Stolpersteine

I think the large Holocaust memorial here [in Berlin] will always remain abstract. You have to make the decision to visit it. But not with the stumbling blocks. Suddenly they are there, right outside your front door, at your feet, in front of you.

Guenther Demnig
Morning Edition – Stumbling Upon Mini Memorials To Holocaust Victims May 31, 2012

The artist Gunter Demnig has placed almost 60,000 “Stolpersteine” cobblestones across Europe. The first 50 were placed in Berlin in May 1996. Illegally. Now, it is the biggest decentralized monument in the world.

20 years of ‘Stolpersteine’

Stolpersteine translates, literally, into stumbling stones. You stumble over them because they are obvious. Gunter Demnig has earned his place in artistic history, placing every one of the 60,000 stolpersteine himself. This is the website where you can donate to the fund or even pay to have one placed with a name of your choice.

I was thinking of posting the memorial image below again today on Facebook, as I have for the last few years, because it is once again the anniversary of Sophie Scholl’s death sentence.

…but those really aren’t her final words, except that they were in one of the last letters she wrote before the death sentence was carried out. What her final words were remain undocumented. That she died at the hands of people who thought she did not belong, is documented. So I’m creating this post in memory of her on this date. In memory of all the holocaust victims, with the sincere hope that we don’t have to start installing stolpersteine in the US in order to mark the spots were the brown-skinned people we arrested and hauled off to their deaths used to live, because people in this country continue to deny that it has happened here, and continues to happen here.

New York Times – The White Rose Guillotine

We know their story well, these students who wrote the Leaflets of the White Rose. We know their bravery, their utter courage, how they wrote death-defying words that led straight to the guillotine.

Yet we hardly know them at all. We focus so tightly on their noble deeds that we overlook who they were. We’re listening so closely for those awe-inspiring retorts as the students stand before Judge Freisler that we miss the wonder of the debates that stirred them to act.

When we begin to step back to “see” them better, to grasp the whole of their work, we find that our widened lens is capturing people we don’t know at all. There are new faces, new voices, new perspectives.

Before long, we realize there is so much more to “resistance” during the Shoah than just White Rose, more even than White Rose plus 20 July 1944 plus Rote Kapelle plus the Kreisauer Circle and the handful of other groups that have made their way into the literature.

Every new story we find – whether it is Helmuth Hübener and his friends, or Helle Hirsch, or the BMW leaflet writers – demonstrates how much there is still to learn about the strength of character of so many unknown heroes.

Once that camera lens pans the landscape of thousands of courageous individuals, our spirits are lifted. We understand that even in the darkest of days, there were those who stood up for justice, those who did the right thing no matter the cost.

The Center for White Rose Studies has dedicated its resources to uncovering those stories. We began with White Rose, but we are actively documenting as many heroic acts (and heroes) as we can.

We believe that these biographies will inspire and encourage young people in 21st century America to live lives characterized by integrity and the pursuit of justice. We believe that, because we know how the stories have affected us.

Join us on this journey!

White Rose Studies

Rebutting Thought-Ending Conservatism – Part One: Slavery

For Shelby

American News XJuly 18, 2016

When I posted this image to my Facebook wall, I hadn’t expected any real pushback. I mean, the facts of how dark skinned humans came to be slaves and lower class in America, and how they are still mostly poor in America, are incontrovertible. Nevertheless, my own family pushed back, people who should know better than to argue facts or history with me. They all know how much I read (or they should) and they all know that I have a tick that won’t allow me to simply ignore stupidity when I hear it.

…and still, the first comment I got was all lives matter, a stubborn refusal to see the world as it really is, a willfully ignorant insistence of falseness being truth that continued for the entire dialog under the image. The replies that I got were boilerplate. They were talking points that could be repeated (and have been repeated to me endlessly) by any FOX watching conservative; and so consequently this little exercise bears going through just this one time. Just to expose the talking points for what they are, so as to illustrate just how wrong they are.

All lives matter is a thought-ending phrase. It doesn’t actually mean anything in and of itself, which is why people repeat it after hearing that black people object to being targeted as they have been throughout US history. 

The people who say all lives matter simply want the person they are speaking at to shut up. Here’s Felonious Monk from the Nightly Show (Larry Wilmore) explaining how this works,

THE NIGHTLY SHOW WITH LARRY WILMORE ALL WORDS MATTER – FELONIOUS MUNK
Stormtrumpers did get the Nightly Show canceled. You did manage to get one thing done in Trump’s first year.

