The GOP has decided to try and win dirty

The would-be con artist-in -chief  Donald Trump and his grifter family.
The would-be con artist-in-chief Donald Trump and his grifter family.

If it was at all unclear before, the last night of the Republican National Convention proved one thing definitively: the Trump family and the GOP have decided that no lie is too outlandish, no talking point too slimy or untrue to use.  I suspect they know they cannot win with the truth so they have decided to try to win dirty because that is the only hope they have.

I was watching CBSN, the internet-only arm of CBS News, and one of their real journalists on a panel commented on how Trump’s presentation of himself as a successful businessman who is a friend of the little guy is at odds with his record of stiffing contractors, subcontractors and hourly employees for sums large and small, often leaving small businesses bankrupt.

The pro-Trump person on the CBSN panel answered without shame that if that many people complained about not being paid, imagine all the people whom he did pay and how that helps the economy!

I cannot tell if the other CBSN panelists were too shocked to respond as they should have done, or if their rules of absolute impartiality required that they let any ridiculous claim pass unchallenged, no matter how outrageous.

This all happened shortly before Ivanka Trump appeared to introduce her father with a gauzy video and speech that were as huge glops of Vaseline on a video camera lens — meant to obscure what the rest of us are truly seeing. 

According to Ivanka, her father is not some lying fascist megalomaniac who hungers for ever more fame and power. Rather, she insisted, it is Donald Trump who is giving up time building the businesses he loves in order to save America from itself.

So this is how it will be: the would-be first family will make every effort to lie its way into 1600 Pennsylvania, with the assistance of a Republican Party so shorn of morals and standards that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who previously could have represented the wingnuttiest arm of the GOP, is now seen as a wise elder statesman. 

Just minutes before Ivanka (and Trump himself) did their song-and-dance, GOP Chair Reince Priebus, the oily weasel who has overseen the Republican descent into madness, opened the final night of the convention with a 15-minute speech that, as near as I could tell, contained not a single statement of truth in it. He blamed Hillary Clinton and the Democrats for just about every ill which could be laid at the GOP’s doorstep, including jobs moving to Third World countries, the shabby treatment of veterans, and others.

Fortunately the following day Trump himself came to the rescue with his grubby, greedy, petty ego in tow, as this article in the New York Times explains

Donald J. Trump lashed out at Senator Ted Cruz on Friday, rehashing a long list of grievances from their primary battle during a news conference here only hours after he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination at a weeklong convention meant to unite the party.

After bragging that he had unified the party in one of the most “love­filled” conventions in political history, Mr. Trump launched an extended diatribe against Mr. Cruz, who pointedly declined to endorse him during his own convention speech on Wednesday night, instead urging people to vote their conscience. The speech embarrassed Mr. Trump and cast a shadow of discord over the convention, which had already been marred by plagiarism in Mr. Trump’s wife’s speech Monday night. “I don’t want his endorsement,” Mr. Trump said angrily, in a rambling stream-o-­consciousness performance that seemed half standup routine, half­ vengeful rant.

“If he gives it, I won’t accept it.” The remarks were a remarkable display of lingering tension within the party and Mr. Trump’s own inability to let go of grudges from the past.

They also represented a seemingly inevitable reappearance of Mr. Trump’s irrepressible id; The Republican nominee, having spoken from a teleprompter for more than an hour Thursday evening for the final night of his convention, seemed almost incapable of restraining himself any longer as the campaign moved to its next phase. “Now it was the summer of Trump, it was the autumn of Trump, it was as the Christmas of Trump,” Mr. Trump said, with characteristic braggadocio. “It was everything.”

Clearly still stung by Mr. Cruz’s actions, Mr. Trump ruminated aloud about why the senator from Texas would not back him. He recalled their personal fights during the nominating contests, including the unflattering picture that Mr. Trump reposted on Twitter of Mr. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and he defended his suggestion that Mr. Cruz’s father might have had a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, citing a report in The National Enquirer. “This is a magazine that frankly in many respects should be very respected,” Mr. Trump said of the tabloid.

Mr. Trump’s comments about Heidi Cruz — which prompted an audible gasp from a member of his traveling press corps as he began his riff — is also likely to remind voters that he attacked Mr. Cruz’s wife during the nominating contest. Mr. Trump is already struggling to woo female voters, who still view him overwhelmingly negatively, polls show.

Trying to explain away the incident also left him in the slightly uncomfortable situation of mentioning Penthouse, a risqué magazine known for its nude photographs….  (He mentioned the magazine in asserting that a nearly nude picture of his wife, Melania, was “artsy” and in GQ, which he said was hardly Penthouse.)

LOL. Yes, that’s what Melania’s photos have been. Artsy. One looks forward to the day when they appear in the Louvre, especially the ones of her in nearly crotchless panties leaning on a jet holding a gun and a can of beer. 

So there you have it. For less than 24 hours Trump kept this lid on himself while his family and the GOP tried to polish him up for public consumption.

Our only hope is that Trump continues in his inability to be anyone but who he really is.

One of Melania Trump’s many art photos.

Today’s lesson in stupidity equivalence Left vs. Right

Dallas police officers take cover from the sniper.
Dallas police officers take cover from the sniper.

This came across my Facebook feed from a site called The AntiMedia:

The Dallas shootings have ushered in a very new world for U.S. citizens. For the very first time, a drone has been used on U.S. soil to kill an American without trial or charges.

The suspected shooter in yesterday’s tragic killings, U.S. Army veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, was, according to police and press reports, holed up in a parking garage and would not give himself up. After hours of what police claimed were fruitless negotiations with Johnson, a weaponized robot was sent to where he was hiding and blown up, taking Johnson with it.

Get past the horror of what Johnson was accused of doing and think about that precedent for a moment. Is it not chilling?

Well, yeah. If you totally ignored that this sniper was in the midst of murdering police officers, it would be quite chilling that they killed him with a drone. But you can’t ignore that because that fact is what gives the killing-by-drone immediate, relevant context. 

Then the article says this:

Police claim that continuing the negotiations was pointless and attempting to capture him would have put officers at risk. He was supposedly shooting. While no sane person wants police officers to be killed, risk is something we are told they willingly accept when they sign up for police duty. There are plenty of low-risk jobs out there.

Supposedly shooting?  I think at that point in the heat of what was then a battle it was safe to assume there was there was no “supposedly” in play here. He admitted he was the sniper to police. As for the part about acceptable on-the-job risk for cops, I’m pretty sure none of them were thinking when they signed up, “Gee, I bet some day a sniper is going to try and take me out at a peaceful public protest. “

I’d say the use of the drone was commensurate with the situation at hand: a sniper who was specifically targeting police officers.

I wonder if the person who wrote this piece would have been the cop to volunteer to go talk to the shooter and get him to surrender peacefully after he just shot up a public street and some of that cop’s friends and colleagues.

Somehow I doubt it.

And while it is novel in a civilian context, the use of the bomb-carrying drone had the same result as the officers who decided to pump the Pulse Nightclub shooter full of bullets instead of waiting to see if he wanted a fair trial. That was summary judgment of the kind I am willing to accept.

I wonder if people had the same qualms when early humans discovered you could throw a sharpened stick at your enemies instead of having to walk up next to them and hit them with the nearest rock.

“Grog no like this spear thing. Grog think this make killing too easy. Grog having existential crisis. Grog going to stand here and ponder this dilemma until someone bashes his head in with rock.”

Herein lies proof that lefties can be as logic-proof as the extreme Right

Departing Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams, one of the best reasons to still watch that program, filed this disconcerting bit of infotainment regarding Bernie Sanders supporters who are voting for Trump rather than Hillary.

Three male voters — black, Hispanic and white — told Williams they would “probably be looking at Trump,” whose campaign has been characterized by racist rhetoric and proposals, as Williams looked on in bewilderment.

“Why?” she said.

“He has diarrhea of the mouth, but a lot of things that he says are things that a lot of people may think,” said the Hispanic voter.

“You mean, like racist things?” Williams said.

“Racist things, I would say, yeah,” the voter admitted.

“He is a bigot and a racist,” one woman admitted, but started to qualify her statement with a “however.”

“You don’t have to continue with ‘however,’” Williams told her. “Where you gonna go with that?”

“I’m about to go there,” the woman said. “Hillary has been a scam artist all her life, and I hope the FBI comes and indicts her.”

Williams said she started to suspect these Sanders supporters didn’t actually like Trump, but perhaps had other motivations.

“Hillary will bring us to war within 90 days of her inauguration,” the same woman said.

A second woman weighed in, saying Clinton was “just a stack of garbage.”

“She’s a stack of garbage?” Williams said.

“She’s more like a leprechaun to me,” said the black man on the panel.

“What has a leprechaun ever done to you?” Williams said.

“They disgust me,” the man said.

It’s all downhill from that low point.

Before any of you starting railing about BernieBros and BernieBots, keep in mind that most Sanders supporters are, if polls are to be believed, wisely lining up behind Hillary Clinton.

The Daily Show most likely started out looking for the most intransigent Hillary haters they could find for this report because, well, there’s really only comedy potential in people who are this clueless.

The piece is funny and maddening all at once because the people on Williams’ panel are the flip side of Tea Party Republicans: so blinded by ideology and their various political echo chambers they have clearly been brainwashed just as much as any righteous right-wing fundamentalist. 

I have one Facebook friend who is absolutely convinced that Hillary stole the entire election and that the results will be overturned in Sanders’ favor because, well, that sort of thinking happens when all you read all day are conspiracy web sites.

Enjoy the clip. Laugh. Because getting mad won’t change the minds of any of these people. Laughing at them, rather than engaging then, often seems to shut them up.


16 videos: notable public figure reactions to Orlando

Someone asked me if I knew of a central place to see many of the high-profile videos regarding Orlando. I did not. So I made this playlist.

Use the pulldown menu at the top left of the video player.  Every video will play start to finish and then go to the next one.

Included are clips from Anderson Cooper, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, President Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook and others.

Cooper’s is the hardest to watch.

Bee’s is, I think, the most prescient.

Apple’s Cook is interesting in that he, along with Cooper, suggest that those in the LGBT community are indeed the ones who are feeling this the hardest. Of course we all ache for the loss and despair at the violence. But who among us has not felt even just a bit unsafe walking down a street, walking in or out of a bar or showing same-sex affection in a public place? This truly could have been any of us.

I thought James Corden’s Tony Awards opening was pitch perfect. The same goes for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony acceptance speech.

The most “Hell YES!” moment comes from overseas where British newspaper columnist Owen Jones storms off the SkyNews “Press Preview” set (a show I adore btw) after the host and co-presenter try to insist that the fact that the victims were in a gay bar is irrelevant.

But they are all good, which is a small testament to how far we’ve come. It wasn’t so long ago that many of us could burn to death in a bar fire and the media didn’t much notice.

I did not include those from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (both of whom have been very good) or Donald Trump. It just felt as if campaign videos should be separate.


I was certain this would happen some day


We all deal with things in different ways. I deal with them by writing down my thoughts.

I’ve sat at my desk at home feeling conflicting emotions as live news of the Orlando LGBT nightclub shooting plays on my television screen.

20 50 dead. At least. 53 wounded as of the last credible count.

Empathy. Sadness. Confusion as to the exact circumstances. But primarily anger. This is not the first time something like this happened and it most likely will not be the last.

We are making progress, beyond what I thought we would ever have made in 2016.

But it has always been true that our progress and visibility engender a seething hatred in people whose religiously-induced biases and mental illnesses are never far from the surface. Great strides by us have often been followed by hate crimes large and small, meant to put us in our place: a place of silence and fear and shadow.

We cannot let this happen. 

Every season of LGBT pride celebrations is accompanied by critics in our own community who ask, “Are the events really needed any longer? Are they not outdated in an age when so many of us are free to be? Aren’t they just silly now?”

They are not silly, nor outdated.

Aside from their more celebratory aspects, these celebrations serve many purposes. They are about visibility, first and foremost. We are not going anywhere. We are a part of these communities in which we live and we have as much right to celebrate as any parade based on pride in being Irish, Italian or any anything else. You never hear people ask, “Oh, should we stop having the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because it’s out of date.”

If they can have Mardi Gras, a drunken bacchanal which keeps local state and federal police agencies busy every day of its existence, we can have our parades where peacefulness and joy reign.

But Pride celebrations are also about defiance. Not only are we not going anywhere, but we most pointedly refuse to go anywhere; to hide. From the largest celebrations in our most populous cities, to tiny marches in countries and regions where being LGBT is still a daily struggle. Our large celebrations feed those smaller celebrations and give hope to those who are not as lucky as we are to live in places where the rule of law mostly protects us.  Mostly.

We in America may not be in a place where they are still rounding us up in bars, but we must not forget those of us in this country and  overseas who have been left behind in ways large and small. The LGBT youth suicide hotlines run by the Trevor Project and others in this country are not going out of business any time soon.

I’ve covered these issues long enough that the people with whom I’ve worked for so long and I have often thought: when and where will the carnage happen to us (again). I’m sure we’ve all thought the same thing on some level at some time. While I don’t want to overstate the exact level of danger any of us faces on a day-to-day basis, the truth is, as someone who has covered anti-gay violence most of my life, every time I attend a large LGBT gathering I think, “Is there someone in this crowd carrying a gun who wishes us ill will? A bomb?”  And then I move on because that is the best and only response you can have.

Seen through this lens, every step taken at an LGBT pride parade is an act of defiance and community-building. Every time you hold the hand of someone in public, it is an act of love and defiance. And as Orlando and other LGBT bar attacks have proven, every time you walk into one of those places with your friends, you are committing an act of defiance that goes back all the way to those nights in New York City where everyone — lesbians, gay men and trans folk — decided they’d had  enough. We’re not going anywhere. If AIDS, bigotry and violence didn’t stop us, nothing else can or will.

So let’s stop the nonsense questions about whether in our annual weeks in June or whenever, we should gather and celebrate our mere existence. That alone is cause for a parade and a few dance parties. We owe that to those who come after us. And we owe it to those people in that Orlando bar and every trans, gay or lesbian person who is still attacked and sometimes murdered even in our largest cities.

Be sad.

Sad that so many who were simply engaging in the innocent act of having fun in an LGBT nightclub should have paid with their lives.

Be angry.

Angry this kind of hatred — exemplified by this unbelievable tweet  by the lt. governor of Texas in the immediate aftermath of the carnage — still exists here and around the world.

Be proud. 

Proud that we as a community have been through so much and have come out as better people for it — overall more intelligent and accepting of the differences which make the world a beautiful, interesting place.

But mostly just love. Keep loving your chosen families, your friends, spouses, partners, your children in same-sex or trans families — and, yes, your sexual partners — in ways they would like to stop through senseless violence.

But also love your neighbors and learn to love the many differences which make the world a more vibrant, interesting place. If it raises your ire to hear people speaking loudly in a public place in a language other than English — people speak too loudly in English all the time, in case you have not noticed — you are part of the problem

Love is the answer. It has always been and will always be the only long-term answer.


Bill Maher with a Sanders/Clinton reality check

It’s not often I agree with !00% of what Maher says on any given segment of his show, but this time he is spot on.



President Obama delivers his 8th Pride address


These are awesome times we live in. 

I just hope everyone turns out to vote to help ensure that they continue.

Note that VP Biden also attended. I love Biden.

Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are COPS


This is from April. I have no idea how I missed my two favorite New England Patriots players being silly in their very own segment of “COPS.”

Well, that worked out for everyone


Drone footage montage from the NYCDFF


Here is a cool collection of drone footage from the NYCDFF (the New York City Drone Footage Festival.

It’s actually from March, but I had not seen it, and I’ll bet a good number of you have not either.

I would have made this much longer to allow longer clips and more photographers, but nobody asked me.


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