Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Trump Lies About Everything


One of the standout lies from last night's disastrous presidential debate was when Trump made the claim that 308,000 veterans died waiting for care because of something that President Obama and Vice President Biden somehow didn't do.

We all know that Obama and Biden inherited two wars and an avalanche of claims from veterans because of the way Bush and Cheney ran the government. They started those wars and failed to anticipate the results. Thousands of our troops died and many times that number came home wounded and injured. The relentless deployments left far too many men and women with the after effects of multiple tours of duty overseas. Blaming them for what happened with the VA system is ludicrous, especially given the fact that the GOP blocked funding for Veterans as often as possible.

I mean, honestly. What can you do with lies like this?

President Donald Trump’s allegation at Tuesday’s debate that former Vice President Joe Biden’s policies while in office killed hundreds of thousands veterans rests on a five-year-old inspector general report that found widespread problems with Veterans Affairs record keeping but does not directly connect deaths to delayed care from department officials.

The report — compiled in the wake of the 2014 VA wait time scandal where numerous hospital administrators were found to cover up wait times at their medical centers — drew headlines at the time as another sign of incompetence and mismanagement at the embattled department. 


Biden disputed both allegations. Trump’s campaign team tweeted out news coverage of the 2015 report in support of the president’s attack just minutes after the debate remarks.

In the report, the VA Inspector General looked into reports of nearly 900,000 pending enrollment applications within the department’s health care system as of September 2014. However, investigators “could not reliably determine how many pending records existed as a result of applications for health care benefits.”

Trump will lie about everything he can come up with. We have never fully appreciated the efforts undertaken by the Obama/Biden administration to solve problems that were dumped on them and exacerbated by Mitch McConnell's obstruction policies. 

The Stumblebum


You're just going to have to get used to the idea that 42% of the American people are going to look at Trump and see someone "strong" and "presidential." He is none of those things. He is a broken, crazy fool and he's killing Americans every day with his incompetence. He's a stumblebum and he will never be "presidential."

The debates won't change anything. They give the media something to do and they allow for the possibility that there will be some sort of horserace.

There is no horserace. There is just this country's descent into Trumpism. We need to fight harder and fight back and make sure this never happens to us again.

Joe Biden is right. Vote, vote, vote.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars

What the fuck?

Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000 because he reported losing significantly more than he made, according to an explosive report released Sunday by the New York Times

In both the year he won the presidency and his first year in the White House, Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes, the Times reported. 

Detailing payments gleaned from more than two decades of tax information, the Times report outlines extensive financial losses and years of tax avoidance that deal a blow to the business-tycoon brand Trump has built his political career on.

At a White House briefing Sunday, Trump denied the New York Times story and claimed that he pays "a lot" in federal income taxes.

I mean, what the fuckity fuck?

The Times reported Sunday that Trump's tax information reveals specific examples of the potential conflicts of interests between the President's business with his position. 

The President has collected an additional $5 million a year at Mar-a-Lago since 2015 from new members. A roofing material manufacturer GAF spent at least $1.5 million in 2018 at Trump's Doral golf course near Miami while its industry was lobbying the government to roll back federal regulations, according to the Times. 

It also found that Billy Graham Evangelistic Association paid more than $397,000 to Trump's Washington, DC, hotel in 2017.

The newspaper reported that in Trump's first two years in office, he has collected $73 million in revenue overseas, with much of that coming from his golf courses but some coming from licensing deals in countries, including the Philippines, India and Turkey.

Holy fucking shit.

Trump's Campaign Managers Are Always in Trouble

The most dangerous job in America is being Trump's campaign manager:

President Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale was taken from his Fort Lauderdale home by police Sunday afternoon after his wife reported that he was armed and threatening suicide.

The police, called by his wife, went to the house in the Seven Isles community, an affluent area in which houses have access to the water. They made contact, “developed a rapport” and negotiated his exit from the house, the police said in a statement. He was taken to Broward Health Medical Center under the Baker Act, which provides for temporary involuntary commitment.

Parscale has millions and millions of dollars that he was able to extract from notorious tax cheat and deadbeat billionaire Trump. He probably took that money out of the campaign that Trump is pretending to run for president but which actually serves as a massive slush fund for all the crimes we don't know about yet. 

Let's hope Brad gets the help he needs before he goes to Federal Prison for fraud and other alleged crimes.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Many Fine People Wearing T-Shirts


Andrew Kimmel is covering today's white nationalism rally in Portland, Oregon. The Proud Boys have come from all over to carry out acts of provocative violence against American citizens who are exercising their right to protest.

In about a year's time, when there is a Democrat in the White House, these same people will be exercising their own right to protest against anyone who they deem a threat to their belief in white supremacy. Instead of carrying out acts of violence against protesters, they'll probably be shaking hands with the cops and damaging or seizing Federal property.

How did we get to this point in American history? Look no further than the seizure and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in, where else, Oregon.

When anti-government wingnuts and white supremacists are allowed to get away with criminal activity, they tend to continue with that criminal activity in order to draw attention and donations to their cause. These are people who literally can't hold down a steady, normal job anymore because they are too well known in their communities as racists and fuckheads. And so, white supremacy becomes their full-time occupation.

This is all paid for by the Republicans who tolerate and encourage this activity. Without it, they couldn't steal any elections.

