Tag Archives: Donald Trump

It’s easy to join The Resistance

AFP/Getty Images photo

In a brilliant protest, members of Greenpeace suspended a large banner reading “RESIST” near the White House early this morning. From The New York Times’ coverage of the banner, apparently the banner was up at least from around 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST.*

Not all of us can participate in the scale of protest that members of Greenpeace orchestrated early this morning when they apparently spent hours scaling a crane near the White House in order to hang a wonderful banner. But all of us who oppose fascism can do something.

I’m way too chicken and out of shape to climb a crane, but I can and probably will give a donation to Greenpeace. I believe in rewarding and encouraging things like Greenpeace did this morning.

I routinely give to organizations whose work I like and want to see continue. I’ve given to the American Civil Liberties Union and to Planned Parenthood, for instance, as well to environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club (and to Greenpeace in the past), and to humanitarian groups, such as Mercy Corps.

I blog.

I talk about politics to those within my sphere of influence. (As I’ve noted here many times over the past year-plus, I supported Bernie Sanders, and those within my close sphere of influence voted for him in the California primary.)

I do what I can, given my time, energy and funds.

I suspect that many of us do nothing because we think that if we can’t do something big and brilliant — along the lines of what some brave members of Greenpeace did this morning — then our contribution won’t matter.

But our contributions do matter. They add up.

Fascism thrives where complicity thrives. “President” Pussygrabber and his fascist, neo-Nazi supporters will thrive only if we allow them an environment in which to thrive. We can fairly shut them down right now if enough of us choose to do so. (The fascists, being anti-democratic by definition, are famously stubborn to public outcry, however, so yes, this is probably going to take some time, and hopefully not, but perhaps, some bloodshed. [As the right wing loves to say, freedom isn’t free.])

Impeachment and removal from office aren’t the only tool to cripple a presidency (and they are far from certain to work); ask the Repugnican Tea Party traitors who did everything in their power to cripple Barack Obama’s presidency.**

Payback is a bitch, and we who oppose Pussygrabber should encourage our elected officials to be just as obstructive as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have been obstructive over the past several years. (Most of what “President” Pussygrabber & Co. propose and do are and are going to be destructive, and so most of what they propose and do should be obstructed as much as possible.)

Even if one or more of your elected officials is a Repugnican, enough outcry from his or her constituents can make even a Repugnican elected official back away from the train wreck on crack that is “President” Pussygrabber. The vast majority of elected officials, after all, want to remain elected officials.

Yes, contacting your elected officials matters. Most people never contact their elected officials, thinking that it won’t matter, so your contact is magnified. I routinely e-mail my elected officials. (Sometimes I send them snail mails, especially on the issues that most concern me, but usually I e-mail them.) If you can visit your elected officials’ offices, including participating in protests at their offices, that’s even better. That does get their attention. (I’m not into calling my elected officials’ offices, as I prefer written communication, but if that is your thing, go for it.)

Organizations that are suing the Pussygrabber administration (such as the ACLU) — and there will be many federal lawsuits against the Pussygrabber administration — could probably use your donation, as lawsuits aren’t cheap.

I surmise that federal lawsuits are going to prove to be the No. 1 weapon against the unelected Pussygrabber administration’s fascist, unconstitutional and anti-American actions. Indeed, we have three branches of government in order to keep any one branch from getting out of control.

Pussygrabber is a modern-day Caligula, but unlike Caligula was, he is not an emperor. He will find that while it has been one thing to be the king of a business empire, the American empire is another thing entirely.

Pussygrabber is not a legitimate U.S. president, and so we should point out his illegitimacy at every opportunity.

The No. 1 thing in resisting the Pussygrabber administration, I think, is not to keep quiet. The Germans in Nazi Germany kept quiet and we know the consequences of their silence.

So speak up. Don’t be afraid; the unelected Pussygrabber regime can’t imprison or torture or kill all of us, and as soon as its treasonous members start to imprison or torture or kill any of us, it’s all over for them in short order anyway.

Be as effective as you can within your own sphere of influence. Most of us who oppose “President” Pussygrabber and all that he stands for effectively have our own cell, and millions of cells together make a difference.

Besides, think of the advantage that we of The Resistance already have: Despite his treasonous, anti-democratic lies to the contrary — and kudos to The New York Times for this week having flat-out called Pussygrabber’s lie a lie — about 3 million more of us voted for Billary Clinton than for Pussygrabber, and his approval ratings right now are historically low for a new “president.”

Pussygrabber is weak — and he knows it. He is scared — and he should be.

For more ideas of how to resist, you might consider reading the newly released book The Trump Survival Guide. Soon I’m going to buy the great political writer Matt Taibbi’s Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus.

Revisiting some classics can be useful, too. George Orwell’s anti-fascist 1984 (which is No. 1 on amazon.com as I type this sentence [and a different edition of the novel right now is at No. 6]) is a great read, and I’m planning to purchase Sinclair Lewis’ anti-fascist It Can’t Happen Here (which is No. 7 on amazon.com as I type this sentence).

You don’t even have to read a book. You simply can Google ideas. Hell, you don’t even have to type anything into Google’s search bar; I’ve done that for you, so just click here.

The main thing is to do something.

That’s always better than doing nothing.

Welcome to The Resistance, where every contribution matters.

The people, united, will never be defeated.

*The Times reports:

… Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, the environmental advocacy organization for which the activists were volunteering, said the protesters were there “to resist the environmental, economic and racial injustice that Trump and his administration have already laid out and put into practice.”

In his first week in office, Mr. Trump’s administration instructed officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze grants and contracts, and, according to Reuters, ordered the agency to remove the climate change page from its website.

Mr. Trump has also resurrected the Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline projects that have been the subject of virulent protests by environmental activists. …

**I have had my problems with the-not-nearly-progressive-or-aggressive-enough Obama, and have written about them here over the years, but I recognize that he was the twice-duly-elected president of the United States of America. In 2008 and in 2012 he won both the popular vote and the Electoral College — and, unlike George W. Bush and “President” Pussygrabber, not only did he win the popular vote, the only vote that really matters in an actual democracy, but he didn’t get an assist from the U.S. Supreme Court or from an enemy nation.

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‘President’ Pussygrabber sets fascist, deregulatory, anti-government tone

“These smug pilots have lost touch with regular passengers like us. Who thinks I should fly the plane?”

Cartoon from The New Yorker

I watched “President” Pussygrabber’s inauguration speech live today out of a sense of obligation to know exactly what toxic propaganda the fascist in chief is spewing into the political environment.

Thankfully it was a fairly short speech, and right off the bat Pussygrabber showed us the direction he’s dragging us in: Gub-mint baaad!

To hear Pussygrabber tell it, the nation’s ills are due to the craven, selfish gub-mint workers in D.C. (federal elected officials and federal civil servants, I presume) who for the past several years have been working for themselves instead of for the American people (I’d thought that it was the Mexicans and the Muslims whom we need to dispose of in order to Make America Great Again, but whatever…).

Pussygrabber huffed and puffed:

… For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you. …*

It’s funny, because I could have sworn that our corporate and other plutocratic overlords, most of them not in government, committed these crimes against us commoners — including by, yes, buying off way too many of those in D.C. — and it’s not that Pussygrabber truly believes that the government hasn’t helped the citizenry enough; no, it’s that the government has helped the citizenry too much, has been too regulatory.

The treasonous profiteers have a harder time treasonously profiteering at the expense of the people and of the planet when the government effectively is regulating bad actors.

Thus, we must put an anti-Environmental Protection Agency guy in charge of the EPA, an anti-Department of Energy guy in charge of the Department of Energy, an anti-public-school woman in charge of the Department of Education, and a white supremacist in charge of the Department of Justice, to name only some of the examples of Pussygrabbers’ having appointed rabid foxes on crack to guard the hen house.

And, of course, the filthy rich — Pussygrabber’s cohorts — want their massive tax breaks, and doing good, beneficial things for the citizenry takes tax dollars; therefore, we must convince the citizenry that the government spending tax dollars on them (even their own tax dollars) is bad.

And of course Pussygrabber and his deregulatory ilk have to falsely frame their deregulation schemes in terms of helping the average U.S. citizen when, in fact, deregulation more often than not harms the average citizen.

It’s all good, though; when the United States of America becomes a complete fucking free-for-all, a treasonous profiteer’s wet dream of deregulation, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth among the vast majority of those who incredibly stupidly voted for Pussygrabber. (Unfortunately, there also will be suffering for the millions of us who did not vote for Pussygrabber, and about 3 million more of us did not vote for him than did.)

Of course a billionaire never had any intention whatsofuckingever of helping the little guy. After all, he stole his billions from the legions of little guys. (You don’t get filthy rich by working; you get rich via the legalized thievery that is capitalism.)

In short order I expect the nation to go right back to the state it was at the end of “President” George W. Bush’s eight illegitimate years (or worse). I expect another nationwide economic collapse and environmental catastrophes (natural and man-made) for which the government is wholly unprepared and/or unwilling to manage effectively.

And, of course, we’ll probably have at least another unnecessary war; after all, as BushCheneyCorp knew fully well, the war profiteers can’t profiteer without a war, and it’s not that hard to fabricate a casus belli; a relentless campaign of propagandist lies will do the trick, as it did for the Vietraq War.

I mean, Pussygrabber already has started out just as Gee Dubya did: with a stolen presidential election. Nothing good follows a stolen election; a stolen election can be nothing else but a harbinger of doom. An individual who loses the popular vote but who takes office anyway isn’t a democratically elected individual.

And an individual who becomes president with the help of a foreign, enemy nation is a traitor — we’ll see how hard “President” Pussygrabber works to quash all further investigation into his very apparently treasonous ties to Russia and to his apparent puppeteer Putin.

With a patently fascist and treasonous “president” in the White House yet once again — yes, thank you, Gee Dubya, for helping to prepare us at least to some degree for Donald J. Trump — I am happy that I live in California, where regulation by the government makes our citizens’ lives better, not worse (if it decreases some bad corporate actors’ profits, oh, boo fucking hoo), and where I at least somewhat will be protected from the worst excesses from the unelected Pussygrabber regime.

We Californians, who reside in by far the most populous state in the nation and who voted for Billary Clinton over Pussygrabber by a margin of almost two to one, are not having this Pussygrabber bullshit and we plan to resist him the way that the Repugnican Teatards treasonously resisted the actually democratically elected Barack Obama every fucking step of the way.

As unpleasant as it is for me to hear “President” Pussygrabber speak even a short sentence, while he sickens me, as all neo-Nazis do — seriously, listening to even his short inauguration speech, one of the worst ever given, was work for me — I don’t feel that I didn’t do enough to try to prevent a “President” Trump.

From Day One I was a strong supporter of actual populist Bernie Sanders, whom I always saw as more likely to win the White House than the unlikable, corrupt, faux populist, Democrat in name only, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton.

I gave Sanders’ presidential campaign more than $1,000 over time and spent countless hours writing about him and discussing him with others. I even stood on my feet for at least two hours waiting to see him at a rally attended by thousands here in Sacramento in May.

But in the end, the “Democratic” dead-enders shoved the coronation of Billary Clinton down our throats — even though the nationwide polls, right up to the end of the Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses, consistently showed Bernie Sanders doing much better against Donald Trump than she — and as a result of that colossal collective “Democratic” stupidity, we now have “President” Pussygrabber.

Yes, blame the fucktards who voted for Pussygrabber in the general election, but blame the fucktards who supported Billary Clinton in the Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses, too.

Clintonism finally is dead now, thank Goddess, but now we have to deal with “President” Pussygrabber and the damage that he is going to wreak through his systematic dismantling of our institutions in order to benefit himself, his family and his rich cronies.

We survived George W. Bush, but I don’t know whether we’ll survive Pussygrabber.

I only know that I am part of the resistance, even though my conscience is clear and even though I can say, Don’t blame me — I voted for Bernie!

*Of course corruption, fraud, waste and abuse and even inefficiency should be rooted out in all levels of government and corrected, and of course in some states and locales (the vast majority of them Repugnican-controlled) the governments actually don’t do the people’s business but do the plutocrats’ business, but on the whole, all levels of government do the citizenry much more good than harm.

Government is all that stands between us peasants and our corporate overlords getting absolutely everything that they want from us and doing absolutely everything that they want to do to us.

This is why “President” Pussygrabber and his ilk want to destroy, or at least seriously cripple, government: So they can get to us more quickly and more easily.

“President” Pussygrabber must distract the angry hordes carrying torches and pitchforks from the real enemy: our millionaire and billionaire corporate overlords like Pussygrabber. Indeed, as the new head of the Repugnican Party, this is one of Pussygrabber’s chief jobs: to keep the faux populist propaganda flowing and to keep publicly identifying the wrong enemies of the people (Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and now, apparently, government workers and elected officials) so that our treasonous corporate overlords can continue to fuck us over blind.

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‘President’-‘elect’ Pussygrabber is illegitimate and should be boycotted

Updated below (on Wednesday, January 18, 2017)

It speaks volumes about the Repugnican (Tea) Party that since (but not including) 1988, its presidential candidate won the popular vote only one time (in 2004). This is a weak political party that should have been polished off long ago, and it still exists only because of the ineptitude and the cowardice of the Democrats. Thankfully, there is a good chance that Putin puppet “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber finally will do the job that the Democrats never did: destroy the Repugnican Party as we know it.

“The number of Democratic members of Congress saying they will boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday has increased to 26,” the BBC reports today, the highest count that I’ve seen thus far, but the BBC doesn’t list them all. (Yahoo! News apparently lists all or most of the boycotters here.)

The boycott apparently was jump-started* by Georgia U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ correct pronouncement this past week that Donald J. Trump is an illegitimate president (which of course drew the very predictable, very immature El Trumpo’s return fire on the very presidential platform that is Twitter).

Rep. Lewis cited Russia’s having tried to influence the presidential election as the source of Pussygrabber’s illegitimacy, but to that I would add the fact that Pussygrabber lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, making him, in that sense, even more illegitimate than was “President” George W. Bush, who in 2000 lost the popular vote by almost 544,000 votes.

