Monday, December 24, 2018

This Christmas is not the same

It's Christmas Eve as I write this and I'm in an unusual frame of mind. I can best describe my mood as peaceful and grateful but with an undercurrent of unease permeating my emotional landscape.

I'm not a traditional kind of Christian. Over the last 20 years or so, I've morphed into what might be best described as an ethical Christian. Don't buy into the heaven and hell stuff but believe strongly that the teachings and life of Jesus are a shining and unique example of how people should live.

The meaning of Christmas and the feelings it brings for many of us are still a very big deal for me. It gives me a real feeling of hope for weeks leading up the Christmas Day itself. I typically walk around feeling that peace and goodwill to men sentiment pretty strongly, with carols playing in my head all the while.

But this year, it's different.

This year,  there is a dark, ominous cloud hanging over those tidings of great joy.

It seems so foreboding that as we celebrate the coming of God's divine life living among us, our National life is being sullied and our collective peace has been torn apart by a hateful and dangerous demagogue.

The peace and goodwill part of the Christmas message rings hollow with a hateful and ego-driven man whose creed in life is to hit back ten times harder if offended or slighted purporting to lead our country.

A man who lashes out with fury and vitriol at any perceived offense or even when someone simply fails to sufficiently stoke his ego or sing his praises.

Reading of daily outbursts of that sort at this formerly-glorious time of year does tend to spoil the happy remembrances of the angels' song. I'm not hearing that hope-filled message of the Christ-child coming to earth, being born of a simple, humble maiden.

The angels, shepherds, oxen and lamb keep the sacred, awe-filled vigil as... as the rage-filled, spiteful, revenge-obsessed man-baby plots to sew more chaos throughout his kingdom and to silence and humiliate the critics, the non-believers who recoil from his twisted message or dare to resist his reign of vitriol and hate.

The story of the divine child in the manger is crowded out by the advent of this modern-day Herod who forces the infant to prematurely flee to Egypt, with Mary and Joseph cutting short their sojourn in the sacred stable, riding away on the ox that witnessed the Holy Nativity.

In my heart-of-hearts, I can't see the Divine One swaddled and laying peacefully in that humble altar of wood and straw; I can't hear the Christmas message of the word-made-flesh; I cannot feel the dawning of a new era of peace, hope and reconciliation.

I can only feel the hot breath of hate, the elevation of cruelty to the highest stratum of heaven and the gathering of the sinister storm which will pull the curtains from the temple, exile the children of promise and sully every teaching, every precept of goodwill, righteousness and reconciliation.

This Christmas is different. This Christmas is filled with a sense of fear and foreboding. This Christmas is sullied by selfishness and scorn; despoiled by a new advent of greed and cruelty.

This year the hopeful message of Christmas is drowned out by the droning of a baleful message of division, heartlessness and hate.

Child of the manger, deliver us from this darkness and despair!  Grant a new dawn of hope among all people of goodwill, all who still listen to hear the angels' song!

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2018 Benjamin Basile

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mueller memo detailing Flynn's lies--a follow up

I wanted to post with a quick follow up to yesterday's piece.

When the time came for Flynn to be sentenced earlier today, his legal team begged Judge Sullivan to push everything back 90 days.

The Judge had expressed outrage about what Flynn had done, after the full extent of his misdeeds had been revealed. To get up-to-date, see yesterday's post or search "Flynn sentencing".

In light of Judge Sullivan's anger, Mr Flynn's attorneys wisely begged for more time. I'd call it a cooling off period, of sorts as they knew that Gen Flynn was at dire risk at that moment of being hit with a much stiffer sentence than he had faced before the contents of the government's FD-302 memo came to light.

So the report on Flynn's punishment is that there's no report!

Not today, at any rate.

Watch this space...

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

Don't feel like searching? Here's a link to a story that sums up today's court proceedings.

Mueller memo detailing Flynn's lies is released

Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is about to be sentenced. As many of you know, Judge Emmet Sullivan will be imposing Flynn's sentence this week and had ordered the Feds to show their work, so to speak.

Flynn's attorneys had intimated that the FBI and prosecutors had essentially tricked Flynn into cutting his own throat by not explicitly informing him that bad things would happen if he lied to them.

Judge Sullivan is quite possibly the Federal judge most likely to bristle at the very thought of prosecutorial overreach. So it's certainly no surprise and there's been a ton of speculation about what would be in the docs once their contents were revealed in his courtroom.

Well, yesterday, Monday, December 17th, Mueller's team finally had a chance to show their hand. The release of their memo detailing Mike Flynn's deceptions in his January 2017 FBI interview has undercut Flynn's legal team's half-whispered claims that the bureau was biased against their client.

This story from The Chicago Tribune is very thorough and lays out clearly the details of this latest development in the proceedings against Flynn. 

Indie journo Marcy Wheeler dives a little deeper into precisely how Monday's memo--which is called an FD-302--lays bare this deception by Flynn's legal team. Their claims of alleged FBI bias against Flynn ring hollow once you know the back story.

I'm not sure you can blame Flynn's attorneys for trying to bamboozle the court now that Judge Sullivan is ready to sentence their hapless client.

But the gambit didn't work. And Mike Flynn is about to become the latest Trump underling to go down for being complicit in the boss's treasonous crimes.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, November 26, 2018

New Government report about the looming climate disaster is released

The just-released report about Climate Change and its consequences is called the National Climate Assessment and it doesn't paint a pretty picture this time.

Not at all.

Not only is the tRump administration showing complete indifference to the report, they tried to minimize its impact by timing its release for Black Friday.

Just what you'd expect from a president who has tried very, very hard to kill our nascent solar power industry, done everything in his power to shrink National Parks, green-lighted proposed drilling projects in extreme environmentally-sensitive areas and who believes that the very idea of climate change is a hoax cooked up by the Chinese government.

I am in that clique of passionate climate change-watchers who are science-literate, pretty well up-to-date on the latest developments and who have concluded that humans will never take the hard actions which would be necessary to keep the horrible, earth-killing consequences which are outlined in the assessment from happening.

The chances that humanity will act in time are very, very close to zero.

And it certainly won't be because we weren't warned.

It will be because business interests who are profiting from the status quo and corrupt and ignorant politicians were hell-bent on raping the Earth to safeguard corporate profits.

It's a dark, disgusting and dystopian story. One with a shitty, tragic ending.

And humanity is too cowardly and too subservient to its corporate overlords to keep the story from coming true.

To see the assessment in its entirely, follow this link.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, November 15, 2018

We are doomed but a day of reckoning is coming

Today's subject is Climate Change and, in particular, whether or not we can keep the planet from the catastrophic damage that our failure to decisively act is bringing ever-closer.

And it's how this is working itself out here in the U.S. that I'm mostly concerned with. The rest of the world is at least trying to take action. The Paris Agreement is, of course, the best-known evidence that citizens and governments are, at least, paying attention and are trying to do something.

As far as how this is going here in the U.S., it pains me to say this, but big business and their bought-and-paid for "scientists" are so effective at brainwashing the average citizen--and, more importantly, the decision makers in whose hands our collective fate rests--that I truly believe there is zero hope of staving off a complete catastrophe. We're doomed.

But, it is also true that when common people who've believed all the bullshit they're being fed by big business and climate change deniers finally "get it", there will be hell to pay!

That is also inevitable. And I believe we're going to get there sooner than most people think.

It's a truly dreadful thing to say, but it's looking more and more like witnessing that "day of reckoning" will be the only "good thing" we who are watching this looming disaster can hope for.

This is instructive: Italian citizens executed Mussolini and then strung up his corpse in a public square for destroying Italy in the Second World War.

Can you imagine what people will do with the ones who destroy the earth?

Let me be clear: I in no way advocate or promote violence for any reason. I'm merely pointing out that karma--like the Earth--gets to bat last and it's going to be very, very ugly. Corporate interests, their talking heads and the climate change denialists have already taken this too far for there to be any other outcome.

