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(4.15.16) Back September last, Maria Hallas, Local Fox 24, reported in a series of stories Memphis had been one of the cities to use Stingray, a "vacuum" technology that sucks up private cell phone calls using "simulated" cell towers. My original comments are here. (scroll down when there)
Mayor elect Jim Strickland had promised "transparency" in city government, but apparently withdrew that stance regarding Stingray. However, Strickland said of the city's new spy tool: "Number one, the city does use cell site simulators. Number two, we do it pursuant to court order. Number three, it's used by law enforcement on the local and federal level. Four, it's an important crime-fighting tool."
Now, seems to me the question would be, does Stingray invade communications of a specific person targeted by a court order or does the warrant authorize mass monitoring within the suspect's area of activities?
To be fair, the new Mayor had inherited Stingray and all its implications of unnecessary privacy invasions of law abiding citizens. Still, Strickland's comment above was vague, though he may have just started digesting what Mayor Wharton had previously committed the city to in the expensive secret agreement.
However, even as recent as March he was repeating, apparently unaware there really is a Fourth Amendment that could arguably trump any "non-disclosure" or contractual nonsense Wharton may have pulled the city into. The new mayor took the old way out: as just another Memphis politician.
Hallas' reporting from Sept. '15 to March '16 documents the city's rather gynmastic reasoning not to provide details on the super secret spy tool. Strickland first said he could not answer questions due to a non-disclosure agreement the city made with the Stingray manufacturer. Further, just as federal officials justify monitoring private email, Web sites and phone calls in order ostensibly to stop terrorists, city officials site the invasive technology is essential (my word) for law enforcement.
According to Hallas' reports, the ACLU says New York City, Milwaukee, and Tallahassee, apparently among others, have released such information.
And all this begs the questions: has the expensive tax-payer purchased system stopped or apprehended any criminals? If so, could such crime prevention justify getting into private phone conversations? A tech/legal critique can be found here.
Now, a number of organizations, including the liberal The Nation, which is how we found out about it, have mounted a campaign everyone can take seriously if they value privacy from government intrusion.
Unknown to us is whether Mayor Stickland is holding to his recent positions herein regarding Stingray. We have inquired. No response as of 4.24.
(4.6.16) Ans: both use fine print nobody reads.
If you are a political consumer of any stripe, the easiest, quickest way to advance your politics is to use an existing platform. In this case, those would be the Repubs and the Dems.
Now, here's where my comparison happens: how many times have you accepted the terms of new software when installing it on your computer? Just click AGREE and you get a license. I have dozens of programs for which I've paid a use license. In so doing I agreed to abide by their rules of use. Fair enough. I wanted the benefits of such use immediately and would legally use the software to make this publication, create Web sites, edit video, process photos, do billing, etc. thereby avoiding my spending time developing my own--or at least having a learning curve on new--software to meet my specific needs.
Continuing the comparison, old line political parties are to political consumers (i.e. activists) what software companies are to their users. Once you start using them, its very hard to stop and replace. They're so damn convenient--just click OK and you can start using them to meet your market, right?
But there's a catch and to a limited extent it is like intalling software on your company in that old line political establshments of each party can place their own "use terms" on everyone entering their "big tent"--a laughable term of democratic values made empty by their own behavior.
Like the software companies dominating any one field, the political "consumers" need robust competition of new parties. We could be at a turning point where we finally see the use of third and fourth parties--and alternates to even those. The proponents of Sanders and Trump will have have a big pill to swallow if their candidates are robbed of nomination through arcane manipulation or outright voiding of their votes through pre-committed "super delegates." The old political parties just may be at a turning point from which they can't return.
(3.28.16) With influence from unions and politicians, California just started the process of raising minimum wage to $15 per hour. While most hourly workers would see this as yet more mana from Democrats, such a heavy handed intrusion into private business is sure to raise prices and cost jobs. Few Dems understand business. So, there must be a prophylactic barrier of the impact of their policies on everybody else. California businesses reportedly did not even have a seat at the table as their government pulled the rug from under their feet.
Given the insipid "vote for benefits" ethos that has taken hold among a vast swath of Democratic voters, there is one solution the Republicans can pull out of the bag before the Democrats catch on: a Guranteed National Income (GNI).
