Friday Reads: It came from the Sewers of Queens (2020)

Creature from the Black Lagoon  (1954)

Good Day Sky Dancers!

This headline at the NYDN couldn’t say it any more plainly. “Say it plainly: The president is a psychopath”.  He’s not just a reality show host. He’s one of those monsters found in Horror Shows.  

The president is a poo poo platter of pathologies and chief among them is that he is a psychopath.  This op ed piece is written by ALAN D. BLOTCKY and SETH D. NORRHOLM.  I’m adding to the outrage that BB wrote about yesterday and upping the volume to 11.  We’re being run by some one who should be under psychiatric care and placed in some place where he can’t hurt any more people.

“Get rid of the ballots” and “there won’t be a transfer,” said Donald Trump on Wednesday. This comment is a direct and dangerous expression of his anti-democratic intention. If unstopped, Trump may well destroy our 244-year-old democracy.

It is time to stop pulling punches. It is time to stop relying on political pundits to weigh in on Trump’s behavior, which they often soften and even normalize.

We are psychologists, and we are convinced Donald Trump is a psychopath. His malignant behavior over the past four years is growing and escalating right before our eyes. Trump’s psychopathy will change us forever if he is not stopped.

This is not hyperbole. This is not an expression of “a left-wing agenda.” This is a mental health opinion based on thousands of hours of documented behavior by this president.

He breaks norms, rules, and laws with impunity.

He lies, on average, 15 times a day.

He peddles fake conspiracy theories and irrational magical thinking.

He has been accused of sexually predatory behavior by at least 25 women.

He blames, scapegoats and gaslights as easily as he breathes.

He undermines the vital role of the free press because he abhors oversight and accountability.

His lies and anti-scientific advice and intentional downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic has led to countless American deaths.

He is callous and cold and unfeeling because he has no conscience.

He denigrates and humiliates anyone and everyone in his path.

He has no respect for military heroes or renowned experts.

He is racist and xenophobic.

He incites violence and culture wars.

He is obsessed with power and adoration.

He is a greedy opportunist.

He is corrupt to the core.

House on a Haunted Hill with actress Carol Ohmart (1959)

Can’t argue with any of that.

Politico describes “‘Everyone sees the train wreck coming’: Trump reveals his November endgame. After more than four years of nonstop voter fraud claims and insinuations that he might not accept the election results, the president isn’t keeping his intent a secret.”

After more than four years of nonstop voter fraud claims, insinuations that he might not accept the presidential election results and at least one float about delaying the November election, it’s no secret. Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power this week — and his choice not to walk back his remarks Thursday in the face of widespread unease — merely broadcasts his strategic intent in terms both parties can understand.

As a result, Republicans can no longer truthfully deny that Trump may be unwilling to leave officein the event he is defeated. And Democrats must now confront the possibility they may not have the power to stop him.

It’s an unprecedented backdrop for a modern presidential race, one that could stretch the electoral process to its limits, almost guaranteeing a chaotic, divisive finish to the campaign.

“We are super alarmed,” said Matt Bennett of the center-left group Third Way, which released a primer this week on how Trump is laying the groundwork to dispute the election results in the event of a defeat. “I now think it’s very, very likely that Joe Biden will win the election if the votes are counted, but it’s not clear that the votes will be counted.”

Recalling the 2000 election, in which the Supreme Court prohibited further recounts of the Florida vote, awarding the presidency to George W. Bush, Bennett said, “We’re a lot more organized than in 2000. A lot … But I don’t know if it’s enough.”

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the first woman to lie in state in the US Capitol.  She is also the first Jewish person to do so. This is via USA Today.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the day’s events with a formal arrival ceremony in National Statuary Hall, in which eight military pallbearers carried Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket up the Capitol steps as lawmakers stood in somber observance.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led Ginsburg’s family into the large hall before her casket was carried inside. Lawmakers and guests, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, held their hand over their hearts as Ginsburg’s casket was placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which first supported President Abraham Lincoln’s casket in the U.S. Capitol after his assassination in 1865.

“It is with deep sympathy to the Ginsburg family that I have the high honor to welcome Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state in the Capitol of the United States,” Pelosi said in brief opening remarks.

Many female lawmakers were in attendance, including vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The bipartisan, masked group honoring Ginsburg’s legacy and 27 years on the high court remained safely distanced in the approximately 100 seats. But the two highest ranking Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, did not attend.

“Justice Ginsburg embodied justice, brilliance and goodness,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday. “Her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who strive to build a better future for our children.”

In a nod to Ginsburg’s passion for opera, American soprano Denyce Graves – a friend whom the justice saw perform many times – sang “Deep River” and “American Anthem” before lawmakers and other guests filed past her casket in small groups to say their goodbyes.

“America, America, I gave my best to you,” Graves belted out in the marbled hall.

The She Creature (1956)

The DOJ continues to do weird things to undermine the confidence of voters in the election probably paving the way for an endless Trump Court battle which he hopes to win as he continues to pack the court with simply temperamentally, professionally, and mentally unfit people.  This is from NPR: “Feds, In Unusual Statement, Announce They’re Investigating A Few Discarded Ballots.”

The FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said Thursday that they are investigating “potential issues” with nine military ballots in one county. They believe the ballots were opened improperly, though they have not filed any charges or taken official action.

U.S. Attorney David Freed noted that the investigation remains active but said he is releasing the news publicly “based on the limited amount of time before the general election and the vital public importance of these issues.”

Voting rights experts and Justice Department veterans, however, said that proximity to the election and the preliminary nature of the investigation make Freed’s announcement highly unusual.

The announcement comes as President Trump continues to baselessly claim that voting by mail will lead to widespread fraud and as the Justice Department is under scrutiny for allegations that its decisions under Attorney General William Barr are increasingly directed at boosting Trump’s reelection efforts.

Trump’s campaign immediately seized on the announcement of an investigation to conclude that it was evidence Democrats were trying to “steal” the election.

The potential voting irregularities in Pennsylvania came to light after President Trump mentioned them, offhand, in an interview with a Fox radio host Thursday.

“We have to be very careful with the ballots,” the president told reporters later, according to a news pool report. He described what he called a “scam” where ballots had been found in the trash. The president has been criticizing the integrity of this year’s election for months.

“We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be,” Trump continued.

And, don’t forget we have this and a Pandemic to deal with.  Over 200,000 Americans are dead from Covid-19.

Mnunchin has announced that he and Speaker Pelosi will once more try to get something done in terms of economic relief. But where are the Republicans in the Senate? (From the Hill)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have agreed to revive negotiations over a stalled follow-up coronavirus relief bill.

“I’ve probably spoken to Speaker Pelosi 15 or 20 times in the last few days on the CR,” Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee during a hearing with Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell, referring to a continuing resolution to extend government funding, “and we’ve agreed to continue to have discussions about the CARES Act.”

Pelosi also said Thursday that she expected negotiations with the White House to resume shortly, telling reporters at the Capitol, “We’ll be hopefully soon to the table with them.”

Mnuchin and Pelosi’s comments come amid a months-long partisan stalemate over a follow up to the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed by President Trump in March.

While there is broad bipartisan support for certain components of a stimulus bill, Democrats and Republicans remain deeply divided over the size and scope of another package. Spiking partisan tensions driven by the looming November elections and the battle over the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have also made a breakthrough unlikely before Election Day.

Democrats have insisted that the federal government must approve trillions in further aid to renew a lapse in enhanced unemployment benefits, bolster state and local government budgets, send another round of direct relief payments to struggling households and expand housing and eviction protections.

Republicans, however, are wary of adding to the national debt and prefer a targeted package intended to help schools and day care centers reopen and bring Americans back to work as quickly as possible.

Mnuchin, one of Trump’s two chief stimulus negotiators, urged Democrats to come back to the table for a bill built around areas of wide bipartisan agreement such as revamping the Paycheck Protection Program to aid small businesses and relief payments.

The Monster that Challenged the World with Actress Audrey Dalton (1957)

This is all nice and well but none of these businesses will hire people if they don’t have customers buying their stuff and holding them open on a thread of funds seems unkind given the incredible botched job of getting the pandemic under control. How long are they going to bleed taxpayer and their own cash before we release that customers who can’t buy anything are the ones that sink businesses.

So, I’m not sure how long this little horror show called the Trumpist Regime wrecks the US Economy and Democracy while killing tens of thousands of people, but Gee I’m ready for the cartoons.  I’m ready for some America Heroes to return the Monster from Queens to his sewer.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: So much Outrage so little Time

Georg Tappert. Carnival, 1930

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The headlines today are so outrageous that I had trouble reading even one of them for awhile.  We have to get rid of Mitch McConnell. This greeted me from Salon and I had to go lie down in bed for awhile to pet the dog. Petting my cats and dogs is getting to be such a comfort ritual for me they all take turns jumping up to see if I’m okay.

“Mitch McConnell rams through six Trump judges in 30 hours after blocking coronavirus aid for months. Planned Parenthood warned that “many” of the judges have “hostile records” toward human rights and abortion.”  Republicans are beholden to White Male Supremacy and a very narrow view of Christianity and the rest of us are held hostage.  This was written by Igor Derysh

The Republican-led Senate confirmed six of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to lifetime appointments over two days this week, even though it has delayed crucial coronavirus relief since May.

The Senate filled four federal vacancies in California and two in Illinois, Bloomberg Law reported. It is also expected to confirm two additional Illinois judges in short order.

“The Senate has confirmed six of Trump’s judicial nominees in the past 30 hours,” tweeted Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “These are lifetime appointments that McConnell’s pushing through instead of the HEROES Act & other crucial legislation.”

Three of the judges were appointed to seats covering Los Angeles, while another was appointed to a seat covering San Diego. There are 11 additional nominees to California courts awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate additionally confirmed David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to the Eastern District of Illinois while ending the debate on the nominations of Iain Johnston to the Northern District. The upper chamber is also expected to end debate on the nomination of Franklin Ulyses Valderrama to the Northern District of Illinois.

Three of the judges were appointed to seats covering Los Angeles, while another was appointed to a seat covering San Diego. There are 11 additional nominees to California courts awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate additionally confirmed David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to the Eastern District of Illinois while ending the debate on the nominations of Iain Johnston to the Northern District. The upper chamber is also expected to end debate on the nomination of Franklin Ulyses Valderrama to the Northern District of Illinois.

Advocacy groups sounded the alarm over the confirmations of Dugan and McGlynn, who received support from anti-abortion organizations and signaled their opposition to abortion rights.

“Today’s vote should never have even happened. People are calling on their senators to provide relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession and the rampant anti-Black violence occurring around the country,” Anisha Singh, the director of judiciary affairs at Planned Parenthood, said in a statement. “And yet, the Senate majority continues to prioritize confirming judges for lifetime appointments — many with hostile records on reproductive and civil rights, including abortion.”

Singh called on the Senate to “immediately halt” upcoming votes, noting that the two judges’ “records demonstrate they are more likely to be threats to people’s health, rights and bodily autonomy.”

Georg Tappert. Creole, 1911

Today’s Republican Party is a pantheon of anti-democratic values. These judges they appoint are the same kinds of goose steppers you’d expect to find in any Banana Republic. From Vox and Ian Millhiser:  “Chief Justice Roberts’s lifelong crusade against voting rights, explained. He has fought to undermine voting rights his entire career.”

John Roberts was 26 years old, and he was outraged that he’d just been outmaneuvered by older and much more experienced political hands.

It was 1981. Roberts had just completed a prestigious clerkship with Justice William Rehnquist — then the most conservative judge to serve on the Supreme Court in decades — and, as an aide to Attorney General William French Smith, Roberts was tasked with making the case against one of the most consequential voting rights laws in the nation’s history.

The House had recently passed legislation extending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a seminal civil rights bill that dismantled much of Jim Crow — and shoring up one of its key provisions after a 1980 Supreme Court decision had severely weakened the law. Meanwhile, a filibuster-proof majority of the Senate had co-sponsored the same bill.

Roberts was distraught.

“Something must be done to educate the Senators on the seriousness of this problem,” Roberts wrote his boss, Smith, just a few days before Christmas. In a subsequent memo, he argued that the rapidly advancing bill — which now forms much of the backbone of American voting rights law — was “not only constitutionally suspect, but also contrary to the most fundamental tenants [sic]of the legislative process on which the laws of this country are based.”

Roberts’s early crusade against voting rights ended in failure. Though President Reagan preferred a weaker voting rights law — he once described the Voting Rights Act as “humiliating to the South” — the conservative president eventually bowed to political pressure and signed the legislation Roberts deemed contrary to many of our nation’s “most fundamental” tenets.