I'm hoping and praying that I'm wrong. But all the signs are there and most of us are just not willing to see it. We are way, way ahead of the timeline as far as all the consequences that climate scientists predicted.

If I may be permitted a brief recounting of how all this affects me personally: I carry around a great weight of heaviness because of this seemingly-hopeless situation. And that's true for so many ordinary people who clearly see what awaits and feel like they're watching that proverbial train wreck about to happen.

The unfortunate truth is this: sometimes the bad guys win, there's no remedy, no solution and everything sucks. Like the ending of a Guy de Maupassant short story.

What I can say with absolutely certainty is that the business interests who are trying every trick they know to keep citizens and governments from taking decisive action--something which many large corporations rightfully believe could harm their bottom lines--those interests are winning that fight. It's not even close.

This is a serious problem all over the globe but is especially true here in the United States.

The part I'm not 100% certain about is whether those citizens and their governments can turn the tide and force the concerted and decisive actions which could stave off or at least mitigate the looming disaster.

There is very, very little evidence that they can or will.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

These Trumpkins L.O.S.T. on November 6th!

Yes, there certainly is a List Of Shitty Trumpkins who L.O.S.T. in the Blue Wave that washed away a boatload of sorry Rethuglican pols yesterday!

Bulldog is happy to throw out his own personal list that includes--but is not limited to--these shitty GOP losers who will not be missed by the citizens or constituents of their states or congressional districts.

The List Of Shitty Trumpkins who L.O.S.T. in the mid-term wave of 2018 includes California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who's packing his shit now and heading for an extended vacation with his man-crush, Comrade Vlad, in an exclusive Crimean resort where all the coolest treason-weasels from the US House of Reps go when they have no official duties to which to attend!

Don't forget the sunscreen, Dana! And the KY!

The List Of Shitty Trumpkins who L.O.S.T. on Nov. 6th now includes ex-Attorney General Kris Kobach from Kansas who happily served as the head of Adolph Shitler's famous and totally-crooked Voter Fraud Commission.

Stalwart Dem Laura Kelly sent Kris packing last night, besting him in their much-watched contest to be the next Governor of Kansas.

But just when you thought we had driven a silver stake through this beast's shitty heart, here's the kicker to the story: brother Kris is reportedly on tRump's short list to replace Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General of the United States! Sorta makes you want to toss your Victory Party cookies, doesn't it?

The List Of Shitty Trumpkins who L.O.S.T. when the votes were all counted last night includes Scott Walker, Wisconsin's soon-to-be ex-gov who was successful at busting all of Wisconsin's public sector unions in his first term back in 2011.

Democrat Tony Evers is the long-time administrator in public education who defeated Scotty boy. The citizens of Wisconsin will now have a Governor who understands education and will work hard to enhance it.

Quite a contrast to Walker, who cut education funding to the bone to spite the teaching and admin professionals whom he hated with a white-hot passion.

Our L.O.S.T. list now includes Kentucky's own Kim Davis, the Clerk of Courts in Rowan County who got sent to lock up back in August of 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples after marriage equality became the law of the land.

In a complete vindication of the hitherto-unproven Theory of Karma, Ms Davis was sent packing by Elwood Caudill Jr, one of the men whose marriage license docs she would not process in the aftermath of that infamous court ruling three years ago.

The L.O.S.T. list also includes ultra Reich Wing nut Dave Brat, who was beaten by Abigail Spanberger, the ex-CIA operative whom he had scorned in their debates before she sent him packing in yesterday's contest.

Brat was the Tea Party darling who defeated Eric Cantor in their June, 2014 primary for Virginia's 7th District Congressional seat. Mr Brat can now contemplate his next career move which may or may not include displaying open contempt for women who commit the unpardonable sin of entering public life and attempting to serve the actual needs of constituents.

Well, that wraps up today's L.O.S.T. List! Lots of Rethuglican pols were given the pink slip last night by the voters in these much-watched mid-term contests.

I wrap up today by extending to these losers a totally sincere wish that they have lots of luck and success in their future endeavors... Yeah, right!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The attempted bombings and our collective reaction is...

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard or read by now that bombs turned up in at least five mailboxes or mail rooms in the last 48 hours.

In every case, the recipients were politicians, public figures or news organizations that tRump and/or his followers in the Reich Wing have repeatedly slammed and tried to paint as being dangerous, unpatriotic and--yeah, this tired slam--enemies of the people.

So bombs are sent to George Soros, the Clintons, former President Obama, Rep. Maxine Waters and CNN.

You'd expect that the American people would be concerned and outraged, right?

Well, they're not. Living under the criminal tRump regime has made violent language, threats of violence and violent acts so common that the alarm bell no longer rings.

The attempted bombings and our collective reaction are very unfortunate. And very troublesome.

They're especially troubling as many of the Reich Wing are planning--have been planning at least since the election of Barack Obama--to unleash violence on their "enemies". The enemies of the people, of course.

They know who their enemies are. Their president has told them--in no uncertain terms and over and over again--he has told them who their enemies are. He has told them who should not be allowed to take up space in "their" country any longer.

Their enemies are other Americans whose political views they don't like.

Americans whose patriotism doesn't include a hatred of minorities, brown people and immigrants, especially.

Their enemies are other Americans whose patriotism doesn't include ostentatious displays of flag waving, a desire to whip into submission any nation refusing to get on-board with America's "vital National interests", and a belief that anyone who isn't white, Christian and English-speaking doesn't belong in the USA.

The collective yawn by the American people in the wake of these attempted bombings is very troubling because the White Supremacists, militia-types and extremists of all stripes are watching.

And when they feel that they've been green-lighted by their Fearless Leader and his brutal, sycophantic underlings, they'll believe that the time will be right to begin their long-desired purge of  dissenters, "traitors" and non-conformists.

Their enemies. The enemies of the people. The obstructionists, the resisters. The ones who are keeping them from making America great again.

Those of us who refuse to quaff tRump's noxious Kool-Aid are walking around with targets on our backs.

And because we have become so inured to violent language, threats and acts; because this has become routine in the age of tRump; because the idea of right wing death squads roaming the country, El Salvador style, is so unthinkable that most of us can't even "go there"...

For all those reasons, the meh reaction of the American people in response to the attacks against people our poser prez hates and reviles on a daily basis is very troubling indeed.

The stage is set. The haters, the racists and the militia types are ready. They're locked and loaded.

And they're just waiting for their chance.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, October 12, 2018

Angry left wing mobs: the end game

One of the latest gambits from the Rethuglican playbook: convince their base--the uber-violent militia types, especially--that our protests and demonstrations are violent mob scenes. They'll start using the words "riots" and "rioting" very soon.

This is not a PR ploy. It would be way over-the-top even if it was. But that's not the end game.

Portraying our constitutionally-protected protests as out-of-control mob action is a pretext to start their own violent actions.

Trump may not be doing this consciously but the Reich Wing is full of folks who fetishize the 2nd amendment, and believe progressives--or anyone who doesn't share their hateful, extreme views--to be traitors and are itching to start "the culling".

We ignore this at our own peril.

The irony of this situation is that the Tea Party types stockpiled guns and ammo for eight years while Obama was President, even though he did nothing--not one thing--that could have been objectively seen as moving the USA towards tyranny, towards authoritarian rule.

And then, when a hateful demagogue who has repeatedly professed admiration--or love, in the case of Kim Jong Un--for actual despots says and does things which are clearly designed to move the country towards authoritarian rule, the right wing loves him, hangs on his every hateful word, votes for him and throws wads of cash at him.

The right wing is itching to start the shooting. If you don't see this, you're not paying attention.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, October 8, 2018

So many ways to describe our poser prez!

Do you have a nickname for our #LyingLoserPrez?

Well, I've got a few of those awesome alt-names!

