Monday, December 05, 2016

Paul Ryan claims he has no problem with Donald Trump tweeting lies and conspiracy theories so long as he fixes this country's "big problems." Boy do I have bad news for Paul Ryan.

Courtesy of HuffPo:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has no problem with President-elect Donald Trump tweeting lies and conspiracy theories, including dangerous allegations of mass voter fraud in the recent presidential election. 

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Ryan said he could not prove Trump’s baseless claim that “millions of people voted illegally,” which the president-elect tweeted to his millions of followers last Sunday. 

“I don’t know. I’m not really focused on these things,” Ryan said when anchor Scott Pelley asked him about Trump’s blatant lie. 

“I have no way of backing that up. I have no knowledge of such things,” he said. 

When Pelley continued to press him, Ryan said that the fact that the president-elect of the United States circulates false information on social media is not a concern to him. 

“It doesn’t matter to me. He won the election,” he said. “The way I see the tweets you’re talking about, he’s basically giving voice to a lot of people who have felt that they were voiceless. He’s communicating with people in this country who’ve felt like they have not been listened to. He’s going to be an unconventional president.” 

“Who cares what he tweeted, you know, on some Thursday night, if we fix this country’s big problems?” he added. “That’s just the way I look at this.”

If you ever wondered if there is an ounce of integrity remaining in the Republican party I think Paul Ryan just answered that question for you.

No.

Perhaps the most chilling part of Ryan's response is the "I have no way of backing that up" statement.

Because that signals once again that we are living in a fact free world in which Paul Ryan either does not know who to trust for accurate information or is too afraid to learn that his party's president is pulling "facts" out of his ass.

This also signals to the American people that the Republican establishment cannot be counted on to keep Trump in check, and will instead give him carte blanche to do as much damage to the country as he sees fit while they sit on their hands. Just like they did when George W. Bush was in office.

In short, we are fucked.

Election recount update.

Broken seals on voting machines in Wisconsin.
There are a whole lot of moving parts on this recount thing so I thought I would try to include them in one update.

Here goes.

First off yes there are images and video of voting machines in Wisconsin with broken seals. However Snopes currently categorizes these stores as "unproven."

In other news we learned that Jill Stein has changed her strategy in the Pennsylvania recount effort by demanding an emergency federal court order: 

The announcement that it would seek an emergency federal court order on Monday for a recount came hours after it dropped a case in the state courts. 

"Make no mistake — the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania," recount campaign lawyer Jonathan Abady said in a statement issued around 11:30 p.m. "We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans." 

In the statement, Abady said barriers to a recount in Pennsylvania are pervasive and the state court system is ill-equipped to address the problem.

Along with that news is a report that Trump's margin of victory in Pennsylvania is now within 0.2% of a required recount:

On Friday, in response to President Elect Donald Trump’s application to stop the recounts in Pennsylvania, Green Party candidate and recount catalyst Jill Stein issued a statement where she noted that Trump’s margin of victory is now within 0.2% of an automatic recount. Stein cited this tweet from pollsters Decision Desk HQ for her figures.
Because this is coming from Stein I remain a little skeptical, however if true this could really be a game changer.

We have also learned that a federal judge ordered that a recount in Michigan happen right away.

Now ultimately all of this might be much ado about nothing, OR we could actually find evidence that this election was stolen and this could be a very big deal indeed.

Whatever the case it has certainly gotten under Trump's skin.
Yep, it could be a scam.

But then again this recount thing might terrify Trump because there really is something there for it to find.

All I know is that right now I am keeping an open mind. 

Enraged by baseless conspiracy theory man opens fire inside Washington pizza joint.

Source
Courtesy of The New York Times: 

A man fired a rifle on Sunday inside a Washington pizza restaurant that has been subjected to harassment based on false stories tying it to child abuse, the police said. No one was hurt, and the man was arrested. 

The man, Edgar M. Welch, 28, of Salisbury, N.C., told the police that he had come to the restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, in northwest Washington, to “self-investigate” what is being called Pizzagate, an online conspiracy theory asserting, with no evidence, that the restaurant is somehow tied to a child abuse ring. He entered the restaurant shortly before 3 p.m. with a rifle and fired it at least once inside, the police said. 

The gunfire sharply escalated what had already been a tense period for the restaurant, its employees and the quiet neighborhood since the fake stories began spreading. Dozens of threats against employees had been made via email and social media. 

People inside the restaurant fled, and the police locked down the area, ordering patrons of a nearby bookstore and cafe called Politics and Prose to remain locked inside. Officers with rifles and protective gear surrounded the restaurant and apprehended Mr. Welch. Two additional firearms were found, one on Mr. Welch and the other in his vehicle, the police said. 

The police closed down a normally busy Connecticut Avenue, which runs in front of the restaurant, for several hours Sunday as they searched the area for other potential threats.

If you are not a Right Wing lunatic you probably have not heard of pizzagate, so visiting this BBC article will bring you up to speed.

In a nutshell it was the result of a some prankster sites purposefully misreporting the content on those Podesta e-mails and a bunch of simple minded knuckledraggers taking it from there.

So even though Snopes identified this as bullshit back in November, it did nothing to change the minds of these cretins and this is the result.

It just goes to show that fake news is not only dangerous, it can in fact prove fatal.

The Immoral Minority finally comes to Facebook!

So finally after stubbornly refusing to give IM a Facebook presence, I caved in yesterday and created this page.

One of my faults as a blogger is that I am resistant to self promotion.

I do not typically post links to my blog on Reddit, or HuffPo, or any other news outlets or websites.

To me that has always seemed arrogant and conceited.

And for quite awhile this blog did just fine through word of mouth and the occasional glare of national attention.

However things have now changed.

As you have been reading in my recent posts, websites promoting fake news have managed to increase their clicks by huge margins simply by using the tools available to them on Facebook.

In fact fake news has overwhelmed actual news to the point where facts and truth have been all but drowned out completely.

So in order to compete against all of that it is important that rather than rejecting Facebook we start using it as a means to inform and do good, rather than simply a place to disseminate lies and do evil.

To accomplish that I need all of you to provide a little help.

If you can help spread the word and introduce IM to a few more folks on your friends list that would be of great assistance.

Also, many of you will be pleased that on Facebook there is a "Like" button which folks have been asking me to put here for years. So now you can like IM to your heart's content.

Trust me with Donald Trump in office we have much to do, and with your help I think we can have some impact.

Oh and yes, there is a little unfinished Sarah Palin business to tie up as well.

Thank you for your years of support, and thank you for the support on Facebook that I know you will continue to provide.

The Liberal Redneck is getting himself a sitcom.

Courtesy of Deadline:

Fox has given a script commitment plus penalty to a half-hour single-camera comedy starring comedian Trae Crowder, best known for his stage persona the Liberal Redneck. Inspired by Crowder’s life, the untitled project hails from Warner Bros. TV and Rob Thomas’ studio-based Spondoolie Productions.

The comedy will be written by Crowder and John Enbom, who co-created the cult Starz comedy series Party Down with Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd. In the Fox show, worlds collide when Trae, based on Crowder’s Liberal Redneck character, returns to his conservative Tennessee hometown to start a job at an energy research facility with his California-born wife in tow.

Before you all freak out that this is on Fox, remember that Fox Broadcasting has very little in common with Fox News, and that they are the home of Glee and The Simpsons.

Having said that I am not sure how the show will do because not all sitcoms based around a comedian's stage act workout as well as Seinfeld.

For instance, I find "The King of Queens" and "Everybody Hates Chris" completely unwatchable, and though I loved John Mulaney on stage when they canceled his short-lived TV career  it seemed like a mercy killing.

Personally was hoping that Crowder would find a spot on Comedy Central as I thought that station could use a little of his redneck sensibilities.

In fact, he could have been a great addition to the Daily Show as one of their correspondents.

Well, I will withhold judgment until I see the show.

I certainly think that Crowder has the talent, so all he needs is the proper vehicle.

You know in light of the fact that Donald Trump is seriously screwing up with foreign policy, it should be remember that we were warned about that very thing.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

A former Hillary Clinton spokesman on Friday said Clinton warned the nation that President-elect Donald Trump was not prepared to conduct international diplomacy. 

Shortly after news emerged of Trump's controversial phone conversation with Taiwan's president, former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted: "If only someone had warned us Trump was not up to the task of international diplomacy."

You remember that person right?

The one who had the knowledge, experience, and temperament to actually do the job of the President of the United States.

The one who had prepared her whole life for the job, and could essentially do it in her sleep.

The one who actually won the hearts of the American people as indicted by her stunning popular vote victory.

Yeah that one.

For the next four years I guarantee that this person's reputation will take on mythical proportions, and that by the time we get to the end of Trump's first term there will be more people lying about having voted for Hillary Clinton than claiming they were at Woodstock. 

Count on it.

I know this is just a comic, but seriously this is a good idea.

The rational side of me thinks "No way would Donald Trump actually start a nuclear war."

But then the irrational side of me remembers that it was the side that was right in thinking he would be elected, and that makes the rational side of me wet its pants just a little.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Donald Trump attends costume party themed "Villians and Heroes" and dresses like himself. Seems right.

Courtesy of the New York Daily News:

President-elect Donald Trump played the role of party pooper-in-chief at a swanky Saturday night costume soirĂ©e in Long Island themed “Villains and Heroes.” 

Trump showed up at the ultra-exclusive fiesta thrown by hedge fund manager Robert Mercer in a staid dark suit and checked tie. 

On his way into Mercer’s lavish Suffolk County estate, Trump was asked who he was dressed up as. 

The Republican hero pointed to himself and mouthed “me.”

I don't see how this makes Trump a "party pooper." After all when you are in fact a real life comic book supervillain why would you need to wear the costume of another comic book supervillain?

It's actually Kellyanne Conway's costume that I find ridiculous.

After all, Supergirl is a young fit superheroine from another planet sent to rescue earth from dangerous aliens and villains determined to destroy it.

On the other hand, Kellyanne is an opportunistic political operative who just helped place a dangerous villain in a position to succeed in destroying this planet.

Nothing heroic or super about that.

Army Corps of Engineers denies easement for Dakota pipeline.

Courtesy of NBC 4 Washington:

The secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers has told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault that the current route for the Dakota Access pipeline will be denied. 

The proposed route led to a protest encampment by the Standing Rock Sioux and other activists. 

The 1,172-mile pipeline is nearly complete except for a small section beneath a Missouri River reservoir near the encampment, which is about 50 miles south of Bismarck.

Archambault cheered the decision in a statement Sunday. 

"I am thankful there were some leaders in the federal government that realized something was not right even though its legal," he said. "For the first time in history native American, they heard our voices. This is something that will go down in history and is a blessing for all indigenous people.

Well, that is great news for these protesters, who were joined today by a group of veterans. (Gee, I wonder if that had anything to do with this decision?)

However, it should be noted that if there is an appeal after Donald Trump takes office this decision can be reversed.

And don't forget Trump has an investment in this company and stands to benefit financially if the pipeline is completed.

The Washington Post attempts to understand how Donald Trump's disdain for the truth earned him the White House.

“Since the liar is free to fashion his ‘facts’ to fit the profit and pleasure, or even the mere expectations, of his audience, the chances are that he will be more persuasive than the truth teller.”

That is a 1967 quote from Hannah Arendt included in this WaPo article which may help to explain Trump's bizarre popularity more than just about anything else.

Since Donald Trump fashions his message for the audience he is addressing, and tells them what they want to hear, they could not care less if it is all bullshit or not.

Somebody is speaking their language, reinforcing their prejudices, and essentially complimenting them on their lack of education and poor critical thinking skills.

It must feel like heaven to them.

This from the article: 

First, quasi-fired Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at Harvard University, making the astonishing assertion that the media’s failing during the campaign was not that it scorned Trump — it was that it believed him. 

“You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” he said. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes — when you have a conversation with people . . . you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

Translation: The press expected their future president to tell the truth, and that was just silly of them.

Trump supporters however did not care about the truth, only that what was said made them feel validated.

Another example:

Second, this eye-popping assertion from Trump supporter/CNN commentator Scottie Nell Hughes on the Diane Rehm Show: 

“People that say that facts are facts — they’re not really facts . . . there’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts. And so Mr. Trump’s tweet amongst a certain crowd . . . are truth.”

