Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hillary, Bernie, JFK, and the advantage of big ambitions over small potatoes

John F. Kennedy knew how to think big. Bernie Sanders' thinking
is closer to JFK's than Hillary's
The Clinton camp's beef with Bernie Sanders seems to be that Sanders is thinking too big, whereas Hillary is "pragmatic." But look closely and what you will find is that by "pragmatism," the Clinton camp means the hope for a few incremental fixes, achieved without the consent of a hostile Congress. 

Hillary will, um, “improve” the clunky camel of a cobbled together, better-than-nothing Obamacare system, rather than replace it with Medicare For All, as Sanders wants to do. She’ll help make college loans somewhat less onerous, as opposed to Sanders, who seeks to make them superfluous, with free tuition at public colleges.  And so on.

But make no mistake. Congress, or at least the Congress controlled by Republicans, hates Hillary with a vengeance. It has been ginning up hatred of her at least since she was seeking the nomination in opposition to Barack Obama eight years ago. Think about the Hillary-hating catch phrases of the past, and possibly of the future if Hillary gets the nomination. They will rise like zombies from the grave: "Whitewater." "Troopergate." “Vince Foster.” "Liberal." Any move Hillary makes will have to be in spite of Congress, rather than in concert with it.

But won’t Congress oppose Sanders, too? Yes, if it’s the same Congress we have now, they most certainly will. But the wave of the future — as evidenced by the enthusiastic turnout of young people for Sanders — demonstrates that he speaks for where America of the future wants to go, and not for tinkering cautiously with the rattletrap mechanism that is American government today. Inevitably, if enough people make demands, lawmakers will go along in order to keep their jobs. That's why the difference between Sanders and Clinton is so important.

Sanders will fight for change. Hillary, if the publicity is to believed, will fight only for incremental fixes. And that reflects a shameful lack of ambition for the future of our nation.

Can Bernie Sanders deliver all, or even most of what he promises? Probably not, at least not in the short run. But then, it’s also not a sure thing can Hillary can deliver even modest fixes.

Significant change will only come when a mass of voters stand up and shake the walls and the rafters with their demands for change. Yes, change will come slowly even after Americans demonstrate their passion for change. But that was always the case. To quote John F. Kennedy when he spoke of his own huge ambitions for America….

“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin. “

And that’s why I’ll be voting for Sanders in my own state’s primary. If Hillary gets the nomination? Yes, I'll vote for her in the general election, because even her small potatoes ambitions for America are better than the unconscious Republican ambition to destroy America.

But make no mistake. If America is ever going to change for the better again, it will be Bernie leading the charge, and not Hillary fiddling with the lug nuts.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Lucrezia Borgia and Rick Snyder: separated at birth?



Lucrezia Borgia was likely involved in one, or perhaps
a handful of poisonings in her quest for power during
the 15th Century

Governor Rick Snyder was definitely involved in 
poisoning the entire city of Flint, Michigan in his 
own 21st Century quest for power — and then tried
to cover it up.

I don't know about you, but when I study the faces of Lucrezia Borgia and Rick Snyder, I seem to detect a clear family resemblance. I wonder if somewhere on the Italian boot there are preserved samples of Lucrerzia's DNA that can be compared to Rick's?

I say that because both seem to have (or to have had) a lust for power in their DNA. With Lucrezia, it manifested itself in the long and twisted history of the Borgia family's political machinations and her participation in the family's plotting. With Rick, allegiances seem to be to "conservatism" and moneyed interests. But the results seem to be the same whether we're talking Renaissance Italy or modern America:

The rich and powerful grow more rich and powerful, while fighting among themselves, about who is or will be the most rich and the most powerful. Meanwhile, the citizenry, no longer just robbed blind, gets to suffer in misery and agony, the latest victims of toxic ideas of government that directly caused the toxic drinking water supply of Flint.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Great Trump University Ripoff

I hate to do anything that might help Ted Cruz, but I cn't resist:

In case you missed this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Try on this theory for size: Donald Trump is getting ready to cut and run


Georgie Porgie 
Pudding and Pie
Kissed the Girls
And made them cry
When the Girls
Came out to play
Georgie Porgie
Ran away.

