Crazy Uncle vs Intelligent Hombre …

Due to circumstances beyond my control (stubborn headphones), I missed the first 20 minutes or so of Joe Biden’s town hall last night, and due to other circumstances beyond my control (family obligations), I was only able to watch about 20 minutes before having to stop.  I never had any intention of watching Trump’s town hall and wouldn’t have even if he hadn’t scheduled his to compete with Biden’s, but I had hoped to watch all of Biden’s.  I have, however, read most of the transcript of Joe’s town hall, and some key takeaways from Trump’s.

I must say that it was great, the few minutes I was able to watch Biden’s event, to be able to hear Biden answer the questions asked of him without interruption.  It was great not to have to look away from Trump’s freakish facial contortions while he muttered and blathered.  We actually got to hear what Joe thought, what he plans to do once he is in the Oval Office.  Much more informative and less stressful than the debate a few weeks ago.

Most of Biden’s responses to questions were what we’ve come to expect from Biden:  calm, thoughtful responses, intelligence, no raised voice, and even speaking in complete sentences.  He covered what he would do differently regarding the coronavirus pandemic, and spoke about a vaccine, saying …

“If the body of scientists say that this is what is ready to be done and it’s been tested, they’ve gone through the three phases, yes, I would take it, and I’d encourage people to take it.”

He mentioned that while he would like to be able to make the vaccine mandatory, he realizes this cannot be done …

“You couldn’t, that’s the problem.  You can’t say, ‘Everyone has to do this.’”

Perhaps one of the most glaring differences between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is the ability to admit to a mistake.  Last night, when Joe Biden was questioned about the 1994 crime bill that he sponsored while in the senate, he defended and explained parts of the bill, but was also able to admit that in hindsight, some parts were a mistake.  Trump, on the other hand, has never admitted to a mistake and still gives himself kudos for his horrible handling of the pandemic that has now cost the U.S. 223,000 human lives.

From what I’ve read, the two town hall events were as different as night and day.  Joe’s could be said to be almost boring in contrast, but that’s fine with me!  I’ll take boring over bombastic any day of the week!  I agreed with most of what Biden said, the only thing I would argue is that I think fracking should be banned, Biden doesn’t.  But hell … if that’s the only thing we disagree on, that’s nearly a miracle in itself!

I was also impressed with Biden’s response to the final question by moderator George Stephanopoulos, “Mr. Vice President, if you lose, what will that say to you about where America is today?”

“Well, it could say that I’m a lousy candidate, and I didn’t do a good job. But I think — I hope … that it doesn’t say that we are as racially, ethnically, and religiously at odds with one another as it appears the President wants us to be. Usually, you know, the President, in my view, with all due respect, it’s been divide and conquer, the way he does better if he splits us and where there’s division.

And I think people need hope. I think — look, George, I’ve never been more optimistic of the prospects for this country than I am today. And I really mean that. I think the people are ready. They understand what’s at stake. And it’s not about Democrat or Republican.

If I get elected, you know, I’m going to be — I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to be an American president. I’m going to take care of those that voted against me as well as those who voted for me, for real. That’s what presidents do. We’ve got to heal this nation, because we have the greatest opportunity of any country in the world to own the 21st century. And we can’t do it divided.”

And that in and of itself, my friends, makes me want Joe Biden as my president more than ever before.

Now Trump, on the other hand …

… was apparently his usual obnoxious self, perhaps even more so, but he met his match with moderator Savannah Guthrie!  Given that I do not watch television, I had never seen Ms. Guthrie in her spot as co-anchor of the NBC News morning show, but … this lady is gooooood!  She held Trump’s feet to the fire, and apparently, he squirmed!

From The Washington Post’s article, “5 takeaways from the dueling Trump and Biden town halls”

When Trump claimed that a study showed 85 percent of people who wear masks still get the coronavirus, Guthrie noted he falsely characterized the study.

When Trump defended his pandemic response by citing another study that showed 2 million people could have died of the coronavirus, Guthrie rightly noted that model predicted that only if the government did precisely zero mitigation.

When Trump declined to denounce QAnon because he said he didn’t know what it was about, Guthrie provided details about what it was about and invited him to do it, noting Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has flatly denounced it as a baseless conspiracy theory. Trump instead offered that he liked that QAnon was against pedophilia.

When Guthrie pressed Trump on his retweets this week of a bizarre conspiracy theory about Osama bin Laden’s death, Trump explained by saying he was just passing along information. (“That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”) Guthrie then provided the retort those tweets have long demanded: that he’s the president, not someone’s “crazy uncle” spouting off on Twitter, and that the information he promotes matters.

