energy before even hitting the first turn. If only those deluded folks who foolishly slammed down their $27 dollar win bets on Bernie had realized the face was fixed all along, and their efforts futile, our thoroughbred would be the easy winner. What, they didn’t get that memo?! How not? The press and the DNC sure kept sending it their way.Are they blind. Can’t they read English?  Inexcusable!

Well, we’ll see. All I knows for sure is that, whoever is declared the winner, there’s a lot of smelly horseshit to be cleaned up afterwards. And Bernie backers need not be asked to lend a hand.

 

The Other Carnival Barkers (not named Trump)

by jharrin4

 

Well, here we are. Barely more than a day away from the first “debate” between Agent Orange and Hillary, the Bland.

Just the way our phony, rigged semi-two party system wanted it. And Bernie Sanders supporters be damned. And also, Bernie-ites, you (and me) $27 dollar average donor to his campaign (totaling millions and millions to his campaign) will we all just please shut the fuck up and GET OVER IT! I mean, after all the primaries were conducted and YOUR GUY LOST!

Oh, and now that we know ever-so-more what any potential voter with a functioning brain knew waaaaay back, that Agent Orange is SO, SO, SO UNFIT to be President, that you former Bernie or Bust crowd HAVE NO CHOICE  other than Ms.Bland. I mean, Jesus fucking Christ Almighty, you Bernie fans, are you actually considering NOT voting to keep that crazy, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, Islamaphobic, hate-mongering, fascist out of the White House?!  Don’t you dumb ass Bernie Kool-Aid drinking misfits not understand that you HAVE NO CHOICE but to vote for that woman?!

I mean, get with the program. The primaries. The public has spoken. It was fair and square. Now face the music. You DO NOT HAVE ANY OTHER CHOICE but to VOTE FOR HER! say the carnival barkers.

*   *   *

That’s the mantra I keep hearing from even some progressives (!!) in the media. And it’s as offensive as hell. It’s such a steaming pile of horseshit. It’s an insult to every person who supported Bernie, perhaps giving much more than $27 to his campaign, because the Democratic primaries were NOT fairly conducted. It has been clearly shown that the DNC undermined the Sander’s campaign, trying everything short of having him kidnapped and confined in some cave, when his non-corporate, populist, enough is enough persona took off and forced the DNC and the status quo, lap dog media, to take him at least slightly seriously. But not seriously serious. By that I mean, both the DNC and the media went into defcon 3 mode, then when he kept winning primaries, bumped it to defcon 4 mode, barely giving him voice in print or on the so-called news programs, and when he STILL kept winning enough primaries, it was defcon 5 and all hands on deck!

Bernie supporters saw the unmitigated bias and contempt that was being visited upon this socialist who railed against the banksters and the job-killing trade deals and the ripping off of college students by way of high interest loans, and the disastrous deregulation of just about every consumer protection policy or environmental protection legislation. He was gaining enough traction that Candidate Bland flip-flopped on her well established business-as-usual, corporatist, hawkish track record.

But the DNC had Debbie Shultz and the same lame and lazy, mile wide, half an inch deep style of “journalism” in full Bernie can’t possibly win mode .  Sander’s climbing polling numbers, in the face of the constant push-back against him, are nothing less than astonishing given his from-out-of-nowhere candidacy. One can only imagine how thorough a thrashing of Ms.Bland it would have been in an ACTUAL fair primary process.

Never mind the poll numbers that threatened the DNC’s cynical, fait accompli coronation of their candidate. The polls constantly showed Bernie easily defeating Agent Orange, you know, that guy who now somehow, some way, has the Bland One in a tight race. But even that couldn’t inject any sense into the DNC and their lousy, really lousy preferred choice of a nominee.

And now, because of their intransigence, their pigheaded refusal who act responsibly about who was really, truly the person in the race who could easily trump Agent Orange, Bernie supporters are lectured over and over, in scolding, condescending fashion, that they HAVE NO CHOICE but to vote for her if they want their country safe from neo-fascism.

The fact that the DNC picked such a weak candidate that her opponent’s grotesquely sociopathic and hate-filled candidacy has her sweating things out speaks so poorly of this dysfunctional, institutional election process, where it has now reached its seeming inevitable nadir with either a buffoon or an empty pant-suited double-talker destined to become our next President.