Donald Trump seems to be taking his cues these days from Georgie Porgie of nursery rhyme fame.

"I have great respect for women," Trump says, while from the other side of his mouth he regularly disses women in general and Fox News personality Megyn  Kelley in particular, not least of all by tweeting "I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo because that would be politically incorrect. Instead I only call her a lightweight reporter!" Sounds like he's trying to make her cry.

And yet, when he faces the challenge of possibly get asked tough question by her in the next Republican debate, he announces that he's not coming. Which is pretty much akin to running away.

That's cowardice in the face of of a woman, some say, an updated version of Georgie Porgie-ism. More than enough has been said of the question that if Trump is too wimpy to stand up to a single woman's questions in a debate, how will he stand up to entities ranging from Russia to ISIS?

Let me try a different thought on you. It's only a theory. But bear with me for a few paragraphs.

Donald Trump is desperately looking for the exit door. But without appearing to look for the exit door.

He started his run for president, my theory goes, on a lark — a nifty way to call attention to himself and build his Trump brand.

But the "brand" image is that of a tough businessman who never backs down. So he can't just pull a Sarah Palin, similar to Palin quitting the governorship of Alaska during her term. He'd look too wimpy to do that. Instead, he's been trying to insult his way out of his candidacy by losing to another Republican. Any Republican.

All his putdowns, from calling Mexican immigrants rapists, to insults to Kelly and Carly Fiorina, have actually been desperate cries for help. "Somebody please get me out of here," Trump has been obliquely whining and whimpering. 

"I know. Maybe if I called Jeb Bush 'low energy.' Maybe if I tell the truth and call Ted Cruz a liar. Maybe if I..."

Nothing seems to have worked. The more childishly petulant he becomes, and the more he pouts like a six year old who isn't allowed a second helping of dessert, the higher his poll numbers have gone. So now he's trying a new tack. He's going to bow out of a high profile opportunity, and hope that this will end his candidacy by enabling other candidates get more attention to pull ahead of him.

Somehow it all reminds me of a wisecrack that many years ago was attributed sotto voce to Marilyn Monroe during the making of an ill-fated film called The Misfits, and later scripted for a much lesser actress, Anna Nicole Smith, in an even worse film, ironically called Illegal Aliens.

"Who do I have to screw to get out of this movie?"

Bend over, Donald!



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is “Gun Culture” an oxymoron?

Gun “Culture?” Sure! With enough bullets in this baby, 
it can bang out the rhythm of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. 
That’s why you gotta have clips that hold lots of bullets.

Primary dictionary definition of “gun”:
A weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells, or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise.

Primary dictionary definition of “culture”:
The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively: 20th century popular culture.

Mind you, I don’t go as far as this commentator, who I admit makes a strong case for banning guns, period. 

Simply repealing the Second Amendment would do the trick for me, followed by the licensing of hand guns to those with a demonstrable need for self-defense (such as doctors who've received death threats because they perform abortions), and of shotguns and single shot rifles to legitimate hunters.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why Maryland senatorial candidate Donna Edwards should fire her campaign staff. Pronto!

Maryland Senatorial Candidate
Donna Edwards. Send her money.
but tell her to fire her staff.
Scroll way down and you’ll find the text of an e-mail I received from somebody named Donna Edwards. 

From her letter, I gathered that she
's running for something-or-other and she wants my money for her campaign.

But she didn’t tell me directly what party she belongs to (although I suppose I could figure out she’s not a Republican.)

She doesn’t tell me specifically in the body of the e-mail what state, or even what region, she’s running for office, or what office  she’s seeking — at least not until I found it in some mice type down below her contribute button. Yes, she does say that big banks and donors "think they can pick the next Senator from Maryland." But she expects me to interpret that statement and dope out that she's a Senatorial candidate from Maryland.

