Good Day Sky Dancers!
I kept the TV off–as usual–for my weekend. Still, things crept through my timelines on social media so I got your basic headlines. The 4th wave of the Covid-19 is settling in for Winter. Germany has basically told all unvaccinated people they must stay home unless they’re doing something absolutely necessary. New York City is getting tougher too. The New York Times reports that “New York City sets a sweeping vaccine mandate for all private employers.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for all private employers in New York City on Monday morning to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
Mr. de Blasio said the aggressive measure, which takes effect Dec. 27 and which he described as the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as a “pre-emptive strike” to stall another wave of coronavirus cases and help reduce transmission during the winter months and holiday gatherings.
“Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,” he said in an interview on MSNBC. “The timing is horrible with the winter months.”
New York City has already put vaccine mandates in place for city workers and for employees and customers at indoor dining, entertainment and gyms. Nearly 90 percent of adult New York City residents now have at least one dose of the vaccine.
But Mr. de Blasio said the city must go further to combat another wave of the virus in New York City, once the center of the pandemic. Some private employers have required employees to get vaccinated, but many others have not.
Mr. de Blasio said the new measure would apply to about 184,000 businesses. Employees who work in-person at private companies must have one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27; remote workers will not be required to get the vaccine. There is no testing option as an alternative.
The city plans to offer exemptions for valid medical or religious reasons, Mr. de Blasio said. City officials will release detailed guidelines about issues like enforcement by Dec. 15 after consulting with business leaders.
The mayor also announced that the rules for dining and entertainment would apply to children ages 5 to 11, who must have one dose to enter restaurants and theaters starting on Dec. 14, and that the requirement for adults would increase from one dose of a vaccine to two starting on Dec. 27, except for those who initially received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The problem is still the people in the hinterlands who are also creating problems with their gun fetishes and authoritarian/theocratic tendencies. Sorry to do this, but we’re going there today. Trumpists and theocrats threaten our democracy. This is written by Barton Gellman for The Atlantic: Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun .
The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.
Who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. It is not even apparent who will try. Democrats, big and small D, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, have taken passing rhetorical notice, but their attention wanders. They are making a grievous mistake.
“The democratic emergency is already here,” Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, told me in late October. Hasen prides himself on a judicious temperament. Only a year ago he was cautioning me against hyperbole. Now he speaks matter-of-factly about the death of our body politic. “We face a serious risk that American democracy as we know it will come to an end in 2024,” he said, “but urgent action is not happening.”
For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft. Elected officials in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states have studied Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn the 2020 election. They have noted the points of failure and have taken concrete steps to avoid failure next time. Some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters.
By way of foundation for all the rest, Trump and his party have convinced a dauntingly large number of Americans that the essential workings of democracy are corrupt, that made-up claims of fraud are true, that only cheating can thwart their victory at the polls, that tyranny has usurped their government, and that violence is a legitimate response.
Any Republican might benefit from these machinations, but let’s not pretend there’s any suspense. Unless biology intercedes, Donald Trump will seek and win the Republican nomination for president in 2024. The party is in his thrall. No opponent can break it and few will try. Neither will a setback outside politics—indictment, say, or a disastrous turn in business—prevent Trump from running. If anything, it will redouble his will to power.
This is also from The Atlantic and written by George Packer. Way to go with the winter cheer! Are We Doomed? If you haven’t got Blues yet, you’re either a White Nationalist or dead.
A year after the insurrection, I’m trying to imagine the death of American democracy. It’s somehow easier to picture the Earth blasted and bleached by global warming, or the human brain overtaken by the tyranny of artificial intelligence, than to foresee the end of our 250-year experiment in self-government.
The usual scenarios are unconvincing. The country is not going to split into two hostile sections and fight a war of secession. No dictator will send his secret police to round up dissidents in the dead of night. Analogies like these bring the comfort of at least being familiar. Nothing has aided Donald Trump more than Americans’ failure of imagination. It’s essential to picture an unprecedented future so that what may seem impossible doesn’t become inevitable.
Before January 6, no one—including intelligence professionals—could have conceived of a president provoking his followers to smash up the Capitol. Even the rioters livestreaming in National Statuary Hall seemed stunned by what they were doing. The siege felt like a wild shot that could have been fatal. For a nanosecond, shocked politicians of both parties sang together from the hymnal of democracy. But the unity didn’t last. The past months have made it clear that the near miss was a warning shot.
If the end comes, it will come through democracy itself.
You can read his scenario at the link. Here’s some more anti-democratic stuff from Axios and Mike Allen.
Conservatives are aggressively building their own apps, phones, cryptocurrencies and publishing houses in an attempt to circumvent what they see as an increasingly liberal internet and media ecosystem.
Why it matters: Many of these efforts couldn’t exist without the backing of major corporate figures and billionaires who are eager to push back against things like “censorship” and “cancel culture.”
- It’s still not clear whether demand will match supply.
Driving the news: Rumble, a conservative alternative to YouTube, agreed to go public at an implied $2.1 billion valuation via a SPAC merger.
- The SPAC is sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm led by billionaire and Trump fundraiser Howard Lutnick.
- “I’m excited to support Rumble and its ability to operate the neutral video platform,” Lutnick said in a statement.
- The SPAC is currently trading at a market value of $1.6 billion, down from its $4.5 billion peak in late October. Truth Social has yet to name a CEO.
Gettr, a social app launched by ex-Trump aide Jason Miller, has not disclosed all of its investors, but Miller has acknowledged that one of the app’s funders is the family foundation of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.
Aside from social networks, conservatives are pushing to create alternatives to other tech tools and communication platforms.
Some good news is that Trump SPAC is under investigation by federal regulators, including SEC via CNBC.
Federal regulators are investigating former President Donald Trump’s SPAC deal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA probes were disclosed in a filing by Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company.
Trump Media & Technology Group has said it will launch a social media platform called “TRUTH Social.”
The platform would compete with Twitter and Facebook, both of which have banned the former president because of his incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
You may read more details about this story in The New York Times. Securities Regulators are among the most fastidious investigators anywhere. You should also read this Op-Ed from Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post. Rubin does a great job vivisecting the most vial Governor of Mississippi. He’s pretty much everything you hate in those white evangelicals. The hypocrisy is jaw-dropping.
The priority for Reeves and the GOP is to force women to complete their pregnancies and give birth — even though that is exponentially more dangerous to the lives of women in his state. (The Post reports that in Mississippi it is “75 times more dangerous for women to give birth than to undergo a pre-viability abortion.”)
Republicans are incapable of explaining the contradiction between their objection to minor inconveniences (e.g. mask-wearing, vaccinations, reasonable gun laws) to save lives and their insistence that women undergo dangerous pregnancies to protect a fetus, which they consider to be a person.
Well, I was hungry but now my appetite has been ruined. Think I’ll have some more tea and turn on some nice music. I vote this coming Saturday for Orleans Parish Sheriff and my City Council seat. It’s amazing to be someplace with normal candidates and then look at the rest of the country and state.
Here are a few things you may want to check out!
There is a lot out there on Republican Shenanigans and our inability to really address many of the central issues.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Now the fraud police are coming
Right out to your door
They say you have no liberty if you’re who there looking for
No writ of habeas corpus
No platform of the sands
The wind don’t have to hurry only the wind knows where you went
Well, it’s Monday Sky Dancers!
I’m just going to put these items up and see if you’re as shocked and speechless as I am. The Supreme Court is holding oral arguments on the unconstitutional Texas Abortion Law that’s designed to make women chattel property of whatever state decides that’s their political wish. You can watch it on C-Span 2 where you can see that Clarence Thomas actually can speak from the bench and not just from political fundraisers.
There really never was a day in America when political discourse wasn’t wrapped up in testosterone posing but this tit-for-tat shit is really out there. I just learned about the “Let’s go Brandon” thing and here’s Dan Rather to damn it so I don’t have to fire a synapse thinking about college boys at football games creating a national meanness meme. “A Party Embraces Vulgarity.”
The issue at hand can succinctly be summed up in three words: “Let’s go Brandon.” If you have no idea what I am talking about, consider yourself fortunate. For reasons too mundane to fully outline here, “Let’s go Brandon” has become a favorite chant and rallying cry for many Republicans as a stand-in for another three-word chant that you may also have heard : “F- Joe Biden,” with F-, for the purposes of decorum in this newsletter, standing for a four-letter vulgarity. Search for “Let’s Go Brandon,” and you will start finding it everywhere – all over social media, a song with a ton of downloads on iTunes, at political rallies, and among snickering Republicans in Washington.
In a compelling column in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank uses the phrase to dive into the stark differences between the seriousness and propriety of the two political parties at this moment. He writes:
“Democrats clear the way for passage of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will provide broadband Internet and lead-free drinking water to every American, and better roads, bridges and ports for all to enjoy. And Republicans reply: Let’s go Brandon…
Could the contrast be any greater? Half of America’s leaders are trying to govern, and the other half are hurling vulgarities.”
The entire piece is worth the read, but for our discussion here I would like to delve a little deeper into what I think these vulgarities really mean, what motivates them, and what should be our – particularly the media’s – response.
Politics has never been a genteel pastime. The volume of vulgarities I heard covering the White House, Congress, and politics at the state and local level over the decades would rival any comedy special on HBO. In the passionate pursuit of power, discourse, especially behind the closed doors where the real action takes place, is often reduced to words that can be spelled with only four letters, or their adjectival equivalents. And no matter what side of the political divide you might be on, there have likely been moments when you are reading something or listening to an opposing politician speak and you have been moved to at least think of obscenities, if not utter them out loud. There have certainly been many Democratic politicians who have sworn about Republicans. But what we are witnessing here is fundamentally different.
“F- Joe Biden,” or the slightly less explicitly obscene but no more clever “Let’s go Brandon,” is about much more than political passion or anger. It’s about weaponizing the vulgar dehumanization of our entire democratic – small d – experiment. Joe Biden is not only a person; he is the President of the United States, whether your tinfoil-shrouded conspiracy brain cares to recognize that fact or not. How many times have we heard Republicans sanctimoniously preach about how Democrats don’t “respect” the office of the presidency for such things as President Obama not saluting properly or wearing a tan suit?
Not to be outdone, The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page which is a favorite thing of those seeking to line rat cages is pearl-clutching over 5 young people dressed up as the Torch Terrorists in Charlottesville and stood in silent ironic protest in front of the Trumpist running for governor in Virginia’s campaign bus. Wow, they really let the Lincoln Project get to them this time. “A Dirty Campaign Trick in Virginia. The Lincoln Project plays the race card in a false-flag operation.” As usual, there are two right-wing conspiracy theory signals dog-whistling from the headline. Everything surrounding racism is playing “the race card” and I can’t even figure how this is a “false-flag operation,” but hey, get down with your crazy stupid selves! How long do we have to wait before we read the next attempt to label it “virtue-signaling”?
Democrats routinely play the race card when they’re worried about losing an election, and that’s exactly what the operatives from the Lincoln Project did last week in staging a dirty campaign trick against surging GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin.
It started Friday when a reporter for a local NBC affiliate tweeted a photo of four men and one woman dressed in white shirts, khakis and sunglasses and holding tiki torches. They were standing in front of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s bus during a campaign stop in Virginia.
“These men approached @GlennYoungkin’s bus as it pulled up saying what sounded like, ‘We’re all in for Glenn.” tweeted Elizabeth Holmes. The tiki torches were meant to tie Mr. Youngkin to the infamous torchlit, white nationalist march in Charlottesville in 2017.
Twitter exploded, with various people claiming to have identified people in the tiki-torch photo as Democrats. They hadn’t been positively ID’d by the time we went to press on Sunday.
But as evidence grew that this was a setup, the Lincoln Project finally fessed up. It presented its attempt to play the white supremacist card as an exercise in civic virtue, saying it was “our way of reminding Virginians” about Charlottesville, “the Republican Party’s embrace of those values,” and Mr. Youngkin’s “failure to condemn it.” This is a slur against Mr. Youngkin and the Virginia GOP.
So, this is all pretty radically nuts because the latest craziness by the Republicans in Virginia is all about that Critical Race Theory nuttiness. Juan William states it plainly. ‘Parents’ rights’ is code for white race politics’. I remember living through this same craziness in 1992 when the code word was “multiculturalism” which basically means if it wasn’t spat out by a white christianist it shouldn’t be taught to children.
After white supremacists spilled blood in defense of keeping up Confederate statues in 2017, the GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, Ed Gillespie, said the monuments should stay up as a matter of heritage and history.
His TV advertising featured threatening images of Latino gangs, labeled illegal immigrants, involved in murder and rape.
The racially loaded “Culture Wars” campaign, straight from then-President Trump’s playbook, gave Gillespie a push, but he ultimately lost the race to Democrat Ralph Northam.
Now Virginia Republicans are back with a new and improved “Culture Wars” campaign for 2021. The closing argument is once again full of racial division — but this time it is dressed up as a defense of little children.
The rallying cry is “Parents’ Rights.”
It is a campaign to stop classroom discussion of Black Lives Matter protests or slavery because it could upset some children, especially white children who might feel guilt.
And this time, the Trump-imitating Republicans think they have struck political gold.
Unlike their earlier defense of Confederate monuments, the “Parents’ Rights” campaign message at first glance looks to have zero to do with race.
That puts Democrats on the defensive. They are in the uncomfortable position of calling the attention of suburban white moms to divisive racial politics being used by Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, calls the Republican message a “racist dog whistle.”
Still, that race–that will be determined tomorrow–is a dead heat. This is from the NYT: “In the Final Days Before Virginia Votes, Both Sides Claim Momentum.”
The high-stakes race for governor of Virginia entered its final stretch with Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe trading accusations of sowing division, as voters appeared closely divided over returning a Democrat to office or electing a Republican to lead their state for the first time in more than a decade.
The size and atmosphere of dueling events during the last weekend of campaigning before Election Day on Tuesday reflected the trends in the most recent polls. Mr. Youngkin, the Republican candidate, greeted crowds of more than 1,000, while Mr. McAuliffe, the Democrat, hustled through sparsely attended events from morning to night.
Mr. McAuliffe, who served one term as governor from 2014 to 2018, has displayed a rising sense of urgency lately, dispatching some of the Democratic Party’s biggest stars to campaign for him and push people to vote early. In 11 hours on Saturday, Mr. McAuliffe traveled more than 120 miles, making eight stops in six cities amid a whirlwind day of campaigning in which he urged supporters not to be complacent.
“We are substantially leading on the early vote, but we cannot take our foot off the gas,” Mr. McAuliffe told a crowd on Saturday in Norfolk, where he met with labor leaders who were planning to spend the day knocking on doors.
Meanwhile, The Bulwark’s Tim Miller just had to put this headline in front of me today: “Donald Trump Is Now the Odds-On Favorite to Be President in 2025 .” I’m gagging over here.
So, Donald Trump is now the odds-on favorite to be president of the United States in 2025.
I know that lede sentence was also the headline, but I wanted you to read it one more time just to let it really settle in the ol’ noggin before pressing forward.
The twice-impeached, disgraced loser who was schlonged in the 2020 election, tried to stay in power against the will of the people, and then came ten cowardly Republican senators away from being disqualified from ever running for office again, is now more likely than any other person in the world to take the next oath of office on the Capitol steps on January 20, 2025.
How is that for some weird shit?
Now I’m sure some will roll their eyes when this headline comes across the Twitter feed. Attribute this article to my raging Trump Derangement Syndrome or The Bulwark’s Cady Heron-level obsession with Mar-a-Lago’s in-house wedding toastmaster.
But this ain’t about my compulsions. It’s the actual, real-world reality being presented by those who have the most skin in the game.
Both the major off-shore gambling quants and the online trading markets have moved in Mr. Trump’s favor in the past couple weeks.
Here’s some more crazy shit that I’m speechless about.
- Olivia Beavers / Politico: ‘They’re probably going to put us back in power’: GOP basks in Dem discord
- Bill Schneider / The Hill: 2022 and ‘the passion gap’ — why Republicans are more fired up
- David A. Graham / The Atlantic: Josh Mandel Might Be Craven Enough to Win
- Terry Jones / Issues & Insights: I&I/TIPP Poll: Just 42% Now Think Biden Is ‘Mentally Sharp
- Sarah Rumpf / Mediaite: Matt Gaetz Jokes About Blowing Up Capitol Metal Detectors With Explosives (UPDATE: Lauren Boebert Tweets ‘I’ll Bring the Tannerite!’)
Why does the press keep trying to incite a civil war instead of elucidating the danger in all of this? Rad idea below Atlantic writer suggests Never Trumperz support DeSantis. (Connor Friedsdorf warning) What drug is this guy on? Or Read this shake-down in New York Magazine describing DeSantis worship.
I’m going to go play music and eat chocolate now. Hope you have a great day and that you’re not as depressed and confused about all this is and derp as I am.
I had to steal this image from my blogging buddy Peter Athas Get his take on that TNR article here.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
By now you have heard and seen the latest terroristic threat from Trump. Actually, Trump’s violent assassination request has a name…There’s a Name for Trump’s Violent Incitement Against Hillary: Stochastic Terrorism | BNR
Donald said at a rally: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick— [boos from audience] If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.
Donald’s point about Hillary was unambiguous.
What he was doing, as explained by feminist law professor and reproductive rights activist David S. Cohen, was engaging in “stochastic terrorism,” which is “an obscure and non-legal term” meaning to use “language and other forms of communication ‘to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable,’” a sort of incitement well-known among those familiar with anti-choice violence.
Writes Cohen: “Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog-whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.”
The sort of diffused threats that are a feature of stochastic terrorism are, unfortunately, extremely familiar to me. As a feminist progressive woman with a public profile, these are the kinds of “not really threats – wink!” I get all the time: Hoping someone else will rape and/or kill me.
Or “warning” me that someone might – if I insist on keeping up my work. Being on the receiving end of those words for more than a decade: I know what Donald meant.
It is chillingly familiar.
This man openly incited violence against a woman, who also happens to be a presidential candidate – which makes his exhortation possibly criminal, too.
Doesn’t it make your blood boil? This article is written by Melissa McEwan, she continues focusing on the feminist angle. You can read the rest at the link, but I prefer to focus on the main issue…feminist or not.
What the fuck!!! This is a real presidential candidate, running for the Republican Party, and he called for the assassination of his running mate and “future” president!
I’ve spent months watching and listening to the horrors that spew from Trump’s mouth…as we see, this is yet another time that Trump has, “Gone too far,” only to get away with inciting violence and murder against Hillary and Supreme Court Justices.
One day after his widely discussed “reboot” in which he did nothing more than read basicRepublican economic talking points from a teleprompter, Donald Trump uttered perhaps his most outrageous – and dangerous – ad-lib yet. And that’s saying something for a campaign in which he’s criticized John McCain for being a prisoner of war, characterized Mexicans as rapists, called for banning Muslims from coming into the country, picked a fight with a Gold Star family and urged Russia to hack his political opponent.
Speaking to a crowd in Wilmington, North Carolina, Tuesday, Trump expressed concern about Hillary Clinton possibly picking Supreme Court justices and other judges. He then said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”
Let that soak in for a second. One of the two major-party nominees for president just called for “Second Amendment people” to “do” something about his political opponent’s judges. According to the Trump campaign’s rapid response team, he was talking about those “Second Amendment people” coming together politically – “unification,” as they called it. The Clinton campaign, and pretty much the entire Internet, saw it differently: as a clear suggestion of violence against a political opponent.
It’s hard not to side with the Clinton campaign here. What Trump said was that a particular group – those who are defined by rallying around guns – should do something about Clinton and her judicial nominees. What can people who rally around guns do that’s different than others? Use those guns.
But it’s really irrelevant what Trump actually meant, because enough people will hear Trump’s comments and think he’s calling for people to take up arms against Clinton, her judges or both. Though most of the people hearing that call may claim he was joking, given what we know about people taking up arms in this country, there will undoubtedly be some people who think he was serious and consider the possibility.
In other words, what Trump just did is engage in so-called stochastic terrorism. This is an obscure and non-legal term that has been occasionally discussed in the academic world for the past decade and a half, and it applies with precision here. Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication “to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”
Let’s break that down in the context of what Trump said. Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible. But wecan predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future.
Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.
Those of us who work against anti-abortion violence unfortunately know all about this. Valerie Tarico wrote about this form of terrorism following the Planned Parenthood murders in Colorado Springs last November. The pattern she noted there is 100 percent applicable to Donald Trump and his supporters right now – except that we haven’t yet had the major act of violence at the end of the string. As Tarico wrote:
“1. A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
2. With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
3. Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past ‘purges’ against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
4. When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the ‘tragedy.'”
This explains Donald Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton to a letter. He has 1) demonized her whenever he can by calling her “Crooked Hillary” and constantly degrading her; 2) organized a convention around which the central theme, repeated over and over, was that Clinton is a criminal who needs to be locked up, clearly using fear and moral disgust as motivators; and 3) is now using violent metaphors (or “jokes,” if that’s what you think his statements were) against her, just short of an explicit call to arms.
Now we just have to hope that #4 doesn’t come about – that violence does not erupt. Though, if it does, we know exactly what Trump and his supporters will say: that they never could have foreseen this tragedy.
His extraordinary remark on Tuesday was swiftly condemned by Democrats. Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, said: “This is simple – what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place in Newtown in 2012, went further in a tweet: “Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”
British novelist Salman Rushdie then weighed in, tweeting: “Of course the Trump flacks are now trying to confuse the issue, but Senator Murphy is clear about what Trump meant.”
The claim was rejected by Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama and longtime Trump supporter. He responded on CNN: “Totally wrong. I don’t believe that’s true. I don’t believe that’s at all what he meant.”
But Sessions acknowledged: “It may have been awkwardly phrased.”
As the usual line goes, Trump is allowed to explain his “true” meaning behind his words:
Trump said later in reply to Sean Hannity on Fox News that he was referring to the political movement around the Second Amendment.
Hannity asked: “You know, so obviously you’re saying that there’s a strong political movement within the Second Amendment, and if people mobilize and vote, they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court. But that’s not how the media is spinning it. What’s your reaction to it?”
Trump replied: “Well, I just heard about that, and it was amazing because nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said. This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment … there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me – I mean give me a break.”
Trump has been striving to show more discipline on the campaign trail after astring of gaffes in recent weeks. He remained in control in Detroit on Monday when a speech on the economy was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. But in Wilmington, he apparently could not resist going off-script.
Campaigners for gun control expressed outrage at his off-the-cuff remark. Po Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance, said: “Donald Trump continues to pander to the corporate gun lobby and the gun extremists who thrive on fear and rhetoric.
“Any suggestion that gun violence should be used to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing supreme court justices is dangerous and reckless. It’s no surprise that 50 GOP national security experts have signed a letter making a pledge to not vote for him.”
The concern was echoed by Paul Begala, a former adviser to Bill Clinton in the White House. “This is not something that should be joked about,” he told CNN. “I hope in the best case you could say he was joking. It didn’t seem like a joke to me. Tony Schwartz, the guy who wrote [Trump’s book] The Art of the Deal, says Trump never jokes.
“I fear that an unbalanced person hears that in this inflamed environment and, God forbid, thinks that was a threat. I certainly take it as a threat, I really do, and Trump needs to apologise.”
Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, said on the same channel:
“Well, let me say, if someone had have said that outside the hall he’d be in the back of a police wagon now with the secret service questioning him.”
As yet another controversy threatened to engulf him, Trump’s campaign insisted that his words had been misunderstood. Jason Miller, a spokesperson, attempted to explain the candidate’s comments. “It’s called the power of unification,” he said. “Second amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker called the uproar over Trump’s remarks a “distraction created by the dishonest media.”
Another thought for everyone, Giuliani: Trump supporters would cheer Trump’s call to assassinate Hillary – AMERICAblog News
In perhaps the worst attempt ever at damage control, Donald Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani attempted to defend Trump’s call yesterday for Hillary Clinton to be assassinated.
Giuliani told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that had Trump actually called for Hillary to be assassinated, the crowd would have gone wild.
Video at the link.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Second Amendment at a rally yesterday evening and implied that gun owners may need to shoot Hillary Clinton or the Supreme Court judges she nominates as president.
That was not a joke and it isn’t funny, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan insists that it was.
“I’ve been a little busy today. I heard about this Second Amendment quote. It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that,” Ryan said at a press conference after winning his Republican primary. “I didn’t actually hear the comments, I only heard about those comments.”
A joke gone bad is a toady like Paul Ryan ever being treated like a serious person and being third in line to the presidency. Assassination is not a joke.
Donald Trump once said he could shoot someone and not lose support over it and I think he was right. There’s nothing Trump could say or do that would prompt Speaker Ryan to withdraw his support for Trump.
I think that should cover the latest on Trump.
How about a little more outrage, since I am sure you are up for it?
Chad Copley told the 911 operator to send a police car fast — he was “locked and loaded,” he said, and going outside to confront a group of “hoodlums.”
“We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing,” the 39-year-old Raleigh man told the dispatcher early Sunday morning. “I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood.”
The dispatcher, responding to Copley, asked: “You’re going to do what?”
“I’m going to secure my neighborhood,” Copley said.
He continued: “I’m on neighborhood watch. I am going to have the neighborhood meet these hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I was you, I would send PD out here as quickly as possible.”
A few minutes later, Copley was on the phone with dispatchers again.
This time, haltingly, he explained the aftermath:
“I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …
“I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. … They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”
The dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?
“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”
He then hung up.
When officers arrived, they found a 20-year-old black man, Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, dying of a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Life in a post-Zimmerman world.
Please read more about this murder at the link.
One more article, it is an op/ed, from Huffington Post. I think the headline says it all, and for me…I do not agree with it, 71 Years Ago: When Truman Failed To Pause — And The Nagasaki War Crime Followed
Nagasaki a war crime?
I have one thing to say, war is hell. Sherman meant to destroy the southern audacity so that it would never forget what happened, that was his message behind his march to the sea…
Those bombs showed the world that nuclear war is the ultimate in devastation, the finality that must be realized, justified and acknowledged with the coming of a nuclear age. It was required to end World War 2, and necessary as a warning of what will come if diplomacy is not the main path to peace going forward. I do not believe it was a war crime.
And, I don’t think we should be wiping out our history and revising it…I’m not talking about changing the names of elementary schools that honor KKK founders…but I have a difficult time with some memorials being eliminated completely. They should remain but I feel that other monuments or large prominent historic markers should be added to explain the historical significance. Make it a real teaching moment for people who see these old statues and carvings on a mountain. (Yeah, carve another monument on Stone Mountain…a memorial to Fredrick Douglas, Harriet Tubman etc.)
Last link is a fun one.
Every four years something really cool happens during men’s Olympic diving competitions: The scores that show up on screen cover the diver’s groin area, accidentally making it look like porn.
Here’s an example of that from the London games:
BBC / Via fmforums.co.uk
And here are a bunch of examples of it happening in Rio. Let your mind wander because you sure as hell know we won’t judge. After all, we’re the ones who spent hours screenshotting these in the first place.
Some of these shots are hilarious.
Dicks out, thumbs up!NBC
He’s like, “Why are you naked, dude?”NBC
Naked friends are the best friends ❤NBC
If you haven’t noticed, his name is Steele Johnson.NBC
It’s a beautiful autumn day here in New Orleans. Many of us are voting early to ensure David Vitter’s political career ends this month. There are some interesting dynamics this election cycle. There’s only so much craziness allowed in the Republican Party by the moneyed interested before they start closing down the monkey house that’s become much of the local structure and grass roots. The base and the establishment couldn’t be more at odds. There is real concern that the Trump flame isn’t burning out. Last cycle, they were able to bring the insipid Mitt Romney through the process only to lose big time to the President. They also managed to hoist Dubya Bush on us at a cost of blood and treasure. Nixon really burned the house down. The Southern Strategy has really come back to haunt them.
There are some interesting articles up today analyzing various topics. The first is from WAPO and deals with establishment panic over Donald Trump.
Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.
Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.
The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet.
In normal times, the way forward would be obvious. The wannabes would launch concerted campaigns, including television attack ads, against the front-runners. But even if the other candidates had a sense of what might work this year, it is unclear whether it would ultimately accrue to their benefit. Trump’s counterpunches have been withering, while Carson’s appeal to the base is spiritual, not merely political. If someone was able to do significant damage to them, there’s no telling to whom their supporters would turn, if anyone.
Trump gave an epic rant on Carson and dumb Iowans in Fort Dodge which has really sent the money crowd off the edge. Carson’s response today is to pray for Trump. What kind of people find either of these guys even attractive as human beings let alone potential presidents?
Ben Carson apparently had a simple response to rival Donald Trump after the real-estate mogul savaged Carson during a Thursday-night stump speech.
“Pray for him,” Carson said, according his business manager Armstrong Williams’ Friday account to CNN.
Williams, who often acts as a Carson surrogate, further lashed into Trump.
“It is so immature,” Williams said. “It is so embarrassing. I feel so sorry for him.”
The day before, Trump launched a no-holds-barred assault against Carson, his top rival in the GOP primary.
Those attacks included Trump doubling down on his comparison of what he has called Carson’s incurable “pathological temper” to child molesters, while at the same time questioning Carson’s account of his violent childhood incidents. This all occurred during a 95-minute speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?” Trump asked his supporters of Carson’s stories.
Trump characterized Carson’s lying as “pathological and akin to child molester’s who can’t be cured. Can you believe this is the level of discourse we’ve come to? Can any of them even talk about a policy that’s remotely good and realistic for the country?
Meanwhile, we’re finally getting some good old fashion press attention to the behavior of the Bush administration prior to the 9/11 attacks. They were all on vacation when a series of warnings crossed their desks. When can we actually get some justice on what they did to this country? This is even from Tiger Beat on the Potomac so will it get enough attention to start the main stream media to focus on the lies to the Iraq War and the intelligence that was ignored or made up at that time?
Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The CIA’s famous Presidential Daily Brief, presented to George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, has always been Exhibit A in the case that his administration shrugged off warnings of an Al Qaeda attack. But months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.
By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.” “There were real plots being manifested,” Cofer’s former boss, George Tenet, told me in his first interview in eight years. “The world felt like it was on the edge of eruption. In this time period of June and July, the threat continues to rise. Terrorists were disappearing [as if in hiding, in preparation for an attack]. Camps were closing. Threat reportings on the rise.” The crisis came to a head on July 10. The critical meeting that took place that day was first reported by Bob Woodward in 2006. Tenet also wrote about it in general terms in his 2007 memoir At the Center of the Storm.
But neither he nor Black has spoken about it publicly in such detail until now—or been so emphatic about how specific and pressing their warnings really were. Over the past eight months, in more than a hundred hours of interviews, my partners Jules and Gedeon Naudet and I talked with Tenet and the 11 other living former CIA directors for The Spymasters, a documentary set to air this month on Showtime.
The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat—“getting into the Afghan sanctuary, launching a paramilitary operation, creating a bridge with Uzbekistan.” “And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’” (Translation: they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.) Black, a charismatic ex-operative who had helped the French arrest the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, says the Bush team just didn’t get the new threat: “I think they were mentally stuck back eight years [before]. They were used to terrorists being Euro-lefties—they drink champagne by night, blow things up during the day, how bad can this be? And it was a very difficult sell to communicate the urgency to this.”
That morning of July 10, the head of the agency’s Al Qaeda unit, Richard Blee, burst into Black’s office. “And he says, ‘Chief, this is it. Roof’s fallen in,’” recounts Black. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw.” Black and his deputy rushed to the director’s office to brief Tenet. All agreed an urgent meeting at the White House was needed. Tenet picked up the white phone to Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. “I said, ‘Condi, I have to come see you,’” Tenet remembers. “It was one of the rare times in my seven years as director where I said, ‘I have to come see you. We’re comin’ right now. We have to get there.’”
Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.’” [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”
“What happened?” I ask Cofer Black. “Yeah. What did happen?” he replies. “To me it remains incomprehensible still. I mean, how is it that you could warn senior people so many times and nothing actually happened? It’s kind of like The Twilight Zone.” Remarkably, in her memoir, Condi Rice writes of the July 10 warnings: “My recollection of the meeting is not very crisp because we were discussing the threat every day.” Having raised threat levels for U.S. personnel overseas, she adds: “I thought we were doing what needed to be done.” (When I asked whether she had any further response to the comments that Tenet, Black and others made to me, her chief of staff said she stands by the account in her memoir.) Inexplicably, although Tenet brought up this meeting in his closed-door testimony before the 9/11 Commission, it was never mentioned in the committee’s final report.
And there was one more chilling warning to come. At the end of July, Tenet and his deputies gathered in the director’s conference room at CIA headquarters. “We were just thinking about all of this and trying to figure out how this attack might occur,” he recalls. “And I’ll never forget this until the day I die. Rich Blee looked at everybody and said, ‘They’re coming here.’ And the silence that followed was deafening. You could feel the oxygen come out of the room. ‘They’re coming here.’”
It’s amazing to me that major failures of policy by Republican administrations never seem to matter to any one as long as the money keeps funneling its way up to the rich and they can keep their base stupid and angry. The deal is that I truly believe that behavior is backfiring on them finally during this election cycle. It’s bad enough that we suffered through the Reagan years and they were characterized quite differently and that so many people believe the hype and not the reality apparent in the facts. My hope is that entangling the neocon policy will bring about a higher realization since so many Americans died as a result. However, look at the Republican Field. We have folks that are either totally clueless on the entire foreign area. For example, Ben Carson actually stated in the last debate that China was active in the Middle East which is not the least bit true. The other side is Jeb and the like who come with the same advisers as Dubya. How can any of this be representative of one of the two parties seeking leadership of the world’s only superpower?
The Blog “The Progressive Professor” discusses how we’ve gone from a place where the Republicans were perceived as the party most knowledgeable and able when it comes to foreign policy to the party that is completely clueless and inept. This should be worrisome to both the American Electorate and the world.
It used to be that the Republican Party had candidates who had a reputation for foreign policy expertise, including Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush.
Now, we have Rand Paul, representing the isolationist viewpoint; and the viewpoint of the neoconservatives, which includes just about everyone else, all who have apparently learned nothing from the disastrous policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They want to commit US military forces to another war, but of course give not a care to veterans once they come home from war, often wounded physically and mentally by their experience.
And some have not a clue as to what is going on in foreign policy, demonstrating unbelievable ignorance, particularly Dr. Benjamin Carson and Donald Trump.
As this blogger has stated many times in the past few years, in the 2012 election cycle, ONLY Jon Huntsman had any legitimate background in foreign policy; and in the 2016 election cycle, only John Kasich demonstrates any experience in foreign policy, although inferior to that of Huntsman.
One may criticize Barack Obama in some areas of foreign policy, but his top aides and advisers on this have included Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and present Secretary of State John Kerry. Many would criticize all of them, but in comparison to the Republican camp, they are people of experience and awareness of the complex world we live in!
Donald Trump went as far as to state that Russia was going after ISIL when in fact, Russia has been attacking the anti-Assad Forces supported by the US and allies This article is from the Times of London and clearly illustrates that the Russians are not on our side no matter how much The Donald and The Carly want to brag about their green room romps with Putin.
• Iran was on Thursday night moving up its ground forces in Syria in preparation for an attack to reclaim rebel-held territory under the cover of Russian air strikes, according to sources close to Damascus. Hizbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia which has come to the Assad regime’s rescue in battle-fronts across the country in the past two years, is being prepared to capitalise on the strikes, a Syrian figure close to the regime told The Telegraph
• Sources in Lebanon told Reuters that Iran, which is the main sponsor and tactical adviser to Hizbollah, was sending in hundreds of its own troops to reinforce them. Iran made no comment on the claims but Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said the move would be an “apt and powerful illustration” that Russia’s military actions had worsened the conflict.
• A Hizbollah-backed advance would fit the pattern of Russian air-strikes, which have predominantly targeted those rebels not aligned to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who currently present the gravest threat on the ground to core regime territory.
• The long-term aim would be to defeat or demoralise the non-Isil opposition, so that Isil became the regime’s only enemy. That would force the West to back President Bashar al-Assad against it. “They want to clean the country of non-Isil rebels, and then the US will work with them as Isil will be the only enemy,” the Damascus source said.
But the most amusing category belongs to politicians who defend bogus claims by citing secret evidence that only they have access to. As Rachel noted on the show last night, this comes up more often than it should.
Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.), for example, claimed last year to have secret information about ISIS fighters getting caught entering the United States through Mexico, which never happened in reality. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) claimed to have secret evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which is the exact opposite of the truth.
And then there’s Ben Carson, who claimed this week that China has deployed troops to Syria, despite the fact that China has not deployed troops to Syria. Yesterday, Armstrong Williams, a top Carson campaign aide, defended the claim by pointing to – you guessed it – secret intelligence. Here was the exchange between Williams and MSNBC’s Tamron Hall:
WILLIAMS: Well, Tamron, from your perspective and what most people know, maybe that is inaccurate, but from my intelligence and what Dr. Carson`s been told by people on the ground involved in that area of the world, it has been told to him many times over and over that the Chinese are there. But as far as our intelligence and the briefings that Dr. Carson`s been in, and I`ve certainly been in with him, he`s certainly been told that the Chinese are there.
Last month, the retired right-wing neurosurgeon claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas all went to college together. When told that didn’t make any sense, Carson insisted he’s talked to “various people” who’ve provided him with unique insights.
You can follow the link to a snippet from Maddow’s show that discusses some absolute bizarre comments from Carson. This includes a really bizarre CBN interview about ties between those three leaders as some kind of dormmates at the same university and that he has secret sources.
So, the question being discussed across coffee at my house is who the hell is supporting these guys and wtf is wrong with them? I’m no psychologist, but what causes a person to go gaga over a pathological liar and a malignant narcissist to the point of thinking they should be president? Why do so many Republicans want Ben Carson in office? (I need to add that this discussion is held between two former Republicans. My friend is a very recent addition to my reformed republican club which I formed 20 years ago having decided that the absolute craziness over gay marriage and adoption was the most bigoted and hateful thing she’d ever seen.)
Here’s some analysis of a poll done by ABC.
Respondents saw Carson’s lack of experience in politics as a strength, not a weakness. Like other Carson supporters we interviewed, Karen Mihalic, 61, loves that the neurosurgeon’s “not like your typical politician.”
“I don’t think politicians are really in tune with the rest of America and what we need,” Mihalic said. “We need someone to shake things up down there.”
Don, 30, who declined to give his last name, said he doesn’t see a difference between Carson’s experience in politics and that of President Obama.
Jeanne Blando, 71, agreed.
“I think Carson will be much more effective than the president we have now,” Blando said.
Carson’s values are important.
But why not support fellow outsider Donald Trump instead? For Blando, it’s all about Carson’s values.
“I love Trump because he says what he thinks, but that won’t work for governing,” Blando said.
Jesse Varoz, 28, called Carson an “upstanding guy.” Richard Medina, 69, said Carson was “truly honest and someone I can depend on.”
“If you listen to [Carson] speak, he thinks about what he’s gonna say, while other candidates do not,” Medina said.
Ignorance is not only bliss, it’s evidently a very attractive and powerful opiate of a good portion of the masses.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?