I want the doctor to fix my leg.

Language is our evolutionary prerogative. It is the air I breathe. I will not be shut down, belittled or pushed aside; and the people who, rightly, want to stop being targeted by police officers where they live simply because of the color of their skin will not be shut down either. Insisting there is no problem to be corrected makes you the target, and Stormtrumpers should remember what happened when they made everyone else the target of their anger in 2016. That payback is coming. You can be sure of this if of nothing else.

Here’s the first long comment from that attempt at a Facebook dialog I want to quote,

Democrats enslaved the black man Republicans freed them (Lincoln being the first Republican President). Democrats are now trying to enslave the country. As long as there are ignorant people in this country to vote democrat, there will always be slavery. On another note. 90% of the killing of the black man is the black man killing there own. Your president has caused more chaos in this country and ya’ll still voted that piece of shit back in and want people to believe that it’s the Republicans fault. When people learn to work for there own and not sit at home and feed off the working man they might have a different view of whats happening in this country.

Now, this comment comes from a relative, an in-law. One who knows that I am disabled. This is the kind of love and understanding that is common across Texas, not just in the men who are married to one of your sisters. They are certain that people who don’t want to work are just lazy, as if laziness were not a survival trait. As if they aren’t equally as lazy on any given day, willing to let their wives and family do the housework while they get fat on their recliners drinking beer and watching football. Writing is about the only work I’m capable of doing these days, and I can only do that sporadically between bouts of vertigo. The people like this relative who tell me to get a job are speaking in code. Unluckily for these hateful types, I understand their code because I was one of them once. Get a job is code for crawling away somewhere and dying out of sight. Out of sight is out of mind. They, to borrow a phrase, simply want me to starve to death and decrease the surplus population. They are Scrooges, manufacturing the chains they will wear for the rest of eternity, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Also note the logical disconnect in saying that Democrats, led by a black man, favor enslaving that same black man and everyone else in the U.S., a black man who we elevated to the office of the president. A president that he loving calls a piece of shit even though Barack Obama was demonstrably the best president of our lifetimes (more on this in a bit) This insistence that Democrats favor slavery is a non-sequitur, it doesn’t follow any logical reasoning, and yet nearly all conservatives and Republicans in general believe this kind of crap without even asking why they believe it. It is essential to their mental makeup that they project their own hatreds onto others, in a pretty typical psychological fashion.

White men enslaved the black man long before there was such a thing as the Democratic party. Slavery itself predates every record that has ever been kept by any society, and it was more frequently the next tribe over from yours who were enslaved rather than a group that was distinctly different looking. It was far more likely to be your neighbors than it was that your tribe had the chance to conquer peoples in a far away place and enslave them. Only expansive civilizations like the city-states of old could muster that kind of might. Rome took slaves from every part of the known world, most of them not being of any different color skin than their own. No, it took enterprising Europeans to hit upon enslaving a specific group of people who looked different than everyone around them, making those people easy to spot as slaves without having to think about the problem too hard.

Black slavery worked well in the early American colonies and across most of Europe because black people could be seen as slaves at a glance. The otherness of appearance made it easy to keep those people in their lessor place of status. You didn’t have to keep records of whether or not this or that black person was a slave (although they did anyway) because if you looked different, you were property and not a person. This disconnect, this racism, continues to the present day in the structures and beliefs of the people in the formerly slave holding states, and in the major cities all across the U.S. Most people simply don’t make the connection that darkness, even darkness of skin, is routinely chalked up to something malign.

Have you never noticed the prevalent fear of the dark? I’ve had many people insist that this is not the same as racism, but it is based on exactly the same mental structures. Just like sinister means left-handed as well as being threatening, darkness implies threat or differentness, and this is across all peoples everywhere. And it manifests in people looking down on those around them whose skin is darker than theirs is. It manifests in trying to force left-handed people to become right-handed, or killing the left-handed outright for their threatening nature. Killing those who look or act different because they scare you. Xenophobia, as someone with more education would refer to it. Xenophobia is rampant in the world today.

Slavery runs rampant in the Bible and was widespread throughout the world prior to the enlightenment, and it was those enlightened liberal thinkers that ushered in the end of slavery as well as many other laudable achievements of the time (things like the germ theory of medicine) and conservatives of the time (today’s Republicans) fought tooth and nail against the notion that slavery was bad. Because conservatives favor tradition, and slavery was a cherished institution.

So slavery predates the modern Republican hatred for Democrats. The Democrats in the 1800’s were pro-slavery, that much is true. Democrats were a predominantly conservative party at that time; conservative being the generic label for people who favor the status quo, people who don’t want to change.

The party that opposed the Democrats in 1852 was referred to as the Whigs. The Whig party disintegrated in 1854 over the question of slavery in the form of the Kansas-Nebraska act. I’m sure you all remember that from your Kansas history. No? Well, that’s okay. The Kansas-Nebraska act made it possible for states to decide if they wanted to be slave or free states at their time of admission, making the broad expansion of slavery across the American continent a thing to be feared by abolitionists everywhere. The Whigs really didn’t have a purpose for existing in the first place other than to be opposed to the policies of Andrew Jackson, and he’d been dead for quite awhile at that point. The Democratic party as it existed then had been formed by Andrew Jackson and his supporters. The party of slavery is a fitting label to hang on his legacy of murder and genocide.

(Suggested reading: Jacksonland)

Progressives of the time were abolitionist and they joined forces with Northerners who didn’t want the South to be able to bring their slaves into non-slaveholding states. This further injury to the sensibilities of abolitionists was the net result of the Dred Scott decision; this Supreme Court decision made it possible for slave-owning Southerners to live wherever they liked and keep their slaves in whatever state they lived in whether that state was a free state or a slave state. If the repeal of the Missouri compromise wasn’t enough to solidify an anti-slavery movement, then having to compete with slaves for work in your own free state was a thought far too loathsome to contemplate.

The formerly progressive Whigs and the progressives from the other political factions in 1856 joined together to create what became known as the Republican party. This is important, so take note of this fact. Republicans were the progressives and liberals of the time. Republicans were progressives and liberals when they were formed in 1856. They were the people who favored change, and they nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1860, a presidential candidate who successfully stood astride the two warring factions (pro-slavery/anti-slavery) and managed to pull a victory out of the contested election of 1860 by promising to leave historically slave states alone and promising to preserve the union. Northern conservatives, people who wanted to preserve their non-black, non-slaveholding states, also sided with the progressives in handing the Republicans and Lincoln this victory.

(Suggested reading: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)

Progressives freed the slaves. Not conservatives. Conservatives were pro-slavery in 1860. The progressive Republican party elected Abraham Lincoln. Just as progressive Republicans lead by Teddy Roosevelt broke up the monopolies and cleaned up the corporate mess that the country was mired in back in 1900.

(Suggested reading: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)

Parties are not static creatures. They live and breath and change. The Democrats eventually changed, although it took time for the conservative/liberal polls to shift. The Democrats aligned themselves, one might even suggest anchored themselves, in the unquestionable white supremacy of the Andrew Jackson years. They stuck with white supremacy through the Civil War and reconstruction. Stuck with it through Jim Crow. They clung to their white majorities and their white working-class voter base through World War I and looked the other way during the red summer. But they weren’t the only ones who looked the other way. There was mass denial of the racism of that year, across the political landscape.

The Democrats held their white majorities through the Depression and World War II. It helped that Republicans had been bought by that time. Bought by the corporations that they had fought in the 1900’s. So the anti-monopolists were tamed. Republicans looked the other way as the poor starved through the depression, or shrugged their shoulders and pretended there was nothing to be done. So the progressives started to shift from the Republican party. They started to put their allegiance with the Democrats and their support of unions. Unions that just happened to be in alignment with the concerns of the white, working-class voter that dominated the landscape of the time. Aligned themselves with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his hair-brained scheme to short-circuit the malfunctioning international gold standard and end the Great Depression.

(Suggested reading: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World)

After LBJ’s betrayal of White Southerners by pushing through the Civil Rights Act, the majority of white voters in the South migrated to the Republican party, a party that they had hated until explicitly invited to join the party by Richard Nixon. At the same time minorities made a political shift and started supporting their historic enemies, the Democrats. It was at this point that the parties functionally changed political orientations, the Republicans harkening back to the past, becoming predominantly conservative, and the Democrats became liberal. These trends remain in place today.

Look around any Republican gathering, Trump’s never-ending Hitler-esque political rallies for example, and notice that the audience is predominantly white. Now look at Democratic gatherings, a the offices recently filled with women and people of color, and you should notice a pretty stark contrast. This is what Reince Priebus tried to warn Republicans about when he chaired the Republican National Committee. That future he warned ya’ll about? That future is now.

The last point to refute in the long (previously quoted) comment is this one,

90% of the killing of the black man is the black man killing there own.

