Thursday, October 19, 2017

European Colonialism Is the Central Fact of Politics on Earth


"Columbus' treatment of the Hispaniola natives was even worse [than his treatment of natives in the Bermudas] as his soldiers raped, killed, and enslaved them with impunity at every landing. When Columbus fell ill in 1495, soldiers were reported to have gone on a rampage, slaughtering 50,000 natives. Upon his recovery, Columbus organized his troops' efforts, forming a squadron of several hundred heavily armed men and more than twenty attack dogs. The men tore across the land, killing thousands of sick and unarmed natives. Soldiers would use their captives for sword practice, attempting to decapitate them or cut them in half with a single blow" (source; click to enlarge).

by Gaius Publius

I spent the last week and a half on the west coast (Pacific Ocean side) of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, blissfully free of U.S. television and the manufactured-angry social disease we call American political discourse. No hyped-by-hate "God, guns and gays" types among the BC rurals; just nice reasonable people who like living outdoors.

The week off included the U.S. holiday known as Columbus Day, reading about which exposed me to this excellent piece by Jon Schwarz, of Tiny Revolution fame, now writing at The Intercept. This is one of the most perceptive, dot-connecting pieces I've read in a long time, so I'd like to tease it to you, and in the process comment on what I take to be its main point.

First the tease — its intro:
Columbus Day Is the Most Important Day of Every Year

Today, October 12, is Columbus Day. Every year it’s officially the second Monday in October; this year it falls on the exact anniversary of the Niña, Pinta and Santa María’s arrival in the Bahamas 523 years ago.

So to mark today, I’ve made a list. I’m sure to almost all Americans it would seem like a meaningless jumble of things with no connection to each other. But in fact it tells one story, the story of why October 12, 1492, is the most important date in human history — and demonstrates that you have to understand that in order for anything happening on Earth now to make sense:
  • $ (i.e., the dollar sign) — and Cerro Rico, Bolivia’s “Mountain That Eats Men”
  • the movies War of the Worlds and Avatar — and the movies Apocalypse Now and Day of the Jackal
  • the original seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony — and the “generous offer” made by Israel to the Palestinian Authority in 2000
  • Cinco de Mayo — and the investor-state dispute settlement section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • an abortive 2003 attempt to bring Nelson Mandela to the United Nations to oppose the invasion of Iraq — and South Koreans protesting the 2010 Israeli attack on the first Gaza flotilla
  • Hitler’s October 17, 1941, discussion of the invasion of the Soviet Union — and the Washington Redskins
Confused? Here’s the explanation...
The thread of connections among those bulleted objects and events is a fun ride; to take it, I recommend reading the piece from start to finish.

But let's just focus on this part, its main point:
Columbus’ landfall in the Western Hemisphere was the opening of Europe’s conquest of essentially all of this planet. By 1914, 422 years later, European powers and the U.S. controlled 85 percent of the world’s land mass.

White people didn’t accomplish this by asking politely. As conservative Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington put it in 1996, “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion … but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

In fact, European colonialism involved a level of brutality comparable in every way to that of 20th-century fascism and communism, and it started with Columbus himself. Estimates of the number of people living on the island of Hispaniola when Columbus established settlements range from 250,000 to several million. Within 30 years of his arrival, 80 to 90 percent of them were dead due to disease, war and enslavement, in what another Harvard professor cheerily called “complete genocide.” Contemporary accounts of the Spaniards’ berserk cruelty really have to be read to be believed.

Formally, of course, European colonialism largely ended in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Yet informally, it has — behind the mask of what Pope Francis recently called “new forms of colonialism” — continued with surprising success.

Thus European colonialism is the central fact of politics on earth. And precisely because of that, it is almost never part of any American discussion of politics. Anthropologists call this phenomenon “social silence” — meaning that in most human societies, the subjects that are core to how the societies function are exactly the ones that are never mentioned. [bolded emphasis mine]
Take just that one idea, which I took for my title — European colonialism is the central fact of politics on earth — take it to heart, and then reflect on the world we see today. Schwarz: "If we maintain the social silence around colonialism, our past and present will always be bewildering..." Indeed.

From the start of the early march into Europe of the Proto-Indo-European people from their home near the Caucasus Mountains, with their father-gods — both "Zeus" and "Jupiter" are derived from proto-Indo-European words that became "deus pater" — and their Bronze Age daggers, spears and axes, the European "West" has been consistently among the most rapacious tribes of our species.

Bringing It All Back Home

This is not about the past, but the past continued in us. What we did, we do — in our Ferguson-like neighborhoods; in our guilt-or-innocence-be-damned, glory-in-punishment courts and prisons; in abandoned storm-torn Puerto Rico; in our eager, invisible bombings and dronings throughout the Middle East and into Asia; in our happy, unironic interference in every election on earth we care about; and so much more. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, certified a coup in Honduras that led to the deaths of many, like activist Berta Cáceres, yet she complains with loud voice and apparent impunity that foreign electoral "interference" may have damaged her own electoral chances.

As Schwarz says, international colonizing by Western Europe and its Sun King offspring, the United States, is entirely invisible to its perpetrators.

Yet nothing about the state of the world today — from a nearly inevitable climate change disaster to wealth inequality beyond the dreams of avarice — can be understood without accounting for the invisible celebrations of rape and plunder that underpin everything done by the West to the rest of the world.

Want proof? Pull out your smart phone and consider where it was made — in factories surrounded by suicide nets to stop the wage slaves working there from killing themselves as the better alternative to their lives and conditions — all so we can have the next benefits of Western life, like faster texting and sexier screen bezels.

Click to enlarge; source.

Or, to bring this full circle, consider Columbus again (emphasis mine):
When slaves held in captivity began to die at high rates, Columbus switched to a different system of forced labor. He ordered all natives over the age of thirteen to collect a specified amount (one hawk's bell full) of gold powder every three months. Natives who brought the amount were given a copper token to hang around their necks, and those found without tokens had their hands amputated and were left to bleed to death.

The Arawaks attempted to fight back against Columbus's men but lacked their armor, guns, swords, and horses. When taken prisoner, they were hanged or burned to death. Desperation led to mass suicides and infanticide among the natives. In just two years under Columbus' governorship more than half of the 250,000 Arawaks in Haiti were dead.
From Columbus' own pen:
"Now that so much gold is found, a dispute arises as to which brings more profit, whether to go about robbing or to go to the mines. A hundred castellanos are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand, and for all ages a good price must be paid."
Yes, that's a proud reference to the availability of nine-year-old native girls.

There's Always a Price...

The only difference between then and now is the timing of the price. The generations before us paid some price for their conquests, but not nearly in proportion to the damage they were doing. The West lives well despite its way of getting there.

I think this generation though, guilty and innocent alike, unlike those previous, will reap the full reward of the Indo-European rape of the world. The "war on (dark-skinned) terror" is already coming home, to Europe as a start in the form of angry and suffering climate and war refugees, and soon I fear to the paranoid, unguardable U.S. Can the United States be considered safe in a globalized world, with our myriad shopping malls and power stations, even if we turn every public gathering place into the airport? Can anyone doubt that the response to global colonial war will be global blowback?

Just as the rich have created this breaking world, so too can they heal it — by standing down. I'm not sure that's in our future though, since our future is still in their hard and grasping hands.

World-historical thoughts as we ponder the next ten years.


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A Sweet Part Of 2018's Electoral History Will Be The Mercer Billionaires' War On The Republican Party


Didn't Iggy Pop have a totally awesome song for this?

The Mercers have hired Steve Bannon to run it for them, but the GOP civil war tearing the Republican Parry to shreds could never happen without the profligate spending of two of America's most odious characters, Robert Mercer, the fascist father, and Rebekah Mercer, the equally crazy crackpot daughter. Tuesday, Bannon was in Scottsdale with Kelli Ward, the neo-Nazi GOP challenger to beleaguered Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who's tops on Señor T's hate list.

Bannon was on the warpath against Mitch McConnell again-- Alabama redux-- pledging that the Republican elite are destined to "reap the whirlwind" and "that whirlwind is Kelli Ward." No one could be less deserving on this bounty than Schumer's handpicked corrupt Blue Dog, Kyrsten Sinema, who is also running and is delighted to see the Arizona GOP eviscerate itself. Bannon wasn't lying when he said the "new aristocracy," could not care less about the economic well-being of Americans. He raged that McConnell and other Republican senators disrespect and try to destroy Trump every day.
His remarks were another salvo in the "war" Bannon has declared on the GOP establishment.

“It’s an open revolt, and it should be,” Bannon said before introducing Ward at her campaign’s formal kickoff event at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas.

"These people hold you in total contempt," he said. "When they attack a Donald Trump and a Dr. Kelli Ward, it's not Donald Trump and Kelli Ward that they're trying to shut up. It's you they're trying to shut up... They think you're a group of morons."

This revolt, he said, is moving from Alabama, where the Bannon-supported Roy Moore just defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican runoff, to Arizona, where the first-term Flake is up for re-election in 2018 after refusing to endorse or vote for Trump last year.

"It's going to be their money versus your money," Bannon said.

Ward, a former state senator from Lake Havasu City, last year unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the primary.

This year, some on the right have been searching for another candidate to take on Flake, who this summer published a book, Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and A Return to Principle, in which he criticized the Republican Party for embracing Trumpism.

  However, early polls have shown Flake to be deeply vulnerable, and with Ward leading him.

Ward will secure the southern border and build a wall, Bannon said, will repeal and replace "Obamacare," and will negotiate Trump-style trade deals that "represent you and the American people."

"We're building a grass-roots army," Bannon said.
McConnell, who spent something like $10,000,000 against Bannon and Roy Moore in Alabama-- only to lose miserably-- isn't giving up. His team says they will fight back against the threat from the Mercer/Bannon extremists. Crooked Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who is certainly in Bannon's sites, told the media he thinks Bannon is "going to back off on that. He certainly should. He’s a smart guy, and he’s going to realize that’s unfruitful. Where he ought to be spending his time is going after those who are screwing up the country all these years, and they don’t happen to be Republicans... I like Trump. I endorsed him. I think he’ll endorse me."

Hatch, 83, vowed when he ran in 2016 that he wouldn't run again, but he's addicted to the power and prestige of his corrupt life in the DC swamp, making him easy pickings for Bannon and Mercer. McConnell, who isn't up for reelection this cycle, is trying to portray himself as in control and not freaking out. He isn't in control and he is freaking out. Tuesday he pledged to use the power of the purse to back incumbents, the key to his own power.
“We had an experience in 2010 and 2012 nominating candidates in primaries who couldn’t win the general election,” he said, citing past conservative challengers who defeated candidates backed by the party leadership only to lose to Democrats on Election Day.

One famous instance was in 2012 when conservative candidate Richard Mourdock beat longtime GOP incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) before losing what was thought to be a safe Republican seat to Democrat Joe Donnelly.

“Our strategy going forward is to protect our incumbents and to help people get nominated who can actually win elections,” McConnell told reporters after meeting with colleagues over lunch.

It was a signal to colleagues that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC linked to McConnell, would pour money into primaries next year if necessary to protect incumbents.

“The message is that [McConnell is] going to be there and we’re going to be there to back incumbents and candidates that we think are electable,” said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.), the third-ranking member of the GOP leadership.