Tess Owen is also tracking what's happening today. Please follow Andrew and Tess and support their efforts!

The Extremist


There are a number of reasons to oppose Amy Coney Barrett but the simplest reason is right in front of everyone's faces.

She's an extremist.

She holds extreme views that are out of the mainstream of legal thought.

She will vote to make abortion illegal.

She'll vote to end the Affordable Care Act.

She will side with large corporations against all others.

This is all based on her actual record as a judge. This is not my opinion. She's so extreme, the right wing is practically having a public orgasm over her being chosen. That, in and of itself, should disqualify her from being on the court but it won't.

Oh, and the media is too stupid to explain why she's so extreme. They'll frame it in simple terms. "How could this attractive young woman have views far to the right of Antonin Scalia? It's unheard of. Besides, she has a wonderful smile and Democrats are just stupid."

She's too extreme for the court that she's already on! And now they want to elevate her to the Supreme Court where she will sit for forty years and vote without reservation for a view of America that is so far to the right, John Birch would blush.

This is where we're at because some squishy people couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary.

You get the country you deserve when you don't vote or if you don't vote for reasonable people. The end result is going to hurt an untold number of people and drive more and more Americans into poverty and ruin. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Remember That They Hate You

If you are not in their tribe, they want to see you serving their needs and paying the price for their success in this world:

The Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police Department is looking into a derogatory email a police major sent to her colleagues in August that said people who are part of antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement are "punks" who are not important, a spokesman said.

 The email was written by Maj. Bridget Hallahan, who commands the police department's Fifth Division.

Hallahan, 47, confirmed to NBC News on Thursday that she sent the email and said fellow officers have been supportive. She also said she retires in six days.

 Phillip Bailey, a journalist in Louisville, tweeted screenshots of the email Tuesday evening. He said it had been provided to him by an unnamed law enforcement source.

In the email, Hallahan writes:

"These ANTIFA and BLM people, especially the ones who just jumped on the bandwagon 'yesterday' because they became 'woke' (insert eye roll here), do not deserve a second glance or thought from us," it continues. "Our little pinky toenails have more character, morals, and ethics, than these punks have in their entire body."

These are the sentiments of someone incapable of serving the community in which they live. You can have different beliefs and you can have values that aren't shared by the people that you are required to serve and protect. But if this is how you feel about your fellow Americans, you have joined a tribe that excludes all others and is not in the business of protecting anyone else or taking care of public safety. If this is how Hallahan feels then she should get out of the public sector and go to work somewhere else (which is apparently her right and her intention very soon).

There is no dedication to civics here. It's just raw, unfiltered rage. This woman took a job as a police officer and rose within the ranks without a moment of introspection. She believes that the people who live in her community are mere animals to be handled and discarded and abused. No public servant should ever say these things about the same people who are paying her goddamned salary.

Thanks again, Trumpists. You have helped break the country. She was probably already like this from the start but something about the last four years made it easier for her to spout these horrible ideas.

The Brutal Nightmare of Conservative Media

This is one of the top stories at Tucker Carlson's shitpost extravaganza, otherwise known as the Daily Caller (no link because fuck them).

It's like a descent into madness. Here we have a white nationalist publication that supports the white nationalist president currently leading an entire nation to a suicidal stand inside of the Fuhrer bunker. It's a story written out in near-perfect tones of derision and outrage, signaling that we will soon have a new FBI Director.

Conservative crying bitch Mark Meadows is handling the dirty work today. He is forced to prop up the absurd claim that mail in ballots are anything other than a great idea in a time of global pandemic. This is because, as soon as a majority of Americans vote, Trump and his criminal enterprise will fall back under the jurisdiction of a Biden Justice Department and then everyone's going to jail. Wheee! 

It's not going so great. FBI Director Christopher Wray would very much like to avoid having to go to jail so he is, more or less, just trying to do the job he was handed without getting too deep into the weeds with QAnon and Trumpism. This means that a lackey like Meadows is going to have to stick the knife in his back. The fact that he is using Tucker's white nationalist website to do it is one thing. It's entirely another thing to see the White House Chief of Staff attack the FBI Director who was appointed by the WHCOS's boss in a conservative media outlet.

We are witnessing a circular firing squad. Instead of attacking the Democrats, they're going after each other. I mean, talk about your brutal nightmares. If it wasn't so entertaining, I'd say we need less of this and more of the conservatives just going after the Never Trumpers. But, no. We now get three or four layers of outright fratricide to watch and read.

You hate to see it.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

This is How the Sausage Gets Made

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is up to his neck in criminal mischief:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told a judge the U.S. Postal Service can’t reassemble the hundreds of high speed mail-sorting machines that were taken apart this year, a project that more than a dozen states allege was intended to undermine the upcoming election.

A nationwide injunction issued last week in Yakima, Washington, should be amended to acknowledge that the machines can’t be put back together, DeJoy and the USPS said in a filing in the case on Wednesday. The machines, dismantled under a DeJoy initiative, were stripped for parts to improve or repair other machines, they said.

“It is therefore not possible to return such machines to service,” the USPS and DeJoy, a major Republican donor, said in the filing.