Murder is always predominantly committed by people who look like the victim, not just black murder. This is because murder is generally committed by people the victim knows, and those people will generally be people who look like them. Their own family members are quite frequently the perpetrators, for the exact same reason. Look it up. White on white crime far exceeds any other created racial grouping. So this pointing out of black on black crime as being indicative of something sinister? That is just more racism being exposed by someone who can’t seem to figure out he’s a racist.

Here’s the next comment that I want to refute.

The black man sold the black man to the white man. You can not deny that there are more poor people now then before obama became the dictator of this country. You can not deny the democrats crashed the housing market. You can not deny that what is really wrong is only wrong for Republicans not democrats. You can not deny that hilary clinton killed 4 good men in Bengozie. You can deny obama has devided this country. You can not deny obama has spent 10 trillion dollars while saying Bush spent 4 and should never have done that. Liberals (democrats) are moochers and free loaders, you can not deny that. I know plenty of democrats that are in denial because they are secretly ashamed of them selves because they are so used to the way they are they can’t change. A person can look at history and see what ever makes them selves feel good but that doesn’t mean they are right. If there were no Republicans to work and support liberals (democrats)? How would liberals (democrats) live then.

Assuming that my antagonist was serious and not attempting to be humorous. That’s a large assumption, I know. But, assuming he’s serious, I’ll take these points one at a time.

The black man sold the black man to the white man.

White men sell white men to black men. Probably yesterday, even. Slavery still goes on, especially sex slavery. Ask your president about sex slavery. He met a few sex slaves while hanging out with his buddy Jeffrey Epstein. You’ll be finding out the truth of this in the near future. In any case, the simple fact that people sell people proves about as much as selling your time to someone else for money proves. Everyone is a mercenary, some of us are just better paid than others. Knowing that selling people crosses a line that will get you killed for your trouble, that alters the calculation from “how much can I get for selling my child” to “how much does that third job pay?” the latter being the preferable moral decision we are looking for as a society.

You can not deny that there are more poor people now then before obama became the dictator of this country.

Obama wasn’t a dictator. He wasn’t even an aggressive president like W. or Bill or Bush the first or Reagan. He was definitely better than Tricky Dick, who was probably the most aggressive person to hold the Office of President in my lifetime before Trump cheated his way into office. Trump wants to be a dictator, just like his heroes are dictators. Trump puts all other presidents to shame being single-handedly the worst president ever to hold office on the first day that he was in office, and has gotten worse every day since that day. I find it hard to imagine how he could be worse, until the next time I wake up and read the news and think well, that’s how he could be worse. Tomorrow will be no different than it was today.

As I said previously, Barack Obama was demonstrably the best president of our lifetimes. The only reason to propose that he was not is that his skin is black or because he was a Democrat. Being a black Democrat makes hatred for him a double feature. Not only were his policies the policies of Republicans watered down, just like Bill Clinton’s were, but he had the unmitigated gall not to march to the military drumbeat that every president since Reagan has adopted.

But poverty? Poverty has gotten markedly worse under every president since Ronald Reagan. Obama was no exception to this fact, largely because he didn’t change the trickle-down bullshit that Reagan forced through congress in the 80’s. The economic bullshit that has been adopted by every president after Reagan just like the focus on the military was adopted by every president after Reagan. Trickle-down economics was rightly termed voodoo economics by Bush the first, but he was just as willing to practice that voodoo if it got him elected. When he dared raise taxes to balance the budget, he was forced out of office by the wealthy elites who wanted to punish him for raising their taxes to pay for services that they didn’t solely benefit from.

( Suggested reading: #MAGA: The Myth of Bootstraps)

Poverty has gotten worse under Trump, just as it did under Obama. (40% of Americans are poor) His rewards to the wealthy have stoked a fire that will shortly have the economy overheating and tanking (yield curve inversion) and who knows what the effects of his writing his own personal loopholes into the tax code will be. Everyone should be channelling every dime they have through a series of shell companies now, just like President Trump does (He’s smart. Just ask him) That’s how you get to keep all of your money and then sue people because they didn’t give you more money.

The poor are still the economic slaves of the wealthy. That inequity has yet to be addressed. That is what the current liberal/progressive movement wishes to fix, one goal among many.

I’m not going to make this long, long article longer still longer by belaboring the last few misconceptions that were voiced in that quote. The image and the article were and are about the Black Lives Matter movement, and slavery. I’ll just run through a few more refutation links for clarity’s sake (and I might need them later myself)

( Suggested reading: Caveat Emptor)

There have always been conservatives and liberals, even though they didn’t always use the same names. There have always been adherents to tradition and people unafraid of experimentation, people ready to adopt new rules to cover new realities. Conservatives are the former, liberals are the latter.

