Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why Is The Secret Service Protecting The Older Trump Boys?

The news on CBS this a.m. that taxpayers are saddled with footing the $100,000 bill for a recent Eric Trump skylark trip to South America - to cover Secret Service protection for the punk  - ought to have every red-blooded American up in arms. Mainly, WHY are we having to pay for any Secret Service protection for him to go galavanting or his brother Donald Jr.?

Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip, U.S. taxpayers were left footing a bill of nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff. WHY? Why isn't this rich little asshole paying his own freight?   Especially as the trip wasn't for any government business but enabling Eric to mingle with real estate brokers, dining at an open-air beachfront eatery and speaking to hundreds at an “ultra exclusive” Trump Tower Punta del Este evening party celebrating his visit. WHY did the S.S. have to go along at all? And - if the punk needed protection - why didn't he pay for his own bodyguards?

More specifically, Eric Trump's Uruguayan trip shows how the government has now become  unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the Donald's refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Are any of Trump's groupies, who bitch, piss and moan about "welfare queens" and entitlements, paying any attention to these corporate welfare queens? 

This issue is germane, given Donald Jr. and Eric are now planning another jaunt - after opening a rich boy's palace in Dubai-  for a new Trump Tower in Vancouver, Canada. The total for both trips likely to run over a half million smackeroos to the U.S. taxpayer.   Kathleen Clark, an expert on government ethics and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, quoted in The Washington Post, observed:

"This is an example of the blurring of the line between the personal interest in the family business and the government,"

Bingo!  Which is why the whole Trump cabal ought to have been stopped cold turkey in December when the electors had the chance to do it by denying him the electoral votes.   But they abdicated their duty and put party over country, in allowing a two bit chiseling scalawag to become president and drag in his money-grubbing spawn with him - who now need Secret Service protection at U.S. taxpayer expense.

A huge casualty has been transparency despite the use of public funds. Hence, the affected government agencies have not provided key details connected to the Trump boys' trips, including the duration of the stays, the names of the hotels or the number of booked rooms. A spokesman from the Secret Service, citing security concerns, declined to comment. However what we do know is the Secret Service has the option not to partake of protection excursions if the latter are not specifically to do with government business.

A bit of background here: In 1917, Congress first authorized the then-Secret Service Division of the U.S. Treasury Department to protect the immediate family of the president. In 1984, a statute extended that protection for other key individuals, including the immediate family of the vice president. However, and this is important, this was not so the family members could go on jaunts designed to enrich their own family businesses. That is when protection became optional.

Thus the recent claim (ibid.) of W. Ralph Basham, former director of the service:

"The Secret Service does not have an option as to when it is, where it is, nor as to how much it costs, and whether it’s domestic or international. Think about the consequences of something happening to one of the children. The security of it outweighs the expenses of it.”

 May be true to a first approximation, but still doesn't controvert the fact that the S.S. protection itself is optional - and they can choose to do so or not. For whatever reason - maybe to enjoy some exotic sights - they have chosen to do so for the two Trump rich boys, Eric and Donald.  No one is saying - again- they might not need protection in these parlous times, only that they should pay for it themselves instead of doing it from the public purse.

All of this in concert affords more reasons why Trump's business entanglements need to be investigated in relation to the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Indeed, as Norm Eisen- a former Obama administration ethics adviser-- put it:

"Having refused to sever his own personal financial interests, [the president] is now sending his emissaries, his sons, out to line his own pockets, and he’s subsidizing that activity with taxpayer dollars,”

Eisen is now part of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating a constitutional provision barring presidents from taking payments from foreign governments

At the very least, his two sons should not be galavanting to Trump Towers around the world with security paid by U.S. taxpayers.

Will "POTUS" Have A Trumper Tantrum Tonight - Or Act Quasi-Presidential?

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You guys forced me to lose it! I demand you pay attention and not look at your phones when I can't tweet!

As Trump stands before congress tonight, the major question that must be asked is: Will he finally be composed, rational and presidential in bearing - or, will he once again come unglued and lose it like he's done in assorted press blabbings? Inquiring minds want to know!   All Trump's keepers and handlers are insisting he knows what's on the line and is prepared to turn the page to come over as a real president for a change. They ask everyone to give him a break.

All right, but I don't think it will matter. Trump can't help what he is. It's just that basic character, like a tiger's stripes, can't change at will. So the only way I'd be surprised tonight is if he doesn't lose it at some point and pitch a Trumper tantrum. That is, characteristic harangue laden with bombast and BS (with at least 5 referenced to "fake news" and five to Hillary) while lambasting the press as "the enemy of the people". Look, I can't predict at what junctures these neural embolisms will erupt  - only that they will.  Main reason? Trump is still wedded to campaign mode and hasn't yet made the transition to actually governing as a President.

Even in such a humble setting as the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump was unable to contain himself. This occasion - as described by Garrison Keillor (Denver Post, Feb. 9) as "one of those deadly official pieties, like sand burrs that you can’t get rid of", Trump was unable to stay fixed in the moment and occasion. No, as Keillor notes "he went on to gas about his agent and his TV show" and even complained about Arnold Schwarzenegger not getting the ratings for The Apprentice that he used to.  This at a National Prayer Breakfast, for god's sake!

So he's unable to stay appropriate for even a short, more or less informal speech. Why expect he'd be able to do it on the big stage?  I predict he can't because this autocrat narcissist is unable to rein in his ginormous ego.

Even in the context of simply delivering a relatively humble,  informal speech at an important but small venue, he's unable to pull it together. I speak here of his appearance at the CIA Memorial Wall last month - where dozens gave their life often in anonymity. As Keillor put it (Jan. 26, Denver Post):

"He stood before the memorial wall honoring the heroes who gave their lives in anonymity and he bitched about his newspaper coverage. ....Everyone knows that the man is a fabulator, oblivious, trapped in his own terrible needs."

In other words, Keillor knows as well as anyone else that Trump is essentially incapable of staying in a proper state of decorum for even five minutes. His "terrible needs" - in this case to stoke and satiate his ego - get the better of him.

But conservative WaPo columnist Charles Krauthammer probably delivered the most spot on reason why Trump is unlikely to remain in presidential mode tonight:

"it’s his chronic indiscipline, his jumping randomly from one subject to another without rhyme, reason or larger strategy. "

In other words, he lacks the mental discipline and forbearance to stay "on script" for any extended time. So I would be amazed if I actually saw him do it tonight. Oh, I'm not saying he might not be able to do it for five, ten minutes, even a half hour. But ultimately, like his first debate with Hillary at Hofstra University - he can't hold strain. As I wrote after that debate:

"Even long time Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted how Trump had descended into "babbling and complete incoherence" by the end of the trade and tax segments.  Before that, Trump barely held his own ."

Of course, tonight's occasion is a speech before congress, not a debate. But as psychiatric Prof. Lance Dodes pointed out two weeks ago in an 'All In' appearance, the key attribute of a "psychopathic paranoid narcissist" is that he will often see enemies in a group where there aren't any.  Thus, the mere spectacle of Democrats from House and Senate seated before him will likely set him off if he spots even a single smile, or smirk - far less a hint of laughter. His lack of impulse control will then leave him unable to contain himself and he'll respond in his template Trumper tantrum default mode that we have all come to recognize. Heck, he ought to brand it and sell it to his groupies - via CDs. (At least they may back off from their current knuckle-headed boycotts of malls selling anti-Trump wares.)