There are thousands, but here's the short list:

#HairHitler #PoserPrez #Cheetolini
#DarthHater #CheetoBenito #AdolphShitler
#AdolphTwitler #OrangeFoolius #LyingLoserPrez*

#DonaldDrumpf #BenedictDonald #TangerineTyrant
#MangoMussolini #DonTheConNaziSpawn* #GloriousTrumpenfuhrer*
#FuckFaceVonClownStick #DonTheConRussianPawn* #BenedictDonald

Couple of noteworthy things for you...

The first is that four of those are mine. Those four* are starred. (In case you're wondering about the hashtag format, it's just because I'm a heavy twitter user.) Still, they're not clickable. They were in an early draft, but that created other formatting problems I'm not savvy enough to fix. #Sorry!

The next is that #DonaldDrumpf comes from the fact that "Drumpf" is the actual family name. The grandfather of the "tRump" we know used Trump in the early 20th Century here in America, though the family may have ditched Drumpf for Trump while the Drumpfs were all still in the Fatherland. The historical record is not conclusive.

The last thing is that the daddy of the #BenedictDonald hashtag is known; it's Terrorism Expert, author and MSNBC Contributor Malcolm Nance. You can visit his twitter page by following this link.

Hope you had fun checking out the list. Satirists, pundits, on and off the net, and people who simply don't like our #LyingLoserPrez love using all these and more! Feel free to post a reply with a few of your own!

Bulldog Ben

©2018 Ben Lawrence Basile
All Rights Reserved

Bulldog Ben™

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Don the Con has been committing tax fraud?! No way!

Okay, so ol' Bulldog here is being a smartass with that title! You got me!

Yes, I've known for two years that tRump has been committing serious criminal offenses for a very long time. Both with his taxes and his loan applications.

That's been apparent to anyone who reads news regularly and isn't sucking at the teat of Fox Noise, Info Wars, World News Daily and "news sources" like that.

And it leads back to another vein of tRump lies--one of the really big ones--the lies relating to the size of his fortune.

He's been shooting ridiculously high numbers for his net worth when it's a PR thing and he wants to make himself look good.

But then he--or more precisely, his accounting and legal types--are forever putting out crazy-low figures when it's about tax his tax liabilities--such as income from his real estate portfolio and the like.

Oh, and those business losses! Those multiple bankruptcies! They're YUGE at tax time but completely insignificant when he's counting his poker chips!

What led me to today's posting is an article that just appeared in the NYT about some of the irregularities, shall we say, about tRump's very flexible accounting practices.

The piece is mostly about how he's massacred tax law for decades going all the way back to how his father's taxes were tallied at the time money flowed to Donald from his dad or from Papa Fred's estate.

The article itself is not a quick read, but here's a link to a brief run-down about the Times article on Teagan Goddard's primo site, It does a good job of summing it up for readers who're trying to use their day efficiently. I recommend it highly.

If you are up for the article in its entirety, just follow this link.

It's a helluva job trying to keep up with all of tRump's lies, corruption and dirty deals, ain't it?

Well, it's like trying to garner "Yard of the Month" honors from the Homeowner's Association. You know deep down you'll never get there, but you feel like you just need to keep plugging away at it!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, September 28, 2018

Do you know what today is?

It's possible that you didn't know that today is National Drink Beer Day! If that's the case, it's not your fault. You just needed an obscure blogger who keeps an eye on such things to let you know!

You're welcome!

Yes, I most certainly will celebrate. Thinking over my options right now as far as the precise where and when, but there is a beer--or two--languishing in a cooler somewhere with my name on it.

Well, that's not exactly true; I strongly prefer draft beer!

Enjoy your celebration tonight! And you can be assured that Bulldog Ben is committed to keeping you up on all the truly important issues in life!

"Beerdog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Poisonous Pursuit of Progressive Perfection

In yesterday's post about the "Family Feud" we had at the DNC in 2016 and the run-up to the Presidential Election, I went on at some length about tensions, about differences, between mainstream Democrats and their more progressive brothers and sisters.

And I mentioned about how--in my opinion--the insurgency was at not only about moving our party in a more progressive direction, but was--for many, at least--an attempt to blow up the party and then build something more aggressively and purposefully progressive.

I believe the fight was one of the biggest reasons we ended up with Benedict Donald at the helm of our government.

That should never have been the outcome! If the insurgent faction had actually given its full-throated endorsement to Secretary Clinton--as Bernie did at the convention--we would have been spared all the outrages and excesses of this accursed tRump regime. 

Many of the folks who led this insurgent, progressive wing of the party, weren't Democrats, didn't identify as Democrats in any way. Some of them said straight up that tRump was a better outcome than if Hillary had been elected.

They're out of their minds.

That's why I don't think I can ever trust the Bernie bros and the Greens moving forward even though I see the world and our issues here in US in very similar ways.

Their stunning inability to let their philosophy be tempered with even a tiny bit of pragmatism blows me away!

Their quest for progressive purity and their obsession with third party candidates as a means of delivering that awesome "protest vote" have cost us dearly!

It set our country back ten years when--back in November of 2000--Bush II beat Al Gore by 537 votes here in Florida.

It set us back an entire generation on 11/9 when the Bros and the Greens gave us tRump. With huge assists from Julian Assange and Comrade Vlad, of course!

The only thing that tempers my anger at all is the fact that the outcome was a shock to most people and pollsters! It really is hard to say who might have done things differently if we could have seen the insane outcome of the Presidential election in those last few fateful months.

But anyone who calls themself progressive, certainly anyone who's tired of seeing hateful, know-nothing thugs run this country into the ground and destroy our institutions, had better stop trashing people, candidates and solutions that could actually work, actually improve something, in a vain search for progressive perfection!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

About that "Family Feud" in the Democratic Party

Sometimes labels are very effective in helping us wrap our minds are things. Sometimes not so much.

Labels like Liberal, Conservative and Progressive generally do simplify things when one tries to think about or discuss what happens on the American political scene. I do find these labels or descriptors to be helpful.

I want to give you my take on what's happening among those of us who use the term progressive to describe our way of seeing the world.

I'm progressive. Unlike some who would also use that term to describe their way of presenting themselves to the world, I'm comfortable with the Democratic Party. Though it may seem funny in light of what I just said, I also embrace the labels of mainstream or moderate when I think about being a proud Democrat.

And I've got a pragmatic streak a mile wide. That's a very big deal.

Let me enlarge on that a bit: although my views are way, way to the left of most of my Democrat friends, I understand that change and progress is incremental and the U.S. is not ready to embrace the flavor of flaming socialism that I'd love to see.

In the election of 2016, we Democrats had a blow up, a clash between a moderate or mainstream faction and an insurgent progressive faction. Well, "faction" isn't the best term to describe those of us who consider ourselves to be moderate or mainstream, as we make up the majority of Democrats.

Here you may recall the joke that was frequently heard around the time of the DNC: "I come from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party." That one always brought a smile to my face!

Now, it would be a mistake to paint everyone who might have identified as a part of the progressive faction with the same brush. But I will for the sake of this post.

Die-hard supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders were at the core of this movement. It's interesting to note that the insurgency did not die once it was clear that Hillary was the nominee. It actually became stronger and definitely more strident.

Do I think the Bernie or uber-progressive faction went too far in the pursuit of progressive issues?

Yes, I do. It's fine to advocate for a single payer system, for free universal college. I support those things. I think they're absolutely necessary for America to thrive and survive.

But what some never did understand is that trying to push the party to the left or to get some of these issues prioritized in the party platform was never the objective. (I'm not saying this is true of everyone who considers themselves to have been a part of that faction while the fight was raging. Not at all.)

The objective for many of them was to burn the Democratic Party to the ground. And many of them said so.

This is why so many of us who identify as mainstream or moderate Dems--even though we might also embrace the progressive descriptor--resisted this insurgent movement.

And yes, most of us were Hillary supporters.

I am not unsympathetic to the argument that my party is too cozy with big business and Wall Street. It's true.

I share the skepticism of many of my leftist sisters and brothers who feel the Democratic Party is not a perfect vehicle to achieve the kinds of changes we feel we need to move forward. Yes, our party has many flaws.

But I have nothing but contempt for anyone who truly wants to harm, weaken or destroy my party. I am your enemy and I will resist you at every turn.

Keep trying to reform the Democratic Party? Keep trying to push it in a more progressive direction? Sure, I'm on-board with that. One hundred percent.

But those of us who make up the majority of our party and who've worked very hard to sustain her and move her forward are going to go on defending her from those who wish her ill.

In the next post, I'm going to talk specifically about why I have a hard time trusting my more progressive friends as we move forward.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rachel Maddow becomes most-watched show on TV

The Rachel Maddow Show did have an amazing week as far as viewership is concerned and I wanted to comment on that. It would be a noteworthy event under any circumstances, but it also fits neatly into one of my posts from about six weeks ago.

I was commenting on how, although Cable News Shows are taken pretty seriously, the audience numbers are relatively puny. On average, compared to the nightly network news broadcasts, in particular, that is.

And then, this! Rachel just had this gonzo week where the show was--not the most watched cable news show--but the most watched show on television, period!

Yeah, this puppy was impressed!

I've watched Rachel, literally, since the night she signed on. I haven't caught every show, obviously, and I don't get them all these days, as TRMS is not in my bare-bones cable package.

But it's a remarkable achievement and a tribute to just how good she is at what she does. How good, how thorough, how insightful and persistent.

If you tune in too, you know exactly what I mean. Hers is a unique voice. It may seem cliché, but there is no one on the news scene like Rachel Maddow.

And it's a very good thing that now there are stats that show, convincingly, just how good she is.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Two thoughts about September 11th

There are two things on my mind as I think about the events that took place exactly 17 years ago at what we now call Ground Zero in Manhattan...

The first is that the wounds from the attack on America on 9/11 have healed to a significant degree.

I had expected that time would lessen the sting and the shock we all felt that day only a little; that it was such a singular event that the memory of it would be an open, festering wound for a generation.

I'm glad I was wrong about that.

It was--and is--a very, very big deal, but Americans have shown once again that we're a very pragmatic and resilient lot.

That's a good thing.

The other thing on my mind today is that our Nation is saddled, at this moment, with a President who's such vicious and unrepentant liar that even the memory of the losses we suffered on 9/11 are tainted by his out-sized ego and his constant lying!

Some folks may have forgotten about how tRump bragged shortly after the towers had fallen, that his building was now the tallest in Manhattan!

I haven't forgotten.

Some may not have heard that our #LyingLoserPrez has falsely claimed to have tried to dig victims of the 9/11 attacks out of the ruble at Ground Zero.

That, of course, was a lie. And there are plenty more where that came from!

So now, even though America's gone through a painful and thorough process of grieving and healing, we can be pulled back into the raw, terrible frenzy that is our national recollection of the attack at any time simply because our #PoserPrez can't keep himself from lying. Not even about the attacks on September 11th.

America suffers a fresh attack every time this hateful, traitorous bastard opens his mouth.

And we cannot begin to heal from this National nightmare until we are rid of him.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© September 11, 2018 
Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Friday, September 7, 2018

Searching for the Meaning of Life

This brief blog entry simply cannot be appreciated or understood unless you've cast your eyes over the accompanying photo. And, yes, I took the pic myself. No issues about ownership, copyrights or any such thing. And, if you must know, this humble sign adorns the north wall of the bar in my fave barbecue joint. In my fave beach town.

Having gotten the preliminary stuff out of the way, let me state for the record that I do not believe that the true meaning of life can be found in this lighthearted aphorism; it's merely there to keep the wall from looking bare and, perhaps, to amuse the drunks who spend way too much time and money reading silly plaques tacked to the walls of our many infamous watering holes here in the Sunshine State.

The message of that damned sign does not seem to grow more profound with each lager lifted to my lips.

I've never shared this barroom bromide with friends, nor incorporated it into an update on Facebook. (No need going to my Facebook page to verify that statement!)

Let's be real. Life's true meaning cannot be divined by reading this sign no matter how much beer you've quaffed.  I just like it because, as I stand right on the threshold of qualifying for social security, I think it just might be true! Not sure my doctor would vouch for that, but, it could be!

Now I think I'll ponder that message one more time as I order one more beer...  Ashley!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

This post is coming out today because it's National Beer Lovers Day! And, yes, it's also a Friday! No better time to have a cold one. Or three!

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile
All Rights Reserved

Brett Kavanaugh, Originalism and the Tangerine Tyrant

As you know if you haven't been living under a rock, Donald tRump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

Today is the third and final day of Congressional hearing on the Kavanaugh nomination.

The nod from tRump for Mr Kavanaugh to get Kennedy's seat happened back in early July. Kavanaugh--who is now an Appeals Court Judge for the D.C. Circuit--has a long history as a Republican Party operative and legal hack for the George W. Bush administration. And the GOP majority on the Judiciary Cmte has refused to release documents dating back to that period of time in his government service.

In addition, he has made numerous statements which make it unmistakably clear that he's ready, willing and able--if confirmed--to help John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas take America back to that grand time before minorities, LGBT+ folk and women had any rights not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution.

That is to say, no rights at all.

Brett Kavanaugh's well-documented "Originalist" judical philosophy is untenable as the Founding Fathers cared not one whit for the rights of anyone who wasn't just like them. That is male, straight and white.

When our republic was born and the Constitution was framed, blacks were still in chains, bought and sold as property, subject to be lashed without mercy for any offense, and murdered at the whim of their masters.

The framers were fine with that. Many of them owned slaves themselves.

It's so easy in the 21st Century to forget that women were expressly denied the right to vote in America and didn't win the franchise until the 19th Amendment was passed. That happened in 1919, 143 years into what we call "American Democracy!"

So if a SCOTUS Justice has this originalism as his lodestar, how can any more-modern rulings from the Supreme Court be seen as valid?

Kavanaugh has mouthed the usual hollow talking points about how Roe vs Wade is established law and so on, but there can be little doubt that he's poised to strike down Roe--or at the very least, sign off on more restrictions--at the earliest opportunity.

But the most dangerous thing about Kavanaugh is that he's said on more than one occasion that he doesn't think a sitting President can be charged with a crime or even to be required to respond to a subpoena!

So basically, a President who's the subject of an active and very robust investigation has nominated a candidate for the court which will have to rule on whether he is subject to our Nation's laws! And the Repugs in Congress are dead-set on ramming through his nomination even though he's hostile to the rights of minorities, women and is ready to grant a criminal president a Get Out of Jail Free card!

It's going to happen. Today's the final day of the hearings about his nomination and the Rethuglican majority WILL see to it that Benedict Donald gets his sycophantic, Originalist Justice.

Just one more outrage from this criminal tRump regime and the legion complicit co-conspirators in the GOP!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Medieval Haiku just for you!

Serfs and Magistrate 

chase the mad King

through the castle all summer long


Photo credit: Ben is not the owner of this cool graphic! He stole it just as surely as the Tangerine Tyrant stole his office!

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, September 3, 2018

Thoughts on Labor Day 2018

First of all, let me wish all my friends--especially those of you who work for a paycheck--a very happy and relaxing Labor Day!

I come from a long line of working people. My grandfather was a mason and marble contractor in New York City in the period between the two World Wars.

It was a common trade for Sicilians and he was good at it.

I was the first in my family to graduate from college but it never became a defining factor in my working life. I've only held two jobs in the many years since graduation where my degree was a consideration and I've mostly worked in the hospitality industry.

That's very common, as you no doubt know, for people here in Florida.