She did directly reveal a little bit of the information I craved — in mouse type footnotes — at the bottom of her letter. But over 60 percent of Americans read their e-mail on their cell phones these days. So it's doubtful that most of the non-Marylanders who get her e-mail will even notice it, much less strain their eyes to read it.

I had to dig up the following by myself: A tiny bit of Internet research revealed that Ms. Edwards is currently a member of Congress from Maryland’s fourth Congressional District. And that she’s a fellow Democrat. And that she’s running for the Senate. And that she’s seeking retiring Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski’s seat. But that she’s competing against another Democrat, Chris Van Hollen.

It’s clear Donna’s campaign is being run by nincompoops.

Listen up, ninconpoops. There might be a good reason for me to support Donna Edwards against Van Hollen. She’s a Democrat. I’m a Democrat. I’m pro-Sanders, and Donna has a position on campaign contributions very much like the one Bernie Sanders has. She hates the influence of big money on politics. So do I.

With the sophistication of data processing systems these days, it shouldn’t be an insurmountable task to separate local voters who know Donna, from out-of-state Democrats like me, who haven’t heard of her, but who favor Sanders-style candidates. And then to tailor a letter to out-of-staters.

So you might have begun your e-mail to me like this,
Dear fellow Democrat, 
If we’re going to get Wall Street’s greedy hands off our government, it’s going to take more than Bernie Sanders alone. It’s going to take a Senate devoted to supporting the kinds of programs Bernie supports. 
That’s because Bernie’s going to need lawmakers  who side with him and think like him to pass legislation supporting his programs. Without support in the Senate and Congress, Bernie will be just a lone voice in the wilderness, even if he wins his election. 
That’s why I’m reaching out to you to help me beat the Wall Street-backed opposition to my Senate campaign here in the State of Maryland. Yes, I know, you’ve got your own local candidates to support in your own state. But if you could find just $10, or even only $5 to send to my Senate campaign, you will be helping to assure that there will be one more person on the team that supports working families, not greedy hedge fund managers and investment bankers….
Unfortunately, Donna, one of your hack campaign staff, or one of the hack consultants your campaign hired to write your e-mails, are blowing an opportunity for you.

Get rid of them!


Here’s the text of the e-mail I received.

Dear [Crank]
I don't take money from Wall Street banks. You know why? Because I'm going to stand up to them. These big banks, and big donors think they can choose who gets elected.
I've always said forget big money, forget the establishment. They think they can pick and choose the next Senator from Maryland? Let them try.
We know the power of the people is the strongest force in politics, and if we all stand together, we will win.
There are too many families struggling to stay in the middle class, or even squeeze into the middle class. Those families, your family, needs someone who will fight for them. Someone who knows how hard you had to work just to put food on the table.
We must ensure the there is a voice for those families in the Senate. 
This fight is too important to let the establishment or big money donors decide its fate. Give all you can now and help us close the giant fundraising gap we face:
I know how hard you work, and the sacrifices you make to pitch in to my campaign. I can't thank you enough. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three cranky cranks for a chilly week — the lottery, negative Republicans, and Andrew Cuomo, a most embarrassing Democrat

#1. I won in the big Powerball lottery! 
How much? $2. How did I do it? By not buying a $2 ticket. 
I also win $1 per drawing in hundreds of other lotteries by not buying tickets for them, either. 

#2.   Here's how to control Republicans.
Early on in the Obama administration, Republicans learned a new game. Whatever the president was for, they were against. And vice-versa. This has been so effective that they’re likely to continue on doing the same thing if another Democrat is elected president.

