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    I saw the headline -- an Associated Press story over at Huffington Post:

    Christian Taylor, Unarmed 19-Year-Old, Shot And Killed By Police
    I didn't even have to click through to the story & photo to know the race of this shooting victim.

    There is no other democracy on the entire planet where the police get away with this -- where it happens again and again and again with very few charges laid.

    In countries where the politicians are not all bought and paid for by the billionaires it would be a national crisis and a national scandal -- heads would roll and politicians would be tossed out of office.

    Too many American police departments have become sanctuaries and incubators for 21st-century Klansmen.  They provide a warm and comfy workplace for racists.  They provide a culture where it's normal and "natural" and "realistic" to think of black people as n***s who first and foremost need to be kept in line and need to be reminded who's boss.

    If you are chief of a police department where officers shoot unarmed civilians -- especially minority civilians -- your leadership is so faulty you should be relieved of your duties and the department should be put into receivership.


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    Lowe's Delivery Man Called Back to Store When Customer Asks For White Worker

    Customer says "I got a right to have whatever I want and that's it. I don't feel bad about nothing."

    Okay boys! Break out the flag and start singin'
         Oooooohhhhhh.. I WISH I was in the LAND of DIXIE

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    I have seen a couple of oblique comments in the media about how the last GOP shutdown was a "bad political move" or it "backfired" -- but the consequences for the GOP weren't just "bad," they were actually catastrophic for the Republicans.  Has the commentariat forgotten the depth and severity of the damage the GOP inflicted on itself?

    After the 2013 shutdown ended we saw public support for the GOP go into freefall ( ) .

    Giddy Democrats were predicting that the unpopularity of the shutdown would translate into gains in congress in 2014.  These predictions may have come true a year later -- but the Democratic euphoria (and the Democratic lead in the polls) was short lived in the face of the Administration's own self-inflicted wound: the botched launch of Obamacare. ( )

    If the federal Obamacare exchange web site had launched as smoothly as the state exchanges in places like Kentucky or Rhode Island, the GOP post-shutdown fall from grace might have held.  

    As it was the negatives from Obamacare site crashes were much more powerful that the negatives from the GOP shutdown, and the Democrats were never to regain the lead in public support they held briefly after the 2013 shutdown.

    If the Republicans are stupid enough to do a repeat of their shutdown in 2015, can they count on another major unforced error by the Democrats to miraculously rescue them from their own GOP folly?  

    I don't think they can -- I don't see anything on the horizon with that potential downside for the Dems, and I see a White House that is playing a much smarter political game than it was two years ago.


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    I have two theories — pure speculation — about how this slaughter came about.

    First theory: The wife was a “sleeper bride.” 

    ISIS has a documented track record of reaching out to lonely Muslim women in the west and coaxing them to migrate to Syria. It’s not a big leap for ISIS to ask “How can we exploit the loneliness of Muslim men — other than convincing them to become warriors?”  A clever strategist would quickly identify the “looking for Muslim wife” websites as fertile ground for connecting to such people.

    It is totally consistent with ISIS’ other outreach activities to assign a young, attractive female jihadi to seek out such men online and begin a cyber-seduction.  The mission is to a) convince the man to get the woman  in the country by proposing marriage and b) once married, the woman uses affection and sex to manipulate her husband and “turn” him from a moderate American Muslim into a cold-hearted fanatic.

    Second theory:  They were preparing for a big, high profile event — and the office Christmas party was not on the target list (why would it be?). 

    My theory — pure speculation — when they went to the party something happened that put the Christmas lunch on the target list. Perhaps some Christian fundamentalist yahoo said something ignorant (like “Why would people like you want to come to a Christmas party?”)   I have people in my family who think that all Muslims are literally“agents of Satan,” and would probably say something dumb like that.

    The insult was like poking a stick in a wasps nest.  The angry couple turned to each other and said “Let’s speed up the schedule on our big operation and do it this afternoon — and while we’re at it we’ll come back fully armed and totally fuck up this infidel Christmas celebration and whack some of these ‘totally ignorant’ people.” 

    That theory would explain why their armory was totally out of proportion to an attack on a dinky, obscure Christmas party and why, four hours later (after returning to their house to destroy hard drives) they were still in the rented SUV, still in body armour and still stocked up on ammunition.

    I usually ridicule most conspiracy theories, but this attack and the events leading up to it just don’t make any sense on the surface… and, until we have more facts, a little speculation helps fill in the gaps.

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    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Tashfeen Malik grew up in Saudi Arabia, where making disrespectful comments about Islam is a capital offense — and where the death penalty for offending Islam is actually administered by the state

    In other words, the notion that people should be killed for insulting Islam was, in her mind, not an “outlaw” concept, but rather a practice that is normal, legitimate, and just — it is a moral and legal imperative.

    Someone who grew up under that system in a fanatically-conservative religious family would look at America’s First Amendment freedom to blaspheme Islam as evidence that she was living in a “lawless,” barbaric land ruled by infidels with no respect for God’s law.

    She may have reacted much the same way many of us would if we moved to a country where the law allowed husbands to viciously beat their wives or the government allowed the wealthy to buy and sell slaves.  We would look around and say “These people are barbarians,” and if it really got in our face, we might EVEN be tempted to take the law into our own hands and administer punishment to Americanstandards.

    Speculating, I can just imagine the Malik having an “Are you going to let him get away with that?” conversation with her husband — goading him to defend God from the insults of this infidel (or, even worse in her eyes, this “Jew infidel.”)   All of this logic would be a perfectly legitimate response in Saudi Arabia.

    Lady MacBeth to MacBeth:

    "Hie thee hither,

    That i may pour my spirits in thine ear

    And chastise thee with the valour of my tongue..."

    William Shakespeare

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    An article in a The Tyee, an alternative newspaper published in Vancouver British Columbia, provides an fascinating analysis of the theological and cultural roots of ISIS.  

    The well researched piece was written by Crawford Kilian, a retired Canadian university professor who immigrated to Canada from the United States during the Vietnam war after graduating from Columbia University and serving a couple of years in the U.S. Army.

    Kilian looks past ISIS’ obvious roots in the harsh fundamentalism of Saudi Wahhabism — and actually traces the history of Wahhabi beliefs to the fall of Baghdad and Damascus — to invading Mongols several hundred years ago.  In a response that echoes modern-day American TV preachers, some medieval Muslim scholars linked the military defeat to an alleged failure of Muslims to practice “pure” Islam. “Pure” meant — even at that time — an idealized version of seventh-century Islamic life. 

    That kind of “God is punishing us for not being pious” religious scare-mongering is almost identical to the messages from the ever-hateful Pat Robertson and the Thugs-for-Jesus at Westboro Church — who tell us that American war dead and damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy are God’s punishment to America for allowing teh gays and cancelling prayer in taxpayer-operated schools.

    I don’t imagine that The Tyee has much visibility with most Kos members — I hope people find the article an interesting read.

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    I know there’s a regular column at KOS about tragic fools playing with guns — but this one left me so speechless I had to share and I had to pose a question about how stories like this affect our feelings. 

    In this one idiot and girlfriend were taking selfies with a pistol that was repeatedly unloaded and reloaded during the day and eventually idiot shot himself in face with “unloaded” gun and then idiot died. (And apparently they were both sober.)

    I know that whenever someone dies unnecessarily and well before his or her time — it is a tragedy.  This is somebody’s brother, somebody’s son and — in this case — somebody’s boyfriend.  Girlfriend — who was right there — will never be the same, and probably never be whole again.

    It should be sad —  but when I read about a death like this that was caused by a voluntary immersion into the peculiar American culture of gun worship… an immersion so deep that its participants think that basic gun safety rules don’t apply to them (never point unless you intend to shoot; always treat every weapon as if it is loaded)... 

    Here’s the point of this diary — when I read about a death like this I find it difficult to feel sad, and then I ask myself “What is the matter with me… someone just died!” 

    It’s hard for me to ignore my instant reaction — which is something like “YOU went there, moron, that’s what happens in a gun culture, and — as someone who was taking selfies with your gun — obviously you were a big fan of gun culture. You gun worshippers are responsible for a situation that kills hundreds of Americans every week. ” 

    Here’s my question — does anyone else struggle with this… react to shootings like this with instincts that leave you feeling “I should be better than this...” 

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    Barack Obama wasn’t the only notable person addressing  graduating students at the Howard University commencement Saturday morning.  He was preceded by award-winning actress Cicely Tyson, and clips of Tyson’s comments were broadcast on MSNBC’s Saturday show.

    It looks like the the expert panel on MSNBC (led by Joy Reid) totally missed Tyson’s reference to her career-highlight, iconic performance as Miss Jane Pittman when Tyson slipped into character while speaking at Howard.

    Tysen played Pittman (a fictional character) in a powerful 1974 TV movie. Most of the movie was flashbacks narrated from a 1960’s front porch by a 110-year old Pittman.  The character was born a slave and emancipated as a young woman.  

    Tyson — who was about 50 years old at the time — played the adult Pittman in flashbacks over the decades (with the help of Emmy-award winning makeup). 

    The broadcast was groundbreaking for its time, and is still a powerful history lesson and a powerful story about perseverance and heartbreak and the human spirit. 

    The movie’s flashbacks were narrated by the 1962 Pittman, and Tyson created a distinctive talking voice that fit a 110 year old woman who had spent her life in rural Louisiana.  

    While speaking to the Howard students today Tyson told the audience she wanted to offer some advice from “an old friend who is always close by”— at which point she shifted into the very characteristic stage voice of the 110-year old Jane Pittman — exactly as she had done when performing this role in the film. 

    In the movie the aging Miss Jane spoke slowly, haltingly and in a thick southern rural drawl. Just as Tyson switched to this “in character” Jane Pittman voice at Howard today MSNBC quickly cut away.  The show narrator seemed a bit flustered.  

    MSNBC did not offer a word of context to explain that Tyson was actually channelling Miss Jane Pittman — something a lot of younger viewers might not know, but something that THIS panel and THIS narrator should well have known.

    My take on what turned into an awkward MSNBC moment was that the Jane Pittman reference went entirely over the head of the panel and of the producers whispering in their ear. I think they thought that Cicely Tyson — who is now 92 years old — was having a “senior’s moment” up there on the Howard stage.  

    Instead of sticking with the video feed from Howard to hear what kind of wisdom the fictional Miss Jane had to share with the Howard students, MSNBC was — mistakenly — embarrassed for Tyson, and decided to cut her off mid-sentence.

    I may have misread the moment (and it was just a moment) — but if I didn’t, then it’s a pity.

    The silver lining — This is an excuse to encourage everyone who hasn’t seen this film to track down and watch it and show it to your kids or your grandchildren.  It’s available on dvd from Amazon, and if you have access to a teenager, I’m sure they can find some way to download it or stream it (although I would recommend watching on a larger screen).  

    The film stands the test of time — there’s good reason it won seven Emmies and was nominated for four more.  Pittman herself won two Emmies — including a special award as Actress of the Year.

    sunday, May 8, 2016 · 8:24:44 AM +00:00·integrate


    Cicely Tyson’s full remarks at Howard web site.  

    Nothing in her remarks that would have triggered “corporate censors” at MSNBC (for those inclined to conspiracy theories).  This was simply clueless producers and clueless panelists who did not recognize the cultural reference when Tyson slipped into character.  

    Cicely Tyson starts around 2:02:00 in video:

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    Just askin’, Anthony Senecal.

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    XM and Sirius is available in Canada from an affiliate of the American parent.  The Canadian affiliate is partially owned by investors who are not involved in the American parent.  

    The same satellite infrastructure is used by both operations, and subscribers in one country can receive signals across North America and the Bahamas.  The channel lineup has slight differences — for example, the Canadian operation delivers a lot of French-language programming. (French is one of two official languages in Canada.)  However — Most of the American programming also appears in the Canadian channel lineup (I listen to MSNBC all the time).

    Both the American and Canadian operations provide satellite signals to receivers in cars, homes and boats; to apps; and through a paywall-protected web player.

    Sirius-XM has three long-standing in-house American political channels. One caters to the left (SiriusXM Progress) and features talkers like Thom Hartmann.  Another caters to the right (Patriot Radio) and features talkers like Hannity.  A third “balanced” channel is called SIRIUSXM POTUS — with POTUS an acronym for Politics of the United States.

    Recently SiriusXM Canada made a lineup change and removed the lefty channel from satellite broadcast.  Now it is only available on the web — and not available to commuters, to truckers or to people who spend long hours working on the water (tugs, coastal freighters, inshore commercial fishboats).

    The thing that makes no sense is that they continue to broadcast the right-wing channel.  Yes to Hannity, not to Hartmann.

    This in a country (Canada) where even the conservatives think Donald Trump is crazy and even the right-wing political parties vow to protect universal, no-co-pay government-managed health insurance.

    There is NO significant audience appetite in Canada for the content on the right-wing political channel SiriusXM kept on the air. A recent poll shows that fully 80% of Canadians would vote Democrat against Trump if they were entitled to do so. ( )

    So — if the decision to leave the right-wing political channel on the air in Canada and relegate the lefties to “internet-only” access is not based on Canadian audiences, what is the basis for reducing access to the Progressive channel.

    My guess — given XM’s decision to name the right-wing channel Patriot (as if the lefties aren’t) — is that the changes in Canada are a dry run for a plan to deprive American progressives with an important voice in the home stretch before the American election (while leaving the right-wing voice intact).

    I am speculating — but SiriusXM in Canada has left us no choice other than speculation when they offer no coherent explanation for what appears to be an arbitrary decision to leave the right-wing talkers on-air while pulling off the progressives.

    If you have a subscription, I urge you log online and tell SiriusXM they better not even think about changing the balance in the final months before the American election. They have already created a precedent for doing so at their junior-partner satellite service in Canada

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    New reports in several media outlets  say ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a U.S. bombing raid. 

    If this is confirmed we have a situation where a day after Trump hints that Obama is a secret ISIS-sympathiser the air force under the direction of Commander-in-Chief Obama takes out the leader of ISIS.  (Preceded, of course, by war-president Obama taking out bin Laden.)

    If ai-Baghdadi is indeed dead, the Democrats should put a magnifying glass on this and use the distance between Trump’s ignorant innuendo and the reality of a the world’s most menacing terrorist leader killed the very next day by the “weak” president to hammer the point that “Trump is trying to con you, folks… he’s trying to play you by saying things that are ridiculously untrue.”

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    The trump campaign is now trying to excuse Don Junior’s casual reference to “warming up the gas chambers” as a reference to execution, not to the Holocaust.  I have never heard “gas chambers” used in the plural except when discussing or describing the Holocaust,

    gas chamber = criminal execution

    gas chambers = holocaust


    Another sad, disgusting Trump lie!

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    The New York Times has a fascinating article which follows a false-news Tweet by an idiot with 40 Twitter followers that became nationwide false news which — 24 hours later — was echoed in a Tweet from Donald Trump.

    The Times  follows the original Tweet step-by-step as it moves through the social-media ecosystem, picking up momentum, and framed with more credibility and larger audiences at each step.

    There are many aspects of this story that are infuriating — but none more than Eric Tucker, (the moron who started all this) could have phoned the bus company and checked his assumptions before pressing SEND.

    When asked about this Tucker’s response was ““I’m also a very busy businessman and I don’t have time to fact-check everything that I put out there...”

    Well — if he had time to take three separate photos of busses, assemble them into a single graphic, and write/send his Tweet — he can’t really be a “very busy businessman.”

    The times says Mr. Tucker is a partner in a marketing company. I wonder if he is this sloppy with the facts when he provides marketing services and advice to his clients.

    Message to Mr. Tucker:

       If you haven’t checked the facts,






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    During the election campaign stadiums full of Trump supporters cheered loudly when Trump promised to ban Muslims from America and held forth on how there was something about Islam that caused its followers to hate America.

    If the Trump campaign had not already assigned the “lock her up” meme to Hillary Clinton, we would have heard the Trump mobs chanting “Lock them up! Lock them up!” every time he mentioned the Muslim faith.

    His coalition included millions of Americans who are suspicious of Islam — including large numbers who believe Islam is evil; Islam is not a religion protected by the constitution; Muslims should be banned from the USA; and American Mosques should be shuttered.

    So what do these followers make of Trump’s Saudi speech where he repeatedly praised Islam, cited Muslims as critical allies in the war on terror and referred to Saudi Arabia as “sacred land.”

    Will his followers’ heads explode?  Will they feel betrayed? Or will they once again defend his cynical hypocrisy by saying "He's lying to the Muslim leaders to trick them, but in his heart he still agrees with us that Muslims can't be trusted and all of them want to impose Sharia law on Americans"?

    Is Trump undermining this slice of his coalition in a deliberate attempt to impress more middle-of-the-road Americans, or has he just cluelessly thrown a large slice of his base under the bus in order to earn flattery from a roomful of Arab billionaires?

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    Any politician judges his or her words by balancing the support they expect to gain against possible negative backlash — and generally takes a stand if they believe the net impact will add to their political capital rather than deplete it.

    Some politicians think these things through very carefully [candidate Hillary], others weigh them instinctively [Trump].  Many times the pundits (and the Democrats) second-guessed Trump’s political judgement, and they were wrong… he did manage to win the electoral college (with a little help from Vlad & Company).  To the despairing consternation of Kos readers everywhere, Trump’s political instincts work in his favor all too often.

    The question of the hour is this: are his instincts failing him with his severe and nasty criticism of “taking the knee” protests at sports games. He’s got Trump-donor NFL owners telling him to piss off,; he’s got white right-wing sports heroes like Terry Bradshaw on Fox Sports telling him he’s anti-freedom; and his surrogates on the Sunday shows are being called fascists to their face.

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    MSNBC reporter/Anchor Craig Melvin is a lovely human being — no sarcasm — but he has no business reporting hard news on life-and-death issues.  He goes along to get along, and that’s not the kind of “journalism” needed when public figures deliver b.s. to his face.

    Today he was in Las Vegas interviewing Andy Card — George Bush’s former Chief of Staff.  Card actually said that he could not see how any kind of gun safety law could have possibly have prevented the massacre at Mandalay Bay.  He then implied that the only kind of gun safety proposal on the table was background checks.

    Melvin let Card get away with this.  He did not challenge him and ask:

    • what about a law that registered military-style assault weapons — which would have thrown up a flag when it became clear that one man was stockpiling this kind of weaponry.
    • what about a law that made it illegal to sell or possess “conversion kits” that turn semi-automatic assault weapons into machine guns
    • what about a law that said if collectors and hobbyists wanted to own assault rifles, those rifles had to be stored under lock ant a gun-club target range — with severe individual penalties for any clubs that transgressed?

    Other industrial countries outlaw this kind of weapon, and other countries do not have this kind of slaughter. In spite of that, Melvin let Card get away unchallenged with the bullsh*t NRA talking point that regulating military assault weapons is ineffective and useless.

    I have nothing against Craig Melvin. I wish him well.  He seems like a very nice person.  But interviews like this should be handled by hard-edged journalists like Katy Tur, Rachael Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Joy Reid, Ali Velshi or Stephanie Rhule (to name a few… there are dozens) — and Craig Melvin should be reassigned to covering solar eclipses and the Kardashians, because he has no instincts for speaking uncomfortable truths to power.

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    RW critics have been somewhat successful deflecting the kneeling from its original target — deadly encounters racist police and dead black Americans — and established the false narrative that kneeling is an insult to the flag, American troops and America itself.

    For two years Trump has created a loyal base by promising to make America “great again.”  Implied in this message is that America has room for improvement — which is exactly the underlying belief of every football player who “takes a knee.”

    Here’s my suggestion: every single player who takes a knee should do so while wearing a red baseball cap with a stitched message that says simply “LET’S MAKE AMERICA GREATER”

    The can turn the Trump slogan back on their critics —“We agree with the President — and challenge today’s America to become a better, greater America.  We agree with the Presiden — we love America, but we all know there’s room for improvement.”

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    In nature a pride of lions is dominated by a small coalition of alpha males.  The alphas literally fight their way to the top — sometimes by deposing ageing incumbents, sometimes by fighting other young males when their predecessors die.

    Nature is cruel, and one of the things newly-installed alpha males do is systematically kill all the cubs sired by the previous leaders.  This instinctive behaviour destroys the legacy of the previous leaders.

    The very same animal instincts are driving decisions in the current American White House.  Any legacy inherited from the previous president is choked off torn to shreds — just like an alpha lion chokes and shreds the cubs under his care, regardless of the contribution those cubs might make to the pride. The alpha lion’s instincts are “If it isn’t mine, mine, mine — it’s useless.”

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    Fifty dead and wounded.

    It doesn’t work, people! “Thoughts and prayers” does not work. The victims were praying as they were shot — just like they were at Emanuel Church in Charleston two years ago

    All the other developed countries that do not have six mass shootings a month have achieved a civilized level of law and order by gun safety legislation — not by “thoughts and prayers.” 

    A footnote to the MSNBC anchor who keeps saying “we live in a world where this sort of thing happens.”  No you’re not:  you’re living in a country’ where this sort of thing happens.  The rest of the world has got their shit together on this one -- mass shootings in other OECD countries happen every few years, not every few days.

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    Somebody in Alabama needs to call the state Office of Child Protective Services.

    I just watched a segment on MSNBC about GOP officials in Alabama falling all over themselves to characterize Moore’s alleged underage sexual molestation as “no big deal.”  Basically, they are saying “Even if it’s true… So what?  It was a long time ago, she asked for it, I’d still vote for him and Hillary Clinton.”

    This response is apparently coming from senior state officials like the Secretary of State and the Stae Auditor, as well as many, many county-level GOP chairmen.  If this is their attitude, I worry about the safety of the daughters and granddaughters of these perverts.  Their comments are “normalizing” sexual relations between professional men in their 30’s and young teenagers.

    If you are reading this and live in Alabama, please monitor the comments from your local and state GOP officials, and call the local county office of the Alabama Office of Child Protection whenever one of these pervs outs himself by making a public statement that the rest of us recognize as a danger signal.

    The victims of child sexual abuse often wonder why the adults around them did not recognize and act on the danger signals.

    If you are in Alabama you can report danger signals to the state government’s Child Protection professionals.  The Child Protection web page has an engine that generates local contact information:…

    Please — do your civic duty and protect vulnerable young Alabama teenagers from the predators in their own families.

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  • 11/10/17--10:19: "Mere allegations..." ???
  • President Trump today defended Roy Moore, saying that we can’t let “mere allegations” ruin someone’s life.

    How did Trump respond to “mere allegations” that Hillary Clinton broke the law with her e-mails — even after the FBI cleared her TWICE?

       He led the chant to “Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!”

    How did Trump respond to “mere allegations” that Hillary Clinton had covered up criminal negligence at Benghazi, even after one congressional committee after another was unable to substantiate this allegation?

       He led the chant to “Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!”

    It’s not really news that Trump’s sense of outrage is self-serving, and not guided by a consistent moral compass — but that doesn’t mean we do not shine a spotlight on it at every opportunity/

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    The requirement for expulsion from the Senate is a two-thirds vote.  Does this mean two-thirds of the votes cast on the resolution or two-thirds of the actual number of seats in the Senate.

    In other words — if only 90 Senators vote on expulsion, do they need 60/90 votes, or 67/90?

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    Trunp’s defence of failed judge Roy Moore is He denies it!

    That’s it!  Nine credible first-person witnesses — but Roy’s not guilty because  he denies it.

    Now how come other criminals never thought of that?  Nine witnesses testify you robbed the bank?   Just deny it!

    Nine cops catch you with a baggie of weed?  Just deny it!

    Nine teachers catch you cheating on a test? Just deny it!

    This is going to revolutionize the practice of criminal defence law.  Just imagine if Charles Manson had thought if this? Or the sheik who organized the 1993 bombing of the  World Trade Center?  

    And — for the life of me — why didn’t Hillary Clinton just deny her 30,000 e-mails.  I’m sure this would have shut down Donald trump

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    My family settled in Tennessee a long, long time ago.  I don’t live there, but I know the south, and here’s what I think:

    Alabamans against Moore — and there are lots from both side of the aisle  by now — need to stand up and say something like THIS:

    In the South we try to live by a code of honor, and part of that code is that we protect women and children. That’s the Way of the South.  There’s nothing in the South’s code of honour that says we have to elect people from one political party or another.  In fact — the majority of southerners switched parties about 50 years ago. 

    Honor the South — deliver a message about Southern honor to Roy Moore.  You don’t need to vote for the other guy — if you are Republican, just sitting on your hands instead of voting sends a powerful message to Roy Moore that his dishonorable behaviour will not stand! 

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    For many years prior to the nuclear agreement with Iran the Mullah’s used “sanctions” as the excuse for a poorly-performing economy.

    Inflation? Blame Uncle Sam.

    No jobs?  Blame the west.

    This excuse resonated with the Iranian people because there was a great deal of truth.  If Iran couldn’t sell its oil or borrow on international markets to finance economic growth, it was difficult to create a robust economy.

    The Iran nuclear deal — hated by Trump because it was an “Obama” achievement — brought an end to this excuse. Inside Iran proponents of the deal undermined its critics by promising the masses that the deal would lift economic sanctions, and the national economy could start finally living up to its potential. 

    The deal raised public expectations, and those expectations were frustrated when the promised economic boom failed to materialize.

    Here’s the dilemma for Trump: if he kills the nuclear deal, he hands the Mullahs a political gift by creating a new excuse for a weak economy. That would pull the rug out from under the current wave or protest — a wave cheered on by none other than Donald Trump.

    If Trump wants the disappointed expectations currently fueling the Iranian protests to get stronger and spread (as they did in Eastern Europe in 1989) he has to keep his tiny little hands off the Nuclear Deal.

    He has to choose — live with Obama’s Nuclear Deal and enjoy the growing popular opposition to the Mullahs or kill the deal and, in doing so, take the air out of the protests movement.  He can’t do both — he can’t have a dead deal and a living protest movement.

    Trump has shown time and again he has poor impulse control, and little capacity to wait it out for delayed rewards based on patient strategy.  Killing the deal gives him instant gratification, allowing economic discontent to slowly grow and slowly reach a tipping point requires big-picture, presidential thinking.

    I’m guessing he goes for the sugar high, and — in doing so — actually entrenches the regime rather than bringing about change… and all without a lesson learned, because Donald Trump doesn’t learn lessons when he falls short, he simply blames others for the failure.

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    Yesterday kos member teacherken published a diary parsing Sen. Blumenthal’s tweet about Russian collusion. Ken named five perps:

       Sam Clovis

       Don Jr.

       Jeff Sessions

       Stephen Miller

       Jared Kushner

    Normally the fair-minded people of kos-land take no joy in the misfortune of others, even when that misfortune is largely self-inflicted.  However — when that misfortune accrues to a grifter who has deliberately cheated American voters, then the quality of our mercy is most definitely constrained (apologies to Shakespeare). 

    Let’s face it — many of us would react to their misfortune with chants of

    Lock him up!  Lock him up!

    Looking at the rogues’ list above, “Which indictment/conviction would bring you the most joy?” 

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    When Obama was president the RWNJ noise machine went on and on and on about how the world no longer respected America because the president was “weak” and wore “Mom jeans.”

    The reality — as measured by reputable polling companies all over the world — was that respect for America went UP almost everywhere in the world when Obama was President.  The same story — but in reverse — under Trump, where respect for America has dropped everywhere except a handful of countries.

    I live in Canada, but spend time in the USA (where I have family roots going back to colonial times).  In the USA I need to be careful about dissing Trump because you never know when someone in the room will turn out to be a Trump supporter.  In Canada that’s not a worry — Trump supporters are few and far between, and those who do support Trump are slightly self-conscious about it.  No need to worry about a Canadian Trump supporter jumping down the throats of his critics.

    At what point will this worldwide drop in respect for America penetrate the 32% of Americans who still support the President.

    0 0

    First — imagine if Hillary had actually won.

    She would have faced four years of sabotage from a Congress that had a half-dozen committees investigating her fake “crimes” against American democracy.  The GOP’s only goal would be to destroy the Democratic brand by creating a spectacularly failed Clinton Presidency.  There would be no Resistance, and the wave that recently washed over Virginia and Alabama would have been anti-Clinton Red, not anti-Trump Blue.

    Instead what we have is a GOP on the fast track to civil war, self-destruction and a 2018 blue tsunami in Congress and State Houses across America. The Resistance has energized Democrats across the nation — even in an off-year.  Instead of an angry & demoralized Democratic base under Hilllary we have an energized and mobilised Dem base in response to the outrage of a Trump Presidency.

    Now — what single event changed the course of the 2016 election away from President Clinton (and subsequent Democratic Party decline) to President Trump and Democratic Revival/GOP decline.  The answer, my friends, was the James Comey announcement weeks before the election that the FBI was re-opening its criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail.

    That was a tipping point.  The momentum shifted from Clinton to Trump as Clinton went on the defensive and the dominant narrative shifted from “untrustworthy Donald Trump” to “untrustworthy Hillary Clinton

    As the self-destructive unravelling of the Trump presidency becomes more and more undeniable Republicans will need a conspiracy theory that shifts the blame for this disaster away from the flawed DNA of today’s GOP.  The perfect scapegoat: Comey’s decision to poison Hillary’s candidacy and put Trump in the White House will be seen as a deliberate plot to set the Republican party on a course that could only lead to its destruction.

    When Trump’s flaws become undeniable — even to the hard core  (Bannon’s already there), the hard core will say “Comey and the FBI and the Deep State knew this all along — they knew that a Trump Presidency would destroy the GOP, and they made sure a Trump Presidency actually happened… when even Trump and his campaign team didn’t expect to win.

    Watch for this conspiracy — coming to an Internet near you some time in 2018. 

    0 0

    From a Norwegian perspective, the prospect of moving to America isn’t an escape from a “shithole country.” From a Norwegian perspective, America is a shithole country.

    If a Norwegian family were to move to the United States it would give up:

    • a per-capita GDP almost 20% higher than the USA
    • an unemployment rate slightly lower than the USA
    • no-fees university education for citizens
    • universal health insurance with low or no co-pays and no lifetime limits
    • paid paternal leave
    • the sense of security that comes from knowing that your unbalanced, disgruntled, angry neighbour cannot arm himself with military weapons
    • the freedom to sew your national flag to your knapsack when travelling — without feeling embarrassed

    <Sigh> What an asshole!

    0 0

    Many of us grew up with some old dude in the home who just made it embarrassing to bring over friends — especially once we were in high school. Sometimes it was a Dad (and he was always there)... sometimes an Uncle in town using the guest room during a convention, and sometimes a weird Grandpa spending his final years living in the basement.

    Whatever it was — it was usually male, and usually a lot older and almost always ready with the most inappropriate comment or lame “joke”  or some other weird shit.

    And there was the day you thought he was out for a few hours and brought over a friend who looked a bit different than you or your family — the friend’s mom was from the Philippines, her dads family had come over from Africa as a slave 300 years earlier.

    Your friend’s family may have looked a bit different and gone to another church, but their homes and their jobs fit right into the neighbourhood — and his parents are the sweetest people in town. The mother helps old people at the hospital and his father does gardening contracts uptown — with his own crew. )All the other kids are a bit envious.

    So you bring your friend home and surprise! —old dude is watching Judge Wopner on television in the living room, sitting just inside the front door.  And you?  You hope old dude has laryngitis today (even though he has never even had a sore throat, as far as you know.)

    But he doesn’t have a problem with his voice, and within minutes he is using that voice to say to your slightly-darker-complexioned friend

    “Well I guess it’ s a nice break for you to visit a classy house like this and get away from that shithole where you live…” (Old dude has never visited your friend — doesn’t have a clue.)

    “No!” you think. “No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

    “Not happening!”

    But it is happening, and you know this is so horrible that it will get out and everyone in the world will know and nobody will ever look at you the same or take you 100% seriously again.  You know you will wear this for a long, long time.

    Now the frustrating thing about blood relatives is that they stay blood relatives forever.  You can’t just decide amongst yourselves they are “unfit” and POOF make them disappear.  You can’ t just hold a big family meeting and “ impeach” them without any right to appeal. They got rights! 

    Fortunately — not ALL the embarrassing old dudes are Dads or Uncles or Grandpas with all sorts of family law rights.  Some CAN be White-Kicked out of the White-House by a two-thirds majority of the family and — if the family agrees — there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it.

    End of fable.

    0 0

    … filled with unemployed people, industry in ruins, millions of adults recently involved in government-sponsored terrorism, not enough food, not enough coal to heat homes and industry… a broken country.

    And what did an America do?  In an astonishing act of historically unprecedented generosity, America found its better angels and bankrolled the economic, social and political resurrection of this shithole  -- while also opening its borders to immigration from Germany to the United States.

    Today — in a political era when America has elected itself a President who cannot find it within himself to forgive a snarky Tweet, American vo0ters would do well to remember the benefits that eventually accrued to their country when the U.S.A forgave Germany for World War II.

    Fucking World War II people!  Forgiven!

    America has lost its way but — like post-war Germany — it has an opportunity to redeem itself… and that opportunity is the coming November.

    Get to work America — the world is counting on you.  Make. It. Right.  

    0 0

    It is clear why Russia preferred Trump in 2016. 

    The Russians started off trying to damage Hillary, whom they expected to win.  They wanted a damaged President Clinton, damaged by ginned-up outrage over phoney issues like e-mail, and with coat-tails so short she would be burdened with a GOP congress.

    In the home stretch of the campaign, the Russians were surprised by the possibility that the oval office could be won by an easily-manipulated, easily-blackmailed “useful idiot” with no loyalty to his nation, its constitution or to principles of any sort — in other words, a perfect Russian dupe.

    Putin understood that putting Trump in charge would undermine American power by creating chaos and disarray in the corridors of American government. (Witness all the empty offices in the U.S. State Department — both at Foggy Bottom HQ and in embassies around the world.)

    At this juncture, it must be clear to Putin that best way to accelerate the chaos over the next two years is for control of the United States Congress to move over to the Democrats.  Right now the Republican majority is suppressing any congressional action that would hold the Trump presidency accountable.  Indeed — the current Congress is doing everything it can to protect the Administration from scrutiny and accountability.

    The priority of legislative Republicans like Ryan and Nunes is stabilizing the Trump Presidency; the priority of a newly-elected Democratic majority next year would be to disrupt the Trump Presidency with scrutiny and accountability — eventually calling for impeachment.

    Impeachment of a Republican president in the age of Limbaugh, Fox News and Russian bots manipulating “low information voters” will create a level of chaos in America unseen since the late 1850’s — just before the civil war — even if the impeachment is totally, totally called for in order to preserve the rule of law.

    The Russian view of this level of Chaos in American politics, American government and American society can be summed up in two words: perfect storm.

    All of which brings me back to my original point: Russia still has the capacity to disrupt American elections — a capacity that has undoubtedly been enhanced and refined and made more effective over the past two years, However — if chaos in America is Russia’s goal, that capacity to interfere will be turned against the Republicans next time around, not the Democrats.

    As a side note — if I am correct and Russia does flip sides, there will come a moment when the lizard-brain at the base of Trump’s skull realizes that the Russians never saw him as anything more than a “friend of convenience.”  In the midst of all the inevitable political tragedy and chaos, THIS is a moment I will most certainly enjoy.

    0 0

    • It could’ve been Japan… or it could have been China
    • Maybe it was a 400 lb guy in his basement with a couple of drones
    • It’s 1941 — Hawaii isn’t even a state…So who cares about this shithole? 
    • After an aerial bombing raid has finished, it’s impossible to tell who did it
    • Just because my son and My son-in-law were meeting with Japanese spies during this raid doesn’t mean  there was any collision
    • Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
    • Obama was bugging my phones
    • #ReleaseTheMemo
    • Treason: they didn’t clap for me!
    • Let’s pull our troops back from the Pacific for the world’s biglyest-ever military parade in Washington DC!

    0 0

    Putin’s spy service has a long (and long-standing) enemies list — people that have somehow betrayed Russian state security, challenged Putin’s political power, or undermined the economic interests of the Putin oligarchs.

    The retired Russian double-agent recently targeted for murder (by poison) in the UK was one such person.  His betrayed the Russian security forces some time ago, but his attempted murder was only just now. Why the timing? Why now?

    The poisoning was accomplished with a “military-grade” chemical-warfare substance easily linked by UK crime labs to the Russian government.  Although Putin’s enemies often die from mysterious “accidents” (falling off balconies, hit-and-run cars etc.) or untraceable homicides (gunshot on public street) — this murder in the UK might well have been accompanied by a written confession from the Kremlin.  Why the decision to make the identity of the attacker so obvious to the watching world?

    The UK murder did not stop with the “traitor” who worked as a double agent for the British while employed by the Russian security service — the Russians also poisoned his 33-year-old daughter. Why did the Russians go beyond punishing the “traitor,” and inflict damage on his loved ones as well.

    All these questions leave me wondering whether the UK poisoning was specifically designed to send a signal to some of Mueller’s key witnesses: Manafort, Flynn, Carter, Page, Papadopoulos and even Sam Nunberg (whose behaviour was particularly bizarre —“scared shitless” bizarre — in the interval between the UK poisoning and his subsequent appearance before the Mueller Grand Jury a few days later).

    I’m not generally a “conspiracy theory” kind of guy — and I want to be clear that I am simply asking a question here, and not presenting speculation as fact. However — we often get to “fact” by starting with a therory and then looking for evidence.

    0 0

    Steve Kornaki (MSNBC) just reported an amazing PEW poll result that may well explain a lot of the anger we see over on the alt-right… anger that leaves sane people who witness it online, at a demonstration/riot or at the dinner table on Thanksgiving puzzled and scratching their head.

    “WTF?” sane people wonder. “Why are you so effing angry all the time?  Where does all this hostility and hate come from?” 

    The PEW data may solve that mystery.  When looking at support trump/do-not support through the lens of the millennial gender gap, Kornaki said that Trump is underwater by eight points with male millennials. 

    When PEW looked at the women in that same millenial age group, Trump was underwater by 47 points…. compared to an 8 pointgap with males.

    There are several profound implications of this data, and there’s THIS:  If you are a doctrinaire white-nationist right wing millennial straight guy, you’re probably a little lonely for female company.  Look at the picture above — and ask “where are the women?”

    Well… they’re probably off spending time with like-minded millennial progressives and avoiding people who think like you.  Meanwhile the lonely millennial mob gets so angry that they pick up dime story torches, march around shouting about “jews and Ni***rs, and run over peaceful liberals with their car.  If THAT  is their substitute romance and intimacy, I can understand why they stay pissed off forever.

    0 0

    The pundits speculate (and Trump can hint) that the President’s “Cohen problem” can be solved rather quickly with a Presidential pardon. As usual with Trump — his vision is clouded by wishful thinking.

    The truth is that a pardon simply means that Cohen has a free pass for conducting federal crimes.  However — a pardon for Cohen does not automatically void the warrant that allowed investigators to seize a truckload of papers, hard drives and video/audio records.

    Even if Cohen's pardon from trump extends to possible contempt of court (for refusing to testify), the seized documents still speak for themselves. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and pardoning  Cohen does not put it back in.

    The talking heads are now saying their Whitehouse sources tell them that Trump's legal team is more worried about the "Cohen problem" than the main Mueller investigation. Perhaps this is because even if Cohen doesn't "flip," there is evidence in the files that stands on its own and speaks for itself.

    0 0

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a diary that noted an almost overlooked data point in a recent PEW poll.  It turns out that one of the largest gender gaps existed between millennial-aged men and women and their tendency to support progressive politics.

    Overall millennials approve of progressive politics by about a 25% margin. However, when you break that down by gender, the differences are dramatic: a +47% of women lean progressive — but only +7% of men in the same age group.

    This means that a whole bunch of alt-right gamer-boys are having a tough time finding a girlfriend. Think about it — how likely is it that a progressive woman who believes in gender equality, racial equality, orientation equality and reproductive freedom… if she is straight, how likely is it that someone with these political values would feel comfortable dating (or getting serious with) some dude wearing a red MAGA hat and a confederate-flag t-shirt? 

    So many of these boys end up being lonely that they’ve actually gone online and invented “involuntary celibacy” as a well-articulated grievance.  They even have a nickname for the affliction: InCel... and — of course — they blame it on a couple of familiar leftist villains: feminism and “cultural Marxism.”

    Now it turns out that the white-skinned, millennial-aged male responsible for a murder-by-van rampage in Toronto April 23 posted a Facebook message about Incel rebellion moments before starting the rampage that killed 10 and injured 13.

    The newspaper article (link above) includes the following passage [bold highlights are mine]:

    The term “InCels” emerged from a Reddit group in which tens of thousands of users, most of them young men, commiserate about their lack of sexual activity– many of them placing the blame on women. The group has received substantial criticism for its apparent misogyny, including posts that appeared to condone rape.

    Reddit banned the community late last year. Chads and Stacys, meanwhile, are pejorative terms often used by this group to describe men who are sexually active and women who won’t date members of the group.

    The terms are mostly employed in fringe online channels that are often virulently anti-feminist.

    I know — the guy in Toronto was Canadian and PEW was polling Americans… but certain elements of political culture occur on both sides of the border.  The alt-right is smaller in Canada, it lacks deep=pocketed funding sugardaddy billionaires like the Mercers and it’s much, much harder for Canadians to acquire firearms — but the fringe logic is similar and — when we compare the murders in Charlottesville, Virginia and Toronto, Ontario, the motives and the weapons were exactly the same.

    0 0

    Events in Texas this week once again beg the question: has American gun culture, with backing from the Republican Party and the NRA, figured out a “workaround” that allows American domestic carnage to continue uninterrupted in spite the frequent utilization of government’s uniquely American “thoughts & prayers” violence-prevention program.

    The program, which is designed to protect U.S. citizens from thugs, radicalized religious fanatics and innocent Caucasians unfortunately suffering from mental illness, has not prevented America from compiling a gun-murder rate an order of magnitude higher than anywhere else in the industrialized world.

    Is “thoughts & prayers” failing America?  Share your perspective in the poll below:

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    Trump wins on three counts with his gathering wave of Presidential pardons.

    1. First — he will turn pardons into a routine event… so when he finally pardons Flint Junior or Jared, it’s just another day in America — no big whoop
    2. Second — he carefully picks his “pardon performers” so that, in almost every case, the back story allows him to build, brick-by-brick, a pervasive narrative that “proves” the American justice system is corrupt and vindictive… that the American people have a genuine grievance with this unfair “enemy of  American freedom.”
    3. Third — and this is insidious and clever — many voters whose instincts lean left — including minority voters and low-income Americans —already believe the American justice system is stacked against them. I believe that Trumphas the political skills to position himself as their champion and win their votes Keep in mind that Obama had political limitations on how far he could fo go criticizing the justice system.  In the same way that anti-commie Nixon was uniquely positioned to reach out to China without getting clobbered from the right, anti-”thug” Trump is uniquely positioned to reach out to convicts who have been victimized by overzealous prosecutors and judges.

    in other words, Trump has the political smarts to leverage this into his second re-invention as a man of the people, while simultaneously preparing the public to support his pardon for all sins associated with Russian collusion and Putin fellatio.

    0 0

    A picture’s worth a thousand words, a meme is worth a million...

    0 0

    Dear America:


    Sincerely yours,
    The rest of the world

    0 0

     I have mixed feelings about Joe Scarborough.  On one hand, he has become one of the leading former Republicans to not only abandon Trump, but to actually hammer him day after day after day. This hammering is usually well-researched and well spoken (thank you, interns).

    On the other hand, Scarborough (& Mika) knew how crazy and dangerous Trump is a couple of years before they turned the criticism up to eleven.  I half suspect that Scarborough is planning to run for President some day, and that his highly-visible constant criticism is part of an early branding exercise for his upcoming campaign.

    That said — this morning (June 25) Scarborough did a devastating, whithering, fact-based refutation of Trump's immigration policy. He specifically framed this for
    Trumpite “true believers”— apparently many of his friends and family had regurgitated Trump nonsense over the previous weekend.  These are people  Scarborough knows are smart enough to know better.

    In his low-key rant, Scarborough not only undermines the Trump narrative, he directly challenges “friends and some family” to use their critical-thinking abilities and stop accepting Trump’s claims at face value. He’s saying “look what this moron is doing to you.”

    The link is:…

    I am urging Kos readers to get this video out there so the tens of millions of Trump zombies keep stumbling over it and eventually curiosity or cajoling convinces them to take 13 minutes to watch this former GOP congressman talk about Trump and immigration.

    0 0

    A Restuarant manager in Vancouver, Canada was fired Friday after refusing to serve an American tourist who walked in wearing a red Make America Great Again baseball cap. 

    Here’s how the Canadian Brodcasting Corporation reported the incident:

    The manager of a popular Vancouver tourist restaurant has been fired after refusing service to a supporter of Donald Trump.

    A man wearing one of the U.S. president's "Make America Great Again" hats was refused service at the Teahouse in Stanley Park on Tuesday by Darin Hodge.

    According to the restaurant's general manager, the man was seated on the patio that evening when Hodge, the floor manager at the time, confronted him.

    "[He] took over the table and requested that he take the hat off," said Andy Crimp.

    "[The customer] said he had a right to wear it. [Hodge] said if you don't take the hat off, we won't serve you. And the man left."

    The Sequoia Company, which runs the restaurant, says Hodge was fired for not following its "philosophy of tolerance."

    He had worked at the restaurant for about 18 months, according to staff.

    When contaacted later by reporters, the fired manager said he had “no regrets.”

    0 0

    I am listening to yet another news story where economists from across the ideological range are warning that Trump-scale trade wars will lead to recession.  The latest warning came from the head of the Bank of England — the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve banks in the USA.

    We can wonder why Trump is so stubborn about this trade war when allies like the Kochs and the Chamber of Commerce and several visibly alarmed GOP Senators and House Members are critical.

    The answer may lie in history — the history of the democratic German Weimar Republic sliding into Fascism. 

    In May 1924 the proxy Nazi Party in Germany was still quite fringy — it won just 6.5% of the national vote.  That 6.5% fell by half seven months later when the country went to the polls for the second time that year.

    By 1928, with German prosperity on the rise (and financed by American loans from Wall Street) that 3% dropped to 2.6%, and the National Socialists lost 2 of their 14 seats in the 491-seat Reichstag. Barely a decade before the formal declaration of WWII in Europe, the Nazis were still a marginal force in German politics and German life.

    Nine months after the 1928 election the stock market crashed in New York — which triggered the Great Depression and which led to American banks calling in most of their loans to German industry. In a country that was still paying WWI reparations to the 1918 victors, the depression hit Germany harder and more suddenly than other western countries like the United States.

    In the 1930 election (a few months after the crash) the Nazi Party, led by Hitler, increased its popular vote seven-fold and its legislative seats nine-fold.  It went from marginal party to second-place, and never went back to marginal until Germany lost the upcoming war 15 years later.

    This leap occurred because German voters lost faith in the "old school" politicians who had been unable to prevent the crash of 1929 from destroying the German economy. They basically said “what the fuck -- let's send in the guy who’s promising an end ‘politics-as-usual’ and who’s going to kick all those wealthy bankers in the ass.”

    German voters voted for the crazy man because none of the sane ideas were working any more.

    In 1932 the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag, and in 1933 — with only a third of the seats and 43% of the popular vote — they convinced a majority coalition of parties in the legislature to give the Nazis dictatorial powers to deal with the economic crisis and an ongoing political crisis (worsened when a Nazi arsonist burned down the legislative building and the party blamed the fire on communists).

    Within months of the first 1933 election the Nazi government had banned (and violently suppressed) all political opposition and a second 1933 election elected a legislature composed 100% of Nazis and Nazi-approved members.

    Most historians agree that the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany was only possible because the country was suddenly plunged into an economic depression in 1929 and 1930. Two years later the traditional parties were still not offering anything new in the face of this hardship.

    In the prosperity of 1928, only one in forty Germans supported the Nazis, and the conventional wisdom was that Germany would never have to worry about a bunch of kooks and misfits ever being elected to govern the country that gave the world Johann Sebastian Bach and Albert Einstein.

    So — is Trump’s trade war simply a case of narcissism meets economic illiteracy or is there something more sinister at work here — is Trump deliberately trying to plunge America into a chaos that is scary enough to justify the end of the American experiment as Americans have known it for 240 years?

    Bear in mind that Steve Bannon is a big fan of Lenin’s political tactics — which called for deliberate chaos to create opportunities for radical, revolutionary change — and that Bannon and Trump are apparently back on speaking terms.

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  • 07/16/18--12:26: Putin's little bitch!
  • America — the entire world needs you to organize the opposition to get out and vote this November… and then get the hell out to the polls.

    Nothing else matters.

    Nothing else to say.

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    One of the things Daily Kos provides its members is a clearinghouse and a practice forum for conversations with friends and relatives afflicted with the MAGA virus. 

    Personally — I don’t meet a lot of “infected” Americans.  When I do, it’s usually someone I’ve known for years and who surprises me by suddenly blurting out something like “Canadians don’t really have universal medicare — that’s just fake news created by American liberal newsrooms.”

    I never really try to convince these old friends that they are entirely wrong — that their model of how the world works is built on a vast tangle of false premise. If I push too hard, they’re likely to say “well — your branch of the family left the United States long ago — you don’t even understand what it’s like any more.”

    (As an aside — their version of “what it’s like” is MS-13 gangs in virtually every small town in America; American health care system is the “envy of the world;” millions of “illegals” vote D in every American election and Hillary Clinton has been responsible for several murder contracts.)

    I generally bite my tongue and limit myself to saying “Here’s what makes me uncomfortable with Trump.”  One of my favourites is his double standards — where he pretends to take a moral stand but ends up over time contradicting his moral stance.  The more indignant his original complaint, the better the contrast and the stronger my point.

    So this morning Trump totally dumps on Michael Cohen for “taping” phone conversations with candidate Trump.  Basically, he is saying “anyone who would do that is a total scumbag — and cannot be trusted on anything else.“

    Except…. Except… what if the person secretly recording a conversation with Donald Trump is the President of Russia?  Then, of course, there is no criticism.

    The point I make to my Trump-loving friends is this:
    “When you hear Trump totally dump on someone else, and you start to share the President’s indignation… and you start to get pissed off at the ‘transgresser’ and Mother Nature starts pumping stress hormones into your increasingly angry body… just remember that Trump is playing you.  He doesnt REALLY think secret recordings are disgusting, — he only thinks it disgusting because the target of his rant has stopped being helpful to Trump — THAT is why I don’t trust him… because he’s constantly trying to play the people who believe in him.“

    So there we go — one tiny, granular narrative for one tiny, granular installment of the ongoing effort to break the fever created by the MAGA virus.

    0 0

    This is my own analysis — I’m not tapping some obscure White House memo I found buried on an obscure GOP web site… just playing a hunch.

    There is a reason that people like Dan Coats and other security professionals didn’t know about this summit until the White House tweeted it out on Friday: it’s because Trump wasn’t thinking of national security when he decided to do this.

    The president was thinking about saving his ass from a "blue wave Congress" for the next couple of years: a Congress that will subpoena the hell out of the administration, endow oversight committees with sharp, biting teeth,  and refuse to confirm RWNJs to the bench or to federal agencies.  Maybe he’ll even end up with a Congress that isn’t afraid to begin impeaching a disloyal President!

    Trump looks at the narrative of his presidency much like he would the season-long narrative of a reality show. He understands about “game changer” episodes — where audiences are presented with events so unexpected, so dramatic and so far-reaching that they change the way the audience looks at the show. (Think “Red Wedding.”)

    I am expecting that next fall Trump and Putin  will engage in a dramatic, highly choreographed, well-planned “falling out.” Except it won't be a real falling out, it will be a performance.

    In this performance Trump will demonstrate he is a tough negotiator who stands up for America’s interest. He will Shout Putin down, abruptly pull the plug part-way through the summit, and immediately implement a new set of sanctions or do something else that is harmful to Russia.

    Millions of Americans will look at this ad say "It's about time," and "He isn't a puppet -- he was just trying to get along and Putin took advantage... but now he's put his foot down."

    All of this will lower the anti-trump fever, and will encourage unenthusiastic GOP voters to get out to the polls after all. Mostly, though, it will re-brand Trump from “puppet” to “American tough guy.”

    Of course -- when the midterms are all over... they will kiss and make up.  Trump has already done so with Kim, and the ruse is still working with the Trump base.  Trump will cloak the make-up in language about "deal-making" and “problem solving”— bullshit that works with the nase and many independents.

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    Earlier this week Kavanaugh told Fox News he “… did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter… many years after. I will leave it that. Many years after."

    Years and years of hearing true stories about his peers “hooking up,” poor Brett didn’t understand the failure of his preferred methods of courtship: groping a young woman with his hand over her mouth or surprising her by dangling his drunk little penis in her face.

    Years and years of wondering why he kept getting pushed away, rejected and humiliated when other guys had steady girlfriends who actually came over and spent the night with them.

    Years and years of not getting the sex he felt entitled to- and not understanding why.

    Years and years of involuntary celibacy.

    Yep — now it all makes sense.    It. All. Makes. Sense.

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    No surprise here — we’ve all read this story before:

    The First Lady never left off quarreling with the other players and shouting, "Off with his head!" or "Off with her head!" By the end of half an hour or so, all the players, except the King, the Queen and the Princess were in custody of the soldiers and under sentence of execution.

    It wasn’t long before the Queen was again in a furious passion and once more went stamping about and shouting,  "Off with his head!" or "Off with her head!" about once in a minute.

    "They're dreadfully fond of beheading people here," thought the anonymous source; "the great wonder is that there's anyone left alive!"

    (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

    0 0

    There’s a pattern here:

    • Vladimir Putin told me forcefully the American intelligence community was wrong about him and the election… how can I not believe that?
    • The Saudi Crown Prince was very forceful when he told me he had nothing to do with it…. what does the infected CIA know anyway?
    • I’ve talked to the German Chancellor, and Herr Hitler has reassured me that Rogue Generals were responsible for the invasion of Poland, Belgium, Austria, Greece, France, Norway, Holland, Belgium and all those other shithole countries. He didn’t even know Germany was at war until he heard it on a BBC wireless newscast
    • Ted Bundy keeps telling me he knows nothing about all those dead co-eds.  It’s a witch hunt!  Men aren’t safe any more.
    • When John Wilks Booth told me TWICE he had nothing to do with shooting Abraham Lincoln, I knew for sure the whole assassination thing was FAKE NEWS!  Sad!
    • I don’t really know Benedict Arnold but he’s a great guy — terrific guy… I can tell because his pamphlets all say he really likes me. ! am sure There was NO COLLUSION WITH THE BRITISH.  IT’S ALL A HOAX!!!
    • John Gotti told me the Italian-haters in the  U.S, Attorney’s office tricked his disloyal assistants into FLIPPING.  Bad — FLIPPING SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.  NOT FAIR!!!!
    • Those five blacks from. Central Park (and their rigged DNA tests) —I just have to look at their photos in the newspaper and to know they’re GUILTY AS HELL! That’s why I won’t rent to people like that — they’re all rapists!