Friday: Something Fascist This Way Comes

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s just so hard to start this morning because the headlines are particularly disturbing and not what one expects to see in what was once a fully mature democracy and a highly developed nation. The economic numbers are truly devastating. What makes it worse is that policy and lack of national health strategy is making us live through more than a shock to the economy and more than a national health crisis.

We’ve had a crisis in national health for years. Our broken system and the continuing focus of Republicans on hyping cultural wedge issues and voodoo economics while funneling taxpayer money to billionaires has just hit something that’s put the Republican agenda since Reagan on its destructive full display. It’s no longer slowly killing most of us. It’s actively killing most of us and the world is watching us like we’re living the real version of American Horror Story.

I’ve always enjoyed a good horror movie but sheesh, do we have to live in one? Sir John Cleese has started a zoom performances, speeches, thoughts, etc. He’s spot on here as quoted in the Daily Beast. He’s doing a series of live stream talks from an empty Cadogan Hall in London that is the very essence of the art of dark comedy.

“I don’t mean there’s no hope for us as individuals,” he clarifies when I ask him to elaborate on the ominous title. What he means is, “There is no hope for us that we could ever live in an intelligent, kind, well-run society. Mainly because most people have no idea what they’re talking about.”

Whenever he meets someone who is at the top of their respective field, Cleese asks them how many people in their profession “really know what they’re doing.” He says most people answer in the 10-15 percent range, which may say more about individual arrogance than widespread ineptitude, but he takes them at their word.

“So that means that six out of seven people really don’t know what they’re doing,” he says. “They can just follow routines. But if the routines don’t work, then they don’t understand it at that deeper level.” As is often the case with Cleese, the serious point is followed by a joke: “They’re like I am when my computer crashes.”

From there, Cleese says he moves on the question of why people seek power, which of course brings him to Donald Trump. The comedian has been prolifically anti-Trump on his Twitter account for the past several years and does not need much prompting to start ranting against the American president.

“If you look around at the moment, most of the people who seek great power are complete assholes, who are really only out for themselves,” he says. “Well, if someone’s out for themselves primarily, like our dear President Donald Trump, with no interest in other people at all, it’s not very likely that they’re going to be very good at building a society. And you see that the characteristics of people who are powerful is that they have a deep, deep fear of losing their power.”

“So with all these things going on there’s very little chance we will ever have a sensible society and this is a particularly bad moment,” Cleese adds.

Referring to the rise of strongman leaders around the world like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and others, Cleese says, “We have madness and power-seeking and complete unscrupulousness and pathological lying. And it’s very interesting why. Is it because people are very stupid? That’s a possible explanation.”

It’s really hard to watch and listen to the eulogies from three past presidents for such a towering human as John Lewis with normal behavior then return to the Daily Trumpist Reality Shit Show. It was on express view yesterday since former President Obama is an ongoing trigger for which ever personality disorder is front most at that particular point in time. However, President Obama did a job on him that should royally trigger him without even mentioning his name. This article is from Stephen Collinson at CNN: “Obama warns that Trump’s actions threaten US democracy.”

In one of the most jolting moments in modern political history, former President Barack Obama reclaimed his political pulpit with a stark warning that his successor is a grave and imminent threat to American democracy and racial justice.

Then, even more remarkably, President Donald Trump went on television and proved him right, putting a foreboding shadow over an election that he is already seeking to cast as illegitimate in the eyes of millions of Americans.

The campaign between Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has mostly chugged along out of sight, obscured by a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 Americans.

But the extraordinary interventions Thursday of two presidents, whose legacies will be forever entwined, suddenly underscored how this election, in the words of the quadrennial cliché, will actually be the most important one of our lifetimes.

Thursday brought a tableau of one president, liberated now that he is out of office, at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis, weaving the life of a national hero into a parable of America’s long struggle to reach its promise. The current commander in chief, mired in crisis and desperate to cling to power, reached not for inspiration but for lies and disinformation to obscure the truth.

Yes. Trump held a press conference so he could do his magic hands routine to distract the press away from everything and anything. The shocking but not possible announcement of the day was his inkling of putting off the national election. The shock was undoubtedly the point. From archconservative and a co-founder of The Federalist Society Steven G Calabresi writing in a NY Times Op Ed today: “Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. That’s Unconstitutional. He should be removed unless he relents.” Trump has been doing things since he came down that elevator shadowing the need to remove him and every time that happens Mitch McConnell calls a recess and leaves town.

But I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist. But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

Read the paragraph that precedes this one and realize that this man is really a major indicator of the problem. His late arrival to the party pearl clutching is really just typical of an oligarch realizing there’s a guillotine out there with his name on it. Trump is a champion mangler of the US Constitution. Where has he been?

The “rigged campaign” Trumpist Election Strategy is basically a strategy of projection. We’re supposed to look the other way while they rig the campaign and depress and fail to count votes. This is from Politico: ‘Rigged election’ goes from Trump complaint to campaign strategy. The notion that the president might not accept the election results has jumped from the partisan fever swamps to center stage in the campaign.” Translation of this is that if his rigging of the election doesn’t quite work he won’t leave but will try to tie things up endlessly in the courts.

Donald Trump’s suggestion that he might try to delay the election — or might not accept the result — is rapidly coming to the forefront of the presidential campaign, foreshadowing a final stretch roiled not only by the coronavirus and the economy, but by clashes over the nation’s most fundamental democratic norms.

Though Trump has no authority to move the election — an idea he floated Thursday — Democrats are already bracing for Republican challenges to absentee ballots and at vote counting on Election Day. They have good cause to be prepared: the president has repeatedly raised the prospect of a “rigged election” and recently declined to say if he’ll accept the results.

Trump’s rhetoric points increasingly to the possibility that he will dispute the outcome in a year marked by primary election administration meltdowns — a prospect that is heightened by his absolute control of state and national party machinery and an attorney general who has amplified Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about mail-in voting fraud.

“I don’t have any doubt that’s where he’s headed,” Pete Giangreco, a Democratic strategist who has worked on nine presidential campaigns, said of Trump’s effort to discredit the election. “He wants to delay the election because if they had the election today, he’d lose. The further out he gets from today, the better off he is … So, he wants more time to jerry-rig the system to somehow spit him out as the winner.”

So, here’s a horrifying report from WAPO on the DHS. And you thought they only sent secret police out to terrify those folks peacefully assembled while exercising the first amendment rights! “DHS compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists who published leaked documents.” Everybody gets to lose their first amendment rights but whacko white nationalist christianists.

The Department of Homeland Security has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Ore., in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors.

Over the past week, the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has disseminated three Open Source Intelligence Reports to federal law enforcement agencies and others, summarizing tweets written by two journalists — a reporter for the New York Times and the editor in chief of the blog Lawfare — and noting they had published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland. The intelligence reports, obtained by The Washington Post, include written descriptions and images of the tweets and the number of times they had been liked or retweeted by others.

After The Post published a story online Thursday evening detailing the department’s practices, the acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, ordered the intelligence office to stop collecting information on journalists and announced an investigation into the matter.

“Upon learning about the practice, Acting Secretary Wolf directed the DHS Intelligence & Analysis Directorate to immediately discontinue collecting information involving members of the press,” a department spokesman said in a statement. “In no way does the Acting Secretary condone this practice and he has immediately ordered an inquiry into the matter. The Acting Secretary is committed to ensuring that all DHS personnel uphold the principles of professionalism, impartiality and respect for civil rights and civil liberties, particularly as it relates to the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Some of the leaked DHS documents the journalists posted and wrote about revealed shortcomings in the department’s understanding of the nature of the protests in Portland, as well as techniques that intelligence analysts have used. A memo by the department’s top intelligence official, which was tweeted by the editor of Lawfare, says personnel relied on “FINTEL,” an acronym for financial intelligence, as well as finished intelligence “Baseball cards” of arrested protesters to try to understand their motivations and plans. Historically, military and intelligence officials have used such cards for biographical dossiers of suspected terrorists, including those targeted in lethal drone strikes.

Yeah. Isn’t that special!

And then there’s this from CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin ” Fearing Trump interference, FBI agents hid copies of Russia investigation docs”. It’s excerpted from his new book TRUE CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS: The Investigation of Donald Trump,” by Jeffrey Toobin. Feeling better yet?

From Comey’s first meetings with Trump, shortly after he won the presidency, the FBI director developed misgivings about his new boss’ behavior — about Trump’s demands for “loyalty,” and even more unnerving, his request that the Bureau drop its investigation of Flynn. Comey’s conversations with Trump had been so distressing that the director started writing up contemporaneous summaries of their interactions and sharing them with a handful of top officials at the Bureau. Now, suddenly, Comey was out — and the question arose of what to do with his memos about his conversations with the President

Andrew McCabe, who was Comey’s deputy and now the acting director of the FBI. McCabe thought Trump’s behavior was sufficiently problematic to be investigated for possible obstruction of justice, and he told his team to open a criminal case.

Given the wild pace of events, McCabe couldn’t be sure how long he’d last as director, so he wanted to lock down as much evidence as possible. Most important, he told the investigating agents to place Comey’s memos in SENTINEL, the FBI’s case management software. McCabe knew that once documents were inside the system, they were virtually impossible to remove. With Comey’s memos in the system, the investigators were certain to have access to them — even if McCabe himself would eventually be gone.

Indeed, FBI officials even went a step farther. Once McCabe became director, Bureau employees grew so concerned that Trump would try to shut down the investigation that they secreted at least three copies of key documents, including Comey’s memos, in remote locations around the Bureau. This was to make sure that in the event Trump directed an end to these inquiries, the documents could always be preserved, located, and shared.

On May 17, eight days after Trump fired Comey, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, announced that he had appointed Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013, to serve as special counsel. Rosenstein gave Mueller a broad mandate — to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as any matters that arose from his investigation. Mueller’s team ultimately took possession of Comey’s memos, and they proved to be important evidence in the report Mueller filed two years later. As Mueller later learned, and included in his report, Trump seriously contemplated firing the special counsel on several occasions — so the initial suspicions at the FBI, about the President’s real intentions, were well-grounded.

And, I haven’t even gotten to the economy yet. Dan Rather puts it rather succinctly.

Yes. There’s that. We’re officially in a recession and this is the worst Quarter’s GDP ever.

The US economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, its worst drop on record, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

Business ground to a halt during the pandemic lockdown in the spring of this year, and America plunged into its first recession in 11 years, putting an end to the longest economic expansion in US history and wiping out five years of economic gains in just a few months.

A recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of declining gross domestic product — the broadest measure of the economy. Between January and March, GDP declined by an annualized rate of 5%.

Okay, we’ll let’s listen to something a little more uplifting.

Please be safe! Be gentle with yourself and others! Give yourself space to heal and relax! Check in with us! We love and value your thoughts!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today!


16 Comments on “Friday: Something Fascist This Way Comes”

  1. Enheduanna says:

    Happy Friday everyone! Scary post Dak…

    Just watched a very effective horror movie on Netflix, from 2013, Dark Skies. Stars Keri Russell, and for all it’s sort of corny plot devices it really managed to scare the daylights out of me.

    UGH scary Scalise on teevee right now. Boo!

    And when you’re a wing nut and you lose The Federalist Society you know your done. Stick a fork in Dump, now!

    • dakinikat says:

      Hey. Popped out for some sundries and wine before it gets to hot to do anything. Hoping to find something to watch for a wine and popcorn party with Temple!

      Wish we could stick a fork in Dump now! Right now!

  2. dakinikat says:

    POLITICO
    https://www.politico.com/amp/news/2020/07/29/pentagon-protesters-journalists-adversaries-386854

    Esper requires training that refers to protesters, journalists as ‘adversaries’

    A mandatory Pentagon training course newly sent to the entire force and aimed at preventing leaks refers to protesters and journalists as “adversaries” in a fictional scenario designed to teach Defense Department personnel how to better protect sensitive information.

    The course, which was created originally for a select group of officials in 2010, is part of Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s force-wide effort to improve “operational security,” or OPSEC, and clamp down on leaks. The training materials are public and include a video message from Esper, as well as a July 20 memo outlining his concerns about operational security and directing all DoD personnel — military, civilian and on-site contractors — to take the course within the next 60 days.

  3. NW Luna says:

    Scary post but it’s all too true. Thanks for ending it with the Freeman reading of John Lewis.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    These past 4 years feel like 40.

    November cannot get here soon enough!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Notice how Melania’s signature looks suspiciously like Donald’s? That large black tight zig-zag signature. Is she copying Dear Leader Husband or is he just signing her mail?

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says: