We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Daryl Cagle / politicalcartoons.com

We shouldn’t give up; we must fight Trump with every means at our disposal, and that includes voting. If things go right we might very well win back the house this coming November. And that is a start.

But overall, I believe we’re in a very precarious situation. Trump’s approval rating has been rising lately and is currently about 44% (an aggregate of all polls). If he’s able to maintain those numbers and, God forbid, has some more successes, he might actually stand a chance of legitimately winning in 2020.

The thing I fear most however, is that there’ll be a new terrible terrorist attack in the United States, and Trump will use that as a casus belli to lockdown and declare war on the American people. An analogous event would be how Hitler used the Reichstag fire (which he completely manufactured) to get his emergency decree giving him dictatorial powers – habeas corpus was suspended, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, were all suspended. This was done ostensibly to protect the German people from the communist menace that Hitler fabricated. And the people went right along with it. Continue reading “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…”

Politicians for hire

I don’t think looking at the Public Disclosure Commission campaign donations really tells the true story or who bought what politician. There are a lot of other, better ways to buy influence that are completely off the books and largely untraceable.

How about the classic job offer? The politician serves their term then, surprise! Lands a wonderful job with one of the companies they regulated (or visa versa).   With the federal government this happens so frequently it’s a cliché. Ajit Pai, for example. The military industrial complex is rife with examples. The fabled revolving door.

Does the promise of a job affect their votes or policy decisions in any way? Of course not! Ajit Pai is repealing Net Neutrality out of concern for consumers, of course. The fact that he used to work for Verizon (and will likely work there again, soon) has nothing at all to do with it.

I find it hard to believe the same exact dynamic isn’t played out here in local politics – albeit on a smaller, less grandiose scale. What’s Marilyn Strickland got lined up, post Mayor? Or how about her relatives? The “payment” doesn’t necessarily have to go in a straight line to the politician. Jobs for relatives are commonplace and just as useful if you want to bend a politician to your viewpoint.

Continue reading “Politicians for hire”

Happy Labor Day to us all!

Picketer's being beaten by police








In a day and age when organized labor seems largely irrelevant to many, this is an appropriate time to stop and reflect on the gains made by unions in the past 100 years.

Although no one seems to remember now, some of the most basic protections we presently enjoy – like Social Security and Unemployment Insurance – came to workers courtesy of the push from organized labor. This package also includes the 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage, overtime, the child labor laws and much more, including some very basic things like the right to join a union and the right to strike. Most of this was enacted as parts of President Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation.

But none of these rights and protections were just handed to the workers, even if they were part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. People died to obtain these protections.

The years leading up to the New Deal – particularly the 20’s and 30’s – were a bloody, bitter time for workers. Strikes – where people died for their union beliefs – were commonplace.

Back in those days, the typical scenario was that the workers would go on strike or get locked out, and then the employers would hire scabs, and detectives (like the Pinkerton’s or the notorious Baldwin-Felts Agencies) to “protect” the scabs. Then the war was on.

The strikers were most often cast as “Commies” or communist-dominated in propaganda put out by the employers – the “Red Menace” was a very common theme. The Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations usually backed the employers. Often, local citizen groups, augmented (or supplanted) by the hired detectives and backed by the local governments formed “posses” and took on the strikers in open warfare – all in the name of “civic virtue” (cleaning out the Red’s). Occasionally the National Guard even got into the act.

Good examples of this sort of open labor warfare include The Ludlow Massacre (1914), The Battle of Matewan (part of the West Virginia Coal Wars – 1920), the Battle of Blair Mountain (1921), The Herrin Massacre (1922), The Columbine Mine Massacre (1927), The Auto-Lite Strike of 1934, The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike (1934) and the 1934 West Coat Maritime Strike (which evolved into the West Coast General Strike of 1934).

Hundreds and hundreds of workers died in those years, fighting for even the most basic of protections.

Continue reading “Happy Labor Day to us all!”

A peaceful transition of power is not in the country’s best interests

I cannot imagine finding a person more the diametric opposite of “presidential” than Donald Trump.

His most recent attack on civil rights legend, John Lewis, is more clear evidence of the thin-skinned, undignified, mean and petty person that is Donald Trump. A pathological narcissist. Potentially a Russian agent – our very own Manchurian candidate.

Trump is singularly unfit for any public office.

A lot has been said about the peaceful transition of power lately, and how that makes the United States stand out against the rest of the world. The thought is that we should somehow stomach the fact that a reckless imbecile like Trump could actually become president, and because the transition is going to be peaceful, that somehow makes it better.

Well I call bullshit.

Continue reading “A peaceful transition of power is not in the country’s best interests”

Are the Russians really to blame for the US election hacking?

It could easily be the Russians. It’s that they haven’t provided any real proof at all.

It’s like the recent headlines, “US intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win.” Yeah? So what precisely does that prove? Not a damned thing. There were (sadly) lots of American senior officials celebrating, too. Does that make them Russian spies?

Most of the other evidence is flawed or inconclusive. One of the main hard facts that they said proved Russian involvement were the list of IP addresses they attributed to Russian spies. But a closer look at those IP’s shows that around 42% of the 800+ addresses disclosed are Tor exit nodes and ANYONE could have used those.   Are all Tor users Russian hackers?   Hardly.

Continue reading “Are the Russians really to blame for the US election hacking?”

The Real Problem Is Trump

While the entire country is consumed by the hysteria about Russian hackers — with the thought that what they did to us is unique and reprehensible and absolutely terrible beyond words — I find it hypocritical that no one is talking about the US government’s own hackers. Hackers that are busy all across the globe doing the bidding of the CIA, NSA and US Cyber Command, et al.

It’s a sure bet that the US government employs way more and better hackers than any other government in the world – including Russia.

For every Russian hack that’s been exposed, my guess is that US government hackers have done the equivalent to them, plus 10 more. Good ol’ American ingenuity at work.

As a nation-state we’ve been lucky, because outside the Stuxnet worm fiasco and Snowden’s leaks, the US hackers have operated mostly under the radar. But it’s a certainty that we’ve been busy. Very busy.

How about the Mossack Fonseca scandal where it was disclosed that Putin and his friends were using the Panamanian law firm to hide and launder their money? Given the fairly intense animosity between Obama and Putin, and the immense and diverse US hacking capabilities, it’s easy to imagine the US being behind the Panama leak – done just as a means to screw Putin.

Continue reading “The Real Problem Is Trump”

Trumpet setting a bad precedent with Carrier deal?


Yes. Bribing companies to stay here does indeed set a bad precedent.

But Trumpet didn’t invent the approach, though. Actually, Jay Inslee and Patty Murray spearheaded that magnificent effort right here in good ol’ Warshington state, with Boeing.

You recall the big fight a few years ago, that centered around the Boeing Machinists pensions.   GovJay and Perky Patty guilted the workers into voting to scrap their pensions – they focused a truly tremendous media and political push against the Machinists Union Local to take Boeing’s offer.   The way they played it, NO ONE has pensions anymore and the IAM members were a bunch of greedy, overpaid, [11 letter word, Richard Nixon’s favorite expletive deleted, ending in ‘er’], who were holding Warshington state’s sacred jobs hostage all for their own greedy, evil purposes.

No one has pensions any more (except of course, Perky Pat and GovJay)!

The Local Union voted the contract offer down rather handily, by about a 2-1 margin.

Continue reading “Trumpet setting a bad precedent with Carrier deal?”

Trump is not fit to hold any public office at all, much less be President of the United States.

What did Trump do?

Well for a starter, he’s hiring racists and bigots for the top spots in his administration. Why is that a big deal? Because it presages some very fundamental changes in our society undoing many of the cornerstones our republic: freedom of religion, freedom from discrimination because of sex, race or ethnic origin.

But Trump’s affronts to the American republic didn’t stop with hiring racists and bigots.

He’s hiring a climate change denier to head the EPA, which he’s apparently thinking of dismantling. I’ve heard Scott Walker’s name is in consideration for the head of the Labor Department – so he can do for the nation what he did for Wisconsin. A former Goldman Sachs employee (Steven Mnunchin) is being floated to run the Treasury Department. I suppose Sarah Palin will become the head of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. On and on. If you go down his list of current and prospective nominees, they’re almost all completely antithetical to the areas they would be regulating. Many are also current or former lobbyists. This is the way Trump’s going to drain the swamp?

But wait, there’s much, much more:

Continue reading “Trump is not fit to hold any public office at all, much less be President of the United States.”

Goddamned Russians!


I read a lot of news.   In the US, I read the Washington Post, the NY Times, the LA Times, Politico, ProPublica, the Atlantic and the Intercept, among others. From abroad, I read the Guardian, France 24, Der Spiegel, the Jerusalem Post, the Japan Times, and more.

None of those news outlets has reported any actual attribution of the DNC hacks that can be substantiated by more than simple rhetoric. The farthest any of them go is something like, “…while unconfirmed, the administration blames the Russians…”

But an article in the Esquire purports to expose the truth:  it’s those nasty Russians at it again, messing with our presidential election!  http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49791/russian-dnc-emails-hacked/

Continue reading “Goddamned Russians!”

This is how democracy dies

A liberal’s long journey away from Barack Obama and the Democratic party

  By Michael Pellegrini

About seven and a half years ago following the 2008 elections, I wrote a blog post titled America: Disgraced then reborn.     I absolutely gushed about how happy I was at the election of Barack Obama. I was dead certain he would right all the wrongs caused by eight years of George Bush, and particularly, that he would make good on his pledge to end all our wars.

To me, implicit in that promise was ending the phony war on terror. A “war” that was nothing but a happy contrivance of the Bush administration.

Looking back to September 2001, George Bush was nine months into what was shaping up to be an uninspired, lackluster, one-term presidency. Then 9/11 happened.

Speaking unscripted in a press conference on September 16, 2001, President Bush said, “This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while. And the American people must be patient. I’m going to be patient…”

Bush’s advisers craftily seized the opportunity and came up with an absolutely brilliant idea: everyone knows a country will rally behind their leaders in wartime. So rather than simply finding the 9/11 perpetrators and bringing them to justice, instead, they made Bush’s war official and decided to declare a generalized “war on terror.”   This also facilitated other plans they had.

Continue reading “This is how democracy dies”