Which closely resembles all the hallmarks of two year old who just crapped in his diapers and can't get mommy to change them, e.g.

Will we see this reversion to full infancy again tonight in a guy that's supposed to be of presidential timbre? I predict we will.  Okay, I predict there is at least a solid  (60%?)  chance given Trump plans to propose a $54 billion increase in military spending while cutting other agencies'  (e.g. EPA) support.  This will at the very least be likely to prompt Dem boos, refusals to clap at key junctures, and no standing for applause. Particularly when it is grasped that cutting EPA funds for climate science research IS defense!

In my Nov. 16, 2015 post, I cited the April 24 'Defense, National Security And Climate Change Symposium' held in Washington, D.C.  At the Symposium Brigadier General Stephen Cheney stepped up to the podium to discuss 'Conflict and Climate Change'. Cheney, like some other speakers- zeroed in on climate-driven migration, asserting:

"We know for a fact that climate change is already driving internal and cross border migration"

Cheney's presentation tagged a number of conflict climate triggers, including the desertification in the borderlands between Chad and Nigeria which "has caused a lot of migration". He also indicated that the terror organization Boko Haram "is simply taking advantage of that".

Other aspects of Cheney's talk cited beefing up military infrastructure at home and abroad to be resistant to harsher climate. The army, in fact, has adopted a 'Net Zero' initiative to make its U.S. bases water and energy independent.

The point missed by the deranged fool Trump is that climate change is intermeshed with national security. Cut the resources to research the impacts of the former (as conducted by the EPA) and you then reduce the latter. If anything, Trump ought to be increasing EPA spending. These EPA cuts, therefore, are something I trust will draw energetic Dem boos.

The main thing for the Democrats to bear in mind is that this is a pretender President, who isn't even up to disentangling himself from his businesses, far less doing the job of running a country. This guy has never really worked at a real job outside of owning his family branding business and being a real estate weasel who used bankruptcy (of multiple casinos) to make more $$$.  He's even bawled that the presidency had  turned out to be too much for him to deal with. Too many details, too much stuff to master for an extensive government bureaucracy.  Hence, his penchant for becoming a cable TV and tweet addict. See e.g.


A doofus who can't handle the pressures of BEING President is not worthy of occupying the office - or demanding respect for his office-  no matter what his delusional followers and voters (many actually "registered Democrats") believe.   The Dems would do well to remember that tonight. Keep a measure of decorum with civil opposition when appropriate. I am sure the Donald will eventually pitch his Trumper tantrum and show everyone - even the Repuke toady gallery - how unqualified he really is.

Monday, February 27, 2017

"Moonlight" Overtakes LA LA Fantasies After Biggest Flub In Oscar History

Actor Warren Beatty (C) explains a
The instant of total chaos last night after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway screwed the pooch at the Oscars by reading from the wrong card.

We had waited some three and a half hours and finally the award of the night was to be announced, the Oscar for 'Best Picture'. I'd already written in the previous post how I believed awarding the Oscar to "La La Land" -  a vacuous, navel gazing musical about aspiring actors in LA  - would be a monumental waste. So Janice and I waited with bated breath as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway approached the mic with the red envelopes bearing the winner.

The pair had one job to do and one only: simply announce the Best Picture movie. How hard could it be? Well evidently pretty damned hard as the pair screwed the pooch - making infamous  Oscar history by announcing "La La Land" - then some three minutes later, having to retract it  after La La Land  producer Jordan Horowitz interrupted the celebration. He held up the card and immediately  called attention to the discrepancy on the winners card in his hand. That card showed the actual Best Picture winner the award went to "Moonlight", a small circulation, Miami-based indie flick.

  Until the "Moonlight" cast and team made its way to the stage everyone looked lost in a surreal, parallel universe. Or to put in more blunt terms, they didn't know whether to shit or go blind, given"Moonlight" was named Oscar winner  after   "La La Land" was announced first.

What happened to cause this travesty, and whose fault was it? Contrary to some hot head Trumpie nitwits (commenting on the Miami Herald site) it was not "stupid Hollywood liberals" but one pair of over the hill actors to blame.  While the keepers of the envelopes (Price Waterhouse Cooper) did admit giving Beatty the wrong envelop (it was for Actress in a Leading Role) it was ultimately Beatty (and Dunaway's) job to provide to final fail safe. That was as opposed to acting the part of two unthinking automatons.  Hence, Michael Strahan's take this a.m. that "it was nobody's fault" is bare balderdash. Of course it was! It's the fault of anyone who doesn't take the initiative to use his or her brains!

We know computers are basically "dumb" (save Watson maybe) because they always do just what you program them to do, so they take input and process it literally.  Humans are supposed to know better and think before they act or expel or generate output (Trump excluded). Beatty didn't - this despite the fact that the damned outside of the envelope was clearly freakin' labeled in gold-embossed letters, "Actress in a Leading Role". Even if Beatty  and Dunaway didn't clearly see the envelope lettering, once he opened it up and pulled out the sheet even Faye Dunaway observed (as shown this a.m. on ABC): it said "Emma Stone".

A sentient human would know at that point something was amiss. Rather than go ahead and babble out the wrong award, they'd have done better to ACT like sentient beings. In other words,  pause the proceedings saying: "Excuse us but we think we've been handed the wrong envelope."  This might have created some minor embarrassment as the correct envelope was retrieved, but would have avoided a total, unbelievable fuckup of the proportions observed.

In that sense, I blame both of them for being ultimately responsible for the snafu when they had the final control over ensuring it didn't happen. But they botched it, creating shock for both the falsely named winners, and also the actual winners. Who, let us note, were denied the singular spotlight and acclaim  they were due for winning the top prize of the night. Having that moment of spotlight eclipsed by an  incorrect award. (Which is now mostly being talked about as opposed to the winning movie).

And that was no small achievement for a small budget film (est. $1.7 million by The Miami Herald to make it) by two guys - Barry Jenkins and Tarrell Alvin McCraney- who hail from Liberty City in Miami. Here's all you need to know about Liberty City: In LA terms it is roughly analogous to Watts or South Central. It's the "hood" where  in 1984 -  after I returned from an American Astronomical Society conference in Baltimore - my cousin Linda sped past the area in her Corvette,  driving from the airport on the I-95 expressway at 85 mph.   In her words: "We are not going to go slow here or even stop at any lights!"

The movie itself is based on a play ('In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue') by McCraney concerning a troubled kid ("Chiron") who must deal not only with assorted bullies, but a drug addicted mother.  The kid in one scene is chased into an abandoned building by a mob of boys tossing rocks and wielding sticks. After some time, the door opens and it's one of the main local drug dealers (played by Mahershala Ali) who also won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, e.g.

The drug dealer then becomes the boy's father figure and mentor to steer him toward a more constructive life - or at least try. (I won't give any more details for those who'd like to watch it. It's currently playing on DirectTV Pay Per View, it's hard to find in the cinemas - but the Oscar may change that.)

In his review of "Moonlight, " L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan wrote, "So intimate you feel like you're trespassing on its characters’ souls, so transcendent it's made visual and emotional poetry out of intensely painful experience, it's a film that manages to be both achingly familiar and unlike anything we've seen before."

Though I had wanted to see 'Hidden Figures' win (last post) because of it's wide appeal, I am okay with "Moonlight" given how - in Barry Jenkins' words - it had shone light on troubled kids of color who barely got any attention in film. Nothing to "mirror" them or their lives. And just as La La Land was described as a love letter to LA, "Moonlight" was described as a love letter to Miami, urban blight and all. In Barry Jenkins words:

Miami felt really small to me when I was a kid. You couldn’t really leave the neighborhood — the city was so compartmentalized — and because of the way I grew up, I don’t remember it as a happy place. But it wasn’t like ‘Boyz n the Hood’ either. There weren’t as many guns on the street as there are now. It didn’t feel like a dark place, even though there were a lot of dark things going on around us."

In the end, the reality of Miami and Liberty City triumphed over the movie star fantasies stoked by La La Land. The tragedy is that in the wake of the Best Picture disaster last night the talk is more about the disaster than the movie itself. 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article135195944.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Best Picture" Oscar Should Go To 'HIDDEN FiGURES' - But Likely Won't

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African-American NASA women compute orbital elements for John Glenn's mission in 'Hidden Figures'. It should win 'Best Picture' if Hollywood's navel grazers don't choose "La La Land"

"Self-regarding movies about the greatness and craziness and triumph and tragedy of those who make movies have become the new Oscar norm."  -   Andrew O'Herhir, Salon.com, February 2015

Let us concede that in a sane world - which is emphatically not the one we inhabit right now- the superb 2016 film "Hidden Figures" would come away with most Academy Awards, including 'Best Picture'. The film had wide appeal across all demographics, and featured the little known but critical role of African -Americans in the NASA Manned Space Program. The movie basically highlights a little known facet that a team of African-American women - trained in high level 'rocket science' math- actually did the computations that put astronaut  John Glenn into successful orbit in February, 1962.  The women  (Katherine G. Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan) were referred to as "human computers" within NASA.

Not only was the film the best math-based movie to come along since "Good Will Hunting" and "A Beautiful Mind", but it also touched on the civil rights struggles of the 1960s - in conjunction with  the aspirations of talented African Americans. (A trenchant moment in the film occurs when one of the NASA women informs her boss (played by Kevin Costner): "There are no colored bathrooms in this building or any building outside the west campus - which is half a mile away. Did you know that? I have to walk to Timbuktu just to relieve myself'.)

Alas, competing for attention will be the vacuous Hollywood navel gazing confection called "La La Land" which one critic in LA Magazine described as a ho-hum musical with a basically plug and play role for Emma Stone ( "Mia" )  who yields most of the actual lines to her dancing mate "Sebastian"  played by Ryan Gosling. But as others noted, neither really hits the mark so one wonders what all the fuss is about.  Well, more LA -based navel grazing where the movie makers and actors, members of the Academy are more entranced by their own art than wonderful films of more general appeal.

The UK Guardian ('La La Land's Inevitable Oscar's Win Is A Disaster For Hollywood And For Us')basically summarizes my own view. And you'd think that with box office numbers tanking the past several years the Hollywood cognoscenti would get a clue and cease the navel gazing with their awards. But it doesn't seem so.

According to the Guardian:

"Rarely have the Oscars seen such a dead cert. If you fancy La La Land for best picture, the most attractive odds you will get are 9-2 on. The film is also nominated in another 13 categories, tying with Titanic and All About Eve for most ever nods. It has already snagged a record-breaking seven Golden Globes, and five Baftas.

Critics have been equally charmed. In Britain, the coveted five stars have been bestowed not just by the Sun, the Mirror and Metro, but also by the Guardian, the Times and the Telegraph. Audiences have followed suit. The film has taken more than 10 times its $30m (£24m) budget at the box office.
In such circumstances, you would expect a bit of a backlash, and a La La Land insurgency has duly kicked off.

The male lead, Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian, has been indicted for boorishness and insensitivity. When he is not whitesplaining jazz, he is mansplaining it to Emma Stone’s Mia. Both characters have been thought shallow, and chemistry between them has been found lacking. Technique has also been faulted. Gosling and Stone are no Fred and Ginger in the hoofing stakes, and their “reedy voices” have disappointed. For some, the narrative sags and the plot fails to convince"

That extended indictment ought to be enough to sink most films, but with too many airheads too smitten - probably just by the title - there may be little chance of  'Hidden Figures'  overtaking it.  Thus, I'd compare a win to the 2012 Best Picture Oscar that (seriously)went to the back and white, SILENT French film, "The Artist".   Another film endowed with more hype than genuine quality, imho.  As I wrote in my Feb. 19, 2012 post:

Here's the deal: as movie prices are now jacked up to the point that movie attendance has dropped off precipitously, and one must expect to shell out at least $25 for two, for the film plus just a diet coke and small popcorn, why would you pump and hump a silent black and white movie? Oh wait! I got it! To entice the elites to drool all over themselves at their impeccable "artistic" taste and refined perceptions ....which vastly exceed ....by light years...the Philistine tastes of the hoi polloi, otherwise known as the "masses".

The Guardian goes on, again I concur totally:

"La La Land has been branded feeble, dull, flat, humorless, bloodless and unengaging. It has been called “disappointingly mediocre”In fact, these reactions can be traced to a deeper deficiency: the Oscar favorite is a fake movie.  Poke your finger through the sugary icing and you find no cake beneath – no heart, no soul, no joy, no warmth, no wonder.

To create the illusion of charm, the film relies not on intrinsic strengths but on external trappings"

SO, in a real way the film is kind of like the Trump presidency, all about trappings and no substance. No heft.   The there is the copycat of atmosphere aspect, i.e.:

"When Gosling hangs from a lamp-post, it is to tell you this is Singing in the Rain. West Side Story, Funny Face, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Shall We Dance, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and plenty of others are similarly appropriated. La La Land wants you to believe that it shares the joy, humour, tragedy and humanity of such celluloid treasures. It doesn’t."


"Mia is a cipher because she is just the prisoner of ambition. Seb sees himself as a heroic champion of art, but he is more of a nerd than a musician. For him, jazz is mainly fodder for his vanity and pomposity."

And lastly the biggest knockdown, reinforcing this pathetic flick is one for the Trump era of bigots, braggarts and narcissists:

"La La Land is a film for our time. With our self-nurturing, self-promotion, clicktivism, Twitterstorms, sexts and selfies, we are all narcissists now. This being so, many of us would kill to get into Seb or Mia’s shoes. .... Nonetheless, our descent into solipsism still carries with it lingering disquiet. La La Land helps us put this aside by spangling self-love with stardust.

It is easy to see why the Academy’s voters have embraced La La Land. Many of them will have followed a path all too similar to Seb and Mia’s. Seeing their life-choices vindicated by the witchcraft of their trade must have been something of a comfort. All the same, the best picture winners that stick in the memory, such as Schindler’s List, Gandhi, Chariots of Fire and Titanic, tend to extol humanity’s better nature, not its shortcomings."

Indeed. And if a genuinely worthy Best Picture candidate is available that extols humanity it is "Hidden Figures".  Sadly, the Hollywood navel gazers will be more focused on awarding the Oscar to a  mediocre musical that vaguely reflects their own acting paths. In where else? LA LA Land!