Unlike the rush of the Dems to create more programs and benefits, a GNI does not provide specific solutions to every need--for example, health, housing, getting arround, education, etc. Rather, when the size of government is pared down to its leanest essential functionality (including replacing the IRS with some kind of flat tax, desizing/eliminating departments and controlling waste), a well planned GNI could provide the same basic monthly payout to every citizen regardless of work status or income.
Further, a portion of a GNI could be reserved for health insurance that would replace all of Obamacare. In my humble opinion, such a standard payment (single payer by any other name) would drive down health insurance costs, especially when combined with other incentives like cross state availabilities.
Hence, the government would be forced out of administering massive social welfare, education and health programs (though there would be exceptions) in favor of providing citizens funding they could use in any way they see fit.
Though I doubt they ever will, the Republicans should take proffer some form of GNI plan that would first include radically reducing the debt. Then, in response to the Dems' ever growing trough of freebies and voter reward, the Repubs could offer, for example, a GNI that would provide $1,000 (half to a third of which dedicated to health insurance) for everyone aged 18-24. My plan would ultimately cost $2.4 trillion annully, but depending on the size of the payout, how government is cut, the parameters of the plan as well as any necessary taxes, some kind of plan could be worked out.
Otherwise, politicians will not fail to offer an ever growing array of benefits to their growing select constituency--as the Romans first discovered.
(3-12-16 BenQQ) That is, don't look to support from your colleagues, your political opponents within your party who should have the guts to rally around you in support of everyone's free speech, including their own. Trump's Republican opponents now have proved they will willingly fall in line behind those who would want to deny "hate speech" (defined by them, no doubt) and endorse "free speech" (also defined by them, no doubt).
If you haven't heard, being offensive is not against the law. Being offended doesn't give you a right to trump the first amendment.
Trump's Chicago rally last night was a planned disruption to shut down a political rally inside a venue into which people legally congregated to hear a candidate. The disruptors had no right. This is about free speech, not bad "rhetoric" as the media and ALL of Trump's political opponents would like to fix it.
Cruz's, Rubio's and Kasich's support of the take-over crowd reveals their astounding whorish willingness to abandon the first amendment just to get votes at the first political opportunity. Instead of standing for free and unfettered speech, they decided to condemn their colleague for what? Being plain spoken? Using harsh rhetoric? Talking with sharp edges? I'd expect that from Hillary, (but it was somewhat (illogically enough) dissappinting to hear the same from Sanders)
Since Trump's rally in Chicago last night, so many TV commentators histrionically announced the newest frantic meme that we are "losing America" over Trump's comments. They are so wrong in their greasy slippage behind the lines. We "lose America" when a candidate loses his right to offend, make people uncomfortable and use full bodied free "rhetoric" to persuade.
BTY, I've hit Trump on many things. Scroll down to see a couple. However, since his Republican opponents have come out on the side of those who would shut down speech, I'm voting for him--until and unless I hear 3 unconditional apologies to him and to the American people. Wonder how many others feel that way I do.
(3.5.16 BenQQ) In the Detroit GOP debate Donald Trump seemed to have contravened an apparent previous policy stance on H1-B visas coming out in its strong favor.
To a question put to him by Megyn Kelley Trump suddenly voiced his emphatic approval: (from Fox News):
“I’m changing. We need highly-skilled people in this country,” Trump said during the Fox News Republican debate in Detroit. “If we can’t do it, we will get them in.”
Trump’s stance toward awarding H1-B visas is different from the one he takes on his campaign website, which argues that more visas for highly-skilled foreigners would 'decimate American workers'."
“One of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges … as soon as they’re finished, they get shoved out. They want to stay in this country," Trump said at the debate. "They want to stay here desperately. They’re not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brainpower in this country.”
Then his campaign tried to nuance his statement it in a press release dated Mar. 3. He seemed to have changed back: "I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions."
In a week, Trump swung from supporting a foreign worker policy to prohibiting it. No gray area in between. No talk of continued training for legal residents nor having to show stricter proof of the absolute need for corporate hires. My suspicion: its about money. Trump's big business friends would have to pay Americans a higher salary than incoming foreign workers who even have to be trained by those American employees before the employer fires them. How about a hire Americans first policy the same way everybody supports hiring veterans?
I admit H1-B is a sticky problem. Companies should have the right to hire who they want, but not under a policy that gives those companies favor and harms jobs for Americans. Further, I hope there is a backlash from the market, starting with Disney.
