Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Vast Criminal Enterprise

 


The American media complex is never going to fully accept that it created a situation where Trump could be president and usher in four straight years of criminal activity. It will never accept that it looked at the Clintons and the Trumps and said that one was unacceptable and one was perfectly fine because it brought in better ratings. We're never going to see them admit they were wrong.

What we do need to understand is that dislodging these people from power will take the full weight of the criminal justice system. It is no easy thing to get a Republican politician out of office by shaming them into resignation. They just don't understand the basic concept of shameful conduct in office. Their Dear Leader had plenty of chances to resign for the good of the country and he said fuck it and never did.

Ben Rhodes is on to something here:


Mediocre people don't cross state lines and have sex with teenage girls. They don't assault women at beauty pageants. They don't rape and extort and carry on brutal relationships with damaged individuals. They don't steal millions of dollars and align themselves with the Russian government. And they certainly don't act or look like Trump or Matt Gaetz. Oh, good Lord. If they were mediocre we could certainly handle them.

No, these are extraordinarily talented grifters and con-artists. They are playing the media like the Devil wields a fiddle. Look at every Sunday show. You'd think it was 2013 all over again. The Trump people are not collapsing so much as they are growing a newer, slimier exoskeleton that will allow the media to see them as possible statesmen and sober realists when they are, in fact, just the same old screaming bags of ambulatory meat that couldn't govern this country if they tried. They have figured out how to make our system of government ring like a cash register that is permanently ejecting cash money into the air. They are also stupid enough to think they'll never get caught. That's the flip side of our experiment with four years of Trump.

It was all a vast criminal enterprise. There was nothing more to it than that.

This so-called "long run" is what I agree with. American politics is a long haul, a view into the past that allows us to see how people and character will develop over time. You can look at Joe Biden and see a man who failed to win the presidency twice or you could look at someone who had to go through fire to be ready to win it at the most critical juncture of American history. Biden's belief in always trying to get better "in the long run" is why people are now being vaccinated and treated rather than dying abandoned in their homes. It's why we have some hope instead of four more years of watching criminals run out the door with money drifting through the air behind them.

It is nothing to see a Democrat forced to resign or tried and convicted. No one screams about conspiracies and gets the media to see it their way. When the Republicans begin to appear before judges and when the indictments start, you'll see a version of reality that will harden in the media--this is revenge, not justice. This is the criminalization of political ideology. It's flat wrong, of course, but we're going to need to build more jails before this is all over.



Monday, March 29, 2021

The Derek Chauvin Trial

 


The Derek Chauvin trial is probably going to tear the city of Minneapolis apart.

All eyes are on Minnesota this week as the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin gets underway.

Mr Chauvin faces two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, last May in Minneapolis.

Protesters crowded the streets in Mr Floyd's name in cities across the US and around the world over the summer.

An African-American political hopeful, a Minnesota resident and a retired police veteran shared their thoughts on Day One of the trial.

I have a sense that we are not going to see justice in the criminal case. I don't care how much money the city gives the family of George Floyd. The point is not to make it so this one family can get something from a place that has done them wrong. The point is to make damned certain there are no other families who have to endure such a thing ever again because of an out of control police officer. Chauvin had 26 different complaints against him and the only reason why he was able to commit murder at 38th and Chicago is because the Minneapolis police union protected him from accountability.

I hope I'm wrong about not seeing a fair and just verdict.

The thing about this case that will probably lead to a not guilty verdict is the fact that Floyd was not a healthy person. This will give the jury in the case enough of a reason to let Chauvin off the hook; or, I should say, it will lead to a deadlocked jury. I'm not a lawyer or an expert, but I just feel like it is going to go that way.

The political aspects of this are just awful all the way around. How is the city supposed to rebuilt trust in a police department where the union creates a situation like this? Chauvin, like more than a few officers, should never have been on the force. You can't move the case to outstate Minnesota because you won't get a fair trial, plain and simple. You can't risk another round of riots and civil unrest like what happened last summer because the city has suffered so much. The Floyd family has suffered as well. It's a whole city full of suffering because no one had the courage or the common sense to fix the real problem.

As I see it, every police department in the country has to make a decision as to whether or not they want to go through what Minneapolis has had to live through. They have to fix the way they police their citizens and deal with a society that is going to have to change. This isn't a time for patience or waiting. Everything has to change now.






Friday, March 26, 2021

Freedom in Hong Kong

 


This is a terrific primer on democracy and freedom in Hong Kong:

Beijing has been chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms since the handover, experts say. Over the years, its attempts to impose more control over the city have sparked mass protests, which have in turn led the Chinese government to crack down further.

“In the fifteen years after the handover, there was a series of official initiatives aimed at enhancing Beijing’s control in ways that would undermine both the autonomy and the rule of law,” Michael C. Davis writes in his book Making Hong Kong China.

For instance, in 2003, the Hong Kong government proposed national security legislation that would have prohibited treason, secession, sedition, and subversion against the Chinese government. In 2012, it tried to amend Hong Kong schools’ curricula to foster Chinese national identity, which many residents saw as Chinese propaganda. And in 2014, Beijing proposed a framework for universal suffrage, allowing Hong Kongers to vote for the city’s chief executive but only from a Beijing-approved short list of candidates. Protesters organized massive rallies, known as the Umbrella Movement, to call for true democracy.

In the years following the 2014 protests, Beijing and the Hong Kong government stepped up efforts to rein in dissent, including by prosecuting protest leaders, expelling several new legislators, and increasing media censorship.

My hope is that the Biden Administration can call out every single aspect of China's brutal crackdown against religious and ethnic groups, the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, and the overall lack of freedom in the country as a whole. We have been shut out of an active, engaged foreign policy as it relates to China and the brutal suppression that it practices against the Chinese people. That has to stop. We need to be aware of what's happening and have a plan that goes beyond engaging in stupid trade wars and empty rhetoric.

Sherman Did Not Finish the Job in Georgia

 


Georgia is all-in on the suppression of the vote and the disenfranchisement of African-Americans:

Former President Donald Trump's campaign of lies about a stolen election just delivered a huge victory with a new Georgia law that could suppress the votes of many of the citizens who helped eject him from the White House.

Republican state lawmakers rushed through a broad law Thursday making it harder to vote that disproportionately targets Democratic and Black voters in a battleground vital to the 2020 election and future presidential and congressional contests.

The move confirms the Peach State as the epicenter of the fight for American democracy that raged through Trump's presidency and during the insurrection he incited against the US Capitol -- and now threatens to taint future elections as Republicans in multiple states pursue new laws to limit voting.

"What I'm worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It's sick. It's sick," President Joe Biden said at the first news conference of his presidency that afternoon.

A group of mediocre white men in the photo above were able to stand in front of a painting of an old Southern slave plantation and sign into law a series of un-American voting rights restrictions because we have been asleep for too long. The only way the Republican Party can survive is by taking away the votes of African-Americans. 

Will Bunch was kind enough to break all of this down here. But what is even more sinister about it is that the media won't care and the State of Georgia is going to be safely Gerrymandered for years to come. The only saving grace of any of this will be to further engage the great people of Georgia who are not going to stand for this bullshit. We should remember that, in every single Southern state, there are people who have been disenfranchised and marginalized for too long. They need to be supported and shown some love. The Democratic Party establishment needs to hear their cries for help and make voting rights a critical issue of the 2022 Mid-term Election.

But that moment where they signed the legislation in secret, in front of a painting like that, was no mere accident. It was a clarion call for action. It was a revival of Jim Crow and racism and bigotry. It was un-American, anti-democratic, and foolish beyond comprehension. Waking up millions of people to the idea that this country won't let them vote because of the color of their skin is going to create an anti-Republican backlash that will make the last two elections look like cake walks.

Monday, March 22, 2021

This is the Reason Why We Chose Joe


 

You knew there were going to be days like this:

President Joe Biden is dispatching top U.S. officials to Mexico and Central America as a crisis on the southern U.S. border persists with a surge of asylum-seeking migrants who are fleeing their countries.

The unfolding crisis at the border has created a difficult situation for Biden, who is caught between his promises to progressives to establish a more humane immigration system and pressure from conservatives to send a tougher message to deter migrants from traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum. The recent influx has overwhelmed border facilities and filled the national conversation on immigration.

Roberta Jacobson, the National Security Council official overseeing border issues, will travel to Mexico on Monday to jointly "develop an effective and humane plan of action to manage migration," NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement on Monday.

In addition, Juan Gonzalez, the White House senior director for the western hemisphere, plans to travel to Guatemala to discuss the "root causes of migration in the region and build a more hopeful future in the region," Horne said.

Ever since the Reagan Administration, the Republican Party has used the flow of immigrants from Latin America has a cudgel against the Democratic Party. That effort continues to this day. When George W. Bush tried to come up with a solution, he was politically weak and they tore him apart for it. When his brother said that the act of coming to this country was "an act of love," the GOP ripped him to shreds. When President Obama tried to solve the problem, he was met with the obstructionism of the Senate.

There is no quick and easy solution to the influx of people coming here. It takes policy changes, long term economic support for Latin America, and the infrastructure to receive, process, and admit people into this country.

What you're not going to hear is that the Biden Administration is trying to handle the issue without triggering an avalanche of human beings flowing north. What you're never going to see is any sort of context with regards to how it is handling the issues at the border in light of the fact that Trump and his criminal regime broke the process and carried out acts of criminal indifference. We elected Biden to be the sort of president who handles the tough issues and he's never going to get it a hundred percent right or move faster than the law or Congress will allow. There is a substantive difference in approaches here, and the Biden approach is to fix the system, mitigate the effects of the problem, and reverse the trend of evil. 

Vice President Kamala Harris is there to help guide the policy choices along with a functioning, capable administration filled with people who work hard and give a shit. That's a million times better than anything we've had in four years.

There's another reason why we elected him, and that's for accountability. If Biden doesn't hire the right people, there will be pressure on him to fire those responsible. If he doesn't do his job, he knows he'll get fired in four years. When you elect a Republican, they are expected to get away with everything, be mediocre at best and personify the worst of the worst. When you elect a Democrat, they have to do everything perfectly and they can't make anyone feel bad for being wrong.

Biden is going to solve this problem like he's being asked to solve all the other problems. You and I may not like the result, but I trust in his efforts to get us where we need to be going forward.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

What is Going on Here?

 


There is a sickness to the Internet that needs to be fixed and cured:

After his team's loss to Oral Roberts in the NCAA Basketball Tournament on Friday, Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell says he was the victim of threatening messages on social media. 

The 20-year-old, who finished with a team-high 23 points, missed a free throw in the final seconds of No. 2 seed Ohio State's 72-75, opening round loss to 15th seeded Oral Roberts.

"Honestly, what did I do to deserve this? I'm human," Liddell wrote on Twitter after the loss, with images of two separate threads of messages he says he received. 

"Comments don't get to me but I just wanna know why. I've never done anything to anyone in my life to be approached like this," Liddell wrote. "This is not me saying anything negative about Ohio State fans. I love you all dearly and I've felt nothing but appreciated since the first day I stepped on campus."

Online comments need to be associated with the actual person who makes them. The people saying these things--and I'm not posting the screenshots because they represent a particularly twisted sort of person who should be moderated into oblivion--are as wrong as they could be. 

We already know that there is a serious problem with how women are treated online. It's true for the LGBTQ community as well. Virtually every category of people who are even the slightest bit different from an outdated concept of "normal" attracts negative or hateful commentary. 

No one should be subjected to this kind of abuse, regardless of what they have done in the public sphere. So, the technology that allows this to go on is something that requires stricter regulation and protection because online hate keeps getting worse and worse. It is escalating past the point of being contained by self-regulating communities, moderation, and the development of communities online that were originally supposed to reject that type of content.

It's just a basketball game. The act of hiding behind a screen and ruining this kid's life over a mistake made in an amateur athletic event should be something that is easy to track down, prosecute, and end. And I realize that the person making these threats is usually underaged and immature, but this has to stop. The threats made to women are often terroristic and driven by unhinged rage. These threats, directed at a college kid, are just beyond the pale as well.

