Monday, July 30, 2018

The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled Was Convincing Enough Americans To Avoid Voting

This is a thing that annoys me to no end.

To refer to a Pew Research article on the problem, by Drew DeSilver:

The Census Bureau estimated that there were 245.5 million Americans ages 18 and older in November 2016, about 157.6 million of whom reported being registered to vote. (While political scientists typically define turnout as votes cast divided by the number of eligible voters, in practice turnout calculations usually are based on the estimated voting-age population, or VAP.) Just over 137.5 million people told the census they voted in 2016, somewhat higher than the actual number of votes tallied – nearly 136.8 million, according to figures compiled by the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, though that figure includes more than 170,000 blank, spoiled or otherwise null ballots. That sort of overstatement has long been noted by researchers; the comparisons and charts in this analysis use the House Clerk’s figure, along with data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and individual nations’ statistical and elections authorities.
The 55.7% VAP turnout in 2016 puts the U.S. behind most of its peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), most of whose members are highly developed, democratic states. Looking at the most recent nationwide election in each OECD nation, the U.S. placed 26th out of 32...
Goddammit America. When there's 245 million or so Americans able to vote, and only 157 million or so register, that's 88 million or so who just aren't taking the time to do their civic duty. Worse, we get about 137 million actually voting out of that 157 million, so add that 20 million missing and we've got 108 million Americans refusing/failing to use their power and voice in our nation's interests.

The Democratic (people vote for leaders)-Republic (institutions are regulated and balanced to ensure no one part is dominant) form of government we have survives on the involvement of its citizenry. When this many people make themselves unavailable, when this many refuse to use their voice and participate, it only allows the more extreme citizens - the ones obsessed with things everybody else do not think are problems, the ones more interested in abusing the system to their profit - to overtake the reins of power and fuck the country over due to their inflexible, oft-times corrupt ways.

Think about this: if that 108 million who didn't show counted as a None of the Above/Vote of No Confidence, neither Hillary (65 million) nor trump (62 million) would have won, hell they would have been embarrassed.

Back to DeSilver:

One factor behind Belgium’s high turnout rates – between 83% and 95% of VAP in every election for the past four decades – may be that it is one of the 24 nations around the world (and six in the OECD) with some form of compulsory voting, according to IDEA...

There's been an argument for Automatic (universal) Voter Registration - that every American citizen when they turn 18 or become naturalized gets their voter ID confirmed without the hassles of filing paperwork - as a means of countering the voter suppression efforts the Republicans are constantly attempting (and sometimes succeeding at). Some states already deploy a form of AVR, it's just a question of getting EVERY state to do it...

Back to DeSilver:

In the U.S., by contrast, registration is mainly an individual responsibility. And registered voters represent a much smaller share of potential voters in the U.S. than just about any other OECD country. Only about 64% of the U.S. voting-age population (and 70% of voting-age citizens) was registered in 2016, according to the Census Bureau report, compared with 91% in Canada (2015) and the UK (2017), 96% in Sweden (2014), and 99% in Slovakia (2016).
As a consequence, turnout comparisons based only on registered voters may not be very meaningful...
No matter how they’re measured, U.S. turnout rates have been fairly consistent over the past several decades, despite some election-to-election variation. Since 1976, voting-age turnout has remained within an 8.5-percentage-point range – from just under 50% in 1996, when Bill Clinton was re-elected, to just over 58% in 2008, when Barack Obama won the White House. However, turnout varies considerably among different racial, ethnic and age groups...

Argh. For a nation that's supposed to represent to the whole world how elective governments should work, we're doing a shitty job when it comes time to walk the walk.

One thing I see online is this ongoing call by (oddly enough) Progressive/Far Left Democrats to get the Dems to entice the "(White) Working Class" voting bloc as a means of flipping control of government from Republicans. As though that voting bloc can be enticed away from their Far Right fear-driven world-view.

But there's an even better solution, Democrats. There's between 88 to 108 million Americans who aren't bothering to register, at least 20 million who are registered but still won't show up. If you can just find out what it will take to get that 20 million to check in and show their support for the Democratic side of the issues, that could create a more reliable, less racist voting bloc to get your Party over the gerrymandering and geographic hurdles the GOP has been using the last 10-30 years to stifle the Real Majority voice.

There's got to be a better effort at getting the vote out. And the next time you get control of the Congress like you did in 2006, will you do yourselves a huge fucking favor and get that Automatic Voter Registration system in place nation-wide. Christ. You gotta fix this Dems, the Republicans sure as hell won't.

Friday, July 27, 2018

July 27 2016 A Date Which Will Live In Infamy...

trump publicly called on Russia to "find Hillary's missing emails," which in Far Right Wingnut Conspiracy-Speak meant "Hey, hack her server to find embarrassing shit."

A Daily Beast article from that day:

During a Wednesday press conference in Florida, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails from her tenure as secretary of state. “Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That will be next. Yes, sir.”

Betty Cracker commentary from Balloon Juice:

As Adam noted yesterday, the DNC hack isn’t just standard intel gathering that virtually all governments do. The decision to use WikiLeaks as an outlet to publicly release the information to interfere with an election “meets the definition of an act of cyberwar,” according to Dave Aitel, whose Ars Technica editorial was quoted in Adam’s post...
So to recap, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump openly “adhered” to a hostile foreign government and encouraged it to commit an act of war on the United States...

A more detailed review from Aaron Blake from the Washington Post:

There are many, many potential problems with this scenario — and not just for Clinton's campaign, but also for U.S. national security. Indeed, the logical extension of his comments is that a foreign power would be deciding how to handle possibly sensitive information about a potential U.S. president...
But Wednesday's comments ratchet things up even more. Even as he contended that he's not the preferred candidate of Russia — as Democrats have alleged and Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested — he's now hoping Russia has potentially damaging information about a possible U.S. president.
That's stunning. And while Trump did not say he wants Russia to use those emails for blackmail or espionage purposes, his previous comments make clear it's a possibility he's very well aware of...

My take back in the day:

It doesn't matter that Clinton's email server has already undergone a complete federal investigation, where the worst the FBI found was that it was improper that Clinton was doing this (following how previous Sec of States did their private servers!).
Trump is taking the Far Right Narrative that Evil Clinton is still hiding something, anything, and they want to get at it by hook or by crook. Preferably by crook.
This is insane. This would be like having Richard Nixon asking Red China to wiretap Muskie (didn't have to, he hired his own). This would be like having Teddy Roosevelt asking Canada to intercept telegrams sent by Alton B. Parker back in 1904. This would be like John Adams asking the kingdom of Norway to raid Thomas Jefferson's home for his personal papers...

And for all those takes, what really did happen because of what trump said to the world that day? Refer to David A. Graham at the Atlantic just this July 13 2018...

The broad outlines of Friday’s indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charging 12 Russians with conspiracy, identity theft, and money laundering in connection with hacking during the 2016 presidential election, are not surprising. The hacking of the Democratic National Committee has been public knowledge since July 2016, and even then, the authorities publicly stated that the perpetrators were Russian government officials. Other details, such as the apparent involvement of WikiLeaks and Trump adviser Roger Stone, were also known. Some of the details, however, are striking...
On July 27, 2016, at a Trump press conference in Florida, the candidate referred to 33,000 emails that an aide to Hillary Clinton had deleted from the former secretary of state’s personal email server. The DNC had recently announced the Russian intrusion, and Trump speculated that if Russia broke into the DNC, it would have accessed Clinton’s emails, too...
(trump) was encouraging a foreign adversary to illegally hack into messages by a former secretary of state that might contain sensitive information, then release them publicly.
Trump had good reason to believe that Russia was listening. The previous month, his son, Donald Jr.; son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had a meeting at Trump Tower with Russians who they believed were offering damaging information about Clinton. (The meeting wasn’t revealed to the public until 2017, and both the Russians and the Trump campaign officials say no dirt was exchanged.) Prior to the meeting, Trump Jr. had received an email stating that the meeting was “ part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Mueller’s indictment offers new evidence that Russia was listening—and acting on Trump’s request. The indictment charges 12 officers of the GRU, Russia’s military-intelligence agency, with hacking intended to interfere with the election...

This is asking a foreign power to spy on an American citizen, to spy on an American who worked as a Senator and Secretary of State, to spy on an American running for the Presidency.

How can that NOT fit the definition of treason spelled out in the US Code? "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States..."

On this day in 2016, donald trump went on live television and committed an act of treason asking Russia to interfere with the elections, putting into play another part of what is turning out to be the Crime of the Century: Theft of the electoral process of the United States.

Everyone saw the crime taking place, and for now the thieves are getting away with it.

Do not forget this day.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Darkest Timeline Discussion: Choose The Form Of the Destructor

Right now, considering all of the scandals competing for attention in the blighted landscape that is trumpWorld:

It's not a question "if" trump's administration ends in 2020 it's a question "how bad is the destruction going to be when the damn corrupt edifice collapses into the ocean".

Just what are the outcomes of all these crazy situations?

1) Republicans in control of Congress/the Cabinet just say "fuck it" and remove trump either through Impeachment or the 25th Amendment.

They'd have good reason to. While trump *is* popular still with the Republican base, that base has shrunk and there's evidence that a lot of Independent voters who went GOP in 2016 are avoiding the party now like the plague. Meanwhile, trump's unjustified tariff wars are causing economic chaos and his bailout offer to Agribusiness to offset the damage done to that industry goes against the conservative mindset of the more traditional-minded Republicans. The general chaos that revolves around trump makes it hard to get anything done (even for a lazy Congress, Republicans do want to get a few things on their agenda done): The scandals surrounding trump make it hard to focus on doing anything other than damage control. For all the issues that can affect an election, people still vote by emotion and there's a LOT of unhappy people angry at trump (and by extension the Congresscritters enabling him). In short, trump may not be helpful in the November midterm elections.

Sad thing is, the sanest response to trump's insanity is one that will not happen. For all the damage trump is doing to their own brand, these Republican leaders are cowards and self-serving fools yearning to hold onto power of controlling the three branches of Federal government (and a lot of state governments as well). They're terrified of losing their base AND their deep-pocket SuperPACs (some of which are corrupted by Russian affiliation anyway) to where they'll just ignore the warning signs and just hope this storm blows over. Even after the Primaries are done, don't expect the surviving GOP incumbents to do ANYTHING in Congress to make trump answer for the things he's doing wrong.

2) Democrats win the Midterms either by winning control of the House (likely) and/or winning control of the Senate (less likely) along with winning enough Governorships and State Legislatures (toss-up) to reduce the influence of Red State politics.

In this situation driven by 65 million angry American voters (or more), one of the Congressional houses switches to a political opposition willing and able to investigate/hound trump for every sin he's doing. Especially on matters involving Emoluments, and on trump's horrific anti-immigrant policies.

Even if it's a divided Congress (Dem House, GOP Senate) there is enough likelihood that they would pass legislation compelling trump and his White House to play by the rules. For example: Taking away the President's authority to create tariffs; allowing asylum seekers easier entry along with their families; cutting funds for ICE as punishment for mistreatment of immigrant kids; public investigations into trump's use of hotels to encourage foreign agents to give him money; public revelations of trump's federal income tax returns; creating legal protections for the FBI and Justice Department to prevent trump's meddling/threats to fire anyone investigating him.

There's a lot of things a Democratic branch of government could do to make life harder for trump to run his con games. In the right circumstance, trump may come to believe he won't be able to continue his con games and quit (he does have a tendency to cut and run).

Problem with this scenario: there is every likelihood the remaining Republicans in a Democratic-controlled Congress will run interference for trump just to spite the Democrats. They may get hammered in the 2018 Midterms but the GOP is obsessed with winning at all costs... and they've got the 2020 Presidential cycle to think about. In every previous time in the post-Reagan Era they got embarrassed for their extremist positions - 1992, 1998, 2006 and 2008, 2012 - instead of moderating themselves they doubled down on the crazy, and were rewarded every time - 1994, 2000, 2010, 2016 - with more political control. Outside of major loss of seats - say, losing 50-100 seats in the House and losing every Senate race in 2018 - the Republicans will likely remain defensive of trump and the Far Right factions, meaning trump can survive into 2020 and we risk the likelihood he'll campaign for re-election (with no guarantees he'll get the curb-stomping he deserves).

Another problem: if the Democrats win even one part of Congress, there is every likelihood the fear-mongers of the Far Right will scream "illegal" or "conspiracy" or "stolen votes". trump is already trying to set up the insane narrative that Russia will hack the Midterms in favor of the Democrats. The mood of the Far Right - even with them in control of the government - is still paranoid and on edge. The possibility of a violent response to a Democratic victory this November isn't a fantastic improbability.

3) For any old crazy reason, trump orders a halt to the Midterm elections.

One of the major steps in an Autocrat-Wannabe's efforts to achieve Full Dictator status is to suspend scheduled elections. trump could come up with any crazy and unproven excuse - such as his claim of Russians hacking into the 2018 elections to favor the Dems - and just before the November vote issue an Executive Order to the states to stop the vote because of "illegality."

This would have the effect of preserving - at the moment - Republican control of everything. It would also go against every democratic norm our nation's lived by since the American Revolution. We've NEVER suspended federal elections before, especially on this scale. Even in the middle of the Civil War - when 11 states were fighting to not even BE in the United States - the Union states still held Midterm elections in 1862 - which saw pro-Southern Democrats win gains in the House - and a Presidential election in 1864. Major wars like World War II, Korea, and Vietnam saw elections happening during them as well (with major party changes happening between Korea and Nam).

If trump tries to shut down the vote, there'd be a flurry of legal action, and then a possibility that only the Blue (Dem) States will hold them while the Red (GOP) States (especially the ones threatening to flip Blue) refuse to hold theirs. And then things would get messier from there. If trump succeeds in an effort to suspend elections, that may well be the trigger to start mass protests on a scale we haven't seen since the 1960s... with all the accompanying violence and tears we had those years coming back with a terrible vengeance.

None of these situations are appealing, all of these situations have a possibility of happening.

There is no calm, sane solution awaiting us here.

I would love to get a citation on the person who made this, I pulled it off Google Images

I'm starting to think the Mayans were off on their Apocalypse calendar by 4-5 years...

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Return On Investment With Public Libraries (AKA Professor Mourdoukoutas Does Not Care To Invest In Us)

Usually I write about my librarian profession at my other blog, but right now I gotta slap the taste out of some entitled upper-class libertarian's mouth who went and wrote a shitty op-ed in Forbes about turning public libraries into Amazon stores. I won't link directly to the SOB (actually, as I was writing this article I find out Forbes removed the op-ed for reasons I can't yet confirm, but I'm willing to guess has something to do with the op-ed being a pile of dingo droppings), so here's a link to Gizmodo reflecting my mood:

This weekend in ratios we have a jaw-droppingly bad op-ed in Forbes explaining that the age of the crusty old library is dead, and instead of them, we should all get Amazon. Not some kind of Amazon-like digital public library, or even Amazon Prime itself, mind you, but physical Amazon Books retail locations. Titled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money,” it is written by Long Island University Post economics professor and seemingly prolific Forbes contributor section writer Panos Mourdoukoutas.
Mourdoukoutas writes that the government should stop funding libraries in part to save taxpayers a vague (and within the article, never quantified) amount of money and also to jack up Amazon’s stock price for some reason...

Lemme guess, Mordorsukoulot owns stock in Amazon, why else fcking care about a company already worth billions on the market.

The professor also argued that because Amazon had online ebooks that it could be a lending library already (and in reality it is, using services like Overdrive to provide ebooks for Kindle readers), so all the brick-and-mortar places can just double as coffee shops.

Essentially, the article reads like it was written by an asswipe who hasn't stepped inside a public library in ten-twenty years, completely overlooking the growing trends towards Makerspaces - crafts, 3D printing, quilting projects for the homeless, art classes for teenagers, what have you - and ignoring the reality that a lot of children, adults, and retirees still read print books in this day and age.

The article doesn't consider the library as a community information resource hub, not just with public computers for access, research, and emailing but also a place where local groups can use rooms and equipment to work on projects, classrooms and presentations. I doubt an Amazon bookstore would create such resources for sharing (and from personal experience almost no bookstore does because it takes floorspace away from SELLING SHIT).

This article WAS written by someone complaining that he was paying 400 bucks or so in yearly property taxes, which points to the libertarian/Far Right ideology of "why do I have to pay for the poor to use community resources and places to do things like read, use computers, write resumes, and job hunt?"

Dear Professor Mourdoukoutas: You wanna know what your Return On Investment is with libraries? It's very simple to find - you can even GOOGLE SEARCH IT using "Return On Investment" and the words "public libraries" and not bother a reference librarian like myself - and you'll get a 2011 report from the state of Minnesota's Department of Education. In that report, on the front page so you won't miss it, you'll find you get a ROI of $4.62 per tax dollar spent. That's a pretty good return on investment, seeing your community get the kind of financial support that EVERYONE can benefit from.

There's a reason why, in nearly every tax hike or bond issue that comes up in local elections regarding library spending, a vast majority of residents heartily APPROVE of tax hikes to pay for their public libraries. I still feel enormous civic pride from the days I worked in Broward County and the county residents voted FOR a bond issue to build and upgrade library buildings back in 1995 (or 1996, I'm trying to find the citations now, sorry)

I guess the problem is, professor, you don't want any of that investment in our communities. You just want it in your goddamn stock portfolio.

It's a good thing Forbes dropped your op-ed, considering how poorly researched and lacking in citations it had. I seriously argue your university should investigate your failure to do the one thing I'm sure you tell your college students to do, which is to use peer-reviewed citations in your work.

In the meantime, to every American citizen out there: Library cards are FREE to apply for in most public libraries, we've got the latest popular hot titles in books and DVDs you can check out, and when you stop by take a look at the Activities Calendar to see what you can do with your families at your local library. We've got Paws To Read, we've got Story Times for Three-Year-Olds, we've got Lego Builders, we've got Gaming clubs, we've got Drone Flyers, we've got things to do that Amazon can never plan for you.

Public Libraries serve the public trust. Libraries are one of the few service points in a city/county government where people WANT to be there, and are happy using it.

That should be something certain professors need to study up on.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Spy In the House of Guns

At first she beckoned and lured one into her world; then, she blurred the passageways, confused all the images, as if to elude detection. 
- Anaïs Nin, A Spy in the House of Love

While everyone's been focused on the obvious Russian conspiratorial effort to subvert our nation, the Russians have been busy elsewhere, going after other avenues of attack to corrupt the Republican Party through the various SuperPACs that technically own the GOP.

The biggest spy scandal in years broke out almost a week ago when the FBI arrested one Maria Butina, an unusually well-known "lobbyist" around the Beltway power circles, for failing to register as a foreign agent while operating as a "lobbyist" and other acts of espionage.

It's gotten out there already that Russia had been laundering money through the National Rifle Association in order to pay off trump and other Republican candidates in an effort to get the 2014 sanctions lifted (as well as gaining undue influence over the U.S.). What Butina's arrest did was place a face and name on that corruption, and physically tying the NRA to our nation's biggest foreign threat.

To quote Jay Willis at GQ: The NRA Got Played.

Given how accustomed we've become to linking the Kremlin's election meddling with Donald Trump's presidential campaign, one of the most startling details about the odyssey of Maria Butina, the 29-year-old Russian "gun-rights activist" arrested on espionage charges this week, is that she was working to infiltrate conservative circles well before Trump announced his presidential bid. The fascinating tick-tocks of her work at BuzzFeed News, among others, are peppered with some of the most recognizable names in the GOP: Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, John Bolton, Bobby Jindal, Donald Trumps Sr. and Jr., and multiple presidents of the NRA, who saw Butina as a kindred spirit—and, thus, as someone whose motives they had no reason to question...

Butina ingratiated herself into every tier of Far Right social activity: She sucked up to Evangelicals, libertarians and tax-cutters, media conspiracy nuts, and above all the "Let's Shoot Everybody" enthusiasts eager to sell their wares to a promising Russian market.

She flirted publicly with a lot of men in conservative leadership roles, and allegedly forced herself - just read the disdain she expressed about her live-in "boyfriend" Paul Erickson (himself a questionable figure in GOP circles) - into relationships using sex as a weapon.

Okay, back to Willis:

Again, in retrospect, the warning signs were there for anyone who cared to look. As BuzzFeed News notes, in an autocracy with strict gun laws, the very idea of a strong grassroots analogue to the NRA is kind of absurd. But what Butina and her colleagues deduced is that the American right's blind, dogmatic devotion to protecting the Second Amendment would allow them to set aside any nagging misgivings about joining forces with her, if such misgivings even occurred to them in the first place. Put differently: A hostile foreign government scrutinized every aspect of American life and concluded that guns were the perfect access point for them to slip in undetected...

When you look at the National Rifle Association, about what motivates that organization - the profiteering via increased gun sales - you'll notice that the NRA relies on fearmongering of the worst kind to ensure a solid base of customers. That in order to do all that, ever since the 1970s that group turned away from Gun Safety and more towards a White Nationalist organization. When viewed from that angle, a merger between a blatantly jingoistic / faux-patriotic NRA and a corrupt foreign regime like Russia makes more sense.

One of the most disturbing trends of the last five years has been the growth of Far Right Nationalist/Populist (actually Fascist) groups across every Western democracy (and in democracies across the globe). Where Russia was once home to Soviet Communism, in the collapse of communism by the 1990s that nation - weakened by the humiliating collapse of the USSR - has redesigned itself into the exact - yet equally immoral - opposite of Nationalist Fascism. And having turned themselves into a Far Right nation, Russia is back to manipulating other nations... only this time using Fascism as the link.

In order to retain power as a permanently placed dictator, Putin allied himself to one of the few powerful organizations in post-Soviet Russia: the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church, a harshly Far Right sect of Christianity. Doing so made Russia a cornerstone of the Far Right factions of Christianity, which itself feeds into the racist Nationalism of Far Right political groups like the UKIP in England, France's National Front, and nowadays the NRA here in the USA. There is growing evidence of financial ties and Russian interference in Western European elections, all geared towards one thing: putting Nationalist/Isolationist-minded and Putin-friendly governments in control of enough nations to break NATO and send the world back to 19th Century geopolitics (and all the horrors THAT entailed)

Owning the NRA gets Putin ownership of the GOP. Having trump in the White House is one thing, and arguably a temporary disaster waiting to fall apart. Ownership of the Republican Party is more long-term, and more devastating to our nation's well-being.

So now here's ANOTHER reason why Congressional Republicans won't lift a damn finger to stop trump. At first it was due to fear of their rabid Far Right voting base. And now it's ALSO due to fear of their deep-pocket paymasters.

How does it feel, Comrade Mitch, how does it feel to sell out your nation? And how does it feel, you sons-of-bitches, to sell yourselves out so cheaply?

Monday, July 16, 2018

No Other Word But Treason Describes This

Just to refer to a few other people first.

John Cole at Balloon Juice:

...If Barack Obama had stood next to Putin and trashed the Republicans and John McCain after beating him in the previous election the Right-Wing would be calling for firing squads. He didn’t do that, but they called for firing squads anyway.
These people are fucking monsters. Trump, Pence, the whole god damned party have got to go.

James Fallows at The Atlantic:

I am old enough to remember Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon telling lies on TV, about Vietnam in both cases, and Watergate for Nixon. I remember the travails and deceptions of Bill Clinton, and of George W. Bush in the buildup to the disastrous Iraq War.
But never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people...
For 18 months, members of this party have averted their eyes from Trump, rather than disturb the Trump elements among their constituency or disrupt the party’s agenda on tax cuts and the Supreme Court. They already bear responsibility for what Trump has done to his office.
But with every hour that elapses after this shocking performance in Helsinki without Republicans doing anything, the more deeply they are stained by this dark moment in American leadership...

David Frum at The Atlantic:

Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating the Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees...
The reasons for Trump’s striking behavior—whether he was bribed or blackmailed or something else—remain to be ascertained. That he has publicly refused to defend his country’s independent electoral process—and did so jointly with the foreign dictator who perverted that process—is video-recorded fact.
And it’s a fact that has to be seen in the larger context of his actions in office: denouncing the EU as a “foe,” threatening to break up nato, wrecking the U.S.-led world trading system, intervening in both U.K. and German politics in support of extremist and pro-Russian forces, and his continued refusal to act to protect the integrity of U.S. voting systems—it adds up to a political indictment whether or not it quite qualifies as a criminal one...

Rude Pundit:

...So I can say without equivocation that, today, at his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump offered more aid and comfort to Russia than any victim of Joe McCarthy and HUAC ever did. When Trump blamed the United States for, in essence, not doing more to prevent Russia from hacking the DNC and electoral interference, when Trump declared the investigation into Russia's election fuckery a "disaster for our country" because "I think it's kept us apart, it's kept us separated," when Trump said of his own Director of National Intelligence, "My people came to me, Dan Coates, came to me and some others they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia," he did more to undermine the United States than all the poor saps that McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and Dick Nixon accused of being spies and traitors combined...

As of right now, FIVE of the top things trending on Twitter in the Tampa region are these hashtags: #Treason, #TraitorTrump, #ImpeachTrump, Rand Paul (who recently defended trump's press conference performance), and Marina Butina (a Russian national just arrested today for illegally working as a criminal agent funneling Russian funds to the NRA's 2016 political fundraising, essentially further proof of Russian interference in our elections). Granted, Tampa is a relatively Blue region in a Red-tilting State, but this is covering a lot of Red suburban communities from Pasco, Polk, and surrounding counties. I've never seen the Tampa trends so virulently railing against a political figure/party like this.


If we are hoping for the modern Republican Party to wake up to this crisis and fix the damage done, forget it. Every solution to having trump subvert our foreign policy requires Republicans in Congress growing a collective spine they've never had before. Every solution to stopping Russian hacking into our electoral systems requires legislation and proactive efforts that undermine the Republicans' own efforts at suppressing voters they don't want (i.e. the ones who'll vote for Democrats).

Everything that Russia wants to do to break American democratic norms coincides nicely with Republican efforts to do the same thing. As a result, the Republican leadership may recoil at the optics of having trump sell this nation out to Putin, but they will not raise a goddamn finger to stop him.

The only solution right now is a mass voter uprising, where every Democrat and every Independent voter gathers together as one and vote the Republicans out of power. Granted, the GOP is trying every voter suppression trick in the books - removing registered voters from the rolls, forcing requirements to register that deny the right to vote from the poor the minorities and the youth, cutting back on precincts and early voting polls - but if voters overwhelm with a large turnout they can't stop that.

In the meantime, we are stuck with a traitor - there is NO OTHER WORD TO DESCRIBE trump RIGHT NOW - sitting in the White House, defaming our nation's intelligence agencies, selling us out to a foreign power in Putin's Russia that wants to turn us (and the rest of Europe) into their puppets, and desecrating every minute of every day the very Oath of Office - to DEFEND the United States - he is failing to uphold.


Quick Note: Are We Effed Yet? Are We Effed Yet? Are We Effed Yet?

Follow the hashtag #TreasonSummit online via the Intertubes to find out if trump has surrendered the United States without a shot in person to Putin.

We may not know until later just how bad the damage is. Maybe when trump decides on issuing an Article 13 against NATO. Right now everything is just guesswork and dread.


Friday, July 13, 2018

The Layers of trump-Russia Treachery

Treachery, though at first very cautious, in the end betrays itself.
-- Livy, Annales XLIV

The latest regarding our long descent down the Darkest Timeline: Mueller's Washington DC grand jury issued 12 indictments against Russian agents - at least one confirmed GRU (post-KGB) officer - involved in hacking various individuals and organizations tied into the Democratic Party.

We're talking actual criminal charges here, in which illegal acts were committed against Americans by a foreign power.

We're talking establishing evidence that the Russians managed a committed campaign to subvert our nation's electoral process.

Let's have Adam L Silverman from Balloon Juice talk a bit about this now:

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein just announced indictments of twelve Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, and others on the Clinton campaign, stealing data, and then weaponizing it on behalf of Putin’s active measures and cyberwarfare campaign to harm Secretary Clinton’s campaign in order to promote the President’s campaign. Rosenstein also made it clear that he briefed the President on this earlier in the week, which explains why he was at the White House before the President left for the NATO summit. DAG Rosenstein, in his announcement today, took a swipe at the GOP members of Congress, as well as conservative commentators, who have been trying to downplay Putin’s activities or outright trying to get the Special Counsel’s investigation stopped through a variety of means, by emphasizing that this was an attack on the US and the response transcends partisanship...

Unfortunately, as this week's Republican House attack on FBI agent Strzok proved, the Republicans are so sunk into their partisan Narrative that they will not rise to the challenge of fixing this catastrophe, they will in fact dive into the mire and revel in it. Back to Silverman:

First, if you’ve been watching what the Special Counsel has been doing, this makes sense. Simply put he has method, not madness. His first indictment of nineteen Russian nationals set up this indictment about who actually stole the information. This indictment, like the one that preceded it, is setting up the next one. Special Counsel Mueller is working methodically to build not just a set of related cases, but to have the indictments and the cases tell his narrative of what happened...

What Mueller is trying to do is create a Narrative as well, but one based on evidence where the foundations of the case are solid enough to handle the many layers getting piled onto it. No matter how trump and his Republican lackeys will try to shill their alternate fact-free version of events in the court of partisan media, Mueller has a reality-based version that will stand where it matters: the court of law.

As Silverman notes, having established the Russians had the means (operatives on social media performing psych-ops campaigns to mess with the public mindset) Mueller is now establishing opportunity (all the hacking attacks) and shades of motive (wanting trump to win). While these indictments haven't named any Americans actively engaged in the criminal acts - even with all the stories the news media have uncovered suggested there were a good number of Republicans who did - these indictments ARE creating links to them for the next round of indictments (depending on when trump/GOP tries one more time to shut the grand juries down).

In particular, there's a part of the grand jury evidence involving a still-unnamed person highly ranked in the trump campaign interacting with Russian hackers who operated under pseudonym Guccifer 2.0: Based on earlier reporting, that evidence strongly points at Roger Stone. The odds of being a target of the next layer of indictments is going up on Stone, because that's how these investigations work from the outside in. So far, trump has been able to bluff "no collusion" because Mueller hasn't come out with direct links between trump and Russian hackers. With Stone - a key trump ally for years, as well as a major dark figure in Republican politics - Mueller can create that direct link.

Another part of Mueller's indictments involves one of the key moments in the trump-Russia scandal: The day - July 27, 2016 - trump went public at a press conference openly asking Russian hackers to do him a solid and get Hillary's "missing" emails. While a good lawyer could argue coincidence, the fact that within that day Russian hackers intentionally broke into her email account looks very much like a smoking gun of collusion (or even conspiracy). trump's outburst could well have been a flag to his Russian buddies to do his dirty work for him.

One last thing to note about Mueller's indictments against the Russians: It wasn't just the trump campaign profiting from the illegal hacks. Investigators uncovered at least one Republican political operative - still unnamed, but there's strong hints about who it is - working with the hackers, and also one Congressional candidate (or his campaign) actively reaching out to the hackers to get stolen documents to use in dirty tricks campaigning.

When you add in the reports of a key GOP funding group - the goddamn NRA - funneling Russian money into Republican campaign coffers, you start seeing the shape of an entire party eagerly working with a foreign power to cheat and subvert our elections.

Mueller is adding the layers to this scandal. We're starting to see the shape of it.

And Gods help us, it's looking more and more like a lot of Republicans were in on this scandal than they would care to confess to... even as the Republicans double-down on their denials and evasions.

Quick Update, By Jove: trump Is Currently in London Embarrassing The Ever Loving Hell Out of the U.S.

Yeah, no surprise there.

So far, he's insulted the Prime Minister May, insulted CNN as "Fake News" and gave Fox Not-News a handjob, lied about his own interview with The Sun, and is probably en route to meet the Royal Family at which point he'll probably insult the Queen in some horrifying fashion.

I hope she puts on her World War II military boots and kicks him square in the groin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

One Step Away From the End of the United States (w/ Updates)

(Update: Thanks again to Batocchio at for a link in Mike's Blog Round-Up! Please take the time to visit the rest of the blog, and hey you might notice I have a new short story published in the Strangely Funny anthology series!)

So, just to note, President Loser of the Popular Vote donald trump is now in Brussels - sorry, Europe - to partake in meetings with our North Atlantic Treaty allies (NATO)... and also to meet with Russia Kleptocrat/Autocrat Vladimir Putin for a one-on-one meeting that will not be attended by any other American present (not even an American translator). No Chief of Staff, no one from the State Department, nobody from the White House... The possibilities of so many things happening off-the-radar that could well threaten U.S. National Security cannot be ignored: The last time trump held an unsupervised visit with Russians, he gave up vital national security secrets involving our Israeli allies to where he fucked up a covert operation for them.

The man simply cannot be trusted on his own. At yet, he will be... with arguably one of the biggest threats to American national security to re-emerge after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This isn't simple fearmongering on my part. A lot of foreign policy experts are dreading this as well.

Worse, they're worried that this particular trip - with trump railing against NATO more than before - will spell doom for American foreign policy: There is every likelihood trump will drag the United States out of NATO and kill an alliance that has held Western Europe (and recently all of Europe) together for 60-plus years.

Lemme link to Jonathan Chait at New York for this:

President Trump tweeted today that America’s NATO allies have been “delinquent for many years in payments” and should “reimburse the U.S.” That is not how NATO works...
One cannot rule out the possibility that Trump lacks the mental capacity to understand the basic form of America’s most important alliance. But it is at least as likely that Trump is choosing not to understand this, so that he can precipitate a fissure within the alliance.
Last week, Trump’s national security advisers, who have traditional Republican views toward NATO (good) and Russia (bad), and the allies both expressed their hope that Trump would use the NATO summit to declare victory. Trump has been calling for the allies to increase their defense spending, and indeed they have. The increase has been ongoing since 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, but the allies signaled they would be happy to let Trump claim credit. “The European officials we’ve spoken to would love nothing more than for Trump to take a victory lap and claim credit for them boosting their defense spending,” reported Jonathan Swan last week.
Oddly for Trump, he is not taking the opportunity to claim a win. Instead he appears to be defining the terms of the disagreement such that it cannot be resolved. NATO’s allies can always try to spend even more on defense, but asking them to pay the United States back dues that they never promised and do not owe is an impossible demand...

trump is moving the goalposts on this so that he'll always have an excuse to do what he's likely about to do. Back to Chait:

Meanwhile, the Trump-Putin relationship is blossoming (or perhaps just coming out into the open). Putin reportedly has been telling Trump that “fake news” and the “deep state” are conspiring against them. (“It’s not us,” Putin has told Trump, according to an American source, summarizing his message, “it’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”) Trump has also reportedly expressed to Putin his desire for better relations, and called the advisers who tried to prevent him from congratulating the strongman on his reelection “stupid people.”
Compared to a week ago, it is now harder to imagine Trump will use the summit to leverage concessions that will make him appear like a strong negotiator, and much easier to imagine that he will use it to instigate a diplomatic crisis with NATO. By the time this is over, he may well have reoriented American foreign policy completely. It may seem bizarre that one man could do this, especially given that almost nobody in Trump’s administration or the ranks of the party’s political professionals share his goal of jettisoning NATO or closely courting Russia. Yet Trump has shown the ability to lead his base wherever he wants to take it. And where the base has gone, the party has eventually followed...

Under other circumstances, it would be hilarious to watch all the hardened foreign policy wizards of the Republican Party - all of them perfectly aware of how the U.S. has benefited in both military and political matters being united with the other Western democracies during the Cold War and Global War on Terror decades - suddenly switch their worldviews from "Europe good, Putin bad" to "OMG Putin is just the best BFF ever!" Under other circumstances, most of those intelligent, well-studied thinkers of realpolitik would argue against any ill-advised ignorant demolition of a stable, valuable alliance. But we no longer live in that world: This is the World of Fox Not-News, and if you can't help shill the Narrative of the hour/month/year which happens to be whatever is in trump's head that very moment, you are persona non grata to the GOP.

By the end of this week, everything we've ever known about the United States' place in the world could well be blown up and torn down like the Berlin Wall.

We will see a near-immediate end to foreign sharing of intel: What is the likelihood the UK or France is willing to share data with a nation that could easily hand it over to Russia without batting an eye? NATO's efforts to stop Russia from a full-out invasion of Ukraine falls apart. Half of Central Europe - bizarrely under the political sway of right-wing Nationalist governments more friendly to Putin than they should - could well cut out of any NATO or shared alliance with Western Europe and turn most of Eastern Europe back into a Russian playground.

Our own military situation won't improve. Any ongoing efforts in the Global War on Terror takes a hit when we lose all that intel. Half of our military preparedness and ability to deploy has been tied into our sharing of resources overseas: Our military bases in Europe will likely be closed.

The aftershock of trump shutting down NATO won't end there. Our other overseas alliances especially in Asia will come under scrutiny. How many of those nations would be willing to stay attached to a United States dominated by a bully in trump who keeps screaming for "reparations" on "delinquent payments"? South Korea is already scarred by trump's failures - yes, THAT already fell apart - dealing with North Korea. Central America is already pissed at trump's evil anti-immigrant policies. Africa's in no mood to give trump the time of day either.

Put on top of this trump's eagerness to wage tariff wars on multiple fronts - we're at four trade blocs and counting - and we're screwed. Every nation from Australia to Zimbabwe is going to consider their options in dealing with a crazed, unstable USA and take their chances without us.

The United States is one step away - one major temper tantrum by the world's biggest orange baby - from being a Superpower nation to a Third-World Nobody relying on Russia for handouts.

This isn't hyperbole. This can really happen. The North Atlantic Treaty - the basis for NATO - includes Article 13, which allows a NATO member to "denounce" its membership and gives that nation a year to cut all ties with the alliance. trump can issue a denouncement and we'd be out of NATO technically by 2019. In reality, the entire situation will go FUBAR within hours.

It would be up to the remaining pro-foreign-policy, pro-NATO people in the Republican ranks - likely Secretary of Defense Mattis, who has to be fully aware how serious a hit to our own military this will be, and Chief of Staff Kelly, and then various Senators and Congresspersons on the Foreign Relations committees - to do something to stop trump from nuking our strongest allied bloc from orbit. However, given the constant failure by these same "sane adults in the room" to keep trump on a leash, I doubt any of them will grow the collective spine necessary to call for a 25th Amendment solution to remove a clearly unstable and dangerous president for the sake of the nation.

To everyone especially the hard-core trump supporters who keep screaming there's no proof that trump colluded with Russia to hack/interfere with the 2016 Elections... here's your fucking proof. trump's own fucking actions selling the United States out to Putin, practically handing this nation over on a goddamn silver platter. Everything bad that can happen on this trip by trump will be EXACTLY what Putin wants. The second that trump pulls the United States out of NATO, Putin wins.

It had long been a plot point in political potboiler thrillers that somehow the United States would come under attack not from invasion but from subversion, of a group or an individual somehow grabbing the reins of power and surrendering the entire nation without a shot. To anyone who ever thought those books or movies were implausible, welcome to the Hell that is trumpWorld.

It had been a common political attack, usually from the Far Right and the Republicans who went after Democrats as being so liberal they were practically Commies. Think back to Nixon's first Congressional campaign when he attacked his Democratic opponent - a woman by the by - of being "Pink down to her underwear." Think about all the times the Republicans accusing Democrats of being in bed with the Soviet Union. Think about the Far Right fears about fluoride in the water.

And when Soviet Communism fell, the Far Right found other excuses to hate on Democrats. The Clintons were in cahoots with China. Obama was a Secret Muslim selling us out to ISIL. Anything to fearmonger their base into voting for the worst of the worst.

And now here we are. One step away from the likelihood of donald Shitgibbon trump cutting off our strongest international alliance all to curry favor with his favorite dictator Putin. One step away from the so-called Leader of the Free World surrendering without a shot to the latest Strongman of Russia.

But this isn't a conspiracy. This is no far-flung fantasy. This ain't a movie starring Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury.

Hail Fucking Hydra.

We are so very fucking royally fucked.

Update (7/11/18): This very morning trump accused GERMANY of being "a captive of Russia". The worst case of projection since that slideshow presentation at that boring seminar we all attend at some point in our lives.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Four For the Fourth 2018: Four Things To Note (w/ Update)

We are still in a precarious and devastating situation with donald trump sitting in the White House.

1) trump is making plans to visit with his boss Putin soon... and wants to do it alone without any other staffer or observer in the room with him. GODS help us with whatever mischief trump wants to do behind those closed doors.

2) trump keeps making noise about wanting to invade somewhere so he can get his war groove on (the need of a bullying autocrat to prove his manhood through the blood and sacrifice of others). he wants a war with Iran but no other nation will back us on that (other than Saudi Arabia and Israel, and there's no guarantee they'll be of any help). he wanted a war with North Korea but Kim Jong-un played trump like a fiddle, and now trump is deluding himself into thinking his overtures to Korea will earn him a Nobel Peace Prize. So now trump is rumored looking at Venezuela, a bankrupt and starving nation on the brink of civil war itself, as a great place to invade except for the fact that our current standing in South and Central America earns us NO regional allied support and we'd be going into a situation that can quickly devolve into a Vietnam-esque jungle hell.

3) Rumors now abound that trump is looking at shutting down the Mueller investigations in the bluntest way possible, with support from EPA director Scott Pruitt apparently dropping hints he'd be more than ready to take the Attorney General spot from the recused Jeff Sessions. If trump tries this - by abusing a loophole to avoid a Senate vote (since even the GOP Senate would balk at any attempt to fire Sessions) - Pruitt would then simply fire Deputy AG Rosenstein and order Mueller to shut down and hand all materials to himself (but really to trump). This move would not only have the effect of gutting and politicizing the Department of Justice and the FBI, it would also put the most corrupt sonofabitch in trump's Cabinet - Pruitt makes trump look like a fucking choir boy - in control of our federal law enforcement: This is akin to putting John Gotti in charge of the FBI's Racketeering division. There have been corrupt men in charge of the DoJ before - Ed Meese, John Mitchell, Harry Daugherty - Pruitt has the potential of besting all of them as the most corrupt bastard ever. Okay, disregard this. It turns out Pruitt's headaches weren't worth it for trump after all. But a plan like this is likely in the works. Except now I fear it involves Jared.

4) We are as voters facing the likelihood of massive voter suppression efforts by Republicans to ensure they retain control of Congress this Midterms cycle. There is a serious need by Americans who aren't registered to vote to get registered, and there is a serious need by registered voters to get the damn vote out, and there is a serious need by the majority of Americans who HATE trump to vote every goddamn cowardly Republican official out of office. The only way voter suppression fails is when there's too many of us voting to stop us.

So that's where we stand tonight, America.

Get the vote out.

Your vote is your power. Your power is your freedom.

Four For the Fourth 2018: Third Time's The Strikeout?

Hey, it's the Fourth of July and there's nothing more American than WATCHING SOME BASEBALL!

Hell yeah, let's see how the Tampa Bay Rays are doing today playing in Miami against the Marlins!


Well, yeah, the Rays aren't doing so hot this year...


Four For the Fourth 2018: Second The Motion With New York Abstaining


Here's the obligatory YouTube clip to one of my fave movies, 1776.

Four For the Fourth 2018: First Posting About My Country Tis of Thee

On this day, of all days, we Americans need a reminder that WE ARE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS and that we are all sons and daughters of those who came to these shores looking for better opportunities and safety for their families. For us.

Home, don't it seem so far away
Oh, we're traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, and we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They're coming to America
Every time that flag's unfurled
They're coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They're coming to America
Got a dream they've come to share
They're coming to America

They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
Today, today, today, today, today

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Of thee I sing

-- Neil Diamond, "America"

Let us remember that Lady Liberty is not some prideful symbol of dominance or victory, but a signal beacon of hope:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” - Emma Lazurus, "The New Colossus"

This is the Immigrants' day as much as a Citizen's day. This is the Fourth of July. A day of Independence. A day of Hope.

Monday, July 02, 2018

The Second Civil War Will NOT Start Over Karen's Potato Salad

So fringe conspiracy nutcase Alex Jones - who sadly has far too many people paying attention to him - went out and tweeted a godawful plot twist for the ongoing Far Right Pity-Party Self-Oppression Narrative (via Adam L Silverman at Balloon Juice):

BREAKING: Democrats Plan To Launch Civil War On July 4th (I will not provide a direct link to anything by Jones if I can avoid it)

Yes, that's correct: Even with all the "Democrats In Disarray!" story lines floating around the screwed up Beltway Media, nothing can stop the wingnuts from convincing themselves those socialist libtards are one step away from violent global domination.

I haven't dived into Jones' full rant - mostly because I want to spare my brain cells from damage - but I can guess a lot of it revolves around getting minorities to riot in the streets and feminists kicking every white male in the groin until we white boys all surrender due to sympathetic pain-sharing.

I doubt it has anything logical to it, such as getting the U.S. military to the tune of 1,150,000 active servicepeople and 800,000 reservists to turn against their trumpian masters. I mean, that's a lot of Democratic libtards in all five branches of the military. I doubt most Republicans would believe there's that many Democraps among the ranks. Without enough military support, any civil war uprising is doomed to fail.

If the civil war planning has anything clever to it, the primary rule of seizing all means of communication would mean shutting down the likes of Fox Not-News, the entire Sinclair chain of local TV and radio stations, and also cutting off or crimping Internet across all 50 states. The logistics of such a move may seem simple in a movie (such as the Fire Sale of Die Hard 4.0), but in practice there's a lot of moving parts there and no guarantee of success. If anything, cutting the power on Fox would go a long way to disrupting trump's own methods of staying informed so... on this point alone it might be worth a go.

Look, here's the simplest reason why Alex Jones is just making noise about a goddamn civil war started by the Progressive(Libtard) Left on the 4th of July: There is no goddamn way it would work. Just consider that the 4th is a big holiday for people to go out and get drunk, meaning that every State Highway Patrol car is out on the major roads alongside County and City police just itching to pull suspicious drivers over. Would any librul risk the likelihood of getting pulled over by the cops? NO. End of argument.

If any group in this nation has shown the desire to make attempts to start any insurrection, it's been the gun-toting, Sovereignty-obsessed, white supremacist, wingnut Far Right. The real risk here is Jones stirring up that group into a fear-based froth, terrifying them into turning any public gathering on the 4th of July into a firearm-freakout bloodbath.

I have to admit I've been blogging here that we're already in a Second Civil War, but it's not a war in a conventional sense of battle lines and cities under siege. This has been a war fought over control of the political and media outlets running this nation. The fighting has less been open gunfights and more along the lines of street protests and attempts at voter turnout for this year's midterms. So far...

Jones is tweeting about Civil War for several reasons. Above all, it gets him attention and media traffic and mo' money. It keeps his audience terrified and ready for the worst if he ever finds the need to call an uprising of his own. And if a war in the streets finally does erupt, he's trying to position himself as the messenger/messiah leader driving his side of wingnuttia towards cultural purification and victory.

In the meanwhile, the Democratic Party of the United States is not planning a Civil War to be fought on the 4th of July.

They're trying to stop Karen from bringing her potato salad to the cookout. Raisins? AH HELL NAW...

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Families Belong Together Lakeland Rally w/Photos

As mentioned yesterday, I went to Lakeland's afternoon rally in support of the Families Belong Together effort that is protesting trump's inhumane policy of separating immigrant and asylum families (as well as throwing kids as young as NEWBORNS into chain-link-fence cages).

Most people I know in the area probably went to the Tampa rally - those tend to be bigger and more awe-inspiring - earlier in the day, but I heard via Twitter from Betty Cracker of Balloon Juice that it got interrupted by a late morning thunderstorm (welcome to Florida, lightning capital of the Northwest hemisphere (which should actually be a quadsphere not a hemi, but I digress)).

At our march it was mostly grey and threatening, ending up with a bothersome drizzle as we started walking through downtown Lakeland (all five blocks of it, sigh).

I figure we had around 100 people and between four to eight puppies.

I documented what I could with pics and video I am having problems downloading video off my phone damn the man below:

This fat boy looks familiar. I wore my Captain America shirt because it seemed appropriate.

I will work on getting the video uploaded.

I was too busy actually walking to get my smartphone out to record any of it, but we circled Munn Park a few times and performed a few chats.

Out of the car traffic that passed us, I would say we had 30-50 people honking their horns in favor and only 3 people being total jerkasses: one middle finger, one couple shouting pro-trump crap out the window, and one attempt at a Coal Roll exhaust blast. ALL THREE OF THEM were driving the oversized supertrucks most people shouldn't drive unless they really do haul 16 tons around work. I had to explain to a couple protesting beside me what Coal Rollers were and why they were the perfect example of deplorable trump voters. This is purely anecdotal on my part, but I figure we had a 10-to-1 balance of pro-family pro-immigrant support over the hater coalition.

I hope everyone else's marches went well. I am linking to updates that were posted at Balloon Juice over the weekend.

Keep marching. Keep protesting. Those kids need to be reunited with their families as soon as fucking possible. Our immigration policy needs to open up to asylum seekers and honest families looking for safe homes to raise their kids to go to college and contribute to our United States. We need to listen to the better angels of our nature.