Well, Mr. or Ms. President, here’s the antidote. Come out in favor of the Tea Party program. For example, say that you want to cut taxes for the rich. The Republicans will immediately pass a law taxing the living hell out of the rich. Insist that you want to arm every man, woman and two-year-old in the United States. The Republicans will then ram through gun control. Announce that you want to outlaw Obamacare. They’ll pass a law saying you can’t touch it for at least a century. Here's a song to help you remember that:



What it comes down to is, the average Republican congressman or senator has the negative mentality of a petulant six-year-old. That mentality was enshrined, years ago, in this song from the off-Broadway musical, The Fantasticks.

#3.    I’d like to leave you singing, but…
Despite the upbeat music, I’ve got a downer for Democrats. It’s our fellow Democrat, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York. Unlike his father, who I still admire, Andy’s a political hack, currently doing a terrible job of hiding either his ambitions for a higher office or the stiletto secreted under his cloak. Some examples:

He pretends to be a champion of the homeless, to disguise his cutting back on New York City’s budget. Look, I’m not a huge fan of New York City’s mayor, Bill  de Blasio. But I’ll give the mayor credit for at least trying to do something about providing housing for the homeless. Cuomo, who until recently did nothing, nothing, nothing for the wretches of society, saw his nemesis de Blasio addressing the homeless issue and couldn't stand the attention deBlasio was getting. So what’s Cuomo doing?

He steals from college students. Instead of directly providing de Blasio with funds to assist with the mayor’s program to provide more permanent housing for people who can’t afford it, Cuomo now declares himself a pal to those without a roof over their heads and provides some funding — which he has stolen from the state’s regular contribution to the city’s higher education budget. Other cuts will hit the city’s Medicaid recipients. So he helps the poor by stealing some of the money set aside to help them and for the middle class in other ways. With friends like Cuomo, the poor don’t need enemies. The bastard.

He's a friend to the corrupt:  Cuomo has a penchant for palling around with corrupt political crooks. From an article some time ago in the New Yorker magazine:
“I’m very big on giving other people credit,” he told me. “It’s the whole collegial thing. That’s how I get what I get done done.” Most recently, in his State of the State address, on January 21st, Cuomo said that he would soon be going on a trade mission to Mexico, and he displayed a PowerPoint slide of himself, Skelos, and Silver, all wearing sombreros.
Former state Senator Dean Skelos and former speaker of the State Assembly Sheldon Silver have both since been arrested, tried, and found guilty on corruption charges. Meanwhile, even before the corruption trials, a nervous Cuomo closed down a commission investigating political corruption.

Hmm. I wonder why?



Sunday, January 10, 2016

How Republicans mislead the suckers, leading to lost jobs, lost income, wrecked investments, shrunken 401(k)s, and pollution and poisoned water for a fringe benefit

The results first, from the New York Times:
Earnings are down for companies that have made record profits in recent years, leading them to decommission nearly two-thirds of their rigs and sharply cut investments in exploration and production. More than 200,000 oil workers have lost their jobs, and manufacturing of drilling and production equipment has fallen sharply.  
The cause is the plunging price of a barrel of oil, which has been cut roughly in half since June 2014…..
In the United States, Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are facing economic challenges. 
Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell recently announced cuts to their payrolls to save cash, and they are in far better shape than many smaller independent oil and gas producers that are slashing dividends and selling assets as they report net losses. Other companies have slashed their dividends.
And now for some chanting from those wonderful folks who brought you unemployment, economic collapse, pollution damage, and flaming water from your kitchen faucet. And remember, this clip was created years before the current economic collapse, at a time when the concern was limited to the Chevron spill in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana:





Monday, January 04, 2016

Enforce the law at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

What’s the difference between an Islamist terrorist and the Bundy followers who have armed themselves, taken over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon, and who plan to stay there “as long as it takes?”

Effectively, zero.

Both are armed and dangerous. Both defy established government. Both place their own personal desires above the law and the will of the people. 

Yeah, I know. One is Islamist and the other isn’t. So what? They’re both lethal and they’re both a bunch of psychopaths.