If the buffoon wins, get ready, Bernie-ites, it’ll be OUR FAULT. And even if the empty suit winds, in a squeaker, Bernie’s people will be scorned for not making it a landslide.

This is one enough is enough, Bernie (his refreshing ideas, his revolutionary essence, even more than the man himself) fan who says, we get the government we deserve. I’m trying to figure out how in the hell this country deserves the government we have right now let alone the dubious one coming our way.

No, wait, I think I DO know…

But never mind. Nothing to see here. Just keep moving along…

 

It’s Playoff Season! Dark Clouds Gather.

by jharrin4

 

This will be a (fairly) brief, but disturbing entry (depending on your rooting interests in my subject matters). It concerns what looms ahead in this fall season of political and baseball showdowns.

First, having listened and directly observed the mainstream news media outlets treatment of the nearly 2 year “race for the White House,” it has become clear as can be that CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and for damn sure, FOX “news” are going out of their way to get Trump elected. One network executive (CBS, methinks) freely admitted that Trump may be less than an ideal President (!) but he sure is good for business. Google or research my assertions all you want and I defy anyone to prove me wrong: Trump= ratings=advertising revenues=profit.  With each passing week, the obsessive fawning over Trump’s every babbling bit of empty, blowhard utterances gets ramped up another notch. Hillary Clinton has to get pneumonia to get some coverage, and all it did for her was cause the media to rush to the Trump campaign and get his/its comments on her situation. There isn’t one iota of credible journalism in the mainstream news coverage regarding Trump’s pronouncements via any challenge to the veracity of his assertions. It’s as though not one person employed in the field of journalism–print or electronic–ever took a class in which critical thinking was invoked (and the basic, required speaking course in high school or college certainly does teach it). If they did, they have forgotten how to distinguish a personal opinion from an inference from a stone cold fact. Trumps speaks. The media regurgitates his political bile and then gives yet more coverage of Clinton’s emails, emails, emails, emails, emails… This will continue, I assure you, debates included. Just think of that Matt Lauer fiasco during the “Commander-in-Chief” interviewing of Trump and Clinton. He should have been fired immediately for being so one-sided in pandering to Trump while pestering about emails, emails, emails, emails, emails with Clinton.

This is why-and the polls now reflect a tighter and tighter race- in the next 7 weeks it will be hard for Trump not to win. Don’t forget the additional fraud of the scurrilous “voter fraud” laws passed in just about every red state (30 or more of them). The FIX IS IN!

On a lighter note: Attention all die-hard, bleed Cubbie Blue Cubs fans. Explain how they are going to handle the pressure of being the favorites to win the World Series (a feat they’ve not accomplished for a mere 108 years) when last night, needing just one more lousy win over one of the lowliest teams in baseball to clinch their division, in front of a frothing-at-the-mouth packed ballpark and Wrigleyville bars jammed with party wannabees, blew a lead and lost. Then it took San Francisco beating St.Louis later in the night to seal the Cubs division title. Some celebration. How pathetic is that? Too much pressure, huh? I will be astonished if this team even gets to the World Series, let alone wins it. That was a choke job last night and they know it. The fans (those die-hards) will let it slide but they are blinded by the press that has fawned over our Lovable Losers as though everyone on the team was named Trump.

However, the Orange-haired Trump knows how to benefit from being in the spotlight, one that shows all his warts but his True Believers and the lap-dog press somehow air brush them away psychologically

The Cubs? Favored to win and winning a World Series?! That’ll happen when a buffoonish, mentally unstable reality TV star becomes President! 

Uh oh! Maybe this IS the Cubs year! Well, life is nothing but trade-offs, eh?

I warned you this was going to be disturbing…

 

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, (a Gonzo farce in full force)

by jharrin4

With a tip of the cap to Hunter S.Thompson, who is credited with being a forefather of so-called gonzo journalism, this blog entry is devoted to him while wishing he were still alive to feast on the farcical and fraudulent ethos of the 2016 campaign for President.  Hunter did have a Gonzogian immersion into the 1972 election, which focused on (ironically) the Democrat’s internal conflicts having to do with George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey each seeking their party’s nomination.