But time was on Roberts’s side. He rose within government and within the legal profession until President George W. Bush made him chief justice of the United States in 2005. Roberts is now the most powerful judge in the country. As Congress has grown more and more dysfunctional, the Supreme Court is increasingly the locus of policymaking within the United States.

Georg Tappert. Fest, 1925

What follows in this long read is a good explanation of what Conservative (sic) Republicans have against voting rights even though the last time it passed it had overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by Dubya. But, then came Shelby.

Justice Antonin Scalia gave voice to this frustration during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Roberts Court case that quashed preclearance. The Voting Rights Act, Scalia claimed, was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” and “whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia continued. “And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution.”

Scalia had just turned 76 when his Court heard Shelby County, and he’d watched his fellow Republicans bow over and over again to liberals. That, in Scalia’s mind, was a failure of democracy. His side had won the presidency and, in some cases, control of Congress. And yet the victor did not collect the spoils.

And so the Supreme Court’s Republican majority stepped up to cure this perceived injustice. Chief Justice Roberts led the charge.

There are more whistle blowers coming forward than ever before, including a few in the Justice Department that are testifying in front of Congress.  Here is FBI Director Christopher Wray warning of Russian Interference Redux.

Plus, there’s this: “The FBI director also broke with Trump’s claim that antifa is a terrorist organization.”  from Politico

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday described “very active efforts” by Russia to interfere in the 2020 election, primarily by working to damage former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Wray said Russians have been using social media, as well as “proxies, state media, online journals” and other vehicles to hurt Biden and what it views as anti-Russian factions in U.S. politics.

Wray’s assessment affirms the findings of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which last month described Russia’s efforts to damage Biden and specifically identified Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker who has met with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as an agent of Russia’s influence operations.

Wray’s testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee affirmed that Russia is continuing to take an active role in the 2020 campaign with less than 50 days until Election Day. He offered no new specifics in the early-going of the hearing, but emphasized that the intelligence community has not seen evidence that Russia is reprising its 2016 attempt to target election infrastructure, such as voter databases.

In testimony to the Homeland Security Committee, Wray also diverged from Trump’s claim that “antifa” is a terrorist organization. Rather, Wray said antifa is “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization” and though there has been violence by some who self-identify as antifa, it has not appeared to be part of a central organization.

“Antifa is a real thing,” Wray said. “But it’s not an organization or a structure.”

Under questioning from Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Wray indicated that white supremacist violence is the largest portion of what he described as the most significant domestic terrorism threat in the country: “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Oh, look, two groups looking to overthrow the US’s form of government are basically the Trump Base and Trump’s Handler Putin. Which brings to me to the music accompanying my art theme today which is, again, German expressionists painting life during the rise of Hitler.

1917 Max Beckmann Autoportrait au foulard rouge

So, the most stunning thing to me this week is that our Attorney General and Head of Federal Law Enforcement has decided to not even hide his fascist and theocratic tendencies. BB had an entire list of Barr’s crazy notions in yesterday’s post. Grinding through them yesterday was one of the most depressing things I have ever done.  The man should be tossed in a padded cell.

And so, after reading all that, this headline made a lot of sense to me. It’s from WAPO: ” The United States is backsliding into autocracy under Trump, scholars warn.  The weakening of democratic values — a path that’s difficult to reverse — has accelerated, according to hundreds of indicators assessed each year.”  This is by Christopher Ingraham.

Three years into the Trump administration, American democracy has eroded to a point that more often than not leads to full-blown autocracy, according to a project that tracks the health of representative government in nations around the world.

The project, called V-Dem, or Varieties of Democracy, is an effort to precisely quantify global democracy at the country level based on hundreds indicators assessed annually by thousands of individual experts. It’s one of several ongoing projects by political scientists that have registered a weakening of democratic values in the United States in recent years.

V-Dem’s findings are bracing: The United States is undergoing “substantial autocratization” — defined as the loss of democratic traits — that has accelerated precipitously under President Trump. This is particularly alarming in light of what the group’s historic data show: Only 1 in 5 democracies that start down this path are able to reverse the damage before succumbing to full-blown autocracy.

Each year, the V-Dem project asks its experts to rate their respective nations on hundreds of measures of democracy, such as the presence of legislative checks on executive power, freedom of personal expression, the civility of political discourse, free and open elections, and executive branch corruption, among others.

The United States is backsliding on all of those measures. “Executive respect for the Constitution is now at the lowest level since 1865,” said Michael Coppedge, a Notre Dame political scientist and one of the project’s chief investigators. “Corruption in the executive branch is basically the worst since Harding.”

Warren G. Harding, whose administration was tainted by corruption and scandal, is routinely ranked among the nation’s worst chief executives

1914 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Couple de danseur

Keep reading the article. The list is horrifying.

I’m pretty sure Mitchie is off doing his dirty work because already seated judges are busy overturning all kinds of Trumpist things at the state level.  Today, a judge banned a Michigan law making it illegal to drive people to polls which is something churches routinely do for their elderly and homebound down here.  Yesterday, a judge ordered the Post Office to stop and reverse everything it was doing to slow down the mail. 

A federal judge on Thursday blocked controversial changes to the United States postal service, saying they were “a politically motivated attack” that had slowed the nation’s mail and likely would slow the delivery of ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

And, of course we’re back to the time where we just might possibly be purposefully sterilizing women of color in ICE Detention.  This story grows more horrifying by the day too. “AP Exclusive: More migrant women say they didn’t OK surgery”  reported b

Sitting across from her lawyer at an immigration detention center in rural Georgia, Mileidy Cardentey Fernandez unbuttoned her jail jumpsuit to show the scars on her abdomen. There were three small, circular marks.

The 39-year-old woman from Cuba was told only that she would undergo an operation to treat her ovarian cysts, but a month later, she’s still not sure what procedure she got. After Cardentey repeatedly requested her medical records to find out, Irwin County Detention Center gave her more than 100 pages showing a diagnosis of cysts but nothing from the day of the surgery.

“The only thing they told me was: ‘You’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up, we will have finished,’” Cardentey said this week in a phone interview.

Cardentey kept her hospital bracelet. It has the date, Aug. 14, and part of the doctor’s name, Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist linked this week to allegations of unwanted hysterectomies and other procedures done on detained immigrant women that jeopardize their ability to have children.

