RIP Gord Downie

Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip has died. The first album of theirs I bought was Day for Night, about 20 years ago. It included this:

Here’s another:

And of course:

“Fake News”=political correctness

According to Wikipedia:

In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase “politically correct” was used to describe strict adherence to a range of ideological orthodoxies. In 1934, the New York Times reported that Nazi Germany was granting reporting permits “only to pure ‘Aryans’ whose opinions are politically correct.”[2]

As Marxist movements gained political power, the phrase came to be associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between Communist Party members and American Socialists. This usage referred to the Communist party line, which provided “correct” positions on many political matters. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s,

The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.

— “Uncommon Differences”, The Lion and the Unicorn Journal
Thus President Trump is the ultimate politically correct politician. Anything that he signs is great (including ‘health care’ bills that he hadn’t yet seen. Anyone who praises him is great–even if they’re a dictator. States that voted for him are great, those that didn’t are not. He has said that the deal with Iran was terrible, so he found a way to say it needed to go even if Iran has exactly followed its terms. When the unemployment rate was going down under Obama it wasn’t real, but it is now that he’s President. If someone doesn’t kowtow to him, they’re fired.
The biggest tell is when he says ‘Fake News’. If something isn’t to his liking he labels it fake news which is the equivalent of being politically incorrect. Every time he says ‘fake news’ you should substitute ‘politically incorrect’ and you will see what he really means:
for example, if he says CNN is fake news that really means they are saying bad things about him. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, only if it makes him look good or bad.

Patriotism

There was a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the origin of the Pledge of Allegiance today in Malden:

James Bailey Upham (1845-1905) resided on Lincoln Street in Malden and was an active member of the First Baptist Church. As a partner at the popular children’s magazine, The Youth’s Companion, Upham devised a promotion to distribute an American flag to every public school in the country and to have students recite an oath to the flag in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

There’s more to the story here with this interesting bit:

What is uncontested is this: The pledge — in an early form — was first published in the magazine Youth Companion on Sept. 8, 1892. YouthCompanion was, in the words of the early publishers Nathanial Willis and Ada Rand, aimed at  encouraging  “virtue and piety, and … warn against the ways of transgression.”  Both Upham and Francis Bellamy, a minister,  then worked for the magazine. In 1888, one of the departments in the magazine launched the School Flag Movement. This was a campaign to sell flags to public schools. In the guise of patriotism, a genius marketing boom was born.

Yes, the idea of the Pledge was originated to sell flags. Now that’s American patriotism.

You see the same thing in the NFL:

In 2015, a Senate report released by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake poured cold water on some of the more heartwarming moments of patriotism seen in professional sports.

The report found the Department of Defense had spent $6.8 million on what they called “paid patriotism” between 2012 and 2015. This money was spread out among 50 pro teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, MLS and others.

In exchange for the money, teams organized displays of national pride including flag presentations, the honoring of military members, reenlistment ceremonies, and even the most unassailable and uplifting of patriotic moments: surprise military homecomings. To be clear, plenty of teams also do, and have done, such things with no compensation.

and it wasn’t until 2009 that players were mandated to be on the field for the Anthem–before that they usually stayed in the locker room until after the Anthem.

It sure seems like one of the main reasons for displays of patriotism in the US is to make money.

Oh, there’s also religious freedom involved:

On Monday, June 3, 1935, Watch Tower Society president J. F. Rutherford, was interviewed at a Witness convention about “the flag salute by children in school”. He told the convention audience that to salute an earthly emblem, ascribing salvation to it, was unfaithfulness to God. Rutherford said that he would not do it.” While the matter was not yet established doctrine or written policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at least some Witness families quickly made a personal conscientious decision on the matter.

Well, I’m sure everyone realized they had a right to their beliefs. Ha ha, I kid:

In September in Lynn, Massachusetts, a third-grader and Jehovah’s Witness named Carleton Nichols refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and was expelled from school. The Nichols incident received widespread media attention, and other Witness students soon followed suit. Rutherford gave a radio address praising Nichols, and schools around the country began expelling Witness students and firing Witness teachers.

and it gets worse:

Minersville, Pennsylvania was predominantly Roman Catholic and there was significant animosity towards the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tensions were already high before this case arose and many viewed this as one way to get back at the Witnesses. As a result, his children were subjected to teasing, taunting, and attacks from the other kids. For Lillian, this meant giving up her status as class president and losing most of her friends. “When I’d come to school,” she said, “they would throw a hail of pebbles and yell things like, ‘Here comes Jehovah!’ Billy’s fifth grade teacher attempted to physically force his arm out of his pocket to make the requisite salute.

A local Catholic church started a boycott of the family store and its business dropped off.

and even worse:

On June 9, a mob of 2,500 burned the Kingdom Hall in Kennebunkport, Maine. On June 16, Litchfield, Illinois police jailed all of that town’s sixty Witnesses, ostensibly protecting them from their neighbors. On June 18, townspeople in Rawlins, Wyoming brutally beat five Witnesses; on June 22, the people of Parco, Wyoming tarred and feathered another.

The American Civil Liberties Union reported to the Justice Department that nearly 1,500 Witnesses were physically attacked in more than 300 communities nationwide. One Southern sheriff told a reporter why Witnesses were being run out of town: “They’re traitors; the Supreme Court says so. Ain’t you heard?”

Remember this the next time the conservatives cry about religious freedom.

Trump contradicts himself

During the campaign Donald Trump proclaimed that he was a friend to the LGBT community, but this still isn’t surprising:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a three-year-old Justice Department policy that protected transgender workers from discrimination under federal law.

In a memo to his US attorney offices and agency heads, Sessions said that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect transgender people from workplace discrimination by private employers and state and local governments.

‘‘Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status,’’ Sessions wrote in the memo dated Wednesday.

Trump lies all the time so you should never trust what he says and he has surrounded himself with cultural warriors (Pence, Sessions, …).

Republicans always claim that they are against abortion but won’t go against contraception. You can trust them about as much as you can trust Trump:

The Trump administration issued a rule Friday that sharply limits the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, a move that could mean many American women would no longer have access to birth control free of charge.

The new regulation, issued by the Health and Human Services Department, allows a much broader group of employers and insurers to exempt themselves from covering contraceptives such as birth control pills on religious or moral grounds. The decision, anticipated from the Trump administration for months, is the latest twist in a seesawing legal and ideological fight that has surrounded this aspect of the 2010 health-care law nearly from the start.

And then there’s foreign policy. North Korea is a mess, especially now that it has nuclear weapons, so it’s a great time to try to pull out of the treaty with Iran that has kept Iran from developing nuclear weapons:

But Trump, after twice certifying the deal, has warned his aides that he would not do so again. As a result, the administration is looking for ways to claim Iran is in violation of the “spirit” of the accord, even if it has complied with inspection criteria.The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that Iran was in compliance. When the agency has found minor violations, they have been quickly fixed.

This will indeed isolate a country but it might not be the US:

Britain, France, and Germany, all signatories to the agreement, are watching Trump’s deliberations with deepening concern. Diplomats from the three countries, as well as from the European Union, met with dozens of senators this week to warn them that if the United States withdrew, Europe would not follow.

Trump has no problem with being inconsistent:

The United States is poised to permanently lift sanctions on Sudan, US officials said on Thursday, recognizing the long-estranged country’s progress on human rights and counterterrorism after decades of war and abuses.

Sure, Sudan has done a lot more worse things than Iran but … Trump just doesn’t like Iran.

For fun (if you like worrying about nuclear war):

‘‘You guys know what this represents?’’ Trump asked. ‘‘Maybe it’s the calm before the storm. Could be the calm, the calm before the storm.’’

‘‘What storm Mr. President?’’ one reporter shouted. ISIS? North Korea? Iran?

‘‘You’ll find out,’’ the president said.

Finally, via Kevin Drum, let’s look back at that IRS scandal where they targeted the Tea Party groups. Here’s KD’s summary:

In total, the IRS audited 111 left-wing groups and 19 right-wing groups based on BOLO criteria. (It’s unclear how the “healthcare” category broke out between left and right.)

The vast majority were left-wing groups, but the IRS was being so unfair to the TEA Party groups.

Republicans care

Let’s look at how Republicans care about the people.

First, they’ve so busy trying to take medical insurance from tens of millions of people they let medical insurance for children lapse:

Congress has allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provided low-cost health insurance to 9 million children, to expire.

If action is not taken soon to restore the funding, the effects will become obvious in schools across the country, with many of the children in the program unable to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick, and other services.

Second, they will probably get rid of a program that made it so students scammed by fake universities didn’t have to repay their loans:

Relief seemed to be on the way last year after she learned the Obama administration would forgive her Department of Education loans if she could prove she was defrauded by the for-profit college. But President Trump has brought the worries back.

Trump has thrust Cabrera Garcia and more than 65,000 other student borrowers across the country, including about 1,500 in New England, into a new state of financial limbo by suspending applications under Obama’s program of loan forgiveness.

I wonder why? Oh:

DeVos has investment ties to the for-profit education sector. She also has installed former executives and other officials from the for-profit education industry in her department.

Among them: Julian Schmoke Jr., as the Education Department’s top cop looking for schools that are cheating taxpayers and students of federal aid dollars. Schmoke is a former dean at DeVry University, a for-profit school that, along with its parent company, last year agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission $100 million to settle allegations it lured students with false job and salary information. Critics also say he has little to no experience running investigations.

It’s obvious that DeVos just doesn’t care about public education.

Donald Trump and Aung San Suu Kyi

It seems that Aung San Suu Kyi isn’t living up to her reputation:

On taking office, Suu Kyi emulated her father by announcing talks to resolve the ethnic struggles. “Our country is thirsty for peace,” she proclaimed. But some conflicts have intensified, and the Army has broken ceasefire agreements. Journalists and activists who are critical of the government have been jailed. Most urgently, the plight of the Rohingya has developed into a humanitarian catastrophe. Attacks on Army and police posts by Rohingya militants last October, and again in August, have unleashed a ferocious crackdown. In the past month, more than four hundred thousand Rohingya refugees have fled across the border into Bangladesh, bringing with them accounts of indiscriminate slaughter and mass rape. Satellite images show that more than two hundred Rohingya villages have been incinerated.

Within Myanmar, the Rohingya are uniquely despised by almost all other ethnicities. Nearly ninety per cent of the country is Buddhist, and most people regard the Muslim Rohingya as illegal immigrants; they are not included in Myanmar’s official tally of ethnicities. Suu Kyi has done nothing to combat this prejudice. Her government has denied visas to a United Nations human-rights team charged with investigating the crisis, and international organizations have been prevented from delivering aid.

and she had a Donald Trump moment:

In a speech last week, Suu Kyi refused to criticize the Army and offered a sustained exercise in moral equivalence. “There have been allegations and counter-allegations,” she said. “We have to listen to all of them.”

Shades of Trump blaming both sides for Charlottesville.

It’s sad to see a Nobel Peace Prize winner turning into a apologist for ethnic cleansing.

You’re fired

Oh Donald Trump, you’re such an idiot:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” wondered the president, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” The hypothetical was met with cheers from the assembled crowd.

Trump also said such an owner would “be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.” He added that if fans were to “leave the stadium” in response to a protest, “I guarantee things will stop.”

First, if an owner fired their best player because they kneeled, my guess is they wouldn’t be too popular that team’s fans.

Second, “That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for”? I thought the country stood for free speech? I guess that’s not as important as blind loyalty for the Donald.

Lastly, if we’re going to fire someone who disrespects our country, can we fire Trump? Please, he’s an embarrassment to everything the country stands for.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: