14 December 2017

THANK YOU BLACK WOMEN, SERIOUSLY…

1800 by Jeff Hess


14 December 2017

MAGA! MAGA! MAGA! MAGA! MAGA! MAGA! MAGA…!

1700 by Jeff Hess

Failed waste of human genome, and silly cosplayer, Roy Stewart Moore, ought to best remembered as the only politician brazen enough to fully articulate what all trumpies are thinking when they chant Make America Great Again. At a 17 September political rally in Florence, Alabama, Moore, responding to the question when was America last great? said:

I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another… Our families were strong, our country had a direction.

Yes, this, in the minds of Roy Moore and the trumpettes, is the last time America was great.

Ralph Nader, goes right to the source. Writing in What Does Trump Mean by “Make America Great Again”?, He explains:

Donald Trump’s now ubiquitous slogan, “Make America Great Again!”, is often chanted at rallies, but rarely scrutinized in public discourse. What era in America’s past is Mr. Trump referring to when he says “Again”?

Would Mr. Trump prefer America return to the days of slavery, Jim Crow and labor exploitation in unsafe factories, mines, foundries and plantations? How about the late 19th century when “Robber Barons” monopolized one industry after another? Is he longing for the days when women were second-class citizens and couldn’t vote, until securing this right less than 100 years ago, only to still be paid lower wages Continue Reading »

14 December 2017

SCHOOL HOURS BE CRAY CRAY, FOR REAL…

1600 by Jeff Hess

13 December 2017

2017—A TERRIBLE YEAR FOR DEMOCRACY HERE

1800 by Roldo Bartimole

As we slide toward the end of 2017 it’s hard to see this as a year of progress or advancement. Quite the opposite.

Yes, Cleveland elected the familiar, if not exciting, Frank Jackson for a record four-year fourth term. A Cleveland caretaker mayor. Not the first nor the last to be sure

There is not much to be cheerful about. We continue Cleveland’s stumbling way.

It was a dispiriting year. One that gave us a quick glimpse of possibilities. Then snatched it away.

That made it more depressing and debilitating for civic possibilities.

Cleveland’s 17-member City Council is all-Democratic. It rules, however, about 100 percent Republican on most economic issues.

Bought off by the same old names to rule Cleveland for decades. The powers to keep Cleveland colonized. See Sam Allard’s piece about the same old names buying City Hall for corporate Cleveland.

And this doesn’t account yet for donors to the mayor’s campaign.

Government purchasers.

Hell the same old names from the 1980s-1990s: Ratners, Carneys (they go back to the ’60s if not ’50s… the major league team owners, the developers, the familiar law firms, the DeGeranimos, the Council ticket long-term punchers—John Zayac and Continue Reading »

12 December 2017

SHAME FOR OUR MOST DIVISIVE MONUMENT…

1600 by Jeff Hess

Dr. Martin Luther King knew mountains. Key to his imagery was Mount Nebo, the mountain that Moses stood upon to glimpse the promised land. King invoked that image in 1968 when he delivered his final speech. He said:

And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

The next day he would be assassinated.

Mountains were vital to King. Twice in his 1963 address at the Lincoln Memorial he raised up the image. First, when he said:

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

I believe that he had a particular mountain in mind when he spoke those words. King did not choose words carelessly. As a classically trained rhetorician he agonized over each word, each syllable. So when he said:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

He was focused like a laser.

These lasers…

Shaun King and Sierra Pettengill, reporting in New Film “Graven Image” Shows How Georgia Racists Created a Confederate Myth for The Intercept, write:

Three hundred and fifty million years ago, tens of thousands of feet underground, an earth-shattering magma event took place. Nearly the entire event was invisible to any living creature. Beneath the surface, as the molten hot liquid cooled, miles and miles of underground granite were formed — stretching as far as 50,000 feet in any single direction. In one place, though, the molten liquid erupted above ground to form a most peculiar mountain in the middle of a relatively barren flatland.

That mountainous dome structure is today called Stone Mountain.

To give that some perspective, Stone Mountain was 343 million years old before anything remotely resembling the first human beings emerged on this planet. After that, for about 6,999,900 years of human existence on earth, Stone Mountain stood unscathed in what we now know as metropolitan Atlanta.