But some of these La La land people will never get it. Tom Hanks, who once planned a 13- part HBO series to vindicate the Warren Commission,  announced not long ago (Denver Post, p. 3E): "If people don't go out and embrace this wonderful film, we are all doomed!"  Seriously, Tom?  Personally, I think you're better served sticking to your Warren Commission Follies.

Bannon's "Deconstruction", Or Is It Destruction? - Of The Administrative State

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24 Hours later: "And  the press is YOUR enemy! And we gonna build that wall"

For those who may have missed it, the slimy swine Steven K. Bannon emerged from his pig warren at the White House to appear at the CPAC confab this past week.  Ever arrogant in his supreme swinehood, and seated alongside Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon dismissed the idea that Trump might moderate his positions or seek consensus with political opponents. Rather, he said, the White House is digging in for a long period of conflict to transform Washington and upend the world order.

Good luck, Bannon! Others before you have tried and failed miserably. Seeking to energize the assembled knuckle draggers and lackeys, Bannon bellowed:

“If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken, “every day, it is going to be a fight.", referring to the media and opposition forces arrayed for truth and facts against these Nazi scheits.  And let's be clear Trump doesn't fart unless it has the approval of Bannon. He has a hand in nearly every scripted public Trump utterance, and had expressed  similar sentiments to what Trump spat out at the conference the day after..

The porcine slob continued, “And that is what I’m proudest about Donald Trump. All the opportunities he had to waver off this, all the people who have come to him and said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to moderate’ — every day in the Oval Office, he tells Reince and I, ‘I committed this to the American people."

Actually, Trump and his gang of hoodlums are committed only to the 40 % or so who voted for them, believing their lives would improve. The other 60 percent are solidly opposed and dedicated to total resistance and political warfare. That is until such day we can replace the current odious so-called government with one acting in the People's interests, as per the Constitution. As the Founders themselves wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government"

Got that, Stevie boy?

To tell the truth, as I watched clips of Bannon and Priebus' buddy routine on CNN it triggered flashbacks of Oscar and Felix in “The Odd Couple” - with Reince in the role of Felix and Bannon as Oscar. (Though truth be told at times Priebus came over more like Pee Wee Herman with his squeaky voice.)

But the most show- stopping moment transpired when Bannon boldly announced the Trumpies were dedicated to the  “deconstruction of the administrative state,” meaning the system of taxes, regulations and agency oversight the current structure of government supports. In other words, presumably eradicating all those elements of the federal "bureaucracy" that ensure your milk is free of fecal matter, your burgers of E Coli., your drinking water of perchlorates and lead, and your canned tuna free of botulism. Oh, also that medical devices are properly manufactured and sterilized to acceptable standards (FDA regs), i.e. so when you get your colonoscopy the colonoscope didn't just come directly from insertion into another patient..

In other words, taken literally, Bannon was advocating nothing less than terrorism against the civil state, the effective working government that has the general welfare as a primary role.

But wait! Maybe I misconstrued Bannon's yapping to mean destruction of the administrative state, when he actually used the term "deconstruction".  Is there a difference? And if so, what is it? The meaning of destruction is clear to anyone with more than air between the ears. It would be the effective destruction (or gutting from the inside)  of the federal agencies to which Trump's band of despicables have taken up posts, including the EPA, Department. of Energy, Health and Human Services etc.

If those are destroyed and hence the ability of the government to ensure the general welfare - a form of national security (perhaps the most basic) - then we are indeed talking of a form of terrorism.

On the other hand, if Bannon really did mean deconstruction, one must question what exactly he's talking about.   To fix ideas, French philosopher Jacques Derrida is the founder of deconstructionism - a marginal area of modern philosophy that purports to "deconstruct" literary texts and specifically :

"a theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings."

Read that carefully and process it in strict terms of fidelity to the meaning of the term he used. If we take Bannon seriously what he really said is that he is committed to a literary or philosophical criticism of the administrative state - not that he actually intends to abolish it. THAT would be destruction, not deconstruction. Is Bannon not smart enough to discern the difference? Or did he just append the word to his babble to try and impress the gathering of conservative hacks, yes men, lackeys and nitwits?

So, if we take Bannon literally it means his (and Trump's agenda) is not to destroy the federal agencies that protect our land, air, food and water but rather to challenge their underlying assumptions regarding "certainty, identity and truth" by a kind of literary criticism method.

This would entail questions posed to the agency heads and rank and file workers like:

1) Do we really need to check restaurants for sanitary standards? Can't we tolerate a little bit of roach feces and fly larvae in the pantries and on the foods, and some norovirus in the salads? Can we not allow just a bit more food poisoning - like at Chipotle  - to get higher profits?  If all restaurants have the same lower standards we all win, no?

2) Do we really need to regulate the amount of agricultural fertilizer runoff into lakes and streams giving rise to cryptosporidium,? (The parasite that made 440,000 Milwaukeeans sick in 1994)

3) Do we really need to inspect meat packing plants for E. coli. and whether the automated butchering process splatters it  into burgers?

You get the point. Each of these questions seeks to probe for degree of certainty, something any genuine Derridian who invokes deconstruction should appreciate.

Then there is identity. Is meat really meat?  Is there really such an entity as 100 % pure meat? (Meaning animal flesh). Isn't it okay to count pink slime as meat or at least as 50 percent filler? How about a teeny weeny bit - maybe a half ounce - of misplaced cow turd or floor shavings to pass as "meat" filler? Say if it gets caught in the grinder in the meat plant.  When is ice cream ice cream? How about a definition permitting a bit of errant drip off the roof - some of it carrying squirrel urine - to pass as ice cream if it accidentally ends up in the mixer below? Must the company really re-outfit the plant at great expense to avoid that?

And finally, there is truth. Rhetorically again - following Bannon's train of deconstruction:  Are we really expected to go after a company when its ground beef is claimed to be 100 percent beef but it's really 70 percent pink slime?  Isn't pink slime edible? Of course!  Or say a company advertises tuna as 100% wild caught when it is all farmed? Or a dairy claims its milk is pasteurized when it isn't? What's the big deal? It  takes a lot more money to regulate all these items when we could just take the word of advertisers or companies that make the products.

So the question then is whether Bannon's agenda means merely using questions like the preceding to push a Derridian deconstruction of the administrative state - OR - does he out and out mean destruction of that state?  The difference is critical because on the one hand we contend with mere words, and on the other hand,  actual actions which can impact one's health and security.

Of course, assorted nitwits. pundits and op-ed dunderheads see no problem. Like one moron (Patrick Armstead) writing in The Denver Post op-ed pages last Sunday who wrote (p. 6D):

"Obama's EPA became the primary vehicle for implementing regulations like the Clean Power Plan without asking Congress  for a vote",

Well, uh yeah, Sparky....because "congress" - meaning the Repukes, were mainly taking every other day off or doing nothing but obstruction while millions across the nation (including here in COS) were being poisoned by the mercury spewed out from coal -fired power plants.

Of course, this is the same turkey who also wrote: "Instead of giving the man voters elected a chance to govern they have written him off as an authoritarian and opted for total resistance."

Well, first it appears more and more this traitor was actually more elected by the Russians. As the intel agencies and FBI coalesce findings in their investigations this appears more and more likely.

 As for being called an "authoritarian", it doesn't take a Mensa level I.Q. to figure out that if a guy insists the "press is the enemy of the people"- like Hitler did ca. 1933, that he's an authoritarian. And also  if a guy dispatches ICE agents to break down immigrants' doors and haul them away, he is an authoritarian. And if he threatens violations of the Posse Comitatus Act  i.e. by sending federal troops to Chicago-  he is also one. This stuff isn't rocket science. And as one former Harvard professor of psychiatry (Lance M. Dodes) has noted: "If I see a guy yelling on the street about unseen enemies and flicking a switchblade - I don't need a DSM V manual to determine that he's mentally unbalanced."

So no, we don't have to give the Swine- in- chief (who suckles on the Sow Nazi in residence) any more chances than we have to understand he's a Hitler in the making and full on resistance is the order of the day.

Opposing our efforts there will always be the soft soaping media enablers such as Sabrina Tavernise ('Are Liberals Helping Trump?', Feb. 18) and WaPo hack Marc A. Thiessen ('The Left's Hypocrisy On Trump's 'Enemy of the American People Comment').At least Tavernise tried to show some balance in her coddling of the Trumpies, while Thiessen showed little or none. He hyped the "venom spewed by the left at anti-Trump rallies" but said nothing of the venom spewed by Trump - which as we've seen has now given rise to hundreds of hate crimes. That includes the murder of an Indian techie in Olathe, KS by a hard core Trump supporter babbling his same rhetoric. Can this fuckup hack Thiessen point to ONE incident where the "hateful Left" has vandalized one Jewish gravestone (far less 68 like the Trump Nazis), or burned a Mosque (as in Tampa last week) or shot an Indian student dead (mistaken for a middle Eastern immigrant)?  No? Then don't even attempt to inject false equivalence!

So he needs to shut the fuck up and train his sights on the real enemy here. The pretender passing for a president who doesn't know the first thing about the job and treats the truth with utter contempt. Meanwhile, the rest of us - not into giving the Trump Nazis a pass - must continue our resistance and keep doubling down until we oust this whole set of assholes and hurl them into history's dumpster. Most of humanity believed we'd seen the last of Hitler wannabes after 1945, but evidently not. There's now an authoritarian narcissist psychopath who wants to duplicate the Fuhrer's stunts and wreckage of a nation. We cannot let him.

See also:




Friday, February 24, 2017

Tempering The Media Hype About The Newly Discovered Seven Planet Solar System

The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets.
An artists' depiction of the member planets of the newly discovered Trappist-1 System. No one has actually observed these worlds.

In one media spot or article after another one beholds elaborate images showing the 7 planets discovered in the Trappist -1 system. This is an exoplanet system in the constellation Aquarius,  about 39 light years away from Earth. Of course with all such finds, and especially this one, the media hype immediately goes to whether any of the worlds can support life.  And so we saw and heard much breathless speculation in the past few days of life maybe emerging on one or all of the three planets, designated: e, f and g

Let's first clear the air that despite the planetary images no one has actually observed these worlds. They were detected by ESO investigator Michaël Gillon, and his team of exoplanet researchers at the University of Liège in Belgium using the standard "eclipse" techniques. The basic principle at work is elementary to grasp and illustrated by the  graphic shown below:

In this method,  the exoplanet passes in front of its parent star producing a dip in the light curve over a defined interval t2 - t1(forming the dip).    The length of the "dip" enables the investigator to deduce the presence of an orbiting planet about the parent star.  To fix ideas, Gillon and his ESO team have been interested in TRAPPIST-1 since late 2015. Using the European Southern Observatory’s Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile, they detected small dips in the star’s brightness at regular intervals. As I noted, such dips are incepted when putative planet crosses between the star and Earth in our line of sight.

Last May, the ESO scientists published their discovery in Nature: citing three rocky bodies, dubbed TRAPPIST-1b, -1c and -1d.  Not long after the study was published, Gillon noticed that TRAPPIST-1d was behaving oddly. On taking a closer look with the Very Large Telescope, he realized that the dip in brightness he thought originated from 1d alone was actually caused by three planets, all transiting at the same time.  In other words, three "sub-dips" in the single light curve of 1d gave rise to 3 planet indirect detections.

According to one co-author or the study, Julien de Wit, a planetary scientist at MIT:

"This happens only once every three years. The chance of catching it is less than one in a thousand. It’s funny because it’s such a huge paper with amazing results, and we got it from sheer luck.”

Luck indeed! And having the instruments and insights to make these detections that have given rise to our acceptance of this compact solar system.

Let's examine further extracted data from the light curves analysis.

The periods of the three habitable zone planets are: 6.1 days for e, 9.2 days for f and 12.3 days for g. These compare to 365 1/4 days for Earth. Why are the periods of revolution so very brief? Well, because all seven planets actually orbit their within a very confined region. If Trappist -1 was at the Sun's position, all seven worlds would be within the orbit of Mercury - the nearest planet of our system to the Sun. The reason the Trappist planets aren't fried is that their star is much cooler. Specifically, it's classified as an ultraviolet dwarf star - less than a tenth the size of the sun and about a quarter as warm. 

So even granted that the Trappist planets are relatively close to this UV dwarf, we expect the conditions on these planets wouldn't exactly be called "balmy".  In fact, I can't imagine any sober human who'd actually want to travel to any of them and look around, even the ones in the so-called "habitable zone" Why?

The Gillon team that conducted the investigations determined that the six inner planets are locked in an orbital resonance, meaning that lengths of their orbits are related by a ratio of whole numbers. Because of this, the bodies are likely  “tidally locked.” In other words, the amount of time it takes a body to orbit matches the length of one rotation on its axis. This results in the same side of the planet always facing the object about which  it orbits. For example, the moon is tidally locked with Earth, which is why we always observe the same face (for the most part, we actually see a bit more due to nutation),  when we look up at night.

As I noted in previous posts about similar exoplanets, this means that one side of each body is constantly exposed to its sun's heat, while the other side is perpetually in darkness. This means that half of each planet freezes while the other half burns.  The only region where one would find tolerable temperatures would than be at the terminator or the "line"  separating day and night sides.

If one is going to do a "life search" on these Trappist worlds, I think they will be disappointed.  As one recent article put it, "even if they turn out to be warm and wet, these worlds might not be great places to live".   You think? Constant darkness and frigid cold vs. excess heat and constant light. Boil vs. freeze? Of course, there might be some form of primitive micro-organisms assuming there is water on any of the 3 "habitable" worlds. (Remember again when we use the term "habitable" we mean only in a potential sense, not that they actually are.)

As Elisabeth Adams, an exoplanet researcher at the Planetary Science Institute put it:

"The very idea of a “habitable world” is purely theoretical. Scientists have only one source of data on habitable planets, and that’s Earth. We don’t actually know the parameters that are needed for life on another world."

Indeed. So it is best not to jump too far ahead of what we actually know. That knowing must await (at least) further detailed analysis of the atmospheres of the e, f and g worlds of the Trappist -1 system.

Rather than hyping life on these worlds, a better take might well be acknowledging that Trappist -1's system presents an unprecedented window on how solar systems work. Thus, beyond the current data the each planet is more or less "Earth-sized", their varying densities and distances allow for detailed comparisons of the worlds.

