Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Trump Lies & Tweets 12/26/16

In a tweet on Monday, December 26th , Donald Trump wrote the following about his foundation:

The DJT Foundation, unlike most foundations, never paid fees, rent, salaries or any expenses. 100% of money goes to wonderful charities!

That is a lie.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation admitted to the Internal Revenue Service just last year that it engaged in “self-dealing,” a prohibited practice in which a nonprofit leader uses an organization’s money to benefit his or her own interests.
    Plus, the Trump Foundation has already admitted that some of its money covered non-charitable expenses.Trump used foundation money to buy giant portraits of himself... to make illegal campaign contributions... to settle private-sector lawsuits... and to support conservative political entities that could help further his partisan ambitions.
President-elect Donald Trump announced Saturday that he would dissolve his namesake foundation to avoid any potential conflict of interest during his time as president. But, that cannot happen because the Trump Foundation is still under investigation by the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman... and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete.
So, the Trumpster keeps lying… and, we keep counting.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. — Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump Lies 2 12/15/16

In a tweet on Thursday, December 15th , Donald Trump wrote the following:

"If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"

That is a lie:

The administration announced its findings a month before Election Day, and the White House’s announcement prompted a memorable exchange at the final presidential debate.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Trump Lies 12/15/16

At a rally on Thursday, December 15th , Donald Trump said the following:

'The murder rate in the United States is the largest it’s been in 45 years,'

That is a lie:

In fact, according to the FBI, the murder rate is near a 50-year low.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Breakfast of Progressives

If you call yourself a Progressive and wish to help the cause, you need to change your breakfast habits and go “all Kellogg’s”.
All right, I know you are into health foods, organics and stuff like that but sometimes you just have to “take one for the cause”. As many of you already know Kellogg’s & Co are the ‘good guys’ in a fight with the alt-right, racist and white nationalist leaning website and publishing empire.
Back on November 29th, Kellogg’s decided to pull all of its advertising from the Breitbart site. Kellogg’s said that Breitbart readers are not (quote): “aligned with our values as a company”.” The New York Times describes Breitbart News as an organization with (quote): "ideologically driven journalists" who turn out material that has (quote): “... been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist". Breitbart played a big role in supporting the Donald Trump presidential campaign.
Shortly after the election, a number of advertisers pulled advertising from the site, including Kellogg’s, Allstate, Nest,Target, Earthlink, Warby Parker and SoFi.  In retaliation Breitbart has launched a #DumpKellogg’s petition and has called for a boycott of Kellogg’s products.  As of the beginning of this month, more than a quarter of a million people had signed the petition. And, in a perversion of language and logic, that would make George Orwell spin in his grave, Breitbart claims that Kellogg’s move is un-American, bigoted, is a violation of freedom of speech... and that the move hates on its 45 million readers.
Advertising Executive Scott Rothstein told  the Reuters News organization that Breitbart’s charges are ridiculous saying that (quote): “I think Kellogg’s is perfectly within their rights to choose where they want to run advertising”
So, I think the Progressive/Liberal community should do a counter launch with a #ThankyouKellogg’s petition and encourage folks to buy more Kellogg’s products.  There are dozens of products to choose from… from Special K to Corn Flakes to Eggos to Pop Tarts.
For the really, really serious Progressive foodies out there, you can buy the Kellogg’s stuff and not eat it… just donate it to your local food bank and it becomes a win, win situation for everyone.
And, for the animal loving Progressives out there, Tony the Tiger will be delighted!
This is a community action that each person can do quietly or loudly, depending upon your politics. An uptick in the purchase of  Kellogg’s products at local places like Freshtown, Price-Chopper and Hannaford would definitely be noticed by the company and would be a reward for companies that do the right thing.
    Make Kellogg’s the breakfast of Progressives!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Getting Played

Have you ever gotten played?  
To “get played” means to be dissed or insulted… or tricked into doing something that you might not have otherwise done. It can happen in love relationships... and in politics.
If you are one of  the more than 60 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump you are being played right now!
The trickster is Donald Trump... who has already broken most of his campaign pledges since becoming the President-elect.  In fact, what he is saying now, compared to what he said during the campaign will make your head spin… and, yes, make you feel “played” .
For example, if you were one of the rabid Trump supporters yelling “Lock her up!.. Lock her up!” at those rallies. Well, it is not going to happen. “Crooked Hillary” as Trump described her is not going anywhere. Any authority that Trump claimed to have to lock her up was imaginary… in his head. Trump could have told you that BEFORE the election, but, either he did not know or chose not to.
If you voted for Trump because you wanted that Border Wall built to stop Mexicans from coming into the country. You also got played. That wall is looking more like a fence now. In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes on November 13th, Trump said (quote): “… there could be some fencing”.
If you hate Obamacare and voted for Donald Trump because he said he would get rid of it, you got played. Trump now says he likes certain parts of it.
If you are a Trump voter and your thing is homophobia… some bad news. On the campaign trail Trump said that he would appoint justices who would overrule the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. But, you too got played. In that 60 Minutes interview last month Trump said (quote): “It is irrelevant. It was already settled. It is law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it is done… and I am fine with that.”
    But, it gets more complicated and more sinister: sometimes when it appears that you are NOT getting played by Trump, you ARE getting played by Trump. Let’s examine what REALLY happened last week at that Trump publicity stunt at the Carrier factory in Indiana. Carrier is a multi-billion dollar company that makes air conditioners. The single largest customer of its parent company, United Technologies, is the Pentagon. Carrier had planned on closing two Indiana factories, sending more than 2,000 jobs to Mexico. During the campaign Trump played tough guy and said he would punish the company with tariffs if they went ahead with the move. But, in the end, Trump played “nice guy” and gave Carrier 7 million dollars in economic incentives over ten years for keeping just 800 jobs in Indiana… the other 1,300 jobs are STILL headed to Mexico (with NO penalty to Carrier Corp).
The Donald basked himself in glory, taking full credit for his HUUUGE success. But, even Sarah Palin knew that voters were getting played… realizing that other businesses would now to threaten to leave the country in order to receive similar breaks, effectively motivating industries to blackmail the government. She called it “crony capitalism”
Bernie Sanders said the deal was all smoke-and-mirrors… with taxpayers footing the bill for those so called “economic incentives” offered to Carrier.
So, let’s summarize the play here: Donald Trump helped secured millions of dollars in state tax breaks for a massive corporation that will STILL send more than a thousand other Indiana jobs to Mexico. Meanwhile, United Technologies Corp., the Carrier parent company, earned $5 billion dollars in after-tax profits last year. That’s right… $5 billion dollars in profits!
You think you did NOT get played… think again!
    I suspect that many Trump supporters do not care about Trump’s positions on the issues. What they care most about is venting their anger, bigotry and hatred. Trump is counting on holding on to his supporters by feeding that hatred… and not, necessarily, improving their lives.
    In six months or maybe in a year, there will be a lot of Trump supporters across the country, and here in Delaware County who feel good--- having vented a lot of anger and gained a lot of what they might consider to be “white pride” or “white respect”. Indeed, many of them will feel better about themselves psychologically. But with no job prospects, no money and no health insurance, they might FINALLY begin to realize that they have been played by the Donald.
But, listen we have ALL been played… some folks realize it now, other folks will realize it later.   
Donald Trump has unleashed a dangerous beast in this country that will need to be fed.
And, as that old expression goes: “Once you let the toothpaste out of the tube, you cannot put it back in.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to survive in Trump's America

Timothy Snyder is a history professor at Yale… and an expert on the Holocaust.
He recently wrote on his Facebook page (quote):
“No one ever thinks it can happen here until it does… Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so."

He says that we can learn from what happened in 20th century Europe. He has written some lessons to be learned that will help you survive in Donald Trump’s America

Snyder’s Lesson #1….

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

Timothy Snyder  writes that we should…

4. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.

5. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

6. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

7. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

8. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

9. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

And, finally Professor Timothy Snyder writes that we should...

10. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Revolution will not be televised... or on your computer!

It has been several weeks now since the November 8th debacle of 60,265,858 million Americans voting for a known, unapologetic racist and bigot. That would be Donald Trump. To me, it was as though they voted for Adolf Hitler, knowing that he would exterminate the Jews, but thinking and rationalizing that Hitler would get them better jobs or health care programs… forget the Jews! The analogy is not that far fetched. The lack of moral and ethical fortitude is the same. Am I being too judgemental? Should an American President be a racist and bigot? Here in Delaware County, where I live, the vote for Trump was more than 2 to 1.  Upstate Delaware County is one of the poorest counties in New York.
Indeed, the globalization economy and the knowledge economy that is sweeping the world right now might be bad for you, but, is the answer to rationalize and make a racist and bigot the leader of the free world? I know it is complicated… but, is it really that complicated? Anthropologist say that deep down we are all tribal and racist to a certain extent. But to have a viable and just society I think each one of us has to give up some of that tribalism or “ innate racism” for the common good.
But, the good news is that the 60,839,922 million Americans who did not drink the various flavors of the Trump Kool Aide but, voted for Hillary Clinton, instead, are pissed off and in a mood to correct that November 8th wrong. Also, note that more people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump.
Since the Trump election there have been myriad attacks of hate and violence on Muslims, blacks, gays and immigrants across the country.  60.9 million Americans have received a jolting wake up call and are now prepared to fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.
At this point, I think that one half of America is frightened by the other half. So, frightened are progressives and liberals that they feel that dropping out of or ignoring politics is now not an option. Many did not come out to vote on November 8th and regret it. After driving around and talking to people the last few weeks, I get the sense that there is some “buyer’s remorse” after voting for Trump and that many people want to “do something”. For me, having suffered the indignities of segregation and Jim Crow, it feels like the good old “revolutionary” days of the Civil Rights and Vietnam movements.
Protests are on going and in the works: high school kids are walking out of classes, large scale protests are planned for the January Trump inauguration, a Million Women March is planned for January 21st, and, across the world, safety pins are being worn on labels to symbolize support for the vulnerable. Even the thespian community is mobilizing. A few nights ago the Hamilton cast called out Vice President- Elect Mike Pence.
So, what to do? Todd Gitlin from Columbia University recently wrote that the Trump racists just have to be contained and driven underground. He says the rest of the Trumpsters will have to be “intelligently won over” and “out-organized”.
So, let’s get it on. And, as Gil Scott-Heron said back in 1970 “The Revolution will not be televised”... nor, will it be on your computer.
And, as our Hispanic friends tell us “La Lucha Continua!!”


Friday, November 18, 2016

Morning in the Catskills: Friday (November 18, 2016)

Good morning… welcome to another edition of Morning in the Catskills. It is Friday, November 18th. I’m Kent Garrett.

Here is what’s happening:

The Daily Star is reporting…. that Downsville Central School has recently announced that six of its 57 potable water outlets tested above the state allowable maximum for lead contamination..
The newspaper reports that the school has halted the use of the outlets until a remediation plan is put in place to reduce lead levels. Roxbury and Delaware Academy Central Schools were also among those that had detected lead in several fixtures in proactive testing. Roxbury FIXED the problem before the start of  the school year... and Delaware Academy has isolated the flaw and is working toward a solution.
Meanwhile, get ready for deer hunting season…
The regular firearms season for deer and bear hunting in this area… the DEC southern zone... starts at sunrise tomorrow.

The Daily Freeman is reporting that the Mid-Hudson region’s metropolitan areas experienced MODERATE job growth during the 12-month period ending Oct. 31st. Department of Labor figures released yesterday show that the Kingston Metro Area, which is all of Ulster County, ADDED 1,000 nonfarm jobs from October 2015 to October 2016... a gain of 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, things were SO SO in other parts of the area:

• Greene County lost 200 nonfarm jobs, a DROP of 1.3 percent, to close out at 14,800.
• Columbia County’s nonfarm job total was unchanged at 22,000.
• Delaware County’s nonfarm job total ALSO was unchanged, at 15,600.
• Sullivan County GAINED 300 nonfarm jobs, or 1.2 percent, to reach 26,100.

The Albany Times Union…is reporting that the 570- mile New York State Thruway is in trouble. That is because this year Thruway officials will have to... unlike last year... pay for state troopers who patrol the highway. That could cost as much as 60 million dollars.
This is all according to a study by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. He says that the New York Thruway has to (quote): “ develop a better roadmap for the future”

Meanwhile, Eliza Collins and Josh Haftner at USA Today…  are reporting that, a week after winning the election, Donald Trump is WALKING BACK some of his major campaign promises. For example, He’s not concerned with deporting all illegal immigrants, just the criminals. The WALL is now looking more and more like a fence.  As for prosecuting the Clintons?  Donald Trump now says (quote):“They’re good people,”
Historians say that the HASTE of Trump’s backpedaling may be unprecedented.

Thanks for reading, Morning in the Catskills. I’m Kent Garrett. I’ll post again on Monday morning.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Death of a nation?

Although Donald Trump won, the real victor in Tuesday’s Presidential election was good old fashioned American racism… along with a little or perhaps a lot of sexism, as well as hate. One pundit wrote that “to have a black President followed by a woman was too much for the American people.” I think he is right.
But, perhaps, there is good news in the not too distant future. This past election might be one of the last to turn out this way. According to the Pew Research Center, demographics are changing such that by 2055, there will no longer be a single racial or ethnic majority in the United States. The United States will be a majority minority country, with angry, racist white men and women being a smaller percentage of the population. The hope is that the country will survive until then.
Indeed, the condition of this country in 2055 would have been a concern of the late British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. Between 1934 and 1961, he wrote A Study of History, a 12 volume examination of 26 civilizations, depicting why and how they rise and fall. Toynbee found that a civilization’s rise and fall could be determined by how it responded to challenges and solved problems. Those problems could be external, internal or spiritual.
Racism is a problem that this country has not solved and now seems to be headed in the wrong direction. Donald Trump is an unapologetic, indisputable racist who has openly said that he will violate the constitution to discriminate against racial and religious minorities. He ran a campaign fueled by racism. Yet, 59 million Americans voted for him… with full knowledge and little moral compunction.
Toynbee writes that (quote): ‘civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively and the civilization then sank owing to nationalism, militarism and the tyranny of a despotic minority”
If Toynbee were alive today, I think he would say that America has not responded to the the challenge of racism… that, we are in decline now, with the only questions being how long and how soon.

Kent Garrett

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trump Fatigue Syndrome (TFS)

Well, I have finally caught the disease. It is called Trump Fatigue Syndrome or TFS within the medical community. TFS symptoms include headaches, stress, fatigue and a tendency to stretch out your words, like “huuuge”. And TFS suffers have been known to spontaneously shout out “believe me”  and "something is going on" while walking down the street.
The main cause of TFS is too much Donald Trump. It is kind of like the heartburn and agita you get after one of those “all-you-can eat” Chinese buffets… too much food. In the case of TFS, it is too much  drama.
Consider all the drama and issues that have come up since Donald Trump entered the Presidential race back in January:
… Mexican rapist coming into the country
… the Mexican wall
… the judge of Mexican heritage
… Trump University
… the beauty queen Alicia Machado
… the Trump Foundation
… the “Access Hollywood” abusive audio
… the parade of women groped by the Donald
… the poor performance in the first two debates
… the leaked tax returns with the $ 915 million dollar loss
… the unfounded charges of a rigged election, before the election

So, indeed, many of us are suffering from TFS and drama overload. In fact, for me Donald Trump has become a bore!  Imagine that.
         The good news is that TFS and Donald Trump will most likely go away on its own on November 9th! Especially, if we all get to experience a few “Trumpless days”.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Where are all the political yard signs?

This time four years ago, here in Delaware County, New York, there were Romney for President or Obama for President signs everywhere you looked. Of course, this is considered by many to be Republican “redneck country” so there were a lot more Romney signs. But, now 22 days before the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton there are really few signs to be seen. Amazon orders are down and  political party operatives are not going house to house to give them out this time around.
Has the country become so polarized and the political discourse so poisoned that people are afraid to put out political signs? Indeed, as we have all seen on television news, many of those Trump supporters have proven themselves to be mean, rowdy and violent.
Some political campaign experts have written that the signs are not around because of the spike in social media use and neighborhood or village regulations. As far as things go here in Roxbury, there are no restrictions. I suppose that a “F...k Trump” or “F...k Clinton” sign might cause some problems.
There are also questions as to whether these political yard signs make any difference.   A study by Columbia University and Binghamton University researchers found that, on average, lawn signs might move vote share by about 1.7 percentage points. That is on par with direct mail advertising. Kevin Frank, a communications director for the  Massachusetts Democratic Party is quoted as saying “lawn signs don’t vote” and a lot of lawn signs does not necessarily translate into a lot of votes.
So, I decided to do a little local research. Today, I drove the 18.8 miles along  State Route 30 from Grand Gorge to Margaretville. The results: 5 Trump/Pence signs, 2 Clinton/Kaine signs and one sign that said “They all suck”.
One of the signs was in front of our house… you will have to guess whether it was for Trump or Clinton.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Politics, Politics, Politics!!!

It is my passion. I have been black in America for some 70 years now. I have been a television news producer, a documentary film maker, an organic dairy farmer and news radio host. And, before I leave the planet, I have a lot of things and experiences I would like to share with you. Some of the things are outrageous, some are funny, some are sad… but, all will be compelling. So, stay tuned and watch this space!