And both are perfectly willing to become martyrs for their outrageous causes.

"I didn’t come here to shoot, I came here to die,” said one militia member, who identified himself only as “Captain Moroni” — a name with great significance to Mormons and anti-government extremists. For the full Raw Story report, click here.

Ironically, when a far more peaceful group — Occupy Wall Street — took over a concrete public square block space, armed only with posters and slogans, there was a concerted multi-agency effort, combined with a private effort, that rousted them from the park.

Back in 2012 the news leaked out, through concerted muckraking, that
…a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
But when armed and therefore evidently not-so-peaceful thugs take over an entire wildlife preserve, including buildings….so far, nada.

The Occupy Wall Street movement was out to make a point — that one percent of the nation controlled the finances and destiny of the nation at the expenses of the other 99 percent.

The point of the Oregan occupiers seems to be that the people of the United States have no damn right to set aside public land for wildlife preservation, or the peaceful enjoyment of nature, and that the occupiers have the right to graze their cattle even if it destroys an area’s natural beauty and resources, or to set wildfires, anywhere and any time they damn please.

Yet the peaceable ones got rousted while the armed terrorist in Oregon are so far free to continue their anti-American operation.


It’s time for the U.S. Government to exercise a little counter-terrorism in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Monday, December 28, 2015

It’s time to start thinking ahead to the 2020 Republican nominee for President. My favorite crazier-than-Trump candidate of the future is Sylvia Allen.

Arizona state senator Sylvia Allen: "The vapor
trails are coming! The vapor trails are coming!"

Look, either The Donald will or will not be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee. At this stage, who can know? Who could even have suspected, only a few months ago, that Trump would be the leading contender? Or that Ben Carson would lose his footing as a leading contender by getting the story of the Biblical seven years of plenty confused with King Tut’s sarcophagus? Or that he would ever be a leading contender in the first place?

The rule of Republican politics seems to be, the more insane, the more ridiculous, the more outrageous, the more bombastic, the more twisted, the more confused, the more ignorant of the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s history a candidate sounds, the greater the likelihood that he or she will enchant Republican voters.

With that in mind, I herewith nominate Sylvia Allen as a serious candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2020.

Sylvia who?

So glad you asked!

Sylvia Allen is a Republican from Snowflake, Arizona. 

Snowflake? It’s up Route 77 from Show Low. You say that's no help? Well, it’s kind of west of Concho. Still no help? Try a long drive southeast of Flagstaff or a helluva long hike from Mesa.

But I digress.

Earlier in her still-young political career, Sylvia was county supervisor in Navajo County, which is located…oh, never mind the geography. At any rate, she came to some prominence in her supervisor’s job when she tried to interfere with an investigation into her son in law, who seems to have done something, um, worthy of of investigation, concerning female inmates in the jail where he’s a detention officer.

So the county sheriff warned that he’d arrest Sylvia if she kept on messing with an official investigation. Whereupon she filed a state senate bill that gave detention officers like her son in law greater protection from disciplinary investigations.

No no, don’t get all excited about her candidacy yet. Because her CV gets lots better.
  • In 2009, during a committee hearing concerning a uranium mine she shared her impressive  geological knowledge by declaring that the world is 6,000 years old
  • This year, she declared that people should be required by law to go to church. The “establishment of religion" clause, of the Bill of Rights, of the United States Constitution? Must be some kind of Moose-lim plot. She made her declaration during a debate on whether to let people carry concealed weapons in public buildings. (That's always a good idea, since you can shoot the opposition on the spot instead of wasting time debating them.) Allen, who said she didn’t understand the opposition to her idea, decried a “moral breakdown.”
  • With all her geological and moral knowledge, it’s only natural that somebody like Sylvia Allen should be telling professional educators what that may and may not teach. So naturally, the President of the Arizona Senate appointed her chair of the Senate Education Committee.
But here’s the pièce de résistance. Well, why should I paraphrase it when I can lift it directly from Sylvia Facebook page? Here is is, with misspellings (or typos, depending on how charitable you choose to be) preserved intact.
Ok, I do not want to get into a debate about weather. However, I know what I see weekly up here on the flat where I live outside of Snowflake. The planes usely, three or four, fly a grid across the sky and leave long white trails streaming behind them. I have watched the chem-trails move out until the entire sky is covered with flimsy, thin cloud cover. It is not the regular exhaust coming from the plane it is something they are spraying. It is there in plain sight. What is it they are leaving behind that covers the sky?
Things are happening all around us that we see everyday and just don't get what it is. I think we throw the "conspiracy theory" at people when we don't understand or have the information they have so we try and explain it that way. Plus we just don't want to believe that our government would do anything terrible to us. Well, just a few examples, the IRS attack on the Tea Party, Benghazi, wire taping, Fast and Furious just to name a few and we think that they would not manipulate our weather?

Wow, that drove the crazies out of the woodwork like swarms of termites during spring mating season.  A few choice examples lifted verbatim from the same Facebook page:

"You go girl! We used to have articles about this all the time and it is real and it is poison in the air and it is happening over Snowflake. I used to see it all the time. We had letters from construction workers and others who swear that they got sick after every dump in the sky. It got so bad that some crews when they saw them would just home and hide in their houses. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. And, by the way, we were the first on the mountain that reported on the New World Order and on the Continental Super-Highway over 10 years ago. SWe were right then and you are right now! Please go shut down that puppy mill that I told you about. It's sick and you would cry if you saw it and smelt it. Love you!?
*** 
" have lots of photos I have taken over the years of the planes making "X" in the sky. Seems like a day or so later lots of peopl get sick. I call it population control..... hmmmmm"
***
 "It's ridiculous. Is there any way we can get them to stop making chem trails? Are there bills we can pass that they can't do it in the state of AZ? And while we're looking at issues to stop or protect ourselves from, is there anything we can do to protect our state from Common Core? Happy 4th of July, btw"


Admittedly, we have a while to go before 2020. And I know that by November 2016 you’ll probably be all politicked out. So do me a favor. Just print out this post and stash it in a safe place. Four years from now, you’ll have physical proof that you read it here first.

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog

Friday, December 25, 2015

Attention Republican property owners: Get Congress to declare war on ISIS and you’ve just handed yourself a huge insurance bill

Guess what Republican
war fever will do to your
homeowner's insurance
Ever since 9-11, when terrorist hijackers flew separate airplanes into each of the twin towers, the insurance industry has been scrambling to cover its butt.

Little wonder. The original claims of the landlord there, Larry Silverstein, came to the tune of $7.1 billion. He didn’t collect nearly that much because the insurance companies didn’t want to cough up that kind of money, so they fought him bare knuckles to a lower sum. 
No surprise there. Whether it’s health insurance, car insurance or office building insurance, insurance companies hate to fork over the moolah. To paraphrase a line of advertising — from an insurance company advertising campaign, as it happens — not paying claims is what you do.

Most property insurance, whether it’s for homeowners, home renters, or for commercial office buildings, have “exclusions” for incidents like Al Queda or ISIS blowing up the premises. If you want to be covered against acts of terrorism, you have to buy, and pay through the nose for extra coverage to override that exclusion. 

Fine. But now along come a bunch of Republican presidential wannabes, drumming up a “war” on ISIS. Or ISIL. Or Daesh. Whatever the hell you want to call it. Rand Paul says we should declare war on them. Jeb! Bush says we should declare war on them. The Donald, forgetting all the property he'd have to carry additional coverage on, also says declaring war on ISIS is a good idea. Ted Cruz seems to believe the war is already declared.

Moreover, the usual suspects are also rousing the rabble to demand a declaration of war, including pundit Charles Krauthammer and the conservative Washington Journal.