Since the vast majority of young people are liberal by definition (they themselves representing change to the status quo, the status quo being their parents) and since the vast majority of young people are not lazy shirkers, his broad dismissal of liberals as worthless lacks even the basic merit that I try to give every argument offered. He’s condemning his own children and their children with one fell sweep of his opinion. They will probably discard him when he becomes a burden in old age, just as easily as they will discard his dismissal when they hear it now.

Rampant militarism is the hallmark of a dictator. The kind of person Trump loves and wants to be. So Obama? Not a dictator. The black lives matter movement is not a threat to you unless you are a White Supremacist. That is it, in a nutshell. Don’t believe me? Black Lives Matter protest in Wichita changed to cookout with police. There is your answer.

Every. Single. Point. Every point that was offered has now been shown to be wrong. All of them. If I wasn’t related to the commeter that I was quoting from by marriage, I wouldn’t have bothered to write this novelette. I substantiate my arguments with checkable facts and links to articles that reinforce my arguments. Facts which are irrefutable. Follow those links and understand the arguments, then if you, dear reader, still disagree with me feel free to offer a verifiable argument of your own.

John Legend | TED2016 “Redemption Song”

Facebook


Editor’s note. This one has sat on the edit pile since I copied the comments to the blog in expectation of writing this now completed article. That was back in the summer of 2016 as the Facebook link to the original meme posting on my Facebook wall should illustrate. I went ahead and advanced this article in time to it’s publish date (January 31, 2020 why 4:04?) so that it will at least briefly appear on the front page of the blog. I agonized over outing my in-laws for their blatant racism for all the years in-between 2016 and now. Now, with the Trump impeachment soon to be history and Trump (probably) crowing about victory on Tuesday at the SOTU, I wanted this article out. If there is a civil war, this is it. Here. Now. At the polls in November. We will fight and we will win, or we will die trying.

Contrary to former RL friend’s comments, the contrapositive of this yard sign are not false unless you want to craft them as false statements. That is, all the contrapositives other than the line about kindness, which cannot be everything. Kindness is only kindness, but it goes a long way.

Donald Trump Impeached. Forever.

He just got impeached. He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached forever because he violated our Constitution

Nancy Pelosi

It’s done. It’s done. The articles were delivered to the Senate today.

PBS NewsHourDemocrats formally deliver articles of impeachment to the Senate – January 16, 2019

I just watched the Senate be convened as a court to render impartial justice on the subject of the impeachment of Donald John Trump as the president of the United States. Not only has the House impeached the Orange Hate-Monkey, they have delivered that indictment to the Senate in order for it to be heard as a legal argument against the president.

What happens now is on the shoulders of Mitch McConnell and the Republican-controlled Senate. They will reconvene next Tuesday as a court to begin the deliberations of the articles of impeachment. If they fail to do justice to our country and our laws, this Senate will be judged harshly by future historians on this fact. McConnell, who has promised to walk in lock-step with the the White House on seeing the president acquitted of all charges, should think long and hard on what his history in the Senate will ultimately mean.

Will he be remembered for allowing this menace to the safety of the world, to the financial security of the United States, to continue in office? Or will he do the right thing and see him removed and barred from seeking a second term in office? Only time can tell.

What can be said, without argument, is that this action by the House is three years late in execution. Part of the blame for this is that the Senate allowed McConnell to hijack it’s authority so as to insure that the Supreme Court would be stacked with justices that he felt were loyal to his brand of conservatism. He should have been punished for his intransigence, and ejected from the Senate. But he wasn’t. Because party loyalty and the naked exercise of power mean more to today’s political actors than honesty and due diligence. This action set the stage that made getting a Republican elected in 2016 a must-do event that every Republican was determined to support. This gave us President Trump.

The other part of the blame rests on the 2016 House of Representatives lead by Paul Ryan, the one-time Republican nominee for Vice President. He should have seen that the President-elect was unsuited for his job, and made plans to have him impeached on January 21st, 2017. But again, just like McConnell, party loyalty and power kept him from doing his job even though the evidence of Trump’s incompetence was irrefutable at the time. His decision made flipping the House of Representatives into Democratic control essential to see the Presidency of Donald Trump brought to heel, if not to an end.

