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Member since: Wed Jul 24, 2013, 01:10 PM
Number of posts: 2,283

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I'm a birder, so I take this one personally...


New title for Steve Bannon

My local NPR station is having a discussion about the Alabama election. One of the commentators stated that the results are a bump in the road toward regarding Steve Bannon as a "kingmaker."

I hereby propose that, from now on, Bannon be known as the losermaker.

It's the hypocrisy, stupid.

The Al Franken news from earlier today bothers me. Nevertheless, I see two serious differences between the Franken and Moore situations that should be borne in mind.

1. The two men reacted very, very differently to the allegations. Franken came out immediately with what I regard as a sincere apology. He does state that he remembers things differently, but he took ownership of what happened. He even joined the call for an investigation of himself. Moore is digging his heels in; worse, his supporters are using some horrific arguments to excuse it away, as though the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph justifies pedophilia.

2. Most importantly - Al Franken is, as far as I can tell, an honest, decent, hard-working human being, but he has never held himself up as a paragon of Judeo-Christian moral virtue. He worked in comedy and television - not exactly the national hatchery for moral behavior. He used illegal drugs. I've read his books; he uses words that would normally not be associated with religious conservatives, and some of his humor is crude. He's honest and, as a public servant, patriot, husband, father, and grandfather, the Al Franken of today is a role model - but no one would look to his entire life as an example of Biblical purity. More importantly, I don't think he would ever ask us to.

Moore? He drapes himself in religion. That he was removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice is because he put Fundamentalist Christian interpretations of morality above the laws he was charged to uphold. Moore is a class A hypocrite with the moral authority of a tapeworm, but he would have us see him as a paragon of virtue. He reminds me of the elderly woman in the movie Airplane; she's offered a drink from a flask, says "Certainly not!," and then surreptitiously snorts a line of coke.

Other differences mean less to me: that only one person has leveled allegations against Franken, versus the 9 (so far) against Moore, along with having been banned from a local mall for his predatory behavior; that at least one of Moore's victims was 14; even, for that matter, that the photo being circulated is open to interpretation. Inappropriate sexual behavior is inappropriate sexual behavior, and if it turns out that Franken groped women, he should go, ally or not. But we should avoid drawing equivalencies between Franken and Moore.

My thoughts, anyway. This whole thing is making me remember colleagues who were caught behaving in an inappropriate sexual manner, and how I responded differently to the situations depending on my perceptions of the severity of the crime and on how the accused themselves responded. One tried to rape his graduate student, and the other left cameras in bathrooms. The former remained recalcitrant and refused to admit he'd done anything wrong; the latter turned himself in to the police, then went home and committed suicide. Neither committed victimless crimes, but I still struggle with the fact that I see them differently. Maybe it's because one of them (the one who committed suicide) was a close friend, and the other an acquaintance. I'm human and want the world to conform to my own ideals.

Serious question - what if the election results were influenced by hacking?

We don't yet know if Russian hackers actually changed the outcome of the election. We might not even be able to prove that they did, even if we can demonstrate that they successfully hacked into voting machines.

But serious question here - what if we CAN prove it? And what if their actions DID change the outcome of the election in favor of Lord Dampnut?

Is there a legal mechanism to void the election results? I suspect the answer is "no," but would like input from someone who knows the legal ins and outs more than me.


Follow-up question added on edit: are there examples in US history of elections being overturned for fraud?

It's time for members of Congress to ask for the president's resignation.

His behavior was unpresidential when his administration began. I didn't think he would actually grow into the job, but if anything, he's getting worse.

The latest twitter tantrum should be a turning point for members of Congress. He threatened a private citizen. Describing this as "unpresidential" is like calling calling the bottom of the ocean "damp." In fact, most of us would probably face charges if we tried to pull something like that.

Of course Trixon won't resign. It's not in his character, insofar as he can be described as having character. But it's way past time for members of the Legislative Branch - or the Democratic and not-so-rabit Republican members, anyway - to ask that he do the right thing, whether he does it or not.

Donald Trump is a small, spiteful little man.

Nothing more need be said.

I sent messages to President Pena and Prime Minister Turnbull this morning.

Both have websites from which one can send comments. In both cases, I expressed my embarrassment at the unacceptable way they were treated by the current resident of the White House. I stated that millions of Americans share my outrage at the president's behavior.

Might not be a bad idea to have more such messages sent to these distinguished heads of state.

Just saying.

For PM Turnbull: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm

For President Pena: http://en.presidencia.gob.mx/contacto/ (It's a bit tricky - you're required to enter your address, and the drop menu to indicate your state only lists Mexican states, even after listing "Estados Unidos" as your country. I selected Chiapas simply because I've spent more time there than in other Mexican states, and added a comment at the end that I know the upper midwest of the US is not in Chiapas.)

(Also - if you haven't heard, anagrams for "Donald Trump" include "Lord Dampnut" and "Don Turdpalm." To me, he's Lord Dampnut from now on.)

Symbolism on January 20

I apologize if this has already been discussed - if so, I missed it.

Are any of you planning any sort of symbolic gesture to commemorate what's happening on Black Friday?

I, for one, will be wearing a black arm band. It's a traditional symbol of mourning.

I have no intention of watching the thing - even on youtube later.

Some thoughts on Streep v. Trump.

This is something we should keep front-and-center for as long as possible. I really want this to be what people think about on Inauguration Day.

- It almost perfectly encapsulates why Trump is unfit for office. Not only did he openly mock a disabled reporter in front of a crowd, he never owned up to what anyone can plainly see on video clearly happened. And when called out by one of our most distinguished artists, he didn't own up to what he did (which wouldn't excuse it, but would at least show some capacity for introspection). He didn't even have the dignity to keep quiet. Instead, he threw a twitter tantrum. This episode shows how petty and dishonest he is.

(I said "almost perfectly" because it doesn't involve Trump's status as Putin's bitch.)

- Even more, there's a distinct qualitative difference between what Ms Streep said and how Trump responded. Ms Streep pointed out something Trump did. Trump insulted Ms Streep personally. You don't get more childish than that.

- (point added on edit) Conway made things worse by saying actions like Ms Streep's "[incite] people's worst instincts." Every psychology textbook in the world is now being edited to include this as a bald example of projection.

That Trump's campaign didn't end within 12 hours of the mocking incident says more about the US than about Trump. Making sure no one forgets, and that it follows Trump to the day he's forced to resign in disgrace, is the least we can do.
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