Friday, November 27, 2020

Jenna Ellis, you lying sack of puke: Don't you DARE mention T.R. ever again...!

Trump's dimwit lawyer Jenna Ellis miffed many when she tweeted a meme featuring a "Theodore Roosevelt" quotation which was exposed ages ago as a fake:
This particular example of False Quotation Syndrome proves that conservatives lie even when they say they don't like lying. I find this particular lie especially galling because it stands history on its head.
Theodore Roosevelt was a progressive. He literally founded the Progressive political party
Unfortunately, ideologues on both the right and the left now prefer to ignore what Roosevelt stood for in 1912.
Roosevelt's party was 100 percent committed to undoing the influence of big business on politics. The Progressive platform advocated the following:
Some of these ideas seem radical even today. Nearly all are currently under attack. By 1912 standards, this platform was an astonishment. 
Under no circumstance would someone like Jenna Ellis vote for a modern Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, she'd probably be spreading insane conspiracy theories about him. Teddy Roosevelt, in turn, would have despised Donald Trump, an exemplar of what T.R. called "the elite criminal class." 

Can you imagine what Roosevelt would have said about Trump's alleged "bone spurs"?
THAT speech. While campaigning for president as the Progressive candidate, T.R. was shot in the chest by a mad barkeeper named Schrank. The only thing that saved Roosevelt's life was the fact that the bullet hit his eyeglass case before penetrating his flesh. 
He bled heavily. Despite being seriously wounded, he insisted on delivering the hour-long speech. 
That was Roosevelt. He didn't talk tough; he was tough. Roosevelt's belief in the masculine virtues may annoy some modern feminists, but his was the best form of manliness: Always brave, never brutish. A fearless adventure-seeker who constantly tested himself, he remained a gentleman and an intellectual.

(Incidentally, he raised his free-spirited daughter, "Princess Alice," to be as ornery and independent as he was. I've always wondered if she approved of the way she was portrayed in The Wind and the Lion.)

In all likelihood, you already knew that T.R. delivered a speech after being shot in the chest. But you probably have never read the words he said. A few excerpts:
I have altogether too important things to think of to feel any concern over my own death; and now I can not speak to you insincerely within five minutes of being shot. I am telling you the literal truth when I say that my concern is for many other things. It is not in the least for my own life. I want you to understand that I am ahead of the game, anyway. No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way. I have been able to do certain things that I greatly wished to do, and I am interested in doing other things. 
I can tell you with absolute truthfulness that I am very much uninterested in whether I am shot or not. It was just as when I was colonel of my regiment. I always felt that a private was to be excused for feeling at times some pangs of anxiety about his personal safety, but I can not understand a man fit to be a colonel who can pay any heed to his personal safety when he is occupied as he ought to be occupied with the absorbing desire to do his duty.
Can you imagine Trump saying that...? 
Although the term "stochastic terrorism" was not used in those days, Roosevelt understood that violent language could lead to violent acts. He thus instructed his listeners not to speak ill of his party's opponents, even though they had often slandered him -- and even though that slander had motivated the assassination attempt.
Friends, I will disown and repudiate any man of my party who attacks with such foul slander and abuse any opponent of any other party...
In the first place, speaking to you here in Milwaukee, I wish to say that the Progressive Party is making its appeal to all our fellow citizens without any regard to their creed or to their birthplace. We do not regard as essential the way in which a man worships his God or as being affected by where he was born. We regard it as a matter of spirit and purpose. In New York, while I was Police Commissioner, the two men from whom I got the most assistance were Jacob Riis, who was born in Denmark, and Oliver Van Briesen, who was born in Germany - both of them as fine examples of the best and highest American citizenship as you could find in any part of this country. 

I make the same appeal in our citizenship. I ask in our civic life that we in the same way pay heed only to the man's quality of citizenship, to repudiate as the worst enemy that we can have whoever tries to get us to discriminate for or against any man because of his creed or his birth-place.

Now, friends, in the same way I want our people to stand by one another without regard to differences of class or occupation. I have always stood by the labor unions.
It is essential that there should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.
Our proposal is really to break up monopoly. Our proposal is to put in the law - to lay down certain requirements, and then require the commerce commission - the industrial commission - to see that the trusts live up to those requirements.
When the Republican Party - not the Republican Party - when the bosses in the control of the Republican Party, the Barneses and Penroses, last June stole the nomination and wrecked the Republican Party for good and all; I want to point out to you nominally they stole that nomination from me, but really it was from you. They did not like me, and the longer they live the less cause they will have to like me. But while they do not like me, they dread you. You are the people that they dread. They dread the people themselves, and those bosses and the big special interests behind them made up their mind that they would rather see the Republican Party wrecked than see it come under the control of the people themselves. So I am not dealing with the Republican Party.
You have labor laws here in Wisconsin, and any Chamber of Commerce will tell you that because of that fact there are industries that will not come into Wisconsin. They prefer to stay outside where they can work children of tender years, where they can work women fourteen and sixteen hours a day, where, if it is a continuous industry, they can work men twelve hours a day and seven days a week. 
Now, friends, I know that you of Wisconsin would never repeal those laws even if they are to your commercial hurt, just as I am trying to get New York to adopt such laws even though it will be to New York's commercial hurt. But if possible I want to arrange it so that we can have justice without commercial hurt, and you can only get that if you have justice enforced Nationally. You won't be burdened in Wisconsin with industries not coming to the state if the same good laws are extended all over the other States. Do you see what I mean?
I want to send a message to Jenna Ellis. It's the same message I would send to the current day's leftwingers and rightwingers (some of whom, like Karl Rove, profess to revere T.R): The Theodore Roosevelt of your warped imaginations does not resemble the man himself. 
In the early part of the 20th century, both major parties had wings. When T.R. was president, he represented the Republican party's left wing -- the trust-busting wing. He left the party when the party went right.
Roosevelt may be called a conservative only if we are speaking of the conservation of our natural heritage. We owe our national park system to him. If Roosevelt were alive today, he'd be the fiercest possible advocate of clean energy -- and he would be an implacable opponent of any business that hoped to exploit public lands or to pollute the environment. 

