The AP reports that Donald Trump claims the NFL wrote him complaining about the schedule for the debates between him and Hillary Clinton. The NFL says it didn’t. Another lie. Remember the “Teflon President” (Reagan)? None of the scandals surrounding his reign seemed to stick to him.
I hereby baptize Trump to be “the Teflon Don.” He shrugs off lie after lie and gaff after gaff.
His offensive attacks on the Khan family have earned him ejection from polite society and should earn rejection by anyone who has an iota of intelligence, empathy, or humanity.
The Teflon Don reacts to any offense against himself—seemingly without thinking—with malicious tweets, lies, and verbal attacks. What will he do when he has the keys to the nation’s nuclear arsenal and his friend Putin says something the Don doesn’t like?
I received an email from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling me that starting in August, I would have to pass an additional authentication step before I could log on to ssa.gov/myaccount. They will ask for my text-enabled cell phone number, then will text me a one-time security code that I must enter in addition to my username and password.
Thereafter, each time I log on with username and password, they will send me a new one-time security code to my cell phone.
According to SSA, every federal agency that provides online access to a “customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication.” Be prepared for a similar message from Medicare, the Railroad Retirement Board, DFAS and Tricare, the IRS, the US Copyright Office, and every one else you can think of.
If the feds are doing it, it won’t be long before the states implement similar processes.
It’s a good thing I don’t have a burner, that I have unlimited texting, and that my old eyes can still read that tiny screen.
The SSA web site, like Medicare, already is not user-friendly, at least in my experience and opinion. The only easy-to-use federal site I’ve ever found was the site for completing an annual tax return for a non-profit corporation, and that was likely because the site was run by a contractor, and not the government directly.
I seriously question the effectiveness of this system. It sounds, smells, feels, and quacks like something that was implemented “because we can.” Apothegm for today: “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.”
Trump is trying to frighten us with Muslims, Mexicans, mayhem, and murder.
Trump, himself, is the most frightening thing that could happen to this country. Giving a loose cannon control of the US nuclear arsenal is more frightening than any boogieman he can dream up.
I was a Minuteman Missile Launch Crew Member and Commander. I pulled duty in the command post at Malmstrom AFB, home of four Minuteman squadrons. I was assigned to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff that created the US nuclear war plan, and sat shifts in the Strategic Air Command underground command post. My last assignment was in the National Military Command Center, where I pulled duty as the representative of the Nuclear Warfare Status Branch, Operations Directorate, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Chief of the Data Control Section, I was responsible for knowing the status and location of every weapon in the US nuclear arsenal. My BS degree is in physics. My principal professor had been a senior participant in the Manhattan Project, and our focus was nuclear physics.
Bottom line: I know more about nuclear weapons and warfare than the average bear. When I say giving Trump control of this country’s nuclear arsenal is more frightening than radicalized Islamists, ISIS/DAESH, or someone whose skin happens to be darker than yours, you may want to consider that when you make your decision on Election Day.
Facts and truth are essential. Donald Trump says he wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico. His rhetoric has created a wall in people's minds. This wall is a perceptual filter. People who favor him and the border wall will allow through that filter and into their minds only information (whether true or not) that supports their position. People who oppose him and the border wall will allow through their filter and into their minds only information (whether true or not) that supports their position.
We all build these walls, walls that surround beliefs we hold. A child who has decided he or she doesn't like broccoli isn't going to be swayed by a parent saying, “It's good for you.”
These walls work both to reject information that conflicts with our preconceived notions and to pass through information that supports our preconceptions.
A person who likes Hillary Clinton will dismiss anything said against her and accept anything, true or false, that favors her. A person who likes Trump will dismiss anything said against him and accept anything, true or false, that favors him.
Research in psychology and neuroscience has shown fairly conclusively that the walls we build in our mind to protect our beliefs not only are strong but also are not broken down by an attack but rather are strengthened by an attack.
Facts and truth that conflict with preconceptions are an attack, a frontal attack, on those walls. They are likely to strengthen people's walls. The goal of a writer (even a curmudgeon) is to create cognitive dissonance, a tension in people's minds between their preconceived notions and new ideas.
I see two ways of breaking down such walls: undermining them or creating a new belief that is non-threatening and which sounds plausible. In other words, I need to write in a way that allows the reader to willingly suspend his or her disbelief in what I say. I need to write in a way that either undermines without attacking or creates a new belief that might cause the reader to question other beliefs.
Sounds hard. Really hard.
I heard a part of Giuliani’s speech in which he told us we were afraid for our safety. Then, because every good political speech must invoke “the children,” he told us we were afraid for our children’s safety. Then, to capitalize on current news, he told us we were afraid for the safety of our police officers.
The hidden message: if we don’t elect Republicans, we and our children and our police officers will be slaughtered by radicalized Islamists, insane snipers, random shooters, and rogue law enforcement officers.
All this was done in the context of “Make America Great Again.” The hidden message: America was great (by some undefined measure of greatness); America is no longer great (by some undefined measure of greatness that may not be the same as the first one); Republicans can restore greatness in some undefined manner and method.
This kind of rhetoric and propaganda is the same as that used by fundamentalist preachers: you are inherently sinful, you face hellfire, and the only recourse you have is to believe and do what I tell you.
It’s not unlike the propaganda that brought Barrack Obama into office: “Change.” Change from what to what (never specified); change, how implemented (never specified).
Do you see the pattern? The candidates and their handlers know that the vast majority of voters have no earthly idea of the issues and have no interest in learning of them—much less understanding them. The candidates and their handlers know that name recognition and slogans are going to win the election.
What would prompt someone like Giuliani, who until now has seemed to be a fairly rational individual, to speak in favor of the “presumptive Republican candidate”? What would prompt him to speak in support of a party whose platform is blatantly misogynistic and homophobic? What would prompt him to support a loose cannon, a clown? To paraphrase Paul Scofield (as Sir Thomas More) in A Man for All Seasons, “Why, Rudi, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . but for Trump?”
People planning to lead “demonstrations” and “protests” near the Republican National Convention are offering training on how to stay calm and safe, and are seeking the support of civil rights organizations to provide bail and legal representation for people who are arrested. Some are being trained to make video recordings of the use of force by police or attacks by pro-Trump groups.
One leader of a group, Bryan Hambly, was quoted in The Boston Globe as saying, “[Trump] is good at driving the narrative . . . ”
What Hambly and others are overlooking is the real meaning of that statement. What they don’t realize is that Trump has already driven the narrative and that protesters are as much his puppets as are the mindless hordes who support him (and as am I for posting this).
All the protests will do is fuel Trump’s press coverage and name recognition.
How many voters do you think will vote on issues, character, leadership, or gravitas? A lot fewer than will vote based on name recognition and sound bytes.
The street-level protesters are not driven by ideology so much as by a deep desire for their “fifteen minutes of fame.” They are unaware that they are being used by their organizers as much as by their opposition.
The Associated Press reported that the state’s attorney general would not join the governor in an attempt to uphold a state law that, among other things defines marriage as between one man and one woman and says that sex should take place only within the bounds of such a marriage.
The patriarch of the religion often cited as the basis for that belief would likely be shocked by those claims.
As Dr. Edward Adams blogged (Chapter 23 of “Holy Fire”):
Abraham, for example, married his half-sister and had children by her and her maid. That’s incest and either adultery or polygamy by today’s stricter definitions. Isaac married a first cousin once-removed and had children by her and concubines. Close to incest and definitely either adultery or polygamy. Jacob, later named Israel and the father of that nation/race married two first cousins and had children by them and by concubines. This is not decried, but celebrated in the Bible.
You can safely assume you’ve found the right god to worship when it turns out that your god hates the same people you do.
We've had as presidents a crook, a cowboy, congenital idiots, and Casanovas. Perhaps it's time for a clown. That's the only reason I can see for supporting Trump. He's a loose cannon which will do unexpected and grievous damage to this country.
Mrs. Clinton showed her arrogance by using a private email server. I'm not nearly as worried about any secrets she may have leaked thereby. Politicians have been leaking secrets as long as there have been politicians and secrets.
The first time I was eligible to vote was 1968. I was in the Strategic Air Command at the time. SAC had been created and its ethos set by a couple of people. General Curtis LeMay I interacted with even though he had retired...he still used SAC's world-wide communications. Colonel Paul Chenchar was my Base Commander, and one of LeMay's right-hand men. I knew him quite well and considered him a mentor.
Anyway, I voted for the Goldwater-LeMay ticket thinking that although Goldwater was a little too far to the right, and LeMay was even farther to the right, they might actually straighten up the country.
The 1972 election (Nixon vs. McGovern) is a pale shadow of the current election. Nixon rose to power through the McCarthy purge, We should have known better. McGovern was an idiot.
1976 saw Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford. Ford, of course, had inherited the presidency when Nixon resigned. Like most vice presidents, he was selected in large part because he didn't have the qualities to "challenge" the president. James Earl Carter, who insisted on being Jimmy, utterly disrespected the presidency when he insisted on carrying his own suitcase into the White House to show he was a "regular guy." His religion was another stumbling block to his thinking.
In 1980, we put a cowboy in office. Ronald Reagan was also a puppet. He was very good at speaking the words his handlers put in his mouth.
By 1984, Reagan had mesmerized the American people to the point that Walter Mondale had no chance whatsoever. And the country was not ready for a female VP.
George Bush was a shoo-in after Walter Mondale stepped on his tongue too many times. I was happy to vote for Bush.
In 1992, H. Ross Perot's independent candidacy cost Bush the election, and the philanderer Bill Clinton was elected. In my opinion, this was the beginning of the end.
Bob Dole had no chance in 1996, even if Perot hadn't tried, again. Dole was too damn old, and looked it. Clinton continued his orgies.
George W took us down farther when he was elected in 2000. Started wars to prove as certain part of his body was bigger than his father's. George W's motto: "You can't be a Commander-in-Chief if you don't have a war." Al Gore also stepped on his tongue a couple of times. I do, however agree with his position that global climate change, spurred by global warming that has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial revolution is going to continue to create global crises.
In 2004, John Kerry was shot down by some Vietnam Vets. Perhaps there was some truth at the root of their complaint, but they presented it using tools of propaganda, and not tools of logic. George W continued his destruction of the country by his warmongering.
We passed the tipping point sometime after the 2008 election which saw a Senator from Illinois, who had no experience in foreign affairs, receive the Nobel Peace Prize before he had done much of anything. (Wonder what that cost us.) BHO promised change, but never said what the change would be. Highly propagandized campaign. White Liberal Guilt generated more votes than Patriotism and POW could. Not disrespecting McCain, just stating facts.
2012 was another shoo-in. The country wouldn't accept a rich, disconnected Mormon.
Of all presidents since 1972, only one (George Bush the Elder) was Presidential. The others have been crooks, cowboys, congenital idiots, Christians, change-meisters, or Cassanovas. [Please note the alliteration.]
Which brings us to 2016. The two leading candidates incorporate the characteristics of all those C-words listed above. Giving Trump access to the nuclear launch codes is the stuff of nightmares; and, Clinton's private email server is a sign of her arrogance and disrespect for this country.
The country has crossed the tipping point; we are diving down the slope to perdition (secular, of course).
In case you missed it (and I found it on the BBC web site...not in any legitimate USA news source), the Noah's Ark "theme park" has opened in Kentucky (where else? Georgia, maybe?)
Perhaps the most poignant picture is of a child looking into a "cage" containing "dinosaurs."
See more at BBC News 7 July 2016 (www.bbc.com/news’world-us-canada-36767185
Ken Ham, leader of "Answers in Genesis," and creator of this travesty, believes and preaches that the universe was created by his god about 6,000 years ago, that dinosaurs lived at the same time as the earliest humans, and that all were destroyed in a world-wide flood...all except one family and representatives of all animals (including dinosaurs) that took refuge in the ark.
On the other hand, science has clearly demonstrated that the universe is more than 13 billion years old; that the earth is about 4.5 billion years ago; that life evolved from primitive replicating molecules; that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago; and that humans are the evolutionary descendants of small, burrowing mammals that survived the extinction event that killed the dinosaurs.
Even though the ark theme park promotes scientific illiteracy and a specific religious view, it was given a tax incentive by the state of Kentucky valued at $18 million dollars, in what is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.
Photo credit: BBC and AP
Times were simpler in Ty Ty, Georgia in the 1930s. News came from the Atlanta paper, delivered by train a day late, and from a few folks' radios. Telegrams meant a birth or a death. "Social media" was gossip at the barber shop, the Saturday market, and church circle meetings. The sheriff was more interested in bustin' people for making and selling moonshine than in hassling the Coloreds, knowing that the KKK would take care of any that needed taking care of. Sometimes, "taking care of" included lynching. "Black Lives Matter" was decades away.
Today, a Facebook video can stir up a nation, a single person can murder dozens or scores, and it seems every peaceful gathering to protest violence is marred by violence.
Why? Are we a more violent species? Do we lack the hope that even the poorest saw in the "New Deal" and the gradual easing of the Great Depression? Is it simply that we know more about the world? Is it that the news media and social media feed our angst and anger and create self-fulfilling prophecies, a cycle that feeds on itself?
In "The Gospel Truth: Tales from Ty Ty," you may find comfort in the simpler times. Not all the tales are happy ones, but none are as unhappy as today's headlines.
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.