I would suspect the Democratic ideologues on the left to be politically torn as well between protecting American jobs and the rights of immigrants to compete in our job market.
Trump seemed to have shot off his mouth for his corporate friends even when stepping away from his own original Web site position. Despite the attacks from the GOP establishment, many more of these Trumpean policy blunders, he will have succeeded where Mitt Romney could never have.
(2.24.16 BenQQ) WMC's newser Jason Miles' story yesterday annoyed me, but not in the reporting. His story tilted toward a University of Memphis venue turning away an overflow crowd showing up to hear a free lecture from film director Spike Lee. The annoyance came from someone deciding the media was not to be let in to report on his talk.
Clearly my prejudice will show here: Hollywood generally turns out to be irritating on some level. As a younger man I remember going to an American Film Institute lecture by a big director. When everyone got themselves seated to pay obeisance to the great one, the word got out the seating arrangement of attendees was not to his liking. An AFI grunt staffer suddenly appeared to hustle everyone out of the first few rows so the great one's late arriving entourage could have the best seats.
Now, that's not my impression of Lee. He is obviously honest in his themes of race and society and his films are thoughtful works.
That's why I was surprised to hear Miles' report the media were not allowed into yesterday's Spike Lee talk, sponsored by the University of Memphis Black Students Association. When he said he offered not to video, he reported, with a notable jab, he was told he could not enter because he "could still make notes." Let's let that sink in.
My first question is: will the University of Memphis be among others to declare off limits to media in the face of the Black Lives Matter crowd? Did the university even know media were barred from a free event to which the public was invited?
Why? What did Mr. Lee say? He had to have at least mentioned--or was it an entire oration--on the reasons why he endorsed Bernie Sanders earlier today?
But that's not the point. The people of Memphis will never know why the "famous Hollywood director" dropped ex machina from the sky.
If I could have a drink with Spike--excuse me, by whiskey time we should be on a first name basis--I'd have to ask him why would he have any motivation to bar the media? Was it because they get him wrong most of the time? Was he offended at their coverage? So what.
And if he in fact demanded the university bar media from his event, did a star struck (or politically intimidated) U of M acquiesce? From at least a public relations view, this is wrong. The last time I heard, universities were supposed to offer robust and free discussion. Was this not to be a policy when outspoken auteurs get a gig at the university?
I think U of M, as well as Lee and the Black Students Association should at least provide a statement as to why the media were barred from covering the event. And perhaps any of those attending could shoot me an email and reveal the essence of Spike Lee' Big Secret Talk. I think that would be the right thing to do.
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(1.26.16) Pretty much all of this month, I've been busy working on my own business projects designed to make me more money. So, like most would, I decided to concentrate on them, wickedly venal as I am, at the expense of this little publication. My Web site analytics show people dropped by, knocked on my digital door, but quickly left. Nothing new here. They may have imagined me in my underwear passed out on the couch surrounded by an assortment of whiskey bottles. I would never do that. That would be an abuse of good whiskey. (Of course, those on my mailing list would have spared themselves such a mental image only venturing into my digital neighborhood when receiving a notice--above left.)
Anyway, its not that there hasn't been anything to write about.
But what I saw on TV last night propelled me back to these pages like I was a rock in a slingshot: the Democratic candidates answering questions from obviously pre-positioned Dems in a roomful of same. It was an opera by the Untrustworthy One, the Good Looking One and the Commie--Clinton, O'Malley and Sanders. The dentist may as well have been drilling.
This exercise of journalistic pablum was brought to you by CNN's Chris Cuomo and assorted "people" questioners bearing such urgent questions as equal pay, gun control, Obamacare, raising minimum wage and even slatheringly supporting Hillary's performance before the latest failed Benghazi committee.
Incidentally, no one asked her where the *&^% she was during the 13 hours when Obama and co. failed to bring aid to Americans under attack. Ditto with a guaranteed national income that put the Dem poverticians' freebie programs out of business. Continue on with Daesh and fascist Islamic movements globally. To the Democrats their atrocities and even homeland attacks apparently don't exist.
Now, these type of controlled political extravaganzas appear under the pretext of "information" provided by the TV gatekeepers ostensibly to provide real questions from members of the public. Last night the questions may have been real, but they have been rehashed repeatedly. The candidates threw their hash and TV ate it up.