It was at that time, in 1915, that the 349-million-year-old mountain became the birthplace for modern movement of the Ku Klux Klan. Mountains, you see, cannot be racist. They are not partisan. They don’t see race or religion. They aren’t bigoted or homophobic. After existing for the entire world to see and enjoy for fifty times longer than human beings had even walked this earth, insecure white men in the Deep South made a natural wonder into something truly ugly.

We can thank Sam Venable for that. A lifelong bigot, he bought Stone Mountain — which in and of itself is fundamentally absurd — in 1887. Venable and his family purchased rock quarries all over Georgia and intended to mine Stone Mountain as well. As much as they were in the rock business, the Venable brothers were in the bigotry business — playing a central role in the early expansion of the KKK and even granting the violent white supremacist organization an easement that existed in perpetuity for them to host their local, regional, and national gatherings there.

In “Graven Image,” a brilliant short film by Sierra Pettengill and produced by Field of Vision, we get the very modern story of the desecration of Stone Mountain.

There is a shining stare in all of this, however. Two years ago Jim Galloway, reporting in A monument to MLK will crown Stone Mountain for the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote:

On the summit of Stone Mountain, yards away from where Ku Klux Klansmen once burned giant crosses, just above and beyond the behemoth carving of three Confederate heroes, state authorities have agreed to erect a monument to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Specifically, an elevated tower—featuring a replica of the Liberty Bell—would celebrate the single line in the civil rights martyr’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that makes reference to the 825-foot-tall hunk of granite: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

“It is one of the best-known speeches in U.S. history,” said Bill Stephens, the chief executive officer of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. “We think it’s a great addition to the historical offerings we have here.”

The “freedom bell” will, in fact, sound from the mountaintop. How often, or when, hasn’t been determined.

I’m puzzled, however, that I can’t find any followup on the story.

11 December 2017

GOP NOW, GOP TOMORROW AND GOP FOREVER…

2300 by Jeff Hess

[Update @ 2300: Trevor Noah makes his case…]

In 14 hours the polls open in Alabama and we will discover what kind of nation we live in.

Much has been made about two 14-year-old girls—Denise McNair and Leigh Corfman—in the special election to decide between a man who successfully convicted McNair’s murderer in 2002 and the man accused of molesting Corfman in 1979. That is the narrative that much of the nation knows.

Michael Harriot, writing in Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones Has Nothing to Do With Little Girls; It’s About White Supremacy for The Root, has another focus:

The electoral death match between Senate candidates Roy Moore and Doug Jones is billed by news outlets across the country as a fight between a child molester and a civil rights hero. Every article written about it alternately examines how Moore preyed on junior varsity cheerleaders or Doug Jones convicted the bombers of one of the most heinous acts of racial terrorism in the history of this country.

It is all a ruse.

Tuesday’s election has little to do with the bodies of little girls—whether they are the ones whose praying bodies were dismembered by the bombs of Ku Klux Klansmen or violated by the preying hands of Roy Moore. It is about the Republican Party’s history of duping poor white voters to vote against their own self-interests so GOP powerbrokers can sustain their stranglehold on the Solid South. It is about the legacy of racism, slavery and inequality.

It is about white supremacy. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I won’t pretend to pull the nuggets from Harriot’s prose. Just go read the whole damn piece.

Really.

10 December 2017

THE INTERCEPT’S TOP 20 FROM 2017…

1700 by Jeff Hess

Yeah, this is a little early, who knows what the president will do in the next 20 days? Still, The Intercept saw fit to publish 20 Intercept Stories From 2017 That Show the Kind of Year It’s Been. Maybe everyone’s going on holiday and they wanted to get this out the portal before the office party.

The editors write:

War crimes, government spying, climate chaos, white nationalism in the White House — if 2017 brought unwelcome developments in the world, it gave The Intercept plenty to write about with urgency and outrage. We published some 1,400 stories this year, shining a light on abuses and corruption from Washington, D.C., to the foreign battlefields of the war on terror. Here are 20 stories that are worth revisiting—or catching up on, if you missed them—as this year full of bizarre and bad news hurtles to a fitting conclusion.