Of course the Repugnican Teatards aren’t at all concerned that Pussygrabber lost the popular vote by almost 3 million, aren’t concerned that the loser “won.” They weren’t concerned when this happened in 2000, either, because the Repugnicans are fascists, and fascists never care whether or not they actually win the most votes; they care only about taking power, with or without the consent of the majority of the American people.

This is why I also call these fascists traitors. They aren’t individuals who act in good faith with whom I simply disagree on politics, ethics and morality; they are actively anti-democratic and as such they are the enemy to all of us who actually value democracy, who believe that merely paying lip service to democracy isn’t nearly enough.

To attend “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber’s inauguration ceremony on Friday is to give him, at least tacitly, legitimacy that he does not have, and to give the dint of legitimacy to an unelected, treasonous fascist like Pussygrabber is to work against the nation’s best interests, whether one intends to do so or not.

(Those who argue that they are attending the inauguration ceremony in order to honor the office of the presidency rather than to endorse, by their presence, the specific individual who is taking over the Oval Office on Friday are trying to have it both ways — but they cannot. Their presence indeed will give Der Fuhrer Trump the appearance of legitimacy that he does not have and indeed will serve only to further normalize the infantilism, fascism and treason that are El Trumpo’s most prominent traits.)

To boycott All Things Pussygrabber isn’t to be a sore loser, since Pussygrabber didn’t actually win, but actually lost the election. To boycott Der Fuhrer Trump, then, is to be a sore winner.

Just as I never considered George W. Bush to be the legitimate president of the United States of America, I never will consider Donald J. Trump to be the legitimate president.

If the majority of the American voters had actually selected these inept fascists, perhaps I could get over it, but both inept fascists lost the popular vote and both had significant, extra-democratic help from others.

Bush Jr. had help from his brother Jeb!, who was then governor of the pivotal Electoral College state of Florida that Bush Jr. “won” also with the help of then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who just coinky-dinkily also had been on the committee to see Bush Jr. elected in Florida (no conflict of interest there!).

And, of course, the coup de grâce was when the “justices” of the U.S. Supreme Court who had been appointed by Repugnican presidents voted to stop the recount in Florida — by so doing to install Bush Jr. into the White House, the wishes of the majority of the American voters be damned.

All of this brazen corruption and these extra-democratic political machinations, yet we commoners were expected to accept George W. Bush as the legitimate president of the United States of America.

Ditto for Donald J. Trump, even when it’s evident that probably for the first time in our nation’s history, another nation — and historically (and presently) an enemy nation — probably was instrumental in helping their chosen Manchurian candidate “win.”

This is treason, and those who cooperate with “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber in any way are complicit in this treason.

No true patriot could support Donald J. Trump in any way, even by “just” attending his inauguration.

P.S. I have e-mailed my two California U.S. senators and my U.S. representative and asked all of them to boycott Friday’s inauguration ceremony. I encourage you to do the same, even if you think there’s no way in hell that any of your representatives to D.C. will do so.

While it’s most likely that none of my three D.C. representatives will boycott the inauguration, the most likely to do so, it seems to me, is the newly minted Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who has been pretty good on civil rights. (Harris already has said that she will vote against Alabama U.S. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for U.S. attorney general.)

My other U.S. senator, “Democrat” Dianne Feinstein, is fairly worthless, and I expect little to nothing from her.

My U.S representative isn’t much better than is Feinstein, and I’d be shocked if she were to boycott, because that would be way too bold and courageous for her, as it would be for Feinstein.

I am glad and proud to see, however, that several U.S. representatives from California are joining the boycott.

Update (Monday, January 16, 2017, 9:20 p.m. PST): Slate.com now reports that 35 members of Congress won’t attend the inauguration on Friday, and lists them all.

I am pleased to see that new to the growing list of boycotters is Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, whom I still support for the new chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Still no U.S. senator has said that she or he won’t attend the inauguration, and while 11 U.S. representatives on Slate.com’s list of 35 boycotters are from my home state of California, where Billary Clinton on November 8 beat Pussygrabber by about two to one, my U.S. representative (Doris Matsui) isn’t on Slate.com’s list….

Update (Wednesday, January 18, 2017): Now more than 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are boycotting Friday’s inauguration ceremony. No U.S. senator thus far has had the cajones to do the right thing and boycott. (The senators are D.C. elites, you see.)

Speaking of D.C. elites, as was entirely predictable, my lame U.S. representative, “Democrat” Doris Matsui, has chosen retaining her status as a D.C. elite over doing the right thing, and of course she will attend the inauguration.

“I love my country,” Matsui said lamely, like a junior high school student. “And our country is so important and critical in the world. I thought that my personal feelings about Trump should not prevent me from showing support for our democracy.”

No, she’s just showing up to show her support for election theft, treason and fascism. Because she loves her country.
(“It’s a serious occasion, the peaceful transference of power,” Matsui said of the inauguration ceremony, as though she were teaching civics to kindergarteners. “The rest of the world is watching, too. I think it’s important for us to look as unified as we can because we have to look forward.”
Just: Wow. “Looking” “unified” is the most important consideration here? No, cooperating with fascism is cooperating with fascism. This is why the “Democrats” lose: they continually sell out their base to the right in the name of high-mindedness while the Repugnican Tea Party never returns that favor. “Opposition party” isn’t in the DINOs’ vocabulary.

Speaking of which, Pussygrabber spokesnake Sean Spicer, like Matsui, also calls the inauguration ceremony a “peaceful transfer of power,” because we Americans all must be peaceful, you see, even though yet another presidential election has just been stolen. Peacefulness and the appearance of unity, you see, are far more important than are fair elections in which the winners of the most votes actually take office and in which enemy foreign nations don’t interfere.)

I didn’t vote for Matsui in November because of her blindly obedient, elitist support for her fellow DINO Billary Clinton, who obviously was the wrong presidential candidate to put forth in 2016, and I don’t see myself casting a vote for the Trump-loving, simple-minded, D.C. elitist, sellout Matsui ever again.
Update (Wednesday, January 18, 2017): Good Morning America now puts the count of boycotting U.S. representatives at a full 60 and lists them all. (Of course no Repugnican Tea Party U.S. representative dares to boycott Der Fuhrer Donald’s installation.)
There are 194 Democrats in the House of Representatives, so 60 of them boycotting means that 31 percent of the House Dems are boycotting. And 60 representatives is 14 percent of the full House of Representatives, which has 435 members in all.
*The BBC reports that the first member of U.S. Congress to announce his or her boycott of Pussygrabber’s inauguration was Illinois U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, last month, but apparently the boycott didn’t catch fire until Rep. Lewis announced that he also would boycott.

Kudos to Rep. Gutierrez for having gone first in doing the right thing! I wish that he were my U.S. representative!

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Let’s not allow the racial brush fires to become a racial conflagration

Four young black adults, aged 18 to 24, shown in the police booking photos above, have been charged with hate crimes in the kidnapping and torture of an 18-year-old mentally disabled white man in Chicago. Images of their victim, which they incredibly intelligently live-streamed via Facebook, are below. As visceral as such images in the media can be, let’s not let the stupid, cruel actions of the few make the rest of us also act in ways that are stupid and cruel.