This is a useful template that will be of inestimable benefit in further exoplanet system detections.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Solutions To Analytic Geometry Problems

The Problems - Solutions:

1)  Use the general analytic equation to write specific equations for the ellipse and hyperbola. Sketch the resulting curves to confirm your answers.


The general analytic equation is:

Ax2  +    Bxy +   Cy2   + Dx  + Ey  + F   = 0

For ellipse:    Let A = 9,  B= 0, C = 4,  D= 36,  E =  -8 and F = 4

Then we get:  9 x 2  +   4  y 2   + 36 x   - 8 y + 4 = 0

With appropriate algebraic manipulation we get:

(x + 2) 2 / 4 +    (y - 1 ) 2   / 9 = 1

Graphing yields:

No photo description available.
For hyperbola: Let A = -1, B= 0,  C = 4,  D = E = F = 0

Then we get:

4  y 2   - x 2  + 4 x  = 0

Graphing yields:

No photo description available.

2) The discriminant:  B2   -  4AC     =   B'2   -  4A'C'     

has been found valid for any rotation of axes (i.e. for any angle Θ )  Thus, the quantity is invariant under a rotation of axes.

a) Show that for the parabola the discriminant:  B2   -  4AC    =  0

Solution:  Take the sample parabola:  y 2  =   4 x

The general analytic equation is:

Ax2  +    Bxy +   Cy2   + Dx  + Ey  + F   = 0

Then for this case: B= 0 (no xy term), and  A= 0, C = 1

Therefore:  B2   -  4AC    =   - 4 AC = - 4(0)(1) = 0

b) Show that for the ellipse:   B2   -  4AC    <  0

Solution: Use the example ellipse of Problem (1):

9 x 2  +   4  y 2   + 36 x   - 8 y + 4 = 0

B= 0,  A = 9,  C = 4

Therefore:  B2   -  4AC    =   - 4 AC = - 4(9)(4) =  -324

So the condition is satisfied

c) Show that for the hyperbola:   B2   -  4AC    >  0

Solution: Using the hyperbola from Problem 1:

4  y2   - x 2  + 4 x  = 0

Therefore: B= 0,  A = -1, C = 4

Then:  B2   -  4AC    =   - 4 (-1)(4)  =  16

Which is greater than zero so the condition holds.

3) Determine the equation to which:

x2  +   xy  +  y2    =  1

reduces when the axes are rotated to eliminate the cross product term. Sketch the resulting curve.

And thereby identify the 2nd degree curve and graph  it.


The given equation has: A = B = C = 1

Choose Θ  according to: cot 2Θ  =   (A  - C)/ B  =   (1 - 1)/ 1 = 0/1 = 0

Then:  2Θ  =  90 deg     so: Θ  =  45 deg    

Then:  x  =   (x'   -   y')  / Ö 2       

y = (x'   +   y' ) / Ö 2  
And, after some algebra:

3(x') 2  +  ( y') 2    =  2

Divide through by 2:

3(x') 2 / 2   +  ( y') 2  / 2  =  1

This curve defines an ellipse which is shown below:

No photo description available.

4) Use the discriminant to classify each of the following curves as a circle, parabola, ellipse, or hyperbola:

a) x2  +   y2    +   xy  + x  -   y    =  3

A = 1, B = 1, C = 1

Then:  B2   -  4AC    =  (1)2   - 4 (1)(1)  =  1   - 4   =  -3

Since B2   -  4AC    <  0  the curve is an ellipse

b) x2  -    y2    =  1

A = 1, B = 0, C = -1

Then:  B2   -  4AC    =     - 4 (1)(-1)  =  4

Since B2   -  4AC    >  0  the curve is a hyperbola

c)   x2  +  3 y2    -  3 xy   -  6 y    =  7

A = 1, B = -3, C =  3

Then:  B2   -  4AC    =  (-3)2   - 4(1) (3) =   9  -  12 = -3

Since B2   -  4AC    <  0  the curve is an ellipse

d) x2  +   y2    +  3 x  -  2 y    =  3

A = 1,  B = 0, C = 1

Then:  B2   -  4AC    =     - 4 (1)(1)  =  - 4

Since B2   -  4AC    <  0  the curve is an ellipse

70 Degree February Days As We Head Toward The First 'Year Of No Seasons'

David Suzuki - above- who predicted the first 'Year of No seasons' by 2040.

Scene in Chicago February 27, as temperature hits a record high of 75 F.

Let us admit that a 75 degree day in Tampa, Florida in February is not unusual, and in fact normal. Let us also admit a 75 degree high day in Chicago is not. When the high temperatures also hit 77 F here in Colorado Springs, I noted to Janice that this is a reminders that within 20-25 years such days will be the norm, not just in February. Imagine then 65-75 degree highs from December through February, for most of the nation, and 75 to 90 degree highs from March through May, then 95 to 105 degree days from June through October. Unreal? No, very real, and well on the way as humans continue to by and large disregard the harbingers of massive global warming, acting like nothing strange is going on.

Just imagine now, if you can, weird warm days in northern cities ALL the time, not just a few instances or one offs.  Picture in your mind no more autumns with brilliant leaf colors such as Vermonters currently enjoy, and no more adequate snow pack to accommodate skiers at Vail or any other place. Impossible? You wish.

Researcher and author David Suzuki, in his book It's A Matter of Survival (Harvard University Press, 1991) co-authored with Anita Gordon, believes we are well on our way there and will reach that stage by the year 2040. The first 'Year of No Seasons' (I happen to believe we will reach this stage a lot sooner, perhaps by 2020.) Bear in mind Suzuki based his projections on 1991 data and the hope we'd be able to keep the warming increment to less than 2C by 2100. According to data compiled from the National Climate Data Center, IPCC, the Hadley UK Center and other sources, all bets are off for achieving this based on their recent reports and the maximum increase now is projected to be from 3.6 C to 4.0 C.

Suzuki and Gordon wasted no time bitch-slapping the complacent reader from the first words of Chapter One: Beyond Your Worst Nightmare:

"A.D. 2040- If we were to give this year a name it would be Despair. This is the hopeless world we have left our children and grand children. Where once our lives were measured and enriched by the cycle of the seasons, there is now only searing heat and the certainty it will get hotter. Seasons exist only in the nostalgic longing of those of us old enough to remember the richness of life......

Daily, experts try to play God, desperate to determine what each new ecosystem will be, before it too is lost. This is the nightmare world of 2040 on this sad excuse for the planet we once called home."

On p. 8 of the same chapter, Suzuki and Gordon go on to link the total disappearance of the seasons worldwide to global mean temperatures 5 C (9F) above what they were in 1991. Given that Carl Sagan once forecast an increment of 6C as adequate to trigger the runaway Greenhouse, Suzuki's numbers would put us right on the cusp. Once that begins, and the methane is also released from melting permafrost and later CO2 is released from all the carbonate rocks in the world, we are for the high jump.