The same, of couse, can be said of the Republicans.
This type of tv format journalism dominates and shapes the quality of information flowing to the public. Such format is even imitated on local TV. Here in Memphis local mayor candidates were assembled where news moderators controlled the crowd as if they were a classroom of eith graders. It was embarassing for all concerned. My view: let eith graders be eith graders and the candidates forced to be themselves before them.
In fact, TV hosts and commentators everywhere are so overexposed and processed, they will, if they haven't already, experience the same rebellion from viewers as politicians from voters. Viewers have wised up to the overpaid talking heads who don't have a clue to what its like to keep your lights turned on and your rent paid. Hence, the vast gulf between their questions and most people and the reason people are searching the internet for real information.
My solution: Uncontrolled open audiences of throwing questions spontaneously to the candidates of opposing views (or parties). Then would you get to see candidates at their best and worst. News moderators don't come close to getting to the marrow of an issue like invested participants. They are too concerned about being "professional."
Would any of the candidates have the courage to face them, to face hostile questions as never before? Questions that, like really, represent the hot opinionated opposition?
(1.3.16) All of last year the media elite were predicting the demise of one Donald Trump. He was a flash in the pan, a glint of the tacky casino gold found in the foyers of his properties. As the media sucked off his ratings feed, the commentariot all but tripped over their dangling jaws. Despite their dire warnings, Trump just kept rising in the polls, even devilishly baiting their camera crews.
(12.9.15) In the face of jaw dropping smoking gun evidence, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are once again revealed to be outright liars regarding the Benghazi coverup. We are not referring to the now discredited manufactured fiction of a video that Clinton and her underlings claimed prompted the Benghazi attack, but an email from Leon Panetta’s chief of staff Jeremy Bash regarding Americans under attack at the time. Such a response could have possibly saved at least two of the four who lost their lives defending the American Embassy there.
The smoking gun email reads: "After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak. They include a [redacted]."
In what should, but won't, be a nail in the coffin for her political career, Judicial Watch, the organization that has kept pressing for State emails of the 9/11/12 attack, notes this, "...leaves no doubt military assets were offered and ready to go, and awaiting State Department signoff, which did not come.”
Said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The email makes readily apparent that the military was prepared to launch immediate assistance that could have made a difference, at least at the CIA Annex. The fact that the Obama Administration withheld this email for so long only worsens the scandal of Benghazi.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration declared yesterday Donald Trump "unqualified" to be president for outrage of prohibiting terrorist seeded Muslim populations from entering the country. Aside from wondering what makes him think he can decide who is "qualified" to be president in the first place, we wonder, considering these most recent Benghazi revelations, what ever made him qualified?
(New York 11.24.15 BenQQ) His casual remark rang like someone banging a frying pan with a hammer. Don Lemon and apparently approving anchors of CNN's New Day, Chris Cuomo and Michaela Pereira, revealed the network's heavy racial slant. That is, blacks have not made headway in the news biz until recently, kept out by the man. Hogwash. At best it reveals a certain lack of depth and at worst, a willingness to exacerbate newfound racial tension.
Brought onto this morning's New Day to tout the latest CNN poll on race relations in America, Lemon said "30 to 40" years ago they would not be "sitting here," apparently referencing Pereira and himself. (I did not find immediately the New Day segment yet on-site. Lemon might have said, "probably," but my gist here is the same.) Does anyone at CNN know their own, if not general, broadcast news industry?
In glaring contrast to the content of Lemon's tilted remark, let it be known that Bernard Shaw anchored the first CNN news cable cast when Ted Turner launched CNN in 1980, 35 years ago.
Bernard Shaw Source Wikipedia
Even in the big three broadcast news networks there was black headway into the news industry in contradiction to Lemon's remark.
Max Robinson came to national prominence in July 1978 when he became a co-anchor the ABC News weeknight program ''World News Tonight.''
Max Robinson Source: NY Times
In television generally, the 1960s was actually a golden age for black performers with 38 series featuring blacks as stars, co-stars, or continuing characters. A far cry from what viewers would be lead to believe with Lemon's remark. Source
When reporters, especially national media, want to paint the history of race relations in extreme colors, as Lemon did this morning regarding his show tonight on the CNN poll, perhaps he, and they, should think about who came first.
(4.30.16) "Hillary Goes Off the Reservation." Of course by now you've heard Hillary used another condemned phrase, meant to be humorous I think, that has set some of her followers hair on fire. Today she used the words "off the reservation" in describing a class of men she now admits have occupied her world. In one swoop she injected herself into a strain of feminism that disregards a bad history while openly admitting the male of our species should be kept penned in.
It wasn't a mistake. Her wording plays to the far left of center feminists in her camp, a camp she fears may be bolting due to Trump's actually verbalizing about spouse Bill's open marital transgressions.
However, I sort of think she meant also those unruly and unrepentent males who had crossed her in politics and policy. If any such male strays are wandering about Hillary's world now, I suspect she imagines putting them in FEMA camps for re-education, as many YouTube writers claim. But I digress.
Since she chose to use that historic phraseology that has a specific meaning about control over Native Americans, maybe there's an analogy to what the New York Times said Oct. 26, 1886 about them: "shiftless, untameable...a rampant and intractable enemy to civilization."
You see, I believe she wasn't thinking only about Bill. Rather, I imagine she was drawing from a dark psycho corner nobody brings up at Georgetown cocktail parties. She was referring to all of "them".
We all understand the nature of the phrase. It conjures up another catastrophe white males (and females) visited upon another set of less powerful non-whites. Perhaps Hillary remembered seeing a "Trail of Tears" sign that marked the route of the Choctaws when they were death marched across Arkansas from Mississippi. In fact, I worked "on that reservation" editing a tribal newspaper that mostly extolled the chief going to Washington and getting money. That not withstanding, the tribal members and college educated reservation bureacracy were keenly aware of such language. Consider its origins:
"The acting commissioner of Indian affairs to-day received a telegram from Agent Roorke of the Klamath (Oregon) agency, dated July 6, [...] says: 'No Indians are off the reservation without authority. All my Indians are loyal and peaceable, and doing well." (Baltimore Sun, July 11, 1878)
"Secretary Hoke Smith...has requested of the Secretary of War the aid of the United States troops to arrest a band of Navajo Indians living off the reservation near American Valley, New Mexico, who have been killing cattle, etc." (Washington Post, May 23, 1894)
"Apaches off the reservation...killing deer and gathering wild fruits." (New York Times, Sept. 7, 1897)
From a presidential candidate that's wound so tight, her inability to handle--not that she actually said it--such a loaded blunder shows a reluctance to be or even trust herself. Moreso she can't recover from such gaffes with alacrity as husband did and Trump does seemingly guiltlessly without even thinking. Its so unfair.
My uncredentialed head shrinking continues: her response is to create a loud ideologically driven personna that sounds good to herself and her core following, though I suspect even they are tired of it. She'll assign others to say how smart, funny, sensitive and warm she is. (And nomatter what, they just can't switch to Bernie, though they really, really want to.)
Compare to Donald Trump, who almost at the very same time, effortlessly played the crowd impromptu at the GOP state meeting in California. He cracked he had maneuvered over a "wall" just to get in. Clearly it was a reference about the wall he has said he's going to build on the southern border. Insensitive if you must, but so hilarious everybody related. That's the difference between the two.
