Betrayal of the American People

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s beleaguered Environmental Protection Agency administrator, faced tough questioning at a Senate hearing Wednesday that included one Democrat calling Pruitt’s entire tenure a “betrayal of the American people…”

“Every day there seems to be a new scandal and you at dead center,” New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall told Pruitt. “Your tenure at the EPA is a betrayal of the American people. You have used your office to enrich yourself at the expense of the American taxpayer and public health.”

Udall lives up to his family’s tradition, a Senator’s responsibility to the people who he represents and the nation as a whole. Unlike scumbags like Pruitt and our fake president.

One scumbag responsible for 96 million robocalls

❝ Have you ever gotten a phone call from a number that looked very similar to your own, only to pick up and realize it’s a robocall trying to sell you something?

If you have, you’re not alone. This week, the Federal Communications Commission slapped its largest fines ever on a Florida man it says is responsible for more than 96 million of those dreaded robocalls.

❝ Adrian Abramovich, the Miami man behind the scheme, was ordered to pay a $120 million fine this week as punishment for scamming millions of people with more than 96 million robocalls over a three-month period in 2016.

❝ While robocalls themselves aren’t illegal, it is illegal to “spoof” caller ID information in the name of defrauding people, which is exactly what the FCC says Abramovich did. He spoofed area codes as well as the first three digits of phone numbers in order to disguise the calls as legitimate calls from local numbers.

If you can’t do the time or pay the fine – than don’t commit the crime!

Religious nutballs – including the fake president – expand 19th Century “morality” attack on American women

❝ The Trump administration moved Friday to place new restrictions on access to abortion, as the Health and Human Services Department prepared new regulations that would effectively bar organizations that receive federal family planning money from providing abortions or counseling women about how to get the procedure.

The much-anticipated proposal — which has not yet been officially issued as a rule — would greatly expand limits on what activities organizations such as Planned Parenthood can provide.

And it almost certainly will set off a new legal battle over abortion services.

❝ According to the White House, the proposal would require recipients of Title X family planning funds to establish a “bright line of physical as well as financial separation” between federally-funded family planning services and any programs where abortion services are performed or discussed…

❝ “This ‘gag rule’ is not only unconscionable, but it undermines medical ethics by forcing healthcare professionals to withhold accurate and timely medical information from patients,” said Dr. Jenn Conti, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health.

“As a provider of comprehensive reproductive health care, it is my number one priority to keep my patients safe and honor the trust they give me. If I can’t mention the word ‘abortion,’ then I am not providing my pregnant patients who want to know all of their options with complete, accurate, unbiased medical information.”

As far as this voter is concerned, this is a litmus test for political candidates who want my vote. A right to know, the right to full family planning access I fought for over decades. A freedom women and men of conscience fought to achieve as a constitutional right for decades before I was born and sadly must continue to defend against hypocrites and reactionaries.

So, How Many Countries Are Bribing Our Fake President?

China…just committed $500 million to build a theme park in an Indonesian luxury mega-development that will also feature Trump Organization-branded hotels and a golf course. Days after the commitment was finalized, Trump announced that he wants to lift sanctions that have been imposed on a Chinese telecom company called ZTE, which did business with Iran…

Qatar’s government has…reportedly met multiple times with representatives of Newsmax, the conservative media outlet run by Trump’s frequent Mar-a-Lago companion Christopher Ruddy, about a potential investment in the company. The reported negotiations have coincided with a shift in the Trump administration’s rhetoric about Qatar: After initially condemning the country for supporting terrorism, a condemnation that coincided with a Qatari decision not to invest in Jared Kushner’s company, the White House has now decided that Qatar is a trustworthy ally whose leader is, in Trump’s words, a “great friend….”

• Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, named the developer of a Trump-branded building in Manila as the country’s trade envoy to the U.S.

Actually, the headline should be “How many countries are working at bribing our fake president – that we know about?” The number grows every day, Professional journalists continue to ply their craft regardless of the small but powerful number of cable news pimps, tabloid flacks and payroll politicians working their runny butts off for populist scumbags. They may have won a few rounds. Chalk that up to ignorant voters.

The best army that generals of fascism ever have is uneducated voters. Still, even the dullest follower must recognize the economic and social losses resulting from their obedience to fear and bigotry shouted out at campaign rallies. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste…

…especially on a fake president who is also missing honesty, intelligence, respect for human rights, an understanding of basic economics and fairness. Who is followed around by a loyal fan club of voters whose basic political precepts have been formed by so-called reality TV.

Bill Gates is not impressed. Neither was the majority of voters in our last presidential election. Shows you what gerrymandering can accomplish.

Recent Wars of the American Empire

This essay is the introduction to Tom Engelhardt’s new book, A Nation Unmade by War

❝ As I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer dollars that will have gone into America’s war on terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion including the future costs of caring for our war vets. On average, that’s at least $23,386 per taxpayer.

Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don’t, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably — in these years, almost uniquely — bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called “national security.”

❝ That’s not, of course, what would make most of us more secure, but what would make them — the denizens of the national security state — ever more secure in Washington and elsewhere. We’re talking about the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. nuclear complex and the rest of that state-within-a-state, including its many intelligence agencies and the warrior corporations that have, by now, been fused into that vast and vastly profitable interlocking structure.

Of course this rape of the national pocketbook – in the course of building a new imperial empire to replace the failed British model – is bipartisan in Congress and throughout our government. When did you expect political standards, history-based ethics, to replace the simple profit motive driving most American politicians?

Chimps or Humans…Who Has The Cleaner Bed?


Click to enlarge

❝ By swabbing abandoned chimpanzee nests in Tanzania’s Issa Valley, scientists learned that just 3.5 percent of the bacteria species present came from the chimps’ own skin, saliva, or feces. In human beds sampled in a previous study in North Carolina, the number was a whopping 35 percent.

Parasites, such as ticks and fleas, were also scarce in chimp beds.

❝ Now, before you burn your linens and start building a bed out of leaves, there are a few things you need to know.

Here’s where you go to learn the answers

Death [and beer] from the skies

❝ It has been a bloody 24 hours in Gaza after Israel Defense Force (IDF) killed at least 61 Palestinians and injured more than 2700 as some protestors attempted to cross the border into Israel…

Israeli soldiers often fire teargas en masse to dispurse protestors. It was only in March, however, that they started using drones as a method for teargas delivery.

At another more crass intersection of tech and greed…

❝ With the 2018 FIFA World Cup scheduled to start in Russia on June 14, sponsor and beer maker Budwesier launched an ad showing swarms of beer-carrying drones deliver brewskies to people while travelling through different countries. The ad was made in part of Budweiser’s global campaign, which is called “Light up The FIFA World Cup.”

Same as it ever was. Advances in technology are neither beneficial nor destructive by definition. It takes human beings to introduce decisions based on greed – or most often – yeah, it’s still greed.