The victim was made to drink from a toilet bowl and had a gag placed over his mouth

White supremacists must be thrilled to hear the news of four black young adults who have been arrested and charged with hate crimes in their kidnapping and hours-long torture of an 18-year-old mentally disabled white man, voicing their hatred of white people and of Donald Trump while they tortured him.

Reports The Associated Press today:

Chicago — Four black people were charged with hate crimes [today] in connection with a video broadcast live on Facebook that showed a mentally disabled white man being beaten and taunted, threatened with a knife and forced to drink from a toilet.

The assault went on for hours, until Chicago police found the disoriented victim walking along a street, authorities said.

The suspects, who were jailed, can be heard on the video using profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said investigators initially concluded that the 18-year-old man was singled out because he has “special needs,” not because he was white. But authorities later said the charges resulted from both the suspects’ use of racial slurs and their references to the victim’s disability.

It’s also possible that the suspects were trying to extort something from the victim’s family, police said. The man’s parents reported their son missing Monday and told authorities they later received text messages from people who claimed to be holding him captive.

The victim was a classmate of one of the attackers and initially went with that person voluntarily, police said.

“He’s traumatized by the incident, and it’s very tough to communicate with him at this point,” police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.

Excerpts of the video posted by Chicago media outlets show the victim with his mouth taped shut and slumped in a corner of a room. At least two assailants are seen cutting off his sweatshirt, and others taunt him off camera. The video shows a wound on the top of the man’s head. One person pushes the man’s head with his or her foot.

A red band also appears to be around the victim’s hands. He was tied up for four to five hours, authorities said.

The victim does not appear to make any attempt to defend himself or to escape his attackers. He is a suburban Chicago resident described by Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson as having “mental health challenges.”

“There was never a question whether or not this incident qualified as being investigated as a hate crime,” Johnson said. But “we need to base the investigation on facts and not emotion.”

The case heighted political tensions on social media, with some conservatives suggesting it was linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. Police said there was no indication of any connection.

The incident began Dec. 31, when the victim and one of the suspects, 18-year-old Jordan Hill, met at a suburban McDonald’s to begin what both the victim and his parents believed would be a sleepover, police said.

Instead, Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for a couple of days, ending up at a home in Chicago, where two of the other suspects lived, detective Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.

The victim told police what began as playful fighting escalated, and he was bound, beaten and taunted with racial slurs and disparaging comments about his mental capacity.

A downstairs neighbor who heard noises threatened to call police. When two of the suspects left and kicked down the neighbor’s door, the victim escaped. A police officer later spotted the obviously disoriented man wandering down a street.

The man was bloodied and wearing a tank top that was inside-out and backward. He had on jean shorts and sandals, despite freezing weather, officer Michael Donnelly said.

Most hate crimes are connected to the victim’s race, but hate-crime charges can be sought in Illinois if a victim’s mental disability sparked an attack, though it is rare.

In addition to hate crimes, the four were charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint. Three were also charged with burglary. It was unclear whether any of the suspects had attorneys. They were to appear in court Friday. …

Cook County prosecutors identified the suspects as Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, both of Chicago, and Hill, of suburban Carpentersville. All are 18. A fourth suspect was identified as 24-year-old Tanishia Covington, also of Chicago. …

Before any white people get all indignant and high and mighty over this unfortunate case, we must remind ourselves that also in the news is the ongoing trial of 22-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof, who shot and killed nine black church members in cold blood in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

Just as Roof is not representative of all white people, the four young black people who appropriately have been charged with hate crimes against the mentally disabled young white man (yes, black-on-white crime can be a hate crime, even though there are plenty of assholes and idiots who would claim otherwise) are not representative of all black people.

A minority of the members of all races are capable of inhumanity to other human beings, ranging from verbal abuse to torture to murder.

It’s ridiculous for the right or the left or for any member of any race to use incidents of race-related crimes to indict all or most of the members of an entire race.

These ugly race-related crimes come crashing into our national consciousness via the media, and the media should report them, but we shouldn’t take the incidents out of context, assert that they represent a larger pattern that they don’t represent, or try to selfishly use the incidents to reinforce our own pre-existing, narrow racial-political worldviews and agendas — or, worst, try to use the incidents as an excuse to commit our own crimes against other human beings, feeling “justified” in doing so.

As far as the mindset of the four young black people who kidnapped and tortured the young white man is concerned, I’m not sure whether they truly have a deep-seated hatred of white people or whether they just thought that it was cool to kidnap and torture a whitey, apparently especially in the aftermath of the “election” of Trump as president.

In any event, because they used racial epithets, the hate-crime charges against them appear to be quite appropriate. You don’t get to use hate speech while committing a crime against someone and then later claim that you didn’t really mean it. You said it; there is evidence that you said it. That’s enough to establish your state of mind. Words having meaning. Let’s not pretend that they don’t.

And, of course, just as Roof was cowardly enough to shoot to death nine defenseless, unarmed people, these four attackers apparently were too cowardly to pick on anyone other than a mentally disabled person, whom they outnumbered.

What I hope doesn’t happen is that some white supremacists “retaliate” against some random black person or persons, incorrectly feeling that the entire white race was just kidnapped and tortured by the entire black race, and that it doesn’t devolve into a fucking all-out race war.

In the current poisonous, Trump-filled atmosphere, that could happen, and while it would cause plenty more pain and suffering, it would solve exactly nothing.

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On Russia, we’re not ‘moving on’

Depite “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber’s personally convenient edict that it’s “time for the country to move on to bigger and better things,” the Russian hacking allegations won’t go away, and that’s a great thing.

To me, the biggest sign that Russia did at least try to help Donald J. Trump become U.S. president by at least meddling in the politics of the 2016 presidential election is that “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber hasn’t remained neutral in the midst of these allegations against Russia, but surreally consistently has defended Russia — against the U.S. intelligence community.

Some — including Pussygrabber, of course — are arguing that the U.S. intelligence community got the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction story wrong, so the U.S. intelligence community must also be wrong about the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

But they conveniently forget or intentionally exclude (or, to be charitable, they never knew) the fact that the also-unelected, also-White-House-stealing BushCheneyCorp wanted to invade Iraq for the war profiteering (such as for Darth Dick’s Halliburton’s no-bid war contracts) and to turn Iraq’s oil over to Big Oil.

Therefore, the unelected Bush regime heavily pressured the U.S. intelligence community to “find” “evidence” of Iraqi WMD in order to justify the war that it wanted. Under the unelected Bush regime, the U.S. intelligence community was not free and independent; its members understood that to keep their jobs, they must submit to the unelected Bush regime’s corrupt and ultimately treasonous arm-twisting.

(Of course, when the Iraqi WMD story turned out to be uber-bullshit, as it was clear all along that it was — it was clear from Day One that it [along with “revenge” for 9/11] was to be an excuse to invade and take over Iraq — the unelected Bush regime called the U.S. intelligence community grossly incompetent.)

I’m hardly the biggest fan of the U.S. intelligence community, given the revelations that the U.S. government spooks have been spying on all of us, in blatant violation of our rights under the U.S. Constitution, and yes, the he-said, he-said of the Russian hacking allegations can be confusing, but when you have conflicting reports, you have to go with what’s most likely.

And what’s most likely is that Russia is guilty as charged.

Reports The Associated Press today:

America’s top intelligence official said [today] that Russia undoubtedly interfered in America’s 2016 presidential election but stopped short of using the explosive description “an act of war,” telling lawmakers such a call isn’t within the purview of the U.S. intelligence community.

In a joint report that roiled the presidential campaign last fall, the Homeland Security Department and the intelligence community said the U.S. was confident of foreign meddling, including Russian government hacking of Democratic e-mails.

In its assessment, the intelligence community has said Moscow interfered to help Republican Donald Trump win.

“We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement than we did on the 7th of October,” James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the GOP-led Senate Armed Services Committee.

Pressed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on whether the actions constituted an “act of war,” Clapper said that was “a very heavy policy call” more appropriate for other entities in the U.S. government to decide.

Clapper pushed back against a barrage of criticism leveled against U.S. intelligence agencies by Trump in recent days and the president-elect’s apparent embrace of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

During an exchange with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Clapper said “there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism” and “disparagement.” He said the intelligence community is an organization of human beings and isn’t perfect. But he said U.S. spy agencies also don’t get the credit they deserve for foiling terrorist plots and other successes too secret to discuss.

Clapper said Assange is “holed up” in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, unable to leave without being arrested for breaching his bail conditions. Swedish authorities have investigated Assange for a possible rape, which he has denied.

Assange has “put people at risk” by leaking classified information, Clapper added.

President Barack Obama has received a report on the Russian interference and other foreign meddling in the U.S. election, according to Clapper. He and other senior U.S. intelligence officials said Russia poses a major threat to U.S. government, military, diplomatic and commercial operations. [Emphasis mine, because this is in rather stark contract to Pussygrabber’s contention that Russia is our friend.]

Clapper said lawmakers will be briefed on the Russian hacking report next week and an unclassified version is tentatively scheduled to be released to the public shortly after that.

CIA Director John Brennan said in a Dec. 16 message to employees that the FBI agreed with the agency’s conclusion that Russia’s goal was to support Trump in the election. Brennan wrote that he also had spoken with Clapper and said “there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election.”

Clapper [today] declined to discuss whether Russia’s interference was aimed at backing Trump win. But he said Russia’s hacking “did not change any vote tallies.”

McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services committee, said “every American should be alarmed” by Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. There is “no escaping the fact that this committee meets today for the first time in this new Congress in the aftermath of an unprecedented attack on our democracy,” McCain said.

The hearing comes a day before Trump receives a briefing by the CIA and FBI directors — along with Clapper — on the investigation into Russia’s alleged hacking efforts.

Trump has criticized their findings and even seemed to back Assange’s contention that Russia did not provide him with hacked Democratic e-mails.

But in new tweets early [today], Trump backed away from Assange. Trump blamed the “dishonest media” for portraying him as agreeing with WikiLeaks founder, whose organization has been under criminal investigation for its role in classified information leaks. “The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump wrote.

In fact, Trump has been dismissive about the certainty of the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian hacking with a reminder of past failures, specifically their reporting on the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the lead-up to the war.

Since then, Trump has derided the intelligence profession on Twitter, which has been widely reported by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

Appearing before the Armed Services Committee were Clapper; Marcel Lettre, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence; and Adm. Michael Rogers, National Security Agency chief and the top officer at the U.S. Cyber Command.

Obama struck back at Moscow in late December with penalties aimed at Russia’s leading spy agencies, the GRU and FSB, that the U.S. said were involved. The GRU is Russia’s military intelligence agency. The FSB is the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

But Trump easily could rescind the sanctions. So far, he has publicly refused to accept the conclusion that Russia is responsible for the attacks. Trump this week escalated his criticism of U.S. intelligence professionals, such as Clapper, by tweeting, without evidence, that an upcoming briefing on the suspected Russian hacking had been delayed until Friday, and said, “perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”

Intelligence officials said there had been no delay.

The penalties imposed by Obama came after he pledged a “proportional” response to the hacking of the Democratic Party and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. E-mails stolen during the campaign were released in the final weeks by WikiLeaks.

Again, “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber sorely needs to sort out his allegiance — whether it’s to the American people, the majority of whom voted for Billary Clinton, not for him (Billary earned 48 percent of the popular vote to Pussygrabber’s 46 percent, which is a lead of more than 2.8 million popular votes), or to Russia’s Gangster in Chief Vladimir Putin. (“Under Putin’s leadership, Russia has scored poorly on both the Democracy index and the Corruption index,” understates Wikipedia.)

I’m not sure what Repugnican Sen. John McCain’s motivation is in holding on to the Russian thing like a pit bull — I’m not sure if he’s motivated by pure, old-school, Cold-War-era American nationalism or by anger and frustration that the likes of Pussygrabber actually became U.S. president under the aegis of the Repugnican Party when he lost his presidential race in 2008 to the upstart from nowhere Barack Obama, or some mixture of the two — but whatever McCain’s motivation is, I’m glad that he’s doing it.

I mean, McCain’s proclamation that there is “no escaping the fact that this committee meets today for the first time in this new Congress in the aftermath of an unprecedented attack on our democracy” certainly seriously calls “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber’s legitimacy into question, and I’m rather stunned that any Repugnican on Capitol Hill actually would do that, would actually put the good of the country before the Repugnican Party.

McCain’s having been a fixture in the U.S. Senate and within the Repugnican Party never has felt anything like a benefit until now.

All signs point to the Putin-led Russia having done its best to install Pussygrabber into the White House in a quid pro quo. (“President” Pussygrabber would allow Russia to do as it pleases throughout the world and would work to ease all sanctions on bad actor Russia.) That would mean that Donald J. Trump is a fucking traitor and that yes, Russia engaged in an act of war.

No, I’m not calling for the prosecution and/or impeachment of Pussygrabber for treason and/or a U.S. declaration of war against Russia — not yet.

But left-wingers should get their heads out of their asses and recognize that the idealized socialist Russia of yore is no more. Russia is now run by gangsters like Putin, and they don’t have the interests of the United States of America in mind.

War sucks, and a war with Russia is a poor idea, but allowing Russia to control the U.S. via its puppet in “President” Pussygrabber is a poor idea, too.

In the meantime, yes, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party should continue to suffer the consequences of the contents of the leaked e-mails. The content of those e-mails does matter, and, indeed, several DNC big wigs, including slimebag Debbie Wasserman Schultz, stepped down after the e-mails revealed that they colluded to benefit Billary Clinton and to harm Bernie Sanders.

But perhaps a reformation of the DNC was going to happen anyway, hacked DNC e-mails or not. The Clinton era is over, mostly because of Billary’s Al Gore-like “loss” on November 8, but also, methinks, because the November 8 election proved that Clintonism — this center-right bullshit that throws actual progressives under the bus and kisses the asses of Repugnicans in order to try to get their votes when they’re never going to vote for anyone using the label of “Democrat” anyway — can’t win presidential elections today, because no one is excited by DINOs/center-right sellouts except for DINOs/center-right sellouts. And there aren’t enough of them to win a presidential election, as November 8 demonstrated amply.

Under Clintonism on November 8, many if not most actual progressives stayed home or didn’t vote for president or voted for someone else for president (like I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the only progressive presidential candidate who was listed on my ballot), and of course when given the choice of Repugnican Lite Billary or Repugnican Pussygrabber, those who lean Repugnican voted for Pussygrabber.

The Democratic Party now belongs to progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Indeed, a recent poll showed that 44 percent of Democratic and independent voters would be excited by a Sanders run in 2020 and 34 percent would be excited by a Warren run in 2020. Forty-three percent would be excited by a Joe Biden run in 2020 and only 23 percent would be excited by Billary giving it a third try in 2020.

Sixty-six percent said they’d prefer “someone entirely new” running for president on the Democratic ticket in 2020, but who the fuck would that be, exactly? Obama has sucked all of the oxygen from the room for the past eight years and so the Democratic presidential-wannabe bench is pretty thin.

But I digress.

Yes, the hacked DNC e-mails easily could have swayed the election to Trump. Don’t get me wrong — I, for one, never, ever, ever was going to vote for DINO Billary anyway, but I surmise that the e-mails’ revelations induced many Berners who otherwise might have held their noses, taken an anti-emetic and actually voted for Billary to decide not to vote for Billary.

It’s impossible to tell how much the hacked DNC e-mails affected the November 8 election — they might (or might not) have been enough to cost Billary the critical Rust-Belt states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, which all together she lost by fewer than 100,000 votes, costing her the Electoral College* — but nonetheless, it’s the thought that counts; even trying to influence/interfere with another nation’s election (something that the U.S. has tried to do to other nations) is indeed an act of war.**

And it’s interesting, and perhaps if not probably telling, that no Repugnican National Committee hacked e-mails ever were released.

Again: All signs thus far point to Russia’s guilt and to Team Trump’s treason in a quid pro quo arrangement with Vladimir Putin, and we should proceed from there. We endanger ourselves if we don’t.

*That said, of course Billary didn’t campaign nearly well enough as she should have in the Rust-Belt states. Indeed, the presidential-election post-mortem is that Team Billary apparently believed that they had the Rust-Belt states in the bag (Wisconsin and Michigan, for instance, had gone to the Democratic presidential candidates since the 1980s) and thus didn’t need to campaign much in those states. Indeed, mind-blowingly, Billary made not one general-election campaign stop in Wisconsin.

**Of course, most if not all of the other nations in whose elections the U.S. has meddled haven’t had the ability to win a war against the U.S.; the U.S. usually is sure to pick on significantly weaker victims. Taking on Russia would be a whole new level, of course.

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We’re all Putin’s little bitches now

Image result for Putin Trump Saturday Night Live elf on shelf

In a recent sketch on “Saturday Night Live,” Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) gives Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) a very special elf on the shelf as a Christmas present. It’s a funny sketch, but if “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber indeed has sold his soul — and the United States of America — to fellow gangster Putin, it’s not very fucking funny.

Admittedly, when Team Billary this past summer wanted us to focus on its allegation that Russia leaked the damning Democratic National Committee e-mails to WikiLeaks, I viewed it as the Billarybots’ lame attempt to distract us from the content of the revealing e-mails and instead focus on the source of them. (This is, in fact, a common tactic used on the right: to ignore the message and to shoot the messenger.)

As a “Bernie bro” — that term certainly didn’t make us male supporters of Bernie Sanders want to support Billary any more than we already didn’t, by the way — I didn’t give a rat’s ass as to the source of the DNC e-mails. I was much more interested in what the e-mails revealed about the “neutrality” of the DNC in the race between Billary Clinton and Sanders.

Apparently, though, as craven as they are, the Billarybots were on to something.

The very public stroke jobs that “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber and his fellow gangster Vladimir Putin are giving each other aren’t just creepy, but on Pussygrabber’s part, they’re fucking treasonous.

Love him or hate him, but Barack Obama was the first Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win two terms with a majority of the vote.

So when Obama imposed sanctions on Russia this past week, he had the backing of the majority of the American people — those who put him in the White House in 2008 and who decided to keep him there in 2012. They — we — gave him the power to deal with foreign friends and foes.

So when Pussygrabber sides with enemy-state Russia over the duly-twice-elected Obama administration, he is, quite simply, committing treason.

Reports Reuters today:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Friday praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for refraining from retaliation in a dispute over spying and cyberattacks, in another sign that the Republican plans to patch up badly frayed relations with Moscow.

Putin earlier on Friday said he would not hit back for the U.S. expulsion of 35 suspected Russian spies by President Barack Obama, at least until Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump wrote on Twitter from Florida, where he is on vacation.

Obama on Thursday ordered the expulsion of the Russians and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking political groups in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

“We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement, adding that Russia reserved the right to retaliate.

“Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President D. Trump will carry out,” he said.

In a separate development, a code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont electric utility, the Washington Post reported on Friday, citing unnamed U.S. officials. …*

No, that’s not a “separate development.” The two are very closely linked. The Cold War is over, but Russia remains an enemy state — it went from a Communist state to a thugocracy — and “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber can’t suck Vladimir Putin’s penis furiously enough.

It is mind-blowing that Putin makes public proclamations to the effect that Repugnican U.S. “President”-“elect” Donald J. Trump already is in his pocket (and vice-versa).

If a Democratic president or president-elect had such a cozy relationship with Russia or any other nation with which the United States historically has had animosity, the Repugnican Teatards would throw a shit fit. But very apparently such treason is A-OK as long as the “president” is a Repugnican.

Many are analyzing the surreal, fascistic bromance between Pussygrabber and Putin, but the reason that they’re so much in love with each other seems to be that both are democracy-hating, power-grabbing thugs. And because for all of their bravado thugs actually are weak pieces of shit, Putin and Pussygrabber apparently need and want each other in order to bolster each other.

I mean, here is El Trumpo, only the third “president”-“elect” in U.S. history who had not first been the governor of a state, a U.S. senator, a U.S. representative, U.S. vice president or a U.S. Army general, so stunningly unprepared and unfit for the job of U.S. president — and entering the White House with an American approval rating of only in the 40s (Obama entered the White House with an approval rating in the 60s) — that he feels the need to lean on the likes of Vladimir Putin.

We’ll see how long the love affair between “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber and Russian Thug in Chief Vladimir Putin lasts and how far Pussygrabber will be able to go with it until we, the American people, finally reel him back in and remind him exactly to whom he is supposed to be loyal.

P.S. I like Matt Taibbi’s take on the whole Putin-Pussygrabber love affair. He writes, in part:

… Did the Russians do it? Very possibly, in which case it should be reported to the max. But the press right now is flying blind. Plowing ahead with credulous accounts is problematic because so many different feasible scenarios are in play.

On one end of the spectrum, America could have just been the victim of a virtual coup d’etat engineered by a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which would be among the most serious things to ever happen to our democracy.

But this could also just be a cynical ass-covering campaign, by a Democratic Party that has seemed keen to deflect attention from its own electoral failures.

The outgoing Democrats could just be using an over-interpreted intelligence “assessment” to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration and force Trump into an embarrassing political situation: Does he ease up on Russia and look like a patsy, or escalate even further with a nuclear-armed power?

It could also be something in between. Perhaps the FSB didn’t commission the hack, but merely enabled it somehow. Or maybe the Russians did hack the DNC, but the WikiLeaks material actually came from someone else? There is even a published report to that effect, with a former British ambassador as a source, not that it’s any more believable than anything else here.

We just don’t know, which is the problem.

We ought to have learned from the Judith Miller episode. Not only do governments lie, they won’t hesitate to burn news agencies. In a desperate moment, they’ll use any sucker they can find to get a point across.

I have no problem believing that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the American election. He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything. And Donald Trump, too, was swine enough during the campaign to publicly hope the Russians would disclose Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. So a lot of this is very believable.

But we’ve been burned before in stories like this, to disastrous effect. Which makes it surprising we’re not trying harder to avoid getting fooled again.

Agreed, we shouldn’t froth too much at the mouth over Russia, but “President”-“elect” Pussygrabber’s many statements and actions apparently protecting Russia (and his own ties to Russia) certainly give the appearance that he has something to hide.

If Pussygrabber was so sure that he won the Rust Belt states fairly and squarely, then why did his team try to block the recount effort in those states? Why does Pussygrabber think that he can pull a Jedi mindfuck on the American people, proclaiming of the allegations of Russian interference in U.S. operations that are tantamount to a declaration of war, “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things”?

Most of all, why are Pussygrabber and Putin so publicly supportive of each other, including both of them ganging up on the twice-duly-elected president of the United States of America?

“On one end of the spectrum, America could have just been the victim of a virtual coup d’etat engineered by a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which would be among the most serious things to ever happen to our democracy,” Taibbi notes.

The safest thing to do for American security is to assume that America indeed has been the victim of such a coup de’etat by Putin and Pussygrabber.

If we turn out to be wrong about that, then we turn out to be wrong about that.

But if our minds are so far open that our brains fall out, and the Pussygrabber-Putin coup de’etat indeed is as real as it appears to be now, we jeopardize our nation by waiting until we have overwhelming evidence that the unthinkable — that we “elected” a real-life Manchurian candidate — indeed has taken place.

*More of the Reuters article:

… The Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations of the utility, the officials told the Post, but penetration of the nation’s electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability.

Trump has repeatedly praised Putin and nominated people seen as friendly toward Moscow to senior administration posts, but it is unclear whether he would seek to roll back Obama’s actions, which mark a post-Cold War low in U.S.-Russian ties.

Trump has brushed aside allegations from the CIA and other intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the cyber attacks. “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said on Thursday, though he said he would meet with intelligence officials next week.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia was behind hacks into Democratic Party organizations and operatives before the presidential election. Moscow denies this. U.S. intelligence officials say the Russian cyber attacks aimed to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Russian officials have portrayed the sanctions as a last act of a lame-duck president and suggested Trump could reverse them when he takes over from Obama, a Democrat.

A senior U.S. official on Thursday said that Trump could reverse Obama’s executive order, but doing so would be inadvisable.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the Obama administration “a group of embittered and dimwitted foreign policy losers.”

Should Trump seek to heal the rift with Russia, he might encounter opposition in Congress, including from fellow Republicans.

Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Friday that Russia must face a penalty for the cyber attacks.

“When you attack a country, it’s an act of war,” McCain said in an interview with the Ukrainian TV channel “1+1” while on a visit to Kiev.

“And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay, so that we can perhaps persuade the Russians to stop these kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy,” added McCain, who has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on foreign cyber threats.

Other senior Republicans, as well as Democrats, have urged a tough response to Moscow. …

Trump will find it very difficult to reverse the expulsions and lift the sanctions given that they were based on a unanimous conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies, said Eugene Rumer, who was the top U.S. intelligence analyst for Russia from 2010 until 2014. …

Obama had promised consequences after U.S. intelligence officials blamed Russia for hacks intended to influence the 2016 election. Officials accused Putin of personally directing the efforts and primarily targeting Democrats. …

I never thought that there ever would be a use for the likes of the dynamic duo of John McCain and Lindsay Ladybird Graham, but the Cold Warriors just might actually remove the stench of Moscow from D.C.

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‘Rogue One’ gives me a new hope

Updated below (on Thursday, January 5, 2017)

Right about now we all could use a new “Star Wars” movie that doesn’t suck. “Rogue One’s” diverse cast of heroic characters (see the movie’s publicity image below) has the white supremacists in a frothy lather, which is yet another good reason to see it.

Image result for Rogue One cast

With Darth Donald furiously filling his administration with hell’s best and brightest — and our only hope rebel electors who halt the construction of the Death Star and thus save the republic when they meet in the state capitals on Monday — it’s great that we have a new “Star Wars” movie to look to.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first live-action “Star Wars” film that isn’t part of the ongoing nine-film series (which has hits and misses), opens on Friday, and it looks like it’s going to be a worthy “Star Wars” movie, unlike last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

I like that “Force Awakens” features a heroine instead of a hero (British actress Daisy Ridley as Rey did a great job), and that it is somewhat diverse, with black British actor John Boyega as rebel stormtrooper Finn and Latino Oscar Isaac as rebel pilot Poe Dameron. (Boyega and Isaac also did a great job, and, like many, many others, I’ve always had something for Isaac…)

But “Force Awakens,” although acted well enough and technically sound, of course, given its big budget, suffers significantly from being a brazen rehash of the “Star Wars” movies that came before it, replete with a third Death Star (well, OK, it’s a weaponized planet, but in essence it’s a third Death Star), another climactic light-saber duel, and, of course, the climactic destruction of that third Death Star.

“Force Awakens” also features a geriatric Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford as a geriatric Princess Leia and Han Solo, which didn’t give me a warm and fuzzy sense of nostalgia as much as it gave me the sense that the fucking baby boomers just won’t get off of the stage, no matter how long it has been since they wore out their welcome. (At least Han Solo dies in the movie…)

Perhaps most sinfully, “Force Awakens'” “villain,” Darth Vader descendant Kylo Ren (the son of Han Solo and Leia, he is played by Adam Driver), isn’t actually bad-ass at all, but is a whiny little bitch (much like Darth Donald). And that Kylo Ren is just a bad Darth Vader knock-off only emphasizes the fact that “Force Awakens” is just a bad “Star Wars” knock-off…

Oh, sure, it’s great to watch Rey kick Kylo Ren’s ass, but the whole fucking premise that Leia and Han Solo had a son who grew up to try to emulate Granddad Vader is just stupid. As is that third Death Star.