Translation: The truth is no longer determined by facts, but rather by who said it and the number of people who are willing to accept it without scrutiny.

Then there was this: 

Finally, the president-elect himself, who at a rally to celebrate his successful bribing of Carrier to keep some jobs in the United States, explained that he was impelled to act by a Carrier-employed supporter who had been naive enough to take Trump’s promises seriously. 

Watching the evening news, Trump said, he saw the Carrier worker say “‘No, we’re not leaving, because Donald Trump promised us that we’re not leaving,’ and I never thought I made that promise. Not with Carrier.” 

Then, Trump said, “they played my statement, and I said, ‘Carrier will never leave.’ But that was a euphemism. I was talking about Carrier like all other companies from here on in.”

So now we know that if Trump is caught in a lie by a supporter, he will simply fabricate another lie to cover for that lie.

This the reporter behind this article labels "truthphemisms."

And THAT is what it will be like to report on a Donald Trump presidency for the next four years.

Fact checking will have no value, and lies will only matter once they pile up high enough to tumble over the wall of ignorance his supporters have erected to protect themselves from the truth.

In the meantime those of us firmly planted in actual reality will stare aghast at virtually every decision made Trump and his "Cabinet of Deplorables" while actively trying to find a future candidate with the skill set to repair the damage left behind by this administration.

Hopefully there will still be something left for them to repair.

SNL Cold Open mocks Donald Trump's inability to stay off Twitter. In response Trump bashes them on Twitter.

As Vox points out, only 45 minutes after this bit aired Trump responded with this:
I turned to my daughter last night after seeing this and said, how do you parody a person who is essentially a walking talking parody of himself?

And this, THIS is who over sixty million people deemed worthy to lead the United States of America.

We are now truly the Idiocracy

President of Philippines says that Donald Trump offered support for his wholesale slaughter of drug dealers in phone call. Well isn't that nice?

Good luck with murdering your citizens. 
Courtesy of The Daily Beast:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says President-elect Donald Trump wished him luck with his controversial campaign against drugs, a campaign which international bodies say includes extrajudicial killings. 

According to Duterte, the conversation occurred late Friday, when he called Trump to offer congratulations. 

The talk, in which both sides invited the other to visit, was described by one of Duterte’s aides as a “very engaging, animated conversation,” the Associated Press reported. 

A video released by Duterte’s aide showed the strongman leader smiling while on the phone with Trump, talking about enhancing bilateral ties. 

In a part of the conversation that wasn’t aired, however, Duterte says Trump “was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem.” 

“He understood the way we are handling it and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country," Duterte said, commenting on his heavy-handed tactics. 

“It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country,” he said. 

It was unclear whether Trump explicitly said he approved of Duterte’s tactics, and Trump has yet to confirm Duterte's account of the conversation. 

Yes it is entirely possible that Trump had no idea that Duterte had murdered over 4,000 suspected drug dealers without benefit of trial when he made the comments of support.

But then again since this is a guy who ran for office with the promise of kicking out millions of Mexican immigrants, and targeting Muslims due to their religion, perhaps he did.

Breitbart still determined to destroy Kelloggs for daring to pull their advertising.

Courtesy of Mother Jones: 

Breitbart News, the inflammatory news site that hails itself as the platform for the "alt-right," is urging readers to boycott Kellogg after the food manufacturing giant announced it would no longer be advertising on the site because its content did not align with Kellogg's "values as a company." 

"For Kellogg's, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice," Breitbart announced in a statement on Wednesday. "They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45,000,000 highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg's customers." (As Mother Jones previously reported, Breitbart is known to inflate its internal traffic numbers.)

Boy I hope they inflate their numbers.

I would hate to think that there are 45 million bigots and racists in this country.

Though I guess that WOULD help to explain how Donald Trump won the electoral college. 

And here is Breitbart attempting to prove that they are NOT a site populated by hate filled dimwits, by turning their dimwitted hatred toward a breakfast cereal company for exercising their right not to advertise with them.

I am sure it makes sense to them.