Humint Events Online

Friday, January 01, 2100

Blog Overview (Permanent Top Post)

This blog explores politics from a liberal/left perspective but also deals heavily with conspiracy theories and various unusual topics. Although I started this blog to research 9/11, my most pressing issue of concern now is anthropogenic climate change.

If you have doubts about the science of climate change, this website is a very useful resource to get educated.

I'm happy to have people comment and contribute ideas here. I don't censor comments except in rare cases where there is abuse or private information. Google/Blogger does sometimes censor comments for reasons I don't understand and I have no control over. Lately, I am not able to even find comments that Google/Blogger has blocked. Sorry about that.

I post kind of irregularly in recent years but I try to keep this site active. Feel free to use the search engine on the side for older content. You can read about the history of this blog here.

I rarely ever check my email for this blog (see sidebar for my address). If you need to contact me, the best bet is to leave a comment. If you need to email me, let me know in a comment that you've emailed me.

Thank you for reading.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

33 of the Day: Ukraine Edition

Opening Statement of Marie L. Yovanovitch to the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee onIntelligence, Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Committee onOversight and Reform 
For the last 33 years, it has been my great honor to serve the American people as a Foreign Service Officer, over six Administrations—four Republican, and two Democratic. I have served in seven different countries, five of them hardship posts, and was appointed to serve as an ambassador three times—twice by a Republican President, and once by a Democrat. Throughout my career, I have stayed true to the oath that Foreign Service Officers take and observe every day: “that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;” and “that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” Like all foreign service officers with whom I have been privileged to serve, I have understood that oath as a commitment to serve on a strictly nonpartisan basis, to advance the foreign policy determined by the incumbent President, and to work at all times to strengthen our national security and promote our national interests.
She goes on to explain her history and work in Ukraine and how she was slimed by the Trump administration, the worst most corrupt and treasonous POTUS ever.

On the positive side, Trump does seem rightly screwed-- he's caught dead-to-rights for a corrupt quid-pro-quo deal for campaign dirt in exchange for US military assistance. Freaking INSANE.
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The Art of Diplomacy, by Donald J. Trump

It's hard to believe this is real, it's so childish, but it is. And of course, Trump is a world class ignoramus and moron.

Also, Erdogan has 50 of our nuclear bombs in his country right now... so that's just great.
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Fetzer Gets Nailed for His Sandy Hook Claims

I used to like old Fetzer, but he seemed to become less liberal and more of a crazed conservative over the years, and I think he really went around the bend when it came to Sandy Hook. That's when I stopped listening to his show anyway.

Wisconsin jury awards $450,000 in Sandy Hook defamation case
A jury in Wisconsin has awarded $450,000 to the father of a boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting after he filed a defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist writers who claimed the massacre never happened. A Dane County jury on Tuesday decided the amount James Fetzer must pay Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was among the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.
Fetzer, a retired University of Minnesota Duluth professor now living in Wisconsin, and Mike Palacek co-wrote a book, "Nobody Died at Sandy Hook," in which they claimed the Sandy Hook shooting never took place but was instead an event staged by the federal government as part of an Obama administration effort to enact tighter gun restrictions. A judge earlier ruled Pozner was defamed by statements in the book that claimed he fabricated copies of his son's death certificate.
Others who lost relatives in the Newtown shooting have joined the fight lately after quietly enduring harassment and ridiculous assertions for years. Their efforts have turned the tables on the hoaxers. A defamation case by Sandy Hook parents against Alex Jones, host of the conspiracy-driven "Infowars" website, is pending.

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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Corruption and Subservience to Putin and Trump Are The Only Important US Policies Now

It is now the official foreign policy of the U.S. that we call upon foreign governments that wish to remain in our good favor to investigate the Bidens. It is also official policy that we call upon our allies to investigate the Mueller investigation.Failure to do so will undermine good relations. 
It is also the established policy of the United States that countries that wish to be in good favor with the U.S. should flatter the president obsequiously and, if possible, patronize one of his hotels or resorts. 
It is also the official position of the POTUS and thus, by extension the U.S. government, that we support in whatever ways possible President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government and are committed to the weakening of the NATO Alliance and all multilateral institutions. 
It is also established that the U.S. government rejects science and history and values relations with governments that serve the above policy objectives above secondary considerations like democracy or human rights. 
This is not a joke. This is not an overstatement. This is our foreign policy today. It is at core nothing more than a marketing strategy for Donald Trump, the Trump Organization and his perceived personal interests. All his senior advisors and the GOP leadership have bought into this strategy and seek to advance it. 
It is the greatest corruption of US foreign policy in our history & precisely what the Founders feared most. And every single day the facts outlined here are further corroborated. 
It is all happening in plain sight & it is doing grave damage to the US and our interests worldwide.
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Making American Great Again for Rapists

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Trump, the Genius

For the last time, this is all part of the plan. Getting himself impeached is actually a strategic triumph for President Trump, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just not playing chess in enough dimensions. Consider what is the greater mark of strategic genius: to mire yourself and your administration in an endless series of idiotic and pointless controversies, often rife with misspellings, damaging your standing at home and abroad, or to NOT do that? If you say the second, you are a fool. 
This is all part of the plan. Actually, this is good. Actually, this is great. I repeat, every move that Trump makes, has made or is making, currently, with the president of Finland sitting helplessly by his side, wearing an expression of alarm, is planned. It is a genius plan. It might look like the random, haphazard flailing of a cat that has gotten its head stuck in a bucket. But actually he is in total control. 
He is like a master baker, preparing everything just exactly the way he would like it. You can’t make a cake without breaking eggs! That is why he has broken all the eggs and will not stop breaking eggs until there are no eggs anymore. He is baking the chess pieces into a cake, and it is brilliant, and that is why no one has thought to do it before. 
If it looks messy, if it looks like he is covered in batter and surrounded by trolls and incompetents and family members (but I repeat myself) — well, that is not correct. I’m embarrassed that you would think that maybe he did not know what he was doing, just because he looked and sounded and acted like he did not know what he was doing. Really, the fool here is you.
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If You Want Insane, Really Dumb Conspiracy Theories...

Natural News is selling them.

I mean seriously, who honestly believes Trump is draining the swamp and preventing a foreign invasion (as opposed to being a deranged narcissistic plutocrat in bed with Russia)?

Is Mike Adams laughing at his audience here?
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Friday, September 27, 2019

33 of the Day: Whistleblower Complaint

50 USC 3033

Anyway, just impeach the corrupt motherfucker already.
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How Corrupt and Criminally Terrible Is Trump?

He actually got Nancy Pelosi to agree to impeachment.

That says a lot.

He really is one fucking corrupt piece of shit. We knew it before he was elected, but this latest thing with Ukraine just sealed his fate. 
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Saturday, September 07, 2019

Explosives at the WTC... New Call for Investigation and a New WTC7 Study

For the first time ever, an elected body in the United States is stating that it is “beyond any doubt” that explosives – not plane impacts and fires alone – destroyed the three World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. 
Commissioners from the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, located near Queens, New York, unanimously passed a historic resolution on July 24 that calls for a new investigation into all aspects of 9/11 and which cites “overwhelming evidence” that explosives were planted in all three towers prior to 9/11. 
The resolution states that the district’s Board of Fire Commissioners “fully supports a comprehensive federal grand jury investigation and prosecution of every crime related to the attacks of September 11…” 
“It was a mass murder,” Commissioner Christopher Gioia said in an interview. “Three thousand people were murdered in cold blood.” Gioia, who wrote and introduced the resolution, says the toll on his department from the events of that day has been devastating. Members Thomas J. Hetzel and Robert Evans died at Ground Zero on 9/11. Others, including commissioners Philip Malloy and Joseph Torregrossa, have become ill from exposure to the toxic air during rescue and recovery operations. 
“We’re not leaving our brothers behind,” Gioia said. “We’re not forgetting about them. They deserve justice, and we’re going to see that justice is done.” 
Ever since a friend alerted him several years ago to the seemingly inexplicable collapse of Building 7, Gioia has poured his passion and time into researching the subject. He found that despite there being only small and isolated fires on just a few floors, the 47-storey building came down symmetrically, into its own footprint, in just under seven seconds on 9/11. 
The official investigation into the collapse was conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — an agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce — which somehow concluded that normal office fires were responsible for the failure of the structure. 
But the findings of independent 9/11 researchers working with Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) later forced NIST to admit that the building came down at free-fall for at least one-third of its seven-second fall. This is something that could only happen if all the supporting columns failed virtually simultaneously. Despite this admission, NIST sticks to its original conclusion. 
The fire district resolution is not the only dramatic development on the 9/11 front in recent days and weeks. In March, a joint federal lawsuit was launched against the FBI by AE911Truth, the Lawyers’ Committee, and family members of 9/11 victims. 
It contends that the agency has failed to perform a congressionally mandated assessment of 9/11 evidence known to it that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission. 
And perhaps the most powerful step forward came on Sept. 3 with the long-awaited release of the ground-breaking Building 7 Study (A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7) by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). 
The four-year study, conducted by Dr. Leroy Hulsey, Ph.D., and two other researchers, is a “finite element analysis” that uses computer modelling based on the original blueprints for the building. Its purpose is to determine whether the official explanation for Building 7’s destruction stands up. It doesn’t. The executive summary of the study states: “… fires could not have caused weakening or displacement of structural members capable of initiating any of the hypothetical local failures alleged to have triggered the total collapse of the building, nor could any local failures, even if they had occurred, have triggered a sequence of failures that would have resulted in the observed total collapse.” 
This leads Hulsey and his colleagues to this: “It is our conclusion based upon these findings that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of all columns in the building and not a progressive collapse involving the sequential failure of columns throughout the building.” 
The Hulsey study will be unveiled at events in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Berkeley, California, over the next few days. Comments on the draft study will be welcomed until the end of October, after which a final version will be released. 
This is just the latest major move to spread the truth about 9/11 to a much wider public and to get justice for those who died both that day and in the subsequent wars that were launched using 9/11 as justification. 
“I would say to anybody who believes in this country that it’s time to make a stand; you can’t let this go,” Gioia says. “Because if they’re going to murder 3,000 people, what are they going to do next?”

Another source on the resolution.

AE911truth article on the WTC7 report:
Today, we at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are pleased to partner with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in releasing the draft report of a four-year computer modeling study of WTC 7’s collapse conducted by researchers in the university's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The UAF WTC 7 report concludes that the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11 was caused not by fire but rather by the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.

Pretty awesome people are still looking into this though whether any justice will be done seems unlikely at this point.

Maybe the 9/11 perps are hoping the scandals around the imploding Trump presidency will cloud over investigation into 9/11... I'm sure the Trump scandals will delay 9/11 justice for some more time.
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"Governing by Crisis and Spectacle"

If there is a method to Trump's madness, it is this:
Governing by Crisis and Spectacle 
The idea is to keep us looping in the present so we can't look ahead. 
It's a tactic of reactionary politics. 
Background information from Timothy D Snyder's book, The Road To Unfreedom. 
In a liberal democracy, a leader looks for ways to improve the lives of the people. 
A fascist (or reactionary, or would-be oligarch) does the opposite. 
If a would-be oligarch tries to improve the lives of the people, others can rise up and challenge his position at the top. 
OK, so if leaders don’t govern in the usual sense (devising policy to better the lives of the citizens) what do they do all day? They create crisis and spectacle! 
“Rather than governing, the leader produces crisis and spectacle.” --Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin 
Who the heck is Illyin? He's the fascist philosopher whose ideas informed the tactics created by Putin. Trump imitates those tactics. (Trump is a natural at creating chaos and spectacle) Ilyin was a Russian nobleman who went into exile after the communist revolution. 
An admirer of Hitler and Mussolini, he wrote guidelines for Russian leaders who would come to power after the fall of communism. (He died in 1954). Ilyin believed fascism would eventually replace both communism and democracy. He admired totalitarianism and hierarchy. The nation, for him, was like a body, the citizens the cells. Each remained in its place. Fascism = order. Democracy & communism = disorder & chaos. 
Ilyin disliked the middle class, which always striving for social advancement. He believed this fractured society and created chaos. He thought the rulers at the top should rule, everyone else must remain in their place. He thus advocated oligarchy (a few people hold all the power). 
The task of the oligarchs to maintain power. But you can’t tell the people THAT. So you tell them a good story. You tell them the oligarchs are “redeemers.” This is overlaps with reactionist politics, that pines to return to a (mythic) bygone era. 
They earn loyalty by protecting the people from enemies, and by promising to return to a better, more orderly era. When an oligarch (or in the case of Trump, a would-be oligarch) goes to work each day, he can't spend his time doing what a leader like, say, Obama did. 
He can't spend his time actually governing. So instead, he creates lots of crisis and spectacle. 
All ideas in this thread from Yale Profs. @TimothyDSnyder and @jasonintrator 
The tactic is extraordinarily effective because it creates what we can call the Outrage Dilemma. 
If you don't react, you run the risk of normalizing the behavior. 
On the other hand, outrage feeds the cycle, which goes like this: Trump does something outrageous. Everyone goes into a spin. His followers are thrilled to see Trump's critics in an outrage spin. 
Each time Trump does something outrageous, he accomplishes 4 things: He keeps his base excited. He enrages his critics. He batters democratic institutions, and He fulfills his campaign promise, which was to protect his followers from their “enemies.” 
Finally, and most important, he wears out his critics until we feel exhausted and helpless and inclined to give up. When enough people give up, democracy collapses. 
My suggestion is to get involved with volunteer work.
The question is whether he does this knowingly on purpose or instinctually. Either way, it's deeply corrupt and anti-democratic and helps the evil oligarchs.
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Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Demoralizing Reality of Life Under Trump for Any Decent Sane Person

It’s boring, at this point, to talk about the cost of living with Donald Trump as president—it’s the water we all swim in now, so it’s neither unique nor new nor surprising. 
And yet it’s still true, which is why it’s refreshing to read Matt Ford’s excellent piece in the New Republic, “Trump’s Tax on the National Psyche.” 
Ford’s formulation is a useful way to think about the massive toll, in terms of time and energy stolen from Americans forced to pay attention to inane tweets and half-baked policy, this presidency has had on all of us. 
As Ford observes, Trump, himself an inveterate squanderer of time, is wasting all of ours: “Trump’s haphazard style of governance,” he writes, “forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. 
His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should.” 
The problem is that we have no choice but to follow the inane tweets and oppose the half-baked policy. 
There are serious consequences that follow to transgender soldiers, DACA kids, green card holders, and, of course, families at the border when we don’t. 
As Ford further notes, the psychic costs of following and resisting all of this stupidity are not borne equally by all Americans: “A Gallup poll from April found that younger and less affluent Americans felt more daily stress in general. Women reported higher rates than men in the APS survey; black and Hispanic Americans also registered higher levels of anxiety about the future than their white counterparts.” 
And this stress, in turn, has marked health impacts, again borne unequally by communities with less power. Still, it’s not just that families are ripped apart in immigration raids and that Latina mothers suffer higher rates of miscarriages—everyone following along with the cruelty at home is suffering too. 
In the spring, Pew polled Americans asking them to describe how Trump’s comments and statements made them feel. 
The top seven responses, in descending order? They felt concerned (76 percent), confused (70 percent), embarrassed (69 percent), exhausted (67 percent), angry (65 percent), insulted (62 percent), and frightened (56 percent). 
In the Washington Post, William Wan and Lindsey Bever write that “Researchers have begun to identify correlations between Trump’s election and worsening cardiovascular health, sleep problems, anxiety and stress, especially among Latinos in the United States.” 
In other words, it’s not just that Trump is wasting our time and mental space; he’s also making us physically ill. 
Buried in there is part of the answer to the age-old question of whether Donald Trump’s words—packed with lies and hubris and threats—really have any force. 
Given that those words are likely not to be truthful, we may not need to take them literally or seriously, as the formulation goes. But meaningless or gibberish or lies or all three, his words still make us anxious, worried, and stressed. 
As Ford notes, it’s not just the opportunity cost of what we could be doing with our time, though I could have learned to be a master baker in the time I’ve spent chronicling the outrages of this administration. 
The actual physical and mental toll being taken is even worse than what my family has missed out in chocolate amaretto soufflés. 
The actual psychic toll on our mental health is crippling. The lost sleep, the grinding anxiety, the escalating fears don’t just represent squandered time. They start to chip away at your health and at your soul. 
The healthy response would be to tune it out altogether, but since actual people are actually suffering the brutal consequences, we cannot. 
And so here we are back in the narcissist’s loop, fueling his need to be at the center because, well, there he is at the center.I have been writing about Trump burnout for a while now, but I confess that this summer has been harder, both because the cruelty we once dreaded and feared is manifestly occurring all around us every day and because vast numbers of our friends and neighbors are either exulting in it or sidelining themselves as a result of what Vox, waaaay back in 2017 once dubbed “Trump fatigue syndrome,” a kind of fugue state involving numbness, burnout, and a corresponding loss of reality. 
This is then doubly concerning, because in addition to being jealous of these people’s newfound freedom, as Nesrine Malik writes, for the Guardian, the real jeopardy of authoritarianism starts with fatigue. 
Moral seriousness seems to require being aware enough of the chaos everywhere that you accept being punched in the mouth with it every day. 
The email I have received most often this summer goes something like this: “I am doing too much. I am not doing enough.” The same can be said for all of us. Self-care in the form of manicures and time with the kids isn’t making a dent in it. 
And if one stops to think about the cumulative effect of gerrymandering, election interference, vote suppression, and a president signaling that he will not concede even if he loses in 2020, pinning all hopes in the next election feels one notch more sanguine than we can afford to be. 
So, Donald Trump, who just in the past two days refused to visit Denmark because it wouldn’t sell Greenland, tossed an anti-Semitic canard out to see how it landed on American Jews, retweeted a conspiracy theorist who claims Trump is the king of the Jews, reversed himself on gun policy and payroll taxes, and mulled ending birthright citizenship by way of executive order, just keeps on trucking. No check in sight. 
Don McGahn is not going to do anything to stop him, Congress is not going to do anything to stop him, Senate Republicans are not going to do anything to stop him, and Sean Spicer is on Dancing With the Stars. Cold comfort perhaps, but if you don’t feel that you are losing your damn mind, something would be profoundly wrong with you. We are all doing too much. And we are all also not doing enough. And there is nothing wrong with you, beyond being a human being in categorically insane times.
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Trump Is A Blatant Anti-Semite

So when Trump claims that Jews have not just dual loyalties, but that, in fact, their primary loyalty lies elsewhere, it’s hard to ignore. IfNotNow, a progressive Jewish group that has been protesting Trump’s immigration policies, told Newsweek that “this is an explicit dual loyalty charge wielded by the President of the United States against 80% of American Jews who voted against him. It is not [merely] an antisemitic dog whistle—it’s a bullhorn to his white nationalist base.” Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, again attempting to decipher what exactly Trump was talking about, while knowing it was nothing good, told the Hill: “At a time when anti-Semitic incidents have increased—due to the president’s emboldening of white nationalism—Trump is repeating an anti-Semitic trope. If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check.”
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Trump's Lunacy Is Blazingly Clear -- He Needs To Be Removed

Rick Wilson:
The subtle meter in Americans’ brains that tracks the degree to which the universe seems off its axis has been in a state of constant flux since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, but this week the needle slammed hard into the peg on the right side of the gauge. 
Red warning lights are flashing across Washington as even the now-typical levels of uncertainty and political chaos reach epic proportions. It’s almost as if we need a recalibration of the insanity of the Trump era, a new set of definitions about what comprises normal presidential behavior. 
 This week wasn’t just the usual Trump performance art; it was a new, strange and somewhat frightening level of antic. Even his allies whispered to reporters that perhaps the stress brought on by the prospect of an economic downturn was getting to him. With no adult supervision in the White House left — and no, Ivanka doesn’t count — this is a man on the edge, and there is absolutely nothing and no one to stop him. 
...the answer is absolutely terrifying, no elected Republican wants to admit the truth. What we’re seeing is the real Trump, the unfiltered maniac, not the man who is occasionally chained to a teleprompter and forced to read Kellyanne Conway’s work product aloud. His sweaty, heavy-breathing press sprays on the White House lawn left reporters in a state of stunned silence, the spittle-flecked rantings of a man determined to machine-gun out a hundred ideas in the time a rational person would discuss two. 
We started off with Jewish disloyalty — which, of course, functional agnostic Donald Trump knows only because he “wants them counting his money” — and jumped to the grand plan to conquer Greenland and seize America North from the hands of the perfidious Danes. 
The Greenland story would be an SNL skit if it wasn’t so utterly real. Denmark, a close ally for decades, was having none of Trump’s crazy on this one, which of course, set off another round of presidential rage. Calling millions of Jews disloyal to their county because of their political preference sounds...familiar, and not in a good way. 
His manic anger at Jews, Denmark, the media (naturally) and the Federal Reserve was a bizarre prelude to the G7 conference this weekend, but remarkably, those didn’t even represent the top of the spectrum of nuttiness.
Here’s a pointer I can tell you from 30 years now in politics: When an elected official declares himself to be “The Chosen One” or agrees that he’s the “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God," it’s not time for a re-election campaign; it’s time for an extended, quiet stay with the nice men in white coats. 
If you wanted an example of pure, uncut fiscal insanity, take a quick look at the U.S. budget deficit and our skyrocketing national debt. Trump, the self-proclaimed “King of Debt,” is eager for Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell to unleash another tidal wave of “free” money into the economy by loosening the reins of the money supply. 
Trump desires this not because he gives a damn about the economy or the American people, but because he certainly gives a damn about his re-election chances. 
The weird week ended on the most bizarre note of all. In a moment when Trump’s absurd and failed trade war with China collided with his absurd and failed war with Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell, Trump issued two tweets that left Washington and the world scratching their collective heads. 
Trump asked in a tweet whether the bigger enemy of America was Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi or Powell. Of the Fed. He really did. 
Spoiler alert, Mr. President: If the person in question is ordering the savage beatings and arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong and holding a million Uighurs in concentration camps, the bigger enemy is always that guy. 
Not satisfied in clowning himself with that one, Trump then lowered the bar again and proceeded to jump under it when he said “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China...” 
Really, comrade? Is that part of the Five-Year Plan? How's the beet harvest looking this year? Will the Stakhanovite efforts of the peoples’ vanguard at Comrade Newton Leroy Gingrich Heavy Machinery Plant 14 in the Wisconsin Oblast meet the tractor quota? 
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when I was told reliably that picking winners and losers in the economy and the president trying to decide what companies should and shouldn’t produce was very, very wrong. A Republican or two may — just may — have said that about Barack Obama. 
Now? Trump’s tweet was greeted with a silent grimace from the dying band of free-market conservatives but a loud shout from the Trumpentariat. 
What used to be the party of free markets and free trade now gives raucous cheers for Chairman Trump’s trade wars and for state control of capitalist enterprises. Sure, Richard Nixon flirted with wage and price controls. 
He never blurted out orders on where American companies could build their factories. Although he’s eager to frame the coming recession as either fake news or the fault of the hated liberal media, the growing risk of an economic slowdown seems to be bothering Trump enormously. 
He can’t face that his own behavior is a meaningful contributor to the next slump. 
At no point have we had a president who combines both the blazing ignorance of fundamental economic principles — not just conservative economic principles but any economic principles — with an inclination toward authoritarianism and statism and a dash of madness. 
Nothing about the week we just lived through is comforting. Nothing about it can be excused or ignored. Donald Trump is not a well man. 
Here in the dog days of August, Washington should be its usual sleepy self, the political class having wisely fled the humidity and misery of D.C. Instead, Trump’s performance left people both inside and out of the political class wondering about the president’s sanity and fitness for office. 
Most states have some form of involuntary commitment law for people who are a danger to themselves and others. In my home state of Florida, it’s called the Baker Act, and I’ve seen it applied to run of the mill folks up to state legislators. It only takes a competent family member and one other adult to get the ball rolling on Baker Acting someone. So I’m thinking about Trump’s next visit to Mar-A-Lago. Melania, call me.

Also, just fuck the GOP for letting this madness continue as long as it has.
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Right-Wing billionaire David Koch Dead-- He Was Supremely Evil

Right-wing billionaire David Koch died on Friday and like so many other people who have died and wielded influence over our society, there is the desire to immediately whitewash their record and play up the good they supposedly did. 
Meanwhile we’re just supposed to sweep their malevolence under the table and definitely don’t mention it in polite company. That’s nonsense. 
David Koch, along with his brother Charles, control Koch Industries. Koch is a multinational industrial mega-corporation. Among its many brands the most well-known is Georgia-Pacific. Koch Industries is one of the worst polluters in American history. 
Over its 79 years of existence, Koch Industries have polluted the land all across America, pursuing financial gain for the Kochs and their families over the long-term health of the planet. 
In 2000, Koch settled with the government and paid a $30 million fine for their practice of pollution, which set a record for the largest such fine in American history. The company was sued for over 300 oil spills across facilities in 6 states.
The company has a list of environmental violations affecting the lives of millions of people that goes on for years and years and years. Chlorine dioxide chemical leak (2014), 17,000 gallons of crude spilled (2013), sending toxic dust into homes, soil and groundwater contamination, releasing hazardous chemicals including benzene, hydrogen cyanide, releasing millions of gallons of toxic paper mill waste (as much as 45 million gallons per day). 
The company also illegally removed oil from federal and Indian lands. 
It just goes on and on and on. Violation of the public trust, the Earth, and human health and safety, all so David Koch could line his pockets with billions of dollars. 
In the process, he also donated money to ballets and museums. He even supported criminal justice reform. So what? 
The man and his brother were and are a malign influence on our society. The actions they engaged in are the worst sort of evil. 
They give those who purportedly support capitalism a bad name, because capitalism simply does not have to be this evil. 
The Kochs chose this evil path to pad their bank accounts. Why make 40 cents when you can make a dollar? So what if the ground is poisoned and children and families get sick and hurt? Who cares, right? 
And yes, on top of all their gross defilement of the environment and our communities, the Kochs poured billions into American politics. 
They backed policies like limiting how many people have access to health care, cutting taxes for the super-rich (like them), limiting government oversight of polluters (like them), and backing a whole host of policies designed to keep people like the Kochs wealthy while stomping on the faces of everyone else.  
David Koch should be remembered for being evil and to hopefully remind others – because most like him are beyond conscience – that society will and should judge you for the life you lived, so it’s best to live a good and moral life instead of one like David Koch’s.

Oddly, this article doesn't even mention the horrible anti-climate change, anti-climate action agenda that the Koch's took, that have put the entire planet on the brink of crisis in the service of enriching themselves and a few other fossil fuel billionaires.
If ratcheting up inequality were all the Kochs did, they would still be arch-villains. But the Koch brothers’ businesses from fossil fuel extraction and refining to petrochemical and fertilizer production all rely on being able to emit carbon pollution with abandon. In the 1990s, as the world moved toward an awakening on climate change and the need to address it, the Koch machine moved to block any regulations or price on carbon that would cut into their profits by funding doubt and denial. 
Greenpeace estimates the brothers spent $127 million from 1997 to 2017 funding 92 organizations that muddied the waters on climate change, a move that helped make international efforts to combat climate change, like the Kyoto Protocol, worthless. They funded a network of overlapping climate denial organizations to kill a 2009 bill that would have created a cap and trade system, a very business-friendly climate solution they rejected on principle. 
Now David Koch is dead. And he will never have to live with the consequences of his actions... 
Ditto for the other largely anonymous small cadre of conservative billionaires and fossil fuel executives who have peddled climate denial over the years all while making the problem worse by extracting more poison from the ground and putting it in the atmosphere. 
They’ll likely die long before things get really bleak, and the profits they made as one of the biggest market failures in human history will almost certainly ensure their descendants are insulated from the worst impacts. 
If David Koch and his brother hadn’t funded denial—as Charles is likely to continue to do—it’s possible that the world would have taken steps to drawdown carbon pollution decades ago. 
If the world began cutting emissions in 2000, it would have had to do so at a rate of 4 percent per year to keep warming under the 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold. 
Starting today means “monumental” cuts. If we don’t do anything for 10 years, we’re in deep trouble. All the funding Koch kicked in for arts and cancer research won’t matter if the world burns down, a thing that’s actively happening to the Amazon rainforest on the same week he passed away. 
Thanks, Koch brothers! Thanks, Koch brothers! 
David Koch will never have to watch the world struggle to climb the steepening curve he helped propel into existence. And he’ll never have to live with the consequences if we don’t. If the world misses the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, the impacts will be severe. Coral will likely disappear. Large swaths of island nations could become uninhabitable by midcentury. Millions of more people who rely on rainfed agriculture will face hunger as the weather becomes more erratic. Livelihoods will disappear. Societies will vanish. People, in short, will die.
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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Downfall of the American Republic

This is a long but quite good piece from Andrew Sullivan (who I normally despise), reviewing the rise and fall of the Roman empire and then US politics over the past 100 years or so.

Key bit here:

It does seem clear we no longer liven a truly free society, and certainly we're living in a major dystopia...
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Jeffrey Epstein Suicided

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