“Rogue One,” though, looks promising. It’s a more immediate prequel to 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope”* than was 2005’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which is the best of the first-three-numbered “Star Wars” episodes of 1999, 2002 and 2005 that were made after the first three released “Star Wars” episodes of 1977, 1980 and 1983. (Indeed, “Sith” is the only of those three proactive episodes worth watching, really.)

We already pretty much know the plot of “Rogue One”: Rebels to the Empire manage to steal the (first) Death Star plans so that the rebels then can destroy it. But while that back story was mentioned** in “A New Hope,” it never was fleshed out (recall that “A New Hope” begins with Princess Leia safeguarding the Death Star plans with the [an]droid R2-D2, who/which then jettisons in an escape pod with sidekick C-3PO), and very apparently “Rogue One” fleshes out that back story.

That “Rogue One” takes on fresher (albeit pre-established) material rather than simply rehashing old material, as “Force Awakens” did, is a big draw to me, as is the fact that I was a “Star Wars” fan at nine or 10 years old, replete with action figures and plastic toy replicas of the vehicles. (The fact that my mother cavalierly bought me a regular TIE fighter instead of the Darth Vader TIE fighter that I’d very specifically and repeatedly requested for one Christmas [a true story, unfortunately] probably contributed to the person that I am today [including my being fairly used to deep disappointment].)

While I grew up as a “Star Wars” fan — not only was finally seeing the very first “Star Wars” film a major event for me (I was taken to see it by an uncle who felt pity for my brother and me that our lazy, selfish, baby-boomer parents had yet to take us to it [another unfortunately true story]), but “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” also were big events for me, even though “Jedi,” with its second Death Star (and its inevitable destruction), largely is a rehash of “New Hope,” just with a bigger budget and on a larger scale — I still expect a new “Star Wars” movie to bring fresh elements to the table, and “Rogue One” appears to do that.

And I didn’t need another reason to see “Rogue One,” but the fact that the Trump-loving white supremacists/neo-Nazis are boycotting “Rogue One” because it’s just too damned diverse (and thus apparently is anti-white, you see) is yet another significant reason for me to see it.

You would think that these “alt-right” losers would have boycotted “Force Awakens,” because in it, the heroine Rey kicks the ass of the bad-ass wannabe Kylo Ren, who reminds me a lot of the neo-Nazis: He very much wants to be a bad-ass, and is trying to mimic an actual bad-ass who came before him, but he’s just a pathetic, petty terrorist; oh, sure, he can cause plenty of harm to others, but at heart, he’s a weak fucking coward — who gets his sorry ass kicked by a girl.

I love it that as with “Force Awakens,” “Rogue One’s” main hero is a heroine, Jyn Erso (played by British actress Felicity Jones), a rebel who apparently is aided in her cause against the Empire by fellow rebels played by Mexican actor Diego Luna, black American actor Forest Whitaker, Chinese actor Donnie Yen, and Riz Ahmed, who is a Brit of Pakistani heritage.

I’ve enjoyed the work of Luna, Whitaker, Yen and the adorable, doe-eyed Ahmed, and I’m happy to be able to see all of them in one movie.

And that ass-kicking droid in “Rogue One” (named K-2SO, apparently an Imperial droid that/who is droidnapped and reprogrammed to work for the rebels) strikes me as pretty fucking cool — like a C-3PO who/that finally grew a pair.

Movies do a lot of things. They are escapism, for sure, and right about now we Americans — and those who live in nations that are affected by what we Americans allow our government actors to do (and what we don’t allow them to do) — sure could use some escapism.

But movies also are a deep part of American and global culture, and it’s not a one-way street; movies not only reflect the culture at large, but they help to shape the culture.

Even the dimwitted, cowardly members of the “alt-right” and other neo-Nazis know this, and that’s why they hate to see images of racial and gender equality in our mainstream movies; they want only straight, white, conservative men to be the sole heroes in our movies in perpetuity.

But “Star Wars” has been, at least in its own way, subversive from Day One. Even in 1977’s retroactively titled “A New Hope,” it’s clear that the evil Empire, with its legions of stormtroopers and military hierarchy and massive weaponry, is much like the short-lived Nazi German empire.

And “Star Wars'” heroes have not been its villains (although no doubt many have fetishized its villains to the point of not really even viewing them as villains); “Star Wars'” heroes always have been the little guys and gals who have stood up to the big, fascist bullies against all odds.

“Star Wars” has been anti-neo-Nazi since its birth in 1977; the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, neo-Nazi mega-losers of today boycott it way too late.

And I’m incredibly fine, when I go to see “Rogue One” — taking a break from the news of the stunningly awful team that is being assembled in Washington, D.C., to “make America great again” by bringing it to the brink of its destruction — knowing that at least there shouldn’t be any neo-Nazis in the theater with me because of their pissy little boycott.

Update (Thursday, January 5, 2017): I finally saw “Rogue One” in IMAX on Monday.

While not a perfect movie, it probably is the best “Star Wars” movie to be released since “The Empire Strikes Back.” It certainly has the look and the feel of the 1977 “Star Wars.”

Like every “Star Wars” movie, “Rogue One” has some characters (humans and non-humans) that are rather dumb, to be frank, but in “Rogue One” the strong characters thankfully cancel out the others. Droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) steals the show as a C-3PO with balls, and Felicity Jones as reluctant Rebel Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Rebel leader Cassian Andor are a strong heroine and hero team.

Riz Ahmed seems underused as Imperial turncoat Bodhi Rook, a character that is rather undeveloped, as are the characters of blind warrior Chirrut Imwe (who is reduced to babbling a mantra about the Force, which many viewers are going to find more tiresome and annoying than anything else), played by Donnie Yen, and radical Rebel offshoot Saw Gerrera, played by Forest Whitaker, whose importance seems diminished by a deficient back story.

The CGI of the long-dead Peter Cushing as Governor Tarkin is rather obviously CGI, and it’s surprising how much of the CGI Peter Cushing is in “Rogue One.” I’ll leave aside the discussion as to whether or not we even should be resurrecting dead actors via CGI, and just say that the CGI in “Rogue One” is lacking. We’ve come a long way from the creepy CGI of “The Polar Express,” but in “Rogue One,” it’s not far enough.

For all of it flaws, again, “Rogue One” succeeds in bringing back the look and feel and spirit of the 1977 “Star Wars” without entirely rehashing old story lines, as “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens” did.

Yes, like “Revenge of the Sith,” “Rogue One” fleshes out events that already were alluded to in the earlier films, but still, it’s a masterful fleshing out.

And it’s rather exhilarating, in fact, if you are an old “Star Wars” fan like I am, to watch “Rogue One” take you right to where the 1977 “Star Wars” begins.

I give “Rogue One” at least an “A-“. It misses primarily in some lacking character development. And I still don’t know about that CGI.

“Rogue One” must be given points for its diverse cast — it’s so refreshing when the hero isn’t yet another straight white guy — and for its rather bold ending, which I’d talk about except that it would be a major spoiler to tell you the fate of the main characters.

*I was nine years old when that movie came out, and it wasn’t subtitled “A New Hope” until 1981, when the movie was re-released.

**The iconic opening crawl of “A New Hope” reads:

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…

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