Thune said he expects the NRSC will spend resources in primaries to defend incumbents.

...The committee’s spending on Senate GOP primaries next year will depend on state-by-state coordination limits and how much traction a conservative challenger may be gaining against an incumbent, said a GOP strategist familiar with internal discussions about the 2018 races.

Senate Republicans say they hope McConnell can persuade Trump, with whom he has had a rocky relationship this year, to pressure Bannon to back off loyal incumbents such as Senate Republican Policy Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who are both up for reelection.

Trump acknowledged McConnell’s concerns at a joint press conference with the GOP leader Monday and hinted that he may step in.

“Some of the people that he may be looking at, I’m going to see if we talk him out of that, because frankly, they’re great people,” Trump said Monday of some of the GOP lawmakers in Bannon’s sights.

Senate GOP leaders argue it would be smart for Trump to support the incumbents he will need to vote for tax reform and other items on his agenda.

“I hope he will; I think he will,” Thune said. “They’re the kind of people he’ll need to get his agenda through.”

Barrasso and Fischer, two Republicans on Bannon’s target list, say they will focus on doing their jobs and serving their constituents. Neither said whether they would seek an endorsement from Trump.

But what happens if Miss McConnell opens his purse and there's nothing in it but moths? That's exactly what Mercer and Bannon are trying to make happen. Yesterday Bannon took his circus routine to an event for contemptible billionaires that the Mercers put together in New York. Alex Isenstadt, writing for Politico reported that Bannon and Mercer are persuading big McConnell donors that McConnell is a sinking ship they should abandon before it's too late. Last week Bannon was in Atlanta wooing vile GOP fatcat Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who's spent millions on Senate Republicans and now complains about "the lack of return on his investment." Bannon has been running around the country talking to the overly entitled GOP sugar daddies like Marcus-- under-taxed right-wing multimillionaires and billionaires, including John Childs, Foster Friess, Susan Gore, Sheldon Adelson, Ed Bosarge, Eric Crown, Dan Eberhart and Scott Bessent.
How many Republican givers will sign on with Bannon is an open question; people close to him declined to say whether he had financial commitments. Ideologically and temperamentally, the pugilistic head of Breitbart News isn't exactly a natural fit with the traditional Republican moneyed set. There is also concern in the donor world that having Bannon-aligned outsiders in the Senate Republican Conference would make it harder, not easier, to reach consensus on legislation.

But Marcus is thinking about joining Bannon. An adviser, Steve Hantler, said the billionaire intends to give his party until the end of the year to pass legislation and then would weigh his options.

“Like many donors, if the gridlock continues in Washington, Mr. Marcus will consider new approaches to breaking the gridlock, including those proposed by Steve Bannon and others,” he said.

Asked whether Marcus is open to funding primary challenges to Republican incumbents, Hantler responded: “You will have to draw your own conclusion.”

...There is serious skepticism at the highest levels of the party apparatus that Bannon's donor initiative will succeed. Some contributors who’ve met with him say the outreach is still in its nascent stage. Others have reacted coolly to the idea, reluctant to go after lawmakers just as the tax reform fight is about to begin. Adelson has told people close to him that he’s not interested in funding primary challengers, though Bannon didn't ask him for money during their meeting.

...The party establishment is racing to lock down financial support. On Thursday evening, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will host a fundraising reception and dinner for Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, just two days after Bannon attends a donor event for his primary opponent, Kelli Ward. McConnell, meanwhile, has reached out to Adelson in the past month to gauge his interest in giving to Senate Republicans.

Senior Republicans are also trying to assure givers they hear their frustrations. The NRSC, which has seen its fundraising plummet in recent months, held a retreat in Sea Island, Georgia, over the weekend that drew about 300 lobbyists and bundlers.

Tax reform was front-and-center at a breakfast panel discussion that included Georgia Sen. David Perdue, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner. As the audience piled their plates with eggs and bacon, the senators acknowledged in blunt terms that the political consequences would be dire for Republicans if they don't pass tax legislation, according to two people present.

Bannon declared at a gathering of evangelicals last week that "money doesn't matter anymore" for Republican incumbents trying to fend off insurgent challengers. The message was this: Huge war chests can no longer save incumbents against underfunded outsider candidates with fervid grass-roots support.

But given his activity, Bannon believes his candidates will need some money to take out incumbents.

While Bannon is orchestrating much of the anti-establishment campaign on his own, he has also gotten a boost from the White House. Earlier this month, Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence and a veteran GOP strategist, told a group of Republican National Committee donors they should withhold their financial support to incumbents and instead give to primary challengers if Congress fails to pass President Donald Trump’s agenda.

The message was warmly received by many of the influential donors in the room, including Louis DeJoy. The North Carolina business executive, who has given over $30,000 to the NRSC this year, said he isn’t interested in bankrolling GOP challengers.

But he and other donors are fed up with the failures of the Republican Congress.

"I raise money, and I hear the frustration from everybody," DeJoy said. "Everybody knows the money is drying up."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

While everyone is so intently focused on evil mentally ill slime like Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, I thought it important today that we not forget what lies just two heartbeats away from the presidency, House Speaker Paul Ryan. Of course, I am in no way implying that a mass-murderer wannabe like Paul Ryan has anything remotely resembling a heart. When it comes to whatever Paul Ryan is, that "heartbeat away" thing is just a figure of speech. Ryan is a man who, like Trump, is so narcissistic and psychotic that he also lives to cause pain in the lives of as many human beings as he can.