So here we are. January 16th, 2020. Mere weeks away from the first primary votes for the November 3rd general election, and we don’t even know if the sitting president can run for office again. We don’t know how many of his administration officers are also guilty of crimes, and thereby barred from taking his place on the ballot. And all of this harm is lying at the feet of the Republican party and it’s officers, people who allowed party to mean more than country.

How Dare You

Greta Thunberg

Featured image is from The day Donald Trump’s presidency changed forever by Chris Cillizza – December 18, 2019

#MAGA: Quid Pro Quo or Quod Erat Demonstrandum?

Mr. Trump, the Orange Hate-Monkey, keeps insisting there was no quid pro quo in his phone call with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s interesting that he keeps using that phrase. Quid pro quo. He uses like he knows what it means, and his supporters respond like they know what it means.

But they don’t know what it means. Most English speakers don’t know what it means. Quid pro quo is meant to equate to tit for tat or a favor for a favor. Which is what the transcript that Mr. Trump keeps saying exonerated him reveals. He explicitly asks for a favor in exchange for a favor.

On July 25, during a roughly 30-minute phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, our commander in chief engaged in not one, but two acts of bribery — one of the only high crimes, along with treason, specifically delineated by our Constitution.

“You just added another word,” McCarthy said. “No, it’s in the transcript,” Pelley responded. “He said — ‘I’d like you to do a favor though?” McCarthy asked, incredulous. “Yes,” Pelley responded once more, “it’s in the White House transcript.”

The reason McCarthy refused to accept that Trump said those words is because he knew they fit the definition of solicitation to a T. Nobody literally says “Here’s a bribe,” but “I would like you to do us a favor, though” is about as close as it gets.

Washington Post – The transcript Trump released is still the only evidence needed to impeach him

…He engages in two illegal acts in the transcript that he keeps insisting exonerated him. Then he uses the phrase “there was no quid pro quo.” Oddly enough, he is telling the truth when he says that. Think on that for a minute. Donald J. Trump, the president that has told more lies in his few short years as president than any one person can do in the course of a lifetime, is telling the truth about there not being a quid pro quo in that telephone conversation. There was no quid pro quo, if you revert to the meaning of the words as they were used in latin.

The Latin phrase corresponding to the usage of quid pro quo in English is do ut des (Latin for “I give, so that you may give”). Other languages continue to use do ut des for this purpose, while quid pro quo (or its equivalent qui pro quo, as widely used in Italian, French and Spanish) still keeps its original meaning of something being unwillingly mistaken, or erroneously told or understood, instead something else.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So he’s not substituting something for the thing that he’s promising. He’s not trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Volodymyr Zelensky, trying to get something for nothing. Which is completely the opposite of Donald Trump’s standard of practice. He steals from everybody else, all through his life, and now this time, when he honestly offers a favor for a favor, he gets in trouble. In any other transaction with Donald Trump, Volodymyr Zelensky would have been right to adhere to Caveat Emptor. But this time, Mr. Trump is being honest.

Do me a favor, and I’ll do you a favor. In every other instance in his life, he’d crawfish on that promise. Welsh on the deal. Or to use language that isn’t taken from gangster movies, stab his business partner in the back. He’s rightly pissed off at this. There was no quid pro quo, no attempt to get out of doing what was promised. Donald Trump would have given Volodymyr Zelensky exactly what he wanted in exchange for Zelensky doing what Mr. Trump asked for.

English speakers do this frequently. Reverse the meanings of words used in casual parlance. Sometimes they do this by accident. Sometimes it is done on purpose. But it happens a lot, and you have to wonder if Mr. Trump knows about this reversal of the phrases definition. Does he know, and this is just another showman’s wink at the camera?

It is just too bad for Donald Trump that even asking for the things he asked for is illegal. Even if he has to give the thing that President Zelensky wanted without getting anything in return. Which makes him even madder. No one steals from the Don! Except there is no theft here. Congress approved the aid. It goes without any strings attached, and asking for personal favors in exchange for unconditional aid is looking for bribes. Again, illegal, even if you don’t get the proceeds you ask for.

Ask any lawyer. Asking for a bribe, what in legal terms in the United States and England is defined as a quid pro quo, even if you don’t receive the payment, is a serious crime. Worse than lying under oath, even. The transcript that Mr. Trump caused to be released and insists exonerated him, proves that he asked for a bribe. That is quod erat demonstrandum or Q.E.D. Another latin phrase that Mr. Trump and his supporters should familiarize themselves with. This one means exactly what it says, unlike quid pro quo.

“The very thing it was required to have shown.”

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If it please the court? I’d like to enter exhibit A into the record.


