Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What the Charlottesville Nazis were saying

The Daily Stormer is no longer available by regular browser. However, pages on the internet get cached sometimes, and the Stormer was popular enough to get cached quite often over the weekend.

Go to cachedview.com, or following my links.

Let's see my selection of the lovely conversation at the Daily Stormer. (Note: I didn't grab the timestamps on everything.)

[Friday 8/11/17]
I’m getting reports of large groups arriving and having trouble with their AirBnB reservations.

Azzmador’s Texas crew is staying in a hotel in one of the surrounding towns.

REMEMBER: At the event, keep your weapons in your car if you brought one. Do not bring it to the event. We do not want a shootout.

Right Wing Motorcycle Squadratti are in #Charlottesville and out of control!! on #HandsomeThursday

If you click to enlarge that picture, you’ll notice that both the cameraman on the left and the guy in the light blue shirt appear to be kikes. VICE is a full-kike operation.

4:00 PM:

SWITCH TO PRIVATE CHANNELS ONLY FROM HERE ON OUT

5:19 PM:

The argument from the kike Mayor and his Negroid Black Panther sidekick is that they said there would only be 400 people and there are going to be a whole helluva lot more than that.

Word on the ground from Daily Stormer staff is that the permit to hold the rally in Lee Park has been officially issued! Looks like we won out!

This is last night! [Torchlit march on UVa] The time and place didn’t get posted here because it was a secret arrangement, I apologize to those that missed it.

20 PEOPLE STOOD AGAINST HUNDREDS OF FASCISTS!

THIS IS HAPPENING NOW!

NO ONE IS STANDING IN OUR WAY!

CHARLOTTESVILLE BELONGS TO US!

AMERICA BELONGS TO US!

People are being bussed in to the park now.

Antifa are on Twitter panicking, some saying they won’t even bother to attend given that their numbers will be so few.

The thing that is going to be in the most danger here is your car, so try to park in a lot that’s being observed, or just take a taxi or an Uber to the event (if you’re not riding on the bus).

[Saturday 8/12/17]
10:40 AM:

The chanting war begins.

“You’re fags, go home you have no testosterone” VS “No racists, no KKK, no fascists USA.”

11:00 AM:

Azzmador has unveiled his banner.

“Gas the kikes, race war now!”

12:11 PM

ANTIFA GETTING THEIR ASSES KICKED EVERYWHERE.

12:31 PM:

FUCK YOU FAGGOTS!

You heard that right. They're chanting "Fuck you faggots." 

GET TO MCINTIRE PARK NOW AND FIND AZZMADOR, CANTWELL OR SACCO VANDAL! STAY IN THE GROUP! DO NOT SEPARATE ONCE YOU ARE BEHIND ONE OF THESE THREE MEN! 

3:46 PM:

Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.

He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate… on both sides!

So he implied the antifa are haters.

There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

He said he loves us all.

Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.

No condemnation at all.

When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.

Really, really good.

God bless him.

Same dickhead Virginia state cops who attacked our rally just crashed a fucking helicopter.

Police chief quadroon such a bitch. I have defended cops. Then they betray us and attack us in what amounted to an ambush.

There it is. Reporting straight from the the good people on the right who care so much about the statue of General Lee.

Monday, August 14, 2017

White supremacists show their nature at Charlottesville

Note: Many of my sources were from the Daily Stormer site. It has now been kicked off by its hosting ISP, and is having trouble finding a new host. It may have to switch to a Russian host. The Daily Stormer links may not be available again at all, or they may return. 

Being an American is not boring. It can be deeply embarrassing, even mortifying sometimes. It can be inspiring. It is not dull. There are so many moral aspects to being a thinking citizen in the US, and some of these aspects were on display this past weekend.

Many groups involved in white supremacy coordinated to sponsor a large rally in Charlottesville, VA, the location of a large state university. I hope I can find the list of the organizers, which I read somewhere in the many articles I read in the past 72 hours.

Maybe I'll start the list of sources where I started--a blog called Occidental Dissent. Some things I noticed: the reference to the confederate flag, how-to information on getting ready for rallies, including comments on how to arm yourself. The list of other alt-right blogs. The blogger is taking donations to fund his participation at rallies, and had collected $675 from 9 donors so far. Then there was the link to The Daily Stormer.

Operational Security is a chilling read. It's describes how to cover your tracks. Use a burner phone for all rally-related communications, and don't put anything personal on it. Don't use hate speech on the phone since it may be used against you and the movement. (The author doesn't follow his own advice since The Daily Stormer is full of hate speech.) If you get involved in 'something heavy,' like homicide, flee the country or flee your identity. Wow. This sounds like advice for people with peaceful intent, doesn't it?

The incidents - Torch march on the UVa campus

The white groups planned a march across the campus on Friday night. I don't know whether they didn't publicize their plan, but there wasn't much organized counter-protest. Again, it must of been chilling to witness hundreds of white supremacists carrying torches, marching, chanting, like being in Germany when the Nazis were gaining strength. There were many people who drawn out to witness, but few organized to resist or counter the message. The white groups  declared a huge victory. They jeered at the few protesters, surrounded them, eventually attacked them and ran them off. This was the huge victory that the groups boasted about.

Anti fascists are surrounded by hundreds of fascists at Jefferson statue. No police.

Incident - Scheduled rally 

The main rally was scheduled for Saturday noon at a park where a statue of Robert E. Lee is currently located, but may be removed due to its association with the Confederacy and history of racial bias. The city tried to revoke the permit for the rally, but a federal judge ruled that they must allow it.

However, the crowds turning out, both the white supremacists and the counter protesters, turned out in large numbers and were clearly poised for skirmishes. My speculation (there hasn't been clear reporting) was that the number of counter-protesters was very large partly in reaction to the torch-light rally the night before.

There were also very large numbers of people taking video, some with professional camera equipment. The videos show how many people were recording events. This is wonderful for history--that so many want to witness and capture the events.

Another thing I notice from the videos. Many of the white groups have similar clothing. Many are carrying shields and wearing helmets and other protective gear. They are dressed for confrontation. That kind of organization and preparation were less common among the counter protesters.

The state and local government, based on the conditions that were volatile and unsafe, cancelled the rally. I support this, but I imagine that the city and state will be sued. Already some of the white protest groups are whining that their free speech rights were restricted and the police didn't protect them as they should have. I have no sympathy for them because they were clearly preparing for violence.

Incident - Car ramming protesters, killing one 

A man who earlier in the day joined a white supremacist group called Vanguard America, drove his car at high speed into a large group of counter protesters. One of them died, many others were severely injured. He tried to escape at high speed from the scene, but was observed by many people out on the streets and was caught almost immediately.

The response from the Daily Stormer was particularly repugnant. Someone said the guy was anti-Trump (wrong). Then someone said he acted in self-defense because he was pelted with bricks (wrong). Another said no one of importance was hurt. Another that the driver was Jewish because his mother's surname is 'Bloom.' The fatality was called a fat, childless slut. That is just so lovely. These are people who are hateful and hurtful with no respect for truth or any principles other than tribalism.

There is so much more I could write about, and some of that will be in the extra section.

Image: mysanantonio.com

Extras. The live thread from the Daily Stormer is chilling--the triumphalism, the complaints that the police didn't protect them in their quest to provoke fights, their pretended innocence, their hate for so many others with the least bit of difference, their whining after a death that their free speech (a news conference that next day) wasn't protected from huge outraged crowds. The comment thread.

The propaganda machine for the alt-right has been fairly successful. Too many think that the leftist counter protesters are the problem, including this soon-to-be-former GOP official. Unfortunately, our idiot president is also one of those who have drunk the Kool-Aid of right-wing propaganda. He spoke about the murder and mayhem with no conviction, and with weasel words about 'many sides' being wrong, as though it was expedient for him to gloss over the involvement of white supremacists. Trump deserves the flack he caught: this from the Weekly Standard, this much blunter, harsher, and painfully true piece from the Washington Post. The alt-right were happy with Trump's vagueness, and with his grudging slightly strong statement two days later.

One of the first on-the-ground accounts I read. Several others. How this may be pivotal for the white supremacy movement. At a white supremacy rally in Seattle one day later, a huge police presence prevented violence, not to say this was possible in Charlottesville.

Update 8/15/17. Trump has returned to saying that there were 'bad people' on many sides, or both sides. He seems to have a clearer sense now that there were neo-Nazis there. However, he seems to think the right-wing hate groups weren't a majority of the right-wing people there. (My sense is that a majority did identify as white rights supporters at best, and often KKK or neo-Nazi.) Trump seems to understand that there were good people among the counter protesters, but he focuses on the bad ones. The press seems not to acknowledge at all the violent groups among the counter protesters. In this, Trump is more accurate than the press. So Trump underplays the bad actors among the right, overplays the bad actors among the left, and seems not to know at all about the Nazi-like march on Friday night.

Update 8/16/17. It's important to see what The Daily Stormer was writing and showing about the Charlottesville rallies. I took a screen shot which provides information that isn't available now. Here is the screen shot: (Click to enlarge.)


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cleaning the White House

I'm a bit late on this story, though it's still relevant and may be relevant for a while to come. Like Kelly, Trump's new chief of staff, McMaster was generally considered a wise choice, and not a known crazy.

Unfortunately, some Trump supporters like crazy. McMaster is therefore having some problems and riling up some folks. He's been trying to clear out some of the crazy that was appointed to the National Security staff, and there's pushback. So far, the pushback has been ineffectual. Trump has indicated support for McMaster, and hasn't tweeted catty comments as he did with Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General.

Bannon, who is a patron to many of these crazies (as part of his position as the near-alt-right), has been keeping his head down and avoiding the volleys. It's interesting to see which parts of the conservative media are on which side.

One right wing favorite wrote a memo about how there's a shadow government in the US, and it's not being displaced as it ought to be. The author has now been displaced, to the howls of some. There are complaint about 'the deep state' and Obama holdovers, both of which are probably traitors. It's a damn shame that this chance to finally clean up those damn socialists is slipping away. If America isn't great again, it's because of those traitors that got to stay on.

Image: thepeoplescube.com


Extra. Not particularly connected, but a taste of Russian 'news.' It would be a horrible template for news here.

Update 8/14/17. I was right about relevance. Here's a pair of articles about the feud and ideological differences between Bannon and McMaster, include lies peddled on (wait for it) Alex Jones' show.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A bundle of important stories

Conservative media fabrication revealed. This should be so big. Fox News fell for a peddled fake story about (murdered) Seth Rich and Wikileaks. Now there's a suit, and the papers filed contain a wealth of evidence about how the lies got on the air.

CNN skews its reporting. "Federal investigators ... seized on Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia as one of the most fertile avenues for moving their probe forward... The web of financial ties could offer a more concrete path toward potential prosecution than the broader and murkier questions of collusion..." This is supposed to be an investigation, not a fishing expedition bent on prosecution. CNN seems to have forgotten that.

Sessions skews his condemnation of leaks. Great story with analysis of a logical trick that Sessions uses. He probably does it knowingly.

Lies are the family business. Donald jr. lied about a meeting with a Russian lawyer. Well, lied at first and then told the truth. It turns out Donald sr. lied about it too. Is anyone surprised?

Stats about the cost of tax deduction. This is important hard information. What costs the government more: mortgage interest deduction, 401K's, or the earned income tax credit? It didn't know, and I was a bit surprised.

Trump the wimp. Putin is disrespecting America, and what is Donald doing about it? Why?

Image: thecoldplayer.deviantart.com

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Quick summary: Repeal FAIL

This is an important issue, but I don't have a bunch of time to spend on it. The Senate failed to repeal and replace Obamacare. McConnell proposed, negotiated, twisted arms, and pulled bills from votes. It was a big embarrassment, so McConnell and the Senate made a last ditch effort TO DO SOMETHING (never a good situation).

McConnell had the Senate voting on bills or amendments within an hour or so of when their text was released. So much for 'a deliberative body' or not 'ramming it down their throats.' John McCain, with stitches on his left eyebrow and newly diagnosed with brain cancer, flew in from Arizona as a necessary vote to start debate-athon.

Two days later, McCain was one of three GOP senators who killed the effort. Maybe it was doomed anyhow. The conservatives vowed that they needed a fuller repeal, with more taxes gone. They folded pretty quickly. The moderates wanted assurances that Medicaid funding wouldn't disappear--this is a higher priority to senators as state-wide representatives, as I mentioned before.

McConnell promised his colleagues that the bill would go to conference, and their concerns would be addressed in the future. Paul Ryan didn't promise that. What is the promise of a politician like McConnell?

A lot of senators who were leery voted for the measure based on these assurances, but McCain didn't, and that was the killing stroke.

Image: kitv.com

Extras. What next? Maybe some bipartisan negotiation.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Trump update: Bad week, then getting better

I was very worried last week. There were lots of reports that Trump was trying to work out how to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel assigned to investigate Russian interference in the election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. Trump was also bad-mouthing his Attorney General essentially for not being corrupt enough to shut down the Russia investigation.

This week, it's much calmer, most likely due to John Kelly becoming White House chief of staff on 7/28/17. This whole week as been such a contrast... and such a relief.

Last week, Trump was floating the idea of replacing Session using his power to make recess appointments. A bunch of senators were telling him not to do that--telling him through the public media so we could all listen to the warnings.

Trump also added a kink to the week with a tweet declaring transgender people couldn't serve in the military 'in any capacity.' Where did that come from? Probably a mish-mash of things Trump heard, and he decided that particular day was a good day to pretend he could act by fiat. Fiat hasn't actually worked. So far, the military has ignored him. His declaration may die just like his declaration that Obama wiretapped him died. "It's just another Trump eruption. Pay no attention." Really, it's pretty stupid to announce an important new policy via twitter, and not to have any plans for implementing the policy. But Trump is that stupid.

But back to Kelly. I have a guess that Kelly saw the craziness of July 24-27, and concluded he had to do something about it. That 'something' was calling Trump and volunteering to be chief of staff and clean up the whole mess. Plenty of credit to Kelly for stepping up. A bit of credit to Trump for saying yes. I hope this works. Reminder--this is my speculation on what happened.

Image: michaelpramirez.com

Extra. The small worries about Kelly taking this job. Kelly got Trump to stop bashing Sessions. Idiotic opinion piece on how Trump should resist firing Mueller, but should fire Sessions and Rosenstein.

Monday, July 31, 2017

So many stories

I didn't publish this when I first started writing, and now there's been a flurry of stories to follow. Someday I may catch up on my writing, but not yet. However, I'm posting this belated piece today. 


Has Obamacare failed? This article shows pretty clearly that the answer depends on where you live. Some places, yes. Some places, the market is still doing well.

What to do in Afghanistan. Trump likes his top national security adviser McMaster, but disagrees with his plan for Afghanistan. So what will happen?

Voter fraud claims turn nasty. Imagine someone claimed you shouldn't be on the voter rolls. Let's say they lied about you, said you didn't live at your address, etc. Unfortunately, this happened statewide. Read about it.

Which states can't meet pension obligations? That's a good question. This article has one of the best graphs I've ever seen to show the answer. My state (Mass) - so-so. Not as bad as I feared.

Conservatives for riots? This article discusses how an associate of video sting con artist James O'Keefe tried to bribe a progressive organizer to arrange riots for Trump's inauguration. Sounds very sinister. Then I realized that she was probably trying to do a video sting, not actually trying to arrange false flag riots.

List of lies. Donald's. I don't want to go through the whole list, but it's good that somebody compiled one. I'm glad it wasn't me.

The 10-Day Diet. How to lose a bad choice for communications chief in 10 days. But before he's completely forgotten, read this hilarious piece about him calling up a reporter and forgetting to say the magic words "off the record" or "background." Some communications chief.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Short: The cynicism of the GOP

This issue is too important not to have its own post. The Washington Post pointedly tells how very cynical the GOP is in its push to do something-anything about ACA. Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to start considering an ACA repeal, and they don't even have the text of the bill. They don't have the text of proposed amendments. He made promises on an earlier bill that certain parts, if enacted, will never be implemented.

On Thursday night, McConnell finally released the text of the bill most likely to pass. He's trying to talk senators into passing it--promising that it will fail in the House, and ultimately a different version will be available. This is amazing, and probably a bait-and-switch, or bait-and-not-switch-as-promised. Four senators, including John McCain, threatened not to vote for the measure "unless there was a guarantee the House wouldn't pass the Senate bill." PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't give us what we vote for! Please, someone else kill this, but not me!

I can't believe that a senator has to pray that his vote isn't final. He has to hope someone else will block the bill, and he can get away with a yes vote that he despises. I'm not sure how many senators are planning to vote yes and hope no. They are hoping that their bill won't be passed by the House. But will they feel betrayed if the House turns around and passes the bill they just voted for? This is exactly what I expect will happen. What a cynical game they are playing, the culmination of 7 years of cynical bombast.

Image result for mcconnell promises on skinny repeal cartoon

Extra. A good summary.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Do we need a Megan's Law for bathrooms?

I read how Texas is considering a law governing how transgender people can use public bathrooms. It occurred to me that Texas isn't debating this law because there was a horrific case of a transgender person horribly raping and/or killing a girl in a bathroom. This didn't happen to little Rachel or Gloria or Brittany, so there's no Rachel's Law. Nope.

Instead, Texas is considering this law because... um, why? Because they want to show that they hate the idea of transgender people, and they want to poke them in the eye. Or maybe they want to show that they are holier than thou, and that transgender nonsense is not tolerated in Texas.

This is so fake. I can assure you that transgender people are using the appropriate bathrooms in Texas without incident. They aren't raping anyone, they aren't exposing their genitals to the shock and disgust of other patrons. They are just going into the stalls, locking the doors, and answering nature's call. Just like the rest of the human species. Sheesh, give the paranoia a rest. Give the excuses to bash liberals a rest.

Do we need a Megan's Law for bathrooms? No, we don't. We don't need any laws. Just let people pick their bathrooms, and keep out of the way.

Image: twitter/@lmcgaughey

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Another roundup of links

What to do about North Korea. This is very tricky, until you realize that the answer from history is obvious. Sometime last year I spent many hours listening to a podcast detailing the history of nuclear strategy. From that I learned that you don't go crazy and make a pre-emptive strike. You sit down and sanely wait things out. That's how the least number of people will die--hopefully none will die. A friend from South Korea was relieved to find an American who gets it. Here's a great article that explains most of the situation, and it only takes minutes to read. As someone who has spent hours and days reflecting, I endorse the article. As my friend says, a pre-emptive strike would mean the destruction of all of Korea. I vote for a waiting stance, and hoping no one fires the first missile.

Black Lives Matter. A good but painful article by Jamelle Bouie on the acquittal of a police officer who shot a black man. Bouie explains that there is fear, and fear will be considered a valid reason. Makes me wonder if there's any way out.

Meme goes viral and then the shit really hits the fan. Trump tweeted out a tasteless meme of himself beating up a CNN logo. A freelance journalist identified the original creator. The journalist is pelted with violent threats. There's pushback against CNN for threatening to out the creator and extorting an apology from him. (I'm sure about the ethics of CNN threatening to out him, but his apology reads like actual, honest, well-deserved contrition.) Finally, there is the Daily Stormer, laughing at the journalist and all the threats leveled at him. Basically, they act like threats are completely justified. That should be enough of this slimy underbelly of American culture.

Real assessment of fake news - retractions. Finally, a believable story of what CNN and other MSM have gotten wrong in the Russia megastory. It should come with a reminder of what they got right, like Flynn lying, Sessions lying, Russia hacking here, there, there, and there...

Voter fraud that looks for real. Here's a report on voter fraud in Virginia. Unfortunately, it's written for outrage instead of clarity. However, it looks like Virginia has had several thousand illegal votes in the past seven years, perhaps more.

How to punk Trump. This is a guide for Putin on how to fool our foolish president. I'm not overly worried because Donald doesn't stand by his promises, so any promises he foolishly makes to Putin won't matter.

Important ACA factoid. This is an important nugget. The medical risk profile of people in the individual market isn't getting worse. That means healthier people aren't being driven out--if this report is true. No death spiral yet. We will have to see how it pans out.

Image: speedwealthy.com


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Short: Blame Obama for Russian interference?

When I first heard this talking point, I thought the Trump camp had gone nuts. Why would anyone blame Obama when Trump was the one complimenting Putin and jokingly asking him to do more hacking please? Trump was the guy who was defending the Russkies, saying that it could have been any hacker, implying it would be presumptuous and wrong to punish the Russians. So it was Trump giving comfort to the Russians, certainly not Obama.

Somehow, though, this idea was a very popular talking point, at least among the right-wing parrots commenting on the political blogs I read. Of course they aren't a good source for information, or true information, at least.

So I found this article on the topic fairly detailed, but perhaps a bit one-sided. Yes, it mentions that the US was trying to work with Russia on some major issues, like the Iran nuclear agreement, but doesn't probe whether a more robust response to Russian behavior would have scuttled those important initiatives. I have to wonder about the choices that were made, but I certainly can't conclude based on the available info that Obama was wrong.

Image: pinterest.com


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fraud about voter fraud

From this article, I learned that I need to watch out for the GOP commission that is investigating voter fraud. Why? Because the head of the commission, Kris Kobach of Kansas, has already investigated voter fraud and found very little of it, but he hasn't publicized that finding.

It doesn't make sense to hide the info that voter fraud isn't common... unless you really like the narrative that it is common. Trump likes the narrative. Apparently, Kobach is fine with the narrative too because he's not pushing back against it. Maybe Kobach hopes he can find major fraud elsewhere, even if he didn't find it in Kansas. Personally, I'm not convinced that California, for example, does a good job policing its voter rolls. I tried to sign up to vote in California a few years ago, and probably would have been successful if I didn't bail at the last minute of the online process. No, I'm not going to commit the fraud of registering to vote in California just to find out if it's possible. Maybe California has tightened up, but I haven't seen any evidence of that, or any reports of what they do to investigate ineligible voters. To be clear, I have looked for evidence, but haven't found any published information about California's efforts to prevent voter fraud.

So maybe the commission investigating voter fraud will find a bit of fraud, or a moderate amount, or maybe even a huge amount (doubtful). So far, though, it's barely started, and it's already sputtering. Its first request for cooperation from the states was horribly mismanaged. The commission asked for private info such as birth dates and partial Social Security numbers without ensuring confidentiality. In fact, it was planning to have the information publicly available. They have got to be kidding--putting everyone's name, address, and birth date up in public. That's an immediate FAIL I have to wonder how professional this commission is going to be, and my hopes aren't high.

Image: youtube/Licitus Veritas Invictus

Extra. I didn't know that there has already been a nation-wide effort to investigate and punish illegal voting. The results: about 60 convictions in 4 years. Not millions, not thousands, not even hundreds. Pretty paltry. I hope this commission finds nearly the same number of illegal votes and is honest enough to report it without hyperbole.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Replacing Obamacare is harder than they thought

No surprise about the complexity of the task. The House just barely passed an Obamacare repeal-and-replacement. Now the Senate is trying to do it, and having even more trouble. While the House has some moderate Republicans, every moderate Republican in the Senate has a critical vote. Three defections to 'no' will scuttle the ACA replacement, so the margins in the Senate are even tighter. Also, each senator represents the whole state, not just the more conservative parts of it. It could be that senators need to be more concerned with Medicaid recipients than their colleagues in the House.

It's fascinating to read in this article what different senators want. Rand Paul and Ben Sasse (he of anti-Trump fame) would support a straight repeal. Is that position for real? Don't they worry about the ensuing chaos if there is no replacement plan?

Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, someone I wouldn't expect to be a moderate, is holding off on supporting the bill if it removes too much money from Medicaid. Louisiana isn't one of the richest states, so it probably has a fair number of people who have gotten their healthcare through the Medicaid expansion. Cassidy seems loathe to throw them back into healthcare limbo. Some senators, like Rand Paul, don't have such quibbles.

These negotiations will be interesting to watch. A pro-Trump PAC already targeted a senator leaning toward 'no' and already had to drop their pressure tactics. Whether the senators will be able to come together, compromise, and satisfy enough of them is an open question. A cool graphic in this article shows that more senators are concerned with the bill not covering enough versus those concerned with that it won't repeal enough. It leads me to expect a more moderate bill passing the Senate. But we shall see. Failure is certainly possible: only three senators need to decide to be stubborn to sink this bill.

Image: cbsnews.com

Friday, June 30, 2017

Last outpost of crazy: Mars child trafficking

Alex Jones may be the most despicable person in the US. He has his "Sandy Hook hoax" nonsense, which inspires his followers to harass bereaved families. He had his Pizzagate nonsense. Some of his latest nonsense is the idea that children are being kidnapped, sent to Mars, put into slavery, frightened to produce adrenaline, slaughtered, and dismembered for their body parts.

To be fair, this isn't Alex Jones' theory. Just the theory of one of his guests, and Jones can't be held responsible for giving this nutjob bandwidth... are can he?

Jones contributes to the idea. Jones mentions blackouts of probes whenever they go close to Mars. NASA has lots of secrets, etc. But Jones also says "I'm not sure about ...." as though that inoculates him. The scumbag newscaster and his scumbag crazy stories have forced NASA to waste time in denials of this ludicrous fairy tale. Of course, some fools will go on believing it, and nothing will dissuade them, ever. Thank you, Alex Jones, for another false story that will never die.

Image: johndenugent.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catching up on even more links

Russian operations. This article states the case that there is some evidence, a bit of evidence, of collusion. So the claim that there's nothing, that this is all a witch hunt, that's not true. As for what Russia has been doing, and the worrisome things Trump has said regarding Russia, here's a round-up.

American political shooter. Here's some background on the man who shot at the Republicans from Congress as they practiced baseball. He fell for propaganda that Trump is destroying the country. Luckily, I haven't seen anyone proclaiming that the shooting was a good thing.

GOP talking points. It's been clear from the political threads I follow that there is a new set of talking points. Comey is a leaker and maybe the leaker. Mueller is no longer a good, honest, decent guy well-respected by both Dems and Repubs. Now he's a chum of the disgraced Comey, a partisan, and shouldn't be allowed to investigate anything. We didn't hear this a month ago when he was appointed, but now it's imperative to bash him. The funniest thing--you can read the talking points!

Image: daybydaycartoon.com

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Great Kansas Experiment ended

The great experiment in cutting taxes to spur growth has ended. Kansas governor Sam Brownback massively cut taxes in 2012. The state legislature just raised them back up over his veto.

Many GOP elected officials realized what Brownback refused to acknowledge--the experiment failed. Even though Republicans are still the majority in Kansas (and Kansas is by tradition is a Republican state through the decades), they overrode the governor to raise taxes to pay for services and stop piling up debt.

Cutting taxes isn't like cutting wheat.
Image:farmfutures.com

Monday, June 12, 2017

Spin cycle

There is lots of spin in news. Any impeachment speculation that doesn't include a huge dose of "it's not going to happen with the GOP in charge of the House" is spin and completely unrealistic.

This example of spin I normally wouldn't have seen, but I was reading an article with an interesting headline, but that ended up with almost zero content. (Arrggghhh, the horribly low standards for news writing and reporting.) Here is what caught my eye:

Image: insider.foxnews.com

So I'll deconstruct this.

10A - A very important issue of diplomacy going south among the Gulf states. Real news.

2P - Reasonable to cover and analyze Comey's testimony.

8P - Fake news flogging of the trumped up Fast + Furious scandal.

9P - Spin to make conservatives feel superior.

Notice what makes the prime time. Thank you Fox News!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

More links - even more interesting

Unmasking unmasking. Republicans are trying to shift the attention on Russian election interference to the unmasking of names in intelligence documents. It turns out that the House Intelligence Committee asked for some unmasking itself. Perhaps unmasking names isn't as bad as they're pretending it is.

Clinton Emails. I had an argument with another Bloomberg commenter on whether we should assume Hillary's server was hacked, even in the absence of leaks of her emails. The commenter provided a link to a video clip of a former intelligence officials saying that he'd have no respect for foreign intelligence agencies if they hadn't hacked her emails. (Sorry, I can't find the link. It was a respectable news channel.) I don't think this is compelling enough evidence to say the realistic people must assume her emails were hacked. Fox News (not a respectable organization) claimed that it received info about known hacks. But I guess they backed down on that. This New York Times article discusses some reasons to strongly suspect it happened.

But a final bit of speculation: it was a very close election. If foreign intelligence agencies has hacked her server and had emails, and didn't want to see Clinton as president, isn't it likely that they would have leaked the emails before the election? Consider whether some not-so-Clinton-friendly countries like Russia, Israel, or Saudi Arabia had those emails. Would they not have tried to tip the election? If indeed she'd been hacked, I'm rather surprised that information hasn't clearly surfaced.

Trump is trying to hire... but will people serve? That's a good question tackled by this must-read article. There's a telling anecdote of an interview for a high position.

Unwarranted suspicion. The investigation of contacts between Trump advisers and Russians was started because of malice on the part of John Brennan, the former CIA director. The investigation was totally fake. Don't you believe me????? (I often don't believe the Washington Times.)

Trump war room. With Trump's return from his first foreign visits, he may be setting up a war room to fight back against the mounting Russia news blizzard. How they might fight back: Deny Russian contacts happened. Then claim what did happen is perfectly fine. Or get the supposedly recused chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to jump back in and run interference again. Or coordinate/non-coordinate with a group to run commercials attacking former FBI directory Comey.

Unfortunately, I doubt that they'll decide to be transparent on all Russia contacts. Cover-up and obfuscation seem to be the go-to strategies of politicians -- see Hillary and her email server. Also, a very readable speculation on Trump's mood and how it permeates everything.

Impeachment. A conservative gets that impeachment would be a fiasco. For the record, I don't see impeachment happening, due to the prez being a Republican and Republican control of the House. Duh! How the hell would it happen?

Don't cry for Robert E. Lee. The Atlantic has an illuminating article on the myth of Lee versus the reality. He wasn't exactly the reluctant defender of slavery. A good read as statues are being removed.

Paris climate accords. Trump, true to his rhetoric, pulled the US out of the non-binding accords. The effect is to make the US look greedy and rather irresponsible, and everyone else look more like grown-ups. Go, team, go!

Signs of more instability in the Mideast? Several major Mideast countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. What's going on? Even more infighting in that region, it appears. There are Muslims fighting the West, Sunnis and Shia fighting, Kurds being suppressed, and maybe now Sunnis fighting other Sunnis. What a mess. Here's a reflection: perhaps Obama was partly successfully in controlling the chaos. But he's gone now, and Trump's policies will give rein to more chaos. Update 6/12/17. An article explaining the Qatar situation. Another good article. More updates 7/16/17. Report that the United Arab Emirates probably hacked Qatar and placed false information to start this action. Trump doesn't understand this and isn't listening to the smarter cabinet secretaries. Secret alliance documents. Interesting, but the news story is somewhat muddy. Analysis that the Saudis are overplaying their hand.

Former libertarian turns supporter of welfare state. I guess he stopped fighting the wave and started communing and learning how the wave thinks. The wave wants the welfare state that
is embodied by Social Security and Medicare. However, most GOP lawmakers haven't read between the lines, or won't be saying out loud that entitlements have won, even in the GOP. Because of this, legislative paralysis wins.

How to get caught leaking. Interesting background on the first leaker arrested in the very leaky start of the Trump administration. Possibly memorable trivia, but maybe throw-away trivia.

Rhetoric games. A National Review columnist notices one of the most common rhetorical tricks: 'Hey, what about this [outrage/blunder/hypocrisy]?'

The Swamp
Image: tulane,edu

Sunday, May 21, 2017

So many links

I have too many links to do justice to each of them, so I'll just blast out a post and save them for posterity.

The obligation to listen. Great story by Andrew Sullivan reminding us that we need to consider all opinions. Each opinion tells us something important. I firmly believe it's wrong to summarily dismiss the heartfelt beliefs of other people.

Not repealed yet. In March it looked like the GOP wouldn't figure out how to compromise and pass a replacement for Obamacare. This article reminds us that the Senate still has to work on it. I think they will get it done, and I suspect it will follow the House model.

Fired by Trump. Lawfare is an excellent resource. One article on Sally Yates testimony about warning about Michael Flynn. Two companion articles about the relationship of Trump and the fired FBI director James Comey. One from the New York Times, the other from Lawfare. The Times article is the easier read.

Oh, the irony of Trump calling anyone else a 'nutjob.' Even more irony that he's saying it to visiting Russian ministers. It's amazing that Trump believed he could make the Russia investigation go away. What a fool he is.

Report on Russian hacking. I'll be reading the unclassified version of the report about the Russians hacking the DNC. It's on my list and pinned to my browser tab. I'll get to it, I promise.

Questionable intelligence. I'm not sure I believe this claim: "We just got a huge sign that the US intelligence community believes the Trump dossier." Saving it just in case it's true. I'm still very dubious.

Russian Good Times. Finally, I just have to laugh about the Russian Times complaining about the journalism of anyone else. I'm saving a closer read for later, but I just had to check if there is a comments section. Yes, there is, and what a window into hell it is. I'm sharing it below.

Image: rt.com


Friday, May 5, 2017

Horrendous media transgressions--not

I've read so many people claim that it was just terrible how the MSM favored Clinton, and flagrantly colluded with her campaign.

I'm not naive enough to claim that the MSM is fair and unbiased. I frequently see a liberal bias there. But I wondered about charges of collusion, with journalists breaking ethical rules to help Clinton. The only example I heard about before the election was Donna Brazile providing Hillary with a heads-up on one question at one campaign event. Yes, it was unethical, but there's no way it was a huge deal and a huge advantage.

So how bad was all the other collusion? Did it amount to an unfair advantage?

Finally, I found a list. From Breitbart:

WIKILEAKS REVEALS LONG LIST OF MEDIA CANOODLING WITH HILLARY CLINTON

It lists nine incidents, including the leak of the question. It includes of couple of instances when a reporter emailed ad ideas to the campaign or its advertising agency.

Really, all of NINE instances.

This is pigeon feed next to the bias of the MSM, and next to the bias of the conservative media. It's so incredibly ironic that Breitbart thinks this is horrible, while their lack of critique of Trump's numerous insults, ludicrous boasts, history of cons and bankruptcy is not an issue of ethics.

If we're going to talk about unethical and biased behavior by the media, let's talk about what really happens on practically a daily basis. Let's not pretend a list that doesn't even reach a couple dozen cases makes an ant's worth of difference compared to the daily skewed news of hundreds of media outlets.

Free from bias, free from ethics
Image: breitbart.com

Extras. Here's a list of damaging info about the DNC related to Bernie Sanders. It may be a partial list because document dumps were ongoing. Again, mostly small stuff, nothing like stuffing the ballot box, buying votes, or violently assaulting opponents.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Short: Is a shutdown looming?

The US federal government runs out of borrowing authority on April 29. The GOP, now that they have the House, Senate, and presidency should be able to avoid a shutdown, and they probably will. However, it's a possibility that a shutdown will still happen because of doctrinaire GOPers who refuse to compromise, and the Dems and main GOP group not reaching a compromise either.

The GOP was almost always terrible at extracting concessions from the Dems in these shutdown showdowns. They didn't know what to ask for, bumbled, fumbled, and waited to the last minute, with predictable results (bad--from their viewpoint).

It seems that the Dems are doing better. They want something specific--the continued funding of an important part of ACA. We'll see how it works out. Here's a fairly short readable article about the issues.

Image: washingtonpost.com


Friday, April 7, 2017

Short: Drop dead date for ACA?

In all the reporting on the failed attempt to repeal and replace ACA, I didn't hear that an important vote will need to happen by the end of April.

ACA has always had a lot of moving pieces, so many ways that it could fail either quickly or slowly. If this article is right, there is a complicated interplay between a court case, subsidies to insurance companies, appropriations, and possible backlash. I would rehash all the details here--who knows if we even know all the details? The upshot is that there may be an important development concerning ACA within the next month, so be alert for news.

Bandage removal: fast or slow? Now or later?
Image: 123rf.com


Friday, March 17, 2017

Following the wild goose of fake news

Trump had done a relatively decent job of handling the blowback from his epically stupid accusation that Obama ordered wiretaps on him during the campaign. He hadn't repeated the accusation, his surrogates weren't repeating the accusations. A few, like Kellyanne Conway, were going out on a limb and trying to explain what he might have meant. But generally, Trump and his camp were saying 'Let Congress investigate this and report on it.' Yawn, another long, boring Congressional investigation signifying nothing and concluding nothing. That was a pretty good strategy for containing the issue--letting it dry up and die since it was only words.

That lasted over a week (a long term strategy by the standards of the Trump administration). Then on 3/16/17, Sean Spicer, the press secretary, repeated some fake news (verbatim) from Fox contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano who claimed that three intelligence sources told him that Obama got the British intelligence services to do the dirty work. I suppose that means that no paperwork exists in the US, and no Americans can be called in front of Congress who could admit to it or lie and commit perjury. So this story is now impossible to disprove!

Well, it was always impossible to disprove. Who would be naive enough to believe those liars from the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. who might swear that Obama didn't order such a thing? No red-blooded American would fall for those weasly denials, that's for sure!

The big question: when will the Trump administration learn not to repeat what they hear on Fox News, Breitbart, etc.?

Sean Spicer air quotes
Image: daytondailynews.com

Extras. The top national security adviser General McMaster supposedly apologized to the British privately. Supposedly Sean Spicer did too. And more fun--I found new sources that are hybrids of news and infotainment: news with snark, and news with misleading captions. No, Trump and the British prime minister didn't have a joint news conference this Friday 3/17/17, but on 1/27/17. The bonus here is a longer report from estimable judge and fake news innovator Napolitano.

Update 4/7/17. "Even if it turns out not to be true..." Will anyone be surprised?

Belated update 7/6/17. Napolitano at first claimed that his sources talked to Fox News. The anchors on Fox News didn't back him up. Doesn't that look like lying? Napolitano was out for just a few weeks... because Fox doesn't fire people for lying.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump swallows fake news, barfs it back up.

Image: twitter.com

This is what happens when an undiscerning person watches conservative media. The newbie, twit, or whatever term you want to use hears/sees something, and stupidly thinks it's true. Maybe it's reporting that a pizza restaurant in DC is a front for a child sex ring. Maybe it's about a secret planet behind the sun. Maybe it's that Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump during the campaign.

So Trump hears this story from a fake news source that he doesn't realize is fake news. Why doesn't he realize? I don't know. Maybe he's actually incredibly stupid. Maybe he forgot how to question authority decades ago, and had enough money so that he didn't get his ass kicked. Maybe most people are that stupid, and it's just a matter of what propaganda captures them first. Whatever.

So Trump blasts out some tweets about how terrible it is that he was wiretapped. Trump doesn't wait for evidence, an investigation with various findings of facts. No, out it goes on Twitter. Trump has now accused the prior president of extreme malfeasance.

Is Trump going to walk this back? Is he going to explain, like he did with the 'attacks in Sweden,' that he misunderstood, but it still was important and real? Frankly, it's going to be fun seeing how this plays out. Supposedly James Comey, head of the FBI, has already said it's not true, but he has to wait for someone high enough in the Justice Department to approve and receive a statement to that effect.

So where did this fake news come from? Mark Levin. A name I already know because he's blatantly lied before. The guy is such scum.

Now Mark Levin will be partially responsible for millions of people believing until their dying day that Obama tapped Trump during the election. (Only partially responsible because the idiots deserve part of the blame too.) This is going to be birtherism all over again. MARK MY WORDS. Well, I hope not, but it certainly could turn out that way.


Extra. Maybe this is the real story behind the wild exaggerations and lies of Mark Levin. Strange activity by a server in Trump Tower--yes, I had heard of that.

Update 3/6/17. Trey Gowdy, a House Republican, doesn't believe Obama ordered such wiretaps and asks Trump to have the Department of Justice to release evidence of it.
3/7/17. Devin Nunes doesn't believe it either. Allahpundit tries to explain it to HotAir readers, to no avail.
3/14/17. Two more reports on surveillance on and round Trump and his advisers. Nothing that is both big and new, and nothing that corroborates Trump's claims. He hasn't repeated his claims, and is uncharacteristically quiet as he waits for the investigation to drag out and people to stop caring about that particular blather of his.
3/31/17. Fox News seems to be repeating what Devin Nunes claims and labels it as news. So stilted. A never-Trump conservative tries to explain all the threads of the investigation. I find Devin Nunes comical. It's amazing the lengths he's going to in order to shore up Trump's tantrum tweet. This opinion writer agrees.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Various Trump links

Trump is dominating the news even more now than when he was campaigning. There was a spot of good news today. His pick for top national security adviser is praised in this article, with the caveat that honesty may mean he stays on the job only two months. Well, let's be optimistic and hope for much longer than that.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager (with similar lack of tact with women), doesn't seem to agree with Trump's statement that his administration is a well-oiled machine. He says that Trump is trying to get a lot done, but his subordinates are a disappointment. Um, who hired them? Did he not choose well? I guess the blame has to land on Trump one way or another.

One hope I have for the new national security adviser is that he'll have a healthy distrust of the Russians. The Russian connection to many things Trump has me very worried. Pence might be visiting Europe and trying to reassure our NATO allies, but he's the VP, not Trump. Who really knows what deals Trump might be inclined to make? I take this article with a pinch of skepticism, but it does discuss the patterns that are so very worrisome.

And, as always, Trump attacks the mainstream media. The press isn't reporting on terrorist attacks. They are enemies of the American people. So far, his attacks are words only. If they turn to deeds, such as banning news outlets, launching trumped-up investigations, or inciting violence, then he will have gone into dictator-mode.

Oh, the irony! A huge purveyor of fake news...
Image: youtube.com


Extras. Bob Corker, who sounds like a reasonable person, on his hopes that Trump will 'evolve.' Will Trump provoke a constitutional crisis by refusing to abide by judicial decisions? So far, he has obeyed while complaining very loudly. A more detailed article about the new pick for top national security adviser. How and why the CIA should cozy up to Trump, and the dangers if it doesn't work. The Anne Frank Center blasts Trump for not standing up to anti-semitism. The twitter responses are quite the window to accusations and counter-accusations.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Last output of crazy: Daddy, they're being mean

How can I describe the thin-skinned egotistical asshole that we currently have as president? Maybe the best thing is just to let him out himself with the bizarre things he does.

Now, an adult knows that there are ups and downs in business. An intelligent, honest, non-corrupt president knows not to interfere to help the business dealings of friends, families, donors, and supporters. But Trump isn't intelligent, honest, or free from corruption. So he tweets this when his daughter's fashion line is dropped by a major retailer:

Image: enidnews.com

The idiocy and corruption doesn't stop with Trump, however. Kellyanne Conway told viewers to go out and buy Ivanka Trump merchandise. But it turns out (reasonably) that federal employees aren't supposed to plug commercial enterprises while on the job. That applies when the commercial enterprise is owned by the prez's dear daughter. Imagine that: you aren't even supposed to use all that power to enrich yourself and your family. Who designs these rules?

And what does the pro-Trump, fake news purveyor Breitbart do? A huge article about how the retailer is going to suffer, but how Ivanka Trump is a trooper and will just be stronger. It reads like a bad People magazine article. Barf!

So far Nordstrom's stock took a brief loss and then bounced back. A more important question is whether the asshole president will take a well-deserved hit for this. He truly doesn't seem to understand what his job is now. It sure as hell isn't promoting his businesses or his friends' businesses. A mountain of shame on him and his idiotic supporters.

Links about 'Repeal and Replace'

For seven years the GOP bragged that they could make a better health insurance program than Obamacare. For seven years, they waved their hands, gave us bullets points sprinkled with pixie dust, and didn't deliver.

After winning the presidency, and already having majorities in the House and Senate, the GOP was supposed to be poised to repeal Obamacare on the first day of President Trump's term. Somehow, that didn't happen. BECAUSE REALITY IS A BITCH!

The GOP can't wave their hands anymore and fling pixie dust. They have to seriously crunch numbers, and it hasn't been going well for them. They can drop coverage for millions of people, they can zap the mandate and see cost rise even higher, they can repeal the taxes and blow up the deficit. What they can't do is figure out how to make a program cover more people and cost less. I wonder why not. Maybe not enough pixie dust.

Image: worldwide.chat

Extras. Problems with repeal and replace (with less snark). True believers among Congress just don't understand the delay. Trump makes another promise about the replacement, sprinkled with prodigious amounts of manure-scented pixie dust.

One economist tries to show stimulus didn't work

I've written about the 2009 stimulus for as long as I've had this blog. The conservative talking point is that the stimulus was a giant waste of money that added at least $800B to the national debt with little or no benefit. I believe that the stimulus helped lessen and shorten the recession. I have just a tiny bit of evidence, but the con forces have never provided even a scrap of evidence... until commenter John Riggins pointed to this study by economist John Taylor. (All graphs from this study.)

Taylor's conclusions are that that the stimulus was ineffective because the money went to spending that didn't help the economy:
The federal government only increased purchases by a small amount. State and local governments saved their stimulus grants and shifted spending away from purchases to transfers. Counterfactual simulations show that the stimulus-induced decrease in state and local government purchases was larger than the increase in federal purchases. Simulations also show that a larger stimulus package with the same design as the 2009 stimulus would not have increased government purchases or consumption by a larger amount. These results raise doubts about the efficacy of such packages adding weight to similar assessments reached more than thirty years ago.
Now, I suppose I try to look at the evidence without his conclusion in mind. When I do this, I see the evidence painting a somewhat different picture. Here is the most significant graph:


Actual data from that time (green dashed line) shows that spending by states went down, even with the stimulus support. Taylor runs some sort of model that shows without the stimulus (red/dashed blue line), states actually would have increased spending. He writes that they would have done this through borrowing.

This sounds like a load of bullshit to me. When I look at this graph, focusing on the area in the red square, I see state spending dropping significantly. After Obama's election, the drop in spending mediated somewhat, but didn't reverse until the stimulus was passed. My interpretation is that states were tightening their spending significantly as revenues dropped. Then, when help seemed imminent, they moderated that policy and started spending somewhat more due to the promise of federal funds. Without the federal funds, the drop would have continued and many more workers would have ended up unemployed, worsening the recession.

Taylor posits that, for some unknown reason, states would suddenly substantially increase their borrowing, and spend the borrowed money immediately:


Is that what most states were going to do when revenue plummeted? Somehow I don't think so. I think they'd make some cuts, and maybe try to borrow more. The results that Taylor gets from his model are counterintuitive, and probably dubious when you think of how most states deal with revenue shortfalls.

I've expressed my opinion that payments to states were "very effective at reducing massive public job losses," and thus probably the most effective part of the stimulus. I see support for this opinion in the historical data presented by Taylor. A major drop in state spending was slowed and reversed due to stimulus funds.

Of course, I'm not an economist. Much of the verbiage in Taylor's report is meaningless to me. But it is clear that Taylor's model and his rosy conclusion depend on a huge and anomalous increase in states' borrowing.

Taylor's other conclusions, that tax rebates and other direct grants probably didn't help--I find that much more believable, though even then it's hard to know.

However, now I have one other data point that supports my contention that the stimulus helped. Thank you, John Taylor.

Extras. Summaries of nine studies. I got bored and didn't read the whole thing. A critique with some of the same complaints I had, but from a real economist. A more readable critique explaining how hard it is to figure out a model.

Update 8/3/17. I'm still defending the stimulus against conservative dogma that it didn't do anything but increase the national debt tremendously. However, today's argument spurred me to seek more sources, and I found some interesting ones. How states fared. Idiosyncratic review. I'm not the only one who says it would have been worse. A round-up of studies, which I'll read sometime.