Of course, the cessation of seasonal changes is only one aspect of ongoing climate change. Already here in Colorado we are seeing a continued and relentless dying of the trees. One in 14 trees is now dead in Colorado forests and the number of gray-brown standing-dead trees has increased 30 percent since 2010 to 834 million, the state’s annual survey has found.    The dying trees are  largely the result of insect infestations —which  can lead to large intense wildfires, such as the Beaver Creek fire in 2016 that burned 38,000 acres northwest of Walden, This is according to  Colorado State Forest Service officials in a report released 2 weeks ago.
Standing-dead trees are shown on Wolf Creek Pass in Mineral County. One in 14 trees are dead in Colorado forests and over the past seven years, the number of gray-brown standing-dead trees increased 30 percent to about 834 million, according to the state's annual forest survey.
Still standing dead trees on Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.

Recall the insect infestation is traced to the mountain pine beetle which population has exploded directly as a result of warming temperatures. Those readers interested in a detailed account of the trepidations spawned by this pest can get hold of the superb book: The Dying of the Trees.  You can read a shorter account here:


The point is the beetle is a major catalyst for all the ongoing and uncontained Colorado wild fires

With the release of the report, given we now know there are at least 800 million dead trees in the state, greater attention is being focused on conserving what we have left. State forest service director Mike Lester quoted in The Denver Post stated:

"When so many trees die and large wildfires follow, our forests quickly turn from a carbon sink into a carbon source. Beyond the implications for our atmosphere, forests in poor health have implications for our water supplies, public safety, wildlife and recreation opportunities.”

Other key findings:

• Colorado’s mountain pine beetle epidemic killed trees across 3.4 million acres
• The continuing spruce beetle epidemic has killed trees across 1.7 million acres
• About 80 percent of Colorado residents rely on forest watersheds for their municipal water supplies
• Climate models projecting statewide average temperature increases by 2.5 to 6.5 degrees before 2050 mean the risks of severe wildfires, insect infestations and droughts will worsen

More sobering yet, a University of Colorado -Boulder study is questioning whether burned forests on the Front Range in Colorado will ever return to normal. Given the predations of the mountain pine beetle in concert with the forest fires, it may be wishful thinking to believe so.

Note also the older trees that burned in fires were seedlings 50-100 years ago and we know the climate was different then.. The 2014 Climate Change in Colorado  report for the Colorado Water Conservation Board found that statewide temperatures have increased 2 F over the past 30 years.  This may sound insignificant but simulations of differing conditions on ponderosa pine and Douglas fir seedlings- in a 2015 published Canadian study (Canadian Journal of Forest Research) -  found that those growing in a post-burn areas had less chance of survival when subjected to even small increases in temperature. Or when subjected to less water.

One more takeaway: A recent study by scientists working as part of a group called World Weather Attribution, looked at the influence of climate change on the seasonal variation of temperatures, using models of the atmosphere as it exists and of a hypothetical atmosphere with no greenhouse gas emissions and thus no human-driven climate change. They found that a warm February like the one just experienced is now about four times more likely in the current climate than it would have been in 1900, before significant CO2 emissions began to change the climate.

How will all this play out as our own EPA, and indeed government, has been captured by climate change deniers and anti-science knuckle draggers? That will be the subject of an upcoming post.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Liberal Activism "Helping" Trump ? PUH-LEEZE! Get A Freakin' Grip!

"WAAAHH!  Don't badmouth the Donald mo' than I do, libruls! WAAHAHA!"

As we've seen the spectacle of the most massive protests since the 1960s Vietnam War era, it was inevitable numerous dunderheads would try to dismiss them as "astroturf" with protestors being "paid".  It never occurs to the dunderheads - even those like Gail King and Nora O'Donnell (this morning on CBS) that the protests at town halls are real, organically spawned by concerned citizens.   All of them outraged by the over stepping of the Trump bunch, especially in attempting to roll back their precious health care via the ACA (see my two previous posts). So why the hell wouldn't these rightfully outraged citizens be energized to show up and make their concerns known? But for too many dopes in the media, as well as Reeptard Reps, I guess they are only supposed to be seen and not heard.

Then there were the dozens of "Not My President" demonstrations and protests on Monday, again showing that a segment of the nation is not behind this psychopath occupying the White House. Yes, some of those events and protests were organized in advance, by Moveon.org and the Indivisible Movement, e.g.


 But that doesn't make them any less valid than the Tea Party protests organized 8 years ago by "Freedom Works" and "Americans for Prosperity" - the difference being that those organizations were confected by the Koch bothers.

But it appears the sights and sounds of all these "left" protests are getting to the group I call proto-Trumpiies. This lot I define as those who insist they never ever REALLY wanted to vote for the Donald, but found the alternative too appalling to contemplate. Also, this lot would work with Liberals if only the latter would cease with the "moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one".

So writes NY Times columnist Sabrina Tavernise ('Are Liberals Helping Trump?', Feb. 18) in a political puff piece designed to assuage the Trump voters and coddle them through the harsh spectacle of energetic protests.. Sabrina notes:

"Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism "

Which is the biggest load of horse pockey ever recited in a NY Times political op-ed. In fact, St. Sabrina quotes one  proto Trumpie nitwit in SC :

"I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”

Awwww, boo hoo hoo, sonny! The scenes of angry progressives, liberals "forced" the poor little dweezil to back Trump even more. Sounds to me like Ross Kaminsky, the talk show jock,  who (in a DPost op-ed 3 weeks ago) insisted liberals "forced him to get behind Trump and the Patriots" (he is a Broncos fan), by their "mean" protests and name -calling.

But like Kaminstky, the South Carolina twit DID choose a side when he voted for Trump. Sorry, that's how it goes. You can't now look for tranquility and comity after the fact, or be appalled at vigorous protests when you helped put an unqualified psychopath narcisist in the White House.  And don't even hand me that BS false equivalence that "we put up with Obama so why can't they put up with Trump". Oh no! Obama was a sane human who never engaged in pussy grabbing or bragged about it, or called Mexicans rapists, or made wild claims for electoral or popular vote wins he never achieved. Don't even try to go there!

Another joker quoted in the piece insisted:

"The name calling from the left is crazy.  They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people.”

Awww, bwaahahhaha! Cry me a river! In fact, the protesters are merely using apt appellations for a character beyond civil description. I might use the words "deranged, narcissistic psychopathic fucker" but even that falls short given the purview of his unhinged acts, tirades against the media, incapacity for governance and 3 a.m. tweets. And anyone who doesn't see that like this guy ("Bryce") is suffering from his own psycho-neurotic disorder. Or psychopathy, like an ignorant woman who actually compared protesters to "Islamic terrorists".  I believe she needs to be escorted to a rubber room at Bellevue and administered ECT three times a day if that is how she perceives the protests and activated Dems. She's as delusional as Trump.

The SC fool also told Ms. Tavernise, that:

"admitting you voted for Mr. Trump is a little like saying in the 1950s that you were gay."

Uh no, sonny. Admitting one was gay in the 1950s got one beaten to death, or lynched and set on fire in many places. (Like central Oklahoma, northeast Arkansas, northern FLA and western  Kansas).  Admitting you voted for Trump today just puts you in the relatively same fascist category as the anti-Semitic assholes who overturned gravestones in a Jewish cemetery outside St. Louis - or made one of the 68 bomb calls  to Jewish Community Centers.  In other words, if you voted Trump, you also by proxy voted Steve Bannon and his retinue of Breitbart  white supremacist and anti-Semitic tools.  Sorry! But hey, at least you don't get lynched!