The Sept. 17 injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian, requires the USPS to reverse disruptive operational changes implemented by DeJoy, including restrictions on overtime and changes to the handling of election mail, such as absentee ballots applications. The order was sought by a group of Democratic state attorneys general who have sued the postal service.

DeJoy is a wealthy man. Surely he can afford to sell some of his stocks and sell off some of his assets to replace and restore the mail sorting equipment that was destroyed because he wants to ensure Trump gets re-elected? Seems to me that the first thing a new administration is going to have to do is deal with the second tier criminality of all the Trump appointees after it deals with the first tier criminality of Trump and his family members.

The third tier will be when we get to the Stephen Millers of the world who should be handed over to The Hague and charged with crimes against humanity.

I mean, there's so much criminal activity out there. Can we ever really be sure that we know about all of it? What about everything we're going to spend the next twenty years discovering? Watching DeJoy make the sausage like this is wearing me out. First he takes a fully functional Federal agency that the American people love and depend upon. Then he evaluates how to destroy it. And, finally, he just does it and makes everything permanent! Suck it, libs. You can always spend money we no longer have to rebuild it next year! But, remember. You can't raise taxes on shit birds like DeJoy in order to pay for it.

Truly, it boggles the mind to consider the criminal behavior of the one-term Trump Regime. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Once a fixture at the administration's coronavirus briefings, Dr. Deborah Birx has confided to aides and friends that she has become so unhappy with what she sees as her diminished role as coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force that she is not certain how much longer she can serve in her position, sources familiar with her thinking tell CNN. 

Birx has told people around her that she is "distressed" with the direction of the task force, describing the situation inside the nation's response to the coronavirus as nightmarish. 

According to people familiar with her thinking, Birx views Dr. Scott Atlas, a recent addition to the task force, as an unhealthy influence on President Donald Trump's thinking when it comes to the virus.

In other words, "I would love to resign on principle but that ship has sailed."

The Collusion is Happening Right Out in the Open

No one in the Trump Regime is defending this country against our enemies:
Nine current and former officials said in interviews that CIA Director Gina Haspel has become extremely cautious about which, if any, Russia-related intelligence products make their way to President Donald Trump’s desk. Haspel also has been keeping a close eye on the agency’s fabled “Russia House,” whose analysts she often disagrees with and sometimes accuses of purposefully misleading her.

Politico talked to a number of people who are practically crapping all over Gina Haspel's tenure as the head of the CIA. Someone is probably figuring out how they can file a lawsuit over how they've been treated as a government employee: 

Haspel’s scrutiny of intelligence coming out of the CIA’s Russia House has led to some recent dust-ups. The head of Russia House, whom officials declined to identify by name because they work undercover, was fired earlier this year, according to four of the current and former officials familiar with the matter, but remains at the agency in another mission center. It’s not clear why he was ousted, but Haspel’s personal dislike of him was clear. “Gina was not a fan,” said one of the people familiar with the matter.

Another Russia House analyst quit earlier this year after Haspel accused him of lying about intelligence — an accusation that happens fairly often, several former officials said. “She calls analysts liars all the time,” said one former CIA official. The head of the mission center itself is still in place.
More recently, Haspel “completely dismissed” Russia House analysts who brought her intelligence showing a correlation between Russia and the curious phenomenon of diplomats experiencing brain trauma, according to one current U.S. official with knowledge of the episode. The brain trauma issue first came to light in 2017 when American and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba complained of mysterious health problems that have never been definitively explained.

“She had a very defensive reaction, reacted very poorly and made some comments about needing to clean out Russia House,” the official said.

Why would anyone accept a diplomatic assignment overseas? Why would anyone put themselves in a position where they would have to answer for finding out that the president is owned lock, stock and barrel by a bunch of Russian oligarchs? Why would anyone work for such an agency given the abuse that comes from the top? And why would anyone conclude that the interests of the American people are being considered against the need for Trump to appease his Russian paymasters?

If there wasn't already ample evidence that our country is essentially a vassal state of the Kremlin, what more proof would you need? A hammer and sickle tattoo on Trump's plump white diapered ass?

Monday, September 21, 2020

We Do Not Have a Functioning CDC Right Now

This is bullshit:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday abruptly reverted to its previous guidance about how coronavirus is transmitted, removing language about airborne transmission it had posted just days earlier. 

 "A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency's official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted," Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesman, said in a response emailed to CNN.

The guidance had been quietly updated on Friday, according to the CDC's website. CNN was first to report the change on Sunday. The CDC responded to CNN just before noon on Monday to say it was reverting to the previous guidance.

Despite several studies that have shown the novel coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air, the CDC page now says that Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly between people in close contact -- about 6 feet -- and "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks." This is the same language it posted months ago.

There is no way to say this without sounding shrill. The CDC has stopped functioning as an agency. It is now an arm of the Trump Re-Election Campaign. It is no longer a Federal agency devoted to protecting the American people or using science to advance our understanding of diseases.

People need to start walking out the door. I understand that there are no more whistleblower protections in place. Hell, there aren't many Inspectors General left either. But, damn. We are in a terrible place right now and people are dying.

Robert Mueller Betrayed His Country

This is what you get when a lifelong Republican is tasked with investigating a Republican president:

Nobody in the GOP believes in the rule of law or the idea of America. Those are convenient catchphrases when they want to throw people in prison or stop the Democratic Party from expanding freedom for the American people. It is a cult of power. When they hold power, they stop social progress and transfer wealth to the rich. When they do not hold power, they desperately try to stop human progress.

