31 August 2021

Trotskyite Thinking, Trotskyite Facts

It's called fraud
An interesting bit of history, the founding fathers of the Neoconservative movement, Irving Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Daniel Bell, etc. started as anti-Stalinist Trotskyits.

It's better than being a Stalinist, but that is damning with faint praise.

The thing is, that, and their intellectual descendants, remained firmly in the intellectual tradition of the followers of Trotsky, and one of the core tenets of that intellectual tradition is to redefine the facts to match the desired ideological outcomes.

This has permeated movement conservatism since before the days of Ronald Reagan's apocryphal stories, and the latest example is (of course) Florida, where Governor Ron DeSnatis has changed its reporting to conceal Covid deaths:

As the delta variant spreads through Florida, data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest this could be the most serious and deadly surge in COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

As cases ballooned in August, however, the Florida Department of Health changed the way it reported death data to the CDC, giving the appearance of a pandemic in decline, an analysis of Florida data by the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald found.

On Monday, Florida death data would have shown an average of 262 daily deaths reported to the CDC over the previous week had the health department used its former reporting system, the Herald analysis showed. Instead, the Monday update from Florida showed just 46 “new deaths” per day over the previous seven days.

The dramatic difference is due to a small change in the fine print. Until three weeks ago, data collected by DOH and published on the CDC website counted deaths by the date they were recorded — a common method for producing daily stats used by most states. On Aug. 10, Florida switched its methodology and, along with just a handful of other states, began to tally new deaths by the date the person died.

If you chart deaths by Florida’s new method, based on date of death, it will generally appear — even during a spike like the present — that deaths are on a recent downslope. That’s because it takes time for deaths to be evaluated and death certificates processed. When those deaths finally are tallied, they are assigned to the actual date of death — creating a spike where there once existed a downslope and moving the downslope forward in time.

Shivani Patel, a social epidemiologist and assistant professor at Emory University called the move “extremely problematic,” especially since it came without warning or explanation during a rise in cases.

Patel said Florida death data now show an “artificial decline” in recent deaths and without an explanation or context, and “it would look like we are doing better than we are.”


The Herald also found that during the last two surges the trend lines using date of death showed peaks 25% and 8% higher respectively than the corresponding peaks by report date.

I don't know how a civil society can function when a significant portion of the body politic are so willing and so shameless about their lying.

Headline of the Day

The War in Afghanistan Is What Happens When McKinsey Types Run Everything
Matt Stoller

It's a very nice metaphor for the privatization of core functions at the Pentagon that began under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.

It's death by 1000 consultants.

Tweet of the Day

Ann Coulter called Donald Trump a wuss for not standing up to the Military-Industrial complex, and compliments Biden. 

I agree with Ann Coulter too, and I cannot f%$#ing believe that  I said that, and no, I am not being held hostage. (Unless you count my cats)

Obstruction of Justice, Witness Intimidation, Abuse of Office, Racketeering, ………


House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy has threatened telephone companies if they cooperate with the House investigation of the insurrection.

Seriously, this is both criminal and a violation of House ethics.

Why has someone not filed a complaint with the Ethics  Committee or called the FBI?

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday threatened to use a future GOP majority to punish companies that comply with the House’s Jan. 6 investigators, warning that “a Republican majority will not forget.”

McCarthy called out Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for what he called “attempts to strong-arm private companies to turn over individuals’ private data.” He asserted that such a forfeiture of information would “put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democrat politicians.”


“The Select Committee is investigating the violent attack on the Capitol and attempt to overturn the results of last year’s election,” a committee spokesperson said in a statement, responding to McCarthy's threat. “We’ve asked companies not to destroy records that may help answer questions for the American people. The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation.”


“If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy said in Tuesday’s statement. “If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.”

Schiff said on Tuesday that McCarthy’s threat was “premised on a falsehood.”

“He’s scared. And I think his boss is scared,” Schiff said on MSNBC. “They didn’t want this commission and this select committee to go forward. They certainly didn’t want it to go forward as it is on a bipartisan basis, and they don’t want the country to know exactly what they were involved in.

Complaining about the investigation, though transparently lame, is well withing the purview of the normal give and take of politics, but specific threats of retaliation through official acts is a crime.

Kevin McCarthy needs to be in the dock over this, and I mean this literally.

If he did this off the floor of the House, Congressional immunity does not apply, if he did, then the House should begin expulsion proceedings.

30 August 2021

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

The last US forces have been withdrawn from Kabul, and we have credible reports that the drone strike targeting ISIS-K instead hit civilians and killed 10 civilians.

A capstone to a miserable failure.


The new head of the SEC, Gary Gensler is calling for a ban on the trading tactic called, "Payment for Order Flow," an innovation which was created by by Bernie Madoff.*

A quick summary of the technique, is that a company transfers the trades to a, "Market Maker," who generates profits from executing their own trades before the orders. (See here)

The advantage, at least for operators like Robin Hood, is that they can claim free trades, when actually the trader is paying more for buying, and getting less for selling securities.

In more enlightened days, the US banned this practice, calling it, "Front Running."

So the SEC is considering banning the practice, which is already banned in Canada and Great Britain, because it's too corrupt for them, and Robin Hood investors are completely losing their sh%$ over this:

A controversial practice that has brought in billions of dollars to brokers and high-frequency trading firms is in the crosshairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and could be eliminated entirely.

In an interview with Barron’s on Monday, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said that a full ban of payment for order flow is “on the table.” Payment for order flow is a practice where brokers send trade orders to market makers that execute those trades in return for a portion of the profits.

Gensler says the practice has “an inherent conflict of interest.” Market makers make a small spread on each trade, but that’s not all they get, he said.

“They get the data, they get the first look, they get to match off buyers and sellers out of that order flow,” he said. “That may not be the most efficient markets for the 2020s.”


For most brokers, the practice is a relatively small part of their business model — often less than 10% of revenue. But for Robinhood Markets, which pioneered zero-commission trading, payment for order flow makes up about 80% of its revenue. Shares of Robinhood were already trading lower on the day, but fell further after the Barron’s report. In late afternoon trading on Monday, the stock was down 8%, at $43.03.

Whenever you hear about a financial innovation, hold on to your wallet.

*As Anna Russell would say, "I'm not making this up, you know."

“You Can’t Do This, I Am Free, White, and Twenty-One!”

The January 6 insurrectionist snowflakes are complaining about what they see as excessive sentences as compared to Black Lives Matter protesters.

In fact, they are being sentenced far less harshly than their BLM counterparts:

It's a common refrain from some of those charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and their Republican allies: The Justice Department is treating them harshly because of their political views while those arrested during last year's protests over racial injustice were given leniency.

Court records tell a different story.

An Associated Press review of court documents in more than 300 federal cases stemming from the protests sparked by George Floyd's death last year shows that dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison.

The AP found that more than 120 defendants across the United States have pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial of federal crimes including rioting, arson and conspiracy. More than 70 defendants who've been sentenced so far have gotten an average of about 27 months behind bars. At least 10 received prison terms of five years or more.

The dissonance between the rhetoric of Capitol rioters and their supporters and the record established by courts highlights both the racial tension inherent in their arguments — the pro-Donald Trump rioters were largely white and last summer's protesters were more diverse — and the flawed assessment at the heart of their claims.

This bit of news is not surprising at all, even the judges presiding over the cases of the January 6 rioters are questioning the leniency of the sentences that the prosecution has requested

What this is all really about is that the January 6 crowd thinks that N***ers and N***er lovers should go to jail forever, but they so should go free, because of the color of their skin.

Without their (undeserved) privilege they would vanish from existence leaving nothing but a greasy stain.


He Man and Skeletor, like you've never seen them before:

29 August 2021

How to Make Incumbent Telcos Lose Their Sh%$

California has proposed an infrastructure bill that will make the so-called "Middle Mile" network, which goes from the backbones to local connection points open access, which means that any network can access this infrastructure at the same price as any other.

This means that there can be far more competition, which is an anathema to the incumbent providers:

Back in 2009, the FCC funded a Harvard study that concluded (pdf) that open access broadband networks (letting multiple ISPs come in and compete over a central, core network) resulted in lower broadband prices and better service in numerous locations worldwide. Of course when the Obama FCC released its "National Broadband Plan" back in 2010, this realization (not to mention an honest accounting of the sector's limited competition) was nowhere to be found. Both parties ignored the data and instead doubled down on our existing national telecom policy plan: letting AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast do pretty much whatever they'd like. Something, of course, taken to ridiculous new heights during the Trump era.

Since then, "open access" has become somewhat of a dirty word in telecom policy, and even companies like Google Fiber -- which originally promised to adhere to the concept on its own network before quietly backpedaling -- are eager to pretend the idea doesn't exist. Why? Because having ISPs compete in layers over a centralized network may improve service, boost speeds, and reduce prices (see: this community-run network in Ammon, Idaho), but it would eat into the revenues of the regional monopolies bone-grafted to our intelligence gathering apparatus, and you simply can't have that.

Which is why it was surprising to see California recently pass a $6 billion broadband infrastructure bill that does something unique: it mandates the creation of a massive "middle mile" fiber network that will be open access, which should encourage increased competition. The original announcement breaks down the spending this way:
  • $3.25 billion to build, operate and maintain an open access, state-owned middle mile network – high-capacity fiber lines that carry large amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks.
  • $2 billion to set up last-mile broadband connections that will connect homes and businesses with local networks. The legislation expedites project deployment and enables Tribes and local governments to access this funding.
  • $750 million for a loan loss reserve fund to bolster the ability of local governments and nonprofits to secure financing for broadband infrastructure.

Here's hoping that this works, and California can be an example for the rest of the United States.

Artificial Stupidity in Law Enforcement

It turns out that ShotSpotter does not work, and routinely makes manual changes results to accomodate the demands by their police clients to create a pretext for arrest.

Unfortunately, when private contractors are paid by the police, they lie to keep the gravy train coming:

Gunshot detection tech provider ShotSpotter is fighting a PR battle on multiple fronts after more news surfaced that its analysts may alter detection records to fit police narratives and investigators' theories. Communications and court documents obtained by the Associated Press confirmed ShotSpotter allows law enforcement officers to request modifications to detection records. And the company apparently used to allow police officers to modify the data themselves.

In addition to its questionable handling of evidence, ShotSpotter is also shedding customers. Law enforcement agencies in some cities have decided it's not worth paying for a product that can't reliably detect gunshots. Cities that have dumped ShotSpotter have reported false positive rates as high as 75%.


Now, there's even more evidence showing ShotSpotter isn't worth paying for. The Chicago PD's Inspector General has concluded its investigation of the tech the city pays roughly $11 million/year for. And it has found the tech doesn't seem to be worth the money.


Well, there's plenty of evidence out there saying the system isn't accurate. And this report [PDF] by the Chicago PD's oversight contradicts the second part of the company's claim. It isn't benefiting "communities battling gun violence." According to this investigation, only the rarest spotted shot leads to anything that might battle gun violence.

And, according to this investigation, the installation of the tech is actually causing more problems for areas of Chicago where gun violence is already an issue. ShotSpotter has given Chicago police officers yet another excuse to engage in suspicionless stops and searches. This is from the report:

As I say, this is a feature, not a bug.  Cops will try anything to create a pretext for skipping that whole "Reasonable Suspicion" thing. 

The Chicago PD pays $11 million a year to generate these pretexts, and they consider it to be money well spent.

Perhaps their budget needs higher scrutiny.

Quote of the Day

My theory is tech companies promise to deliver impossible things in order to cultivate an air of mystical capability that’s invoked to mask real-world awfulness.
Cory Doctorow

He's using Amazon's recently abandoned drone project, and the hundreds of layoffs that followed as a metaphor for the whole tech industry. 

When he notes that, "Amazon’s automation claims — about drones, warehouse robots, and self-driving delivery vehicles — masks their ghastly labor abuses," he's not just talking about Amazon, he's talking about how Uber's grift is enabled by its self-driving programs, Facebook's privacy invading architecture is enabled by the promise of meaningful AI driven content moderation, and Elon Musk (Long list), etc.

It's more than just obscuring the negative effects of the their operations, it's also about obscuring the frequently fraudulent origins and practices of these businesses.

A Tale of Two Religions

Pastor Daniel Darling has been fired by the Evangelical National Religious Broadcasters Association because he came out in favor of vaccination.  He was accused of "insubordination" because he said that the command to, "Love thy neighbor," including protecting your  neighbor by not spreading the disease.

In comparison, the Archdiocese of San Antonia has announced that it will not give vaccine exemptions, in accordance with Pope Francis' direction, as well as the Conference of Catholic Bishops, announcing that it was an, "An act of charity for other community members and a moral responsibility."

One of the two Christian sects has revealed itself to be more of a political play than a religion, building its brand on politics, paranoia, and prejudice.

28 August 2021

Tweet of the Day

This makes me want to go to Toronto just to see this.

A Quick Note

I have been sampling my 35 year old mead, "Weeping Glass," this evening, and as a result of a significant amount of C2H5OH, there may be typographical errors that I have missed.

The cork has deteriorated, but the mead has turned out nicely.

The recipe is fairly simple: 4 lbs of honey (citrus blossom) per gallon if water, some lemon, some orange, and some nutmeg.

Truer than Taxes

This may be the best definition of privilege that I have ever seen.

Tweet of the Day

This is truer than taxes, except for the first movie, of course.

The Culture of Consultants

Something that has been ignored in the rapid collapse of Afghanistan is that this failure was largely driven by the culture of consultants that permeates government in the United States.

Matt Stoller puts it pithily when he notes that, "The War in Afghanistan Is What Happens When McKinsey Types Run Everything."

If you are relying on consultants to make your decisions, you are failing, because managerialism is a recipe for disaster.

The problem is that the leadershiip of the Pentagon have bought into :

In 2017, Netflix put out a satirical movie on the conflict in Afghanistan. It was titled War Machine, and it starred Brad Pitt as an exuberant and deluded U.S. General named Glen McMahon. A fitness fanatic nicknamed ‘the Glanimal’ by his crew of adoring frathouse henchmen, McMahon is modeled on the real-life military leader Stanley McChrystal, who ran the surge in Afghanistan before being fired for saying disparaging things about Obama administration officials (including then VP Biden) on the record to Rolling Stone magazine.


In fact, McChrystal and much of our military leadership is tight with consultants like McKinsey, and that whole diseased culture from Harvard Business School of pervasive over-optimism and finance-venture capital monopoly bro-a-thons. McKinsey itself had involvement in Afghanistan, with at least one $18.6 million contract to help the Defense Department define its “strategic focus,” though government watchdogs found that the "only output [they] could find" was a 50-page report about strategic economic development potential in Herat, a province in western Afghanistan.” It turns out that ‘strategic focus’ means an $18.6 million PowerPoint. (There was reporting on this contract because Pete Buttigieg worked on it as a junior analyst at McKinsey, and he has failed upward to run the Transportation Department.)

I bring War Machine up because of today’s debate over Afghanistan. While there is a lot of back and forth about whether intelligence agencies knew that the Taliban would take over, or what would happen if we left, or whether the withdrawal could be done more competently, all you had to do to know that this war was a sh%$show based on deception and idiocy at all levels was to turn on Netflix and watch this movie. Or you could read any number of inspector general reports, leaked documents, articles, talk to any number of veterans, or use common sense, which, polling showed, most Americans did. (Marine vet Lucas Kunce gives a nice rundown of the problem in this interview). I mean, it’s not like a major international media outlet printed a multi-part expose, which became a handy book, detailing the fact that everyone running the show knew it was an unwinnable mess nearly a decade ago. Oh, wait

In other words, the war in Afghanistan is like seeing management consultants come to your badly managed software company where everyone knows the problem is the boss’s indecisiveness and cowardice, except it’s violent and people die. 

I mean, U.S. military leaders, like bad consultants or executives, lied about Afghanistan to the point it was routine. Here are just a few quotes from generals and DOD spokesmen over the years on the strength of the Afghan military, which collapsed almost instantly after the U.S. left.


Going back to the last significant victory, the allies won World War II in large part for two reasons. First, the Soviet Union sacrificed 27 million people defeating the Nazis, and second, the U.S. military, government, labor, and business leaders were exceptionally good at logistics. The U.S. military had at least a dozen suppliers for each major weapons system, as well as the ability to produce its own weaponry, the government had exceptional insight into the U.S. economy, and New Dealers had destroyed the power of the Andrew Mellon and J.P. Morgan style short-term oriented financiers and monopolists who had controlled the industrial sinews of the country.

Today, this short-termism has taken over everything, including the military, which is now dominated by McKinsey-ified glory hounds without wisdom and defense contractors with market power. And this leadership class hasn’t just eroded our strategic capacity, but the very ability to conduct operations. Two days ago, Afghan General Sami Sadat published a piece in the New York Times describing why his army fell apart so quickly. He went through several important political reasons, but there was an interesting subtext about the operational capacity of a military that is so dependent on contractors for sustainment and repairs. In particular, these lines stuck out.

Contractors maintained our bombers and our attack and transport aircraft throughout the war. By July, most of the 17,000 support contractors had left. A technical issue now meant that aircraft — a Black Hawk helicopter, a C-130 transport, a surveillance drone — would be grounded.

 The contractors also took proprietary software and weapons systems with them. They physically removed our helicopter missile-defense system. Access to the software that we relied on to track our vehicles, weapons and personnel also disappeared.

I suspect the problem isn’t simply related to Afghanistan, because these kinds of problems are not isolated to the Afghan army. Last month, I noted that American soldiers are constantly complaining that bad contracting terms prevent them from fixing and using their own equipment, just as Apple stops consumers from repairing or tinkering with their iPhones. In 2019, Marine Elle Ekman noted that these problems are pervasive in the U.S. military.


More fundamentally, the people who are in charge of the governing institutions in our society are simply divorced from the underlying logistics of what makes them work. Everything, from the Boeing 737 Max to the opioid epidemic to the waste inside most big corporations to war, has been McKinsey-ified. And it’s all covered up with moral outrage, partisanship and culture warring, public relations, and management wisdom bullsh%$.

(%$ mine)

Until we destroy the culture of managerialism and consultancy, we will be unable to execute.

Of Course They Are

US mercenary operation CACI, and its pet "think" tank, are noting that the Afghanistan withdrawal is bad for profits.

Of all the toxic legacies of Dick Cheney, the worst is the outsourcing of core military functions to contractors.

It creates a political dynamic, reinforced by an army of contractors, that is antithetical to the safety and security of the United States of America:

On August 12, the military contractor CACI International Inc. told its investors that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is hurting its profits. The same contractor is also funding a think tank that is concurrently arguing against the withdrawal. This case is worth examining both because it is routine, and because it highlights the venality of our ​“expert”-military contractor feedback loop, in which private companies use think tanks to rally support for wars they’ll profit from.

The contractor is notorious to those who have followed the scandal of U.S.-led torture in Iraq. CACI International was sued by three Iraqis formerly detained in Abu Ghraib prison who charge that the company’s employees are responsible for directing their torture, including sexual assault and electric shocks. (The suit was brought in 2008 and the case is still ongoing.)

In 2019, CACI International was awarded a nearly $907 million, five-year contract to provide ​“intelligence operations and analytic support” for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.


Despite CACI International’s clear economic interest in continuing the war, on the August 12 call, company officials were careful not to editorialize about the Biden administration’s decision. The closest they came was a cautious statement from Mengucci: ​“At least as of today we’ve watched the administration make the decision to completely exit Afghanistan by 9 – 11 and all I can say is they’re executing on that decision.”

But CACI International does not have to broadcast its positions on the war: Instead, it is funding a think tank that has been actively urging the Biden administration not to leave Afghanistan.

Our privatized military contracting system is profoundly, and completely dysfunctional.

We need to shut this down.

27 August 2021

Missed this Yesterday

Yesterday, when I mention that Tina Tchen had been forced out as CEO of Times Up, I did not notice, though the reporters at The Washington Post did, that she, and her partner in covering up for Andrew Cuomo, Roberta Kaplan, had a racket going.

Specifically while running the organization, both of them were scoring serious fees to protect problematic people and organizations from that same organization.

Atrios noted this, and observed, "This is how the mafia operates. ……… Hire HABIT Advisors (run by me) to tell you how to deal with nasty organizations like Time's Up (also run by me)."

He called it, "Pizzo," the term for Mafia Protection money:

A former Chicago corporate lawyer who became first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Tchen has led the advocacy group focused on fighting workplace sexual misconduct since 2019. She co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund with the attorney Roberta Kaplan, who resigned this month after New York Attorney General Letitia James uncovered some of her consultations with Cuomo advisers about the governor’s response to his first sexual harassment accuser, Lindsey Boylan.

Tchen also co-founded with Kaplan a private consulting company, HABIT Advisors, which focused on advising companies about how to handle sexual harassment. The website for that firm was taken offline in recent weeks.

It's quite a rabbit hole, and even to my jaded eyes, the corruption of these two stalwarts of the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) absolutely buggers the mind.

So Not Surprised

It turns out that the remaining Koch brother is responsible for promulgating the right wing hysteria over Critical Race Theory.

Ever since their daddy made their fortune selling technology to Josef Stalin, they have a plague on the world: 

Once again, the forces of capitalism are harnessing racism to do their dirty work.

More than 25 states have introduced legislation or taken other action that, backers claim, is aimed at banning “critical race theory” (CRT) from schools and government programs. Several states have already passed these bills, and discussion on this topic leads Fox News every night.

The common story about this surge of action is that this is a new “Tea Party” moment—a genuine uprising by grassroots Americans who are furious about CRT and demanding action from their state legislatures. But that story ignores the clear influence of a carefully built campaign by the network of radical free-market capitalist think tanks and action groups supported by billionaire businessman Charles Koch and his late brother David.


When the right wing talks about “critical race theory,” it is really hijacking an obscure academic concept to attack any approach to education or policy that acknowledges the existence of historic and structural racism in this country. The popular story—heard not just on Fox News but repeated by the The New York Times, The New Yorker, and the The Atlantic—is that CRT became a national issue when a single conservative activist, Chris Rufo, appeared on Tucker Carlson in September 2020. President Trump, an avid Carlson fan, quickly responded with an executive order banning federal contractors for any diversity training that examined systemic racism. Since then, the story goes, the grassroots rage at CRT has boiled over.

Such a narrative is powerful, when true, because it gives an air of populist legitimacy to the cause. But that story doesn’t fit the facts.

Because after that brief moment in September, the debate around “critical race theory” went dormant for months. Almost no legislation was introduced at the state level in this period, according to Education Week. Fox News stopped talking about it, according to an analysis by Media Matters. Then, as the Biden administration took over, something happened. Mentions of CRT skyrocketed on Fox News. At the same time, state legislators started introducing bills. What was behind the surge, months after Rufo’s appearance?

Our research makes the answer clear: It was the Koch network.

As the head of UnKoch My Campus, I have spent years working to research and expose the insidious nationwide network of think tanks, action groups, and academics funded by the Kochs. While the network is often diffuse and hard to track, all of its branches purport to be dedicated to supporting free market capitalism.


Unkoch My Campus reviewed the published materials of 28 conservative think tanks and political organizations with known ties to the Koch network from June 2020 to June 2021 and found that they had collectively published 79 articles, podcasts, reports or videos about Critical Race Theory.

These articles came out in a trickle last year, but then suddenly became a flood starting in February 2021, as President Biden took office and the threat to corporate profits became real. An average of five pieces per week dropped from late March to June 30, 2021. The pace of propaganda surged in both late May and late June—coinciding with the surge in action by state politicians.


Why is the Koch network so dedicated to this cause? It is a prime example of how the network has built up an alliance between the three pillars of the right wing: the Republican Party, rich corporate elites, and conservative white and evangelical voters opposed to racial progress.

The CRT fight helps all three. Republicans get a manufactured controversy that motivates their base to keep them in power, and they get the financial support of the Kochs and their corporate friends. The Kochs and other radical capitalists get a false panic around the state of public education, which helps their ongoing campaign to privatize schools, and they gain allies who will push the economic agenda that keeps them at the top. The overwhelmingly white Republican base is rewarded with a story that is easier for them to accept than the true one—a story where they are both the heroes of American history and the true victims of the American present, oppressed by “political correctness.”


You can see this play out in how the Koch think tanks we studied propose “solving” the CRT problems. They propose solutions like deregulating teacher licensing and relaxing restrictions on which public schools parents can send their kids to, both long-standing goals of the organization. This dramatic mismatch between supposedly existential stakes on the one hand and technocratic fixes on the other exposes their true intentions. They are inciting outrages against racial justice, and then using that outrage as a Trojan horse for entrenching radical free market ideology in every institution possible.

When Charles Koch finally dies, he will finally have done something to make the world a better place, he certainly hasn't so far.

If there is a better example how wealth and privilege are corrosive, I am unaware of it, and this includes Jeff Bezos riding into space on a giant dildo.

Japan Wins "Gold"

Following the Olympics, Japan has experienced a Covid-19 spike so severe that they have run out of hospital beds.

I really do not understand why governments compete against each other to host the Olympics.

It's kind of like competing for a case of the clap:

Japan’s worst Covid-19 outbreak yet has thrown a spotlight on the inability of the country’s otherwise highly regarded medical system to adapt quickly to emergencies and its lack of reform to meet such needs.

As new cases surged to more than 25,000 a day this month driven by the delta variant, the number of medical emergencies nationwide that required an ambulance dispatch, but had difficulty finding a hospital to accept the patient, rose for six straight weeks to a historic high, according to data from Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Defined as cases where emergency medics were turned down by more than 3 hospitals and at the scene for more than 30 minutes, the figure jumped to 3,361 in the week of August 9-15, said the agency that oversees the ambulance system nationally. The case number ticked down slightly last week, but was still the third-highest ever recorded in Japan. About half the patients were suspected of having Covid-19.

The ambulance quandary has resulted in a handful of high-profile Covid deaths, sparking a debate over the efficacy of what is widely recognized to be one of the world’s most successful health-care programs. While the Japanese system has nurtured the world’s longest-living citizens with preventative care, the pandemic has laid bare the long-standing dysfunction in emergency care, where private hospitals aren’t required to take in Covid patients and don’t coordinate with local governments and ambulance services.

Today in People Who Should Have Been Drowned at Birth

I give you the  Waukesha, Wisconsin school board, whicheliminated their free for all school lunch program because they thought that it would "spoil" the kids.

Note that this program cost them no money at all, in fact, opting out the federal program cost them money, they literally spent money just to to hurt poor people in general, and black and brown people in particular.

How people like this are not cast out of society to live their days in a cave is beyond me.

They just want to hurt people, and that their victims are just children does not matter to them:

With two girls in elementary school and a mother who is a teacher, the Dringenburg household in a Milwaukee suburb had been joyous and excited about back-to-school season — until this year, when the Waukesha School District board decided to opt out of a federally funded program that would give free meals to all students regardless of family income.

The board voted June 9 to return to the pre-pandemic National School Lunch Program, which offers free and reduced-price lunches to students who apply and receive federal money for them. Waukesha is the only eligible school district in the state to eschew the funding.


Since June, the Alliance for Education in Waukesha, about 900 parents and teachers who connected over social media, has pressed the district to switch back to the “universal” or free-for-everyone meals after board members decried the program’s potential to produce an “addiction” to the service — a stigma that some experts have disproved. Their efforts come amid a coronavirus pandemic with economic effects that are hurting families across the nation.


All school districts that had participated in the National School Lunch Program were eligible for the Seamless Summer Option. Of Wisconsin’s eligible 408 districts, Waukesha is the only one choosing to opt out, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. All of the state’s public schools adopted the universal meal program in March 2020, the nascent days of the pandemic.


In June, the board voted to forgo the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service’s extension of the Seamless Summer Option, a program to provide free meals to all students through June 30, 2022, because the pandemic was expected to burden some children’s nutrition.

“The covid-19 public health and economic crisis has highlighted the essential role that school meals play in addressing childhood hunger,” Alan Shannon, a spokesman for the Food and Nutrition Service, said in an email to The Washington Post. He highlighted the universal program’s lack of application as a victory for families and for local authorities who otherwise would be tasked with processing them.

Forgoing the Seamless Summer Option, Shannon added, could mean a loss of revenue for the Waukesha School District. The reimbursement for schools operating under the universal meal program is $4.32, he said, and the National School Lunch Program’s is $3.90 for free meals and $3.59 for reduced-price meals. 


Karin Rajnicek, a school board member, said the free program made it easy for families to “become spoiled.” Darren Clark, assistant superintendent for business services, said there could be a “slow addiction” to the service.

Heaven forgid that poor children develop a"Slow Addiction" to ……… You know ………EATING!

While that this may not exactly fit Hannah Arendt's definition, but it does seem to be a good definition of the, "Banality of evil," to me.

I Agree with Jonathan Chait, or Should I Say, He Agrees with Me

Sing the title to the tune of Norwegian Wood.

About 3 months ago, I suggested that you could use vaccine hesitance to screen out the right wing nut jobs and bullies from police departments across the nation.

Well now Jonathan Chait, who I described as the most clueless pundit of the 2016 election cycle, has come to the same conclusion.

He believes that, "Vaccine mandates can promote police reform."

The subtext to all of this, though I'm pretty sure that Chait misses it, missing it is kind of his thing, is that the culture of police departments in the United States is fascist: nativist, and racist: 

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has mandated vaccination for all city employees, and Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara is not taking it well. “This has literally lit a bomb underneath the membership,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re in America, goddamn it. We don’t want to be forced to do anything. Period. This ain’t Nazi fucking Germany.”

Making vaccination a condition of municipal employment was not in fact one of the tenets of National Socialism. (Nor, for that matter, is it “literally” a bomb.) What is at least slightly reminiscent of Nazi Germany, however, is detaining people at an off-the-books warehouse and denying them legal counsel, which was both a real practice of Chicago police and one of the first steps taken by the Nazis after Adolf Hitler took power.

Catanzara isn’t the only cop who has some peculiar ideas about which kinds of government powers are necessary measures to preserve public safety and which are terrifying abuses. Police unions are denouncing vaccine mandates in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Tucson, and Richmond, among others. “We are a union and we will defend our members,” national FOP executive director Jim Pasco told Axios. “You cannot tell people what to do. It’s still an individual and personal choice.” In cities that have made their mandates stick, police have warned of mass exodus.


While most police officers are trying to protect people and treat the public fairly, [Chait is wrong here.  Policing, particularly as it is defined in the United States has always been attractive to bigoted bullies.  If this were not the case, people like Catanzara in Chicago and the even more contemptible Minneapolis PBA President Robert Kroll would not be heading those unions.] a disturbingly large minority are authoritarian bullies with overtly or covertly racist beliefs. The central obstacle to reforming police practices, and restoring trust between Black communities and the people entrusted with their protection, is ridding departments of their worst members. Police unions often make it virtually impossible to remove or even discipline abusive cops. If cops decide to walk away over the vaccine mandate, they’ll have accomplished what decades of reform efforts have failed to do: weed out the most dangerous cops.


The reality is that police are paid quite well in comparison with other blue-collar jobs. The number of police who actually walk away over a vaccine mandate is likely to be far less than the threatened numbers. But however many police decide to self-purge over vaccine mandates is one less risking becoming that city’s next Derek Chauvin. Police threats shouldn’t make mayors scared to enforce a vaccine mandate. It should be seen instead as a side benefit.

Agreed.  If the police warn of a mass exodus, tell them not to let the door to hit them on the way out.

Tweet of the Day

Oh no, 

There goes Tokyo, 

Go go Catzilla!

26 August 2021

It's Jobless Thursday

And initial claims continue to bounce around in the mid 300K range, rising to to 353,000 up from last week's 349,000.

It's still recession level initial claims, but it's no longer apocalyptic.

It's going to be interesting how the ending of extended benefits in September will effect this:

The number of workers applying for and receiving unemployment benefits has reached pandemic lows over the past month, a sign the job-market recovery remains on sound footing despite uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Unemployment claims edged up to 353,000 last week from a revised 349,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, fell to 366,500 last week, a new pandemic low.


The claims figures are consistent with other data that indicate the job-market recovery is continuing. Employers added 943,000 jobs in July, the best gain in 11 months, according to the Labor Department, which also said job openings reached a record level at the end of June.

Separately, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at a 6.6% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter of the year, an upward revision from the department’s first estimate of 6.5%. The upward revision reflected higher estimates for business investment and exports, the department said.

So, we remain in the doldrums.

What a F%$#ing Tool

In addition to being a phony Democrat, Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) is also widely loathed by other members of the New Jersey delegation.

This story makes it abundantly clear that he deserves every bit of animosity and revulsion that comes his way:

In January 2017, when Gottheimer was a first-term Democrat representing a wealthy northern New Jersey district, he had an invitation to the 80th birthday party for a senior member of his state’s delegation. The region Rep. Bill Pascrell represented abutted Gottheimer’s, but it couldn’t have been more socioeconomically different, containing the working-class city of Paterson and a stretch of the Jersey Shore. Pascrell was hosting the party at a favorite hometown bar in Paterson, something of a dive on the outskirts of town called Duffy’s.

Paterson wasn’t the type of area where Gottheimer spent much time, but it wasn’t an actively dangerous spot. Not only was the bar a regular haunt of the local congressional representative, it was owned by Terry Duffy, a town freeholder, the state’s version of a county council member.

Gottheimer agreed to brave the journey to Paterson to celebrate his colleague. But when he arrived, it was clear that he’d taken a confounding set of precautions: Gottheimer was accompanied by an off-duty police officer and showed an unusual amount of bulk under his shirt.

“Are you wearing a bulletproof vest?” Pascrell asked his first-term colleague. Gottheimer acknowledged that he was but went on to say, by way of explanation, that he had been doing a ride-along earlier with the officer and had worn the vest as a result. The explanation, even were it true, failed to explain why he was still wearing the vest at the party. A round of heckling and wisecracking ensued, drawing the attention of Terry Duffy.

The freeholder was not amused. He threw Gottheimer out of his bar.

Seriously, Josh Gottheimer is Tom Delay without the charm. 

Could someone please primary him?

What do the Islamic State, John Bolton, and Henry Kissinger Have in Common?

They all want the US military to stay in Afghanistan.

Bolton and Kissinger have explicitly said so, and with the bombing at Kabul's airport which killed 60+ Afghans and 13 US troops, ISIS, or more accurately Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), has made it clear that they want more troops in Afghanistan, because they can't kill American troops in Afghanistan if they have all been reassigned to Fort Dix and Bitburg. (Also, ISKP is an implacable enemy of the Taliban)

Another thing that the Islamic State, John Bolton, and Henry Kissinger all have in common is that they are all murderous psychopaths.

Yet another thing that the Islamic State, John Bolton, and Henry Kissinger all have in common is that they don't give a sh%$ about the well being of the Afghan people.

The claim of responsibility from the Islamic State for the devastating suicide bombing at Kabul airport came as little surprise to analysts. The organisation’s affiliate in Afghanistan known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), had been pointed to as the prime suspect immediately after the blast.

The IS official Amaq news agency said on its Telegram channel that a member called Abdul Rahman al-Logari carried out “the martyrdom operation near Kabul Airport”. The name suggests the killer of at least 12 US servicemen and more than 60 civilians was Afghan.

On Sunday, US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said there was an “acute” and “persistent” threat to the continuing evacuations from the Afghan capital from ISKP – which takes its name Khorasan from that used by a series of Muslim imperial rulers for a swath of land stretching from Iran to the western Himalayas.


“They achieve several things: they hit legitimate targets (from their perspective), they send a signal of still being a force to be reckoned with and they challenge the Taliban’s state project by highlighting that the group can’t secure Kabul.”

ISKP was founded just under six years ago after representatives of IS made their way to south-western Pakistan to meet disaffected Taliban commanders and other extremists who felt marginalised within the jihadist movement in the region.

Any one who is suggesting that this attack is a reason for the US to stay in Afghanistan is either a complete idiot, a member of ISKP, or makes their money from Pentagon contracts.

Corruption Among the Elites

he CEO of Time's Up, a charity formed to defend women from sexual abuse and harassment has been forced to resign after it was revealed that she was colluding with Andrew Cuomo to conceal his abusive behavior towards women who worked with him.  (She also served as, "Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama; and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.")

It's a level of hypocrisy that would be embarrassing for any woman in the political sphere who is not firmly a part of the Talibaptist right, but even more so for the head of an organization dedicated to supporting victims of sexual harassment.

Additionally, her entire legal career has been centered around addressing issues of sexual discrimination in the workplace, so her entire professional life has been revealed as a lie.

Given her background, the White House Position, major fundraiser for the Obama Campaign, and Ivy League education, I am not surprised at the revelation that she is, after all, just another grasping snollygoster.

This toxic combination was an identifying characteristic of people who thrived in the Obama administration.

The chief executive of Time’s Up, the prominent anti-harassment charity, resigned on Thursday, the latest fallout in a crisis that threatens the organization’s survival.

For weeks, the group has been in upheaval over what some survivors of sexual abuse have called a fundamental betrayal: Its leaders appear to have allied more closely with former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who faces sexual harassment allegations from 11 women, than with the first accusers to come forward.

Tina Tchen, who had led the group since 2019, said in a statement that her “position at the helm of Time’s Up has become a painful and divisive focal point.”

 By, "Dainful and divisive focal point," she means that she has been revealed to be a complete hypocrite, and that she was forced out.


Founded in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, backed by influential women including Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, Time’s Up has been in what its own vice chair recently called an “existential crisis” over its mission. The board chair, Roberta Kaplan, also resigned over the Cuomo matter. Powerful backers like Shonda Rhimes have tried to rally support and reboot. Staff members have complained about lack of direction, and outside critics have questioned whether the organization has strayed from its founding motives.


The departure of Ms. Tchen — who served as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff in the White House — raises as many questions for Time’s Up as it resolves. She was a proponent of the organization’s initial, bold mission: for female power players to use their connections for good. In her departing statement, Ms. Tchen endorsed that approach again. “We cannot just shout on the outside for change without helping companies, government leaders and policymakers find the solutions to do better,” she said.

It hasn't strayed from its founding motives.  It was about protecting, "Female power players," who, "Use their connections for good," people like ……… well ……… Tina Tchen, not lower level interns,  staff, or members of the security detail  for the powerful, and vengeful, governor of New York.


But when dealing with Mr. Cuomo’s office — and in other instances [WHAT OTHER INSTANCES?  I WANT TO KNOW!] — that strategy proved compromising. Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Tchen provided feedback on an unpublished opinion column that smeared Mr. Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsay Boylan. Ms. Kaplan, a lawyer, also consulted with a top Cuomo aide about how strong a stand Time’s Up should take on the allegations, The Times recently reported. And Ms. Tchen told colleagues to “stand down” from releasing a statement in support of Ms. Boylan, according to text messages obtained by The Washington Post.

This is why the hypocrite wing of the Democratic Party loses elections:  It is painfully obvious that when it gets down to brass tacks, they talk the talk, but they will NEVER walk the walk.


Tweet of the Day

Yes, this is my brother, and yes, this is funny AF. (And yes, everyone in my family is wittier than I am)

25 August 2021

Cheap Harleys at Estate Sales

 About 2 weeks after another ill-advised mass spreader event, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Covid cases in South Dakota have surged, just like last year.

As the Japanese say, " ない愚かさはない薬です," there is no medicine for stupidity:

A section of rural South Dakota that hosted hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts earlier this month for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally now has one of the sharpest rises in Covid cases anywhere in the U.S.—a major sign that this year’s motorcycle rally served as a repeat of 2020’s superspreader event.

Think of it as evolution in action. 

On the bright side, if you want a Harley, some slightly used models are likely to be available in the mid-west.

The Problem Solvers Caucus Caves

He house has passed the budget bill on party lines, despite the best efforts of the corporate whore Democrats to sabotage the bill:

House Democrats on Tuesday approved a roughly $3.5 trillion budget that could enable sweeping changes to the nation’s health-care, education and tax laws, overcoming their own internal divisions to take the next step toward enacting President Biden’s broader economic agenda.

The 220-to-212 party-line vote came after days of delays as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scrambled to stave off a revolt from her party’s moderate-leaning lawmakers. With the frenzy resolved, the chamber averted what would have been a political embarrassment for the White House and its allies — even as the debacle foreshadowed much tougher fights among Democrats still on the horizon.

The outcome immediately set in motion a laborious effort on Capitol Hill to transform the $3.5 trillion blueprint into a fuller legislative product. Much like the proposal the Senate adopted this month, the House budget is essentially an outline that does not require Biden’s signature. Rather, it is a congressional document that unlocks for Democrats a longer legislative process known as reconciliation — a tactic that allows them to write a tax-and-spending bill that can bypass a Republican filibuster.

As part of the forthcoming package, Democrats have pledged to expand Medicare, invest sizable sums in education and family-focused programs, and devote new funds toward combating climate change — fulfilling many of the party’s 2020 campaign pledges. And they have aimed to finance the tranche of new spending through tax hikes targeting wealthy corporations, families and investors, rolling back tax cuts imposed under President Donald Trump.


At the center of the recent battle were nine moderate lawmakers led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.). The group for weeks had threatened to vote against the budget, arguing the House instead should have started its work on another of Biden’s priorities — a roughly $1.2 trillion bill to improve the nation’s infrastructure that passed the Senate last month.

Someone seriously needs to primary Josh Gottheimer.

Thoughts and Prayers

John Pierce, who was representing Kyle Rittenhouse until he got canned for stealing from his client, and is now defending insurrectionists, is on a ventilator with severe Covid after refusing vaccinations and masks.

I don't know if this should be filed under racist terrorism, insurrection, pandemic, or stupidity, so I'll just file it under schadenfreude.

Sucks to be you Mr. Pierce, even if you weren't in the ICU right now:

John Pierce, a high-profile conservative lawyer who previously represented Kyle Rittenhouse in his homicide case but was eventually fired, is reportedly on a ventilator due to COVID-19.

According to national security journalist Marcy Wheeler, Jan. 6 defendant Shane Jenkins, who is accused of assault, recently attempted to hire the ailing attorney. Pierce currently represents some 17 total defendants who are accused of various crimes in connection with the pro-Trump riot. He previously represented two other alleged rioters who ultimately found other representation.

During a Wednesday status hearing for Jenkins, his current attorney, Federal Public Defender Maria Jacob, said “she believes that she’s being replaced,” according a post on Wheeler’s “emptywheel” blog.

“John Pierce’s colleague, Ryan Marshall (who is not barred in DC but nevertheless handled Pierce’s appearance in Nate DeGrave’s case yesterday), piped up to say, yes, that was happening but unfortunately the notice of appearance he thought had been filed last night had not appeared on the docket yet,” Wheeler’s post continued.


Pierce was famously fired by the Rittenhouse family in February for allegedly refusing to provide an audit into money fundraised through the #FightBack Foundation, purportedly for his client’s defense.

“They used Kyle to gain money, gain Twitter followers,” Wendy Rittenhouse told Law&Crime’s Adam Klasfeld, referring to Pierce and fellow traveling pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood. “I felt now they didn’t care about Kyle.”: “Mr. Pierce is in the hospital, we believe, with COVID-19, on a ventilator, non-responsive,” according to Wheeler.

Just in case you are wondering, the invocation of, "Thoughts and Prayers," in the title is completely insincere.

24 August 2021


Twenty Years After 9/11, Are We Any Smarter?
The New Republic

If there is anything that is clear over the past 20 years, it is that in the words of not-Tallyrand, "We have forgotten nothing, and we have learned nothing."


Watts' drumming is the foundation of this song

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at 80

I will leave you with a story that will warm the heart of every percussionist out there:

There are a few versions of this story, but the gist is the same — after a night out in Amsterdam with Richards, Jagger drunkenly called Watts’s hotel room at 5 a.m. and asked, “Where’s my drummer?” when Watts picked up. Irate, Watts got out of bed, shaved, got dressed to the nines in a bespoke suit, went to Richards’s room, and punched Jagger in the face. The better version of the story has it ending with Watts saying, “Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my f%$#ing singer!” That detail isn’t included in Richards’s retelling of it, but Keith’s version, which appeared in his autobiography Life, includes the detail of Jagger falling over on a tray of smoked salmon and nearly falling out of the window into a canal. The only reason Richards stopped the fight? Jagger was wearing Keith’s wedding jacket.

There is not a drummer in the world that doesn't dream of saying, "Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my f%$#ing singer!"  (I confirmed this with my percussionist son)

When Someone in Authority Publicly Calls for Genocide, It Is an Admission of Guilt

The Washington Post is wringing its hands over the trial of Jeanine Áñez, who seized power in a coup in in Bolivia, for genocide.

The thing is that as soon as she became interim President, she explicitly called for the a program of aggressive violence against the indigenous communities in Bolivia and called for the use of the state security apparatus of Bolivia to suppress indigenous religion and culture.

As a minor player in a minor party (less than 4% of the vote), she's just a nut, but when she became interim President, and openly called for the eradication of aboriginal culture in the mountain nation, you have probably cause to try her.

What the hand wringing from the US foreign policy establishment is really about is that they want to make sure that the next time the US foments a coup, their stooges won't have to worry about this happening to them:

On the day before Bolivian former interim president Jeanine Áñez was arrested and detained this year, accused of gaining power by fomenting a coup in 2019, she left her supporters with a message: “The political persecution has begun.”

And in the five months since, as Áñez’s mental and physical health has deteriorated in jail, the conservative former leader has become a symbol of the deepening polarization in Bolivia.

To some, she’s the victim of a vengeful, politically motivated justice system under her socialist successor, President Luis Arce. To others, she’s a usurper who staged a coup that dislodged longtime president Evo Morales, and then presided over systematic human rights abuses by police.

On Saturday, a day after prosecutors announced new charges of “genocide” against her, Áñez cut her own wrist, in what her lawyer described as “a cry for help.” The news prompted her supporters, the European Union and the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia to call on the Arce government to safeguard her well-being.

As I noted above, these charges are justified by her public words and deeds.

“She’s not asking for impunity,” her lawyer, Norka Cuellar, told reporters. “She’s asking to defend herself in her own home.”

The State Department is asking for impunity though, because it serves the purposes of the US State Security apparatus.


The Organization of American States’ human rights watchdog last week reported evidence of “massacres,” “systematic torture,” and “summary executions” by security forces under Áñez’s interim government. Incidents of excessive police force against Morales supporters occurred after Áñez signed a decree guaranteeing amnesty for security forces restoring order in the country, according to the Group of Independent Experts commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

To some of Áñez’s critics, the report provided clear-cut evidence of the charges against the former interim leader. But even as international human rights groups and the State Department demanded an investigation into the OAS watchdog’s allegations, many doubted that the country’s justice system was capable of pursuing an impartial case against the former president.

Yes, it will be difficult, and that is a problem, but allowing her impunity for her actions is worse for society and governance in Bolivia, and across Latin America. 

Just look at the corrosive effects of Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon in 1974. 

It created the expectation of impunity among America's ruling elites, frequently cast as, "Looking forward, not back," (God, I hate that phrase) by shallow evil people.


“They were brutal, outrageous massacres,” [HRW researcher] Muñoz said. “But two massacres don’t make genocide. These disproportionate charges are not helpful to the victims.”

Gee, ONLY two massacres?  Well, that's an endorsement for the hiring policies of Human Rights Watch. 

I do think that her trial should be held to high standards, both inside and outside of Bolivia, but the concerns stated by foreign powers are driven by a cynical, and bigoted, desire to keep coups, and lawfare as coups on the table throughout Latin America.


Unfortunately, This is a Hoax

By way of context, Andy Ngo, a Proud Boy wannabee masquerading as a reporter, falsely claimed that the milkshake that he was hit with was filled with concrete. 

Claiming that he was given a concussion from a "silicone rod", would be par for the course.

Unfortunately, it's too good to be true, so it's not true.

23 August 2021

Headline of the Day

The New Ozymandias: Twilight Reflections on the Obama Presidential Center

Barack Obama's Presidential Library is a monument to himself, a 235 foot tall tower and associated golf course which will go a long way towards destroying one of the crown jewels of American public parks, Jackson Park, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted.

In a way, it's a perfect metaphor for Obama's political career:  It destroys something precious, will serve to privatize public space, and will gentrify the neighborhood, all while offering pious and empty platitudes.

The Portland Police Bureau is Objectively Pro Proud Boy

Yes, you are the baddies
This is the only explanation of their solicitous behavior toward right wing terrorists, see here, here, here, and here.

And now we have coddling of the Proud Boys by the Portland Police Bureau which has led to violence.

This is yet another example of how awful the Portland, Oregon police are on the side of right wing terrorists:

Proud Boys and other right-wing combatants in Northeast Portland on Sunday fired paintball guns out of moving trucks, toppled and looted a van, and brawled in the street with anti-fascist adversaries amid fireworks and smoke bombs, with police nowhere to be seen.

The Aug. 22 rally—called “Summer of Love: United We Stand Divided We Fall”—was held in the parking lot of an abandoned Kmart in Northeast Portland. The event landed about 48 hours after Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell warned that police would not intervene in weekend skirmishes that resulted from the planned gatherings.

“We are asking you to choose love,” Wheeler said during the Aug. 20 press conference. “People should not necessarily expect to see the police standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart.”

Ted Wheeler is literally adopting the rhetoric of the Proud boys here.

The mayor and police chief kept to their word: There was no obvious sign of Portland police for the duration of an event that, at its climax, resembled scenes from a Grand Theft Auto video game. (Hours later, a gunman exchanged shots with armed foes in downtown Portland.)


While the Portland Police Bureau made it clear Friday that they wouldn’t wade directly into a melee, it is unclear whether any police were present at all during Sunday’s rally—even around the perimeter of the nearly 7-acre lot, where armed attendees stood guard at the various exit points. (PPB and the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to WW’s questions about whether any police were present at the rally.)

These actions were explicitly to support right wing territories. 

You know that if there had been a handful of black faces in that parking lot, the Police would have been in there swinging night sticks and using tear gas.


That follows a pattern: Both Wheeler and Lovell declined on Friday to name the groups they anticipated arriving in Portland this weekend. During the rally, however, those affiliations were apparent: Most attendees wore gear affiliated with right-wing ideologies or paramilitary groups. The affiliations included the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, and supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Longtime street brawler and Proud Boys affiliate Tusitala “Tiny” Toese appeared to headline the rally by introducing speakers and queueing the music.

Maybe the Portland Police Bureau should update their uniform to include a white hood.


John Oliver unloads on the Sackler crime family:

22 August 2021

Best Healthcare System in the World

Seriously, if a foreign power had inflicted this healthcare on us, it would be considered an act of war.

Headline of the Day

Ken Loach: Keir Starmer Is Mr Bean Trying to Act Like Stalin

This is remarkably evocative, and accurate, description of the current misleader of the Labour Party.