Meanwhile, back in insurance company office towers, the insurance biggies are rubbing their hands together with glee. See, if it’s determined we’re “at war” with ISIS, instead of merely trying to slap them down and stomp on them like the lowlife terrorist enterprise they are, you’re going to need a third kind of insurance, “act of war insurance,” to cover your home or office building. That's in addition to fire insurance. And terrorism insurance. Which means more money will jump  out of your pocket and into the insurance companies’ treasuries.

Corporation will also pay. And since property values of skyscrapers and office parks can run into the billions, they’ll have to pay a pretty penny.

That is, they’ll have to pay unless they’re foolish enough to think they can send the bill to Jeb!, Ted, The Donald, and Charlie the K, and wait to see which of them wants to part with five or six billion bucks. Any guesses about whether any of them will volunteer to write the check?
Cross-Posted at No More Mister Nice Blog 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A highwayman gets captured. Now, will he be appropriately punished?

Here are five words you never want to hear somebody say to you: “Your money or your life.”

In fact, in 18th Century England, if you failed to fork over every penny you had when a highwayman interrupted your journey,  it might be your money and  your life. You would be shot down and left to die at the edge of the road, your pockets rifled anyway.

Little wonder highwaymen were treated unkindly by the courts, often hanged en masse, in public, in England, or beaten until their bones were broken, and beheaded in France. (See illustration at the bottom of this post.)
Smug highwayman Martin Shkreli. When criticized for 
outrageously jacking up the price of a once-cheap lifesaving
drug for his own profit he tweeted in response, "LOL"

Now the authorities have captured a modern highwayman. His named is Martin Shkreli.

Martin Shkreli bought a company that made a drug AIDS victims need on a daily basis to survive and raised the price from $13.50 a dose to $750. He effectively said to thousands, if not millions, of AIDS victims, “Your money or your life. Fork over more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to me, or die.”

It was all perfectly legal. Someone who has the money to buy a company is allowed to buy it. And a company that wants to raise the price of a drug can raise it. And humanity be damned.

Except for one thing. Psychopaths enjoy what they do. Whether it’s the perverse lust for power, or a greed-filled adrenalin rush, or a total lack of human empathy, psychopaths are likely to be serial criminals.

And so it’s not surprising that the F.B.I. found a pattern of behavior in smug-faced Shkreli’s past that is prohibited by the criminal law. He not only seems to enjoy ripping off sick people. He also is charged with having ripped off his own investors.

Specifically the U.S. Attorney has charged Shkreli with seven criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Let us hope that when Shkreli’s  trial comes along, defense lawyers won’t flimflam the jury. And let us hope that the judge legally can, and will have the courage to, impose the maximum penalty for each count. Serially. Because we no longer can legally hang him. Or do this to highwaymen, as they did in 18th Century France:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Five rumors invented by this blog to concern, alarm, excite, and inflame the paranoia of panicky Republicans

I haven’t posted for the past few weeks because I’ve been left almost dumbstruck by the extent of small-mindedness, unreasonable “reasoning,” fake science, complete disregard for facts, insane rants, and other thinking , either of the stupid or the neo-Nazi kind, that seems to be prevalent in the Republican party.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? That Cruz, and Carson, and Christy, and Carly, and Trump, and (ad infinitum) are full of crap? That it’s alarming how we are tumbling pell mell down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism? That the denial of science is not only stupid but suicidal for the planet? That allowing only “Christians” to immigrate to this country is a de facto establishment of religion in violation of the United States Constitution?

Nah! It’s all being said. Over and over again. And meanwhile, rumors, misinformation, outright lies, and filthy slanders abound to reinforce either the sclerotic Congressional status quo, or the candidacy of whacko Republican candidates. 
One of Trump's towers. Why so big? The
grainy secret is revealed in this blog post.

So if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em. Here are some rumors I’ve deliberately invented, just to see if the stuff that springs from my head is as good as the stuff that springs from Republican heads. 