I particularly love that last part … “he is the president, not someone’s ‘crazy uncle’ spouting off …”  LOVE IT!!!  Part of me almost wants to watch the clip, just to see the look on his face when she said that!  Maybe I will.  Crazy Uncle Donnie!  Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

I have a policy that I do not donate money to political candidates, even ones I support.  Why?  Because there are people going without food, homeless people living on the streets, sick people who cannot afford medical treatment … when you compare the pleas of a politician who has never gone hungry a single day in his/her life against those needs … well, if I have an extra $25 or $100, I donate it to the local food bank or homeless shelter.  Tonight, I broke that policy … so impressed with Joe Biden was I, that I donated $25 to his campaign.  Not much, but given that 75% of my monthly income goes to pay for my insulin and other medications, it was the best I could do.  It was my way of saying, “I believe in Joe Biden.”

We’re in the final days, my friends.  Some 15 million votes have already been cast by mail-in ballots and early in-person voting.  There is a new enthusiasm that we didn’t see even in 2016 … and it isn’t enthusiasm for another four years of the hell we’ve lived through for the last four!  It is hope … the hope for a president who represents ALL of the people, not only the wealthy, not only those who support him, but each and every one of us.  Hope for a brighter future, hope that we can re-establish our relationship with our allies, hope that we can begin to address the racial issues that are tearing this country apart.  Hope … it’s a beautiful word, and tonight, Joe Biden showered me with hope.

Filosofa Is A Bit Rant-y

I am rather rant-y tonight, for I am tired of so many things … tired of the divisiveness in this country, tired of the lies that regularly emit from our government, tired of the sheer ignorance of some people and the cruelty of others, and just tired in general, I suppose.  So, bear with me while I let off a bit of steam …

I expect conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones to say ignorant things like he thinks a White House staffer poisoned Trump’s Diet Coke and then told him he had the coronavirus.  Ol’ Alex thinks we aren’t smart enough to see the lunacy in his theory.  But I mistakenly credited the people of this nation, even Trump’s loyal base, with having a bit more intelligence, being a bit more discerning.  Some of Trump’s base who were interviewed had some lovely things to say …

  • “It’s a hoax. There’s no pandemic. As Trump said, how many millions die of flu?”
  • “If he’s sick, then they planted it when they tested him. It’s what they did to me when I went to hospital for my heart beating too fast. Two weeks later I got a cold. It’s political. I don’t trust the US government at all. Who are they to mandate personal safety? I listen to Trump.”
  • “Yes, it’s highly contagious. So are the measles. But I’m a firm believer that if you get it, it’s not a death sentence.” Oh really, ma’am?  Try telling that to the friends and families of the 214,000+ people who have died in this country alone and the more than 2.5 million who are still suffering from the disease!

ClaytoonzOf course, it doesn’t help that the doctor in charge of Trump’s case at Walter Reed hospital, Dr. Sean Conley, can’t give a straight answer to a simple question during a press conference, and is apparently yet another bootlicker telling the public what Trump has told him to tell us, so we cannot believe anything we are told.  It doesn’t give people free license to start stupid rumours that are likely to further divide the people of this nation.

Just to put the conspiracies to bed:  Donald Trump contracted the coronavirus because he thought he knew more than the experts, and so shunned the precautions that most of the rest of us are taking, such as wearing a mask when in public, avoiding crowded venues, and keeping a 6-foot distance from other people when in public.  He broke those rules time and time again, and now he’s paying the price.  There was no poison, no chemical plant, no nothing beyond Trump’s own stupidity.

And, in addition to stupidity, there is the big lie … the one where he claimed to have tested positive late Thursday night or early Friday morning, but in truth had tested positive and displayed symptoms a full day before!  On Wednesday, he attended a rally in Minnesota, and on Thursday, knowing that he had the virus, he attended various public events on a fund-raising trip to New Jersey.  Potentially, he could have infected thousands of people, yet his only concern was his re-election bid.

Due to his inept and intentional bungling of the pandemic, more than 214,000 people in this country have died, and that number is likely to double by early next year.  And now, he willfully exposed others, both within and outside his administration.  So no, I have no empathy for him. No, I don’t wish death on him, however whether he recovers or not is unimportant to me beyond the effect it will have on the upcoming election.  If you think that makes me hard-hearted, think again … I have a great deal of empathy for those who lost a loved one this year due to the pandemic, for Black people who must fear for their lives, for migrant children separated from their parents at the southern border, for the homeless and those barely making ends meet … yes, I have empathy, but not for a narcissistic megalomaniac who is paying the price of his own perfidy.