Here—in The Intercept’s order—is their list:

  • The Bizarre Story Behind the FBI’s Fake Documentary About the Bundy Family
  • The Crimes of Seal Team 6
  • Yemeni Women,Children Recall Horror of Trump’s “Highly Successful” SEAL Raid
  • Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock….
  • CIA Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC Hack Theory—at Trump’s Request
  • The Worst of Donald Trump’s Toxic Agenda Is Lying In Wait….
  • The Numbers Don’t Lie: White Far-Right Terrorists Pose a Clear Danger to Us All
  • The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf” Shooter
  • Donald Trump and the Coming Fall of American Empire
  • Barry Jones Was Sent to Death Row for the Murder of a 4-Year-Old Girl….
  • The FBI Has Quietly Investigated White Supremacist Infiltration….
  • Trump Called Duterte to Congratulate Him on His Murderous Drug War….
  • The Sordid Double Life of Washington’s Most Powerful Ambassador
  • More Than 400 People Convicted of Terrorism in the U.S. Released Since 9/11
  • Gary Cohn Is Giving Goldman Sachs Everything It Ever Wanted….
  • Will the Prison Rape Epidemic Ever Have Its Weinstein Moment?
  • Japan Made Secret Deals With the NSA That Expanded Global Surveillance
  • The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms
  • …Town Plagued by Pollution Shows Cuts to the EPA Measured in Illnesses, Deaths
  • Women Visiting Loved Ones… Describe a Pattern of Invasive Searches by Guards
  • There you have them. Twenty stories and twenty days. Begin.

    10 December 2017

    WHO PUNKED CNN, MSNBC, CBS AND TPM…?

    1700 by Jeff Hess

    This has been a sad year for Journalism, and we’ve got 21 days to go. Democracy cannot exist without a free, independent and reliable fourth estate. I just finished reading Bruce Bartlett’s excellent The Truth Matters: A citizen’s guide to separating facts from lies and stopping fake news in it’s tracks. (Jordon Klepper interviewed Bartlet back in October—now, sadly, behind a paywall.)

    In the introduction, Bartlett writes:

    Once upon a time, Americans could read their local newspaper, subscribe to a weekly magazine and watch thirty minutes of national news on television each night, and be reasonably sure they knew everything important and newsworthy that they needed to know to live their lives.

    Those days are long gone.

    The rest of the book is devoted to schooling readers how to separate truth from lies. I picked up The Truth Matters because so many of my students accept the ridiculous as fact because they saw it with their own eyes. This video leaps to mind. The ghost of P.T. Barnum is rubbing its incorporeal hands together in glee.

    Which brings me to Glen Greenwald’s frustration with journalist who should know better.

    Greenwald, writing in The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened for The Intercept,explains:

    Friday was one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

    Read the rest, of course, for Greenwald’s complete and excellent dissection, but for journalists, this is the vital bit.

    If this were, in fact, a deliberate attempt to cause a false and highly inflammatory story to be reported, then these media outlets have an obligation to expose who the culprits are—just as the Washington Post did last week to the woman making false claims about Roy Moore (it was much easier in that case because the source they exposed was a nobody-in-DC, rather than someone on whom they rely for a steady stream of stories, the way CNN and MSNBC rely on Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee). By contrast, if this were just an innocent mistake, then these media outlets should explain how such an implausible sequence of events could possibly have happened.

    Thus far, these media corporations are doing the opposite of what journalists ought to do: rather than informing the public about what happened and providing minimal transparency and accountability for themselves and the high-level officials who caused this to happen, they are hiding behind meaningless, obfuscating statements crafted by PR executives and lawyers.

    How can journalists and news outlets so flamboyantly act offended when they’re attacked as being “Fake News” when this is the conduct behind which they hide when they get caught disseminating incredibly consequential false stories?

    For all Americans, Greenwald hammers the most important aspect of this story home:

    All media outlets, of course, will make mistakes. The Intercept certainly has made our share, as have all outlets. And it’s particularly natural, inevitable, for mistakes to be made on a highly complicated, opaque story like the question of the relationship between Trump and the Russians, and questions relating to how WikiLeaks obtained DNC and Podesta emails. That is all to be expected.

    But what one should expect with journalistic “mistakes” is that they sometimes go in one direction, and other times go in the other direction. That’s exactly what has not happened here. Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump/Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.

    No matter your views on those political controversies, no matter how much you hate Trump or regard Russia as a grave villain and threat to our cherished democracy and freedoms, it has to be acknowledged that when the U.S. media is spewing constant false news about all of this, that, too, is a grave threat to our democracy and cherished freedom.

    So numerous are the false stories about Russia and Trump over the last year that I literally cannot list them all.