In other words, this whole narrative about liberal protestors alienating Trump voters who "might be moderates" or moderated, is just a patent load of hog swill.  Only a low I.Q. dolt would buy into it, or any argument that these folks didn't make their choices of their own free will and cognition and - like Ross Kaninsky now - are just looking for excuses or ways to vent their spleen on liberal activists.

Do these proto-Trump dopes even know that Trump has the lowest job approval ratings of any President over the last 60 years? Probably not, because they likely just confine their attention to comics or Breitbart.com.  Enter now Ms. Tavernise's claim:

"if political action is meant to persuade people that Mr. Trump is bad for the country, then people on the fence would seems a logical place to start.. yet many seemingly persuadable conservatives say that liberals are burning bridges rather than building them.."

There is one problem with that: there is absolutely NO potential for any "bridge building" in this nation right now. We are a nation divided. Most protestors I know are not interested in persuading Trump voters (let's not call them "on the fence" if they voted Trump) because they know it's a hopeless task. People that absorb fake news, FAUX news etc. and are entranced by the antics of an authoritarian narcissist madman cannot be persuaded. To believe so is delusional. What protestors are actually about is igniting a firestorm to force political reps to look out for their interests, such as preserving workable aspects of Obamacare and not just "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". 

Monday night in her appearance on 'All In' Tavernise referenced one of the people in her anecdotal survey of 10 Trump voters in three states by saying:

"Well, the fellow in California said if Trump suddenly  ditches the health care law and there are 18 million people without health insurance, I'd be really mad at Trump and I wouldn't support him after that. That would make me really change my mind about this guy and his presidency....But liberals keep saying I am a Trump voter and I support him. But I didn't check my brain at the door."

But in fact, this guy did check his brain at the door. He did given he failed to note Trump's words during his campaign that he was going to repeal Obamacare. So how could he possibly be astounded now if he actually goes through with it?  The bollocks that seeing Trump actually ditch the healthcare law now would render him a non-backer is total bullshit and indicates he thinks the rest of us are idiots.

If Trump voters are really worried about vulnerable citizens (or themselves) losing their ACA benefits, fine, join the outcry. But don't whine and bitch that liberal activism forced you to back off and embrace Trump anyway. That doesn't compute and doesn't wash. It indicates a yen to make excuses for what they know in their heart of hearts was a god awful election choice. Now, they refuse to own up to it and the liberal protests are a reminder of that guilt.

In this respect, Erin Gloria Ryan's response to Tavernise's puff piece was spot on:

"I thought a lot of the reaction was to the headline, which was a provocative headline like headlines are supposed to be. But what I think is a really interesting question to follow up is: Are Trump supporters hurting Trump? Because the quotes that they gave Sabrina are like completely myopic. Like these people are concerned about their Facebook wall when ICE raids are breaking up families. These people are worried about whether or not to put a bumper sticker on their car when rivers are about to be poisoned. I don[t have any sympathy and I don't think many people on the left have sympathy for a guy because he can't wear his 'MAGA' hat on a dinner date."

And let's agree here that such myopia in the face of all Trump and his henchmen have done is another symptom of detachment from reality. These proto-Trump people actually see an inability to freely wear a red Trump hat on a date as more horrific than Trump's allowing coal waste to be dumped into rivers and streams. In other words, they are fucked in the head. So why would any sane liberal want to join in common cause with them, or be overly solicitous in regard to their upset feelings?

When Tavernise went on to say she's "not writing against protesting, only that she's seeing an equal but opposite reaction on the other side" , Ryan had the perfect comeback:

"Hillary won the popular vote by three million votes and the people that were spoken to in the piece were from South Carolina, California, and New York. States that did not hand Donald Trump the presidency. I think there is something to be said for persuading people who are persuadable but right now I think this is about activation, getting people organized and getting people who didn't show up to vote to actually show up to protest. Which is what they're doing."

All apt points, especially that Tavernise never stepped into any of the three 'Brexit' states (PA, MI, WI) that actually handed the election to Trump and by a mere 77,000 vote margin - about the capacity for a Packers' game at Lambeau Field.

Chris Hayes also made another very salient observation, that so much of the piece captured the distorted "enemy of my enemy" reasoning.  I.e.

"I don't like him but I hate the people that hate him more than I hate him."

Which is reasoning at about the 12 -year old,  pre-adolescent level.  Or,  as Hayes put it, a lot of the way many currently do their political reasoning.  In this case, for conservatives, "they hate liberals more than they're ever going to hate Donald Trump". And don't you dare spit on or mock the man! That's for us to do, if we choose!.

Tavernise again:

"Well, yeahh....and again, this is among these moderates, they feel that there is this contempt that is flowing in their general direction. That is imbibed through their social media, hrough everything that is happening everywhere - online, and to a certain extent with the protests. I think there's obviously a lot of polarization- conservatives hates liberals, liberals hate conservatives. All I'm saying it these folks aren't flag wavers for Trump and we do need a middle ground, we do need a middle space and we do need moderates,"

Except that I take Jim Hightower's quote more to heart:

"The only things in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead skunks."

Even Hayes in his response pointed out the "middle ground" is vanishing if it hasn't already. Much of that can be traced to the Tea Party and the Koch brothers not to mention the rise of Trump. So to waylay the left now for reinforcing its own soldiers and activists is kind of like "we can do that but not you" thinking.

Or to quote Erin Ryan, "the reaction on the left is basically 'cry me a river'.  Yeppers, and don't shed your tears on us, after the shit you pulled with the Tea Party protests back in 2009.

Incredibly, Tavernise  in her piece quotes a "registered Democrat" Ann O’Connell, 72, (a retired administrative assistant in Syracuse)  who voted for Trump and whined. “I feel like we are in some kind of civil war right now. I know people don’t like to use those terms. But I think it’s scary.”

Well, we ARE in a kind of a civil war, which is going to get a lot more heated - resembling scenes of what we saw last month at UC Berkeley (when protestors shut down the appearance of pedophile defender Milo Yiannopoulis) if those like O'Connell and the other imps interviewed in Tavernise's piece don't get their reality glasses back on and their heads straight - to see what the rest of us in the sane contingent see. (Including two psychiatrists interviewed last night on 'The Last Word', who noted Trump is a "paranoid psychopathic narcissist who's divorced from reality" and  is  "as sick mentally as one can get in winning a presidency".)

The worst Trumpie coddling by far, worse than Tavernise, has been WaPo hack Marc A. Thiessen ('The Left's Hypocrisy On Trump's 'Enemy of the American People Comment' 0) At least Tavernise tried to show some balance in her coddling of the Trumpies (at least in her TV appearance), while Thiessen showed little or none. He hyped the "venom spewed by the left at anti-Trump rallies" but said nothing of the venom spewed by Trump - which as we've seen has now given rise to hundreds of hate crimes. That includes the murder of an Indian techie in Olathe, KS by a hard core Trump supporter babbling his same rhetoric. Can this fuckup Thiessen point to ONE incident where the "hateful Left" has vandalized one Jewish gravestone, or burned a Mosque (as in Tampa last week) or shot an Indian student dead (mistaken for a middle Eastern person)?   No? Then don't even attempt to inject false equivalence!

See also: