Thursday, December 31, 2020

Defund the Police Is a Bogus Slogan: Let's Fire Bad Cops! Instead

A while back Barack Obama made many Democrats and liberal pundits angry by criticizing the Defund the police slogan employed by many activists after Minneapolis cops murdered George Floyd in cold blood.

Obama said:

“You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” Obama told Peter Hamby, who hosts Good Luck America, a Snapchat political show. “The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?”

Obama is right: Democrats would have done better in House and Senate races if activists had come up with a better slogan, one that didn't require a long drawn-out explanation.
The problem with Defund the police is not that it's a snappy slogan, it's a totally stupid slogan. It doesn't really get at the root of the problem, which is arrogant racists who, under color of authority, assault and murder the citizens paying their salaries.

Clearly, someone has to respond when burglars, rapists, muggers, and wife-beaters commit crimes. These responders are called police. These responders have to be paid. 
When you say Defund the police you immediately have to explain that you don't mean that police departments will get zero dollars, you really mean that their various functions should be redistributed among other departments, there should be better citizen oversight, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Defund the police as a slogan is therefore stupid, self-contradictory, meaningless and totally impractical from the get-go.

A good slogan is clear, concise and requires no explanation. A good slogan is one that no reasonable person can disagree with. Make America great again doesn't require explanation, and it's not all that disagreeable except through its connection to that loser Trump.
Black lives matter requires no explanation. Some disagree with it, thinking that it somehow elevates Blacks above others, and respond angrily with, All lives matter.
No justice, no peace, a slogan from an earlier era, is viewed by some as threatening, but it's completely in line with American traditions like the Boston Tea Party, and echoes the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

A better slogan would address the real problem with policing, which is police who aren't held accountable when they abuse their authority. Something along the lines of Fire bad cops, or the rhyming variant No justice, no peace, no racist police.

There's a lot of talk about dismantling the "systemic racism" of police departments, but these days there aren't many laws on the books that explicitly target Blacks, like the old segregation laws.
Th real problem is that laws are selectively enforced by officers who act with impunity, protected by corrupt police unions. They target Black and Hispanic kids for smoking weed, while letting white kids off the hook. They patrol "high crime areas" (i.e., Black neighborhoods), stopping Blacks for loitering, vagrancy, and minor traffic infractions like rolling stops, improper lane changes and and burnt-out taillights, while ignoring the same violations in white neighborhoods.
Take a couple of recent examples: Breanna Taylor, a Black woman, died when cops broke into her apartment and killed her. Meanwhile, the Nashville bomber's girlfriend told police he was making bombs in his RV, and when cops politely knocked on his door, they just gave up he didn't answer. Is there any doubt that they would have crashed in right then and there had he been Black or Muslim?

Cities pay millions upon millions of dollars each year to citizens whose rights have been violated by bad cops. And these bad cops stay on the job because the police department can't fire them: they have numerous civil service protections and union contracts that tie the hands of city officials.

All too frequently police unions are the problem, rather than police departments. One example is the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) in Englewood, NJ. It kicked out several Black cops after they supported the police chief who cracked down on racist cops who sleep on the job.

The president of the Minneapolis police union, Bob Kroll, illustrates how corrupt some police unions are:

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by now-former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin, few have been inclined to defend Chauvin or his colleagues who stood by and watched as he suffocated Floyd to death. Few, that is, except Bob Kroll.

In a letter to membership, Kroll — the president of the MPD’s police union — referred to protesters outraged by police brutality as a “terrorist movement” and defended the officers who killed Floyd and were subsequently fired, arguing they were “terminated without due process” and lamenting, “What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd.” (Floyd had a criminal record, but mostly for nonviolent drug and theft charges.)
Hey, Bob: it was actually George Floyd who was terminated without due process.
Scott Walker destroyed the public sector unions in Wisconsin, but not police unions. That's because Republicans, who constantly do everything they can to undercut the power of the working man by dismantling unions, have made an unholy alliance with the police. 
Republicans depend on the police to enforce the racial hierarchy -- that's the real "order" Republicans are referring to when they say "law and order."

So, to all you sloganeers out there: come up with a snappy way to say Eliminate Corrupt Police Unions!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Religion of the Right

The conservative of 2020 has turned worship of ME into a bona fide religion. They don't get the concept of WE or what it means to be in a society where we have to depend on each other. They have tapped into their inner adolescent rage against authority and made any sort of group work into communism. 

They are the ultimate teenager who DOESN'T WANNA! And BLOWS EVERYTHING OUT OF PROPORTION WITH EXAGGERATION!! Working together as a society becomes slavery in totalitarianism. 

To get a clearer picture of this selfishness on steroids, read this

And this. 

This would be why the rest of the world looks at us and wonders what FREEDUMB is...

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Do The Hard and Tedious Work

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the outrage crowd on social media and how they consistently are counterproductive to their goal of equity (gender, race, sexual orientation). And, of late, public health. They employ strategies that never work. Why? 

Because their goals are different from what actual woke people want and are willing to sacrifice for. That’s why I call them fake woke. Their core goal is similar to an actor putting on a play. They want to turn out a good performance to impress like-minded people on social media. 

The right chastises this as “virtue signaling” but I think it’s far worse. It’s demonstrably corrosive to the causes I’ve dedicated my life and career to. So, to the “actors” out there, turn your passion into the work you are avoiding that our country needs you to do. 

Become a teacher, run for office, organize a group to lobby and petition the government. It won’t be easy and it will be long and sometimes tedious. But it’s what works.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Election Fraud in Federal Court

Re: Kevin Baker's latest post about election fraud.

If you are someone like Kevin who believes the myth that Democrats stole the 2020 election, please kindly cite your evidence that you would be willing to use in federal court to support your assertion. Remember, you can get in very serious trouble lying in a federal court. It's not a little blog that allows you to spout irrational nonsense. It's where grown-ups do business. 

No evidence? Nothing? Bueller? 

Then you are lying merely because you are butthurt about your guy losing. There is nothing more to this election than this:

Trump was an incompetent buffoon who literally killed Americans and the people voted him out.  

Now, go read Leon Festinger's When Prophecy Fails and learn from your cognitive dissonance. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

The Conservative Case for Abortion

It is high time the Right takes back the abortion issue and stops letting bleeding heart liberals like Pope Francis dictate our agenda.

First and foremost, Big Government should not be dictating what people do with their bodies. Government bureaucrats shouldn’t be able to prevent women from having abortions any more than they should take our guns away.

Second, let us dispense with the idea that an unborn fetus is “innocent.” The doctrine of Original Sin is well-established in Christianity, and it states that all descendants of Adam are as guilty as he was for eating the forbidden fruit. The unborn are guilty as sin, just like everyone else.

Now let us get down to cases.

Pregnancies resulting from sins should be freely terminated.

In instances of rape, you cannot allow a rapist to get away with impregnating a woman and forcing her to bear his child. It’s tantamount to slavery. Children born of such demonseed cannot be loved by their mothers, and society cannot be forced to support such children. And do we really want the children of rapists roaming the streets, destined to repeat their fathers’ sins?

Similarly, in pregnancies resulting from fornication, abortion must always be allowed. You cannot have Big Government forcing your daughters to bear the children of low-life boyfriends who can’t keep their dicks in their pants. And again, do we really want more children in our schools who are genetically predisposed to having casual unprotected sex, seducing our sons and daughters?

This is especially important in “urban America.” We have far too many welfare queens getting knocked up and then coming to Big Government for handouts to support their bastards.

People should be held responsible for their actions, and if they can’t afford to support their children, they shouldn’t have them. There’s a strong case for requiring abortions for unwed pregnancies, but we don’t want Big Government having too much control.

Pregnancies from adultery are even worse. No husband should be forced to support the bastard of a man who banged his wife. It would pile insult upon injury. The husband must be able to demand an abortion if the child is not his. This is literally in the Bible! (See below.)

And even if the child is the husband’s, an unexpected child can totally decimate a family’s finances. Liberals want everyone to have health insurance, but that’s just a Big Government pipe dream. The reality is that not everyone can afford the expense of nine months of pregnancy, which often prevents the wife from working and results in lost income in addition to the expenses, and then an expensive hospital delivery, perhaps requiring cesarean section and a lengthy hospital stay.

Bearing a child to term is far more dangerous than having an abortion: a woman is 14 times more likely to die in natural childbirth than to die from complications of an abortion. It is immoral for Big Government to risk killing a woman — leaving her husband bereft and her children motherless — for an unwanted child. 

Also, bearing children does a number on a woman’s body. It is excruciatingly painful, often requires procedures such as episiotomy, and can cause weight gain and stretch marks. Do you really want Big Government forcing you and your wife to go through that for a kid you never wanted? 

And then there are the expenses of having a child. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to house, feed and clothe a child for 18 years. We can’t let Big Government force us to do that if we don’t want to. It is an unfair tax. 

You know, accidents happen. Condoms break. Women forget to take their pills. The rhythm method ain’t perfect. 

Unwanted pregnancies put a huge strain on marriages, often resulting in divorce. Children change everything in a marriage. If a couple isn’t ready for a child, why should Big Government get involved and force them to have it right then and there?  

Another way of looking at an accidental pregnancy is as an assault on your property rights. If a vagrant randomly wanders into your house and starts eating your food and taking your money, you have the right to shoot them.

It’s the same with an unwanted pregnancy: it’s an invader in your wife’s womb, threatening your entire economic future, eating your food and taking your money. You have the right to defend your property from such an invasion with any necessary force, even if it happened by accident. 

Conservatives used to support abortion rights. But then that phony Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan — who was a Democrat and president of SAG, the liberal actors union — conned conservatives into opposing abortion so that they could leverage single-issue Catholic and evangelical voters. 

Do conservatives really want to abandon their principles for a few votes from papists and religious nut jobs who think the Second Coming is just around the corner? 

Because even the Bible doesn’t prohibit abortion: Exodus 21:22-25 makes it clear that the fetus is not a person, but the property of the husband: “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.” 

That is literally the passage immediately preceding “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” 

In fact, the Bible prescribes abortion in cases of adultery: Numbers 5:16-22 describes how a priest should curse a suspected adulteress to force a miscarriage with “bitter water.” The ancients knew how to induce an abortion and approved of doing so.

For too long conservatives have let liberals dictate what we stand for, by our automatic inclination to oppose everything that liberals support. 

Conservatives stand for the right to bear arms. We stand for the death penalty. We have the right to assassinate terrorists wherever we find them. We have the right to defend our homes and property with deadly force. We can’t let Big Government whimper about innocent unborn lives and dictate what our wives and daughters do with their bodies. 

If we can defend our property with deadly force from living, breathing burglars who have wives and children, certainly we can protect our marriages and economic futures from zygotes nobody wants that aren’t even real people.


Clearly I do not agree with most of the sentiments outlined here. What this argument demonstrates is that conservative opposition to abortion is not about principle, it's about opportunism.

There is no morality or ethics in modern conservative thought. Their arguments and mindset can be used to justify pretty much anything. 

Conservatives' rabid support for Donald Trump, a man totally lacking in honor, loyalty and concern for the public good and the future of this nation, demonstrate how utterly corrupt they have become.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The right needs to stop falsely claiming that the Nazis were socialists

Great piece by Ronald J. Granieri from last February. It breaks down the complete nonsense of the Nazis being leftists. 

I get it, right-wingers. It's very overwhelming for you when you get upset at the left. You like to create drama. But this is just out and out lying. Further, it obfuscates the actual authoritarianism of the right. Goebbels 101.

Liberals and moderates need to go on offense with this stuff. Pummel the right for being the obvious dictators they want to be. Never let up. More stuff like Moscow Mitch! 

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Fucking Hammer

There has been a lot of talk lately about coming together and looking at each other not as liberals or conservatives but as Americans. My interest in doing this begins when conservatives in our country own their insane bullshit. 

The facts are that they are in a cult and have spent the better part of three decades demonizing liberals. They have done a great job of getting people to believe that “both sides” are just as bad and there are such things as “alternative facts.” They have actively worked to erode faith in our institutions for the express intent of holding on to their slipping power. 

If they take responsibility for all this crap, I’m more than willing to address the minor transgressions of the left (cancel culture, partisan spin). Until then, they get the hammer.

Every. Single. Day.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Rudy Melts Down Amid Republican Campaign to Disenfranchise Voters

In trying to steal the 2020 election, the Trump campaign must be getting tired of all that losing. A conservative Republican Pennsylvania judge just tossed out Trump's case, ridiculing Trump's legal team. In particular, Rudy Giuliani is doing an absolutely abysmal job while literally melting down.

The Trump campaign’s main argument challenges an email that Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar sent to county-level voting officials, encouraging those officials to “provide information to party and candidate representatives during the pre-canvass that identifies the voters whose ballots have been rejected,” so that those voters can be notified that they made an error while submitting those ballots, and will have the opportunity to cure that error.

As it turns out, not all counties took this advice. The Trump campaign claims that Philadelphia, a Democratic stronghold, notified voters that they needed to cure errors in their absentee ballots, while county officials in Republican-leaning counties did not. Thus, the campaign claims, absentee ballots cast in Biden-friendly Philadelphia were more likely to be counted than ballots cast in more Trump-friendly regions of the state — and this discrepancy amounts to unconstitutional discrimination.

The judge dismissed this argument as total crap. The Republican officials who didn't allow ballot curing were the ones doing the unconstitutional discrimination: suppressing Democratic votes to steal the election. 

Trump has been doing everything in his power to discourage Republicans from voting by mail, encouraging them to vote in person on election day (and to vote twice, causing even more mayhem and confusion on election day). That means absentee ballots are going to skew Democratic. 

Republican county officials refused to allow absentee ballots to be "cured," knowing that they were more than likely to be Democratic.

There's nothing at all wrong with curing ballots. It's done all the time: when you vote in person your ballot is run through the tabulator, and if there are any inconsistencies the machine spits it out and you get a new ballot. This is almost always innocent: for example, accidentally voting for two judges in the same race, which is really easy to do when there are like 20 judge races, most of which only have one candidate.

Republican officials -- intentionally disregarding instructions from the secretary of state -- prevented voters from fixing erroneous mail-in ballots stole votes from people who made trivial clerical errors.

Those Republican officials should be prosecuted for disenfranchising voters. But, like always, the Republicans are trying to their own crimes to their advantage.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Radical New Democratic Ideas


Is this the world that the "far-left" wants? OMGGG!!!!!!! Hide the women and children. Evil is about to reign down on all of us. Soon we will be floating in a boiling pit of sewage...

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Year 2020

2020 has been labeled many things but the simple fact is that it will be remembered for the year that alternative facts literally killed Americans. 