1. What the Trump towers are really for.  There are several Trump towers in New York City. One is at Columbus Circle. Another on Fifth Avenue. Still another on First Avenue near the UN building. Other tall buildings bear his name on the Upper East Side. Why so many? Well, currently they contain  hotels and the apartments of millionaires and billionaires. But that is only temporary. Long term, comes the world wide famine caused by global warming, they will be used to store grain.

2. Global warming is real, but not for the reasons you think. Yes, there is an international conspiracy of scientists who are trying to keep the truth from you. They have been paid off by the oil industry and Big Government “libtards” to avoid the total panic that might occur if everyone knew the truth.

The truth is that the earth is heating up because the planet has been knocked off its axis and out of its orbit by too much and too-powerful fracking. Earth is now racing toward the sun on an erratically spiraling path that makes us feel too hot one day, too cold the next. But in the long run, we will all be fried, baked and barbecued alive by solar heat. 
Jeff Bezos in his space duds, practicing
to flee Earth with his fellow billionaires
before we're swallowed up by the sun.

In fact, the reason some billionaires like Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) and Jeff Bezos  (Amazon) are pioneering “commercial” space travel is, they’ve been tipped off that we’re heading on a wobbly course to the solar crematorium. 

Their plan is to sell one-way tickets to another planet for $800,000,000 per seat, economy class, more for Business and First Class. Better upgrade if you can. Seventeen months in a narrow Coach Class seat could be mighty painful on your read end. And yes, baggage, meals and even use of the toilet will be extra. You don’t have that kind of money? Even for Economy? Then you’re toast, pal. Literally.

3. The blonde boy from Brazil.  The late author and playwright Ira Levin, an agreeable guy who at one time was my neighbor, wrote a book called "The Boys From Brazil." It's about a bunch of little Adolph Hitlers, cloned from the original, placed strategically by old Nazis to take over the world. The book later became a movie.

Well, Ira was partly right. There is one “boy from Brazil.” And don't be surprised if you learn that he's Donald Trump. But The Donald was not cloned from Hitler. He was a frozen embryo, fathered not by Fred Trump or by Cranky Adolph, but by Reinhard Heydrich, the “blond beast of the S.S,” who gained Hitler’s favor by making statements such as, “We will Germanize the Czech vermin,” and later became known as “The Butcher of Prague.” 

Reinhard Heydrich (right) with
Henrich Himmler. Note that 
Heydrich was photographed
with his hat on. Want to guess
what's under there?
Heydrich was every bit as good at spreading hatred as Trump is, but other parallels are equally eerie. Both Hydrich and Trump had several wives.  Both were military school cadets, Trump at the now-defunct New York Military Academy. (And by the way, what happened to Donald Trump’s school records, once kept at the military school? Hmm?) Both Heydrich and Trump were efficient organizers and builders. 

Ominously, one of Heydrich’s biographers wrote of him: “Among a crowd of lackeys, imbeciles and unredeemable thugs, Heydrich stands out as the one man who not only seethed with utter hatred mixed with emotional indifference for the welfare of others, but also knew exactly how to do something about it. He was, at that iron heart, a psychopath.”

Need proof that The Donald is The Blond Beast’s frozen embryo son? Notice that Donald Trump has never shown you his birth certificate. Not a legitimate one, at any rate. How can he, when he was born in a test tube? 

4. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are part of a sleeper cell. No no, not Muslim. Cuban. Their so-called “conservative” leanings are only a ruse. They were sent here by Fidel Castro to take over the government by becoming President, and then turn the United States into a Cuban communist satellite. There are two of them so in case something happens to one of them, there will still be another. Mark my words, in 30 years, if the Earth hasn’t been swallowed up by the sun yet, you’ll be speaking Spanish with a Cuban accent, and  driving a 30-year-old Chevrolet .

5. Carly Fiorina is the illegitimate daughter of Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean. Or maybe of Cruella de Vil. I mean, what proof do you Little People need?