I most certainly am in that large category of American workers who depend on that paycheck and would have dismal prospects if or when their gig and that precious check it generates ever stop.

I don't get this awesome holiday off every year, but am off today by shear dumb luck; I'm feeling mellow and relaxed as I type this. The Yankees are playing the A's on the tube right now; sports are happening all day and night today!

Having said that, I do agree with folks who encourage us to think about the meaning behind these "3-day weekend" kind of holidays. Days like Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day, too! We're inclined to see them merely as another cool day off with a barbecue and/or a beach trip.

It's a wonderful thing that we do have a day to commemorate the American worker--and maybe even give him or her the day off--as having such a day was never a given but was, in fact, born from the darkest days the American worker had ever seen.

If you'd like to peruse an interesting and informative piece about Labor Day and what it's all about, just click on this.

I am so ridiculously mellow and care-free today as I relax, blog a bit and watch some sports! I  hope your holiday is going well, too, and that your working life is not a painful dead-end you take part in just to keep your head above water.

But regardless of those particulars, may today and your future have lots of work, purpose and pay! Some happiness, some fulfillment and lots and lots of dinero!

And some leisure time to reflect on work, workers and why it all matters.

A relaxed puppy today, I am,

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Some of your friends may say...

Now and then I hear some of my friends may say that I should stop being so strident, so upset. I should just take a chill pill. Mellow out. Zip that lip and not get your friends on social media so upset...

Well, I truly have tried, at times, to hold back. But I've got to get some stuff off my chest today.

Honestly, I just can't understand how anyone can support what's happening now or defend Adolph Twitler when he's working as hard as he can to tear our country off its foundations and get rid of or marginalize everyone who isn't white, straight and rich.

It's impossible to just go about life as it was before that evil, greedy and completely incompetent poser was propelled into our White House by a campaign of lies and with the help of his Russian handlers.

I'd like my friends to explain again why we should act as if none of this is happening! It sounds to me like the situation is that they just don't like conflict and hate to "hear" two friends, as it were, having a heated argument.

I understand that. I'm actually wired the same way. But what's happening now is not at all like a Presidential election from the pre-trump days or something. Trump and his enablers and co-conspirators are trying to make the country I love into something of, by and for the very wealthy, for big business interests and for the Putin Regime. And working people, people who could never afford membership at one of his country clubs, can just go to hell.

No one in the trump admin is even trying to hide this right-out-in-the-open contempt for anyone who can't buy into their concept of what America is supposed to be like.

Some of us are not cool with that! And it's not right that we're being told by friends to just zip the lip and pretend all this is somehow normal! It's not! None of this is normal!

I still had a little desire to just try to be all cool and everything right up until I saw--with my own eyes--the outrageous stuff that Hair Hitler said and did at the Helsinki Summit. I know it was his first performance revue with his boss and everything, but it was astonishing the way his repeatedly kissed Putin's murderous ass!

And, of course, he did the same damn thing when he had his little summit--I mean his photo opp--with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Thousands of Republicans and trump supporters finally got it after Helsinki. Open your eyes, my friends! It's all happening in plain sight!

We are way past the time when we can be silent about the poser prez and his hateful, destructive and criminal behavior.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!"

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Tribute: John McCain was that kind of man

Lt Cmdr John S. McCain III was a hero to me. I idolized him and wanted to be like him when I reported to Navy AOCS in Pensacola. That was in May of 1975, two years after McCain had been released from a North Vietnamese prison, and just weeks after the fall of Saigon.

I received my commission in November of 1976. One of the traditions in a commissioning ceremony is that the Navy Hymn is sung after the new Ensigns have have taken that oath to "defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" but before the benediction.

It was a proud moment in my life. Receiving that commission and pinning on those gold bars was quite an experience.

The very inauspicious chapter of my Navy career when, four months later, I dropped flight training and was then told by a disposition board that the Navy didn't need me in the surface fleet was a huge disappointment.

I was as deflated and numb going through that experience as I had been pleased and proud four months before when our band of brand-new Ensigns sang the Navy Hymn together.

For some reason, I still remember the words. But that has nothing to do with my admiration for Senator McCain.

This is hard to explain, but even though the career I had dreamed about for years fell apart when I got into the hard part of Naval flight training, the eight months I was in Uncle Sam's Navy marked me for life.

I've never lost sight of how vitally important it is to be a part of something greater than myself. Working as a team doesn't come naturally for me, I'm too much of a lone wolf.

But I learned how to do that in those 16 weeks of Aviation Officer Candidate School.

I learned that the rigors of military life and the necessity of putting the needs of your unit, your mates and the folks back home ahead of your own could impose a very high cost on the individual.

I never had to pay any cost for my shipmates. Or my country. I never knew the perils of an angry sea or a determined enemy.

John McCain did. That's the kind of man he was. That's the kind of life he lived.

Lt Cmdr McCain completed 22 very perilous missions over North Vietnam before his A-4 Skyhawk was shot out of the sky in October of 1967.

The story of how he spent 5 1/2 years as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton--as well as other North Vietnamese prisons--is well-known. What some may have forgotten is that his North Vietnamese captors offered to release him shortly after they learned that his father, Adm John McCain Jr., was the Commander of American forces in Vietnam.

But John refused to be released under those conditions and finally made it home with his comrades-in-arms in 1973, under the terms of the Paris Peace Accord.

The never-ending maltreatment and torture that McCain endured in his years of imprisonment left him with a lifetime of debilitating injuries. You may have noticed that he was never able to raise his arms above his shoulders when waving to crowds at political events.

That can happen when your wrists are lashed together behind your back, you're hanging from the ceiling and the sadists who are trying to break you have the ropes so taut that you can't get both feet flat on the dirt floor beneath you.

These are the kinds of sacrifices that John McCain made. Cmdr McCain and our other POW's endured hardships and made sacrifices for their country and their loved ones that you and I can't even imagine.

They did it in fulfillment of the oath they all took. They did it without "reservation or purpose of evasion" just as they had sworn to do.

That's the kind of man, the kind of hero John McCain was.

The many years of service he gave to his country after he retired from the Navy have been chronicled over and over. One can read reams of information about that part of his service to our country now that he's passed.

I admire him greatly for his time in the US Senate. He always comported himself with great dignity. He always acted with the courage of his convictions.

I admire him no less as a politician and public servant as I did when his service to country put him in constant peril of life and limb. His fearlessness and his integrity inspire me as much today as they did when I wanted to follow in his footsteps as a 21 year old Officer Candidate.

All told, he rendered more than 60 years of faithful service to the United States. He never shirked his duty, even under conditions that would have broken ordinary men.

I'm not sure why, exactly, but the first thing that happened for me when I heard the news of his passing a few hours ago, is that the strains of the Navy Hymn began to "play" in my head.

I aspired to greatness as a young man so many years ago while singing those words with my mates. Alas, there was to be no greatness in my brief, inglorious military career.

But I, like you, recognize greatness instantly when I see it or hear of it.

I recognized greatness in John McCain more than 43 ago. His selflessness, his devotion to his family, his fellows and his country stand out like that lighthouse at Fort Barrancas on a squally night.

God rest your warrior's soul, Cmdr McCain. Thank you for your lifetime of selfless service to the country you loved so well.

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile
All Rights Reserved

The words of the Navy Hymn:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Oh, Watchful Father who dost keep
Eternal vigil while we sleep
Guide those who navigate on high
Who through grave unknown perils fly,
Receive our oft-repeated prayer
For those in peril in the air.

The United States Navy Chorus singing
"Eternal Father Strong to Save"

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Manafort and Cohen go down on Twofer Tuesday!

By now you've quite likely heard that former tRump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on eight of the 18 original counts he was facing. The jury was deadlocked on the other counts, we'll see how that part of the story unfolds later.

Meanwhile, tRump's long-time personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen plead guilty to eight charges in a Federal Court in Manhattan today and said very plainly that he made the two illegal payouts--one to Stormy Daniels and one to Karen McDougal--because tRump directed him to. And that he did it in order to influence the 2016 Presidential Election.

Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12th.

Donald is toast. The dam is most definitely breaking!

Because his delusional supporters are dug in so deeply, it will take more than today's proceedings to dislodge him from the office he stole back on 11/9 but we can all see the handwriting on the wall now.

Not only does he have cult-like thrall over his Kool Aid chugging followers, but the Federal Government is run by his sycophants, enablers and co-conspirators, so we're not going to see the curtain go down quite yet.

But we can all see now that it's just a matter of time.

Hey, #LyingLoserPrez! Are you feelin' Bob Mueller's hot breath on your neck yet?

Yeah. I knew you were.

Breathin' just a bit easier on this Twofer Tuesday, I am,

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Alligator Season begins today

Here in the Sunshine State, there's a Gator Season each summer that lasts for 30 days. The season opens today.

If you'd like to know more about gator hunting in these parts,  here's a bulletin from our Fish And Wildlife Commission where you can get up to date on Gator Season if you wish.

I do hold a Hunting and Fishing license but won't be out looking for gator hide this year. Don't have the boat; don't have the gear!

And you do need to pull tags for gators specifically, as you do in Florida for most game.

Haven't done it, not likely I ever will but I'm thinking it's about as intense as hunting gets.

For those of us who aren't likely to ever join the hunt for real, there's always Swamp People on the History Channel!

Bulldog Ben Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Devin Nunes on tape admitting email collusion would be a crime

Donald tRump's wingman, Representative Devin Nunes, has done all kinds of stuff to protect his hateful, thuggish boss over the last 19 months.

Who can forget the time he jumped out of one car and into another to get himself over to the White House on the down-low to tip off Dirty Donnie that our intelligence community was looking at some of the "unusual" contacts members of his campaign team and his administration had been having with known Russian intelligence operatives?

That was in April of 2017, a mere three months after the Trumpenfuhrer had been elevated to the Presidency.

When Nunes and the rest of tRump's enablers and sycophants in the GOP shield their Poser Prez from the consequences of his constant unethical and/or illegal actions, they try as hard as they can to rationalize whatever he's doing. Some of the media appearances where they do this are downright comical.

Sometimes the talking point is that tRump and others in his criminal regime are doing their duties unrestrained from the old, outmoded notions of political correctness. Even when what they're doing is spectacularly unethical or even illegal.

So it was a really big deal when Nunes was caught talking about the secret GOP strategy to follow through on the plan to impeach Rod Rosenstein, but to wait until they could get Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh confirmed in the Senate.

The setting was a fundraiser last week for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Nunes, nor anyone else in attendance realized at the time realized that one of the attendees was a Democratic party operative who had come to surreptitiously tape the event, hoping to catch for posterity some nugget that might prove useful politically.

Nunes discussed a hypothetical situation where a politician, acting like a (Republican) politician releases emails which had been obtained through a hacking operation.

Here's what he actually said:

"But ultimately let's say the Portuguese came and brought her (Rep. McMorris Rodgers) some stolen emails. And she decided to release those. Okay, now we have a problem, right?"

Nunes continued: "Because somebody stole the emails, gave them to Cathy, and Cathy released them. Well, if that's the case, then that's criminal."

This explosive recording ended up in the hands of MSNBC Correspondent Rachel Maddow who made it the centerpiece of her show tonight.

Now, there's a lot to unpack in the recording. There are three or four different aspects of the story around this recording which could certainly make headlines.

But the remarks contained in the excerpt above are huge. Nunes says very plainly that releasing illegally obtained--meaning hacked--emails in a political dirty op would be a criminal act. It's absolutely crystal-clear!

This story illustrates like few others can that GOP pols routinely says things they know are flagrant lies. For more than a year and a half their pundits and talking heads have been saying that Fearless Leader and their political operatives didn't do anything questionable--much less illegal--throughout the 2016 Presidential Election or in the 19 months that tRump has been in power.

And watching how their cover story about colluding with the Russians has evolved has been truly comical: at first, no one on the campaign met with any Russians to do bad things because there never was a meeting!

When that was blown up, the talking point became that there was a meeting, but that, first of all, it was all about the adoption of poor lil' Russian orphans, and secondly, tRump wasn't there!

The next version of the no collusion! story was that yes, we went into the meeting to get dirt on Hillary but, anyone would have done it and, most importantly, that's not illegal!

Well, it all stinks! All of it! 

The fact that they took the meeting stinks! 

Jumping on-board with Russia's efforts to help their campaign stinks!

 The massive and prolonged effort to deny, distract and cover up the truth about the whole affair stinks!

So let's fast forward to last week's secret fundraiser for McMorris-Rodgers in Spokane. To hear that Devin Nunes himself understands that receiving and disseminating information from hacked emails constitutes a crime is stunning! Absolutely stunning!

Rethuglican spinmeisters can (and will) go on twisting the sad truths around their party's treasonous cooperation with Putin and his campaign to sway the 2016 election until Judgement Day.

Kellyanne Conway and tRump's lying sack of Sarah can go on with the disinformation campaign until they're eventually silenced with more indictments, resignations and convictions.

But after we heard the admission of the truth from the lips of Devin Nunes about the criminality of using stolen emails, the American people know, and history will attest, that the cooperation of tRump, his underlings and the GOP with Putin and Co. was unprecedented in our history, was criminal from start to finish and was a stone-cold act of treason against the USA!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Have a nickname for Benedict Donald?

Do you have a nickname for our #LyingLoserPrez?

Well, I've got a few of those awesome alt-names!

There are thousands, but here's the short list:

#HairHitler #PoserPrez #Cheetolini
#DarthHater #CheetoBenito #AdolphShitler
#AdolphTwitler #OrangeFoolius #LyingLoserPrez*

#DonaldDrumpf #BenedictDonald #TangerineTyrant
#MangoMussolini #DonTheConNaziSpawn* #GloriousTrumpenfuhrer*
#FuckFaceVonClownStick #DonTheConRussianPawn* #BenedictDonald

Couple of noteworthy things.

The first is that four of those are mine. Those four* are starred. (In case you're wondering about the hashtag format, it's just because I'm a heavy twitter user.) Still, they're not clickable. They were in an early draft, but that created other formatting problems I'm not savvy enough to fix. #Sorry!

The next is that #DonaldDrumpf comes from the fact that "Drumpf" is the actual family name. The grandfather of the "tRump" we know used Trump in the early 20th Century here in America, though the family may have ditched Drumpf for Trump while the Drumpfs were all still in the Fatherland. The historical record is not conclusive.

The last thing is that the daddy of the #BenedictDonald hashtag is known; it's Terrorism Expert, author and MSNBC Contributor Malcolm Nance. You can visit his twitter page by following this link.

Hope you had fun checking out the list. Satirists, pundits, on and off the net, and people who simply don't like our #LyingLoserPrez love using all these and more! Feel free to post a reply with a few of your own!

Bulldog Ben

©2018 Ben Lawrence Basile
All Rights Reserved

Bulldog Ben™

The Audience for Cable News Shows is...

Something I've learned in the last few days came as quite a surprise. I pay a lot of attention to what happens on cable news shows. The "big three" being Fox, MSNBC and CNN, of course.

But those shows attract far fewer viewers than the major broadcast networks do in the evening news slots. In fact, network news attracts around 3 to 4 times as many viewers as the best-performing cable news show do, on average.

Some quick-and-dirty stats to help you wrap your mind around this: ABC Network's prime time evening news show led the three major networks in total viewers last week (week of July 23rd) with slightly less than 8 million viewers.

When a cable news show does really well, it will bring in somewhere between 2.5 and 4 million viewers.

