DON’T BITE! – Rich Paschall

If you are a fisherman, and perhaps even if you are not, you can understand the frustration that comes with the sport. That is, you go out knowing fish are swimming all around you. Maybe a lot of them and you are ready to reel them in.  You bait the hook and drop it in amongst all those lovely fish and you wait … and wait.

Nothing happens.

It is as if Charlie Tuna or some holy mackerel was there, warning the other fish to avoid your bait.

“This is good bait,” you may think.  “It is big and tempting and the sea creatures should flock to it,” but they just smirk and swim off to visit other old timers to see if their little fishes are off in schools somewhere else.

Avoid the bait

This is how we should be too.  We should stop taking the bait, but sometimes we do it anyway because we can’t help it.

I am talking about social media and consequent conversation.  The rants and bitterness that follow. There’s always someone tossing bait in the water.

We have to keep swimming because no good comes from getting hooked.

It would appear that many throw out bait on Facebook or Twitter, though it could be any media and there are many more. They aren’t trying to have a conversation. They are trying to start a fight by luring in friends and acquaintances.

In this politically charged “us versus them” environment fostered and encouraged by 45 and his ilk — not to mention the social media companies and the Russians, Chinese and who knows who else — there are always enough snapping jaws waiting for someone to snap up the bait.

No matter what political arguments fill their entries, none are worthy of our time. Trolls do this for sport. They think it’s fun. Most of us don’t think it’s fun at all.

It is like taking your boat out on Lake Michigan hoping to land a big one.  You are likely to end up with carp or alewives, of course. Because that’s what lives there.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Whether you are posting something in favor of POTUS or against, there is someone ready to take the bait and tug on the line.  While an astounding number of people are not in favor of the current pretender to the throne, he still has rabid supporters willing to dangle the bait– or take it themselves. The battle is on.

These battles of back and forth with fish can get rowdy and ugly.

Soon after the terrible display of hate in Charlottesville, I posted a brief piece I saw about how the USA helped defeat the Nazis in World War 2.  I thought it was important to remember (or to learn) what that was all about.  I know exactly what my parents would have thought of recent events.

My father fought in World War II.  It is terrible, in my opinion, that people would carry the Nazi flags on our streets but maybe some forgot.  I had no idea I was dangling bait for the alt-right.

What followed my post was a long series of comments by a few people who conducted a mean-spirited, name-calling “debate.”  I could not keep up with it or monitor the frequent comments, which apparently turned threatening.  After someone complained, Facebook stepped in and removed the most egregious comments.  At my first opportunity, I removed the post completely.

History really is not debatable or worth threatening someone, but that’s the road we’ve gone down.

Due to my stance on some topics, or my willingness to take the bait on a few occasions, I guess I’ve lost a few friends.  I can’t say it bothers me. If you are that bigoted, whether your opinion is based on some misinterpretation of history, the Bible, or some other religion, it’s best I swim on and miss the fight. I’m too old to have this level of stress.

Be careful. You never know when a big fish might pull you into the water.

Until recently, I used to get together a few times a month with someone I have known since childhood. He’s a bit right of center politically, but we had mostly avoided political arguments. That changed in the current social climate.

He has taken the dangling bait.  I was playing along for a while, but I now see the futility of it.

It will start with my friend saying something about 45 or other right-wing topics.  I might respond, “As a former military man, how do you feel about 45 making comments about North Korea which also seem to give up military secrets?”  It is a reasonable question, I think … but it only proves I’ve taken the bait.

“What about Obama?” he might reply.  “You never said anything about Obama when he was in office.”

“Yes, I did,” I usually point out.

“I never heard it.”

“You never listen to me.”

“And what about Rahm (Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago)? What about that?” He will say in a voice somewhat louder.

“What does this have to do with 45 and North Korea?” I inquire to try to steer the conversation back around, but it’s too late.  I am already hooked.

REDACTED READING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Hoopla

I did a preliminary read on most of the Mueller Report last night. Not every word, but I did a speed read of most of it. I will have to revisit parts of it and read those sections more thoroughly. But it’s easy enough to get the drift.

After yesterday’s hoopla about redactions, most news organization have calmed down and realized that the majority of the report is not redacted. Most of the significant parts of the report remain intact.

Donald Trump and William Barr
(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Despite Barr and Trump’s victory dance and braying about how there’s “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION,” there was a lot of attempted collusion and obstruction. That almost everyone in the White House isn’t in jail is that Trump’s illegal orders weren’t carried out.

They come, they go … The temporary cabinet of Trumpinski

Trump’s gang didn’t follow his orders. He ordered them to do something illegal, after which they outright refused, passed it along to a subordinate who dragged his or her feet and it never got done … or said “Sure, Boss,” but never got around to it.

What you get out of the report is:


A) Trump is a terrible president and everyone knows it
B) The people who work with him don’t respect him
C) The White House is a chaotic mess
D) Everyone knows they are working for a man who is clueless and quite likely stupid.

It’s not a flattering portrait of our orange president. That none of the Republican senators and other bigwigs are standing up to him will sooner rather than later make the Republican Party a non-Party. The shameless spinelessness of high-ranking Republicans is more shocking than the asshole president.

One asshole? We can deal with ONE asshole, even if he is supposedly the president. But a whole SENATE full of assholes? That is way over the line.

Ironically — and this may go beyond irony into hilarity in a dark way — Putin and the Russian Gang are disappointed in Trump. They wanted chaos, but they never imagined a presidency so awful they can’t even get in touch with anyone. They won’t talk to Pompeo. They want people who know what they are doing.

Hah!

They can’t make deals, they aren’t getting a “better relationship” with the U.S. If anything, it’s worse. The sanctions are worse, we are sending tanks into the Crimea (which Obama refused to do) — and you can’t trust anything Trump says.

What an embarrassment! You corrupt a country and instead of getting advantages, you are humiliated and wind up getting less than before. In fact, everyone gets less than before.

I guess they picked the wrong president to corrupt. They should have chosen to corrupt someone with a sense of honor. Corrupting someone who can’t be trusted to keep your secrets? Oops.

I thought the MOST fascinating part of the document was the appendices where there were virtually no redactions. You get to see all the questions Mueller asked and you can read for yourself that he felt the prez had either “forgotten,” “failed to have a clear recollection,” and “had only a vague memory because’ so much was happening.'”

Mueller felt he’d gotten as much information as he could from others who work with Trump. Since the prez “couldn’t remember anything,” there was little to be gained from having a major constitutional battle to get his testimony when (1) he couldn’t be prosecuted anyway (under the current “unofficial” rules), and (2) Trump lies all the time.

The ultimate question is a big one: where are all the honorable Republicans standing up to say that this man is unfit for public office, much less President. Where are “the good guys” in the party? Where are those people who care about the nation more than their party leader?

And as for the Democrats, get your act together. Figure out where you stand. If you really don’t know what you are doing — and a number of supposed people running for office obviously don’t know nothin’ bout’ nothin’ — we already have a moron in office. Don’t try to give us another one. Been there, done that.

I strongly doubt this country could stand another round of presidential idiocy, regardless of party.

The guy on Colbert last night (sorry, forgot his name) commented that being too incompetent to be properly corrupted or successfully collude has historically never (previously) been used by a president before.

We are so special!

WILLIAM BARR, THE MAN YOU NEVER KNEW – Part II – Reblog – Shinbone Star

Part II – Read and learn. We got ourselves into this mess and we have to dig ourselves out of it, too. I think this is pontification of the finest kind!

FOWC with Fandango — Pontificate

THE SHINBONE STAR

“Lawyers have an adage. ‘If the law is against you talk about the facts; if the facts are against you talk about the law; if the law and the facts are against you talk about the prosecutor.’ ”
— Lawrence C. Walsh, independent counsel, Iran-Contra investigation, 1986 to 1993

EDITOR’S NOTE: Second of two parts on U.S. Attorney General William Barr and his secret life with the CIA.

By NATHANIEL HELMS

As independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation, silk-stocking lawyer Lawrence C. Walsh was initially revered for his mission to bring the rogues of the Central Intelligence Agency to heel for their role in trampling the U.S. Constitution. Despite being a self-described rampant Republican, Walsh’s unbiased reputation was unimpeachable.