The fact that Ryan loves and worships at the dead armpits of Ayn Rand so dearly is no coincidence. Rand based her whole philosophy on the psychotic ravings of a 1920's mass-murderer named William Hickman who worshipped selfishness to diabolical extremes. You might say that Hickman would feel right at home in today's Republican Party. Ayn Rand was also, like Paul Ryan, a hypocrite of titanic proportions. She railed against government benefits and people who collected them just like Ryan does. She called people who apply for government benefits and "moochers." Paul Ryan calls them "takers." However, Ayn Rand collected Social Security to her dying day. When it comes down to it, that's not unlike her disciple Paul Ryan dedicating his career to destroying Social Security even though he collected it in the form of his father's survivor benefits and used it to go to college.

Evil walks the Earth in many forms. In Paul Ryan's case, it wears a nice suit and tie. That calls for not one but two memes for today. I could be wrong, but I think I smell sulphur.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A New Political Dynamic: Authenticity Vs Inauthenticity


I don't want to spoil the good feelings because, like everyone else, I loved Michael Hopkins' OpEd for The Hill yesterday about how bright the future of the Democratic Party looks. He even used two friends of mine as the exemplars: Randy Bryce from Wisconsin and Andrew Gillum from Florida. "The next generation of Democrats," he wrote, "are currently working behind the scenes to bolster their resumes and build up their grassroots support. Current Democratic candidates for office like Randy Bryce and Andrew Gillum are laying the blueprint for what the next generation of Democrats will look like. It begins with authenticity." Yes! How wonderful is that! The whole piece is wonderful:
Best known for his viral campaign ad, Bryce has branded himself as a “man’s man,” featuring his hard hat and working class story prominently. Bryce isn’t just another Democrat looking to make a name for himself unsuccessfully challenging a big name Republican. Bryce fully intends on unseating the increasingly unpopular Speaker Paul Ryan and preserving ObamaCare for the people of Wisconsin. Bryce, with his tool belt and 1960 mustache looks every bit the part of union ironworker because he actually is a union ironworker. (Imagine that, running actual middle class people as candidates.)

It doesn’t get much more authentic than Bryce, or “Iron Stache” as many know him as.  Bryce is a veteran who served his country in the U.S. Army. He’s putting his blue collar roots front and center in his campaign. Bryce is the perfect candidate to run against Ryan. The lifelong resident of southeastern Wisconsin and cancer survivor has made his feelings about Ryan well known, famously stating, “Let’s trade places, you can come work the iron, and I’ll go to D.C.”

The optical contrast between Bryce, the middle class warrior, and Ryan, the establishment politician, couldn’t have been cast any better than if Steven Spielberg himself handed them these roles. Bryce fits the part because he’s the real thing. He actually is the guy you want to have a beer with. One can only hope that Ryan falls into the trap and succumbs to a Michael Dukakis moment for all of the Twittersphere to see.

Gillum’s greatest strength is also his authenticity. Voters can relate to him, an often underappreciated aspect of any successful campaign. Gillum, the son of a bus driver and construction worker, has a chance to make history. He was the youngest member of the Tallahassee City Commission at the age of 23 and has served as mayor of Tallahassee for the last three years.

Gillum is running for governor of Florida, an office that no African American in Florida has ever held. That doesn’t appear to scare Gillum one bit. He has unapologetically criticized Republican Wisconsin Gov. Rick Scott and President Trump’s response to issues like immigration, race relations, and repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Gillum recently endorsed the Medicaid for all proposal by Bernie Sanders.

A young progressive Democrat, Gillum has seen his support rise across large swaths of the state as he introduces himself to the electorate. His tried and true method of driving across the state speaking to voters has endeared him to many. Gillum has also openly and passionately spoken about the debate over removing Confederate statues and where he stands on the issue, explaining, “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to acknowledge that while we cannot change history, we do not have to glorify its ugliest moments with displays on public lands.”

In a conservative leaning state like Florida, calling for the removal of Confederate statues in the middle of an election is a risky move, especially for someone building up name recognition. Gillum isn’t shying away from decisions though. The former mayor has chosen to speak truth to power and ignore the political risks.

Bryce and Gillum represent the type of approachable and charismatic Democrat, that can win on the local, regional and national levels. Democratic candidates need to be just as comfortable on the campaign stump as they in a local bar or veterans center. Democrats need to win hearts before they can win minds. Our political system has become so toxic that voters inherently tune out opposing viewpoints. The only way to get voters to tune in is to convince them that Democrats aren’t the opposition.

Bryce and Gillum both have the ability to get voters to tune in to the conversation. Both are the type of candidates that the party would be smart to invest in and cultivate. Democrats can’t just expect another Bill Clinton or Barack Obama to pop up out of nowhere. Democrats have to focus on recruiting and equipping candidates to become the future leaders of the party. The blueprint is already there. It begins with authenticity.

I wish I could just leave it on that high note. I really do. But... damn, I hate to be the skunk at the picnic. But the picnic is being sponsored by, as one of my persistent anonymous commenters loves to put it, "the Democraps." Pelosi and Hoyer have chosen the most corrupt Democrat in the House-- literally, the most corrupt-- to take over leadership when they go: Joe Crowley. There's no one less authentic in Congress. And the Democrap leadership keeps shoehorning the worst possible candidates into key nominations. Schumer picked the Blue Dog with the absolute worst voting record in the House-- Kyrsten Sinema, whose middle name is "inauthentic"-- to be their Arizona Senate nominee and then he and Reid tried their best to find someone as bad for Nevada-- and nearly did: Jacky Rosen.

And in the House, when Pelosi was challenged for not allowing younger members to rise in leadership all she could pull out of her ass was another godawful phony-baloney Blue Dog, Adam Schiff, who she said she's grooming for a leadership role. More inauthenticity. And then there's the professional former potato chip taster who won the lottery, making him the DCCC pick for the red Orange County congressional district where Hillary did the best last year, knowing full well that he would have no shot against Royce but happy to take some of his millions. I'll go back to thinking about Andrew Gillum and Randy Bryce while you contemplate Gil Cisneros, the multimillionaire who lives in a 10 million dollar mansion on the beach and who really, really wants to be elected to represent a middle class district that doesn't have a beach-- or $10 million mansions.