In all other respects, Theodore Roosevent was a true progressive -- a friend to the immigrant, a champion of labor, an advocate of the rights of women. He was a progressive at a time when that term meant something -- a time before today's ill-read, inarticulate and ineducable Zombies for Political Correctness debased that once-noble word and transformed it into something risible. 

By the way: T.R. once said: “The country will never really demonstrate that it is a democracy in the full reach and range of that conception until we have had a both a Negro and Jewish president of the United States.” We're only half-way there. One shudders to think of what the QAnon contingent -- those promoters of The Protocols -- would say about a Jewish president.
Off-topic Weekly reminder:

Friday nights 8 PM - 9 PM North American Central Time:

The Magical Mystery Tour. Host Tom Wood takes a look at the Beatles from a different angle each week.

Friday nights 9 PM - 12 AM North American Central Time:

Beaker Street, the legendary rock radio program, has returned. Iconic host Clyde Clifford has returned from his medical absence.

Both shows can be found at Arkansas Rocks.

If you can't catch Beaker Street live, MP3 files are available soon afterward at this site.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The criminal pardon of Michael Flynn

We knew that this was coming. Even Bill Barr has admitted that this is a crime in progress.
From Marcy's piece (which she wrote awfully damned fast):
But on three different occasions during his confirmation hearing, Barr made some kind of statement that said floating pardons for false testimony would be a crime.

Thanks to records made available by Ric Grenell and Sidney Powell, we know that Trump was personally involved with Mike Flynn’s negotiations with Russia about the UN statement on Israel. We also know that within two days after Flynn intervened to undermine Obama’s sanctions, Trump knew of Flynn’s conversation with Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn lied to cover that up with the FBI, and lied about his knowledge of Trump’s involvement with Mueller.

According to Bill Barr’s own testimony to Congress then, Trump’s pardon of Mike Flynn is obstruction of justice.
But it's only a crime if it is prosecuted
Biden has strongly indicated that his administration will not go after Trump. I hope Joe's fibbing about that, because permitting Trump to get away with these outrages will give a green light to any future Republican malefactors. (It would be politically wise for Joe to play the "Kindly Grampa" role while his AG functions as The Wrath of God.)

Question: Can Trump pardon himself for giving an illegal pardon? If so, American politics truly has entered the realm of high surrealism.
For a fuller explanation of why we cannot let bygones be bygones, see the video embedded below. A must-watch.

President Elect Biden's pick for AG will be so very important.

I believe what P.E. Biden indicated was that he will stay out of it -- the way most Presidents have done -- and let career prosecutors do their jobs. Refreshing!
Off topic:

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Senatorial Stress

Cannon here. Our friend D-Jay has some important words to say about the battle for the Senate. Right now, the fight looks grim, though not hopeless. Before we get to his piece, I'd like to offer a couple of observations.

1. DJay is not the only person who wonders if it is possible for Biden to lure away a couple of Republican senators. One possibility: Offer a GOP senator a position of some respect and power in the Biden administration. Of course, you'd have to find a Republican senator willing to make the kind of history that other Republicans will find unforgivable.
2. Believe it or not, it is sometimes possible for Congress to overrule rulings by the Supreme Court. Here's how. Of course, if we can somehow attain a Senate majority, increasing the number of Supreme Court justices becomes thinkable. So does increasing the number of states. 

Here's D-Jay...

*  *  *

Senatorial Stress

By D-Jay

Donald Trump’s unprecedented – and unforgivable – efforts to subvert the will of the American people and somehow cling to power continue.  With every case laughed out of court, and every state or local official who draws the line at an outright coup d’etat by noncertification, however, his odds of success move closer to zero with each passing day.

Let’s keep on hoping and believing that at noon on January 20th, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States.

Looking at all the chaos and destruction Trump is leaving in his wake, however, we can be sure this won’t be the end of our long, national nightmare, but – as the saying goes - only the end of the beginning.

And then the real work will begin.

Right out of the gate, newly inaugurated President Biden will need to deal with both the coronavirus pandemic and the economic pandemonium it has created. 

He’ll need to re-establish America’s position in the world.

He somehow needs gain a modicum of trust – however grudging – of at least a few people who’ve stayed on the side of the fence until now…but haven’t completely lost their minds and sold their souls to Trumpism.

Beyond that, serious work will need to be done on climate change, judicial and policing reform, voting rights, taxation and wealth inequality, health care, social security, our tattered safety net, Russia, China, Iran, the Middle East, Brexit, growing right-wing domestic terrorism and the corrosive effect of what President Obama recently called, “truth decay” – to name a few.