The entirety of the conservative argument for governance is now wrapped around making sure that after Trump is thrown out of office that they can go back to a more polite form of advancing the cause of white supremacy and handing trillions of dollars to the rich.

Robert Mueller knew that if he acted like a normal prosecutor he would find crimes. The crimes have been committed out in the open since day fucking one! The crimes are right there for normal people to see! But, as a committed defender of the Republican Party, he had to ensure that his investigation did not end up destroying any chance of the GOP winning the presidency in the post-Trump era.

Institutionalists defend their own, and that's what Mueller did. He carried out a weak, pathetic excuse for an investigation into the greatest criminal enterprise in history. He let the Trump crime syndicate walk.

This was a betrayal of the American ideal. The founders could not have anticipated Trump nor could they have accounted for men like Mueller who would facilitate the wholesale ratfucking and betrayal of democracy itself.

And the very idea that Mueller could not--could not--question the adult children of Donald Trump is the biggest farce of all. These are adults who appear to have committed numerous crimes. These are adults whose criminal activities--all of them proven in the State of New York--have resulted in being banned from operating charities. This is a level of deference that would never, ever be shown to any Democratic politician's family members or children. 

What a fucking travesty of justice. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Eric Trump Will Do Whatever He Wants and You Can't Stop Him

You peasants are lucky that the Trump family even lets you live in their country:

Eric Trump is willing to be interviewed by the New York State Attorney General's Officefor its investigation into the Trump Organization after the presidential election, according to a new court filing.
"(I)n recent correspondence, counsel for Mr. Trump have made clear that he is willing to appear pursuant to the subpoena and have also proposed four available dates after the Presidential election on November 3, 2020," lawyers for the Trump Organization wrote in a court filing Thursday.

"(C)ounsel for Mr. Trump proposed multiple dates beginning shortly after the election -- just two weeks later on November 19 -- because of Mr. Trump's extreme travel schedule and related unavailability between now and the election, and to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes," the attorneys added.

Last month, New York state Attorney General Letitia James' office asked a judge to enforce subpoenas for Eric Trump's testimony and documents as part of its investigation into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of certain assets. The office said Trump, who is executive vice president of the Trump Organization, initially agreed to be interviewed for the civil investigation in July but then abruptly canceled, "balking less than two days before he was scheduled by agreement to give testimony."

In the world in which the Republican Party lives, you can not and you will not question THE LEADER or HIS FAMILY and you will BOW DOWN to the power they have seized OR ELSE. Nice work if you can get it. This is not the sort of due process anyone else is granted when accused of defrauding the taxpayers and committing insurance fraud.

Everywhere you go, Democrats are operating under the assumption that they have to treat the Trumps fairly and with a level of respect they have not earned by paying any taxes. These are criminals and cheats, people so fucking crooked that they cannot even run a charity anymore. These are people who have stolen donations for kids with cancer and have looted the country. They should be treated like criminals who are innocent until proven guilty and afforded the due process that they deny to others. Watching the Trumps game the legal system with delays and filings and appeals and objections is like watching an adult take candy from a baby.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Mass Hysterectormies Performed at ICE Facility in Georgia

There is an ICE facility in Ocilla, Georgia that is run by a private company called LaSalle Corrections. It is being used to house immigrant women who have been detained by the United States government. Here's what we know so far.

Female detainees were given hysterectomies without fully understanding why they needed to have them.
Several legal advocacy groups on Monday filed a whistleblower complaint on behalf of a nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center documenting “jarring medical neglect” within the facility, including a refusal to test detainees for the novel coronavirus and an exorbitant rate of hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women.

The nurse, Dawn Wooten, was employed at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia, which is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company. The complaint was filed with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by advocacy groups Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network.
Multiple women came forward to tell Project South about what they perceived to be the inordinate rate at which women in ICDC were subjected to hysterectomies – a surgical operation in which all or part of the uterus is removed. Additionally, many of the immigrant women who underwent the procedure were reportedly “confused” when asked to explain why they had the surgery, with one detainee likening their treatment to prisoners in concentration camps.
“Recently, a detained immigrant told Project South that she talked to five different women detained at ICDC between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done,” the complaint stated. “When she talked to them about the surgery, the women ‘reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.’ The woman told Project South that it was as though the women were ‘trying to tell themselves it’s going to be OK.’”
“When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies,” the detainee said.
How do you find the words to explain how unthinkable this is? It is an evil that has infected our society in a way that all but guarantees that we have failed to stop it from taking root in the first place. I mean, there's no hyperbole here! This is cruel! It's inhuman! It's the exact opposite of everything this country is supposed to stand for!

That's Trumpism for you. It never fails to attain a level of viciousness that would never have been believed just a decade ago.

The party of life, my ass.


Jeff Zucker is a Direct Threat to American Democracy

The fix has always been in:
As the pandemic deaths mount, huge sections of the West Coast burn, Trump threatens military action against possible post-election protesters, and the U.S. economy remains stuck in a dire state of decline, it's important to understand how the country came to this crisis under Trump. And it's imperative that the media's role in creating Trump's doomed presidency doesn’t get overlooked or downplayed. The news media's failings in 2016 were legendary and the country today is paying a stunning price. That's why disturbing new revelations about CNN's relationship with Trump during the 2016 campaign are so infuriating.

According to a recently leaked phone call from the height of the Republican primary season, CNN chief Jeff Zucker called Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen to butter up team Trump: "You guys have had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything." Zucker stressed how "fond" he was of Trump, wished he could talk to him "every day," and then floated the idea of giving Trump a "weekly show" on CNN during the campaign. Zucker ended the call by announcing he was going to call Trump directly and "wish him luck in the debate tonight…He's going to do great."

A weekly show? CNN wanted to hand over airtime exclusively to one of the candidates running for president? Ethically, that's unthinkable. Why would the head of a news organization be trying to broker that kind of deal during a campaign year? It's inconceivable, unless you view American presidential campaigns as nothing more that entertainment, and your job as the head of CNN is to secure pleasing content.
Now you know why CNN always has some hangdog-looking schmoe who is always eager to tell people that Trumpism ain't that bad. There are no arguments to make for a second Trump term in office. There are stacks and stacks of bodies and an entire nation approaching economic collapse. There is no reason to think Trump won't retaliate against everyone opposed him and ensure that he is an American dictator for life if he steals the November election.

Jeff Zucker will be right there, courting Trump and looking for a way to cash in.

A Biden presidency will be the most boring, reasonable thing you can imagine. We might get to go a whole week without a shit-headed rant from the president. We might get to go two full days without a major scandal that would sink a normal presidency. We might get to go four fucking hours without someone burping out a racist, bigoted statement from an official government social media account. That would hurt CNN's bottom line. They would have to cover the news and they would be required to talk about why Biden is actively fixing everything Trump and his cronies broke on the way out the door.

No one stands more ready to dance on the bones of democracy than Jeff Zucker. When all of this is over, maybe he and Trump can go start a news channel together.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Mike Pompeo Wants the White People to Know He Loves Them

I find it hard to believe that Trump would tolerate what Mike Pompeo is doing right out in the open like this:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is quietly relaunching his extravagant, taxpayer-funded "Madison Dinners" during the coronavirus pandemic, even as Congress scrutinizes his use of government resources to entertain CEOs, big-dollar Republican donors and television anchors.
 Pompeo's Madison Dinners, which an NBC News investigationrevealed in May, had been on pause since March, when the country shut down because of the coronavirus. But now they're back, with a dinner scheduled for Monday and at least three others on the calendar in September and October, two U.S. officials said.

I mean, if Trump loses in November, the mad scramble to round up all the goobers and create a new coalition of freaks, racists, QAnon believers, and bellowing crazies is going to have to start sooner rather than later. You have to organize the nut jobs in such a way as to separate them from their money when they're good and angry about being told they have health care and clean drinking water, you see.

Pompeo knows that he will barely have a shot at getting out ahead of Ivanka Trump and the withering, manly stare of War Hero Mike Pence before Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton swoop in ahead of Nikki Haley to seize the RNC donor lists that Ronna Romney is hiding in her bra. What better way to do this than to reassure a bunch of white people that he's white like them and that he believes in the white supremacy that these white assholes believe in with all of their whiteness? 

I mean, honestly. Does anyone really think that the people gathered above are there for the witty conversation? This is about the soul of white America and they're looking for a hero. Instead, they get Pompeo and whatever cheap catered food he can shove in their face. It's not looking too good for him, but who gives a shit, right?

Horrible Old England is Delivering Scottish Independence

The Scottish people are going to find a way to become independent of what's destroying England right now:
Ewan McGregor has shared his support for the Scottish independence campaign, in a U-turn from his previous ‘no’ stance.

Speaking in a new interview, the Star Wars actor cited the 2016 Brexit deal as the main reason for his change of heart.

Talking on the Real Time with Bill Maher show (40 mins in), McGregor said: “I was always for keeping the Union because I think it worked – but after the Brexit vote I’ve changed my tune about it I think.

The entire Brexit deal is a death blow to the idea that the British Isles can remain united under any circumstances. There is a terrible divide between what animates the bankers in London, who are in love with disaster capitalism, and the people who live in places like Glasgow who want to have toilet paper and food and drinkable water when they get up in the morning. 

We are going to see our own version of this in January of 2021. A vast swath of America will decide that "states rights!" will become the law of their land and they will not consent to being governed by a Democrat. They'll rise up in phony outrage at this prospect.

Vladimir Putin has had quite an effect on Western Democracy, hasn't he? Well, the end result is going to remake the world. America will have to deal with those who do not wish to be ruled by majority vote. And Scotland will have to find a way out of the darkness created by a political sect in England that imagined itself capable of separating from the European Union so that they could cash in. Good luck to everyone who believes in the idea of democracy. There are going to be long days ahead as we maintain these ideas.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

No More QAnon Bullshit

This has to stop:
Police and local officials on the West Coast are battling multiple raging fires. They're also fighting a wave of misinformation from false rumors spread in neighborhood Facebook groups and on far-right websites that antifa activists were setting the blazes.
At least six groups have issued warnings about the false rumors, including some pleading with the public to stop sharing the misinformation.

“Rumors spread just like wildfire and now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON,” the Douglas County Sheriff's Office wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The false claims also became fodder for the now-sizable online QAnon community, which began amplifying various false reports earlier in the week.
Whatever needs to be done to regulate the flow of misinformation and put a stop to it has to start with understanding that it affects public safety. People are dying because they are being mislead intentionally in order to spread a dangerous conspiracy theory/ideology through mass hysteria. This is the kind of actual hysteria that kills people. QAnon is the asshole who yells 'fire' in a crowded movie theater, laughs when people are trampled, and gets away with it because Facebook says its alright to do these things.

This is unbelievable. This is what law enforcement has to deal with? Seriously?

This is a form of domestic terrorism. Not only is it being used to ratfuck an election, it's a threat to public safety.

The attorneys general for these Western states need to have a quick confab and begin with putting together a lawsuit against any social media company that actively entertains and spreads QAnon information. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Fox News -- they are all liable for this. Any Republican spreading it should be liable as well. Start with massive fines and criminal prosecutions for disseminating threats and information that deal directly with public safety considerations.

Once the fines hit, and once these companies realize that they need to de-platform the people who spread QAnon misinformation, it will probably take years to deprogram the acolytes of stupidity. And if this was just about wacky hats and memes on comment threads, that would be one thing. We have individuals with guns ready to shoot people because they are inundated with bullshit that isn't true. Someone better do something fast.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Here They Come

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) recently alerted one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The hacking attempts targeted staff at Washington-based SKDKnickerbocker, a campaign strategy and communications firm working with Biden and other prominent Democrats, over the past two months, the sources said.

A person familiar with SKDK’s response to the attempts said the hackers failed to gain access to the firm’s networks. “They are well-defended, so there has been no breach,” the person said.
SKDK Vice Chair Hilary Rosen declined to comment. A Biden spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The hacking attempts on SKDK come as U.S. intelligence agencies have raised alarms about possible efforts by foreign governments to interfere in the November presidential election.
Investigations by former special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee both concluded that affiliates of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and Mueller has warned that Russia was meddling in the current campaign.

One of the sources said it was not clear whether Biden’s campaign was the target or whether the Russians were attempting to gain access to information about other SKDK clients.

This is not surprising nor is a shock. We knew this was going to happen and we know that the GOP's efforts to block any effort to bolster America's cyber defenses are going to result in a seriously compromised election. The Republican leadership in the Senate have effectively blocked virtually every attempt to fight back against Russian interference in our election.

In and of itself, this is another example of collusion with an adversary that is trying to subvert and destroy our democracy. I wish the media would wake up, and I don't think we're going to find out what's going on until well after the election.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Understanding the Meltdown

I don't know about you, but when I go looking for a diversion, I really don't need to hear more bad news on top of all the bad news we're faced with each and every day. However, the need to understand what's happening in our world takes precedent. As Antarctica goes, so goes the whole planet.

Scientists may just have identified Thwaites Glacier's Achilles heel.

This Antarctic colossus is melting at a rapid rate, dumping billions of tonnes of ice in the ocean every year and pushing up global sea-levels.

Now, a UK-US team has surveyed the deep seafloor channels in front of the glacier that almost certainly provide the access for warm water to infiltrate and attack Thwaites' underside.

It's information that will be used to try to predict the ice stream's future.

"These channels had not been mapped before in this kind of detail, and what we've discovered is that they're actually much bigger than anyone thought - up to 600m deep. Think of six football pitches back to back," said Dr Kelly Hogan from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

"And because they are so deep, and so wide - this allows a lot more water to get at, and melt, Thwaites' floating front as well as its ice that rests on the seabed," she told BBC News. 

If you need some good news, think of the dedication of these scientists. They may not be able to solve the problem but the fact that they're working on it is worth praise.

Republicans Love to Help the Russians


Ken Cuccinelli couldn't get elected dog catcher so he ended up working for Trump in the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of functioning more or less like a normal American official in the Federal government, our man Cuccinelli decided to act like a clown and help our adversaries:

A whistleblower is alleging that top political appointees in the Department of Homeland Security repeatedly instructed career officials to modify intelligence assessments to suit President Donald Trump's agenda by downplaying Russia's efforts to interfere in the US and the threat posed by White supremacists, according to documents reviewed by CNN and a source familiar with the situation.

The whistleblower claims that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf instructed DHS officials earlier this year to "cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference" and, instead, focus their efforts on gathering information related to activities being carried out by China and Iran.

Trump and several of his top national security advisers have repeatedly sought to emphasize the threat posed by China in recent months while downplaying the intelligence community's warnings related to Russian interference in the 2020 election.

DHS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment regarding allegations that Wolf and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli ordered officials to change intelligence assessments for political reasons but have broadly denied either man took actions that constitute as an abuse of power, as stated in the complaint.

So, if you "modify" the intelligence assessments in a way that redirects America's understanding of what our adversaries are trying to do to us in order to make it so that the current president can avoid taking action against Russia, you're not loyal to this country. You are helping our adversaries and hurting our efforts to defend ourselves.

Is there just one person working for Trump who believes in the idea of America? Is there just one person who can do the right thing once in a goddamned while?

Apparently not. What a bunch of idiots.