Stay Tuned with Preet – Impeaching 45 (with Susan Glasser)

..In which Preet and Susan discuss just how the transcript is QED for Trump’s criminality (without using the phrase directly) and their wonderment that this farce of the Trump presidency has been allowed to continue to destroy the government and reputation of the United States for as long as it has.

I’d love to have a membership to the Insider. I hear it makes a great gift.

Black Friday Deal?

The National Climate Assessment—which is endorsed by nasa, noaa, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies—contradicts nearly every position taken on the issue by President Donald Trump. 

The report is blunt: Climate change is happening now, and humans are causing it. “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” declares its first sentence. “The assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid.”

The Atlantic – A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday

Hat/Tip to Eric Buck.

Stormtrumping Fascist Rant

Stormtrumpers are fascists because white supremacy has always been fascist. Stormtrumpers are white supremacists because they lock brown people up in cages for being brown people. They send people out of the United States for being brown people in their white country. They don’t lock up white people and send them away. They only lock up brown people and send them away. Demonstrable white supremacy.

From the very beginning. From the day that white supremacists created the notion that you could enslave people because of their skin color, because their skin color made them inferior, they’ve been practicing fascism and they didn’t even know it. White supremacy was fascist before there even was a thing called fascism.

Count on Europeans to take something that should be hidden from view and make it into something you can organize a state around. America looks sheepish because Hitler says we inspired him, and the world fights a war over it. When the war’s over we all say “no more judging people by their ethnicity.” Except that no one meant it, and here we are right back where we were in 1939. Locking people up in cages because of where they are from and what they look like. Stealing their children.

Calling Stormtrumpers fascist is hardly a stretch. One of Trump’s early supporters did the Nazi salute and yelled “Heil Trump” (editor’s note: hell. He’s not even the only one to do it) in front of cameras, and he did it seriously, not for comedy. You can’t get more fascist than that. They are fucking fascists. Now they’re trying to tell us we can’t prosecute their self-anointed god-emperor, Trump the Orange Hate-Monkey, for the crimes he brags about committing. Brags about, daily. These people are pathetic and I have no idea why we are still allowing them to fuck up our country.

Submitted to Lewis Black’s The Rant is Due. Facebook link.

Putting Trump where he belongs.

The following is appended just to hear Lewis say “fuck you” several times.

Lewis Black – Frustrated Union of Cynical Kindreds Universal

I’d love to be a member of the Union. Thanks for offering, dear reader.

#MAGA Nimrods

I mean, Jesus Christ, how did nobody consider that one day, some insane demagogue might incite a populist rebellion and threaten to shit on our country? How did no one think to create some kind of safeguard?

OH WAIT. I DID. IN FUCKING 1787.

Remember that Constitution you guys all say you loooove so much? Yeah, I wrote that shit. All of it. Even though for some reason you assholes keep thinking it was Jefferson. And because I’m way smarter than all of you, I wrote in a little something I call the Electoral College.

ARTICLE II SECTION 1, NIMRODS. Maybe if you had paid attention in civics class instead of fantasizing about having seven seconds in heaven with Joey Leibowitz during free period you would know about it. But here, let me break it down for you.

James fucking Madison

An article on the Yale Record with the byline of A. Chase from 2016. Can’t say they don’t have a sense of humor. Humor that is still as relevant four years later. Imagine what it would have been like to have an Electoral College that wasn’t required by law to vote for the guy who threatened to incite a populist rebellion and threaten to shit on our country? The guy who is in the process of doing it? Maybe we should look to that other part of the Constitution that James fucking Madison wrote.

The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Article I, Section 2, Clause 5

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article 2 Section 4

A handy guide to give to the Orange Hate-Monkey so that he can follow along as the procedure takes place.

#33 Obstruction

If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Obstruction EP. 33 – 09.21.19
TrumpConLawObstruction EP. 33 – 09.21.19

#MAGA: China Currency Manipulation?

If you really want to make your head spin, try to figure out how the currency manipulation that the OHM accuses China of engaging in is done, and how that might amount to something that is illegal.

Enconomist Radio – Money talks: Yuan-a fight?

According to The Economist, China is essentially taking the dollars it buys from the United States government, turning right back around and selling those dollars on the open market buying back its own currency in order to prop up the value of the Yuan. So if the OHM or the US government wants to stop China from manipulating the value of its currency on the open markets he and they should probably just stop selling dollars to China in the form of T-bills. Otherwise they are accomplices to the crime of China manipulating currency. Or maybe they should just #ImpeachTrump before he starts a war with China.

#MAGA: Saved by Socialism

The great merit of the capitalist system, it has been said, is that it succeeds in using the nastiest motives of nasty people for the ultimate benefit of society.

E. A. G. Robinson via QI

In 2008, the greed of corporate bankers blinded them to the actual risks they were engaging in with derivatives, risks that they will be engaging in again now that Donald Trump (OHM) has pulled the teeth out of legislation keeping them from doing what they did before. They will shortly be wrecking the economy with their pursuit of the next billion dollars that they can’t spend but want anyway.

It isn’t capitalism or socialism that is committing these misdeeds, it is human nature. We will continue to fail to properly regulate industries so long as we fail to understand human nature. Continuing to argue about socialism vs. capitalism is to miss the proverbial forest for the trees. The vast majority of humanity is poorly served by the current economic systems of the world, and it will take an action by those unwashed masses to right the situation unless the wealthy figure out how to save their own necks first.

Take the image above as an illustration of the problem here. Socialism isn’t keeping everyone equally poor, and it certainly wasn’t socialism causing the bread lines in the 1930’s. The Great Depression was caused by the failure of the gold standard to live up to the dreams of the people who created it. America, with huge reserves of gold, had no money for the poor to buy things with. The rest of the world was in depression because of the austerity that was required by the gold standard to bolster the other nation’s reserves of gold, reserves the US government would not let go of because it had no mechanism with which to distribute its wealth of gold to the American people to buy goods and services with. There was no mechanism to get funds into the hands of people who needed them until Franklin Delano Roosevelt embarked on his dream of federal assistance. A dream that the gold bugs of the time thought was foolhardy. Capitalism caused the failure of the world markets in 1929, because capitalism doesn’t have a means for controlling the greed of participants in the system.

Suggested reading: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

It was socialism that ended the depression, not created it. It was capitalism’s ideologues, people who still support the gold standard today, who had no idea how to get money out among the people without them having to work for it. People who were in the meantime starving to death while crops rotted in the field. All of them wanting work and there was no money to pay them to do the work that needed doing.

All ideologues fail. They fail reliably and consistently because they cannot conceive of something outside their ideology. That is the nature of what it is to adhere to an ideology in the first place. The nature of belief in an ideal. You cannot improve on perfection, if you accept that what you believe in is perfection.

My family and I have been personally saved by socialism. When I say socialism, I mean the Social Security system set up by congress under FDR. My disability payments have kept us fed and housed for the last decade and more, and those payments have been the only thing coming in for the last few years. Now that president Trump has made it safe to discriminate against everyone who isn’t a straight, white, perfectly abled evangelical American male, there aren’t too many jobs out there for those of us who don’t fit the bill, even if we aren’t disabled.

Make no mistake here, this is by design. The way to make sure that the poor whites who voted for Trump have jobs is to take them from the other people who currently have them. Brown people. Women. Gays. This is what the phrase zero-sum game means, and Donald Trump believes wholeheartedly in the zero-sum game. There is only one pie, and any slice someone else gets is one less slice for him. His Stormtrumpers agree with him, which is why they are willing to do violence to people who speak against his policies.

Social programs are socialism. They are one of the facets of socialism that have been adopted widely; and they’ve been adopted widely because if you live like a king on wealth that you haven’t been seen working for, the people who do work all day resent that you live better than they do. When you get to eat while they starve. When you get a dry place to sleep while they huddle in misery exposed to the elements. Now, you can say that is a benefit taken from the wealthy at great expense, but if these benefits were not provided to the poor, the wealthy wouldn’t live long. There are quite a few more poor people in the world than wealthy people, and the poverty level is rising to the point where it gets pretty hard to find a family in which someone isn’t suffering from a lack of funds.

When your relatives start dying in the street for no good reason, you start to ask uncomfortable questions of the people who are supposed to run this country. That is what put Donald Trump into power in the first place, poor rural whites with friends and family addicted to opioids sold to them by profit-seeking companies that have so far walked away from their malfeasance scot-free. There will be a price to be paid for this malfeasance, and you can either be on the receiving end of the punishment now, or not. If not, you better get to helping make life livable for the people who are suffering right now.

This is where the Press fails in its duty to the Republic more than anywhere else: When Cheney says “Democratic colleagues who would like to impose socialism” she should be immediately stopped and required to define the terms and name the names.

This is where the Citizen fails in their duty to liberty, when they allow any politician to say these things without question, without challenge, without accountability.

Stonekettle Station