And our national obsession with “both sides” let those responsible (conservatives) off the hook.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

What I Wish Would Happen, What Actually Happens

What I Wish Would Happen: 
-Facts are presented. 
-People change their minds based on reality. 
-People are more enlightened and humanity progresses 

What Actually Happens: 

-Facts are presented. 
-People experience cognitive dissonance and feel personally attacked. 
-People dig into their beliefs, refused to be enlightened and we don’t progress.

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Guide On The Side

With much of the country steeped in distance learning, an inherent flaw in our education system has been exposed. This flaw is one of perception by the general public and has unfortunately been fueled by many in the field of education. In fact, it's a belief that needs to be extinguished. Here it is... 

The responsibility of education lies solely with educators. In fact, it lies primarily with parents and the scholars themselves. 

If neither takes this responsibility seriously or understand how to assume this responsibility, then school officials face a losing battle. 

This is what we need to teach the families of our country. Teach your children at the earliest age possible to take control of their learning. Devote time to supporting them in this endeavor. Show them successful ways to learn and be good scholars. 

And educators, you aren't the "Sage on the Stage." You should be the Guide on the Side. That's what leads to more successful scholars. They need to own it. So do their parents. Give them the space to do that. 

If we don't burst this myth and change our course, we will have serious problems with people who can't function for themselves in our culture.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Problem with Polling

There's a lot of handwringing in the press about polls that indicated Joe Biden would win by a larger margin than he actually did:

While the polls generally underestimated Trump, the errors were more acute in some states. In Wisconsin, which has mostly completed its count, Biden won by seven-tenths of a percentage point, 49.6 percent to 48.9 percent. But that’s after taking an 8.4-point lead into Election Day in the FiveThirtyEight average.

Other states where the polls missed: Ohio, where Trump had an advantage of 0.8 points in the FiveThirtyEight average, currently shows an 8.2-point lead for Trump in the vote count. In Florida, preelection polls showed Biden up by an average of 2.5 points, suggesting the Democrat had a slight edge in an election he’s currently trailing by 3.2 points.

There were some polls that hit the mark in those states. Trafalgar Group, which says it tries to account for respondents who lie to pollsters about their support for Trump, performed well in Wisconsin (Biden +1 in their last poll) and Florida (Trump +2). But the firm also released other polls that overstated Trump’s position, like a survey in too-close-to-call Georgia that showed Trump leading by 5 points, and one in Michigan that gave Trump a slight edge in a state he lost by 3 points.

Still, the more common miss for public pollsters was in the other direction. The ABC News/Washington Post poll in October showing Biden ahead by 17 in Wisconsin got a lot of ink as an outlier, but the problems were more pervasive than that. The final New York Times/Siena College polls in Wisconsin and Florida had Biden up 11 points and 6 points, respectively.

There are lots of theories as to why this is the case. Some theorize that Trump voters are "shy;" which is the politically correct way of saying that Trump voters are ashamed to admit they support such a morally and ethically corrupt scumbag.

Others say that Trump voters are just plain liars, trying to screw with the polls. Which doesn't really make any sense, because nothing ticks off Trump more than bad poll numbers.

The most likely reason, though, is what I've been saying for years: likely voters just don't answer their phones when pollsters call. Why would they? It's been at least a decade since I gave up answering the phone when I get a call from a number I don't recognize.

Before VOIP dialing technology made telephone spam calls the plague of the Internet age, I used to answer the phone. And back in the day I answered some political preference polls. 
But that brings up another issue: the polls themselves. The problem is that so many polls are dishonest "push polls." They aren't legitimate attempts by a news organization to find out how you plan to vote. They're run by political hacks who ask misleading questions packed with lies in an attempt to influence your vote.

The real question about polls in this election cycle is whether people were ashamed about voting for Trump and lied about it, or whether polling in general is just not working anymore. I think it's the latter, because so many polls got House and Senate races wrong too.
News organizations and political campaigns are seriously worried about whether polling is completely broken. Polls are useful for telling the general mood of the country, which is important for business as well as governance. Campaigns definitely need them to decide where to spend money.
But because legitimate polling organizations can't get through to a representative sample of the electorate, I think phone-based polling is done for.

It's likely that polling will be replaced by measuring people's online habits: their search engine queries, what Twitter feeds they follow, what Facebook posts they click on and share, what news sites they visit, etc. 
Which means the opinions of people who aren't online won't be measured, which includes the elderly and certain minority groups.
That also means that our online lives will be under even more scrutiny, and companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter will have even more power. 

Given what havoc Twitter and Facebook have wreaked on our lives these last five years, with all the evil misinformation and outright lies spread through them on the election and the pandemic, this is not a Good Thing.

Unless we all delete our Twitter and Facebook accounts, we are going to be one very unhappy and dysfunctional country.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Dear Democrats...

Democrats, the core goal of Republicans and conservatives is to get you to hand wring through trolling. That’s how they get you to put yourselves in losing positions. It’s a specific strategy. 

So, when you get shit for the lack of a blue wave (even though we still don’t know how things are going to clarify over the next few weeks), don’t fall for it. Be reflective, make changes but don’t fall back into running from a position of apology. That’s just what they want you to do because they know it’s a loser. 

If the Democrats want to fix their problems, they should put the following four people in charge of the party. 

Pete Buttigieg 
Stacey Abrams 
Rachel Bitecofer 
Andrew Yang

Trump Intentionally Let the Pandemic Get Out of Control to Screw Up Voting by Mail

In June it took a week to count all the absentee ballots in the Pennsylvania primary. Back then everyone predicted that it would be worse in November.

It was also in June when Donald Trump appointed Louis DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser with huge conflicts of interest, to be postmaster general. Almost immediately DeJoy started sabotaging the post office's efficiency. He eliminated collection boxes. He got rid of automated sorting machines. He cut back on overtime.

Of course, the mail backed up. Thousands of chicks sent to Maine farmers died due to these delays.

In August Trump admitted he was intentionally screwing up voting by mail.

And to make sure that as many people voted by mail, Trump encouraged everyone to run around and spread the coronavirus. He wanted the pandemic to be out of control on election day, because he needed more Democrats to vote by mail. The crush of ballots would overwhelm the post office and the election judges who have to go through a complex process to handle them.

Meanwhile he encouraged Republicans to go out and vote in person. He even had the CDC declare that people infected with the coronavirus could break quarantine and vote in person.

In Missouri an election judge supervisor who had tested positive for COVID broke quarantine and worked at a polling site. She then died.

Now Trump is trying to stop the election count with another mountain of lies. He's trying to run out the clock on the election, falsely claiming that ballots postmarked but not counted on election day should not be counted.

That includes thousands of ballots that found sitting in post offices around the country the day after the election because the post office refused a court order to process them expeditiously.

This election was intentionally sabotaged by Trump and DeJoy. That is the fraud.

And what made that possible? An out-of-countrol epidemic that has killed 235,000 Americans. Trump is using misery and death from the coronavirus to steal this election.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Trump Strands Hundreds of Supporters in Freezing Cold, Seven Sent to Hospital

In a situation emblematic of his entire tenure, dozens of supporters at Donald Trump's rally in Omaha required medical attention after standing in the cold for hours:

By the time President Trump finished speaking to thousands of supporters at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield on Tuesday night and jetted away on Air Force One, the temperature had plunged to nearly freezing.

But as long lines of MAGA-clad attendees queued up for buses to take them to distant parking lots, it quickly became clear something was wrong.

The buses, the huge crowd soon learned, couldn’t navigate the jammed airport roads. For hours, attendees — including many elderly Trump supporters — stood in the cold as police scrambled to help those most at risk get to warmth.

Thirty people needed medical attention over the course of the rally, Omaha police spokesman Michael Pecha told The Washington Post on Wednesday. Seven were taken to hospitals “with a variety of medical conditions.” It was not immediately clear how many of those were related to the wait outside the venue.
Could it be any clearer? He holds a rally in a city that's got a 20% COVID positivity rate, which means hundreds of people at the rally are likely contagious, and even though the rally's outside, hundreds more will be infected because they were huddled together for hours waiting for buses and the virus is airborne.
How do you think he reacted when he heard about this?

"I don't take any responsibility. What a bunch of suckers and losers, freezing their asses off and exposing each other to COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID."

By the time Trump is gone we're going to have half a million dead from COVID, we will have spent trillions on medical treatment for the virus, our foreign policy will be in total disarray, our allies will have deserted us, we will have lost all gains we made in Afghanistan because Trump is surrendering to the Taliban, our farming and manufacturing economies will be in a shambles because of his moronic trade wars, and the positions of North Korea, China and Russia will all be strengthened because Trump is constantly kowtowing to dictators and cutting our allies loose and sending them to our enemies.

How Rich People Are Doing


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Corona Mike Is Coming To Town!

Wow. The level of sheer incompetence is mind-boggling.

At least five members of Mike Pence's staff, including the chief of staff, have come down with the coronavirus. This is the man Trump put in charge of the country's response to the pandemic, and now they're all infected.

To make it worse, Pence -- who has been exposed to these clowns -- is not quarantining. He's still running around the country, spreading the disease to aged Republican supporters at rallies.

Remember Typhoid Mary? Now we've got Corona Mike.

Now Trump's chief of staff tells us, "We’re not going to control the pandemic." Jesus Christ! Trump has just given up. The virus has beaten him. He's making no attempt whatsoever to prevent vulnerable populations -- that is, elderly white people who vote for Trump -- from being infected.

COVID-19 is at least 10 times more lethal than the flu. In nine months it has killed 224,000 Americans, while 8,000-20,000 die from the flu. By comparison about 40,000 people die per year in car crashes.

Remember when Trump told us that it would disappear like magic? That there would be no second wave? That only the big cities were going to be hit by the disease. Now North Dakota is a no-go hot zone for the coronavirus.

These are the same people who pretend to be pro-life. They are opposed to abortion. They are opposed to assisted suicide for people with terminal cancer. But they're just fine with Pence running around the country, spreading the coronavirus to supporters at fundraisers and rallies.

Trump and his cronies have all got high-priced doctors and access to the best health care and most advanced treatments in the world. So what if the suckers who attend the rallies, and the Secret Service personnel and waiters and janitors and security guards and drivers who make it all possible, get infected?

The Trump White House has nothing but contempt for the well-being of the people of this country. Countries like Taiwan and Japan are practically back to normal just through the "magic" of wearing masks. 

But Trump would rather egg on the militias to kidnap governors because they don't want to wear masks than do the simplest thing to slow down the spread of a potentially deadly disease.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Cultish Descent Into Madness

I'm hoping that someone is doing a study somewhere on the cultish descent into madness that we are seeing with conservatives in this country today. It reminds me a lot of what happened to my grandmother when she developed dementia in the last years of her life. Everything was someone else's fault, never her own. A great example of all of this is Kevin Baker's latest posts over at his blog. 

Today he has a post up that is full-on Russian propaganda which he easily laps up.  He also mentions "plots" by Facebook and Twitter to suppress it. Sorry, Kevin, those are private companies. They can do whatever they want, right? It's a good thing that they are finally acting responsibly in the weaponization of information. 

Wednesday he had something up about "Obamagate" which has made so little sense that it's not even being investigated. 

Then there was a post about how the right is actually peaceful and it's the left that is violent. That lie has recently been torpedoed with this arrest as well as the ADL's ongoing investigations

But the most shocking of all is a full-on embrace of an Islamic fundamentalist merely because she is saying bad things about liberals. I supposed I shouldn't be surprised given that he and his other cult members now embrace totalitarian states like Russia. 

Folks like Kevin and his crew have feared deprogramming for years. But maybe that's just what they need. A steady diet of fact-based media like Reuters, AP News, and the Christian Science Monitor for a few months. I think a ban or out and out blocking of all batshit crazy web sites that specifically weaponize information and turn people into cult members is also in order.  

The only demons out there are the ones they have made up. And Americans are literally paying with their lives for it. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Trump's American Carnage Hits His Own Supporters the Hardest

When Donald Trump ran for president he campaigned on the idea of "American carnage," that eight years of Obama had wrecked the country.

Yeah. Right. The stock market was at record highs. Unemployment was at record lows. Under Trump things just kept going in the direction that Obama had set them. Trump's economic successes were all built on the recovery made possible by George Bush's decision to bail out big business and Obama's careful stewardship of the country despite endless obstruction by Republicans in Congress.

The carnage started with Trump's endless trade wars. Thousands of businesses are struggling and millions of farmers are on the precipice now, holding on solely because of government aid they've been forced to take to survive. Trump thinks this will buy their votes, but how many farmers relish the idea of living on government hand-outs for another four years?

But this year the carnage has hit America with full force. Because of Trump's incompetent and malicious leadership, the coronavirus has killed 221,000 Americans, and eight million have been infected. The toll is more likely about 300,000, if you compare the excess deaths this year, direct and indirect from COVID-19.

For the people who made Trump's election possible the carnage started much sooner than that. The list of those who have been convicted or charged with all manner of crimes is very long: Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for numerous tax evasion and money laundering scams. Trump's national security advisor, Michael Flynn, for lying to the FBI about the Russians. Trump's campaign advisor, Roger Stone, for lying about Russia and Wikileaks. Trump's campaign advisor, Steve Bannon, for defrauding contributors to the private wall on the Mexican border. Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for lying to Congress and lying about paying off Trump's former mistresses. Trump campaign operatives Rick Gates, George Nader and George Papadopoulos, for various other crimes. Trump fundraiser, Elliot Broidy, who pleaded guilty to illegally lobbying for Chinese and Malaysian interests.

The list of for Trump appointees who have been fired or left in disgrace numbers literally in the hundreds, from Jeff Sessions, three chiefs of staff, the Mooch, John Bolton, Rick Perry, to Tom Price, etc., etc., etc. This administration has been the most unstable and chaotic in American history.

And we can't forget Herman Cain, one of Trump's few black supporters, who caught COVID-19 campaigning for Trump and promptly died.

But it's not just Trump's direct hires and surrogates who have crashed and burned. Many of Trump's loyal followers, regular Americans, have committed crimes either in Trump's name, or prompted by his rabble rousing. 

There was Cesar Sayoc, a big Trump supporter, who sent pipe bombs to Trump critics. There was Patrick Crusius, who killed 22 people in an El Paso Walmart. There are literally dozens more documented cases of attackers citing Trump directly as the motivation for their assaults and crimes. On a less deadly note, there was Cheryl Hall, a big Trump supporter, who was charged with voter registration fraud in Florida.

Then there's the recent high-profile conspiracy in which 14 men were arrested for plotting to kidnap the governors of Michigan (Gretchen Whitmer) and Virginia (Ralph Northam). Trump has tweeted numerous times against measures these governors had taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus, broadcasting to the world his support for attacks on these governors. After the arrests Trump did what he always does: tried to pin his own crimes on his enemies by claiming Whitmer was the one inciting terrorism.

It's like a mob boss accusing the FBI of murder when he kills their informant. "Hey, if you hadn't gotten him to squeal he'd still be alive!"

Then there's case of Randal Thom, who is a living metaphor for the disaster of the Trump years:

A southwestern Minnesota man whose passionate support for President Donald Trump took him to dozens of political events around the country and recently to the White House was killed in a highway crash while returning from a political celebration in Florida.

Randal J. Thom, 60, of Lakefield died in a collision shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday on Hwy. 169 north of St. Peter, the State Patrol said. Thom was driving his minivan south and hit a pickup truck that also was heading south, the patrol said.

Evidence of recent alcohol use by Thom was detected at the scene, according to the patrol. Thom was not wearing a seat belt, the patrol added.
The other driver, James A. Mollenhauer, 67, of nearby Le Sueur, survived his injuries and was taken to a Mankato hospital. 
This guy was driving drunk down the highway, practically hollering "I don't need no fucking seat belt!" and he got himself killed, almost killing another man.

Donald Trump has been holding meetings at the White House and rallies across the country, yelling, "I don't need no fucking face mask," and he got himself infected with the coronavirus along with hundreds or thousands of others at his meetings and rallies. Eight million Americans have been infected because of his stupidity, and hundreds of thousands are dead, and in the end the bill for this disaster will be over $16 trillion.

Meanwhile, countries like New Zealand and Japan have basically to returned to life as normal.  
In Japan a movie opened in theaters to the biggest box office in history. All because the Japanese government and people took the coronavirus seriously, acted quickly and decisively and together, and wore -- and continue to wear -- masks in public.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Trump's Coronavirus Immunity Is Another Lie

Donald Trump makes a habit of getting other people to do his work for him. His supporters claim he's a genius for his tax avoidance scams, but he didn't actually do his own taxes. He hires guys (usually short ones wearing yarmulkes) to do his taxes. 

According to his own sister, Trump had someone else take the SATs to get him into Penn.

And Trump has a long history of getting other people to finance shaky projects, like his casinos, when he declared bankruptcy and left his investors holding the bag while he earned millions.

That's not smart. That's criminal.

Trump has been parading around the country after his bout with the coronavirus, claiming that he's immune even as the virus was still in his system, exposing everyone he came into contact with. 

And it's not even true that being infected with the coronavirus makes you immune: viruses mutate (which is why there's a new flu vaccine every year), and there are already numerous cases where people have been reinfected with the coronavirus.

Trump's idolators think he's got some kind of god-like immune system. Needing oxygen to breathe and being rushed to the hospital in a helicopter doesn't sound very god-like. But like everything with Trump it's a lie: he got someone else to do the work.

He announced his diagnosis early on Oct. 2, and a test did not pick up any antibodies in his blood, according to a report released by his physician, Dr. Sean Conley.

The lack of antibodies that early in the course of illness is not unusual. It can take from 10 days to three weeks for powerful antibodies to surface.

“If he had tested positive, then we would know for sure that he has his own antibodies,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

“Since he was antibody-negative, it is less likely but not ruled out,” he added. “He could have been in the early stage of generating his own antibodies.” (Dr. Barouch is an investigator for Regeneron’s trial of the cocktail for preventing coronavirus infections.)

On Oct. 2, Mr. Trump received eight grams of a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies made by Regeneron. These antibodies are infused into people — like those of Mr. Trump’s age, sex and weight — who may struggle to produce an immune response of their own.

A test on Oct. 5 confirmed the presence of the antibodies, according to Dr. Conley.

But Dr. Barouch noted that “the antibodies detected in the bloodstream are not his antibodies. They’re antibodies that were administered. Those antibodies will wane over time.”

“If you get the antibodies early on, and you either prevent or rapidly treat infections,” Dr. Barouch said, “then you probably will actually inhibit the generation of your own body’s antibodies.”

Mr. Trump was also treated with dexamethasone, a steroid that is known to suppress the immune system. And he received it much earlier in the course of his illness than usual. 
That means Trump is likely not immune to the coronavirus, and since he's taking steroids, he's more susceptible to being infected again.

Trump supporters, take note: the guy did not take hydroxychloroquine when he got infected, even though he kept hawking that as some kind of miracle treatment, nor did he inject bleach or ram a tube down his trachea to irradiate his lung tissue with UV. He did what the experts said to do, ignoring all the nonsense advice he spouted before he got hit by the virus because of his rank stupidity.

Also of concern: more than half of all coronavirus patients suffer long-term neurological effects from the disease, which means Trump's already tenuous grasp on sanity has a 50-50 chance of slipping even further.

Why would anyone trust this clown with their health, when he can't even protect himself, his staff, his visitors, the supporters at his rallies, his wife, or his son Barron?

They Die


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Quote of the Year

Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And, I don't say that hyperbolically. He is. But he is a consequential president. And, he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office. And, there were a lot of us on that day who were deeply skeptical and very worried about what a Trump presidency would be. But this is a moment of unparalleled national humiliation, of weakness.

When you listen to the President, these are the musings of an imbecile. An idiot. And I don't use those words to name call. I use them because they are the precise words of the English language to describe his behavior. His comportment. His actions. We've never seen a level of incompetence, a level of ineptitude so staggering on a daily basis by anybody in the history of the country whose ever been charged with substantial responsibilities.

It's just astonishing that this man is president of the United States. The man, the con man, from New York City. Many bankruptcies, failed businesses, a reality show, that branded him as something that he never was. A successful businessman. Well, he's the President of the United States now, and the man who said he would make the country great again. And he's brought death, suffering, and economic collapse on truly an epic scale.

And, let's be clear. This isn't happening in every country around the world. This place. Our place. Our home. Our country. The United States. We are the epicenter. We are the place where you're the most likely to die from this disease. We're the ones with the most shattered economy. And we are, because of the fool that sits in the Oval Office.

---Steve Schmidt, GOP Strategist. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Will a Barrett Confirmation Doom Trump's Reelection?

I grew up on the West Side of St. Paul. Most of my friends were Catholic and went to "parochial school," as we called it. A lot of them were Mexican. They all went to church every Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, though I never did.

My mom had been a Jehovah's Witness, and the battles between her and my dad over religion convinced me that religion was basically a scam, a way to control people and extract money from them.

If Barrett is confirmed, pro-life Catholics can vote for Biden with a clear conscience, knowing that the future of abortion will rest in the hands of seven Catholics on the Supreme Court.

My first girlfriend was Catholic. I went to mass with her because I was over at her house on Saturday afternoons. It was kind of funny because Father Esterka, the priest who gave the mass (he was Czech), sounded like Bela Lugosi when he said the words "the bahdy and blahd of Christ." Even back then the whole ritual vampirism and cannibalism of the eucharist seemed kind of creepy to me.

My best friend in high school and college, and best man, is Catholic.

My wife was raised a Catholic and we were married in a Catholic church. The priest who married us didn't care that I wasn't baptized, and I found out years later that he left the priesthood and married a former nun.

When I was a kid all my friends' families had five or six kids. It wasn't just a Catholic thing, my family had six kids too: birth control was just coming out in the Sixties. My wife's brothers and sisters, all good practicing Catholics, have zero, two or three kids in their families. Which is to say that all of them practice birth control, completely ignoring the dictates of the Catholic Church.

My step mother-in-law is an even more devout Catholic than my father-in-law was. But when they left their house for an assisted living facility, they gave their house to her gay grandson and his partner. Even though the Church itself still preaches against homosexuality it's an open secret that perhaps half of all priests are gay, and this has been the case for a thousand years.

This is all to say that pretty much everyone I knew growing up was Catholic, so I know Catholics. The reality is that the average Catholic is just an average American. That is, they're just like Joe Biden.

They probably wouldn't have an abortion if they got pregnant unexpectedly, but they also don't want to force anyone else to have an unwanted child. Like Joe Biden. But there are Catholics who have a much more doctrinaire stand on abortion.

Which brings us to Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Specifically, Barrett was a member of a fringe Catholic group called People of Praise, where she held the creepy title of "handmaid." More disturbingly:

Also, while in law school, Barrett lived at the South Bend home of People of Praise’s influential co-founder Kevin Ranaghan and his wife, Dorothy, who together helped establish the group’s male-dominated hierarchy and view of gender roles. The group was one of many to grow out of the charismatic Christian movement, which sought a more intense and communal religious experience by embracing such practices as shared living, faith healing and speaking in tongues.
When Republicans claim that Democrats are demonizing Barrett for her religion they imply that Democrats are anti-Catholic. Which is false. The Democratic party platform, with the exception of reproductive rights, tracks much more closely with Catholic teaching than the Republicans, especially on questions such as the death penalty, guns, social justice, immigration, etc., etc., etc. Republicans are mostly Old Testament reactionaries who completely disregard Christ's moral teachings, while most Catholics are New Testament Christians who embrace tolerance.

It is Barrett's relationship with this man Ranaghan that brings up the question of undue religious influence of this fringe group on the judge, not Catholicism in general. The Supreme Court currently has five Catholic justices, one Episcopalian/Catholic justice and two Jewish justices.

Which brings up an interesting question: why aren't there any Protestant justices? (Episcopalians are basically Catholics with the serial numbers filed off.) You'd think that all the Baptist Trump supporters in the South and would be asking this question. Why should there be seven Catholics on the Supreme Court? Especially since Baptists like major Trump supporter Robert Jeffress think Catholics are Satanists.

According to Pew Research, Catholics are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. But as I mentioned above, the teachings of the Catholic Church are much more in line with the Democrats than the Republicans on everything except abortion. 
Abortion is the single issue that I think convinced a sufficient number of Catholic voters in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which Trump took by only a few tens of thousands of votes, to hold their noses and vote for Trump on the promise that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Now, imagine you're a pro-life Catholic. If Barrett is confirmed, a six-to-three conservative majority will be ensconced on the Supreme Court, which could spell doom for Roe v. Wade.
Catholics will have no further use for Trump. The man clearly has no use for religion: he just uses it as prop. Remember Trump's Two Corinthians debacle, his religious tests for refugees, how he secretly mocks his religious supporters, and how Trump sicced the military on protesters so he could cynically stand in front of church with a Bible?

As police sirens blared in the background, Mr. Trump, his lips set in a thin line, stood with his back to the boarded-up, graffiti-laden facade of the buttermilk yellow church.

He cradled a Bible, bouncing it in his hands as if testing its weight.

“Is that your Bible?” a reporter yelled.

“It’s a Bible,” Mr. Trump responded, and hoisted up the book so reporters could see. 

Trump's racism, immorality, selfishness, greed, mendacity, vengefulness, arrogance, hubris and vulgarity are the antithesis of everything that the Catholic Church -- and every other church -- stand for.
If Barrett is confirmed, pro-life Catholics can vote for fellow Catholic Biden with a clear conscience, knowing that the future of abortion will rest in the hands of seven Catholics on the Supreme Court.
It would be irony of ironies if Trump sabotaged his own reelection bid by actually carrying out a campaign promise. Especially since it's the only one he's kept.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Trump Has Lost the Suburbs

One of the things that is mostly unchanged during the pandemic is going on walks and bike rides. No one ever wears masks, including us, and there's really no reason to. The main difference is that we step into the street when we meet people on walks, and we ride more on streets than bike trails.

We live in a second-tier suburb west of Minneapolis, an area that was reliably Republican 20 years ago. Our representative for the longest time was a decent, moderate Republican, who was replaced by a toady Republican, who was replaced by a Democrat a few years ago.

Riding around the western suburbs you see a lot of campaign signs in people's yards. The most common yard signs are for local races -- city council and school board. The next most common signs are for state legislative races. Then Black Lives Matter signs. Then federal House and Senate candidates. Then signs for the presidential campaigns. (Higher state office elections are in two years, so there are no governor or attorney general races.)

Now, this is a fairly wealth area, with mostly white residents, a fair number of Asian Americans, but few African Americans. But there are a lot of Black Lives Matter signs in the yards, and most of those homes are owned by whites.

The majority of campaign signs are for Democrats, with a smaller number of Republicans. The most common sign for a Republican is the sacrificial lamb they put up to run for the House of Representatives: that living oxymoron, a Black Republican. I can imagine how he pitched his candidacy at the convention: "Hey," he must have said. "We got to at least pretend Republicans aren't racist. So pick me!"

I've seen a large number of Biden signs, far too many to count, often in a yard along with one or two signs for local Democratic candidates. I've even seen half a dozen punny "ByeDon" signs. But I've only seen two or three Trump signs in all my travels through the western suburbs, even to the western-most suburbs, which are semi-rural and often very wealthy with giant estates and horse farms.

One of those suburbs I ride through is Shorewood, where Trump held a fundraiser and exposed rich Minnesotans to the coronavirus the day Hope Hicks was symptomatic and the day before he announced he was infected.

Now why are there so few Trump signs? I assume that a lot of the signs for Republican city council and the House candidate are in front of houses owned by Republicans. But they don't have Trump signs. That's not the case for Biden: most Biden signs are in yards with other Democratic signs.

Now, usually supporting a Republican for the House or city council means you'd vote for the Republican presidential candidate, and usually that would mean putting that candidate's sign in your yard. That's how it was in 2012, with Romney, and even 2016, with Trump's first go-around. But not this time.

Why not? It can't be that Trump has written Minnesota off: he's come to Minnesota twice, one a while back and again a couple weeks ago, right before he came down with COVID. 

By the way, nine COVID cases have been traced to that Trump rally in northern Minnesota, and as of two days ago one of Trump's victims was still in the ICU.

I think three things are going on with the signs. 

First, Republicans are ashamed to show their support for Trump. They know what a scumbag he is, how horribly he has botched pretty much everything in this presidency, from his tax giveaway to fatcats like himself, to foreign policy giveaways to Putin and Kim Jong Un, to the trade war fiasco, to his attempted shakedown of the Ukrainian president that resulted in his impeachment, to his insults to the military (calling service members suckers and losers and saying that Gold Star families infected him while bragging about how much they hugged and kissed them), to the cataclysmic failure of his coronavirus response.

Second, Republican candidates don't want their signs next to Trump signs. They don't want their names to be associated with the dumpster fire in the Oval Office. They're hoping to squeak by anonymously based on how normal their name sounds.

Third, a lot of these Republicans just aren't going to vote for Trump. They have grown tired of the antics and the outrage. They know the outrage and unrest in Minneapolis is in large part because of Trump.

Now, there's definitely some support for Trump in rural Minnesota, and support on the Iron Range because of his support for expanded copper and nickel mining there. But it's not clear how widespread that support is -- the Boundary Waters Canoe Area will be ruined if those mines go forward, and a lot of people's livelihoods depend on tourism in that pristine area.

Foreign companies are behind the mining proposals, and they'll bail as soon as they've ripped all the metal out of the ground, leaving the BWCA a toxic waste dump. 

What Trump won't tell you is that in 2017 Ivanka and Jared got a sweetheart deal on a house in the Kalorama neighborhood in Washington, DC, which was owned by the Brazilian billionaire who was suing the US government over the Minnesota mine.

Again and again, the Trumps are guilty of one huge conflict of interest or another. The guy is a giant security risk who is just not fit to be president. 

And I think that fact has finally sunk in with suburban voters.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Did Trump Try to Infect Biden at the Debate?

The first thing Donald Trump did when he got back to the White House from Walter Reed, where he'd been hospitalized with COVID-19, was take off his mask.

By doing this he shows that he doesn't give a damn about the people that he is closest to, the people who work at the White House day in and day out: his staffers, his aides, the cooks, the maids, his own family.

We already knew that he doesn't care about the health of his donors and supporters. He went to a fundraiser last Thursday at his Bedminster golf club after he knew that Hope Hicks had tested positive. By this time Trump certainly knew he was infected, but he needed the money for his campaign, so he went anyway.

It became obvious that Hicks was infected during Trump's trip to Minnesota on Wednesday. That means the Trump campaign exposed hundreds of people to the virus.

It is also likely that Trump knew he was infected before the debate with Joe Biden on Tuesday: he arrived too late to be tested, so they let him in on the "honor system." Huh? Since when does Trump have any honor?

The White House has given incomplete and inconsistent details about Trump's COVID testing history in the days leading up to his hospitalization.

Which brings up the question: did Trump intentionally try to infect Joe Biden at the debate?

The White House has been hit by a flurry of coronavirus infections, including Trump, Melania, Hope Hicks, Kayleigh McEnany, various staff members, etc.

The cluster of infections appears to have come from the superspreader event that Trump held for Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. Several attendees have tested positive for the disease since then, including three Republican senators, Kelly Anne Conway, Chris Christie and Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame.

Ironically, these infections may derail a Senate vote on Barrett's nomination.

Now, if Trump cares so little for the people that work directly for him on a daily basis, and his allies in the Senate, and the people who fork over millions of dollars to his campaign, and the rabid supporters who come to worship him at his rallies, how much does he care about the average American who's still on the fence about whether to vote for Biden or Trump?

Trump does not give a flying fuck about you, your kids, your grandmother or your grandfather. He wants everything back to normal so that people can go to his golf clubs and hotels and spend tons of money there because he is going broke

He only cares about himself, and with his resistance to wearing masks at large public events, you gotta ask: is this whack job suicidal?

Has there ever been a more worthless piece of garbage sitting in the Oval Office?

Friday, October 02, 2020

Is Trump Really Infected with COVID? Or Is It Another Trump Lie?

The hallmark of Donald Trump's presidency is the constant stream of lies. He spews forth dozens of lies a day: by July of this year he had uttered 20,000 falsehoods in his presidency.

Last night the White House announced that Hope Hicks tested positive. This morning they announced that Trump was infected.

When Trump said that he was taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent infection, many people did not believe he was taking it. He supposedly took a two-week course of the drug and then stopped. Hydroxychloroquine doesn't work too well, now does it?

So, we gotta ask: is Trump really infected, or is this just another of the thousands of lies this guy tells day in and day out?

Is this the "October surprise" that Trump promised us?

Now you might ask, why would Trump lie about this? It exposes him to ridicule and a nation-wide chorus of "I told you so" from Democrats. 

Here's why: if he's not really infected, he won't show any symptoms, and he won't get sick. Then he can continue to claim that the disease is harmless, it's just a hoax, no worse than the common cold. Even though it kills completely healthy 19-year-old college kids.

Then he would claim that his superior genetics saved him, or that the prayers of the evangelicals and divine intervention saved his life so he can carry on the Lord's work and kick all the Mexicans out of America. All these precautions against the disease are a waste of time and invasion of our privacy and an attack on our freedom.

Given Trump's record on denying embarrassing things, like paying off two mistresses before the last election, why would he announce he was infected before he was showing any symptoms? It only invites an avalanche of scorn.

If it is a lie and the Democrats fall for it and heap the ridicule that Trump so richly deserves upon him, he can play the victim. "Oh, they're so mean to me, they just want me to die!"

And when he comes out unscathed, because he was never infected in the first place, he can claim moral superiority because of all the vitriol the Democrats unleashed on him. 

He can claim to be the victim and get the sympathy vote from the millions of Americans infected by COVID. It's an ever-growing demographic!

This is the problem with having a con artist in the oval office. You can't believe anything that comes out of there. They're always working some angle, spinning one lie or another, changing their story. 

That's gotta take a toll on you. Like it did on Trump's former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, whom police tackled when he threatened to commit suicide.

Nope. You just can't trust a man who cheats at golf.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Word to Describe Donald Trump After Last Night's Debate

Asked to describe Trump in one word or phrase, the responses were: “horrid,” “chaotic,” “unpolished,” “crackhead,” “ehh,” “puzzling,” “un-American,” “unhinged,” “an ass, but a confident ass,” “classic Trump,” “forceful,” “unhinged,” “bully,” “arrogant,” arrogant,” “typical.”

What's more disgusting is all the people of this country that are OK with this because they are just like him. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

There Is No Planet B

A while back I was playing an online game and the guy I was with started talking about colonizing Mars. He thought the Earth was done, with all the pollution, climate change and social discord, and that humanity had to start over on another planet just to survive. He thought independent, go-it-alone entrepreneur types would be the salvation of mankind. In other words, he had drunk the Elon Musk Koolaid.

He was wrong on every level.

First, the facts. Even in the worst possible climate scenario we've got, Earth is far more hospitable than the moon, freestanding space colonies, Mars or Venus. 

Venus is right out because it's suffering from a runaway greenhouse effect: the atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide with a dash of sulfuric acid. The surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead. The air pressure is 90 atmospheres, equivalent to being half a mile below the ocean. You might be able to live in the clouds of Venus (making a floating habitat would be relatively easy because of the dense atmosphere), but then access to raw materials would be difficult.

The moon has no atmosphere and no magnetic field, which means it is constantly bombarded by cosmic radiation and high-energy particles from solar flares. Radiation exposure is 200 times what it is on Earth. The temperature varies from 280 degrees below zero to 260 degrees Fahrenheit. Apollo astronauts traveling to the moon were only gone about a week, so they suffered only minimal damage. But long-term residents would have to either build electrostatic shields (which need a lot of power), or live underground (which is problematic because lunar soil also emits radiation, like some building materials on earth). Water would be a problem, though there might be some under the surface at the poles. And of course you have to make your own air. It's not clear what the implications of lower gravity would be on human health and childhood growth.

Freestanding space colonies, like the O'Neill cylinders, are a neat idea, but they are fixed size and can't be totally self-sufficient. They require constant maintenance, import of raw materials and ongoing trade with Earth and other colonies for supplies and exchange of genetic material.

Mars has a thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide (.006 of Earth's atmospheric pressure) and no magnetic field, making it only slightly better than the moon in terms of radiation exposure. The average temperature is -81. However, it can get up to 70 degrees at noon in the summer, but it gets to -200 at the poles.

There was probably water on the Martian surface billions of years ago, and there might be some left below the surface over much of the planet, and there's water ice at the poles. In the winters about a quarter of the atmosphere freezes out at the poles, forming a crust of dry ice that sublimates in the spring.

Clearly Mars is the most Earth-like planet and the best candidate for human habitation. But people would probably still have to live underground, surrounding themselves with radiation shields of one sort or another. Surface excursions would have to be severely limited to reduce radiation exposure to prevent an epidemic of cancer and rampant genetic mutations. Food production would always be a struggle with the lower solar radiation (less than half of what Earth gets).

But the biggest challenge wouldn't be the harsh environment: it would be the people. The kind of people who are attracted to such a barren frontier -- the fiercely independent, go-it-alone, rule-breaking entrepreneur types -- are the worst kind of people to make a home on Mars.

On Mars everyone has to follow all the rules, all the time. In a place where punching a hole in the wall will kill everyone in the room, there's no place for anger or pettiness. One or two people could sabotage a Martian settlement's food, water or air supply, killing everyone.

On Mars there would be no room for rebels and malcontents. Every marriage and birth would have to be approved by the government because resources would have to be so tightly controlled. Because a Martian colony would be a completely closed system, every aspect of your life would be dictated: how much power you use, where you live, how much space you get, what you eat, what you drink, what you excrete, even what you breathe. It would be like living on a nuclear submarine your whole life.

There would essentially be no freedom. Mars would not be a libertarian utopia: it would be a communist dictatorship. The survival of the group would override every other consideration.

The thing is, even if Earth suffers the ultimate disaster scenario -- worst-case climate change, massive sea level rise, global thermonuclear war -- Earth will still be more hospitable than Mars. People survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Chernobyl. People survived multiple ice ages. That's because no matter how bad it got on Earth, there has been air, water and food in the form of plants and animals, even in places as desolate as Antarctica.

None of that is true for Mars.

There's no shortage of failed attempts at colonization here on Earth. The Vikings made two settlements in Greenland, but abandoned both. The Vikings' North American colony in Vinland failed. The first Roanoke colony, led by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585, failed and everyone returned to England. The second Roanoke colony just disappeared, leaving the enigmatic word "Croatoan" carved on a fence post. And on and on.

Given the number of robotic missions to Mars that have failed (two-thirds), it's clear that crewed expeditions to Mars will result in numerous failures and numerous deaths, just as our attempts to reach the north and south poles did. We lost 14 astronauts in the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters, and three astronauts in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire. People will die in our attempts to reach Mars. 

That's not to say we shouldn't go to Mars, we most definitely should. The risk of death is just the reality of exploration of any new territory. Just look at how many people die climbing Mount Everest. But for the foreseeable future Mars will be like an Antarctic research post. Not a place to raise a family.

Maybe, someday, thousands of years in the future, we could terraform Mars, creating a biosphere, and humans could survive on the surface without artificial aids. But not in time for us to write off planet Earth. A self-sustaining Martian colony is basically impossible for centuries: the level of technology required for basic survival mandates the huge industrial base of the Earth. 

It basically comes down this: there is zero room for error on Mars. People and technology are simply not reliable enough for Mars to be the sole repository for mankind. And even if we do manage to terraform Mars, the solar wind would eventually blow the atmosphere away, like it did billions of years ago.

So the upshot is: there is no Planet B. There is only Earth. 

Last year an Australian group published a study that said civilization will collapse by 2050 if we don't stop mucking with the climate. That's just 30 years from now. It was immediately pooh-poohed by conservatives. But as we've seen, last year Australia was burning out of control, and this year the West Coast is burning out of control and the Gulf Coast is getting hammered by hurricanes once or twice a month. Miami is sinking into the sea. This is not sustainable. And it's only getting worse.

Obviously we should stop screwing up the climate right now. Because if we don't, there's going to be a huge exodus from the South to the North and from the coasts to inland areas, as oceans rise and swallow cities like New Orleans and Miami and New York, and entire states and countries are destroyed by fires and droughts and hurricane after hurricane. If we don't stop fouling our nest, competition for breathable air, arable land and potable water will result in endless wars, which will eventually go nuclear. 

Yeah, some small part of humanity will survive the cataclysm, like we survived the ice ages. But that means the industrial base will be destroyed, rendering all our cars and guns and air conditioners and furnaces useless, and the seven or eight billion people who depend on that industrial base are going to die, including most of the United States.

Who will survive? Ironically, those people who are used to living in squalid conditions, who eke out a subsistence living in those "shithole" countries Donald Trump loves to hate. 

In other words, the meek shall inherit the earth.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

How Many Trump Supporters Will Die on the Altar of Trump's Vanity?

Donald Trump's victims keep piling up since the coronavirus outbreak. Now there have been 6 million American COVID-19 cases and 200,000 deaths, a death rate much higher than other comparable countries. Many of these infections and deaths are directly attributable to Trump supporters doing what he told them to.

There was the Arizona guy who died from taking chloroquine phosphate after Trump gushed about hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure (it isn't).

Then there was Herman Cain, who died not long after attending Trump rally in Oklahoma.

Now a pro-Trump anti-mask pastor is in the ICU after trying to pray away the virus:

When coronavirus cases began increasing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in late July, Pastor Paul Van Noy prayed with his congregation that the city council would not pass a mask mandate.

“I don’t want to be told I have to wear a mask,” he said at the lectern. “We’re adults and we don’t need the government to tell us what to do.”

A little over a month later, he and his wife contracted the virus and he has landed in the hospital’s intensive care unit struggling to breathe, he said in a statement this week.

“I haven’t taken this Covid seriously enough,” his wife, Brenda, said on Facebook Sept. 4, shortly after her husband was admitted to the ICU.

Trump has been leading the country in opposition to mask mandates, even as the head of the CDC says that masks are better at preventing the spread of COVID-19 than a vaccine will be.

Then we found out that Trump admitted to Bob Woodward that he has been lying about the severity of the pandemic this whole time. What's amazing is how easily Trump admits to Woodward that he lied. This guy is an idiot.

Trump has politicized vaccine development, trying to force drug companies to get a vaccine out much sooner than is safe or feasible.

The crazy thing is, face masks should not be at all controversial. Look at this clip from the Flintstones, aired in 1966, in which wearing a face mask is mentioned in a simple, off-handed manner:

People wore face masks during the 1918 flu pandemic, and it was no big deal. Many western states had mask mandates.

The problem is that Republicans have decided that they must oppose absolutely everything that Democrats endorse, no matter how reasonable the Democrats' proposals are, from climate change, to the Affordable Care Act (which is now completely obviously a necessity, what with all the people who have lost jobs -- and their health care -- due to the pandemic), to keeping schools closed until the virus is under control, to wearing face masks indoors.

Thousands of people are getting violently ill, racking up huge hospital bills, suffering life-long physical disabilities, and dying, all because Trump doesn't want people in masks reminding everyone what an abysmal job he has done as president.

Infection rates are down in blue states and skyrocketing in red states. In the end how many Trump supporters die on the altar of Trump's vanity?