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Did You Know The Senate Confirmed A Trump Nominee Who Favors Slavery-- For A Lifetime Judicial Position?


This is the pro-slavery judge

Luckily for America-- if not for the folks in PA-10 (Williamsport, Towanda and poor Stroudsburg, where I used to live)-- Tom Marino's nomination to be Drug Czar was withdrawn hours after the 60 Minutes/Washington Post exposé on Marino's role in helping predatory drug manufacturers explode the prescription opioid problem into a national emergency. Unfortunately, Trump's execrable picks to populate the federal judiciary, few of whom are any more qualified for their appointments than Marino was, are being rubber-stamped by Senate Republicans one after the other.

Seung Min Kim reported yesterday for Politico that Señor Trumpanzee's 50 lifetime nominations to the federal bench include "a man who asserted transgender children were evidence of 'Satan’s plan,' one deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association and a handful of prolific bloggers. And the GOP has unanimously stuck by Trump’s judges. Senate Republicans have cleared judicial nominees at a comparatively rapid clip this year-- even as the conservative base has complained they’re not moving fast enough-- and are planning to pick up the pace even more in the coming months." Even if Trump is impeached or falls off a boat and gets eaten by sharks, this garbage will be left in the judiciary for decades to come.
Among the more eyebrow-raising judges is Charles Goodwin, who has been nominated to the federal bench in Oklahoma. He is the first judicial nominee since 2006 to earn a “not qualified” label from the American Bar Association, which has screened judicial candidates since the 1950s.

But both of his Republican home-state senators, James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, say they’re still confident Goodwin is adequately qualified to serve on the bench and dismissed the ABA’s findings.

...The defense underscores Republicans’ commitment to remaking the federal judiciary for generations to come, even as the Senate GOP and Trump have butted heads on other issues and struggled to carry out their broader legislative agenda.

“The judge story is an untold story,” Trump said Monday at a news conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “When you think about it, Mitch and I were saying, that has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge, but 40 years out.”

No Republican senator has voted against Trump’s judicial nominees so far this year, either in committee or in confirmation votes on the floor.

The Senate has confirmed seven judges, including four to the powerful appellate courts and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. In comparison, Barack Obama had just three judges confirmed, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at this point during his first year in office.

Even at the committee level, Republicans have been moving more quickly to fill the judicial vacancies.

As of Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will have held confirmation hearings for 26 district and circuit court nominees. At this point in Obama’s presidency, 14 of those nominees had hearings, according to Christopher Kang, who worked on nominations in the Obama White House.

Trump came into office with not just an open Supreme Court seat but a historic number of vacancies on the federal bench, thanks in major part to McConnell’s dramatic slowdown of judicial confirmations in the final two years of Obama’s presidency.

Trump’s slate of judicial nominees has enthralled the right.

“We are thrilled with the nominees that we have been seeing coming out of this administration,” said Carrie Severino, the chief counsel of the conservative advocacy group Judicial Crisis Network. “It’s an issue that unites Republicans of all stripes.”

Severino’s group is pressuring the GOP-led Senate to more expeditiously confirm judges and has been privately communicating with McConnell’s aides about the issue since threatening to wage an ad campaign against the majority leader last week.

Soon after, McConnell reiterated his desire to do away with the century-old “blue slip” tradition, in which senators can exercise veto power over judges nominated from their home states. He stressed that stance at the White House Monday, saying blue slips for appellate picks should “simply be a notification of how you intend to vote.” Otherwise, he added, Democratic senators could “blackball” a large portion of Trump’s circuit court nominees.

...Democrats and outside liberal groups have mounted a campaign to derail a slew of those candidates, particularly nominees who they say have shown a hostility to the rights of minorities.

Chief among their targets is Jeff Mateer, nominated to a federal judgeship in Texas, who in a past speech referred to transgender children as proof of “Satan’s plan.” Mateer, according to comments unearthed by CNN, has also implied that the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage is “disgusting” and could lead to polygamy or bestiality.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has said he still stands by Mateer’s nomination. But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) has publicly voiced some concerns, particularly that Mateer didn’t disclose the contents of those speeches before he and Cruz ultimately recommended that he be nominated.

“That’s a big problem,” Cornyn told Politico earlier this month. “That may not be the only problem, but that’s a big problem.”

The second-ranking Senate Republican said he is sympathetic to Mateer’s right to speak freely, particularly if some of his personal views stem from his religious convictions.

“But the problem is, for me, is the failure to disclose the information up front so we can then talk about that,” Cornyn said. “We want to make sure, fundamentally, everybody has access to fair and equal justice and it’s important that, notwithstanding the opinions that people may have about various subjects, that they separate that from what their job as a judge would be.”

A White House spokeswoman pointed to Trump’s comments on Monday when asked whether the administration still supports the nominations of Mateer and Goodwin.

...And other Senate Republicans have signaled concerns about previous nominees only to support them in the end. John Bush was confirmed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, even as he came under tough questioning from Republicans about his political blog posts.

Among his commentary: That slavery and abortion were the “two greatest tragedies in our country” and “relied on similar reasoning and activist justices,” and linking to a conservative site that spread conspiracy theories about Obama’s birthplace. GOP Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana made clear they weren’t pleased with Bush’s writings, but they ultimately supported Bush, and he was confirmed on a 51-47 party-line vote in July.

Another nominee with a penchant for blogging is likely to face pointed questions from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Brett Talley, who has been nominated to a federal judgeship in Alabama, wrote a handful of blog posts with pointed views on gun rights, including an item that urged readers to join the National Rifle Association and calling gun control legislation rolled out in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012 the “greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime.”