Gonzo journalism is a style of reporting that has little respect for objectivity, and in which the writer becomes as much a part of the story as its external subject matters.  The author thus becomes the protagonist, drawing upon its mojo from a combination of social critique and self-satire. Thompson indeed did “report” on the ’72 election, but the reader had to accept that its author was not going to respect the subject matter’s main characters as anything more than bumbling operatives in some political theater of the absurd. Sarcasm, biting humor and profanity peppered the pages of Hunter’s 1972 contribution to “analyzing” that year’s race for the White House.

But that was then, and this is now. McGovern, Humphrey and Hunter himself are now no longer with us, but I can only imagine what Mr.Thompson could do with the two candidates running for President right now, 59 days out from election day. Hunter, if he had not blown his brains out with a shotgun in 2005, would be all of 78 years old.  He’d have to summon his lingering Gonzo juices and provide his personal brand of reporting, no doubt, given that the two candidates have been documented by polling to be THE two most unpopular candidates in the history of Presidential campaigning. And well deserved is their unpopularity. One is a carnival barking con artist, a flim-flam man who possesses a massive and profoundly flawed sense of self-importance, who specializes in defaming  minorities or various ilk, and then doubling down on his vile assertions of their unworthiness while offering vapid proposals to “make America great again”.  Given the irreverant, satirical send-up of McGovern and Humphrey, each a bonafide, policy wonkish, politically attuned candidate, seemingly thoughtful and measured in their use of campaign rhetoric, the mind reels when Donald Trump takes their place in the cross-hairs of the Gonzo ray gun.

In contrast to the festering funk and fear-mongering, neo-fascist that is the Trump campaign, there is Hillary Clinton. She’s not much more popular than her opponent, but for entirely different reasons. Hillary is not insulting anyone, other than those who remember Bill Clinton’s and her dubious eight-year occupancy of the White House, wherein they managed to be so intensely reviled by their Republican opponents that there were seemingly 24/7 congressional hearing investigating their past and present in hopes of denying them a future at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Having survived that partisan assault–excepting Bill’s dumb ass dalliance with that cutesy intern-the general public likely  hoped never to endure such a nasty and unnecessary clash of Executive and Legislative powers. But while Bill settled for being ex-President, Hillary was only revving up her political motor, first running for and getting elected as a New York state Senator (in spite of being a native of Illinois) and then, after the public chose Barack Obama over her in the 2008 election, she was given a consolation prize of Secretary of State in Barack’s Cabinet.

Do these facts make Hillary Clinton a despicable person, like Trump (that is with the exception of his mostly male, white trash, mouth-breathing, misogynistic followers)? Of course not. But she is still so goddam toxic as a political entity. She’s the military hawk, friend of Henry Kissinger and Wall Street, where profits come before people’s needs, and her unlikeability allowed Bernie Sanders and his populist, progressive ideas to almost derail her supposed express train to the Democratic nomination.

Hunter S.Thompson could skewer either of these two Commander-in-Chief wannabees and give readers the pleasure of his singularly zany analysis in the process. Alas, as noted, Hunter, for reasons that no one but he himself would know, used that shotgun as his send-off from this ever-increasingly cold hearted, absurdist, petty, vicious and violent world. The shotgun blast to the head. That’s making damn sure the limit has been reached, and there’s nothing left to do or say when that trigger is squeezed.  What a shame , though, because there’s not much Gonzo in the coverage of this pathetic excuse of a choice between two differently misaligned ego maniacs who, frankly, should either scare the crap out of everyone or compel them to groan in exasperation in the face of the fraud of our political system and what once was the brand of journalism  that wasn’t afraid to comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.

Hunter Thompson, while maybe not a traditional journalist, laid bare certain truths in the haze of his drug-infused vision quests. Who the hell is telling anyone anything of substance regarding Trump or Clinton? It’s insult fest 24/7, with barely a shred of analysis of either person’s proposals or campaign platforms. No one is laughing, at least not anymore.

59 days and counting.

Made up your mind yet? Or have you just blown yours out, too? 

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