For example, the best night MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ever had was back in July of 2017 and she attracted 4.1 million viewers. This year, she'll do around 2 to 2.5 million on a decent night. So a cable news show does very well when it pulls in a audience about a quarter of the size of a typical network news evening broadcast.

 I did not know!

Having acknowledged that, I think it's also true that people do pay a lot of attention to cable news, even though the audiences are small-ish!

One example being how Donald tRump spends hours each day watching Fox Noise and responds regularly to things said by Don Lemon or Anderson Cooper on CNN.

I guess you could say that even if the audiences are small, folks do pay quite a bit of attention to what comes from Fox, CNN and MSNBC.  I certainly keep an eye on them and I know I've got plenty of company on that.

By the way, what got me looking at this issue was a recent post on Teagan Goddard's first-rate site, If you're not familiar with it, I recommend it highly. That feature may be a bit confusing if you've read my post today, as it focuses on monthly numbers and zeros in on the morning cable news shows specifically. But it was my entry point to the subject of how cable news audiences are pretty small, in relative terms.

Another good thing about that post on Politicalwire is that it also gives you a way to compare cable news to internet-based news, and those numbers are quite instructive, too.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, July 23, 2018

Help for the Eastern Indigo Snake

One of Florida's iconic snakes, the Eastern Indigo has been having a tough time in the last little while. The problems are familiar and are not so easily remedied in a time where it seems like every square inch of habitat in Florida has a strip mall or three either being built on it or in the planning stage.

But the good guys are doing what they can to keep our native species from fading to black. Specifically, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has a comprehensive plan to address this unhappy situation and the state expends a lot of resources to work that plan.

One of the many actions taken recently to help the Eastern Indigo Snake in particular was the release of 20 captive-bred specimens into the wild at the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve in Liberty County. That's in the panhandle region of Florida, a little west of Tallahassee.

Just how much help this will be to the Eastern Indigo is impossible to tell, but it certainly can't hurt. The loss of habitat is problem no. 1 facing all of our native wildlife here in the Sunshine State, and though it seems cliché, it's nevertheless true that the problem is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Well, human nature being what it is, I don't think it will ever get better, but that's fodder for a different posting.

For now, I'm glad to see that our FWC here in Florida is doing fine work, helping to give our native species a fighting chance.

To read the entire press release about today's helpful and well-planned event, just follow this link.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, July 20, 2018

Happy Moon Day 2018, Folks!

Yes, it is National Moon Day today. We observe it on July 20th each year because Neil Armstrong first walk on the Moon's surface on this date back in 1969.

And, yes, I do remember exactly what I was doing on the day! I was touring the U.S. with a high school choral group called the Young Floridians in Concert. We were sponsored by Central Florida YFC and were travelling through upstate New York on that day, heading for our next gig.

Was the summer after my 9th grade year and was memorable for several reasons...

To help in some small way to mark this auspicious day, I'm contributing one of my own Moon shots I like best.

You're welcome!

If you'd like to leave a comment, especially if you have a story to share about what you were doing on that day, please feel free!

"Moondog Ben" Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, July 15, 2018

France brings home World Cup

If you're a soccer fan, you just may have heard, but the French bested Croatia 4-2 this afternoon and are the new World Champs!

Il n'y a aucune plus grande gloire dans le monde sportif! Vive La France!

I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I'm glad to see the world's most beloved sport become extremely popular here in the states. And the World Cup is a monster story every year, of course.

Orlando is trying to get a piece of the World Cup again for 2026. The bid is being taken seriously; folks who follow such things say the Florida's effort has a sporting chance. Having an MLS franchise here now certainly doesn't hurt!

It was awesome back in 1994 when Orlando hosted three or four prelim matches. (There were several other sites in the U.S., as well.) And I'd love to see us land it again for the big festivities eight years from now!

Orlando boy and low-key soccer fan, I am,

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

Ben is not the owner of this awesome photo and thinks it's covered by Fair Use.

Trey Gowdy is changing his tune

Just moments ago, I saw a snippet of Face The Nation on CBS. Margaret Brennan's guest was none other than Trey Gowdy, the father of the Benghazi investigation and the poster boy for outrageous GOP obstructionist behavior with respect to the Mueller investigation.

The main thrust of her final question was basically to get his take on the fact that the new indictments reveal that at least one, and most likely two people involved or formerly associated with the tRump campaign, passed those stolen emails back to the campaign.

The indictments do not reveal the identities of that person or persons, but most folks who follow such things believe that Roger Stone is one and that a hitherto little-known Florida political operative named Aaron Nevins is the other.

So Brennan wanted to get Gowdy's take on the new revelations.

I was shocked when I heard his response. He said, in a manner both plain and robust, that the Special Counsel should figure out exactly who those people were and take appropriate action!

Now, he could have been full of shit while saying that, but that's not the important part; at least it's not for me.

What was shocking to me was that his reply wasn't just more dissembling, deflecting, minimizing and obfuscation at which Gowdy excels and which has been the order of the day for Rethuglicans in the matter of Mueller's probe right from day one!

I could be reading too much into his remarks, but I believe it's another early sign that Repugs believe they've come to the end of their long-held, seemingly iron-clad strategy of uttering lie after lie in all press appearances to keep the truth about the tRump-Russia matter from coming to light.

I'm convinced that they've known that the investigation--and what is known about the investigation--would eventually reach the point where so much rot and corruption would be revealed that the public would stop believing their spin, deflection and lies; and that from that time on, they'd have to start distancing from Fearless Leader in order to prevent the whole party from going down with him.

Now, I don't think it's going to help. I think they're all going down anyway. But I'm now convinced that Gowdy and some others do, in fact, see the handwriting on the wall, and that their PR strategy is starting to change.

I'm happy to say that I believe we're at the tipping point.

And I believe that Bob Mueller's just getting started.

To read a very thorough delineation of the whole matter of how, allegedly, Stone and Nevins fed the content of those notorious stolen DNC emails back to the campaign, or--to be more precise--to tRump himself, check out this unrolled twitter thread from investigator Seth Abramson.

For more of a big picture look at Friday's very important indictments of 12 Russian GRU operatives and what the repercussions might be, follow this link.

Bulldog Ben, barkin' again!

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

It's the 4th of July and this time...

It's the 4th of July and this time our celebration is not like any other year in the 242 year history of our country.

The buffoon who was elevated to the highest office in the land in January of 2017 has proved to be an unmitigated disaster for the USA. This totally incompetent poser prez seems to spend all of his time watching Fox Noise, thinking of new ways to insult our allies and undo the considerable legacy of Barack Obama, all the while searching for new and disgusting strategies to cozy up to his man-crush, Vladimir Putin.

Well, when he's not a Mar-a-Lago playing golf, that is.

There are so many dimensions to the tragedy unfolding in our corporate life today. As we come to the day on which we celebrate our Independence, it can be a challenge to choose exactly what it is about tRump and tRumpism that sucks the worst.

Is it his cruelty and arrogance? His hard-to-believe, near-total ignorance of the history of our nation?

The fact that he knows less-than-zero about how the levers of government work?

Could it be the fact that he demonstrates no interest in carrying out the duties of the Presidency? Is it his complete and thoroughly-documented general incompetence?

Maybe it's his constant lying, exaggerating, denying, minimizing and just completely making shit up?

Honestly, it's hard to choose. Pick one. Keep in mind that my short list here is far from complete. Truthfully, I barely scratched the surface.

For me, it's easy. It's the fact that our #LyingLoserPrez is trying to march the country towards Fascism. All the signs are there. He is undermining the First Amendment's protection of journalism, of a free press. He screams "fake news" whenever anyone in the media points out one of his constant lies or just refuses to flatter him sufficiently in their stories.

He is setting us up for a foray into fascism with his constant "other-rizing" of immigrants and minority groups, pushing them farther and farther to the edge of our society and making them vulnerable to having their rights limited or taken away altogether.