Democrats have few tools left at their disposal to stop confirmation of these lifetime appointments, after voting to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for nearly all nominations four years ago and watching Republicans eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees earlier this year. Still, they’re working to mount whatever protest they can.

“I think the very questionable caliber of President Trump’s judicial nominees demonstrates his contempt for the rule of law and the quality of the American judiciary,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. “It’s a pattern that emerges clearly from his public statements and through his nominees that he puts politics first in catering to the far right and quality eighth or ninth, if at all.”
The last Trump judicial nominee who faced a Democratic filibuster that every Democrat joined in was the aforementioned John Bush of Kentucky, the pro-slavery fellow. When McConnell moved to shut down the Democratic filibuster, on July 19, every Democrat voted no and every Republican agreed. Cloture passed 51-48. He was confirmed the on the very next day 51-47, not even one Republican embarrassed to put someone who favors slavery onto the 6th Circuit-- for life.

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Is Trump A Crazy Liar? The Evidence Is Clear And Indisputable. Is Venereal Disease The Cause?


All through his miserable, worthless life Señor Trumpanzee, when caught lying, pushed back with swagger and hysteria and insisting he has "proof." Since going from being merely a crooked businessman to having wormed his way into national politics, he's insisted he's had "proof" when caught lying... about Obama wiretapping him. We still haven't seen the proof, have we? During the campaign-- and before the campaign-- he insisted the dozens of women who have accused him of sexual abuse were all lying. We still haven't seen any of that proof, have we? And remember when he said he had proof of Obama's fake birth certificate. Where's that proof? Only Joe Arpaio knows. Obama's college transcript? Trumpanzee said he had some kind of proof about that too. ¿Dónde está? All the crimes he said he has proof Susan Rice committed. We still haven't seen any of that proof either, have we? That's just how he operates... says any crap that pops into his sick, twisted, addled brain and then doubles down with fake assertions of "proof" that he never presents. He's so disgusting; it's unimaginable that there's still about a third of voters who aren't embarrassed that his smoldering pile of dung is the leader of our country. Putin must thank his lucky stars 24 times a day for the best investment ever made in Russian history.

Before we get into the facts of the case of Trump's disrespect and contempt for the men and women who serve in the U.S. military, let's put it in a little context. The spoiled monster refused to serve in the armed forces during the war against Vietnam, not because he was opposed to the war-- quite the contrary-- but because he was too busy ripping people off as a landlord and way too cowardly. In 1977 he proudly boasted to Howard Stern that the the danger he faced from syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, the warts he is reported to still have around his anus, scabies and pubic lice were his own "personal Vietnam." He then told Stern, as they both giggled, "I feel like a great and very brave soldier." This morning former White House Republican operative David Frum went after Trump for his inability-- as a diagnosed narcissist-- to feel, or even care about, the grief and anguish others are feeling. This is truly horrifying-- and Truly Trump:

Earlier today, Greg Sargent spoke with Frederica Wilson, the Democratic congresswoman from Florida who heard Trump's half-assed attempt to get out from under the barrage of criticism he's faced about his disregard for fallen soldiers by calling the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson. "Trump," he wrote, "appears unable to resist getting drawn into public battles involving figures who are far more vulnerable and sympathetic than he is, and true to form, he just used his formidable Twitter feed to escalate the battle over a call to a war widow in which he is alleged to have been insensitive." Johnson's widow seemed saddened that Trump couldn't even remember her son's name.

Wilson responded to Sargent by calling Trump "a liar" and "crazy." Sargent wrote that "Trump had told Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, 'He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.' This was according to Wilson, who late yesterday told The Post that she had overheard the call on a speakerphone while riding in a limousine with Johnson when Trump called, and that this exchange made the widow cry. This is what Trump claims was 'fabricated,' which now has reporters speculating that Trump may have a recording or an official transcript.
But Wilson said in our interview she is sticking by the story, and she asserted that there were other witnesses in the car, including the driver and the aunt and uncle of the deceased soldier. “I was not the only one in the car,” she said.

“Mr. Trump is crazy,” Wilson told me. “He’s a liar. He’s proven to be a liar.” She said she was more “concerned about the circumstances around his death” than about what Trump said.

When I pressed Wilson on whether she was sticking by her account that she heard Trump say, “he knew what he was signing up for,” she said “yes.” When I reiterated that Trump claims to have proof otherwise, she said, “How about you go get that proof and call me back?”
Meanwhile the soldier's mother backed up Wilson's account.
Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Post on Wednesday that she was in the car during the call from the White House and that "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband."
The White House is trying to cover up for Trump's callousness with this pathetic statement this morning: "The President’s conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private." I suppose that means Señor Trumpanzee's "proof" will be as forthcoming as all the other "proof" he's boasted having for all his other lies.

UPDATE: Will Trump Die Soon From His Venereal Diseases?

So, what about the part in the title re: venereal disease?

In this article, the author says "Many mental health professionals believe the president is ill. But what if the cause is an untreated STD?"
Physicians like me have also taken notice of Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior. Given our experience, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a medical diagnosis to be made. After all, many medical conditions exhibit their first symptoms in the form of psychiatric issues and personality changes. One condition in particular is notable for doing so: Neurosyphilis.

Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection, is sometimes referred to as “The Great Imposter” because of its ability to mimic many other conditions.
“If not treated, the infection enters a prolonged latent phase, which can last decades. During this time, it is asymptomatic and it is not contagious. In some cases, this is followed by a tertiary stage, which is the most serious and may involve any organ in the body. It is seen 10 to 30 years after the initial infection, and is best known for causing neurologic and neuropsychiatric disease: Neurosyphilis.

Commonly recognized symptoms include irritability, loss of ability to concentrate, delusional thinking, and grandiosity. Memory, insight, and judgment can become impaired. Insomnia may occur. Visual problems may develop, including the inability of pupils to react to the light. This, along other ocular pathology, can result in photophobia, dimming of vision, and squinting. All of these things have been observed in Trump. Dementia, headaches, gait disturbances. and patchy hair loss can also be seen in later stages of syphilis.

Trump may or may not have neurosyphilis. Given his bragging about his “personal Vietnam” to Howard Stern, this is plausible. But given that Trump’s father had Alzheimers, and this is heritable-- and that Trump shows all the symptoms of dementia-- from Alzheimers disease, this is also a firm possibility to explain Trump’s behavior.

But, it’s not an either/ or thing. Trump may have both conditions. And, by the way, Al Capone, Hitler, Mussolini and Ivan the Terrible, all Trump-like historical figures, had neurosyphilis too.

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A Slightly Different Way To Look At The Races Blue America Is Involved With So Far This Cycle: DACA


Courtesy of USC's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, we've looked at the Numbers of DACA recipients in each district where we have an endorsee and where we have a candidate far along in the vetting process. We also noted the annual GDP loss in each district that would result in the deportation of the DACA workers. This is a very big issue in Texas, as you might guess from looking at the stats. Top of the list is Jason Westin's Houston district. Look at those figures! This morning Westin told us that "Ending DACA would have an enormous negative impact on Houston, and specifically the TX-07 community. The state of Texas has over 120,000 DREAMers, and more than 5,000 live in our Congressional district. We saw first hand their dedication to their country during Hurricane Harvey, when paramedic and DREAMer Jesus Contreras risked his own life to save others. Another DREAMer, Alonso Guillen, drowned in the floodwaters he entered to save strangers in need. In addition to the loss of 5,000 educated and productive members of our society, it is estimated our community would lose $290,000,000 in GDP. Let's be clear: John Culberson wants to send DREAMers to countries they have no memory of for a cheap political win, and a costly community loss.

And Derrick Crowe, the Texan running for the Austin-San Antonio corridor seat held by anti-immigrant fanatic Lamar Smith, summed up what most Blue America-endorsed candidates said about this burning issue. "We knew that scapegoating young people and breaking our word was a massive moral failure. Now we know that repealing DACA for the 2,600 recipients in Texas' 21st District inflicts huge financial damage on us as well. More than $110 million in lost annual revenue--another deep cost that Lamar Smith is willing to impose on his constituents to prop up Trump's ugly agenda."

TX-07- Jason Westin vs John Culberson
5,500 DACA recipients
$290,500,000 in lost annual revenue

TX-32- Lillian Salerno vs Pete Sessions
5,200 DACA recipients
$274,800,000 in lost annual revenue

IL-03- Marie Newman vs Dan Lipinski
4,200 DACA recipients
$237,300,000 in lost annual revenue

CA-39- Sam Jammal vs Ed Royce
3,700 DACA recipients
$202,000,000 in lost annual revenue

CA-48- Laura Oatman vs Dana Rohrabacher
3,700 DACA recipients
$199,400,000 in lost annual revenue

CA-25- Katie Hall vs Steve Knight
2,900 DACA recipients
$159,600,000 in lost annual revenue

IL-06- Geoffrey Petzel vs Peter Roskam
2,700 DACA recipients
$154,900,000 in lost annual revenue

FL-25- Alina Valdes vs Mario Diaz-Balart
2,700 DACA recipients
$128,900,000 in lost annual revenue

NC-05- Jenny Marshall vs Virginia Foxx
2,600 DACA recipients
$120,100,000 in lost annual revenue

TX-21- Derrick Crowe vs Lamar Smith
2,600 DACA recipents
$110,700,000 in lost annual revenue

CA-49- Doug Applegate vs Darrell Issa
1,800 DACA recipients
$99,900,000 in lost annual revenue

KS-04- James Thompson vs Ron Estes
1,600- DACA recipients
$83,800,000 in lost annual revenue

WI-01- Randy Bryce vs Paul Ryan
700 DACA recipients
$28,600,000 in lost annual revenue

IN-09- Dan Canon vs Trey Hollingsworth
600 DACA recipients
$32,400,000 in lost annual revenue

MI-06- Paul Clements vs Fred Upton
500 DACA recipients
$36,800,000 n lost annual revenue

MI-11- Haley Stevens vs [open]
500 DACA recipients
$34,400,000 in lost annual revenue

IL-13- David Gill vs Rodney Davis
400 DACA recipients
$20,900,000 in lost annual revenue

Goal ThermometerMarie Newman is the progressive reformer running for the seat Dan Lipinski has been holding onto. "My opponent, Dan Lipinski has spent his career siding with Republicans on every immigration issue," she told us. "This is both a moral issue and an economic issue. Families will be broken apart, people will be punished arbitrarily and small businesses will fail at dramatic rates in the Third District if Dan Lipinski gets his way on immigration."

I doubt the folks in north central North Carolina want to see $120,100,000 disappear from their local economy (annually). But Virginia Foxx, herself a multimillionaire couldn't care less. She's very anti-immigrant and also very opposed to DACA. Jenny Marshall is the progressive running for the seat Foxx holds. This morning, she told is that she's "strongly against the deportation of DACA recipients. This is the only home they have ever known. They are simply seeking a legal way to work and contribute to their communities. Not only does deportation have emotional costs it will hurt our district in millions in lost annual revenue. These dreamers are not a drain on society or stealing anyone's job. They are citizens in every other sense and I would like to see them set on a path to citizenship, not deported."

Alina Valdes, the physician running for the south Florida seat that Ryan rubber stamp Mario Diaz holds. She's passionate about Trump's DACA betrayal. "As an immigrant and as a Latina, I find it difficult to comprehend how 800,000 Dreamers, brought into the US by their parents as children, could be up for deportation. They are upstanding adults, educated despite having to pay out of state tuition while not being eligible for school loans, speak perfect English, hold jobs with many being skilled and professional, pay taxes including social security and Medicare, own businesses and homes, have never been incarcerated, and have families. In other words, they are part of the melting pot that makes America the land of opportunity. These young people trusted that if they declared themselves and followed the rules, they would be allowed some deferments for being undocumented, ultimately leading to legal residency and citizenship. Instead, despite the economic benefit they bring to their states and districts of residence, they are being vilified and threatened with a disruption in the life and stability they have made for themselves. As a Trump enabler, Diaz-Balart and many others like him should be ashamed of themselves in not outwardly supporting DACA and the people it was meant to protect."

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Has Mercer Hired Bannon To Destroy The GOP? Is Trump In On The Deal?


Something tells me that even as Trump was signaling he was satisfied with the deal Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) worked out in regard to funding the Obamacare subsidies Trump had eliminated last week, the Mercer/Bannon wing of the GOP is going bananas. It's a deal intended to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, funding the subsidies for two years, a step meant to provide short-term certainty to insurance companies. They need the cost-sharing reductions to lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income customers. The Washington Post reported that they plan allows "insurers to offer catastrophic insurance plans to consumers aged 30 and older on ACA exchanges, while maintaining a single risk pool. To speed the approval of 1332 waivers, it would shorten the time period for federal review of state waiver applications, expedite review for states in emergency circumstances and those with waiver proposals that have already been approved for other states, and allow governors to approve state waiver applications rather than requiring state legislative approval. It also would assess the budget impact of any state proposal over the life of the waiver, rather than on an annual basis."

No word from Bannon yet. Presumably he's huddling with the Mercers to work out a response. Monday, Trump was all over the map in regard to the Mercer-Bannon plan to destroy the Republican establishment. In the morning he said he "understood" Bannon's frustration with Republican senators. By afternoon he was on TV saying "Some of the people that he may be looking at, I'm going to see if we talk him out of that." Who, exactly? Certainly not Jeff Flake, who Obama despises. Bannon was in Arizona yesterday with Laura Ingraham to boost the official campaign launch for right-wing crackpot Kelli Ward, one of Flake's primary opponents.

Brent Budowsky predicts that the Mercer-Bannon attempt to purge the Republican Party of mainstream conservatives like Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Dean Heller (R-NV), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and John Barrasso (R-WY) could backfire. He wonders, like we all do, if "Bannon is fronting for Trump or acting against him. If Bannon does not end his attacks against incumbent GOP senators, we will know that he is colluding with the president, who is dividing Republicans-- and all Americans-- against each other and endangering GOP control of the Senate."

In the 10th month of the Trump presidency, the Republican Congress still has not passed one major piece of legislation proposed by the Republican president, public disapproval of Congress stands at levels that should be alarming to all incumbent Republican senators, and the president and GOP leaders in the House and Senate all suffer from abnormally high levels of disapproval.

Bannon is bidding to become the most powerful Republican in America by seeking to promote primary challengers against key Republicans in Congress, including possible primary challenges against every incumbent Republican senator running for reelection in 2018 except Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

While public disapproval of various congressional leadership has historically surged at times, what is different this time is that the president and congressional leaders of his party are so unpopular at the same time. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and McConnell both suffer from high levels of public disapproval along with Trump and the Republican Congress itself.

Bannon is attempting a wholesale purge of the Republican Party by constantly attacking House and Senate Republican leaders in aggressively ideological and personal terms and actively seeking primary challenges against a large and growing number of Republican incumbents now serving in Washington.

The GOP long ago purged liberal Republicans out of the party. Now, Bannon seeks to purge moderate, centrist, center-right conservatives and bipartisan Republicans out of the party. What kind of Republican Party will be left if Bannon and far-right conservative groups succeed in their attempts to oust even very staunch conservatives, such as Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)?

There are various potential outcomes to the Bannon play. Trump may seek to persuade Bannon to end his attempted purge and succeed. Trump may not try to persuade Bannon to end his purge, which should show he has been colluding with Bannon behind the scenes.

If Bannon proceeds with his planned purge, his candidates could be defeated by more moderate or establishment Republicans in primaries. However, there is a very strong chance that Bannon succeeds and his candidates win a succession of primaries against incumbent Republicans, in which case, Bannon could well become the most powerful Republican in America.

Few will publicly admit it, but many key Democrats are privately rooting for Bannon to succeed in his play to purge the Republican Party. With Trump, McConnell, Ryan and the Republican Congress so unpopular with voters at the same time, Democrats have a strong chance to regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections.

With Republican Senators potentially facing a surge of ugly and divisive primary challenges, it is now possible to envision a scenario where Senate Democrats have a slim but realistic chance of winning back control of the Senate, a possibility that was unthinkable two months ago.

Remember the 2010 midterms? That year, there was a wave election that brought House Republicans to power, but the GOP nominated fringe, right-wing candidates in key Senate races, including Nevada and Delaware, who were defeated by Democrats.

Remember the 2012 Senate elections? Democrats had to defend far more seats than Republicans are trying to do in 2018, and back then, the GOP nominated fringe candidates in Missouri and Indiana, a mistake that enabled Democrats to prolong their control.

It is possible that in 2018, Democrats win a wave election that gives them control of the House, while Republicans nominate fringe candidates for the Senate that give Democrats a narrow victory to regain control of the Senate as well.

Bannon may or may not end up being the most powerful Republican in America, but what he does in the coming months will probably make him the most important Republican in America.

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