And each and every one of these things is critical.

Fortunately, Joe Biden seems to have a good understanding of most – perhaps even all - of them, and a host of solid policies ready to go.

The bad news, however, is that pretty much nothing will happen if Moscow Mitch McConnell remains as majority leader of the Senate and picks up again on the obstructionism on steroids policy he pursued during the Obama years.

A growing number of Americans are coming to realize that there are two issues upon which the survival of the United States as a functioning democracy will depend. 

The first is if Trumpism, and the information warfare machinery behind it, can start to be unravelled and the people caught up in it return to reality. 

The second is if McConnell’s toxic grip on the Senate can be undone.

The defeat of Trumpism – and its underlying causes – is a complex and multi-faceted matter about which I will probably have a lot to say in the coming months.  In regard to the defanging of Moscow Mitch’s grip on the Senate, let me throw out four potential courses of action team Biden might pursue:

1.   Conquest – Win both senatorial seats up for grabs in Georgia on January 5th, end the filibuster, and tell McConnell and his minions to kiss Stacey Abrams’ lovely you-know-what.  This would be an ending to the election season right out of a Disney movie…and literally nothing in the world that could happen would be better.  

But I’m not holding my breath.  So…


2.   Co-option – What should be done in the all-too-likely event that the Republicans hold on to at least one of the two seats? 


Right now, it looks like an almost impossible thing to suggest, but is there any way that two (or more) Republican senators could be lured away from the evil grasp of McConnell & Company?  Are there not two of them – just two – who have finally reached the point where they cannot stand it any longer, and are at last willing to put the interest of the country over that of their party and their personal political futures?  Two people for whom Trump’s overt effort at a shameless coup d’etat and bid to permanently maintain complete control over the Republican Party and everyone in it is – at last – the straw that broke the camel’s back?


In the pipe dream scenario I propose, these two senators would not have to leave the Republican Party and become Democrats.  That would clearly be too much.  Rather, I would suggest that they leave the current McConnell/Trump Senatorial Caucus and set up a new one of their own. They could call it the Independent Republican Caucus, the Real Republican Caucus, or something like that.  I’m sure the Lincoln Project would help them find an ideal moniker and define its basic identity and goals.

Without question, it would take a LOT to persuade these two senators (more would be fine, of course,) so how about this?  VERY quietly and discreetly someone from our side could approach Mitt Romney and make it clear to him that if he can convince at least one other GOPer to join him in this Quixotic endeavour, the Democrats would support HIM to be leader of Senate.  Crazy, but it would open up the possibility of a genuine government of national unity, just at a time when it is most needed.


And, if they are gamblers, it would be a bet that once Trump has to publicly face all the civil and criminal court proceedings on the horizon, his brand will collapse and those who jumped ship first might be in the best position to lead a reformed party.


What should the Democrats demands be in the unlikely event comes to pass?  Only this – No obstructionism. Bills brought up from the House and judicial and other appointments be given a fair hearing and vote. In short - a good faith effort to work with the administration to find solutions to the issues facing the country and the world – compromises okay.


3.   Cooperation – Joe Biden seems to think that he will be able to get McConnell to negotiate with him in something approaching good faith on at least some issues.  Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it, but if you think you can pull it off Mr. President Elect, hey, go for it.  If anyone can do it, it’s probably you.

4.   Coercion – But if Moscow Mitch stays true to form and rejects Biden’s overtures - as I for one expect he will, then Joe will need to liberate his inner LBJ – find ways to make McConnell suffer, badly, every time he obstructs.

Has Kentucky had some bad storm damage or flooding, Mitch?  I think Trump might have left some paper towels from Puerto Rico around here someplace.  


Need some highway or hospital funds?  The line starts back there…hope you brought along a good book to read and some snacks.

Oh, and maybe the investments and political influence of your wife, Elaine Chao’s, father could stand a deeper look by the independent justice department and the IRS.  And how was it again you got the nickname “Moscow Mitch,” Mr. McConnell?

You get the idea. 


In other words, if it comes down to it…no more Mr. Nice Joe.  No more political bean bag.  For once the Democrats will have to learn how to bring a bazooka to a knife fight.

I propose that a couple of Republican Senators threaten Mitch that they will become Democrats or Independents and damn Georgia. I think just the threat might scare Mitch into sanity.
Threats are the only thing he seems to understand. For instance Toomey and Romney could make the threat. Toomey is not running again and Romney could give a f——!

For weeks Joe kept prophesying that the fascist GOP was going to use cyber stealth to boost Trump's vote totals in key states where the margin was narrow, thus stealing him a second term. Joe's citations and arguments, about the perilous vulnerability of net-connected voting machines, ballot-scoring devices and tallying computers really convinced me he was right.

But he was dead wrong about the outcome.

Yet when you dispassionately consider how poorly the Dems did in their down-ballot campaign to strengthen their hold on the House and regain control of the Senate, even though they won the White House, there's good cause to revisit Joe's splendid discoveries and analysis, but from a strategic shift in perspective.

Could it be that the election WAS stolen by ingenious, incremental cyber stealth after all, but the people who engineered the stealing were not Trumpy fumblers, the likes of Giuliani and Stone and Kushner, but instead some of the CIA, NSA and FBI's sharpest hackers -- tightly in bed with the M-I-C, rapacious for new wars in the Middle East (which Trump for all his fascistic faults wouldn't give them), and populated by a large contingent of careerists and professionals who absolutely, fervently despise the Goon from Queens and were desperate to put a swift end to Donald's Reign of Disorder?

Do you see any pacifists in Biden's list of announced or under-consideration key appointments? I sure don't.

Take a closer look at Dominion Systems, something the jubilant mass media (except for rightwing radio and Breitbart-like websites) adamantly refuses to do. Combine that with Joe's past analysis, and see if a light doesn't go on in your own understanding.
The problem with your reasoning is that the military were actively trying to hold Trump back during his presidency.

It was standard practice in presenting military options to Presidents to give a whole range from a minor pointless gesture to unthinkable out of proportion responses just so the President could have a overview of what was possible - and so the military could steer the President to the option in the middle that the military wanted.

The problem : Trump would reach for the most extreme option, that was included as a object lessen in what not to do, and they would have to then talk him out of it. If the Joint Chiefs of Staff had left it up to Trump he would have used nuclear weapons on Iran, and launched a preemptive strike on North Korea.
Mattis mentions that for a while he slept in a tracksuit because he seriously expected that he could be woken in the middle of the night because they were suddenly at war with North Korea.

The Briefings were then changed to have the most reasonable proportional response as the most extreme unthinkable example.

Basically they didn't trust Trump's judgement with any military action.

It could be argued that the US didn't go to war during Trump's term due to the fact that the military were terrified of how badly be could screw it up, but that's not a ringing endorsement.
Or it could just be that by luck during Trumps term the situation didn't arise and if 9/11 had happened on Trumps watch every predominantly Muslim nation on Earth would be radioactive glass and the fallout would be all over the Planet (including the West) and the response would be extreme as well.

As for Dominion, it has a paper trail print out, something the other companies voting machines don't - so the Dominion conspiracy is about getting rid of voting machines that can be recounted.
Anon 7:17

On the other hand, what gives team trump the idea (strongly) that they could win. They were sure about despite the covid and all that. I am strongly believe that Bill Clinton was the last elected president.
Let's not forget how boastful Trump was of his three main "populist" campaign promises: Bring the Jobs Back; Build a Wall; No More Foreign Wars. And not all the military top-brass of recent years have been, by any means, peaceniks. Remember too that the highly influential, well-financed neocons (whether publicly identifiable as GOP or DEM-leaning) advising/controlling ALL U.S. presidents since 9/11 have been pretty faithful to the Israel-firsters' "invade or destabilize lots of Muslim countries" agenda once infamously confessed to by General Wesley "Loose Lips" Clark. And that can be accomplished by imposing ever-tightening, punishing, crippling "sanctions" that can and DO bring about widespread suffering, malnutrition, untreated illness, starvation and death -- without drifting clouds of fallout and a "nuclear winter".

I don't doubt that the cooler heads in the Pentagon were terrified of Trump's penchant toward erratic and dangerous behavior, especially with the enormous pressure (from the deep-pocketed Sheldon Adelson types) to start all-out war with Iran -- and maybe someday we'll learn that the "nuke codes" in the "football" were secretly changed in recent months, just as they supposedly were when Tricky Dick was circling the drain.
Joseph, in light of all your own research on the finer points of election hacking, please take a serious look at this very detailed blog posting, that just cropped up on the symbolic date of November 22nd(!), and give us your reasoned response:
All DJ's options are interesting. I think from the cabinet choices we are hearing about, that Joe is on the right track. In the big picture Joe won by some of the most narrow margins. He did win the popular vote by a bit, but in the states that mattered he won by just thousands of votes. So, we do not have a mandate. It was the slightest possible victory. Also, as many have discussed we had severe down ballot losses. We are now in danger of losing the house in 2022, and we have more at risk senate seats in 2022 than do the republicans.
Joe and the democrats in general have to find a way to tread lightly. Joe's cabinet choices won't really make any progressives happy, but that's probably a good thing overall. All his picks are pretty well qualified insiders. They won't make progressives happy, but that also don't provide a lot of ammo that can be used against the democrats come 2022. For example, his cabinet picks do not include anything along the lines of an Elizabeth Warren (no offense intended). Joe needs to spend the next two years living a true middle of the road existence. He can't shoot any bazooka rounds and hope to keep the house or gain the senate. He needs to be the sane normal person that Trump isn't and he needs to keep the agenda on those topics that are of concern to 80% of Americans, as opposed to the many fringe interests that democrats seem to enjoy courting.
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Monday, November 23, 2020

A country gone coup-coup. Plus: The coup and the cult

The tweet embedded above will prove very important to today's post. But before we discuss Dominion and ES&S, I want to mention something else.
Unpardonable. Carl Bernstein names 21 Senators that have privately turned against Trump. In response, Marcy says:
Yaknow, if all these GOPers are opposed to Trump burning the country down over the next two months, maybe Dems should launch impeachment in the House again so they can shoo Trump out before he gets more people killed. 
Yeah, but impeaching Trump would usher in the brief but glorious reign of Mike Pence, who would be positioned to give Donald Trump the Gerryfording he craves. If Trump stays in office until the bitter end, he might pardon himself -- but the legality of a self-pardon is open to question. 

Sidney failure. Unfortunately, I was kept away from the keyboard yesterday. I now feel obliged to say something about that surreal melodrama starring Sidney Powell, the Kraken-unleashing legal krak-pot whose conspiratorial blatherings caused her to be dismissed from Team Trump
(Was she ever truly on Team Trump? I guess she had "Shroedinger's lawyer" status.) 
As you may recall, she announced that Dominion -- the new bete noir of the right -- is the creation of an international "communist" conspiracy involving every country she doesn't like plus the Clinton Foundation. And, of course, George Soros. They've always gotta get George in there, don't they?
Her claim about the Clinton Foundation was particularly hilarious. In 2014, Dominion donated free services to certain developing countries in response to a Clinton Foundation project. In Sidney's "mind" -- note the quotation marks -- this small bit of overseas charity means that Clinton runs Dominion. 
Blame Evil Hillary! It's all her fault!
When Sidney tried to back up her claim that Hugo Chavez, dead these past seven years, is the secret architect behind Dominion's software, a citation went to -- of all people -- our old friend Brad Friedman. Ten years ago, Brad wrote an article which touched on Dominion. Naturally, what he actually wrote bears little resemblance to what Sidney thinks he wrote. 
Brad's response to her nuttiness is absolutely hilarious.  
Sidney said that the software had an "algorithm" to switch votes from Biden to Trump "which we might never have uncovered had the votes for President Trump not been so overwhelming in so many of these states that it broke the alogorithm that had been plugged into the system, and that's what caused them to have to shut down."
What the hell does that even mean? Sidney seems to be describing that old episode of The Prisoner in which Patrick McGoohan causes a computer to go haywire by asking an insoluble question: "W...H...Y?"  
Also see this point-by-point AP rebuttal
If Sidney has any evidence for this sick fantasia, why hasn't the evidence appeared in any legal filing? Why couldn't she offer the proof to Tucker Carlson, a friendly news figure? This "all talk, no substance" approach has even managed to annoy Rush freakin' Limbaugh
Obviously, Sidney never had anything to back up this blather. That's why those infamous Trump bus tire tracks are now decorating her pantsuit. This woman's mind is like...hell, I can't even think of a proper comparison. A blender full of platypus snot and cockroaches? That sounds about right.
And yet she passed the bar. 
Jeez, I shoulda been a lawyer. Can't be that hard, if Sidney got in. 

Computerized voting is awful, but only when Democrats win. The supremely annoying fact is that these straw-grasping Trumpers have suddenly discovered the evils of computerized voting systems. When real "clean election" crusaders like Brad Friedman or Jennifer Cohn (or, to a much lesser degree, your humble narrator) tried to sound that very same alarm sixteen years ago, we were castigated by the right. They called us conspiracy nuts. 
Not long ago, the Republicans opposed the SAFE Act, which would have solved many of the problems posed by computerized voting systems. Specifically, the act would have mandated that all-important paper trail.

Incidentally, the system provided by Dominion in Georgia does offer a paper trail (though not an ideal one). Here's a recent tweet from Jim Sciuto:
WSJ Editorial bd. notes giant hole in Dominion conspiracy: “If soft­ware flipped Geor­gia’s elec­tronic to­tals, there would be some big, un­ex­plained dis­crep­ancy be­tween those data & the pa­per bal­lots. The hand re­count found noth­ing of the sort.”
For years, real election integrity advocates have argued against the paper-free election systems pushed by the Republican-linked firm ES&S, which still controls far too much of our democracy. The right has re-purposed those arguments and used them against Dominion, a company which does offer a paper trail.

That situation is insane.

I should mention here that Jennifer Cohn -- one of our finest advocates for transparent and fair voting systems -- still opposes Dominion's set-up, for reasons given here. (The link goes to a twitter thread from the end of October.) Even if we grant her point -- and I more or less do -- it is still the case that Dominion's system is far preferable to the trust-the-computer approach of ES&S. 
Yet the GOP offers not one word of complaint about ES&S. Why not?

One could make a strong argument that computerized voting in ES&S-controlled areas of the country was rigged in Trump's favor, not Biden's. After all, the pre-election polls had Biden winning by a more decisive margin. 
Biden might not have prevailed at all if the pandemic had not encouraged so many Dems to vote by mail. Mailed ballots create a paper trail. The virus may have saved democracy.

Side note: Why were the polls so wrong? The commonly-heard answer usually involves some vague guff about landlines being replaced by cel phones. But pollsters the world over have been dealing with this problem for quite a few years now, and only in this country do the polls consistently go wrong in ways that favor the right. In the UK, there are fairly wide polling errors each year, but those errors swing both right and left. In the US, polls go wrong in only one way, consistently "underestimating" the Republican vote. 
This pattern suggests that the problem is not with the polls but with the voting machines. I do not discount the possibility that ES&S devices are rigged to deliver a pro-GOP result. Of course, the rigging is limited by plausibility. The butcher may place no more than one thumb on the scale; any more weight would attract too much attention.
What to do. Trump's current cuckoo coup attempt may have a positive outcome: Biden should convene a bipartisan commission to improve our voting system. 
If such a commission occurs, Dems cannot be inflexible. If the Republicans demand stronger voter ID laws -- well, that's a small price to pay. We absolutely must have a voting system that offers a verifiable paper trail in all major elections.

Besides, a properly-designed voter ID system could actually make it easier to vote. And wouldn't that be a pleasant change?

The Falun Gong connection. Those tracing Trump's "rigged election" propaganda push have given insufficient attention to the role played by Falun Gong, the dangerous Chinese cult opposed to the Chinese government. 
(This should go without saying, but I'll say it anyways: It is possible to oppose both the cult and the Chinese government. In 1970, Charlie Manson disliked Dick Nixon -- and sensible people disliked both.) 

Falun Gong runs a heavily promoted television/YouTube network called NTD, which stands for New Tang Dynasty. If you're on the left, you're probably unaware of their videos -- but if you're on the right, these offerings are inescapable. NTD propaganda is a big reason why so many Republicans sincerely believe that Biden stole the election. 
When -- yes, I allowed myself to say "when," not "if" -- Biden takes charge, there must be an investigation of Falun Gong. The images below should give you an idea of what the cult has been pushing on YouTube. (Click to enlarge.) 
These guys are still big fans of Sidney Powell, it would seem. Is she linked to this group financially? Where is Falun Gong's money coming from?

If the Dominion system hadn't been invented by a bunch of dead commies it wouldn't have had to be "shut down" as a result of the sheer number of Trump votes it needed to flip. If it had been programmed here in 'Murica by red blooded patriots they could have run it on a 486 box and flipped the down-ballot races too, but the dirty little secret is even in 2013 when this conspiracy was hatched, Venezuela, China and Cuba were still running 286s at best and more often 8088s or Apple IIe's so they couldn't optimize for mid-90s tech and screwed the pooch. Just look at the cars they drive in Cuba if you doubt me.

What should worry everyone is: What happens when one of these countries gains access to a smartphone? Or a US personal computer made after ~1995?

Report about Falun Gong:
It just looks like a 2020 reboot of the John Birch Society
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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Tucker gets Pizzagated

This is both hilarious and horrifying: The moment Tucker Carlson said something the Trump cultists didn't like, he got slammed with a Pizzagate smear. I'm not speaking metaphorically or generically: They really do place ol' Tuck in Comet Ping Pong.
What's particularly funny about this clip is the host's reaction. It's pure Elmer Fudd: "You know what? I think DAT was da WABBIT!" 

Four human beings are on camera in this clip, and not a one of them has a three-digit IQ.

That is hilarious. The dead pan delivery is just perfect. Shame they don't realize how funny they sound.
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Friday, November 20, 2020

The sour grapes of wrath

Cannon here. The truth is, I'm in the final stages of illustrating a children's book. The work was supposed to be finished months ago, and so there's nothing for it but to get 'er done. When my brain is in "paint" mode, it's not in "write" mode, and vice-versa. 
Yet there's so much to say...!

Trump really does seem serious about his coup. I think that the alternative explanations offered by the teevee talking heads just don't cut it: Donald Trump really intends to stay in office, through foul means or fouler. Even the National Review admits that Trump is using bullshit tactics, filling the public with nonsensical claims that his lawyers refuse to repeat in court because they're just so ridiculous. 
If Giuliani truly believes the guff he spewed at that insane press conference -- the one where he literally seemed to melt before our eyes -- why did said guff make no appearance in his legal documents?

The important thing to understand is this: One one level -- perhaps the most important level -- this propaganda barrage is working spectacularly well. The majority of Republicans really do believe that the election was stolen

And they will continue to think that the election was stolen throughout Biden's presidency, which millions of Americans will consider illegitimate This carefully-cultivated falsehood could help propel us into Civil War.
Here's D-Jay...
*  *  * 

The Sour Grapes of Wrath

By D-Jay

To no-one’s surprise, the Trumpian madness continues – and seems to get madder by the day. Bad King Donald the Gross, Court Jester Giuliani, assorted Senatorial Squires and a set of expendable pawns from the provinces all seem determined to draw out the country’s suffering as long as they possibly can before our deliverance on January 20th.

Our hopeful deliverance, that is.

Petty-minded to the end, Trump is on a quest for vengeance, while his minions search for a miraculous holy grail of election interference that will somehow allow him to remain in office – and perhaps more importantly to the Don – avoid having to face up to the fact that the American people have unequivocally chosen a new title for him, “Loser!”

Let’s hope that in the course of this insane endeavour, they have not stumbled onto the real Achilles’ heel of American democracy.

Not the packing of the Supreme Court. Not the decapitation of our military leadership. Not an endless series of losing lawsuits. Not Rudy Giuliani leading press conferences so strange that SNL parodies become impossible. Not even Moscow Mitch McConnell retaining his power as Majority Leader of the Senate.

Could the fate of Democracy in the United State depend not on any of these, but instead on a handful of minor, low-level functionaries simply refusing to carry out their legally required duties?

I am referring, of course, to Republican members of county and state canvassing boards in key states refusing to certify the results of the vote in their areas - incontrovertible as they may be.

Also in the same vein is the refusal of Trump toady GSA head, Emily W. Murphy, to “ascertain” the “apparent winner” of the Presidential election, the key action that allows the transition process to proceed. For the record, it is an action she is supposed to do with or without presidential authorization.

WTF? Is it actually a thing that, by the simple non-act of not signing papers they are supposed to sign, this set of Bozos could derail the process of the electors chosen by their state’s voters being duly empowered to cast their votes in Washington?

Are Trump and company now seriously planning the ultimate Hail Mary pass of electoral politics - getting the Republican controlled, heavily gerrymandered state legislatures of Michigan and Pennsylvania to send their own set of pro-Trump electors, claiming that they are allowed to do so since the election was “not certified?”

Talk about killing you parents, then throwing yourself on the mercy of the court because you’re an orphan!

If an attempt of this sort is actually made, grab your pitchforks (along with face masks and plastic shields, weatherproof clothes, gloves, snacks, umbrellas and other equipment suitable for a massive protest in the midst of a pandemic) and get ready to spend some serious time in the streets, my friends. This CANNOT stand!

And if any Republicans are reading this…Really? You are actually okay with this? Hasn’t the time finally come when you will choose your country – and democracy itself – over protecting the fragile little ego of Donald Trump?

As Carl Bernstein has been saying, this is not just political disruption, the correct word for it is a “coup d’etat.”

Just when we thought King Donald couldn’t sink any lower, or disgust us anymore, here we are. Most commentators seem to think that this ultimate exercise in Trumpism will fail – but is likely to cause serious damage to our democratic system in the long run.

Let’s hope they’re right about the former, but wrong about the latter.

Sharpen up your pitchforks, folks!

Off-topic weekly reminder:

Friday nights 8 PM - 9 PM North American Central Time:

The Magical Mystery Tour. Host Tom Wood takes a look at the Beatles from a different angle each week.

Friday nights 9 PM - 12 AM North American Central Time:

Beaker Street, the legendary rock radio program, has returned. Iconic host Clyde Clifford has returned from his medical absence.

Both shows can be found at Arkansas Rocks.

If you can't catch Beaker Street live, MP3 files are available soon afterward at this site.
Gents - I understand your point regarding the carefully worded protestations of Giuliani. While he says a lot the legal documents don’t seem to mirror the words. He’s just looking to stir the pot and make as many people as possible consider Joe to be an illegitimate leader. At the same time, that’s exactly what the outgoing Dems (and their sponsors) did to Trump. No, I don’t like Trump. He is the biggest jackass to ever hold office. However, by perpetrating the Steele dossier, marginal FISA warrants, the Mueller investigation, pointless Impeachment, etc..., the Dems essentially did the same to Trump in an attempt to hobble his ability to do anything. We live in a time where ends justify the means pretty much everywhere. The Dems normalized this sort of thing, and now they are going to have to experience the other side of it.

Prediction - Have you been wondering where all the other rumored “Hunter’s laptop” evidence has been been the last few weeks? Have you forgotten about that? My read is that Trump and Giuliani have been sitting on it. They know that releasing it now would be fun, but that it really would not alter the outcome of their legal games in MI, AZ, NV, GA, WI, and PA. So, they are going to use the contents of that laptop to play holy hell with Joe’s presidency once Trump is out of office. Trump would like nothing better than to make the Dems feel his wrath by turning the tables. Please don’t think Hunter is clean, he is a complete mess and the contents of that laptop are going to be construed to also reflect on Joe’s character. AND, if their is the slightest bit of evidence to be spun that Joe benefited from the sweet desks that Hunter miraculously received, you’ll see our Republican controlled Senate fry him over it, spinning it all in the darkest ways.
Anon, I don't know what you're trying to sell, sale. The impeachment was warranted a thousand times over. To paraphrase Noel Coward, some presidents should be struck with impeachment daily, like gongs. Ukrainegate was proven beyond all rational doubt. The testimony was damning. Trump fought back using his usual tactic: Repeating a lie ad infinitum until the lie becomes "truth" in the heads of many Americans.

The FISA warrants were more than warranted, and anyone who says otherwise must actually sit through those Falun Gong ads on YouTube.

Mueller caught Trump dead to rights on obstruction, and obstruction proves that Russiagate was real. You don't obstruct the investigation of a nonexistent crime. Mueller's problem was that he didn't hit hard enough or go far enough. For chrissakes, he didn't look at Trump's financials, and he didn't ask the NSA for intercepts. Maybe if a Democrat had run the investigation it wouldn't have been such weak tea. Who created this rule that only Republicans can investigate Democratic presidents while only Republicans can investigate Republican presidents?

The Hunter Biden story? Cah-MON. I wrote about it at length, and so did a thousand other people. THERE'S NOTHING THERE. If the laptop existed, if the porn existed, we would have seen the evidence before the election. The Ukraine stuff was always nonsense.

And really, that's it. End of story.

I know it's possible for a creative conspiracy theorist to cobble together a bullshit rationalization to explain why the evidence is till being kept hidden but will be revealed at just the right moment in the future. You know how I know this? I know this because I myself AM (or was) a creative conspiracy theorist, more creative than most, but also more self-aware than most. (I'm also capable of self doubt and regret, which most others are not.)

The bottom line is that, yes, I am sure that right now you are just dying to hit me with your theory as to why "THEY" did not reveal the evidence before the election, and why THEY are "hiding" the supposedly damning evidence on Hunter's laptop. I know you have a rationalization. I won't print it, but I know you have one.

Here's the thing: Any such rationalization is casuistry. There is no porn. There is no evidence. There is no laptop. Hunter Biden, denizen of Los Angeles, did not fly to Delaware to deposit three laptops containing incriminating info with a blind computer repair guy who just happens to be pals with Larry Fucking Johnson, the former spook who unleashed birtherism and who is probably the most disgusting and deceptive asshole I've encountered in all the years I've been writing this blog.

That's like saying I am going to let you have this piece of pie and let you eat it while I make obnoxious noises even though I could easily take it for myself and keep you from ever having another piece of pie. So, you are saying that Trump would do such a thing out of goodness of his heart, a sense of fairplay or for delayed satisfaction? How about for valuing an added twist to a defunct conspiracy than possibly keeping his ass out of jail?
No, as Joseph said, no SALE.
@Joseph @margie
I think you’re too kind to the troll, anon9:44. I do think it’s worth posting that drivel but sheesh.

Hard to know if Trump believes anything at all. For all he blabs and tweets, it is all, every bit of it, cheap fear
mongering. From the look of things, he’s not getting the support he needs from district- level officials and judges willing to void out the election for him.

A great deal of uncertainty.

I wonder who his backers will back next.
Joe – (Anon 9:44 here) Not really looking to sell anything. More looking to share some ideas and see if we can collectively sift through the tea leaves together (from various viewpoints) to find out what is really currently happening, as well as what we will see happen after Joe takes office. I’ve read your blog for maybe ten years, but only been participating the past 6 months. I enjoy the analysis you bring, regardless of whether I agree with all of it. The eclectic, in particular the music/art/OTO/magick/life posts are missed.
Regarding the laptop I think I failed to communicate – I am not saying the info on the laptop is legit. I am not saying it was obtained legitimately. I am not necessarily saying that the contents even have to be real. Whatever it is though, most certainly its some sort of intel op that took a lot of effort to plan and implement. Such things don’t come and go quickly. All I am saying is that we will see it used against Joe in 2021. Hunter has not lived a life anything like Joe’s. Hunter is an ideal target. Facts include Hunter being kicked out of the Navy (after getting a sweetheart admissions wavier through his Dad) for cocaine abuse, having sexual relations with the former wife of his dead brother, cavorting with strippers, fathering children with strippers, and then trying hard to dodge his financial responsibilities as a father. Also, Conjecture includes his awfully profitable jobs from foreign companies that overpaid Hunter for essentially doing nothing, What I am saying is that Hunter’s background doesn’t play at all well in middle America. That laptop info will be leaked out in dribs and drabs to continually degrade Joe’s reputation and also sponsor various investigations related to Hunter and possible connections to Joe’s finances (Yes, I know its bullshit, this is politics though!). Could I be wrong, for sure. If I am, I’ll send in a mea culpa at the end of 2021.
The impeachment however didn’t do anything positive for the Democratic party. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff mostly embarrassed themselves and most likely increased votes for Trump. That fairly large group of folks in the middle of the electorate just saw it as Washington wasting money and time over things that are inconsequential to real people (However, people are interested in things like education, paying for their kids schooling, healthcare, fairness, etc... That ought to be what the Dems focus on if they ever want to succeed). I think this is borne out by all the House seats the Republicans picked up. The impeachment was dumb.

On the Russia thing, I feel very confident that If Robert Mueller had found a shred of evidence you would know about it. Yes, he threw a few stones that Trump likely deserved. All sorts of folks have tried to find real evidence of Russian connections and it hasn’t shown up. If its their where is it? Was Mueller possibly actually an agent of Trump's? It's mostly proven that much of what gave rise to the Steele dossier was based on various political interests seeking to discredit Trump, which was largely effective, although also likely fiction. Once again, I don’t share any of these thoughts to be a jerk or poke anyone in the eye and I do enjoy hearing another point of view. Don't stop being you.

You know how Trump always plays to his base? Gives them something to hand their hat on?
To me and a lot of others, impeachment was that. We all knew Republicans would not play ball, but if the Dems didn't try to impeach Trump after the Ukraine incident, it was like silently approving of it. It was the right thing to do and it doesn't matter if it helped or hurt with Trump's base. It was the right thing to do and history will remember that. I have no doubt that Trump and his HANDELERS will try to use all that they have and don't have to smear, impede, derail Biden. I do agree that Hunter is a good target and he is open to all kinds of attacks, but I do object to aiding and abetting the undertaking by Democrats. You know what Republican do, they all of sudden become all forgiving of wide stances in a public bathroom or forgiving trespasses on Christian values because you hate the sin not the sinner, or hating and killing your fellow citizens because they are standing against the will of God to keep the ORDER of things like the supreme place of WHITES. so let's fight the way they do. Let's say, Hunter is a damaged human being and deserves our forgiveness for his bad decisions because he is at most the child of a politician who went through his own hell. Let's not forget that Trump, another damaged being, managed to kill thousands of Americans with his incompetence and divided our country in half and made a laughing stock of us around the world and betrayed his country in ways no one imagined or comprehends. Let's not lose perspective of the damage this one narcissistic, Evil, treasonous man child has inflicted on this country. Let's not bring it down to a comparison with a child that lost her mother and struggled to measure up to a brother that was stronger. We do ourselves a disservice when we pay any undue attention to what the sick RIGHT tell us we should care about. Hunter should be a non story. We should treat it as such.
Margie - I feel your passion. Respectfully, what I am proposing is that if we want to be able to do something constructive we have to think about what will get us the votes to pick up a few more Senate seats and not lose more House seats. Plenty of things would feel good in this environment, and also be pretty righteous in themselves, but they won't get us the seats we need. The impeachment probably cost us some House seats. It was a mistake. I was praying that Nancy Pelosi would be cast aside and a more focused Speaker be elected by the Dems. We can't afford folks like Nancy to pursue ill perceived efforts like that impeachment.
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