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(4.26.16) In the last couple of days on his show WREC 600's Ben Ferguson hysterically enough declaimed that "perverts" at Target now would use the bathroom with his audience's wives and little girls as a result of the company's "gender neutral" (my term for lack of a better one) bathroom policy. Ben skated past the best elements of a conversation about same in favor of making it sound like a horde of criminal transgenders is sneaking into women's restrooms to commit assault. It smacked of rabble rousing. His opinion gig at CNN could be history had he uttered such pablum there. In fact, as far as I heard, he gave no stats to support his thesis that transgenders assail women and girls more than other criminals. A more entertaining approach for a paid conversationalist would have been to call Target live--as I could imagine Schnitt, (now not even carried locally according to his site) the talker who held Ferguson's time slot previously and ask the highest corp. executive he could get on-air if he would be comfortable for his wife or girl being alone in a Target bathroom with a transgender. Considering socal norms today, it would have made for some entertaining if not awkward radio. Instead Ferguson took the low road by alleging transgender criminality without backup. By the way, I've known a few transgenders. They had assailed no one. Weirdness is not criminal. FB, Twit or email
(4.20.16) Today is Prince day for all the media. Even a local television station reported the times he had played in Memphis. I didn't realize he was a cultural icon until the reporter so informed me. Sure, I saw Purple Rain, but I thought Morris Day was the real hit. Not that Prince was a bad thing: its great that he didn't move to Hollywood, was self taught and earned his way to the top. But when I hear people calling him a "genius" i gotta stop. A genius, to me, is someone who cures cancer, builds a rocket to outer space or makes an atom smasher work. Everybody else has the knack of performance in an approving culture. As Penelope Cruz proclaimed in Woody Allen's To Rome With Love "Its talent, not genius!" (sic) Also, like all spectacularly rich celeb artists who are awarded unlimited money and praise, we will find he had the usual threats oblivious to him and unrecognized by his paid adulants. Speaking of culture... FB, Twit or email
(4.20.16) Is Donald Trump like Andrew Jackson? Heard they were going to replace his picture on the $20 bill with that of Harriet Tubman. The commentariot, as exampled by Fox's Bill O'Reily, predictably tripped over themselves in fits of liberal reforms and rationalizations, conveniently forgetting Jackson was the last of the presidents who participated in the American Revolution. Strange but not how no one inveighed against the money change. But it falls into the current trend of denying the uncomfortable facts--and therefore people--of history. We are too offended to think our historic figures may behave as a part of their own contemporary culture instead of ours. Personally, there are things I liked about President Jackson, among them he was the first real American president badass who killed a man for offending his wife. Way too passionate by today's standards. Standards today demand people we all be shocked when we hear Donald Trump wax at the podium about Bronx street justice. Soon, probably, we'll start erasing historical figures from modern memory (like Stalin did with his unfortunate cronies.) OK, please flagellate me about how Jackson launched the Trail of Tears in what might be called America's first mass ethnic cleansing and native genocide and was a slave holder. Hey, even Chinese revere their sado-masochist mass killing leader Mao Tse Tung. Now, if they ever were to replace the face on the twenty dollar bill, I have a suggestion: use the shot of Marilyn Monroe as hot air lifted her dress above a New York sidewalk. She did more for American women, if not men, than any feminist then or now ever did. Culture beats politics, at least when it comes to Marilyn. FB, Twit or email
(4.16.16) Hilary Clinton says she likes hot sauce. Black people should vote for her for that. On a black hosted radio show in New York, a question something like was posed, "What is it you carry with you all the time in your purse?" Revealing it was nothing if not a setup question to make her look more "blackish," she responded without any reflection instantly, "hot sauce." Some called that pandering because, as we all know, most blacks take hot sauce straight up on everything. Coming after the "CP" joke with tall and ambitious New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio (to whom she blamed the joke on as if it were not prearranged with him), what could be more cringe worthy? The two doctrinaire liberals like Hillary and DeBlasio thought the crowd would be hep with their geste. Hey, they were two of them afer all. They'd get it. They, the crowd, were not hep. They did not get it. However, nothing beats Hillary's fakery when deploying her black church inflection on a congregation. I admit, even her "hot sauce" loses its heat by comparison.
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(4.11.16) No comment. Daily Mail sites Memphis homicide rate as more than Chicago. Link.
(4.2.16) How Soviet of You! Another revealing micromoment of America's most insipid administration went on display yesterday, when Fox News reported the White House actually cut the word "Islamic" before "terrorism" in President Hollande's translated remarks. Obama's Progressive paternalism to treat the American people as children and to deny the facts is nothing but failed leadership. And people wonder why Trump is popular.
(3.21.16) What I want Rep Cohen's to bring back to Memphis from Cuba..OK, I like the idea we've opened relations with the brutal and corrupt dictatorship of those swingin' Castro bros.
Trade and interaction among people always helps, except maybe with China. But returning to this byte, I hope Rep. Cohen lands a good Cuban restaurant to Memphis, a city bereft of good restaurants to start with. So Cohen's mission could be twofold: culinary diplomacy and adding to local business. If you've ever eaten at Versailles on Venice Blvd. in Culver City, CA you'd know why I bring up this urgent issue. Specifically, garlic chicken, whole red snapper, banana plantains, rice and black beans and a treasure of other delights.
Of course, I will try to choke back those delights by forgetting. Forgetting that isomewhere in Cuba someone who expressed a disagreeable opinion to the prison island's kleptocratic rulers' is getting their head bashed in.
But, hey, those plantains can't be beat.
(3.18.16) "Act of War" In today's presser with Belgium and French PMs, the Nov. attack on Paris was described as an "act of war." Finally. That has been rarely heard in West. The sooner the West understands these attacks are launched by a foreign Islamic state, or their sympathizers, the sooner we deal with it definitive terms, if you know what I mean. Sure, Obama made his congratulatory call. We will have to wait eight months before another president gets a chance to do the right thing.
(3.17.16) Kerry's pompous announcement Yesterday SoS John Kerry formally stood before cameras and rhetorically proclaimed it was official: ISIS had been committing genoide. As if not one person had watched TV for the last few years, Kerry pompously pronounced it was true: ISIS had been killing Christians and sects of other religions en masse. Don't know, but ISIS has probably murdered or enslaved all of them by now. The only thing Kerry really succeeded in his announcement, was that after Hitler and the "never again" mantra among the West after WWll was alive and well. We saw it again and again with the ilk of Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Imin and other genocidal rodents like Stalin. At least, Obama is not alone in blowing it with ISIS. No particular courage, resolution nor particular concern, let alone outrage. Hey, he can always point to Roosevelt who infamously refused to even bomb a symbolic portion of the railroad tracks taking millions of Jews to their slaughter.
(3-9-16) Once again, Obama refuses to be a C in C. Jaw dropping and head slapping follows news that we've captured a high level ISIS chemical warfare official that we will NOT (caps rarely used) detain in Quantanamo where interrogators, possibly in concert with other chemical captives, have at him indefinitely at will. Instead, its reported Obama--who is determined to close Quantanamo before he leaves office--wants to give him to the Kurds after 60 days. Of course, if we were to imprison this enemy combatant on American soil, we'd have to give him his Miranda rights as if he were a regular criminal miscreant. Our president is a pure ideologue. I'd bet even King Tam of countrycat family.com would realize this ISIS savage knows about long or even short term plans to attack American targets with chemical weapons--not to mention Western allies. For security's sake, getting Obama out of office is a race against time, not to mention the race to defeat his previous colleague Hillary Clinton.
(3-7-16) Of Autos and Guns. In the Demo debate Sunday night in Michigan, Hillary all but said she wanted ban the sale of guns. Presumably any inanimate object that causes human suffering should be excluded from our life. That would include, therefore, automobiles. However, I doubt her objection to autos would not quite be the same, nor as beneficial, as with guns.
As with the Tea Party, some hand made signage revealed a withering yet joyful wit.
The crowd was well ensconced against the front railing when I arrived about two hours early. This is a shot behind the camera stand. Offloading first was former presidential candidate Chris Christie. He repeated parts of his endorsement speech, after which Trump said he could go home, according to report. Gratuitous humiliation of an ex-political opponent? If it was a put down, it didn't end there. The sound system, at least to me, made Christie's voice somewhat alto, reminding me of one of the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz.
(2.28.16) Fresh from yesterday's campaign stop at Bentonville AR, location of the Walmart corporate home, Donald Trump stopped over at Millington, TN located 11 miles from Memphis. I heard Trump himself just claimed to newser Chris Wallace that 15,000 people showed up. A media report said 11,000. I'm no good at head counting, but it doesn't seem possible that number could be right. Granted, the event was held in a large hangar at a small airport. People were penned in shoulder to shoulder, making it look like a lot more, especially when the crowd was boisterous and energized enthusiastic.
15,000? Don't see it by the looks of an absence of port-a-potty queues (in upper pic left) and by the empty space below. There may have been 15k that were issued tickets off the internet, but tickets were not counted upon entrance. Pic time above: 7:02 PM. The hangar was abut 65% full by my estimation then. Real attendance: I'd guess maybe 6,000.
Airport Hangar politics. From Uncle Sam to the back line of the crowd, hangar is half empty. Not to say it wasn't a large crowd, but probably considerably smaller than the numbers bandied about. Shot taken at 5:48 pm. The event was schedule to start at 6:00 pm, although Trump arrived early.
For campaign managers, holding an event in this enclosed space was genius. It has the perceptual advantage of making the crowd seem as large as his previous events elsewhere. The enclosed space also made the crowd's response to Trump's dog attack rips seem strangely celestially awesome. More pics...
Planting a state and Trump flags.
On crutches she walked with sign.
If anything, the media should take campaign turnout numbers with at least some fictional embellishment. Perhaps they should place an intern at the entrance to take an actual count.
Post note: Trump is yet the only candidate I've heard who can have his backers repeat his lines. I haven't heard it from any of the others. You? For example, he told the crowd when former Mexican President Fox announced he "would not build that wall," (but with a little more expletive flourish), Trump paused and asked the crowd how he would respond. The crowd, like the thunderous voice of God, responded, "You will build it ten feet higher!"
Now, that's confidence.
(2.26.16 BenQQ) He makes all other media, as well as commentators, reporters and just about everybody else's old professional standards, irrelevant. American politics, maybe all of society, has been trumpetized, meaning commoners are back. At lest rich commoners. Doesn't matter he's filthy rich, to which he noticeably points. In contrast are opponents Cruz and Rubio who harken to their poor parents and personal struggles. Not Trump. Cuing into romantic American myth is not his thing. Maybe that's because he doesn't have much of one.
credit: John Garra, Buzzfeed News via www.readandenjoy.me
In fact, he has made himself a workaday chump of mind-blowing success without having to put on airs. What's more, people believe it. Forget the wise old values of Abe Lincoln. Enter The Donald with cringeworthy insults and bombastic egotism. Come to think of it, nobody has had Abe's values since Abe.
Otherwise self congratulating commentariot have thrown in the towel trying to peg him. Fact is, Trump's style leaps beyond the low bar normal, not to mention political, standards. He's blunt as if having only time to speak in text messages, not worrying much about what he did or said before or even what he says in the moment. But whatever he says is coming from him, not likely a writer delivering him lines.
Above, left wing extremists have latched onto Trump, comparing him to assorted murderers, jihadists and Southern Confederates, not to mention conservative commentator Ann Coulter looking up transfixed. Credit: cover of the Southern Poverty Law Center report on extremism in which they say Trump has inspired violence.
That's the relatable common man part of his appeal though he may not be equivalent to pistol packing (tho I hear he packs heat) Andrew Jackson who is said to have, regretfully enough, invited "the people" to his innauguration that turned into a three day drunken bash.
However, a strange brand of honest populism unrelated to his wealth will likely propel him into the oval office. He's an amazing, great guy and he'll tell you so. And just imagine his stunningly gorgeous multi-lingual wife holding forth royally at White House events. It will be a guaranteed sight.
He matches perfectly the theme of today's nihilistic self-absorption. Not saying that's a bad thing. He doesn't care if he's talking off the top of his head. Deep thoughts are slow and cumbersome. He says he'll listen to the policy wonks. He doesn't pretend to be an expert, except in himself.
His people like that. So do I.
(Los Angeles 11.19.15 BenQQ) Apparently not caring they sounded like Nazi thugs threatening performers in a prewar Berlin nightclub, as in the movie Cabaret, Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, said recently a "prominent" member of Hillary Clinton's campaign demanded he take down a three minute video, entitled, what else? “Hillary vs. The First Amendment.” It of course made fun of the candidate. As a result, Masada said, “I have received complain(t)s before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video,” according to the Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles. Not only that, he said the unnamed campaign officio wanted to know the personal contact information of the performers in the video. Here's the story and the link to the video. The three minute video is still running.
Perhaps more important, it would be interesting to know if current Hillary supporters believe this tactic is OK with them. If so, expect worse. Seig Heil, Hillary, Seig Heil.
(10.21.15 BenQQ) Here are seven little questions I'd like to ask Hillary Clinton regarding the 9-11-12 attack:
If you were visiting these pages soon after Sept 11, 2012, you might recall my outrage culminating in a call for Obama's impeachment because he failed to offer not even a concern to protect American soil during the attack. Both Clinton and Obama apparently have gotten a pass for not being particularly responsible before the attack (despite numerous warnings).
The Democrats have exhibited a shameless craven partisanship in pretending to want to get to the bottom of this scandal, the only Obama scandal that has resulted in loss of life. They point to the previous seven (7) hearings as quite enough, thank you. They, and their media as well, fail to point out the previous hearings were mostly finger pointing exercises from one agency to the other.
The American people, not government agencies, most deserve to have the answers only the Benghazi committee can bring them. With the exception of a few investigative reporters, no other body has the mission nor the budget to uncover the truth.
Watch the hearing tomorrow.