Attorney General William Barr is taking Walsh’s adage to heart. Much like he did during the Iran-Contra investigation 34 years ago, Barr is using a razor-edged interpretation of the law…

View original post 1,135 more words

After whitewashing of the Mueller Report, a hard rain is gonna fall

It’s pretty much what we expected, isn’t it?

THE SHINBONE STAR

— Norman Rockwell

Why should we be surprised that Special Counsel Robert Mueller allegedly found that President Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election? And for the record, instead of “collusion” why don’t we just say “collaboration?”

During World War II, citizens who fraternized with Nazis were accused, convicted, and often put to death for collaborating.

There’s a sharp difference between the two words.

People shouldn’t be discouraged that after two years and several convictions of his henchmen, Donald J. Trump has apparently emerged unscathed in Mueller’s report, at least as Attorney General William Barr would have us believe.

And Trump is already beginning to reap his revenge. Just hours after the report and his crowing twits, he announced the attempt to totally repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, a Barack Obama signature victory.

Never mind that thousands of Americans will lose their healthcare, many of…

View original post 301 more words

EXONERATED? – Marilyn Armstrong

 

You just can’t TALK to them. It’s a kind of madness. Too many food additives?

POSTS AND OTHER KINDS OF POSTS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Post

This post is about a post, or to put it another way, I’m writing a post about a post.

Right now, we new a new post for a new mailbox in front of this house. And this post is about that. Actually, the post for the mailbox will enable the Postal person to put packages sent by the Post Office into the box, so there’s a lot of posting going on.

I opened up the computer this afternoon in hopes of seeing more information posted about the Mueller report, only to find more agitation about what we don’t know. As a long time viewer of courtroom and cop dramas, I “get” the whole difference between knowing a guy is guilty and having the cold, hard evidence on which to convict him. We have never convicted a sitting president and current bylaws for our Attorney General decline to so do — even if we actually HAD the evidence, which apparently we don’t.

It’s doesn’t mean Trump is exonerated (the report clearly points out that this is not the case), nor does the evidence indicate that this is an innocent guy. What it does indicate is even if there were evidence that might convict him, given his status and power in our government, it would probably not be enough to “get the job done.”

We got off “cheap” because Nixon resigned rather than embarrass his party.

Trump doesn’t give a rat’s ass about his party or for that matter, his country or how we stand in the world.

I have to say I never expected a different result from this. I hoped it would be a stronger evidentiary case, but I was pretty sure that given one thing and another, it wouldn’t be enough to see the Bad Guys led away in cuffs. That was never going to happen, no matter how much we wished it would.

So it’s back to the election in 2020. It was always about the election in 2020. Anyone who knows anything about our history — American history — knew we were going to have to vote our way out of this disaster. We are going to have to strap on a national pair of brass ones, get down to business, stay on track, and put a better president in the White House. Otherwise, we will live another four years with this nightmare.

It is up to us and it was always up to us. As a nation, we got ourselves into this soup and we are going to have to get ourselves out of it, too. If we succeed in doing that, we will be a much stronger country. If we don’t, we’ll be a blip in the history books.

Do we have the National Balls to fight this battle or are we going to wimp out, whine, and complain to each other about how we got tricked?  Garry still thinks it’s going to go the way of Al Capone; that in the end, we’ll get him (post-presidency) on money-laundering or tax evasion or something like that. You can’t always prove The Big Charge … but you can usually nail them on “smaller” ones. There are a lot of cases still pending and the New York FBI is a powerful organization … and so are the courts.

Meanwhile, it will cost about $20 to buy a new post for the post box so we can get our post from the post office. And this post is free of charge.

E PLURIBUS UNUM: I’M HELPING SAVE DEMOCRACY $1 AT A TIME – REBLOG – The Shinbone Star

E PLURIBUS UNUM: I’M HELPING SAVE DEMOCRACY $1 AT A TIME

WRITTEN BY GLENN REDUS, MARCH 6, 2019

One thing you notice pretty quickly once you go from neutral observer to bonafide political warrior is that you’ll get e-mail, tons of it, and all with a common theme: Send money!

Don’t get me wrong, I love helping out and love being on a first-name basis with Democratic stalwarts like Nancy Pelosi and John Lewis (hereafter referred to simply as Nancy and John), but c’mon, guys, I’ve got my own bills to pay!

Shouldn’t I get credit for having written more than 90 anti-Trump posts for The Shinbone Star? No bonus points for culling every last Trump-loving friend or family member from my Facebook feed?

I’ve got to hand it to bigwigs down at the DNC because once they sink their teeth into you they act like a dog on a bone. It doesn’t matter if that bone is already bleached whiter than the skeleton of a dead mule in Death Valley. Retiree on a fixed income? Forget about it! If you’ve still got a dollar to your name, send it in!

It’s true, they’re not necessarily asking for much. Hey, if you can’t send $25, then $1 will do. But they want you to keep sending it all the damned time! Remember that inscription on U.S. currency, “E Pluribus Unum?” It means “Out of Many, One,” but to hear the Democrats spin it, that’s gonna be many, many, many ones for the rest of your natural life.

It’s not that I ever had that much money to begin with. Working in the newspaper business for three decades sure won’t make you rich, but it will teach you a thing or two about deadlines. But I’m here to testify, I’ve never seen an outfit with more deadlines than these Democrats. They’ve got monthly deadlines, quarterly deadlines, and special super-duper deadlines. Even their deadlines have deadlines, and by god, every one is critical!

Whether I’m on my phone or on my computer, the e-mail notifications just keep coming.

Ding . . .

Oh, this is for the “special one-term president fund,” and you’re saying that if I don’t pony up right now, Trump might win again in 2020???? Gaaaaa, anything but that! To hell with the heating oil bill, I don’t care if I freeze my ass off, I’m writing a check to the DNC right now!

Sometimes, however, a simple call to duty doesn’t work, so my new DNC friends have adopted other tactics, like fear.

Ding . . .

Holy shit in the foothills! “EARTH-SHATTERING news!”

Please believe me, I’m well aware that Nancy, Deb, and Adam already e-mailed me, but I had to eat! But now, only 24 hours are left before the next deadline and someone at headquarters noticed that my excitement about the brand new Democratic majority wasn’t up to snuff. I guess maybe I wasn’t that hungry. I guess I could have sent them $1. I’m so ashamed!

They know when you’ve been sleeping. They know when you’re awake.

Ding . . .

I swear Nancy’s stalking my ass! She wants her $1 and by god, she’s not taking “no” for an answer. How the hell did she even know that I had deleted her first message before sending another the same day? Shitfire, they’re watching me!

But even guilt won’t work on some people. Sometimes all it takes is a straightforward plea from a true hero of the republic.

Ding . . .

Dang it, John, that just hurts. How can I deny a man like you who has given his blood for the civil rights movement? And all you’re asking for is one measly dollar? OK, man, you win. I’m sending it in right now, but just tell your pals to back off a little, OK? So what if the phone bill is due, I’ll . . .

Ding . . .

Oh crap, here comes Nancy again!

Wait a minute, you’re saying we have to top the GOP’s $44 million war chest and you can’t do it unless I chip in my last dollar? But for chrissakes, I just gave a dollar to John! Can’t I please just write another Shinbone article or maybe piss off another Trumpist relative instead?

Look, I’m not stupid, I know it takes money to run a campaign, but you guys really gotta know when to back off . . .

Ding . . .

Sheeeit! Nancy must have given my e-mail address to Adam!

But holy crap, man, I have been standing up! Haven’t you seen? Don’t you read The Shinbone Star? What more do I have to do??? I know, I know, just send in one more simoleon . . .

Ding . . .

Oh crap, Adam handed off to James, and he’s saying that even after all the money I’ve sent, we’re still SCREWED! And not only that, he’s snarky, pissy and demanding to boot: (Earth to Glen)

Seriously, James, you’re asking did I miss you? Was I concerned you would forget about me?

Well, Earth to James, I sure as hell wish you would forget about me because this much is clear: John, Nancy, Adam, Deb, Beto, Kamala, Barack, Hillary, Alexandria, Kirsten, Elizabeth, Tom, Mikie and a host of others sure as hell won’t forget about me until they have my last thin dime.

Ding . . . 

Final notice??? But I’m already a card-carrying Democrat! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Nope, not falling for it this time!

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Read this original post and many other great ones
at The Shinbone Star!