Medford, Oregon is on Fire

Tonight, an American city of over 80,000 people is burning. 
As fire ravages the cities of Phoenix and Talent, a new blaze started in north Medford.
The fire was first reported at about 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. Radio traffic indicated it was at or close to the Bear Creek Greenway near Interstate 5 exit 30.
As of 9:00 p.m., I-5 remained closed in the area as limited resources attacked the fire. Evacuations were being considered as far north as Central Point due to the spread of the fire.
This comes as a fire that started in north Ashland Tuesday burned north through Talent and Phoenix, triggering evacuation notices for the City of Medford.
Not the woods, not the brush in the hills--the city is beginning to burn. The fire has swept down into the city and is burning structures. Evacuations are being carried out.

This map says it all:

While we carry on with all of our problems and live with our cares and concerns, there's a fire headed straight up Interstate 5 and it's headed for the city itself.

Say a prayer tonight (or pray to whatever deity you follow or believe in) and think good thoughts for the people in the way of what's happening. Whether you've been following the folks facing devastation in Louisiana and Texas or the people in eastern Iowa who are still dealing with the after effects of a devastating derecho, it is hard to see how it is possible to escape being on edge about what is happening to the world around us.  Add to that COVID-19, economic calamity, 50,000,000 Americans facing hunger and everything else I haven't mentioned, and it is just staggering how much suffering there is out there right now.

I am hoping we get to a better version of America soon and go back to taking care of one another because this year is the annus horriblus of nightmares.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

You Planted Those Seeds, Dammit

I did warn you:
In late July, America was briefly enthralled with “Unsolicited Seeds from China,” which started showing up in mailboxes in all 50 states. These mystery seeds prompted warnings from the USDA, which said people should not plant them, and should instead alert their state agricultural authority and mail them to the USDA or their local officials.
Many Americans heeded this advice. Many more decidedly did not.
You stupid sons of bitches, what am I going to do with you?
Based on documents I’ve read, the scale of the mystery seed operation was much larger than I had originally suspected and than was originally reported. Conservatively, it is safe to say that tens of thousands of Americans received what they perceived to be Chinese mystery seeds in July. Some states, like North Carolina, had more than 1,000 people contact the department of agriculture having received unsolicited seeds. Others, like New Mexico, had roughly 100 recorded seed receivers. Many of these seed receivers, regardless of location, panicked.
"About a month ago, I did receive seeds from China. I guess China because it looks like Chinese writing. I thought, 'Oh cool, maybe Burgess seeds or one of the seed companies send me some seeds.' And, umm, like a dumbass, I planted them, not knowing there was a problem," a woman in New Mexico said in a voicemail left with the state's department of agriculture in late July. "And now, I've been battling this for a couple weeks. Now, where I planted them, and I remember where I planted them, everything that's in the garden where I planted them are having a hard time and are starting to die … I really don't know what to do at this point, so could somebody call me back and give me a little bit of direction about this? I know I'm a dumbass."
America, we had a good run. The decline is real, and the fall of this great nation is at hand. But, then again, maybe we'll just sacrifice some boats and keep on truckin'.

Friday, September 4, 2020

The Threat is Real

Look what the crazy QAnon lady from Georgia did now.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, the House candidate and professed QAnon acolyte whom President Trump called “a future Republican star,” posted a photo of herself holding a gun she plans to raffle off, saying she wanted to go on the “offense” against the three Congresswomen known as “The Squad”— and her campaign said anyone who takes offense is “paranoid and ridiculous.”
Aviator sunglasses? Why, doesn't Joe Biden wear those? Clearly, Miss Greene is signalling to the faithful that she's a bag of nuts.

And, remember. The GOP caucus knew everything about her in June. They knew she was racist and that she was human garbage. She's still on the ticket and they're not going to do a damned thing about her. The people that voted for her in the primary knew who she was. They did not mind a bit.

This Country is Probably Over

There have been so many warning signs, all of them ignored by people who call themselves Americans.

We knew in the early days of Trump's campaign and Trump's presidency that he was a bum. He hated the very ideals that made America a unique experiment. He was always a rudderless, transactional human being who was shamelessly cruel to anyone who raised a voice against him. It didn't matter if you were a Senator who had been a prisoner of war. It didn't matter if you were the father and son of a man killed wearing the uniform of this country. It didn't matter if you were a kid shot in a classroom or a woman run over by a car for the sin of protesting neo-Nazi shitheads. If you opposed Trump, you received whatever cruelty he could dish out.

Trump has always hated the military. He is fearful and intimidated by any display of courage or selflessness. When it came out recently that he disparaged those killed in World War I and that he had no idea why we fought on the side of the English and French, the reaction broke across the fault lines that mark our political boundaries right now.

He is a chickenshit, and his adult sons Uday and Qusay are chickenshits as well. Kushner is a slapdick chickenshit of the highest order. There is nothing but eviction notices, overdue payments, and bankruptcy filings coming out of those men from now on. There isn't a one of them who would ever be considered anything other than stark raving failsons in a normal society.

Absolutely no one who has supported Trump through four years of vicious cruelty will be moved to oppose him. There are no decent people left who can be persuaded to vote against him. They have welded themselves to the deck of that sinking ship. There isn't going to be a shift or movement in the polls because the support he enjoys is what reveals that America is basically over as a country unless there is some shift away from the death cult of Trumpism.

Trumpism, like Nazism, is a fanatics wet dream. All you need is the arm band and an unshakeable belief that the person representing the government is infallible and cannot be questioned. The true believer will burn in the fire when the good guys finally get around to encircling the city and rooting them out. It will probably not come to that in this country since you also need to have a healthy dose of physical cowardice to get behind Trump but whatever.

When Trump loses the 2020 election, he will not surrender power in a peaceful, legitimate transition of power. It will take lawyers and courts and orders and threats to drive him from office. It's frustrating that people don't accept this possibility and plan for it accordingly. It may take months to separate him from the reins of power this Spring. We may end up with a situation where the DOD and the DOJ represent the disloyal branch of the Executive and most of the other Federal agencies line up behind a government in exile, run out of Wilmington, Delaware. Who knows? Am I wrong? Probably.

The Constitution clearly says that Trump's term will end at noon on January 20, 2021. When has that ever mattered to a conservative? The Constitution is only relevant when it comes to maintaining power and white supremacy to them.

The country is probably over because Trump's solid 42% will never consent to being governed unless they can terrorize the majority of people who want nothing to do with what we have now. They won't accept any outcome that takes away their dear leader. We had better figure out what that means as far as putting America back together as something that functions like a real nation/state with rules, norms, customs and actual laws.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Stop Firing Teachers for Doing Their Jobs

The political fortunes of the Republican Party in Texas are beginning to collapse. People are dying, the economy is coming apart, and voters are starting to realize that the GOP doesn't care if they live or die. What better way to distract everyone than by creating an opportunity to milk some phony outrage?

Educators are struggling to explain what's happening in American society. It is inevitable that, if they present material that is critical of police tactics, they run the risk of being criticized harshly.

The infallibility of the police and putting them above reproach is a recurrent theme in politics and media. We elevate certain institutions to a level where they cannot be criticized when they do things that are abhorrent, and they know how to manipulate public opinion.

In Texas, the governor is actively calling for a teacher to be fired for doing their job and showing this political cartoon to students.

This is part of an ongoing effort to prevent anyone from criticizing law enforcement:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the National Fraternal Order of Police are denouncing a social studies assignment that included political cartoons depicting the treatment of Black people in American history.
One cartoon, which was used at Cooper Junior High School in Wylie, Texas, in mid-August, sparked outrage on social media, with critics saying it compared police to the Ku Klux Klan.
Some parents in the Wylie Independent School District just north of Dallas also complained about the assignment, which was posted online by an unidentified eighth-grade teacher.
One of the cartoons depicts five scenes of African American men lying on the ground with their hands shackled or tied behind their back, first with a White slave trader's knee on their neck, then a slave owner in the same position, a hooded Ku Klux Klan member, a sheriff from the Jim Crow era and then what appears to be a rendering of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd's neck.
But, the teacher/assignment didn't actually equate the police to the KKK; rather, the cartoon did after a fashion. It appears that the folks in Texas, including the governor, jumped to conclusions and reacted without context. The watering down, if not blatant erasing of history -especially about Black history and slaves by the Texas school board, is only hurting the children by providing them with a warped sense of history.

So, all German school children must visit a concentration camp at least once during their school years so they don't forget what happened as well as not let it happen again. It is the great stain on their history. Slavery and the treatment of Black people is America's stain; unfortunately, too many times, that stain is actually the blood stain left by those killed by white suppressors - whether the suppressor was the slave owner, the KKK, the police or even society in general. We exacerbate the stain when we do nothing.

Additional material - Mrs. A Lion

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

No Love For Trump in the Ruins of Kenosha

This is an example of deliberate misinformation and manipulation.
US President Donald Trump has visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, to back law enforcement after the police shooting of a black man sparked civil strife.
The Republican president sought to blame "destruction" in the Midwestern city on local Democratic leaders.
Kenosha was rocked by days of violence after Jacob Blake was shot in the back by officers.
Opinion polls show Mr Trump is cutting into his Democratic rival Joe Biden's lead ahead of November's election.
The president is pushing a strong "law and order" message ahead of the vote. Mr Biden has accused Mr Trump of stoking racial division.

Trump does not care about the people of Kenosha or anything that resembles "law and order." He cares about being photographed in the "ruins" of a city that is run by Democrats so that he can scare enough people into voting for him.

If he can persuade people that things are really out of control he can win a handful of people over to his cause. The thing is, there is no cause! There's nothing that Trump stands for except producing more liberal tears. So, fuck this guy. He represents a nihilism that is almost unimaginable in modern America. He can't bring jobs, reform, or a cure for COVID-19 so he's going to bring what he has left--fear.

His campaign is a weaponization of fear and manipulation. That's all it is.

And this will work with low information voters, it really will in this day and age. There are far too many people who believe that Trump is looking out for them when all he's trying to do is survive for another four years and continue stealing as much money as possible. The good news is that there are fewer and fewer low information voters because, well, when you're getting hammered economically, you tend to wise up. Tens of millions of Americans are now radicalized to vote Trump out of office. This is no small thing. Contrast that with the Biden candidacy, which is an emphatic rejection of fear and intolerance.

A "law and order" president does not go through as many lawyers, judges, and Attorneys General as this one.