Monday, September 9, 2019

Weather-gate and Trump's stubbornness

Trump lies again and again. This isn't a surprise by now, but it's getting dumber. Trump made a mistake by saying Alabama was in range of a hurricane. Instead of correcting his mistake, or just letting it go, he doubled down repeatedly. It got too much media coverage because it was such foolish behavior. Even cowardly agencies under his thumb got involved.

It's hard to say what was the worst part of this unnecessary debacle. It wouldn't have been at all bad if it had ended with this (after Trump erroneously said Alabama could be hit):
[The] Birmingham office of the National Weather Service, in response to a flurry of calls and inquiries, issued a correction on Twitter, saying, "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian." -- GQ magazine
But, nooooo, Trump couldn't let that stand. He couldn't admit even a tiny mistake. He had to blather (incorrectly) that Alabama had been a very likely target in the storm, including nonsense that there was a 95% chance of Alabama being hit at one point in the modeling. That was Trump being his usual fucking egotistical maniac self. 

Then Trump marked up an official weather service map to include Alabama. This is almost like changing the answer key on a test. Trump is so divorced from the truth that he'll pretend official information doesn't say what it says. And of course he used it as another skirmish in his war on the media, particularly CNN. 

This is all a game to Trump. The guy has no respect for truth or science, just for power. I'm absurdly eager for a break from this stupidity.

Wait, where did that black line come from?

Update 9/9/19. A number of officials in the weather/oceanic agency are loudly standing up for the scientists and accurate reporting and are pointing out how the mealy-mouthed communications supporting Trump are wrong. It looks like they are daring Trump to fire them. I don't think they'll be fired because it would be too obvious. How will Trump react? We'll see.

Update 9/11/19. An opinion column on this debacle with a some new info. The Secretary of Commerce ordered the support of the naked prez on pain of beheading, or similar. Sigh. Truth is not an option. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

More August links

Antifa is not the biggest violent threat. ... no matter what GOP pols say. The alt-right, neo-Nazis, white nationalists are a much bigger threat, but it's not politically useful for Republicans to acknowledge. They want antifa as the boogeyman. Related: A guy wearing a MAGA hat was beat up. Oh, those violent lefties. Except that he went to several bars soliciting fights. In video, we can see the lefties telling him that no one is going outside to fight him. Ummm... never mind.

Dictator-like move in Great Britain. Boris Johnson pulls a nearly unprecedented move to prevent Parliament from unseating him. I think Parliament will have a few days in session, and hopefully will remove him.

Learning about the 2nd amendment. Here. Quite comprehensive.

Problems with e-verify surface. After a major raid on poultry processors. Good info to know.

Election prediction succeeded in 2018. How about 2020? I'm not unbiased, but I see skewing of the prediction, with progressive being favored. The political scientist points out that progressive did better than expected in Texas and Georgia compared to blue dogs in Missouri and Indiana. But they all lost. What about in Arizona? Well, it was a centrist Dem who won there. Odd to ignore that. Related. The Trump campaign is very worried about suburban women - worried that they'll lose the 2020 election.

Red flag law in California. Not a big sample size, but none of them became mass shooters. Frankly, we can't know what was prevented, if anything. But prevention is a worthy goal, especially considering that we are preventing deaths. In the last two weeks, there have been a spate of reports of people arrested for having caches of guns and worrisome plans, but before anyone was shot. That seems preferable to me, right?

A moderate view on US intervention. Police the worst places to shut down the worst of the safe havens.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Epstein death cranks up the conspiracy machines

I've written about Epstein, the pedophile, before. He's a favorite of those who like to lie about Bill Clinton because Epstein was so vile in his sexual predations of teenage girls. However, people who do this rarely base their claims in fact or careful research of news sources. They usually repeat garbage without a care that it is garbage.

Now many of those same people believe that Epstein was murdered, not that he killed himself in a locked cell that he didn't share with anyone. Again, facts are simply an impediment to the story they want to believe and tell.

This article, by someone who has worked in the penal system, calls those stories regurgitated misinformation. That's kinder than I would be, as you shall soon see. Another article by a convict goes into detail of how one could commit suicide in prison, and it sounds fairly doable unless you have a minder in the cell with you, which Epstein didn't. He adds that soaping the sheet will make it move more easily and cause fractures in the neck, as the autopsy found.

Here is a piece of stupidity from Judith Miller. Of course, anyone who would go from the NYT to Fox isn't interested foremost in accurate journalism. The headline makes me roll my eyes. Miller claims it's almost impossible to kill yourself in prison? Well, there are plenty of reports of suicides in prison - did she miss those? Of course the article doesn't actually dwell on Miller's tiny knowledge of prisons, so it doesn't live up to the hyped headline. I hope Miller enjoys her dirty pay to write such trash.

So to all the people who believe so passionately that Epstein was murdered, start producing some definite evidence, like defensive wounds, payments to the guards, video even. Otherwise your tales are full of bullshit, and just plain ridiculous. And you probably believe a lot of other rubbish too. I'll be ridiculing your stupidity as loudly as I can.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Shootings and August links

In less than 24 hours, there were two major mass shootings, following up a mass shooting at a festival in California (so three in fairly short span). The shooting in El Paso, TX targeted Mexicans. The shooting in Dayton, OH was by a young man with a long history of violent fantasies, including having a kill list and a rape list while he was in high school. (Google these shootings for details. I won't choose one link as representative). This article about the background of the El Paso shooter is chilling: mostly 'normal' but with all too familiar undercurrents including bullying at school along racial lines, hopelessness about job prospects while automation continues, and open racist sentiments expressed after Trump was elected.

Ignore the headline of this article (Washington Post again - a good source). It's not so much that there's pushback from the NRA on gun legislation, as there is deep worry from GOP legislators. Can they stay in office if they sign on to gun legislation? Probably not if they depend on votes from GOPers, which they do. According to polls, the wide majority of Republicans are still against even partial gun control measures. So it's less the NRA standing in the way, but instead the very popular Guns R Us ethos among Republicans.

Faltering Dem candidates. A Politico author contrasts the Republicans, who understand the importance of legacy and a winning historical narrative, with the Democrats, who are sniping at each other over the party's recent past. Part of this is due to a leadership vacuum since Obama is gone and the Clintons are gone, and both failed in some major ways.

Stealth reform measures for Social Security. Why hasn't this been big news? With funding issues looming, the Dems in the House are working on a big change to SS. This should be drawing a lot of attention, debate, number-crunching, and fact-checking, but the press barely utters a peep. Sure, it's not likely to get through the Senate, but it's a real proposal with seemingly real numbers, and these numbers are likely to be the basis for future work on SS.

Zero interest on bonds. A big difference from when I was young is that now the return on bonds is almost nothing. I find this fascinating. The world is awash in money chasing after profits. We've created so much wealth, and so much paper or digital money that there isn't enough ways to spend it or invest it. This doesn't worry me, however. We won't turn dirt poor even if there's a crash. There will just be another inflation via QE (quantitative easing) as there was last time.

Update on Gaza. Tensions rise and fall, but nobody wants a repeat of the last useless, destructive war. Progress!


Extras. Gun control (now called gun safety) advocacy group shows how common private sales are without a background check.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

July/August links

Don't forget healthcare.  Oops, the GOP did. They are cheering a lawsuit that may end Obamacare even though they haven't considered the chaos if it's struck down. There should be a special word for this beyond 'unbelievable stupid.' Two articles on this: the first features the full-on stupidity of some GOPers; the second features the beginnings of a GOP plan from those that aren't complete morons. And a bit more about the situation.

Walking the high-wire in the Middle East. Qatar is doing this successfully, to the benefit of themselves and the US, and maybe others.

Canadian healthcare. It's very popular with Canadians. We should be taking a look, but most conservatives simply snipe at it.

Lindsay Graham stumbles. He used to be John McCain's best friend. Now he wants to be Trump's sidekick. Sad to find out that he was really just a sidekick with no backbone or moral compass.

Early primary prediction. This article predicts the three frontrunners in the Dem primary based on big donors. It might be a good test of 1) accuracy, and 2) whether only big donors matter.

Predictions about the Iran conflict. Probably no war.

McConnell helps the Russians. McConnell was called out in a big way, and he was mighty angry about it. Nonetheless, he earned it.

Furor over Trump tweets again. What this week? He told 4 Dem congresswomen to (fucking) leave the country.

Bathroom issue ends in a whimper. N. Carolina and their horror at transgender people ends... for now. Related: in Poland, gay pride marchers are attacked.

Armed Iranian speed boats

Saturday, July 13, 2019

July links

Tangled mess. A knitting site has banned political discussions due to animosity between Trump supporters and opponents. I sympathize. Maybe it was the right move if people were arguing too much and not sharing enough knitting tips.

Election disinformation starting. Example #1 is about Kamala Harris.

NRA meltdown. This is something to watch. The NRA is embroiled in scandal. But it's also a big player in elections. Will we see any effects? Possibly not because it works mostly locally, not from the top down.

2020 forecast. The prediction by a forecaster who did well in the 2018 election.

Russia laughs at Trump display.  Russian media jokes about the lame military display for the Fourth of July. Oh really? Well, who lost the Cold War? That's right, suckers.

Police misbehaving. This isn't really a surprise. Police in a major city are caught making biased remarks on social media, including white supremacist remarks. However, I thought the comment section was worth reading.

Legal analysis on regulation. From a conservative source this time. An analysis of a recent Supreme Court decision. His prediction is a rolling back of government by regulation. I can't comprehend that, and wonder about chaos ensuing until the Supreme Court finds a good balance.

Historical footnote on rich people getting away with crime. Jeffrey Epstein was a known pedophile, and how did he stay out of jail? Good question. It's harder to charge him than you might think, until someone does it and then the other prosecutors look like wimps or worse. One of them being Trump's secretary of labor, now having resigned.

Trump's master stroke. After the grab-them-by-the-pussy video, Trump barely survived. However, he saved himself by going into attack mode during the next debate, and that was admired by much of the GOP.


Last outpost of crazy: Three stories

Overrun Area 51. Maybe this is a fad, but will some show up on the appointed day? Some humorous predictions of what might happen.

Saliva challenge. There's definitely a new fad for licking things, returning them to shelves, and recording the antics for display on social media. Because the subpar American is that fucking immature and obnoxious.

Zombie pigs. This political commentator takes a break from the heavy stuff to reassure us that we aren't going to be overrun by zombie pig brains. I'm so glad to read this, but it's hadn't been on my list of concerns.