    Let’s just remind ourselves of how many times major media outlets have made humiliating, breathtaking errors on the Trump/Russia story, always in the same direction, toward the same political goals. Here is just a sample of incredibly inflammatory claims that traveled all over the internet before having to be corrected, walk-backed, or retracted…

    What the fuck is going on here?

    9 December 2017

    PLAYING CHICKEN IN THE UNITED STATES’ SENATE…

    2000 by Jeff Hess

    Yes, Senator Alan Stuart Franken has resigned (sort of) from the Senate, but the game is not yet over—speculation that Franken will hold his resignation hostage to Roy Moore’s election next week is rampant—and Ralph Nader has some thoughts on the process.

    Nader, in Remarks on Senators’ Calls for Al Franken’s Resignation, writes:

    Many Democratic Senators have demanded that Senator Al Franken resign immediately from the US Senate over accusations by six women that Senator Franken made unwanted advances and engaged in sexual harassment. Strange, isn’t it, that these same demanding Senators are not demanding now that Donald Trump resign as President.

    Mr. Trump has boasted and bragged about his sexual aggressiveness toward resisting women and has been accused by more women regarding more serious charges so far than the case of Senator Franken. Mr. Trump has responded by slandering these women, while Senator Franken has shown deep contrition and self-criticism. Why the double standard, Senators?

    The same double standard holds true for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s demand for Congressman John Conyers’ resignation, while avoiding demanding the same of tortious Donald J. Trump. Demanding the same result for gross behavior demonstrates a modicum of courage and evenhandedness lacking here, because these Senators know that, unlike Franken, tweeting Trump will go after them with wild, Continue Reading »

    8 December 2017

    LAUGH ‘TILL I’ MO’FUCK’N’ HURTS…!

    2200 by Jeff Hess

    8 December 2017

    HARRIOT INVOKES HIS THANKSGIVING RULE

    2000 by Jeff Hess

    So, there’s a rule of behavior that goes like this: Never do anything that you don’t want your mother to read in on page one above the fold in the local newspaper. Like most such rules, people who care what their mother might read in her morning paper will take heed and act accordingly. Others, not so much, but the basic principle is sound: your actions, if you get caught (emphasis on this caveat), have consequences for you.

    Now, if that rule were universally true, there would be no crime, no bad behavior and the world would be perfect. The rule, however, is not universally true and the world is not perfect. Damn.

    Michael Harriot, writing in The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Wypipo Be Tripping still made me laugh this morning with his Thanksgiving Rule:

    The next letter is an email to one of our female writers. I have concealed her name in case there are others out there like this:

    From: Ron E.
    Subject: Your worn panties

    Would it be possible for you to sell me your worn panties? Please let me know.

    Thank you kindly.

    XOXOX

    Ron

    Dear Ron,

    First of all, I am jealous. I have been writing for The Root for quite a while and no one has solicited a pair of my boxers. Even though I am disappointed, I will let it go so that I can bring up another salient point:

    Why, though?

    Why do you want a pair of panties? More important, what endows you with the confidence to ask?

    I have often wondered how men like Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein and Mark Halperin would think that a woman would want to see them masturbate. How could they pose questions like, “You wanna see me wash my bloated, fluorescent dad bod in the shower or watch me manhandle my penis like a bicycle pump?” I have come up with a theory:

    It works.

    I can’t believe that these middle-aged men would continue to ask women these obscene questions if no one, at some point, said yes. Human nature doesn’t work that way. Therefore, I have come up with a solution I call the “Thanksgiving rule.”

    If you are a man, every Thanksgiving, you should gather your aunts, sisters, mother and grandmother in a room and reveal your sexual proclivities. Tell them, “I’m trying to find a woman who likes when a man grabs her breasts without asking.” Ask them if they know a nice girl at their church who might be looking for a guy to furiously masturbate into their house plant.

    If they look disgusted or throw mashed potatoes in your face, take that as a sign that you shouldn’t do it to strangers. If you can’t do it at home, don’t do it in public.

    I think I just solved the entire sexual-misconduct crisis. That’s what the mailbag is here for.

    You’re welcome.

    When I was a young, stupid sailor and under the influence of other young, stupid sailors, we had a rule: If you walked up to 10 women at this one bar just off base and asked—with no style, panache or suave demeanor, at all—Wanna fuck? you might get slapped, punched or a drink thrown in your face the first nine—but often less—times, but No. 10 would respond: OK.

    Now, imagining a more uncouth, boorish behavior is difficult, but Harriot is right: it works.