An Associated Press review of medical records for four women and interviews with lawyers revealed growing allegations that Amin performed surgeries and other procedures on detained immigrants that they never sought or didn’t fully understand. Although some procedures could be justified based on problems documented in the records, the women’s lack of consent or knowledge raises severe legal and ethical issues, lawyers and medical experts said.

Amin has performed surgery or other gynecological treatment on at least eight women detained at Irwin County Detention Center since 2017, including one hysterectomy, said Andrew Free, an immigration and civil rights lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical treatment at the jail. Doctors are helping the attorneys examine new records and more women are coming forward to report their treatment by Amin, Free said.

“The indication is there’s a systemic lack of truly informed and legally valid consent to perform procedures that could ultimately result — intentionally or unintentionally — in sterilization,” he said.

1920 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Malade dans la nuit

Is this just limited to this one doctor so it is likely fraud of some kind or is it systemic ?

Well, yesterday and today’s news is that the CDC was forced to publish Covid-19 testing guidelines against scientists complaints that were written by the Trumpist Regime and inserted on the site against every one’s advice.  And TWICE now.

The guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus. It came at a time when public health experts were pushing for more testing rather than less, and administration officials told The Times that the document was a C.D.C. product and had been revised with input from the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield.

But officials told The Times this week that the Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then “dropped” it into the C.D.C.’s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process.

“That was a doc that came from the top down, from the H.H.S. and the task force,” said a federal official with knowledge of the matter, referring to the White House task force on the coronavirus. “That policy does not reflect what many people at the C.D.C. feel should be the policy.”

And we have Dan Coates and more Generals sounding an alarm..

So with that,  I feel I need to leave you with this:

So, you know the routine!  Be safe!  Be kind and gentle to yourself and others!  Stay home as much as you can!  Check in with us so we know you’re okay!!  We care about you!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


September 11 Reads

Good Day Sky Dancers!

This is the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. It is a tragic event in our history and still very much shaping our policies.  New York City’s skyline changed in a matter of hours as it lost many first responders and citizens to what was an unimaginable act of foreign terrorism.

Today, the FBI considers election interference by the Russians and Domestic Terrorism threats represented by White Right Wing Racist militias to be a bigger threat.  However, our policies no longer reflect proper priorities for our National Security because the biggest threats to our security are also the biggest Trump supporters.  Our President is a Russian Asset and White Nationalist. It is no wonder that the art that continues to speak to me is still German Expressionism which rose to prominence in Germany between the wars.

There are many interesting takes on exactly how much threat Trump, his base, and his Russian overlords are to our republic.  Me, I’m running around here with  my hair on fire.  Here’s one from The Independent and writer Carl Hiaasen: “Carl Hiaasen: ‘They’re gonna have to drag Trump out of the White House’. The bestselling Floridian crime writer talks to Kevin E G Perry about returning to writing after his brother’s death in a mass shooting, his visit to the president’s Palm Beach mansion, his election fears, and his gripping new novel ‘Squeeze Me’”

Creating laughter in a tough world may be Hiaasen’s hallmark, but his razor-edged sense of humour never diminishes the very real anger he feels towards those whose actions are destroying the planet, either through malice or callous indifference. While he says he takes some solace from the passion of the younger generation – he’s written environmental activism-focused novels for children since 2002’s Hoot – he fears it may be too little, too late. “There might be hope in there, just because their generation cannot possibly muck it up worse than my generation,” he says. “But then you look at the political scene and it’s very, very depressing. The Trump administration is trying to open up Alaska to more oil drilling at a time when the industry itself isn’t even showing any great enthusiasm for going into the Arctic. His ego is such a shrivelled little nub that he has to undo Obama’s policies even when there’s no political pressure to undo them.”

Any real action on the environment seems unimaginable without a change of administration in November, but Hiaasen says he’s among those Americans who fear Trump will attempt to stay in office regardless of the election results. “I think they’re going to have to back a tow truck up to the White House and drag his fat ass out of there, to be honest with you,” he says. “He’s never done anything with dignity, so he’s not leaving with dignity. I’m very uneasy about how ugly it’s going to get and the potential for violence, because the most violent demonstrators we have now in this country are right-wing lunatics showing up to these protests with guns.”

Hiaasen knows all too well just how terrifying a prospect that is. The world may be filled with senseless violence meted out beneath an indifferent heaven, but at least on the page he is able to deliver karmic justice. In that context, the idea of sending mammoth pythons slithering their way into the president’s inner sanctum sounds suspiciously like wish fulfilment. “Yeah, well, you caught me,” says Hiaasen with a sly smile. “The pythons had been rattling around in my mind for a while. They’re an invasive species and they’ve completely decimated the ecosystem. They’ve eaten their way through the Everglades and now they’re showing up in various suburbs around Florida, so I thought: pythons? Mar-a-Lago? Why the hell not?” He laughs. “Is it a sick fantasy? Yes, it is, but I suspect I’m not the only one who has thought along those lines.”

I can see this headed to my Kindle shortly.

So, where’s Trumpo?  He was firmly planted in Pennsylvania trying to pull another election ‘miracle’ there.

And, BTW, did I mention that native Louisiana son Retired Army LT General Russsel Honore is and will always be my hero?

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Self-portrait as a soldier

So, the weird thing to me is that we know both Rice and Dubya managed to miss the briefing that said that the Taliban were planning an attack and the result was that people died. We also know that Obama knew that there were signals and warnings  coming from the FBI on the connection between Russia and the Trump organization and attacks on our election.  He dithered the opportunity away with second guessing. The Trumpist regime is just one on going shit show of dead Americans and inadequate responses to natural disasters. Why didn’t Obama do more? Now, we don’t have to ask why Trump isn’t doing more about threats to our National Security but I do sense a pattern here.

BB wrote yesterday about the Strzok book where both he and Dan Coates and many others felt Trump was compromised by the Russians.  And, of course, we know it’s all because of his great need for money because he fails at every project he attempts.

David Corn has written about how the Russian attacks on our election and the Trumpist negligenceand planned response to the Pandemic is tantamount to the greatest act of betrayal since the Confederates took up arms against our Country.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Tavern

Not since the Civil War—when leaders responsible for the enslavement and brutalization of millions of Americans sought to destroy the United States and took military action that resulted in the violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of citizens—has a group of politicians so profoundly betrayed the republic. And this band—Donald Trump and GOP officials—has done so on two fronts simultaneously. They have failed to respond effectively to a pair of immense threats: a pandemic that has claimed the lives of close to 200,000 Americans, and a foreign attack on the political foundation of the country. What exacerbates this double tragedy is that Trump and his Republican supporters have done so purposefully. This has been no accident or act of unintentional incompetence. In each case, they sacrificed the public interest—including the well-being and the lives of millions of Americans—to serve their own interests. Trump and his crew have forsaken the United States of America.

It can be easy to lose sight of this big picture, as headlines explode every hour within a political media world cursed by tribalized partisan divisions. There already exists more than enough information to support such an extreme-sounding verdict. But evidence piles up each day—perhaps coming so fast as to overwhelm. The latest revelation (as I write) regarding Trump and the coronavirus crisis is that he told reporter Bob Woodward in March, “I wanted to always play it down.” Here is confirmation of what Americans had repeatedly seen with their own eyes for months: Trump lied about the dangers posed by this killer virus. And those lies, mostly unchallenged by his Republican allies and largely echoed by conservative media propagandists, shaped the ineffectual federal response and influenced how millions of Americans viewed the risks posed by the pandemic. One example: sticking with this big lie, Trump, who in early February privately told Woodward that the virus was airborne, refused to encourage mask-wearing. It’s likely that thousands—or tens of thousands—have died due to this.

Trump now claims he did not want to spark a panic. That is clearly another lie. This man relishes in causing panic when it doesn’t exist: the immigrant caravan, antifa, the end of the suburbs. He downplayed the pandemic because in his misguided political calculation he believed such bad news would harm his election prospects. (Actually, doing his job well in response to this crisis would have been a damn good electoral strategy. But that did not seem to occur to Trump.) So he tossed out bullshit while Americans were perishing and the economy was crashing. He abandoned his solemn duty to protect the citizenry instead holding rallies, focusing on his TV ratings, and dismissing (and promoting disinformation about) the gravest threat to the nation in decades.

The Daily Beast puts it succinctly: “Has Any American Killed More Americans Than Donald Trump?”

So Donald Trump copped to it. He told Bob Woodward that he knew how deadly the virus was—and downplayed it anyway, encouraging MAGA nation to act as if COVID-19 was a cheap Chinese knockoff of the flu.

“It’s remarkable that in these interviews, the president of the United States confessed to fucking manslaughter,” Molly Jong-Fast says on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.

The lawyers might debate whether Trump has any criminal culpability. But to Rick Wilson, there’s no question about Trump’s moral responsibility

“No American has killed more of their fellow Americans in this country than Donald Trump, except for Robert E. Lee and Jefferson fucking Davis,” he says. “No one has a body count to rival Trump’s. He knew it. He knew it was there. He did it. He let it happen. It is the most unbelievable and horrifying outcome that we can imagine.”

Molly adds, “Mike Pence was at a pro-life event the other day. And I was thinking about the irony, right? This administration has killed 100,000 plus plus plus people. And they’re talking about embryos. Like, it’s almost beyond parody”

Wassily Kandinsky, Bedroom in Aintmillerstrasse

We also had the notion that Russian Trolls were using leftwing media to try to drive numbers away from Clinton in 2016 . The Daily Beast also has this exclusive which is quite the read. : “Leaked Documents Show Russian Trolls Tried to Infiltrate Left-Wing Media”. Dimwits like Susan Sarandon and Jill Stein were clearly useful fools. So were some of the more well known socialist media outlets.’

It’s no secret that Russia’s trolls, hackers, and spies are pulling for Donald Trump in 2020—just like they famously did at the last election. But Moscow’s propaganda-peddlers aren’t just pushing MAGA memes and Biden disinfo—they’re also attempting to infiltrate left-wing sites.

The Russian trolls’ private chat logs and emails, reviewed by The Daily Beast, show they tried to get their American contributors to write for Jacobin, a leading socialist outlet; recruited from Truthout, a left-leaning nonprofit news site; and tried to buy their way onto the website of the long-pedigreed liberal outlet In These Times.

The reporting also shows that none of these particular outlets bit.  But, there were some that did. Read more at the link if you can get through the paywall.

Meanwhile, the unhinged continues to go unchallenged by most Fox entertainment personalities.  The insanity just continues.

Movie poster for The Cabinet Of Dr. Calagari – 1920  (Italian version)

So, just  to end and wrap up the topics of the day we get this exclusive from  NYDN: “EXCLUSIVE: Trump administration secretly withheld millions from FDNY 9/11 health program”  from investigative reporter Michael McCauliff.

The Trump administration has secretly siphoned nearly $4 million away from a program that tracks and treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11 related illnesses, the Daily News has learned.The Treasury Department mysteriously started withholding parts of payments — nearly four years ago — meant to cover medical services for firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics treated by the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program, documents obtained by The News reveal.

The payments were authorized and made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which oversees the program. But instead of sending the funds to the city, the Treasury started keeping some of the money.

“This was just disappearing,” the program’s director, Dr. David Prezant, told The News. “This is the most amazing thing. This was disappearing — without any notification.”

Prezant said he was docked about half a million dollars each year in 2016 and 2017. Then it crept up to about $630,000 in 2018 and 2019. This year, Treasury has nearly tripled its extractions, diverting $1.447 million through late August, according to Prezant.

“Here we have sick World Trade Center-exposed firefighters and EMS workers, at a time when the city is having difficult financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and we’re not getting the money we need to be able to treat these heroes,” said Prezant, the FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer.

“And for years, they wouldn’t even tell us — we never ever received a letter telling us this,” he explained.

Prezant was never able to get an explanation from NIOSH or the mammoth Department of Health and Human Services which has the agency under its umbrella.

After years of complaining, Prezant did get a partial answer when Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King put his political weight behind the inquiry. That answer was that some other agency in the city has been in an unrelated feud with the feds over Medicare bills.

Let me just sum up here …

Trump LIED, people DIED  and TRUMP is still LYING and people are still DYING.

Have a good weekend! Be safe!  Please check in with us if you’re on the west coast.  We’re so worried about you with those fires so out of control!  I cannot believe I have friends in Oregon City that will likely not have a home to return to and are fortunate to have gotten out with pets and a few things.

We can put an end to this!  We must vote!  Every one of us!  We cannot take any more of this!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Thursday Reads: Trump In Blunderland

Good Afternoon!!

I’m sure we’ve all thought at times that living in Trumpworld was like being down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass. Well, it turns out Jared Kushner thinks that’s a good thing. According to a Washington Post article on Bob Woodward’s soon-to-be released book, Rage:

Kushner advised people that one of the most important guiding texts to understand the Trump presidency was “Alice in Wonderland,” a novel about a young girl who falls through a rabbit hole. He singled out the Cheshire cat, whose strategy was endurance and persistence, not direction.

From CNN: Why Jared Kushner suggests reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ if you want to understand  Trump.

Woodward quotes Kushner paraphrasing the Cheshire Cat as a way of making sense of Trump’s chaotic style of management, saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.”

Woodward describes Kushner as an “ever-loyal cheerleader and true believer” of the President, but also someone who has intimate knowledge of how and why Trump makes decisions. While former top Cabinet officials describe Trump’s style as chaotic and dangerous, Kushner views his constant reversals as “an asset.”

Woodward writes, “Where others saw fickleness or even lies, Kushner saw Trump’s constant, shifting inconsistency as a challenge to be met with an ever-adapting form of managing up.”

“With the president, there’s a hundred different shades of gray,” Kushner is quoted as saying. “And if people try to get a quick answer out of him, it’s easy. You can get him to decide in your favor by limiting his information. But you better be sure as hell that people with competing views aren’t going to find their way to him. And when that happens, he’s going to undo his decision.”

Again, Kushner thinks this is a positive description of Trump’s blundering (mis)management style. Woodward writes that Kushner recommended.

…four texts people should “absorb” if they want to truly understand the President. Woodward writes the texts do not paint a flattering picture of someone who is both Kushner’s boss and father-in-law.

The first text Kushner recommends is a 2018 opinion piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal. Noonan’s assessment of Trump: “He’s crazy… and it’s kind of working.” Noonan also calls Trump a “circus act,” and “a living insult.” [….]

The second text Kushner points to is “Alice in Wonderland.” [….]

Woodward writes, “Did Kushner understand how negative this was? Was it possible the best roadmap for the administration was a novel about a young girl who falls through a rabbit hole, and Kushner was willing to acknowledge that Trump’s presidency was on shaky, directionless ground?”
The third text Kushner suggests is from author Chris Whipple’s book “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.”

Whipple writes, “What seems clear, as of this writing, and almost a year into his presidency, is that Trump will be Trump, no matter his chief of staff.”

The final text Kushner offers is “Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter,” by Scott Adams, creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip. According to Adams, Trump employs a technique called “intentional wrongness persuasion,” and “can invent any reality” because “all you will remember is that he provided his reasons, he didn’t apologize, and his opponents called him a liar like they always do.”

It was clear to Woodward that none of this was meant to criticize Trump, just as a way to help understand him. That said, Woodward was surprised and writes, “when combined, Kushner’s four texts painted President Trump as crazy, aimless, stubborn and manipulative.

Is it possible that Kushner was simply trying to explain why he has been so successful in manipulating Trump? I can see Jared trying to show Woodward how clever and savvy he is.

Of course the big “news” from Woodward’s book was that Trump knew all along that the coronavirus was deadly despite his insistence for months that it was no worse than the flu and that it would magically “go away” without the federal government doing anything. We sort of knew that though. We knew that Trump was told about the dangers of a pandemic in March. Yesterday we learned that Trump actually knew plenty in January and February. From The Washington Post:

“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

Trump also told Woodward early on that he knew children were just as vulnerable to the virus as adults, as he insisted that schools should be fully opened. Is anyone really surprised by this? It’s shocking to hear the Woodward’s recordings, but we already knew Trump didn’t give a shit how many Americans died as long as he could keep bluffing long enough to get himself four more years in the White House. What’s actually kind of surprising is that Trump would be stupid enough to talk to Woodward about all this on tape.

John Harris at Politico: Woodward Interviews Shallow Throat.

For years, President Donald Trump and his allies have warned about his adversaries in the “Deep State.” The phrase evokes images of anonymous officials with hidden motives buried deep in the government.

Recent days have made it clearer than ever that the real hazard to Trump is actually the Shallow State.

The people saying mean things about Trump aren’t lurking in the shadows. They are well-known names whom Trump recruited to work by his side. Their motives aren’t mysterious. They are obvious: A transactional president encourages transactional behavior in his midst. These sources have shocking stories to tell, but no longer any genuinely surprising ones….

The entire notion of the Deep State rests on soil tilled by Hollywood, in decades of movies and television shows in the genre of the paranoid thriller. In these conspiracy dramas, the plot tension flows from a slowly building, creepy realization that Things Are Not What They Seem.

Woodward, based on Wednesday’s barrage of publicity for next week’s official release of “Rage,” has once again delivered the goods with plenty of news-driving revelations. But these scoops are like so many in the Trump years: They reveal that things are pretty much Exactly What They Seem.

It seemed last winter and spring that Trump was prattling on with a lot of happy talk that he couldn’t possibly believe about how the coronavirus wouldn’t be that serious—even as his own government officials were warning that it would be—because he was desperately trying to create reality by proclamation. Months later, Woodward has confirmed that to be true.

What’s more, his source was not a latter-day Deep Throat skulking around garages on behalf of the Deep State. The most damaging source for Woodward is on the record and on tape: Trump himself.

It had previously seemed that Trump, despite his constant attacks on the “Fake News” media, had a compulsive fascination with establishment media figures and the coverage they give him. Now the president has confirmed that to be true, giving 18 (!) interviews to Woodward. Think of him as Shallow Throat.

Read the rest at Politico.

Trump also told Woodward about a top secret weapons system that, thanks to Trump, is no longer secret. Forbes: Trump Claims To Have Built A New, Secret Nuclear Weapons System.

President Donald Trump claimed to journalist Bob Woodward that he had overseen the creation of a new U.S. nuclear weapons system, saying, “We have stuff that you haven’t ever seen or heard about,”as the two discussed tensions between the United States and North Korea.

It’s not clear what Trump was referring to, but Woodward writes in his new book Rage that he later confirmed with sources that the U.S. military indeed had a secret new weapon system, and the sources said they were surprised Trump had disclosed the information, according to The Washington Post.

It’s possible that Trump was referring to the W76-2 warhead, according to the defense publication Task & Purpose.

That weapon was announced in Feb. 2018 as a relatively “low-cost” addition to the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and has a smaller explosive yield than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

CNN reports that those around Trump are freaking out: ‘Calls without us knowing:’ Aides point fingers in wake of Woodward’s latest book.

Furious he didn’t speak with Bob Woodward for the first book he wrote on his presidency, President Donald Trump determined full participation with the follow-up would provide the best chance of securing a positive take on his rollicking tenure….

Yet instead of outmaneuvering the journalist famous for exposing Nixon’s Watergate scandal, Trump appears to have become a victim of his own confidence. And instead of a glowing portrait of a successful presidency, Trump is facing another damaging account two months before the election.

The fallout has caused internal strife at the White House as aides assign blame for allowing the taped interviews to proceed. Fingers have been thrust at ex-press secretaries, longtime confidants and old friends.

But people familiar with the situation say it is Trump himself who ultimately determined at the outset he could talk Woodward into writing a positive portrayal of his administration, reckoning the powers of salesmanship that have sustained him his entire adult life would yield another unlikely success.

So confident was Trump he could generate a favorable depiction that he provided Woodward with his personal cellphone number, eager to speak with a man whose long record of interviewing his predecessors has not exactly produced flattering results.

In phone calls late at night from the White House residence, Trump spun his tenure as one of historic successes and unparalleled victory.

The Daily Beast: Trump Was ‘Ecstatic’ About Talking to Woodward—Until He Wasn’t.

President Trump was “ecstatic” about the prospect of sitting for interviews with Woodward, according to a White House official, and relished some of his conversations with the famous Washington Post journalist.

Ultimately, Trump spoke with Woodward 18 times for the book. And at some point along the way, he had a change of heart, becoming convinced that Woodward was using him. Trump then began rage-tweeting the very reporter with whom he was so psyched to go on the record.

“The Bob Woodward book will be a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been,” the president tweeted, seemingly out of the blue, last month. Later that month, Trump logged back on to blast the veteran reporter as a “social pretender” who “never has anything good to say.”

It is unclear when, exactly, Trump decided that the Woodward book could prove harmful. According to a person with direct knowledge, Trump privately said before sitting for interviews with Woodward, that one reason he was looking forward to doing so was because of how “fair” the journalist was to him on the issue of “Russian collusion.” However, late last month this source recalled the president complaining unprompted that the then-upcoming Woodward book would be filled with “fake stories,” and that the author was a “big phony.” The source did not recall Trump bringing up any of the stories or quotes he directly gave Woodward.

Apparently, Lindsey Graham pushed Trump to talk to Woodward. I wonder how soon they will be golfing together again. Read all about that and more at the Daily Beast.

What will today bring? Who knows? I’m just going to stay hunkered down and trying to stay healthy and sane. Take care of yourselves today, Sky Dancers!


Monday Reads: Change is Imperative

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There are so many things right now that you think we should’ve figured out by now that seem to be worsening because there is no leadership in Washington.  We’ve known about global climate change making weather patterns worse for decades now.  We’ve known at least that long about the insidious institutional racism and misogyny that makes it nearly impossible for large swarths of our country to live up to their potential and be protected under the law. We have a global pandemic that is mostly out of control in places like Brazil and then the United States because we simply do not have the people in office willing to make tough decisions based on evidence to do what’s best for the country. They are either overlords of chaos and greed themselves or serving said said overlords as underlords.  Also, lessons of history should have warned us that another Nixon would try to grab power and yet, so many have ignored what’s going on and actively thwarted oversight designed in our U.S Constitution.

We should know better and the rest of the world watches us struggle with disbelief and horror as we repeat all our mistakes of history and science over and over.

This important segment on Climate Change on the 15th anniversary of Katrina is worth watching.  Our government did not learn anything from our experience from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and another set of people are reliving much of the same  horror.

Young Woman with a Red Fan (1910) By Max Pechstein.

Folks in the know continue to warn us about the impact of Global Climate Change. This is from US News and World Report: “Climate Change Bigger Economic Risk Than Pandemic, ECB’s Schnabel Says.”  How can an institution like the European Central Bank help prioritize a risk that obviously will cost lives and fortunes?

The coronavirus pandemic demonstrates in the clearest terms why central banks must take a bigger role in fighting climate change even if the issue at first appears unrelated to monetary policy, European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel said.

Initially just a health crisis, the pandemic has set off economic shockwaves around the globe, affecting every nation and forcing central banks to provide unprecedented support to underpin economic activity.

With climate change posing an even bigger risk, the ECB must keep this issue high on its agenda as it reviews its policy framework, Schnabel told Reuters in an interview.

“Climate change is probably the biggest challenge we are facing, much bigger than the pandemic,” Schnabel said.

“Even though this health shock was entirely unrelated to monetary policy, it nevertheless has huge implications for monetary policy,” she said. “The same is true for climate change and this is why central banks cannot ignore it.”

Through its supervisory arm the ECB could require banks to provide a climate risk assessment, which could then affect their access to central bank funding if this assessment has a direct implication on collateral valuations, Schnabel said.

The central bank should also push the European Union to add a green element to its long-delayed project to set up a capital markets union as a focus on green finance could give the bloc a competitive advantage, she argued.

Self-Portrait in Blue Jacket
Max Beckmann
Date: 1950

This new poll from STAT shows how politicized basic non-partisan policies should be in this country.  “Poll: Most Americans believe the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is driven by politics, not science.”

Seventy-eight percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, according to a new survey from STAT and the Harris Poll, a reflection of concern that the Trump administration may give the green light to a vaccine prematurely.

The response was largely bipartisan, with 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressing such worries, according to the poll, which was conducted last week and surveyed 2,067 American adults.

The sentiment underscores rising speculation that President Trump may pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve or authorize emergency use of at least one Covid-19 vaccine prior to the Nov. 3 election, but before testing has been fully completed.

How have we come to this place where the most important decisions in policy are being driven by the most base aspects of governance?  Why is everything a culture issue now?  Why is everything played like some team that you root for even though what they is completely wrong?

Why are so many invested in a White Nationalist Christianist future where truly there is no hope for the planet or democracy for that matter?  Did we not settle this last century?

“Oddy-Knocky” by Alessio Radice
 2013

This is a story from Minnesota that should be told around the world.

Since last fall, Minnesota State Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, has taken a keen interest in a book called Bronze Age Mindset. The self-published tome has captivated many on the American right while trafficking in neo-fascism, racism and misogyny. The writer is an anonymous internet figure who goes by the pen name “Bronze Age Pervert” and has 45,000 Twitter followers.

The book argues that equality and human rights are unnatural; that most people form a vast, inferior class who will only find “solace and meaning” through “submission” — and that the proper rulers of the world are white men.

A passage claims, “Life appears at its peak not in the grass hut village ruled by nutso mammies” — using a racial slur to refer to Black women — “but in the military state.”

Chamberlain, the influential chairman of the upper chamber’s Taxes Committee, tweeted at the author, Bronze Age Pervert, on April 30, thanking him for an introduction to Bach’s “Fugue in G-minor;” likely a reference to Pervert’s podcast, which uses classical compositions as bumper music. (The podcast is even more overtly white supremacist.)

“The most obvious form of hatred in this book is misogyny,” said Curtis Dozier, a Vassar College professor of classics who documents appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups. “His ideal of masculinity is racialized.”

Dozier has analyzed the book’s appropriations — and misappropriations — of ancient literature.

Dozier said the title’s “Bronze Age” refers to an imagined era when a glorious warrior culture overthrew female tribal rulers and spread the Indo-European language — and male domination — from Iceland to southern India. Pervert identifies these conquerors as the Aryans, borrowing the ideas of Nazis, eugenicists and contemporary white supremacists, Dozier said.

Unlike most peddlers of hate online, however, Pervert does not disavow violence to soften the historic image of white supremacism and fascism — he glorifies it.

Gerti by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (Photo by Barney Burstein/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

But, it’s not only Minnesota. Try Kansas City on for size. 

It started as soon as her family, along with all of their belongings and their dog Kingston, arrived in Kansas City from Southern California not quite two months ago, Maureen Roland says: The smiles that froze and then disappeared when her new Northland neighbors, near Parkville, caught a glimpse of her Black husband and biracial children. The woman down the street who put her hand up and said, “No, thank you,” when Maureen introduced herself. The slurs shouted from across the way, the pointing, the pretending to retch.

“Kansas City nice” is real, but so is Kansas City not-so-nice. There are people in our town who yell, “You’re disgusting!” at the Rolands’ house as they walk by, and who have gotten out of line at the Best Buy to avoid them.

The Rolands have lived all over the world, so it’s not a revelation that there’s racism in it. But “I have not experienced it to this degree,” she says. “I have not experienced it this much. I have not experienced it this vocally.”

Or, try Lafayette Louisiana …

“Self Portrait with Hat” by expressionist painter Karl Schmidt Rottluff in 1919

We have welcomed thousands of evacuees here in New Orleans to hotels and the Mayor of Lafayette says no to any shelters at all. His reason is something that should warn us all that Republicans are emboldened to be openly and nakedly racist. Black Lives Matters is not a terrorist operation.  Any local “militia” group is definitely on the FBI watch list for domestic terrorism.

Officials with the Josh Guillory administration have asked local churches to stop trying to set up shelters for evacuees from Laura because of the “serious threat” of recent protests

I wanted to advise you that I have officially asked local churches to take a pause on any action to establish a shelter at this time. As you probably know, we have had some serious, concerning activities pop up today with armed protestors in the streets. Many from out of town.

This is a serious threat and we must handle this issue before we can care for our neighbors. It goes against what we believe and how we usually respond after a disaster but it would be irresponsible to potentially put others in harms way.

We are not in a position to safeguard people displaced by Laura with this serious, local security threat. We know that bad actors will take our hospitality and use it against us.

H. Craig Hanna (b. 1967), Paris

And, that really is disgusting.

Here’s the latest on how the national campaign is turning us against one another via Politico. “Biden forced to play on Trump’s turf as campaign turns to racial strife.  The Democratic nominee wanted to talk about Trump’s performance on the coronavirus. Instead, he’s having to straddle a line on civic unrest. ”  Of course, they don’t want to talk about the policies we need to actually do something for the big issues. Let’s focus on pitting the first and second amendments against each other in strictly racist terms.  After Trump’s horrid visit to Louisiana and Texas, he wants to head to Kenosha today.

The chaotic scenes in Kenosha, Wis. and Portland, Ore., are redefining the contours of the presidential race — shifting the immediate debate over how to quell the clashes, who should own the unrest and which candidate is better suited to lead the nation through strife.

Donald Trump, who’s planning to visit Kenosha on Tuesday, is claiming the mantle of law and order even as he stokes conflict between protesters and his supporters. Trump is trying to take credit for restoring order by loudly calling for an influx of National Guard troops and painting Democrats as too fearful of alienating their base to denounce violence.

Joe Biden last week called for a halt to the violence, though it took him longer than many Democrats wanted. The Democratic nominee decided over the weekend that he would not travel to the pivotal battleground state on Monday ahead of Trump’s visit. Instead, the Biden campaign plans to ramp up messaging that Trump’s rhetoric has only inflamed hostilities on the streets, beginning with a speech in Pennsylvania Monday.

It’s a very difficult argument to make when he is president of the United States that the unrest and chaos that’s happening on the ground is somehow not his responsibility,” Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield told POLITICO. “He owns it. He’s the president of the United States and he owns it. People are seeing a president who is failing to lead and that will be a big focus for us as we move forward.”

“We will continue to put this at his feet and hold him accountable for it because it’s hard to make a law and order argument when you’re an incumbent.”

The balancing act over the riots and police misconduct marks a new, intensifying phase of the election. Both campaigns are preparing for a burst of activity: Biden plans to break his month slong hold on travel to swing states in the coming weeks, with stops expected initially in Wisconsin and Michigan in addition to Pennsylvania. He’s also looking to appear in Minnesota and Arizona soon.

And the on going battle should really be against the Rule of Law as seen within the Justice Department.  Here’s some headlines to read on that.

So, this all should keep you busy today. I’m sorry it’s all so alarming but seriously, thing’s have to change.  We owe it to all of us that have lived and will live in this country.  These policy challenges should be faced head on with regard to our laws, science, and getting the best results we can from the political process. We cannot take an administration whose goal is to tear us all apart, tear our country down, and ruin the gifts of nature around us.

What’s on your blogging and reading list today?