I also have no empathy for his wife, who on Tuesday night sauntered into the debate venue wearing a mask, then immediately took it off for the rest of the evening in violation of rules that both candidates had agreed to in advance.  The rest of his family also sat maskless throughout the debacle.  As for his trophy wife, I say to her what she said to the world …Melania-jacketAnd I have no compassion for those who are so blindly enamoured of Trump that they will literally follow him off this cliff he has taken us to the brink of.  Those who shun wearing a mask because Trump mocked mask-wearers, who go into crowded venues such as bars, clubs, arenas, and churches, deserve no compassion.  They risk not only their own lives, but the lives of their families, friends, co-workers … every one of us.

Save your sympathy for those who deserve it … the Trump family does not.

Our New Reality

I first read the following OpEd by Dana Milbank in The Washington Post last week, and didn’t give any thought to posting it here.  There were other fish to fry, and I really don’t like raising red flags any more than is necessary.  But, for nearly a week now, the article has stuck with me, pops into my mind at odd times, so this morning I re-visited it.  One big thing has happened since the article was first published that has given it even more perspective than it originally had:  the debate on Tuesday night.  And so, today I am sharing Mr. Milbank’s column for your perusal.


This is not a drill. The Reichstag is burning.

Dana-MilbankOpinion by

Dana Milbank

Columnist

September 25, 2020 at 2:14 p.m. EDT

America, this is not a drill. The Reichstag is burning.

For five years, my colleagues and I have taken pains to avoid Nazi comparisons. It is usually hyperbolic, and counterproductive, to label the right “fascists” in the way those on the right reflexively label the left “socialists.” But this is no longer a matter of name-calling.

With his repeated refusals this week to accept the peaceful transfer of power — the bedrock principle that has sustained American democracy for 228 years — President Trump has put the United States, in some ways, where Germany was in 1933, when Adolf Hitler used the suspicious burning of the German parliament to turn a democracy into a totalitarian state.

Overwrought, you say? Then ask Yale historian Timothy Snyder, a top authority on Nazism and Stalinism. “The Reichstag has been on a slow burn since June,” he told me. “The language Trump uses to talk about Black Lives Matter and the protests is very similar to the language Hitler used — that there’s some vague left-wing conspiracy based in the cities that is destroying the country.”

Trump, as he has done before, has made the villain a minority group. He has sought, once again, to fabricate emergencies to justify greater powers for himself. He has proposed postponing elections. He has refused to commit to honoring the results of the election. And now, he proposes to embrace violence if he doesn’t win.

“It’s important not to talk about this as just an election,” Snyder said. “It’s an election surrounded by the authoritarian language of a coup d’etat. The opposition has to win the election and it has to win the aftermath of the election.”

If not? There won’t be another “normal” election for some time, he said. But that doesn’t have to happen, and Snyder is optimistic it won’t. To avoid it, we voters must turn out in overwhelming numbers to deal Trump a lopsided defeat. The military must hold to its oath. Homeland Security police must not serve as Trump’s brownshirts. And we citizens must take to the streets, peacefully but indefinitely, until the will of the people prevails.

“It’s going to be messy,” Snyder said. “He seems pretty sure he won’t win the election, he doesn’t want to leave office,” and he appears to Snyder to have “an authoritarian’s instinct” that he must stay in power or go to prison.

It’s abundantly clear that Trump plans to fabricate an election “emergency.” First, he claimed mail-in balloting, a tried-and-true system, is fraudulent. Now his supporters are trying to harass in-person voters.

When Virginia’s early voting opened this week, Trump supporters descended on a polling station, waving Trump signs and flags, chanting and forming a gantlet through which voters had to walk. When the New York Times reported that this voter intimidation campaign began at a nearby rally featuring the Republican National Committee co-chairman, the Virginia GOP responded mockingly from its official Twitter account: “Quick! Someone call the waaaambulance!”

Let’s be clear. There is only one political party in American politics embracing violence. There is only one side refusing to denounce all political violence. There is only one side talking about bringing guns to the polls; one side attempting to turn federal law-enforcement officials into an arm of a political party. And Trump is trying to use law enforcement to revive tactics historically used to bully voters of color from voting — tactics not seen in 40 years.

Some of what Trump and his lieutenants have been doing is merely unseemly: using the machinery of government to attack previous and current political opponents, likening pandemic public health restrictions to slavery, or threatening to overrule regulators if they question the safety of vaccines.

But embracing violence to resolve democratic disagreement is another matter. Trump embraced the “very fine people” among the homicidal neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. He embraced as “very good people” armed protesters who stormed the Michigan Capitol to intimidate lawmakers. He embraced his supporter who allegedly shot and killed two people at a protest in Wisconsin. He embraced the “GREAT PATRIOTS” who drove into Portland, Ore., hurling paintballs and pepper spray at demonstrators. He embraced officers who kill unarmed African Americans, saying they simply “choke” under pressure.

Now he’s rejecting the peaceful transfer of power. Worse: Most Republican officeholders dare not contradict him. The Times reported that of all 168 Republican National Committee members and 26 Republican governors it asked to comment on Trump’s outrage, only four RNC members and one governor responded.

In Federalist 48, James Madison prophetically warned that tyranny could triumph under “some favorable emergency.” In 1933, Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag to do just that. Trump now, it appears, is aiming to do likewise.

America, this is our Reichstag moment. We have the power to stop it. Don’t let democracy burn to the ground.

If people like conspiracy theories, why not look at real ones

Conspiracy theories abound and most do not bear repeating, for to do so is to give the one spewing the lies just what he sought: attention. However, there are some actual conspiracies, both past and present, as our friend Keith notes in his very excellent post this evening!

musingsofanoldfart

There has been a lot of press about Marjorie Taylor Greene, an advocate of the conspiracy theory website QAnon winning a GOP primary in Georgia. Unless the GOP finds its conscience, she will become a member of Congress. Getting less press is Madison Cawthorn who is the GOP candidate running for now Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ old seat. Cawthorn has some social media references to white nationalists and has bragged on visiting the Hitler bunker in Germany. In this case, the GOP leadership supported his opponent in the primary.

Some folks are unfamiliar with QAnon, but the president is not one of them. He often parrots conspiracy theories and it is nirvana for a conspiracy author to hear their words come out of his mouth. My favorite QAnon story is Hillary Clinton was running a Satanic child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor in Washington DC to raise…

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Ignorance is Bliss

Our friend Jeff from On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful post about the current state of affairs in the U.S., or rather the ignorance that created the monster who created that state of affairs. There is much food for thought here, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read and consider his words. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The dumbing down of America began long before the current president rose to power. It’s easy to blame the man, but in this case, he’s merely jumping on the bandwagon and taking the ignorance to new and immense heights.

For all of his faults, and there are too many to list here, recognizing the stupidity of so many Americans and capitalizing on their failure to reach even the bare minimum of intellectual curiosity might be his most significant and long-lasting contribution to America’s decline.

All you need to do is scan the news every day for examples of how far we’ve gone from being the envy of the world to a country ultimately coming apart at its seams, flailing and hurtling head-first into a world of conspiracy theories, lies, racial division, and absurdity…

*Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas tests positive for Covid-19 and claims that it was the mask itself…

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Snarky Is The New Normal

Try as I might, I cannot seem to keep the snarky at bay these days.  I wake in the morning to an overflow of ‘breaking news’ on my phone, and it’s downhill from there … every story either causes my jaw to drop or an expletive to issue forth before I can stop it.  It amazes me, as I sit here looking out the window, that the grass is still green, the birds are still flying about and stopping to help themselves to the bird seed on my patio, the flowers still bloom, children are out playing and laughing … everything appears to be ‘normal’, just as it was before, just as it has always been.  But it is not … nothing is ‘normal’ in these troubled times.  ‘Twould seem that snarky is my new ‘normal’, so …


Assault on the 1st Amendment …

During the protests that have resulted since the brutal murder of George Floyd in May, law enforcement officials have assaulted and arrested journalists who were reporting on the protests.  When Trump sent unwanted and unneeded federal forces into Portland, the violence only escalated, as did the attacks on members of the press.  This, as I see it, is a direct assault on the 1st Amendment right to a free press.  U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed with me in his ruling this week that …

“When wrongdoing is underway, officials have great incentive to blindfold the watchful eyes of the fourth estate. The free press is the guardian of the public’s interests and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press.”

And with that, he issued a temporary restraining order not to arrest or assault journalists and legal observers for doing their jobs.  Trump & Co have said they will appeal the order.  This should concern us all, for if the press are stifled from reporting on such things as the brute force being used in Portland, Oregon, how do we know what is happening?  Or, as Attorney Matthew Borden, representing the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said …

“These are not accidents. These are not inadvertent shots. These are trained marksmen and these are the actions of a tyrant. They do not have a place in Portland, Oregon and they do not have a place under the First Amendment. If you do not have the press reporting on events first-hand, then you only have the version put forth by the government. And that’s what you have under a totalitarian state.”

If assaulting and arresting the press when they are doing their job, performing their duty to We the People, is allowed to become the ‘norm’, then we will no longer be a “free” nation, but as Mr. Borden said, a totalitarian state.  What will follow will not be pretty, my friends.


Like a bad penny …

You’ve heard the expression about a bad penny that keeps turning back up?  Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one such bad penny and yes, he’s back in the news and back on the campaign trail, this time running for Sheriff of Maricopa County once again.  The ‘man’ is 88 years old, for Pete’s Sake … shouldn’t he just crawl off into the sunset and die or something?

Arpaio-2In case you’ve forgotten, Sheriff Joe ran the most corrupt law enforcement department in the nation from 1993 until 2017 when he lost his re-election bid to a democrat, Paul Penzone.  Thing is, Sheriff Joe was convicted of criminal contempt of court in 2017, but soon thereafter was pardoned by his partner in crime, Donald Trump.  After losing his position as Sheriff, in 2018 he made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate.  He never got out of the starting gate on that one, came in with the lowest percentile in the primaries, and I thought surely that was the last we would hear from Sheriff Joe.  But no …

And Joe Arpaio has not learned a damn thing despite having been the target of numerous lawsuits charging abuse of prisoners, entrapment, racism and much more.  In his campaign announcement, he vowed to bring back things that the courts have either deemed illegal or his successor has done away with — immigration crackdowns, a complex of jail tents and other now-discarded trademarks.

“I’m telling you right now: I am going to do 90% of what I did during my 24 years. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

I don’t expect Arpaio to win … but let’s face it, we are living in strange times and if a television comedian can become president … need I say more?


Sinclair to do WHAT???

Most every city in the U.S. has a Sinclair Broadcasting channel, including my own.  Here in Cincinnati it is WKRC, channel 12 … a station that was once among the most reputable but has apparently slunk to sleaze.  This weekend, local television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group are set to air a conspiracy theory that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus.

This sort of broadcasting is beneath even Fox ‘News’, let alone what was once a reputable media company!  This is something I would expect from Alex Jones or Breitbart.  The baseless conspiracy theory is set to air on stations across the country in a segment during the program “America This Week” hosted by Eric Bolling.

Bolling, by the way, is a former Fox ‘News’ host … no surprise there, eh?  I sincerely hope that Dr. Fauci files a libel suit against Sinclair, and perhaps Bolling personally.


Republicans wearing blinders?

It’s probably a good thing the Republican Party wasn’t in existence in the mid-1300s when the Bubonic Plague was around, else the entire human species might have died out then.  On second thought, perhaps that might not have been such a bad thing.  A recent PEW Research study shows that while 85% of democrats say the coronavirus pandemic is a major threat to the health of the U.S. population, only 46% of republicans see it as a major threat.  WTF???

good griefThere are, as of this writing, 4.3 million cases reported and very nearly 150,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, and the majority of republicans don’t think it’s a major threat???  We have more deaths than any other nation on the planet, and more than double the number of every other nation with the exception of Brazil, who have just over half as many deaths as the U.S.

Were the republicans brainwashed in the spring when Trump told them it wasn’t a big deal – 15 cases and they would soon be gone?  Or do they not see death as a threat to human survival?  What if we had a government run by non-republicans who take such things as a pandemic seriously?  Perhaps we would have had only 30,000 deaths and fewer than a million cases?  We will never know, will we?

A Wake-Up Call

I’ve mentioned a few times that I wonder, as Trump sees his poll numbers sliding and as we move closer and closer to election day, what new tricks Trump will try to ensure his re-election.  It seems he has pulled a number of tricks out of his sleazy bag, but are there more?  Robert Reich’s column in The Guardian today shows us what has been done, and what is left that could happen.  We all need to be aware, to stay on our toes, to be ready to fight back.  And most of all … on November 3rd … VOTE!


Donald Trump’s re-election playbook: 25 ways he’ll lie, cheat and abuse his power

From now until November, opponents of the most lawless president in history face a fight for democracy itself

Robert Reich-4By Robert Reich

Donald Trump will do anything to be re-elected. His opponents are limited because they believe in democracy. Trump has no limits because he doesn’t.

Here’s Trump’s re-election playbook, in 25 simple steps:

1) Declare yourself above the law.

2) Use racist fearmongering. Demand “law and order” and describe protesters as “thugs”, “lowlife” and “rioters and looters”. Describe Covid-19 as “kung-flu”. Retweet posts from white supremacists. In your campaign ads, use a symbol associated with Nazis.

3) Appoint an attorney general more loyal to you than to America, and politicize the Department of Justice so it’s lenient on your loyalists and comes down hard on your enemies. Have it lighten the sentence of a crony convicted of lying under oath. Order investigations of industries you dislike.

4) Fire US attorneys who are investigating you.

5) Fire independent inspectors general who are looking into what you’ve done. Crush any whistleblowers you find.

6) Demean and ignore the intelligence community. Appoint a director of national intelligence more loyal to you than to America. Demand that the head of the FBI pledge loyalty to you.

7) Pack the federal courts with judges and justices more loyal to you than to the constitution.

8) Politicize the Department of Defense so generals will back whatever you order. Refer to them as “my generals”. Have them help clear out protesters. Order the military to surveil protesters. Tell governors you’ll bring in the military to stop protesters.

9) Purge your party of anyone disloyal to you and turn it into a mindless, brainless, spineless cult.

10) Get rid of accumulated experience and expertise in government. Demean career public servants. Hollow out the state department, the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and public health.

11) Reward donors and cronies with bailouts, tax breaks, subsidies, government contracts, regulatory rollbacks and plum jobs. Put their lobbyists in charge of your agencies. Distribute $500bn in pandemic assistance to corporations in secret, without any oversight.

12) Coddle dictators. Don’t criticize their human rights abuses. Refuse to work with the leaders of other democracies. Withdraw from international treaties.

13) Create scapegoats. Demonize migrants and lock up asylum seekers at the border, even if they’re children. Put a white nationalist in charge of immigration policy. Blame Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.

14) Denigrate and ridicule all critics. Describe opponents as “human scum”. Attack the mainstream media as purveyors of “fake news” and “enemies of the people”.

15) Conjure up conspiracies supposedly led by your predecessor and your opponent in the last election. Without any evidence, accuse your predecessor of “treason”. Fabricate a “deep state” out to get you.

16) Downplay real threats to the nation, such as a rapidly spreading pandemicLie about your utter failure to contain it. Muzzle public health experts. Urge people to go back to work even as the pandemic worsens in parts of the country.

17) Encourage armed supporters to “liberate” states from elected officials who disagree with you.

18) Bribe other nations to investigate your electoral opponent and flood social media with lies about him.

19) Use rightwing propaganda machines like Fox News and conspiracy-theory-peddling One America News to inundate the country with your lies. Ensure that the morally bankrupt chief executive of Facebook allows you to spread your lies on the biggest media machine in the world.

20) Suppress the votes of people likely to vote against youIntimidate voters of color. Encourage Republican governors to purge voter rolls, demand voter ID and close polling places.

21) Seek to prevent mail-in ballots during the pandemic. Claim they will cause voter fraud, without evidence. Threaten to close the US postal service.

22) Get Vladimir Putin to hack into US election machinesas he did in 2016 but can now do with more experience and deftness. Promise him that in return you’ll further destabilize America as well as Nato. Let him even place a bounty on killing US troops in Afghanistan.

23) If it still looks like you’ll be voted out, try to postpone the election.

24) If you’re voted out of office notwithstanding all this, refuse to leave. Contest the election, claim massive fraud, say it’s a conspiracy, get your cult of a political party to support your lies, get your propaganda machine to repeat them, get your justice department to back you, get your judges and justices to affirm you, get your generals to suppress any subsequent rebellion.

25) Declare victory.

Memo to America: beware Trump’s playbook. Spread the truth. Stay vigilant. Fight for our democracy.

Dangerous Words …

These days, I generally don’t give Alex Jones much space or consideration here, for he is naught more than a two-bit carnival hawker, and we have more important things to talk about.  His radio show, InfoWars, has been dropped by Facebook and Twitter, and while he still has a loyal following of the ignorant who are willing to believe every conspiracy theory they hear, he is pretty much washed up.

Jones has gotten himself in trouble of late, has numerous lawsuits against him as a result of his claim that the Sandy Hook shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and 6 teachers in 2012 was all a hoax, that it never happened, that the parents were paid actors.  Well, some of Jones’ viewers believed him and in the years since, some parents have received threats and even had to relocate to ensure the safety of their remaining children.

His latest is so strange that I was all set to ignore it … why give him the attention he craves … until I thought about the potential ramifications, rather like the Sandy Hook fiasco.  We can shrug off the conspiracy theorists and their theories, can ignore them and hope they go away, but the real danger comes from left field, from the ignorant who, lacking education or common sense, will believe and act on the conspiracy theories.

Remember Pizzagate?  A rumour, started by a Reddit user and picked up by Alex Jones and others, made the rounds.  The rumour was that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John Podesta were kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in tunnels beneath the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C.  The restaurant’s staff and owner began receiving online threats against themselves and worse yet, their children.  And then one day,  Edgar Maddison Welch walked into the restaurant armed with two assault weapons and opened fire … a regular Bugsy Malone.

There is a very real danger in the fact that there are more guns in this nation than there are people, many of them assault weapons that can kill hundreds inside of a minute or two.  There is a very real danger in that this nation is a tinderbox waiting for someone to light a match.  Enter Alex Jones, claiming that the United States will soon have to resort to cannibalism and he is fully prepared to eat his neighbors.  Yes, friends, that’s what he said.

In a video clip from one of his recent broadcasts that is currently circulating across social media, Jones graphically expounds about how the food supply challenges of the current crisis could require extreme measures, including cannibalism.  I will not play the video here, but this is what he said …

“I’ll admit it. I will eat my neighbors. I’m not letting my kids die. I’m just going to be honest. I have extrapolated this out. I won’t have to for a few years, because I have food and stuff. But I’m literally looking at my neighbors now, going, ‘Am I ready to hang them up and gut them and skin them and chop them up?’ And you know what, I’m ready. My daughters aren’t starving to death. I’ll eat my neighbors. … I’ll eat your ass, I will. I’m combat model. Optimum self-efficiency. Probably the leader. My point is, have you thought about this yet? Because I’m somebody that thought I could fix this, and I’m starting to think about having to eat my neighbors. You think I like sizing up my neighbor, how I’m gonna haul him up by a chain? Chop his ass up? I’ll do it. My children aren’t going hungry.”

wtf

Now, ol’ Alex is likely just trying to get attention … that’s what he does.  But think of one of those gun-toting white supremacists who have been instrumental in some of the recent protests demanding that cities and states re-open for business, despite the continued threat of further spread of the disease and tens of thousands more deaths.  Picture one of them, already filled with anger and hate, listening to Mr. Jones’ podcast.  Is it a stretch of the imagination to picture him cleaning his precious guns, oiling them, and loading for bear … waiting for the first time he cannot find chicken or potatoes at his local supermarket?

Given that farmers are plowing under their crops, fruit is being left on the trees to rot, and meat-processing plants are denizens for the coronavirus, it isn’t a stretch that there may be periodic shortages of certain foods over the course of the next year.  But, this is not the Donner expedition and there is literally no danger that we will run out of food.  But, for the diehard fools who will believe the likes of Alex Jones over reason and common sense …

Personally, I see these words as incitement, and while I am a long-time defender of freedom of speech, I have always said there must be limits.  In my book, Mr. Jones has stepped over the line and has set this nation up for an extremely dangerous situation.  With any right, whether it be free speech or the right to bear arms, comes responsibility.  Alex Jones has taken his rights and shunned the accompanying responsibility.  There need to be consequences for stirring a pot that is already about to boil over.  Even if people don’t start threatening to eat their neighbors, I will not be surprised to see that Jones’ words lead to a new wave of hoarding, or people using guns to fight over that last pack of chicken legs.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer, folks.  According to the guys at the National Weather Service, the hottest on record … ever.  We will still be under threat from a devastating pandemic, we will continue to have high unemployment and periodic business shutdowns due to a resurgence of the virus.  We don’t know quite what to expect, and tensions are already running high.  The last thing this country needs is a loud-mouthed jackal telling us to be prepared to eat our friends and neighbors.  The FCC needs to shut Mr. Jones down, for he has ceded his 1st Amendment rights by putting lives in danger.

Here we go again

In 2016, the media inadvertently helped Donald Trump by being so fascinated over his unlikely candidacy that they gave him almost unlimited FREE coverage. And today, our beloved “mainstream” media are doing something similar. Please read Jeff’s post, for this is something that I had not considered, and I bet many of you haven’t either, but we need to be aware. Many thanks, dear Jeff, for this post!

On The Fence Voters

It’s happening folks. Once again, our media is dropping the ball. If you remember, about 11 years ago, not long after the inauguration of the first African-American president, a so-called ‘grassroots’ movement began that called itself the Tea Party. Supposedly, this group was immensely upset at what they saw as an out of control socialist government. We now know, of course, that the grassroots part of this equation was bogus. Much of the movement was financed and promoted by right-wing billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Fox News (Trump TV).

And now with most of the country shutdown trying to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, another so-called grassroots movement seems to be gathering steam. But is it really?

Media expert Eric Boehlert at PressRun has another take. When it comes to exposing media hypocrisy, nobody does it better than Eric. Here’s his take on what looks increasingly like what we saw…

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Grumbles …

Remember back a short 4 years ago?  Life seemed relatively stable, sane … normal.  Not so today …


Conspiracies abound …

Creating conspiracy theories seem to be the favourite hobby of those who haven’t the wits to do anything more constructive with their lives.  Trouble is, a lot of people will fall for them without either checking facts or thinking for themselves, and they sometimes become dangerous, such as the Pizzagate hoax back in 2016.

Ever since last year when tech companies began rolling out the latest generation of wireless communication, called 5G, conspiracy theories have run rampant.  Most of us roll our eyes and brush them off, for they are so far-fetched that even a child wouldn’t fall for them.  But, in this, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all had our worlds turned upside down and perhaps aren’t thinking quite clearly.

This time, an internet conspiracy theory links the spread of the coronavirus to 5G technology.  Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to people’s bodies that make them succumb to the virus.  In other times, even as recently as four months ago, only a handful of people would likely have taken this seriously and even that handful would have been content to spout their nonsense on the ‘Net.  But, as I said, these are scary times with a pandemic inexplicably raging out of control and some are taking it all quite seriously.

5g-bags

Credit…Stefan Wermuth/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Across Britain, more than 30 acts of arson and vandalism have taken place against wireless towers and other telecom gear this month, according to police reports and a telecom trade group. In roughly 80 other incidents in the country, telecom technicians have been harassed on the job.  When people start harming property and people because they fall for a hoax like this, it’s time to shut it down.  I am all for freedom of speech, but this is inciting violence and that’s when it’s no longer free speech but hate speech.

It doesn’t help that two prominent actors, Woody Harrelson and John Cusack, are promoting the falsehood … some will believe it if only because somebody famous said it.  Unfortunately, with most people in the western world being under forced isolation they have plenty of extra time to surf the internet and far too many will believe this sort of garbage.  Each of us who use WiFi or cell phones will pay the price for those damaged cell towers, as the companies who owned them will pass the costs for repairs and replacement, not to mention additional security, on to we the consumer.  Worse yet, eventually somebody will be hurt or killed … and all because this was someone’s idea of fun.  Doesn’t say much for the human condition, does it?


Speaking of conspiracy theories …

There are so many villains in the current administration that it’s hard to decide who’s the crookedest of them all.  I could name at least 30 off the top of my head, but for the moment I think Attorney General William Barr is at or near the top of the list.

William-Barr

You’ll remember, of course, the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s illicit dealings with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.  Mueller’s investigation proved that certain people connected with Trump and/or his campaign did, in fact, engage in a conspiracy with Russia to give Trump assistance in winning the election.  The facts prove that, as does the fact that some of those people are now in prison.

But Bill Barr has decided the whole thing was a conspiracy theory designed to “sabotage the presidency”.  Now, first of all, he has no evidence whatsoever for his claim, but … hey, when did a lack of facts ever stop anybody in this administration from spouting off at the mouth?  Barr was being interviewed by the ignoble Laura Ingraham on Fox News when he claimed …

“I think the president has every right to be frustrated, because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history.  Even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”

Mr. Barr … just how stupid do you think the public are?  Perhaps you are judging us all by the company you keep, but that would be a mistake.  The justice department’s inspector general found in a December report that the FBI was fully justified in opening the investigation to protect against a potential national security threat. It did not find any evidence that the decision to start the investigation was motivated by political bias.

And … “one of the greatest travesties in American history”???  Seriously???  There are so many ‘travesties’ in the history of this country that it would take a thousand pages or more to tell about them all.  No, Bill, this is not even a minor travesty … this was due process of law in action.

This is not an administration, not a government, it is a three-ring circus populated by some of the world’s most ridiculous clowns!  I am insulted that these people expect us to believe the line of bullshit they constantly spout.


And then there’s this:

Remember that $2.3 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress?  Well, part of it was for we the people, part to help small businesses, and part to bail out big corporations so that the CEOs won’t have to reach into their own deep pockets.  Among those corporations are the airline industry, and one corporation within the airline industry is, of course, Boeing.

On Friday, Trump was asked by a reporter if Boeing should be penalized for mass layoffs (approximately 10% of their staff) despite receiving federal aid. Trump claimed that Boeing, which he described as “probably the greatest company in the world”, was yet to ask for aid, though he anticipated that the company would.

First of all, Trump lied (what a surprise, eh?) On March 17th,  ten days before the stimulus bill was even passed, Boeing requested $60bn in government aid.  But the bigger shock was that he had the gall to call Boeing the “greatest company in the world”!  Greatest company in the world???  The company who cut corners and cheated on safety to save money, causing the deaths of 346 people?  Boeing planes have been involved in countless incidents and near misses, twenty-five just since 2006.  Their 737 MAX, the plane involved in the two latest crashes, is grounded because of the software glitch that caused the crashes … a problem that proper testing would have detected before the plane was approved for flight if the FAA and Boeing had not let that ball drop.  No, Donnie boy, Boeing is not even in the top 500 companies in the world!  And yet we the taxpayers are bailing them out of trouble. Max-8-crash


And last but not least …

Trump reportedly asks for prayers for healthcare workers … Say WHAT???  How about sending them the equipment they’re practically begging for?  How about giving them the resources they need to do their jobs?  How about shutting up and letting them do their jobs?  Excuse me, Donnie, but your prayers, especially yours, are about as worthless as your ‘word’ on anything.  Do something right, just for once in your life!angry emoji