    As long as being an asshole works, assholes will continue to be, well, assholes.

    You’re welcome.

    7 December 2017

    REPUBLICANS ARE STEALING ALL THE PRESENTS…

    2000 by Jeff Hess

    President Donald John Trump has a Grinchy Christmas planned for most Americans this year and the two juniors, his leading handlers-come-henchman, Congressman Paul Davis Ryan Jr. and Senator Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr are rubbing their hands in glee in anticipation of Christmas eve. Ralph Nader calls the plan devious, but I think that it is much too nuanced. This is blatant beyond blatant and Republicans are betting that taxpayers will remain distracted until the Christmas tree burns.

    Nader, in The Republicans’ Devious Tax Attack on the People, writes:

    Have the Republican greed-hound toadies gone too far? How much are the American people going to take before they replace the reckless Republicans in the next election? Low and middle-income Americans are bracing for the likely passage of a Trump-supported tax bill that deviously redistributes even more of the people’s income to the richest one percent (including a big tax cut for Trump) and the unpatriotic giant corporations.

    Greased through Congress with the support of Republican mega-donors, over the inept opposition of the Democrats who astonishingly offered no tax plan of their own, this tax legislation does exactly the opposite of what House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and their prevaricator-in-chief, Donald Trump, are declaring.

    Namely, this utterly complex brew of greed and handouts for the super-rich gives a gut punch to the masses, including people making below $30,000. Far from a tax cut the Republicans are trying to Peddle to the people, the Senate bill is projected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over ten years to pay for the huge tax cuts enriching the corporate plutocrats who are laughing all the way to the bank. Such unsustainable losses in revenue sets the stage for cutting Medicare, Medicaid and other critical Continue Reading »

    7 December 2017

    OH HELL, TO THE FECKIN’ NTH DEGREE, NO…!

    1800 by Jeff Hess

    171207 roy moore doug jones

    I think that Alabama senate candidate Doug Jones just handed Roy Moore the win in Tuesday’s coming election.

    Michael Harriot, writing in A Racist Flyer Might Cost Doug Jones the Election Because the Entire Democratic Party Is Trash for The Root, explains:

    The above photo is not a stock photo or an image created by The Root’s art department. It is an actual flyer circulating around from the Doug Jones for Senate Committee in his run against Elmer Fudd wannabe and schoolgirl aficionado Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat, and it has upset black voters across Alabama.

    171207 roy moore doug jones rashaun austin whetsone tweet

    Someone, probably a white man, thought that the image would resonate with black people and motivate them to get out the vote. It’s as if black people were considering voting for the child molester until some brilliant strategist posited, “What if he were black, though?” The flyer is reductive in its oversimplification of the black mind as only caring about black issues. While it might not be racist, it is certainly racist adjacent.

    It is also the Democratic Party.

    Part of the reason the Democratic Party has been marginalized as a party that only exists on the coasts and in urban areas is white-mannery like this. While the policies of the party may be more progressive and black-friendly, the Democratic leadership is often as prejudiced and shortsighted as its Republican counterparts, and next week’s Senate election is the perfect example.

    That the Democratic leadership is often as prejudiced and shortsighted as its Republican counterparts is the understatement of the decade.

    When Roy Moore wins next week, Democrats will have only themselves to blame.

    7 December 2017

    TODAY IS STILL A DATE THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY…

    1248 by Jeff Hess


    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was our last president to ask congress to stand up and perform the duty laid before the assembled members by our constitution.

    Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

    Yesterday, December 7th, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

    The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

    Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

    It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

    Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

    Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

    Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

    Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

    Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

    And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

    As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

    No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

    I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

    With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

    No president, no congress, has in my lifetime, taken our nation to war in the manner that our founders believed proper.

    Yet American men and women continue to die and suffer horrible mutilations and mental traumas in our name while our presidents and congress diddles.

    6 December 2017

    NADER CALLS OUT PELOSI FOR DOUBLE STANDARD…

    1800 by Jeff Hess

    There are two elephants in the Men-Behaving-Bad Room at present: President Donald John Trump and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Ralph Nader, writing in Pelosi Called on Conyers to Resign But Not Trump?, addresses the first:

    Last week, Nancy Pelosi called on Congressman John Conyers to resign from office after allegations of sexual harassment were reported in the media.

    But Nancy Pelosi has apparently yet to call on Donald Trump to resign for his boastful vulgar comments on the Access Hollywood tape and for allegations from twenty women of sexual harassment and assault.

    “How can Nancy Pelosi call on John Conyers to resign but not President Trump?” Nader asked.

    Conyers announced yesterday that he would resign.

    A recent report in The Independent newspaper lists the twenty women who have made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump, including groping of breasts, grabbing of genitals, forced kissing and walking into dressing rooms of naked teen beauty queens.

    “If Pelosi had her priorities straight, she would have started by calling on the bragging Harasser in Chief to resign first, then descended down the perversion scale into the halls of Congress,” Nader said.

    When will the other shoe drop?

    5 December 2017

    THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO LATE…

    2300 by Jeff Hess

    Faye Flam, reporting in Nuclear war could come with a flub, not a bang for Japan Times (a unique perspective), writes:

    Talk with experts on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, and it soon becomes clear that the biggest threat the world faces isn’t an intentional act of evil, but a confluence of stupidity and error. After all, the most frightening close calls during the Cold War started with trivial mistakes — a dropped socket from a socket wrench, for example, or a training tape put in the wrong computer.

    With nine missile tests just this year, North Korea is quickly advancing the range of its nuclear weapons. The distance record goes to a missile called the Hwasong-12, which was launched May 14. It traveled about 800 km, but on a steep trajectory that demonstrated the power to have gone more than 3,800 km.

    Some experts, such as Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, say that missile had an innovative design and showed evidence of real engineering competence, while others, such as German aerospace engineer Markus Schiller, aren’t so sure. Experts also disagree about how close North Korea is to being able to strike San Francisco or Washington, or whether the United States should negotiate a deal to prevent this from happening. But they do tend to agree that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is unlikely to launch an unprovoked attack, since the retaliation would obliterate his country.

    The situation is nevertheless dangerous, given the possibility of error and misjudgment. “I cannot imagine any circumstance that would lead Kim Jong Un to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack on anyone,” Stanford physicist Siegfried Hecker said in a recent interview published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. But, he went on, “We can’t rule out a miscalculation or a desperate response to a crisis.”

    Physicist David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, has made a similar point: “The biggest threat here seems to be to that you’d get to the point where you’d have a crisis — where people do things and other people misunderstand their intentions.”

    Former Rand Corp. nuclear strategist Daniel Ellsberg has spent years thinking about how to avoid this sort of situation. While he’s best-known for leaking the Vietnam War documents known as the Pentagon Papers, he says his current focus is preventing nuclear war. His book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner will be released in December.

    Full disclosure, for two years of my life I was responsible for the day-to-day care of eight tactical nuclear weapons on board the USS Bainbridge, CGN 25.

    5 December 2017

    TAKE A KNEE BY KWAME ALEXANDER…

    1700 by Jeff Hess

    TAKE A KNEE

    Take a moment,
    Take a picture,
    Take a boy
    Take a park
    Take a toy
    Take a man
    Take a gun
    Take a guess
    Take a look
    Take a shot
    Take a bullet
    Take a life
    Take a life?
    Take a life
    Take Tamir
    Take Trayvon
    Take Cornelius
    Take Philando
    Take Jamar
    Take Sandra
    Take William
    Take Terrence
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    4 December 2017

    NOW THE NRA LOVES FEDERALISM…?

    2300 by Jeff Hess

    171205 jordan klepper reciprocity act

    2 December 2017

    RAISING BARRIERS AGAINST THE XANADU MOMENT…

    1700 by Jeff Hess

    I like reading about other writers’ rooms on Saturday mornings. I very seldom find a mention that I want to save, but when I do, I savor the words. This morning, reading about Barbara Trapido’s room (I had no idea who she was until this moment) her concluding paragraph gave me pause. She writes:

    The way I work is to bed down in here two nights a week and rise at 3 or 4am. Then I write, cross-legged, in bed with an A4 pad on my knee until about nine. The mini-kettle and the Mr Illy tin of biscuits are because I can’t leave the room, or I get that Xanadu moment and my fantasy life flies away. Writing novels is like dreaming. My real life returns with breakfast and the room goes back to playing dead. All I use it for after that is email.

    I have a drip coffeemaker instead of the mini-kettle and no biscuits (my keyboard gets dirty enough without all those crumbs) but everything else makes perfect sense to me.

    30 November 2017

    HOW BAD CAN PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TWEETS BE…?

    2300 by Jeff Hess

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