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Member since: 2002
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Back when Trump was campaigning for president & Manafort popped up to manage it "for free"...

... RachelMaddow (again, yes, her) did some in depth research and reporting on who the hell this Manafort guy was. Here are key things I remember (and I'm sure you can look up details)

* Ukraine: Manafort worked there cleaning up the reputations of criminal oligarchs and criminal politicians
* Corruption
* Overthrow of Ukranian government
* Some bigwig's dacha (can't recall who) was raided, sacked, and pillaged and all kinds of paperwork destroyed by being thrown in the ornamental pond
* Someone salvaged a lot of that wet paper, including a large black ledger, which I think was handwritten, and went back years and years
* Manafort's name appeared many times, in connection with the transfer of fabulous sums of money. Money flowed through his hands and into his pockets -- he lived high -- but somehow he ended up owing $20 million to (Putin? Or just a close associate of Putin's)
* He was persuaded to to manage the Trump presidential campaign, and in an email we have seen promised to "make it whole," that is pay back his lender
* He engineered Trump's choice of Pence
* During the Republican Convention, he waltzed in and rewrote the platform policy on.... Ukraine

This was just some project that Rachel got to working on, a mystery without a resolution at that time. And now, here we are.

Whole categories of young black and brown men get stopped by cops for behavior that no white...

...would ever be found liable for. Like driving. Walking around the suburbs. Walking in the city. Driving a "good" car. Hanging out in a public park. Having a birthday party or bbq in a public park. Hanging out in front of your own house.

You know the drill by now if you are a DUer. It is really easy to get a record started -- if you are black or brown.

As for schools: we've known for generations in this country that schools in poor neighborhoods are notoriously wretched, with a high dropout rate. Many kids are hungry -- they now call it "food insecurity," Jesus what a euphemism. Many kids are holding down a job to help out their families with rent and groceries. Homelessness among families is rising.

It is easy to miss classes when your family is that poor.

Being in good physical condition depends on good nutrition and the opportunity to exercise -- see above.

Sure, the Army wants better cannon-fodder. But as this country slides backward, it might be instructive to look at what the Draft had to deal with at the end of the Great Depression and before there was a middle class after WWII.

Health: so many young men were given a 4-F for nutritional diseases (ricketts, blindness, rotten teeth, heart disease) alone that the free school lunch program got its start. (This continued in my generation (in my home state, I don't know about elsewhere) in a modified form: our school lunches cost 25 cents, and were 1/3 of a growing kid's daily needs. Even my penny pinching mother could not brown-bag a lunch cheaper than that, altho I still knew kids who went without.) Think about that: school nutrition programs for healthy future soldiers, whatever you may think of that motive.

Literacy/education: during WWII the Army had education programs for recruits that got down to the absolute basics of personal hygiene and I don't know what-all. I'm sure the old training manuals are online for your edification; everything else is.

What I'm saying is, the Army and other military branches may have been relying on a robust miiddle class and the spillover of that into the rest of society to produce the kind of recruits they wanted -- and thanks to GOP policies for the last 2 generations, that no longer exists. If I am right, they are going to have to return to an earlier model for recruitment and training.

Speaking as a Californian: arsonists really exist, and they love watching their work

Fire investigators want to know the actual causes of fires, as it is a serious matter with lives at stake. They can pinpoint causes, and they can track the work of an arsonist across a region even if they can't always catch them. Fires that spot all along a highway route are a major clue of an arsonist's work and they all have their "signatures."

California and Australia both have large swathes of area known for their drought ecology. They call theirs the bush and the outback, and we call ours chaparral. Eucalyptus trees, which were transplanted to California from Australia, are born to burn, but so are many other native plants there and here.

During a prolonged drought, it all becomes a tinderbox. There are some cases of spontaneous combustion, dry branches rubbing together in dry heat. Hot dry winds accelerating downhill, gathering ever more heat -- in California we call them Santa Ana winds, and they magnify the danger a fire will start, then magnify its spread. Lightning strikes are a real danger.

The human/environment interface is very important. Our electrical grid gets blown by high wind, power lines rubbing and sparking. Gas and electric appliances can malfunction. Trucks dragging chains that spark along the road. Equipment, whether power tools that generate their own heat and sparks, or even hand-held shovels that can spark when they strike rocks -- all have been known to cause wildfires.

Nearly everyone in California knows better than to start a campfire or bonfire in a restricted area, or in the wind. Yet some college students did just that on their private college campus a number of years ago, setting off a major regional fire that killed a couple of people. They were either idiots or non-Californians, probably the latter. I'm sure they were very sorry.

Anyway, arsonists do it on purpose. Perhaps some arson inside cities is targeted, for murder or revenge or insurance, but otherwise what you have is sick minds who love the sheer power and destruction. They must feel like gods. Like the very gods themselves.

What you have presented is, I am sorry to say, a combination of nutball conspiracy theory and disinformation. It serves no one to propagate it.

I see what you're doing with your series of trick-Q OPs. What sort of answers are you looking for?

In particular, what do you imagine any Biden supporter will say? As far as I can tell, we Biden supporters are all well past the stage where we think any single candidate is God's Answer to All Our Problems.

Joe Biden is a little older than I'd like, but anyone who's clinging to either Warren or Sanders really should not be talking about Biden's age.

Joe's a good man with a proven liberal record. Lib-er-al. He has not adopted the latest buzzwords, but he's been a liberal his whole life. Likeable? He melts my heart with his sincerity. On target? His opening campaign video with the Charlottesville Nazis made me cry. Godlke and without flaws? Uh -- no.

But look at our field of candidates. With the exception of Tulsi "The Mole" Gabbard, every single one believes in and acts on core Democratic principles. We'd all have to be really, really, really stupid to sit this one out or vote for someone like Jill Stein. I don't think Biden supporters are that stupid.

Does that answer your question?

Remember that haunting question: "If you always wondered what you would've done in 1930s...

... Germany? Well, you're doing it now."

There were pastors who opposed the Nazis, at great risk to their own lives.

Then there were the others.

Be my guest! Ronald Reagan (or his speechwriter, Peggy Noonan) had the gift of uplifting words...

Now, personally I think Ronnie was a fraud, but you have to admit that phrases like "It's morning in America" and " ( America is) a shining city on a hill" really resonate with how we have always liked to see ourselves. Those words called out to our better natures.

Every president in my lifetime, no matter which party, has managed to produce something uplifting and fairly optimistic for an acceptance speech at his nomination and for his Inaugural speech.

Not Donald Trump. With him, what you see is what you get: dark, thuggish, full of hate and derision. At every moment when he is offered a chance to show us something else, he reverts to what he is and how he sees the world. There is no "morning" imagery, just grievance and resentment.

My most enduring impression of his acceptance speech will always be of Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt, two experienced Republican operatives/commentators working for NBC, sitting in the darkness of the arena afterward, absolutely stunned and sickened by what they had just witnessed. Schmidt started talking about the Constitution and the intent of the Framers with depth and insight, and the man just choked up.

First, "the American people" voted for Hillary over Trump by 3 million votes. The "lesson"...

...that needs to be learned has to do with fighting against New Jim Crow Laws that suppress votes, vicious gerrymandering that carves out seeming GOP majorities from what are actually majority-Dem districts, and old-fashioned crap like that. Obama, Holder, and other high profile Dems are working on this, and you can check it out at All On The Line.

In addition, there are 3rd-party and spoiler candidates that invariably peel off left-leaning folk and young idealists. Democratic tolerance works against us in close elections. I, for one, am no longer amused and have run out of tolerance.

The new-fangled stuff has to do with electronic voting machinery that is and always has been hackable. It's not so much that your vote get flipped before your eyes (though that has happened), but that totals can so easily be changed in mid-transmission. Paper ballots are far more reliable, and we need laws that stop over-excitable media types from calling elections before votes are truly counted.

More new-fangled chicanery is the use of Face Book to transmit propaganda. Right now, the GOP and Russian bots own the FB political advertising and comment space. First we need to convince one of those billionaires running a vanity-campaign to redirect their money toward FB in a way beneficial to all Dems. Second, as soon as we can get rid of Moscow Mitch and Red Don, the House and Senate need to rein in Zuckerberg with sharp-toothed laws about his business practices.

Finally, we have to recognize that our last presidential election was subverted, sabotaged, and invaded by a hostile foreign power, and act accordingly. Again, getting rid of McConnell and Trump are Priority One, as they and their enablers are literally treasonous.

Not every voter knows all this, but DUers do, and it is our job to keep straight in our minds that the majority of the American people did NOT vote for this.

Just saw Colbert on "perineum sunning" & haven't laughed so hard in years...

Josh Brolin got sunburned in the place where the sun don't shine, and he is upset

Because this is allegedly an ancient Taoist practice

And all I can imagine is a bunch of pranksters passing around a joint and saying, "Hey, dude, they went for goat yoga, didn't they? .... This time we'll tell them to let the sun shine into their butts for a great spiritual experience."

Great Goddess, I howled with laughter.

How old were you when you "heard this myth"? Also, the "greatest generation" wasn't...

An old journalist wrote a worshipful tribute to his dad and the hard times his dad & mom lived through, and called it The Greatest Generation. Nobody called them that before then, no disrespect intended.

When the young men of my generation were being sent off to war in Southeast Asia we were accustomed to thinking of ourselves (the USA) as the good guys, the guys who won wars, the guys who fought on the right side of history. I was raised to believe that. Ending two World Wars and liberating the concentration camps ought to count for something, one would think.

Instead the politicians in Washington DC (all of them part of the so-called greatest gen) sent our men off to fight an unwinnable war for all the wrong reasons, and because they could not admit it was a god-damned mistake, they kept on drafting and sending soldiers until the revulsion back home tore the country apart.

Excuse me for some of us having had the youthful idealism to believe that we could do better than that. And by gods some of us did -- though power creates its own vortex, and while we rejoiced at unseating Nixon, Newt Gingrich was getting his start.

Also excuse me if we got old. The children we begot are in their 40s and 50s, and those of us who are still alive are trying to eke out a retirement from pensions that vanished while providing at-home elder care for their own parents. Some of those people are DUers.

It wasn't us who "pulled the ladder up" after themselves. Go to the rich and powerful GOPers for that -- only what they did was knock the ladder out from under us and everyone else.

Which brings me to this: STOP DIVIDING US BY GENERATION, AND GET A GRIP ON THE REALITY OF CLASS WARFARE. Class warfare crosses generations and seeks to perpetuate itself at the nexus of money and power.

The Irish in my family came at different times in the 1800s...

There were two sisters that were the sole survivors in their family of a journey on a "coffin ship" during the Famine. There was a tailor who left his apprenticeship in Ireland and stowed away on a ship because of the cruelty of his master. I can't remember the rest just now, and of course never met them.

Before I took a tour of Ireland in my 60s I had only met two people from Ireland in my life. LOL I've mentioned how I was born in California and raised in Hawai'i, and now live in California again. I look like my immediate family, as expected, but really had no idea that there were a whole nation of people who look like they could be my actual cousins.

The history of the Irish in America makes for some interesting reading -- and I learned some startling and even sad things from the PBS series on the Irish in America. (PBS documentaries have just about all the ethnicities covered. Recommended.)

One of the things I learned along the way was the reason the Irish dug the Erie Canal. It seems the original idea was to rent slaves from Southern plantation owners, but as it happened the Southerners were well aware that the job was going to be a man-killer, so they declined. Slaves, after all, were valuable property. Enter the immigrant Irish.

Many of the early Irish immigrants arrived completely illiterate. The British, who had ruled Ireland for centuries, tried to stamp out Roman Catholicism in all of Britain, Scotland, and Ireland, after King Henry VIII broke with the Pope. It was brutal and violent. Religion became an emblem of identity for the Irish that they refused to give up, and since they'd been fighting the British for centuries already, it was just one more grievance. One tool of oppression was to close all the schools run by the Church, and since public secular education was a completely alien concept, this meant no education for anyone who refused to convert. I don't know when education became a thing again.

They farmed potatoes for themselves; the land was fertile, and a diet based on potatoes, buttermilk, and (I think) cabbages was nourishing enough. A pig was wealth. The rest of their energies went to the English landlords who sold their crops away. Then the potatoes failed, and rotted to black goo. The landlords still sold the crops grown for their estates out of the country, even during the Famine.

Half the people either died or left. The population never recovered its original numbers until just about the time I went on tour there. For generations after the Famine their biggest export was people. Even today there are more sheep than people.

Thinking on this is depressing. Their manner of living had been quite primitive, compared to what the US had become by that time. They arrived in a largely Protestant country that was mighty suspicious of their supposed allegiance to Rome. Some spoke no English, and nearly all had an accent that was hard to understand. Their behavior was not polished. They brawled, seemingly for entertainment. They lacked skills. They arrived at the bottom of the social ladder. I think I heard the quote, "They will never assimilate," in that PBS documentary.

I think the stories of some of the single women were inspiring. A fair number went to work in the mills -- and sent money home. Many became cooks and maids, and thought themselves fortunate to be living in a grand house instead of a thatched cottage with a peat fire and no running water -- and they sent money home, too. These women discovered independence.

In any case, your grandparents were of a more fortunate generation -- and even they were part of Ireland's human exports looking for a better life.

I think about the Irish who came in the 1800s not so much because they are exceptional in either achievements or suffering or sheer numbers, but because for me they typify the way immigrants both change America and are changed by it. The Italians, the Irish, the Eastern European Jews, all came in waves and all changed America and made it (us) a richer culture. What do we have to fear from what some call "the browning of America"? In my mind, nothing. The only thing we have to fear is white nationalists losing their freaking minds over the prospect -- and until Trump came along I naively believed we had mostly grown out of that poison.

Sorry this is too long, but your post provoked a thread of thought I had to untangle, and now it's way past midnight.

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