I'm all for the limits that are needed, the changes in the technology, and the struggle to reconcile free speech that has to happen here. I think that, at another point, I would have argued that we cannot limit free speech on the Internet. Those days are long gone and the self-regulating possibilities were abandoned long ago. 

All in all, what a disgusting thing. It has nothing to do with being a fan. It has everything to do with letting the most twisted kind of human being have more power and access than they should ever be allowed.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

President Joe Biden Has a 62% Approval Rate

 


We used to talk about these things all of the time because it really does matter when a majority of the American people do not approve of the job a president is doing. It matters because President Biden and his administration are actually accomplishing things and dealing with terrible problems:

Politico-Morning Consult poll:

Biden approval

62% approve

34% disapprove

Handling virus

66% approve

27% disapprove

COVID relief bill

72% support

20% oppose

Biden uniting the U.S.

55% more to unite

30% more to divide

The reason why you are seeing tangible results is because no one is talking about how Biden is the greatest thing since sliced bread. When your president is not a raging narcissist, it is actually possible to get things done.

I think it has been a hallmark of Biden's quest for the presidency to ignore the far left Twitter commentary and to work overtime on substantive change that cannot easily be criticized or defeated. The reason why he did not snap his fingers and fix everything on January 20th is because the pandemic has to be dealt with, legal solutions have to be developed, and the entire Executive Branch needs to be re-staffed with qualified individuals. 

There are horrific problems, specifically with how immigrants are being handled at the border and on the foreign policy front. A solution for Afghanistan is long overdue. A response to Russia should come sooner rather than later. And that's not even forgetting the economy needs to be rebuilt and people need jobs and help. The difference is, Biden is getting a bit of a honeymoon and is being given a fair assessment in terms of how fast he has to solve all of those problems. His numbers will go down if he does nothing.

So far, I see him and his administration doing the exact opposite of nothing. They are working hard and smart. They are attacking every problem with highly qualified and capable people. That's all you can hope for.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Katie Porter is Not Here to Suffer Any Fools

 


If Representative Katie Porter unearths some incompetence, malfeasance, or debauchery as a result of performing oversight on the Biden Administration, too damned bad:

Democrats loved watching Orange County Rep. Katie Porter skewer Trump administration appointees and corporate executives in congressional hearings.

But it felt different when Porter’s progressive passion and impatience for convention turned to them.

Just as she wielded a whiteboard and sharp questioning to expose the flaws and outdated thinking she saw in Postal Service management or the nation’s COVID-19 testing system, Porter recently took aim at House Democrats’ rules and traditions for what is usually a behind-the-scenes competition to determine which lawmakers sit on which coveted committees.

It was a calculated high-stakes gamble that resulted in Porter not returning this year to sit on the Financial Services Committee, one of the House’s most sought-after panels and one for which the former bankruptcy and consumer law professor was highly suited.

Porter has very little seniority but she more than makes up for it in personal achievements and outright expertise. I think it is a mistake to sideline her when she should be an incredibly valuable ally for anyone who believes in competent governance.

President Joe Biden is not going to bat .1000 every single day. He's trusting a lot of people to do the right thing and do their jobs. If they don't do what they're supposed to do, then the normal course of events is to get rid of them. That's how you lead, that's how you run things, and that's how good governance happens. You have to be tough and you have to give a shit.

Miss Katie Porter gives a shit.

Here's the thing that separates us from the wolves, or Republicans: if Porter does her job and if it exposes someone's inability to do their job, I am all for that person being fired or removed. I want the government to work and so does Porter. We just lived through four years of unhinged disregard for doing the right thing. When a Democrat acts like a jackass, get rid of them and get someone in there who can do the job.

What we don't need is blind partisan support for croneyism and graft. Porter is the cure for all that. 

Did the FBI do a Fake Background Check on Brett Kavanaugh?

 


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse would not be saying these things unless someone had already tipped him off:

The FBI is facing new scrutiny for its 2018 background check of Brett Kavanaugh, the supreme court justice, after a lawmaker suggested that the investigation may have been “fake”.

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator and former prosecutor who serves on the judiciary committee, is calling on the newly-confirmed attorney general, Merrick Garland, to help facilitate “proper oversight” by the Senate into questions about how thoroughly the FBI investigated Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

The supreme court justice was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford and faced several other allegations of misconduct following Ford’s harrowing testimony of an alleged assault when she and Kavanaugh were in high school.

Kavanaugh denied the claims.

The FBI was called to investigate the allegations during the Senate confirmation process but was later accused by some Democratic senators of conducting an incomplete background check. For example, two key witnesses – Ford and Kavanaugh – were never interviewed as part of the inquiry.

Among the concerns listed in Whitehouse’s letter to Garland are allegations that some witnesses who wanted to share their accounts with the FBI could not find anyone at the bureau who would accept their testimony and that it had not assigned any individual to accept or gather evidence.

“This was unique behavior in my experience, as the Bureau is usually amenable to information and evidence; but in this matter the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” Whitehouse said.

I keep going back to the fact that Senator Mitch McConnell wanted Trump to nominate Amy Coney Barrett instead of Kavanaugh and that the GOP was more than ready for the avalanche of evidence that was readily available when they went into the confirmation phase.

Kavanaugh wasn’t their first choice to begin with. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly told Trump in July, while the president was deliberating, that he’d have a harder time confirming Kavanaugh than other judges on Trump’s short list (Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman) because of his paper trail as a staffer on the Clinton impeachment investigation and in the Bush White House.

In retrospect, given the allegations against Kavanaugh, it looks like McConnell was right all along for a very different reason. According to the Washington Post’s Robert Costa, factions supporting various alternatives to Kavanaugh were already maneuvering last week to press for their picks.

Maybe Republicans should go with Kethledge or Hardiman after all; maybe former short-lister Amy Coney Barrett would be a good pick to replace a man accused of misogyny; maybe Amul Thapar, reportedly McConnell’s early favorite, might be more appealing to Trump than he was last time.

Don't buy the suggestion that the Bush White House paper trail was anything worth getting upset about. The real issues were Kavanaugh's drinking, his behavior with women, and his finances. Going into this process, Kavanaugh's life was a mess. He had been a political entity for years before they stuck him on the court, which even then took some effort. Someone had to pay off his enormous, status-driven debts and cover that up (this might be what Whitehouse also wants the FBI to answer for). But, more importantly, Kavanaugh's atrocious and criminal behavior with women has been evident for all of his adult life. 

The GOP people pushing his nomination had already done their deep dive into his past in order to get him onto the court in the first place. It was likely known that he had "issues" when working in the Bush White House if not before. Sticking him on the court in the mid-2000s was a way of rehabilitating him and giving him a position that would keep him out of trouble. 

Kavanaugh had severe money problems and a massive amount of debt that just "disappeared" when Justice Anthony Kennedy decided to retire. Someone was already on the case, ready to grease the skids and stick Kavanaugh on the court. The FBI probably didn't even look at his financials. 

More importantly, the FBI did not interview everyone they should have and they did not get an extensive number of comments from people who have been ready to speak about his criminal conduct as it relates to women. The fact that he is on the Supreme Court is an obscenity. The possibility that he is there because the FBI didn't do what it was supposed to do is worth hearings.

I believe this ends with Kavanaugh having to resign before being impeached. There's a great chance he could be impeached but not removed as a way of sticking it to the Democrats. But that would severely weaken any chances of the court being seen as legitimate and that is all Chief Justice John Roberts cares about.



Monday, March 15, 2021

John Oliver Knows Who is Destroying America

 


The great John Oliver has correctly identified Tucker Carlson's White Power Hour as a blight on our country's political discourse:

Last night, John Oliver addressed the elephant (farting) in the room (making it smell like absolute butt): The fact that Tucker Carlson continues to exist on millions of people’s television screens, spewing barely coded white-nationalist talking points and misinformation through a veneer of befuddlement. During the main segment of Last Week Tonight, Oliver charted Carlson’s underwhelming and opportunistic history in broadcast media, including a particularly lame interview with Britney Spears in 2003 (Oliver: “She is the definitional diva of the 2000s … put some respect on her name, and of course, #freebritney”). He also brought to light the ways in which more explicit white supremacists, like David Duke and James Allsup, follow and praise Carlson.

To paraphrase Marco Rubio, let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Tucker Carlson doesn't know what he's doing. He knows EXACTLY what he's doing. His pretense of being befuddled about what's happening is just icing on a really shitty cake.

One of our significant threats right now is that of the American disinformation networks, specifically Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax. Carlson is trying to sustain Fox by appealing to a white nationalist crowd that has drifted away to the two more severely racist networks that are lined up to bring a pro-Trump, anti-democratic message to a confused and starving audience of deplorables.

I don't know how you can look at what Oliver explains in his segment and not conclude that the Republican Party and the conservative media establishment are all-in on a white nationalist agenda. They are going to hype these fears and try to win back some semblance of power in 2022 on Election Day. Which is ironic because they people hate democracy and want nothing to do with it. 

I am hoping and praying that they will fail and one of the ways to ensure that happens is to remind people that white nationalists want to kill as many people as possible. Sounds crazy, but it's true. It really is.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

They Are Stealing From People Who Give Money to Dog Rescue Charities Now

 


The daughter-in-law of a Jamaica Estates man who once was president just got caught stealing from a dog rescue organization and what's funny is that we don't have a corrupt Attorney General who can make these things go away anymore.

A dog rescue charity that has links to Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, has spent almost $2m at Trump properties in the last seven years, according to US media reports.

While other companies and groups have distanced themselves from the Trumps since the 6 January attack on the capital, the Florida-based Big Dog Ranch Rescue is expected to spend another $225,000 at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club for an event this weekend, according to a permit filed with the town of Palm Beach, which was reported by HuffPost.

The former president has been living in the club full time since leaving the White House in January following his election defeat.

HuffPost reported that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filings show that the charity has spent as much as $1,883,160 on fundraising costs for events at Mar-a-Lago and a nearby Trump golf course since 2014. Lara Trump, who is married to Eric Trump, has been a chairwoman for charity events since 2018.

These people don't even like dogs! And that's who they are stealing from now. It's incredible, it truly is.

UPDATE

Oh, and the people running the dog rescue aren't even honest or legitimate people, either. It's filthy and cruel all the way through.



Friday, March 12, 2021

I'm Sick of This Guy

 


It's time for the Andrew Cuomo show to come to an unceremonious end:

The majority of House Democrats from New York on Friday called on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign from office in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and his handling of Covid-19 deaths at state nursing homes.

The New York congressional members had been largely silent as Democratic state lawmakers were leading the calls for Cuomo's resignation in the wake of the allegations

The stunning, coordinated announcements sent shockwaves through the state and could signal a turning point in the scandal. Cuomo has vigorously resisted calls for his resignation, brushing them off as political maneuvers by his rivals. But the congressional group demanding he step down includes members from across the party's ideological lines and included both senior figures connected to the state political establishment and younger progressive lawmakers. Their decision follows another, less than 24 hours earlier, by Democrats in the state Assembly to launch an impeachment investigation that will be carried out concurrently with the state attorney general's independent probe.

At least a dozen House Democrats from New York on Friday said Cuomo must resign, arguing that the allegations have impeded his ability to effectively govern and serve the people of New York.

The way that Cuomo has treated women is reason enough to call for him to resign. There's no room for bullying, no room for overt misogyny, no place for an abusive, sexist boss. There is no room for this in any aspect of our society. Not in a decent country. Not in the Democratic Party. Shame on us, as a people, for ever tolerating anyone like Andrew Cuomo. His behavior automatically disqualifies him from being part of the party's future. It absolutely means that he should resign from office.

There was never a chance that Cuomo would end up being a serious contender for the presidency. He carved out a place as governor of New York simply by out hustling everyone and not having any serious competition. He was always awful on the real issues that Democrats care about, sort of a meaner version of Rahm Emanuel, if that's even possible. He had great political instincts as long as we're confining things to Albany but even then, he's surrounded by enemies who are bringing him down one paper cut at a time.

If there was an award for harboring petty jealousies and ruining your political fortunes, Cuomo would get it. He has been sitting in a terrible place for some time now. He has mismanaged New York's handling of the pandemic as it relates to nursing homes and he's been making enemies everywhere he can find them. He always comes down on the shitty side of an argument that any normal Democrat could win. And now they have a slate of accusers that are taking advantage of the fact that, since the end of his personal relationship, he's been running around like a bull trying to find someone to mate with.

To say that Cuomo is an outsized version of a misogynistic, toxic male would be an understatement. This man has been wearing his loneliness and uselessness as a badge of honor. His chief of staff should have appointed someone to watch him and keep him from going after state employees and anyone else unlucky enough to fall into view. What has happened is every bit a failure of a man's staff to ensure that he does not end up ruining everything through his wretched personal conduct and behavior. They should have called him out on it and they should be the ones developing the exit strategy right now. Instead, they're going after the accusers, hoping to find something to hang their hat on.

The man needs to go. He's a sideshow. He's detracting from the good work of the Democratic Party. He's outlived any political future he might have had. What he needs to do is go find a girlfriend who won't put up with his shit and go into serious counseling. He probably has serious civil and criminal jeopardy ahead of him. That's the end of that dynasty.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Moving at the Speed of President Biden

 


The American people need help so President Joe Biden is going to sign the COVID-19 relief package into law as soon as possible.

President Joe Biden will sign his sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package into law on Thursday afternoon, the White House said. He had originally been expected to sign it on Friday.

Congress on Wednesday passed the relief package, which has been Biden's first and most pressing legislative priority since taking office in January. 

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the enrolled bill arrived at the White House on Wednesday night, "so @POTUS is signing it today -- we want to move as fast as possible."

Klain added: "We will hold our celebration of the signing on Friday, as planned, with Congressional leaders!"

Previous occupants of the White House might have waited for the ceremony and the arrival of good press. Others might have made it entirely about their own greatness and benevolence. Who cares? Sign the damned bill and get people the help they need. 

Democrats have always been on the hook to do the hard part of governing and so they never get credit for doing the right things. If this gets money into someone's hands a day earlier, that's literally the only thing that matters when you're in the middle of a crisis.

The Biden Administration is moving faster than people realize. Change doesn't happen in an instant unless you don't give a shit about the results. Here, the results are all that matters. Here, being ready to be held accountable is what drives the agenda. 

If you're sleeping better at night, thank President Biden and his team.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Amazon is the Ruin of All of Us


 

Here's a great read for you:

Alec MacGillis is a responsible, serious journalist who writes for ProPublica and wins awards for his in-depth reporting on economics and society. But his new book is a horror story.

The terror hits again and again in “Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America,” a grounded and expansive examination of the American economic divide. Whether he’s introducing an office supply entrepreneur in Texas, the leader of a Seattle gospel group or a retired Baltimore steelworker going back to work, the reader — me, you — will feel that drop in the stomach, the dread of what we know is coming. Here they are, people with dreams and families and flaws and aspirations, and something bad is going to happen to them.

That bad thing is Amazon.

This is much more than a story of retail. It’s about real estate. It’s about lobbying, data centers and the CIA. It’s about revolving doors in Washington, D.C., and cardboard folders in Ohio. It’s about a social fabric disintegrating while corporations duck paying taxes. It’s about a stunning transfer of wealth into Amazon’s coffers, all before the COVID-19 pandemic began and the company reaped even more.

“Fulfillment” is an indictment in fact but not in tone. I’ve been meaner to Amazon in these short paragraphs than MacGillis is in his entire book. There’s probably a reason the publishers left the word “Amazon” out of the title: This book is neither a hagiography nor a targeted attack. Instead, like the HBO series “The Wire,” it reveals the way economic, political and social systems affect individual stories. MacGillis wants readers to see how the systems Amazon both exploited and created affect so much of our economy, building the case brick by brick. In almost every instance, he finds a way in through a personal story or two. It takes a skillful journalist to weave data and anecdotes together so effectively.

Amazon is not a company so much as it is a virus that has run wild in the body of a dying host. The reason why it exists is because we fell out of practice when it comes to keeping American corporations from assembling too much power and capital in one place. You can say the same of Google, Apple, and Facebook but most people refuse to believe that the unchecked capitalism that we checked in the early 20th Century has returned with a vengeance to harm our society.

Any book that explains that is worth its weight in gold.

Yeah, Baby

 


Let us now praise the New York Times for framing this in exactly the right way. Congress has approved the bill and the benefits are going to hundreds of millions of Americans. This is not a "risk" for the Democratic Party. It's a promise kept.

I'm sure the Times will fuck it up, but let's celebrate the fact that the American people are finally getting the help from their government that they deserve and that they voted for. If the Federal election in November and the Georgia special election hadn't gone the way it did, we wouldn't be talking about anything good right now.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Helping the American People Survive is Not Risky

 


The only way that Politico can tell this story is to frame it as a "risk" to the future of the Democratic Party because they cannot conceive of a reality where being a party full of horrible human beings is ever a bad look for the GOP:

Democrats are readying a final vote on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package as soon as Tuesday, executing on the measure in less than eight weeks — and making a political bet on mammoth federal spending to boost the economy.

In the House, which will send the bill to Biden's desk, Democratic lawmakers and aides acknowledged that a passage vote could slip to Wednesday as Senate officials race to prepare necessary paperwork. But they vowed a one-day delay would not have an impact on boosted jobless benefits set to expire this weekend.

“We’ll pass it, it’ll get signed into law by the 14th and we’ll get people relief,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), a member of Democratic leadership, said when asked if Congress might miss its March 14 deadline to extend the extra federal jobless aid.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leadership team, who spent the weekend working the phones with their members, are confident they will have the votes for one of Congress’s largest-ever economic relief bills. They're set to once again contend with unified GOP opposition that will brand Biden's rescue package as a Democratic offering ahead of next year's midterms, when Republicans could recapture the majority by flipping just a handful of seats.

Pelosi shrugged off Republicans' lack of support for the Covid aid plan, telling reporters that "I feel sad for them" and painting them as "oblivious to the support that this bill has among Republicans across the country."

Saving the economy is "risky?" Really?

Lifting millions out of poverty is a bad thing? Honestly?

Sometimes I can't even figure out why it has to be this way.

You would think that they would start with the fact that Republicans are boxed in by an insane former resident of Jamaica Estates who can't get off the golf course long enough to explain why he broke as many laws as possible while in office. They could have framed this in the more obvious way--why risk being able to get re-elected by acting like a dick? 

Why not lead with the fact that there is a wave of GOP retirements in the Senate? Or with the fact that Republican officials all over the country are screaming for this relief bill?

Politico has to frame everything in a way that favors the narrative that the Republicans are the serious, thoughtful Daddy party and it's your fault if he gets mad and slaps you around. What a bunch of idiots.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Jamaica Estates Man Begs Strangers For Cash

 


An ex-president of the United States usually entertains a lot of lucrative offers after leaving office. The book deals alone are worth considering to be the crowning achievement of a life spent in the pursuit of the highest office in the land. If you're Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton, you cap your eight years in office with any number of speaking engagements and appearances. We had twenty-four years and three presidents and they have all, to varying degrees, acquitted themselves fairly well after stepping away from office.

And then there's this asshole, who is barely fifty days removed from office and is now begging for cash and ready to give stoplight hand jobs for a few bucks down in Miami.

Maintaining high standards of personal conduct, ethics, and embracing the dignity of the office, I would imagine, is just too much for some.

The Biden Agenda for Women

 


Elections matter:

President Joe Biden is set to mark International Women's Day Monday by signing two executive orders creating a Gender Policy Council and reviewing Trump-era changes to Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education, according to administration officials.

The first order establishes the White House Gender Policy Council to work with other policy councils to advance gender equality in domestic and foreign policy development, combat systemic bias and discrimination, including sexual harassment, and focus on increasing female participation in the labor force and decreasing wage and wealth gaps, the officials said.

The council will also focus on transgender rights and supporting care workers, predominantly women of color.

Officials pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic has hit women the hardest, with 2.5 million leaving the workforce in 2020 compared to 1.8 million men who did the same. The U.S. Department of Labor's February jobs report released Friday found Black and Hispanic women showed the greatest declines in labor force participation.

This is an open reminder that the GOP is going to try and stop each and every initiative that expands the rights of every American. If you want to see an inclusive, expansive agenda going forward, look to what President Biden is actually doing. This won't get anywhere near the amount of coverage it deserves, but a push to ensure that women are treated equally in the workplace and in university athletics could resonate for generations. We have to support these moves and we have to keep voting for Democrats or the Republicans will stop all of this from going forward.

America Needs to Walk Away From Britain's Royal Family

 


Meghan Markle did not discover or reveal anything that was not already known about the British Royal Family. They are insanely racist and in cahoots with the British tabloid press. The only way this ends is with Markle and Prince Harry divorced and with him married to a suitable white woman. They refuse to accept any other situation and so we have royals in this country, living in exile. It's happened before.

The larger point here is that Prince Andrew refuses to cooperate with a criminal investigation into pedophilia in the United States. His close friend Jeffrey Epstein had a mountain of material that could incriminate an untold number of powerful men and, we, of course, are never going to see any of that. But I would have to believe that there is credible evidence that Andrew has broken U.S. laws as well as engaged in conduct that is devastatingly evil. Will we ever get to the really important part where he is deposed and investigated fully in this country?

If not, why should any member of the Royal Family be allowed to enter the United States, aside from Prince Harry and his wife and children? The U.S. government could offer them asylum. 

The love affair with all things Royal needs to end. The English people are never going to turn on the Queen and they are probably convinced that Markle is the one to blame here. At the end of the day, who cares what an isolated, xenophobic, dying empire has to say? Let everyone who wants to leave England go. Let the Scots and Welsh have their own nations. Let the Irish reunite. It's all long overdue.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Get to Know Bruno Joseph Cua

 


At eighteen years of age, Bruno Joseph Cua has already gotten himself into a lot of trouble. Here he is in the Capitol itself on January 6. 

Right-wing garbage outlets like American Greatness want you to think that his youthful indiscretion was just a little rambunctious and harmless. In reality, they're ignoring the fact that Cua has been denied bond because he assaulted a Federal officer:


No link because fuck those assholes. He's not some precocious little kid. He could have murdered someone. Cua has a long history, even at his very young age, of terrorizing people:

[prosecutor Ryan] Buchanan, however, told the court that Cua had a history of belligerent behavior. He said the government has letters from people who allege Cua terrorized and harassed people in his neighborhood going back years.

In one incident, according to Buchanan, Cua allegedly tailgated a person with political stickers supporting Democrats while blaring his air horn and flashing his lights. Then he cut the other driver off. On the stand, Joseph Cua dismissed the neighbors as “a bit spiteful.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution learned of another incident Dec. 8 when Cua sped around the parking lot of Birmingham Falls Elementary School in a pickup flying a large Trump flag. His father filmed him, as Cua’s younger brother and friends watched. According to the police, the air horn violated the city’s ordinance against public disturbances, and he was issued a citation.

On Jan. 3, two days before Cua and his parents drove to Washington, Cua was cited with a warning for trespassing in Milton’s White Columns subdivision. The subdivision’s security guard said Cua jumped the gate and was “disrespectful and using profanity” when confronted by the homeowners association president.

Cua was arrested by the FBI Feb. 5 when he went to pay the citation for the public disturbance incident.

Yeah, he sounds like any other normal teenager who is "interested in politics," doesn't he?

Cua is just another example of how we coddle right wing agitators in this country while, at the same time, demonizing anyone who agitates peacefully or otherwise from the left hand side of the political spectrum. He has demonstrated a propensity for violence, extremism, and has openly called for weapons to be used against his enemies. He is, in other words, a classically defined domestic terrorist. He's not even really a believer in America or democracy because, when it became apparent that his candidate was not going to win, he resorted to violence.

Framing him as helpless and just another dipshit ignores the very real danger that these people present going forward. You're going to see and hear from a lot of similar individuals. Let's hope that we can survive the next few years.

UPDATE:


A teen, believed to be the youngest suspect arrested in connection with the U.S. Capitol riots, has been punched by a fellow inmate and tested positive for Covid-19, defense lawyers said Monday.

Bruno Joseph Cua, 18, is asking to be released from the the Grady County Jail in Oklahoma where he's largely been in solitary confinement since being arrested on Feb. 5, defense lawyer William Zapf said in court papers seeking his client's pre-trial release.

"Mr. Cua was assaulted and then threatened by a fellow inmate over this past weekend," Zapf wrote. "We understand that the inmate struck Mr. Cua in the face with his open hand, injuring his nose, over the use of the phone, and then threatened him regarding the incident."

And on Saturday, a Covid-19 test for Cua came back positive, Zapf said, and his lawyers argued that he's ready to safely self-quarantine, perhaps at a hotel, if released.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall argued that Cua "poses a significant danger to the community" and that his social media postings "show clearly the radicalized mind of a young man fixated on stopping the normal functional of democracy."

The "nature and seriousness of the the danger to any person or the community strongly favors detention in this matter," Paschall responded.

The prosecutor didn't address the alleged assault of Cua, who is from Milton, Georgia, while in custody. But she did cite the multiple photos taken of him during the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, all appearing to show the suspect without a mask.



Robert Brockman Forgot to Get a Pardon From Trump

 


Robert Brockman is a billionaire charged with tax fraud. He's also a prolific donor to the Republican Party. In and of itself, this would not be news except for the fact that he could have gotten away with it if he'd been pardoned:

The billionaire accused of running the biggest tax fraud scheme in U.S. history was a prolific donor to Republican groups and causes. The leaders of those organizations have kept quiet on the federal charges against him.

Robert Brockman, the former CEO of Ohio-based software company Reynolds & Reynolds, was charged in October for running a $2 billion tax fraud scheme.

Department of Justice officials said at the time that the businessman had hidden capital gains income for over 20 years through various offshore entities in Bermuda and Nevis and secret bank accounts. Brockman has pleaded not guilty to the alleged crimes.

Brockman’s most recent contributions to Republican committees came in 2017, ahead of the Congressional midterm elections the following year, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Representatives of the organizations that are still active did not respond when asked whether they plan to refund or give the total amount of contributions away to charity in the wake of the allegations. The 2017 contributions had yet to be reported in the media.

In 2017, Brockman donated over $80,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the political campaign organization for House Republicans. Republicans went on to lose the House to Democrats, with Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., becoming speaker.

What's interesting is that Brockman stopped giving money to Republicans. If he'd given Trump a million dollars, let's say, in the summer of 2020, he probably would have been able to secure a pardon this past January. He could have then skated on Federal tax evasion charges. However, knowing how pervasive this problem is, the State of Ohio probably has a tax evasion case ready to go against him (unless they've been paid off in advance).

Brockman's defense team is also trying to claim he has a mental incapacity and cannot be tried. Fine, put the people who worked for him on trial and offer them immunity if they'll kindly explain what the hell happened.

This is a culture of corruption. How did he get away with it for that long? No one in the Obama Administration caught him. No one in the Justice Department under at least three presidents caught him. They're just now figuring out this guy was a crook?

Something is seriously broken in how we regulate and tax the rich in this country.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Dumbassery, It Hurts

 

Photo by Leah Millis / Reuters

This is an actual photo of Trump supporters gathered outside of the perimeter of the Capitol and they told people that they were waiting to see evidence that the former president had been inaugurated today.

You couldn't make this up if you tried. These people have been lied to, manipulated, and have been left with nothing. Their dignity has been removed just as surely as the last of their Trump University tuition money. There's no way to humiliate them any further because they are chumps. They signed on to the coattails of a loser. I can guarantee you that, if they have ever had any money to give, they've been sending it to Trump in order to "ensure" his "victory" and "stop the steal." Their wild-eyed enthusiasm for the worst president in American history lives at the intersection of "can't think straight" and "I'm only here for the White Supremacy."

Fucking morons.

Never mind that they have pissed their money away. Never mind that Trump is playing golf, raking in the bucks, and laughing at how stupid they are. How absolutely fucking idiotic that they are, these dumbasses. The grift is already well in hand. The con is working. The only thing being stolen is the last remaining vestige of dignity that these chuckleheads will ever have.

One must admire their dedication. Normally, you have to pay extra for this level of dumbassery in public.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Neanderthal Thinking

 


President Joe Biden is correct. Rolling back the mandate on masks and opening everything up is foolish and stupid. Ignoring health experts is ass backwards. And doing this on the heels of a major freeze that slowed distribution of vaccines is pretty Goddamned idiotic. 

There will be those who will jump on Biden's words but look at the message it sends. He is calling out the governors of Texas and Mississippi and not the people who live there. He's not falling for the bullshit perpetrated by Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore, who have tweeted about not sending vaccines to those two states.

No, you don't hurt people because of the choices made by their state leaders. You call it out and you identify it for what it is--a non-solution and a distraction from what's important. You do it in plain language and you do what Biden is doing right now--you work your ass off to solve the problem.

I get why people are frustrated but this is not bad politics and it isn't bad policy. Biden needs to control the narrative and take the authority that we vest in a president. He's not surrendering to the lackluster efforts of Republicans. He's there to remind people that they can't do anything right. He knows that we could be out of this in a matter of months and he knows how to get there. 

Someone in Biden's position needs to go hard at Republicans who want to feed the ignorance of their supporters with non-solutions and phony outrage. He needs to make people remember that the GOP is anti-science, anti-public health and that they are bad at governing. Tens of thousands of people would still be alive if they were even remotely capable of doing what they were hired to do.

This isn't even a controversy for people who understand how close we are to solving COVID-19. It's the shiny thing that someone is waving in the air to keep everyone from looking at how bad they suck.

Officer Derek Chauvin Was More That Just a Bad Apple

 


Officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department was a walking liability and a threat to public safety long before he encountered George Floyd last summer.

In November 2013, Minneapolis police pulled over LaSean Braddock shortly after midnight as he drove home from a double shift as a mental health worker at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Braddock, 48, said he had grown somewhat accustomed to being stopped by police because his identity had been stolen and he was sometimes mistaken for the man who had been using his name. He carried paperwork with him from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as proof, he said, so the stops were usually brief: He would show the paperwork to officers; they'd review it and let him go. But the officer at his driver's side window that day stuffed the documents in his pocket without looking at them, Braddock said.

When he hesitated to get out of the car, the officer aggressively hit the driver's side window with a flashlight, Braddock said. Two officers then tried to pull him from the car before he got out on his own. 

 "Then they tried to slam me on the ground, but I was about 240 pounds," Braddock said, adding that although he still was unsure why he was stopped, he complied to avoid injury. " Then they jumped on my head and my neck and my back. I was lying flat on the ground."

More than six years later, Braddock saw one of those officers again as he watched a harrowing video of George Floyd's final moments. Derek Chauvin, Braddock said, was one of the officers who had treated him roughly. A police report from that night confirms that Chauvin was one of the arresting officers.

This speaks to the depravity of Chauvin as a person. He was a battering ram of a cop, ready to use force without provocation. How many other cases of police brutality are there? I wouldn't trust the Minneapolis Police Department to have a firm handle on those statistics in relation to Chauvin and the other officers who were present when Chauvin murdered Floyd at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in South Minneapolis. What else are we missing here?

There has to be a significant restructuring and reorganization of the police force in virtually all of our major cities. The people hired to be cops have to rise above the possibility that they might be a "bad apple" in the bunch. They have to be screened out and removed when their conduct is revealed.

That means dealing with the fact that some police unions aren't actually there to protect the rights of cops in relation to the benefits and pay provided by their municipal employers. They're there to make sure bad cops aren't held accountable. They're right wing advocacy groups, in other words, and opposed to reform. 

I'm all for raising the pay and raising the standards for who gets to be a cop. It should be a difficult process to get to be a cop, one that involves identifying anyone who might be a psychopath. It should pay well and offer some level of prestige. And I also want to see mental health workers integrated into police activity and public safety initiatives. I want those people to be paid more than they are so they can be held to a higher standard.

And if you have to raise taxes to do it, raise the fucking taxes. Do it now.

 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Worst Job in America

 


Is there any job in politics that is guaranteed to be the end of your career? It looks to me like getting elected Governor of the State of New York is a sure fire way to end up in oblivion.

Just shy of a year from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's star turn in Democratic politics for his internationally acclaimed COVID-19 press briefings, members of the governor's own party are calling on him to resign.

Impeachment is also on the table, with New York's process closely mirroring that of the US Congress. Once considered a remote possibility, Insider obtained a letter on Tuesday from six Democratic lawmakers in the NY legislature calling for articles to be drawn up. Another Democrat in the Assembly told Insider that the unlikelihood of Cuomo resigning makes impeachment all the more important as a remedy.

"He should resign, but because that is dependent on him, we also need to be willing and ready to investigate and impeach," Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat whose district covers Manhattan's Financial District and Chinatown, told Insider.

We should believe these women until we see indications that they are part of a political hit operation carried out by Cuomo's enemies. You should not be naive enough to consider that possibility. It is far more likely that Cuomo's shattered personal life and poor choices are to blame. But don't discount the sophistication of how these revelations have sunk him.

Long before all of this happened, Cuomo was easily one of the most hated Democrats in the country, somewhere out there with Rahm Emanuel and flaming gonorrhea. He earned this distinction by being a heavy handed asshole of epic proportions, somehow able to anger the people who were supposed to support him and infuriate the ones who would never vote for a Republican. He was rarely charming but always ready to back the initiative most likely to hurt the people who wanted to give him their support. He was incandescently wrong about everything and had the political instincts of a dynamite salesman in a town that made nitroglycerin and fine china.

Eliot Spitzer was taken out by a political hit engineered by Roger Stone. The fact that we don't grieve the Spitzer Administration is because he was an asshole who mistreated the women he paid for sex. It really isn't complicated when you think about it. Had we simply rejected his overwrought brand of assholery in the first place, we could have had a better outcome. Character matters. How someone treats other people matters. Cuomo has always been a significantly compromised horse's ass. What little good he accomplished is washed away because he took the worst job in American politics. When you're governor of New York, you better be perfect. If not, good luck, sucker.

Having said that, of course he should resign. Given what has been done to remove him from office, this is clearly a political hit job hatched by people who stand to make a killing in Albany. I don't know who stands to get rich because of the removal of Cuomo but they have to be salivating right now. 

This sort of thing would never force the country to call for the removal of a Republican. It certainly wouldn't move the needle in terms of getting someone like Trump out of office or keep him from running again. There are at least 26 very credible accounts of Trump being an out of control sex maniac and all it has done is make him more popular among his supporters. This is a stain on our public discourse. You see, there's one truth in America. You can sexually harass and assault people but only when there's an "R" by your name and only when you're an overweight, crass white man. We have enshrined this in our politics. Cuomo should switch parties. Then, and only then, could he get away with being crude to some young women.

It would be great if we could arrive at one standard. If you're a sexist, degenerate asshole to people and if you use your position of power to intimidate or coerce someone to have sex with you, then you should lose your job. That includes all of the powerful white men who do this, Democrat or Republican. I'd have no problem with this if that were the new standard of being able to serve in office. 

The Democratic Party has a deep bench. There are scores of people who are qualified to take over if we purge these jackasses out of the party. The Republican Party would end up with a handful of old women running things and most of them would probably have to switch to being independents just to survive in the primaries but there you have it. Don't expect consistency. 

Always be ready to live with the hypocrisy of today's political standards. And stop supporting toxic assholes. Nothing good ever comes from it and you end up with the sad farce of the end of Andrew Cuomo's career staring you in the face.