Our constitution mandates that everyone within the jurisdiction of the United States receives the protections it affords. Not only citizens. But our unPOTUS still feels perfectly at liberty to separate children from their parents, some of whom are as young as six months, and then lock them in cages; the few places we have been permitted to see where kids have been interned look startlingly like dog kennels.

And this is happening to families whose only crime is the misdemeanor of crossing the border illegally. That describes, roughly, 90% of the families and individuals who have been rounded up by ICE or the Border Patrol. If people crossing the border are asking for asylum, their coming to the US is no crime at all! But they're being interned and having their children taken anyway without a case being opened for their asylum request.

This would-be tyrant is also fond of ignoring the rule of law. Of acting as though the law of the land simply doesn't apply to him. And--to compound the felony here--that he has unfettered power to pardon, not only all his family and friends and staff who have engaged in criminal behavior along with him, but to pardon himself!

Right! That's never been done in the United States. And wrap your mind around this stark reality: our President is claiming the right to pardon himself for crimes he keeps insisting he has not committed! It's insane! And about 35% of the American people have no problem with it. Or any other criminal outrage coming from the accursed occupant of our White House.

So Happy 4th of July, patriot! Reflect on the unhappy state of our nation today. And resolve to defend Lady Liberty from the many crimes and outrages committed by this petty, corrupt madman. This thoroughly incompetent madman, at that.

And join your fellows in the resistance movement. If we don't make common cause with one another and defend our once-great nation from this usurper, his enablers and minions, this 242nd celebration for America may be the last one where all her citizens enjoy the full rights and blessings granted them by the Constitution.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, June 18, 2018

Poll shows GOP likes Kim Jong Un better than Nancy Pelosi

There's no doubt that the image of Kim Jong Un has undergone a pretty startling rehabilitation in the wake of tRump's summit with the N. Korean despot. That took place six days ago, on June 12th.

Well, what we can say for sure is that his image is a whole lot better with tRump supporters in the GOP, anyway.

A just-released poll by IPSOS shows that Republican respondents have a higher opinion of North Korea's world-reviled, blood-thirsty dictator Kim Jong Un than Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives.

Let that sink in: Republicans today like a tyrant-for-life, vicious killer, who executes his countrymen and even his blood relatives with flame throwers and anti-aircraft guns over the leader of that other party in our House of Representatives.

Now let's shift the focus from merely reporting this little factoid to examining one of the larger issues which we would quite understandably want to look at in light of the poll's results.

How can our elected reps get the nation's business done when folks belonging to one of the two major parties think more highly of one of the most despicable dictators who's ever lived over a politician whose views they don't like?

How? In God's name, how? How can you work with elected officials in a political party who, when they stand for re-election, must convince folks who see the world that way to vote for them? 

Tell me how. 

You think you see a way forward for our Republic when approximately 30% of your countrymen hold a preference like that?

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, June 15, 2018

Go to Jail! Go directly to Jail!

Well, unless you've been under a rock for the last few hours, you've no doubt heard that Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ordered former tRump campaign manager and the best damn lobbyist for Russian-aligned dictators EVER, Paul Manafort to go to jail!

Her order, more specifically read: "Go to jail! Go directly to jail! Do not pass Go! Do NOT collect $200!" (Sorry. As a boomer who's played hundreds of hours of  Monopoly, I just couldn't resist!)

Poor, poor Pauly! To lock-up he went! Quite the fall from the heavens, wouldn't you say?

Turns out that it's a crime--and a very, very bad thing--to try to tamper with the testimony of a witness in a criminal case where you're the defendant! Who knew?!

Who knew that some of the stuff you send around using these new, very cool apps that encode shit and auto-delete shit from texts can be read from the cloud if one fails to disable the cloud-uploady feature? Who knew that?

Well, Mr. Manafort didn't. And not knowing that is the reason he's wearing one of those stylish orange jumpsuits right now!

Poor, poor Pauly! He'll be in there for many, many months until his very-complex trial starts. Could even take a year or two...

Hey, if you're as torn up about this as I am, here's a bit of consolation: you can mail Mr. Manafort at this address while he's chillin' like a villian! Yeah, this addy right here:

Paul Manafort
Inmate #00045343
Northern Neck Regional Jail
P.O. Box 1060
Warsaw, VA 22572

Pauly's all locked up! Sad!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

Update on Brother Pauly! Mr Manafort was moved to a lock up facility in the old town part of Alexandria, VA back on July 12th. Numerous reports came out after Bulldog posted this (June 15th), saying that bro Paul had a really sweet deal at the Northern Neck facility. Poor Pauly!

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kim Jong Un punks tRump in Singapore!

By now you've no doubt heard all about the awesome and historic summit between our Lying Loser Prez and Kim Jong Un, the vicious thug who rules North Korea with that proverbial iron fist.

Well, our Fearless Leader, our self-proclaimed Great Deal Maker just gave away the store in Singapore!

The #PoserPrez thought he was quite the negotiator when Kim put his name to a vaguely-worded pledge to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula; the fact is that it was nothing of substance, just a rehashing of  Korea's "commitment" made back in 2005 and at least two other times to pull the plug on the weapons program which has advanced light years from where it was when that "promise" was first made.

I'm not going to give the events in yesterday's summit any in-depth treatment in this post, but the specific event from the summit which has, quite justifiably, received the most treatment now that it's all wrapped up, was tRump's agreement--without actually being asked--to halt our military exercises with our South Korean allies.

Yeah. This cartoonishly incompetent, ego-driven moron many Americans thought had the skill and moxie to well represent the United States just bent over enthusiastically in Singapore and let KJU booty-root him with one of those second-generation, intermediate-range missiles in front of the whole world.

The blood-red, Donnie-commie cherry on this shit sundae of international diplomacy: while this was going on, the tRumpkins back home exploded in great paroxysms of demented delight, lauding Fearless Leader for his amazing negotiating skills and general awesomeness!

If you'd like to read a more detailed accounting of how this deal went down, here's a link to a solid article from Australian media about the summit that gives a pretty thorough treatment to Singapore without wading in too deep. (Yes, I know that's not an adverb. So sue me!)

A closing thought: here's a link to another piece which clearly, and with delicious irony, highlights how tRump went on at some length in a post-summit interview about what a great negotiator Kim is.

Well, Mr. tRump! The world certainly agrees with you on that one!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Our Poser Prez plays the fool at the G-7 Conference

Well, our #LyingLoserPrez is up to his usual antics. This week, the setting is the G-7 Conference, where the leaders of the seven large industrial economies meet each year to take care of business.

The biggest facet of the story about the summit has to do with our uber-ignorant and incompetent leader's insistence that the US has been on the bad end of trade policies promulgated and followed by the world's industrialized nations and that he's going to put a stop to it.

Of course, this joke-of-a-leader cannot offer any rationale or proof behind his ridiculous contentions about trade with our close allies, but so what! He never has fact-based arguments behind any of his insane, toxic beliefs. There's no reason to think that this would be, or will be, any different.

The bottom line is that our know-nothing, America-first-and-fuck-all-the-rest-of-you pretend prez puts his ignorance, arrogance and malice on display everywhere he goes and anytime he represents our once-great nation.

There's no end to his tantrums, thinly-veiled insults and perpetual eye-pokes to our closest friends every time he's in the presence of other world leaders. Well, of course, not when he's around the world's most reprehensible dictators and strong men. No, not then.

The fact that he's doing all of this again at this very important G-7 summit should surprise no one. And it will go on just like this until we get this fool, this con man, this hateful, ignorant bastard out of our White House.

Oh, and one closing thought: his insane insistence that it's time to let Russia back into the G-7 is completely unwarranted, would reward their criminal invasion of the Ukraine and is the cherry at the top of this G-7 shit sundae!

Enough editorializing! You can read a thorough summation from Reuters all about the summit and tRump's behavior there by following this link.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile