The Demagogues Are Having a Field Day

Our friend Annie has touched on a number of hot topics today, from General Milley’s response to the little wuss, Matt Gaetz, to the fools over at Fox News, to the Big Lie, to voter suppression efforts by Republicans! Her post is well worth the read, and she ends on a more positive note, telling us about some of the efforts being made to counter the Republican’s efforts to promote ignorance and take this nation back 100 years … or more. Thanks, Annie!

annieasksyou...

American flag image from Renan Kamikoga, found via unsplash.com

Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, drew a lot of flack last year when he accompanied then-President Trump on what was widely condemned as a “photo-op” in which Trump stood in front of a church holding a Bible during Black Lives Matter protests outside the White House.

Milley, a much-decorated general whom Trump had appointed, subsequently apologized for allowing the military to be politicized. Apparently, behind the scenes, he was doing even more.

According to a new book written by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender (Frankly, We Did Win ThisElection), as demonstrations were held in a number of cities, Milley repeatedly stopped Trump from demanding that the largely peaceful demonstrators (more than 93% of the demonstrations were peaceful) be met with violence.

From CNN Politics:

“’That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,’…

View original post 926 more words

OOPS–The Dark Money Folks Learn Conservatives Hate Dark Money Too!

For the most part, the only people who favour allowing the wealthy to buy elections are … the wealthy. And, of course, the politicians who sell their souls downriver for those billionaire’s dollars. Our friend Annie has an eye-opening post on the topic that I think you will find quite interesting … and anger-inducing as well. Thank you, Annie!

annieasksyou...

Image by Aidan Bartos @bartos; found via unsplash.com

“Unfortunately, we’ve found that [inhibiting billionaires from buying elections] is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives. It was most persuasive, convincing, riled them up the most.”

The speaker is Kyle McKenzie, research director for Stand Together, a nonprofit advocacy group run by the right-wing oil billionaire Charles Koch. McKenzie was presenting survey findings at a meeting held on January 8—two days after it became clear the Democrats had gained control of the Senate.

Other meeting participants included long-time tax opponent Grover Norquist and two prominent Republican staff members: Caleb Hays is general counsel to Republicans on the House Administration Committee; Steve Donaldson is a policy adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McKenzie’s findings were not what these folks hoped to hear.

Jane Mayer, a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, somehow acquired this remarkable tape…

View original post 1,144 more words

Saturday Surprise — Something To Make You Smile

It has been one of those weeks from hell, hasn’t it?  I need something to bring a smile to my face, and I figured just maybe you do too!  Sometimes nothing softens the heart and makes us smile like those non-human species we call animals or critters.  I snagged these from The Guardian’s ‘Week in Wildlife’ feature last week …

Sambar deer cool off in shallow water at Yala National Park, some 250 km south-west of Colombo, Sri Lanka Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

A fox on Russky Island. The local population is rebounding after a fall in the 90s caused by poaching. Photograph: Yuri Smityuk/TASS/Getty Images

A reed warbler feeding a cuckoo, taken from a hide at WWT Martin Mere. Cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, which raise the chicks in place of their own offspring. Photograph: Maggie Bullock/WWT/PA

A Formosan ferret badger at the Taipei Zoo, one of a number of animals to have been suggested as the intermediary carrier of the coronavirus. Photograph: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

A cardinal sits in a flowering tree at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. Warm weather has led to blossoms blooming earlier than expected. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

Brown hares are seen in a field near Niederleis, Austria, on Good Friday. Photograph: Georg Hochmuth/APA/AFP/Getty Images

A northern corroboree frog – one of Australia’s most endangered species – is seen in the breeding tank at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Its population in the wild was severely impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

A popular bald eagle nesting livestream from the Friends of the Redding Eagles, northern California, which rushed to install its webcam for the pandemic audience last summer after a five-year absence. Liberty, a 22-year-old female, is on her third “marriage” and her three chicks with seven-year-old partner Guardian were hatched between 21 and 24 March. Liberty has raised 22 offspring from egg to fledgling, including three sets of triplets. Photograph: Friends of the Redding Eagles

A royal Bengal tiger at Bardiya National Park in Nepal. Previously known as the Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for royal Bengal tiger sightings. Photograph: Niranjan Shrestha/AP

A grey whale is seen at Ojo de Liebre Lagoon in Guerrero Negro, Mexico. Each year hundreds of north Pacific grey whales travel thousands of miles from Alaska to the Baja California Peninsula breeding lagoons. Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

A leopard walks at Yala National Park, some 250 km southwest of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

One of 185 seized baby giant tortoises, in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador, which had been stuffed in a suitcase to be trafficked. Photograph: Galapagos Ecologic Airport/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers follow a Polar bear in the Arctic Ocean during the Umka 2021 expedition organised by the Russian Geographical Society. It aims to research and monitor the polar bear population and assess the impact of climate change. Photograph: Gavriil Grigorov/TASS/Getty Images

Sambar deer at Bardiya National Park, Nepal. Photograph: Niranjan Shrestha/AP

A Lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima), a lizard endemic to the Lesser Antilles, in its natural habitat on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. Photograph: Lionel Chamoiseau/AFP/Getty Images

Lutjanus bohar, the two-spot red snapper, is a species of snapper belonging to the family Lutjanidae, at the Rowley Shoals archipelago off WA, Australia. A study shows that fishing restrictions across the Rowley Shoals archipelago helped sustain threatened species and biodiversity during a time of ‘unprecedented’ decline. Photograph: Courtesy of Matt Birt/BRUV

Wasps on aruera flowers (Bidens bipinnata) at the Lunarejo Valley, in Rivera, Uruguay. The national park, in northern Uruguay at the border with Brazil, is seeing an increase in tourist traffic, as people look for less crowded places to visit. The valley is home to many species of flora and fauna, with at least 150 types of birds, snakes, amphibians, anteaters, armadillo, foxes and wild boars. Photograph: Raúl Martínez/EPA

Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) chick at Nafplio, Greece. Photograph: Bougiotis Vangelis/EPA

People watching migratory birds at a wetland near the Yalu River in Dandong, in China’s north-eastern Liaoning province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Storks stand in their nest in Kizilcahamam, outside the Turkish capital of Ankara. Every year, storks migrate to Turkey for an incubation period as the weather gets warmer in spring. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

An illegal bow trap set in Brescia, where bird poaching incidents are the highest in Italy. With 5 million birds a year illegally caught in Italy, activists are teaming up with local police to trap the hunters. Photograph: WWF Italy

Mandarin ducks on the Erdaobai River at the foot of Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province. Photograph: Sipa Asia/REX/Shutterstock

If you’ve got a minute more to spare, I highly recommend you hop over to Annie’s blog and check out the most adorable penguin and how he evaded the sharks that were determined to turn him into a snack!  It’s a short video, but I promise it will leave a smile on your face!

Happy weekend, my friends!

Winning Over White Supremacists–One Hater at a Time

In the wee hours this morning, as I was trying to catch up and visit a few friends’ blogs that I had not visited recently, I came across one that gave me pause. Since the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, extremist white supremacist groups have been much on our mind. It is easy to lump them together and think of those who perpetrate such crimes as something less than human, but … sometimes they just need somebody to show them that love is better than hate. Please take a few minutes to read Annie’s excellent post … you won’t regret it! Thank you, Annie, for the time and effort you spent on this … very thought-provoking!

annieasksyou...

Image from American Progress.org

I am writing this piece with images of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol still very fresh in my mind. It is a huge stretch to think of those brutal, sadistic, remorseless thugs and imagine summoning an iota of compassion for them. But others of their ilk–and many psychologists and researchers–say that’s precisely what’s needed.

They call themselves the “formers”: former Klansman, neo-Nazis, or generic white supremacists or other racial extremists who are now devoted to guiding those who’d followed similar paths to come to a better life.

Christian Picciolini is one of them. As a 14-year-old, he’d joined a violent group of white power adherents who became the “Hammerskin Nation.” As he described his feelings to Dave Davies in an NPR interview, the group threw him a “lifeline of acceptance…I felt a sort of energy flow through me that I had never felt before—as…

View original post 1,629 more words

Keeping Our Eyes Where We Don’t Want Them To Be…

Many of us have opined about the impeachment trial, the likelihood that the senate republicans will fail to do their duty to We the People, and more. But, just when I thought I’d heard it all, I came across Annie’s post last night and … my jaw dropped. Trump apparently believes that he is still president, has set himself up with an office, staff, and claims his office will address “… official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump administration …” All the more reason that he must be convicted, his lies must be paid for, he must be forced into irrelevancy. Thank you, Annie, for this thoughtful post!

annieasksyou...

Image by Alexander Krivitskiy @krivitskiy; found via unsplash.com

I’ve had various gastrointestinal problems over the years: I come from a family of “gut” people, and there’s lots of scientific evidence about our gut-brain connection. But it took me about a week to realize that a lot of my annoying symptoms had dissipated.

I no longer had to make daily shakes with the fattening avocado I dislike to keep my weight stable, and I was eating things I’d abandoned in misery—like hummus. (OK, not thrilling, but when peanut butter on apples is the only lunch that sits right, a little diversity is most welcome.)

When I saw my gastro Monday morning, I told him how much better I was feeling. And the light bulb had gone off. My GI system almost instantaneously expressed its enormous gratitude and relief when Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump in the Oval Office. “You’re not the…

View original post 1,585 more words

Think Trump’s Not Moving Toward Total Autocracy? This International Analyst Knows the Signs Too Well…

Earlier today, I re-blogged a post from Annie of annieasksyou fame, and this evening I am sharing another. Annie has collected a series of observations made by International Analyst Michael McFaul that paint a picture that is … chilling. Please do take a minute to check it out. Thanks again, Annie!

annieasksyou...

Michael McFaul, Stanford University

[Note from Annie:I’ve extracted from Twitter a series of observations made by Michael McFaul last week after viewing the Republican National Convention that I think form a compelling picture of the dangers we’ll face if we don’t remove President Trump from office in November.(The emphases are mine.)

McFaul served as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House from 2009 to 2012, and then as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. The author of several books and an academic at Stanford, he cites his research interests as American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development.]

—————————————

For those of us who study autocracies, including elections in autocracies, there were a lot of familiar messages, symbols, and methods on display this week…

View original post 559 more words