one hundred forty-two things tagged “politics”

On The People Who Truly Love The United States and Would Like to Restore it to it’s Former Glory

Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Here are two meditations in the form of Jordan Klepper’s excellent interactions with the deluded. I just wish that every supporter were as candid as the woman Jordan spoke to in this first one (starting 00:40) without resorting to shameless and awkward sophistry and whataboutism.

This is a fucking clown.

The most pathetic position, however, is one where you will readily admit to all of your Orange Leader’s “cruelties, collusions, corruptions, and crimes” but sigh and support the thrice-indicted buffoon’s second go at authoritarianism (with or without issuing a weak “both sides”). Consider this solemn Solomon from my home state:

It’s either malice or delusion. Either way, the Truth does not matter when they’re hurting the right people.

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

From the United Automobile Worker magazine, 1937:

“What did you tell that man just now?”
“I told him to hurry.”
“What right do you have to tell him to hurry?”
“I pay him to hurry.”
“How much do you pay him?”
“Four dollars a day.”
“Where do you get the money?”
“I sell products.”
“Who makes the products?”
“He does.”
“How many products does he make in a day?”
“Ten dollars worth.”
“Then, instead of you paying him, he pays you $6 a day to stand around and tell him to hurry.”
“Well, but I own the machines.”
“How did you get the machines?”
“Sold products and bought them.”
“Who made the products?”
“Shut up. He might hear you.”

Dennis Miller: Fake News, Real Jokes (2018) IMDb C+

Miller claims that he has ‘problems’ with his Orange Overlord. This was filmed in 2018 and there were many, many ‘problems’ with the administration he must have been aware of. The only filthiness he addresses is his non-chalant and charitable admission that separating children from their families might be wrong1. Everything else is lazy pabulum for the most ardent of Combover Caligula’s fans. The cruelty is the point, etc.

But what Miller loves more than his fondness for Mango Mussolini’s ‘outer voice being the same as his inner voice’2 is the fact that the Urinal Cake really winds up liberals. That’s it. There is no more nuance here. The sadistic glee of watching reasonable people lose their minds over a wannabe authoritarian and his sycophants fucking over Constitutional, democratic ideals and hurting immigrants and the marginalized is good American (Christian) fun!

  1. Before whining about Mexico and how it could have stepped up to prevent the abject cruelty of the practice this side of the border. ↩︎

  2. I am unsure of how this is a virtue. ↩︎

The Mess Britain Is In by Larry the Cat More Pasta

Saving this for a quick TL;DR of the shitshow

For those asking from around the world how Britain has gotten into this mess:

  • The Conservative Party has always been obsessed with Europe
  • This caused divides making the party hard to manage
  • Back in 2015 then Prime Minister David Cameron had an idea
  • He promised a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if he won the election
  • He won the election
  • The referendum was held; 52% of people voted to leave the EU
  • David Cameron resigned
  • Theresa May became Prime Minister saying that “Brexit means Brexit”
  • It turned out that nobody actually knew what Brexit meant
  • She called an election and lost the majority
  • She couldn’t get the Conservative party to agree on a Brexit deal so she quit
  • Boris Johnson became Prime Minister promising to “Get Brexit done”
  • He called a general election and won a majority
  • The UK left the European Union in January 2020
  • Major Brexit issues remain unresolved and it has negatively impacted the UK economy
  • Boris Johnson was forced to resign in disgrace in July 2022 following a series of scandals
  • Liz Truss was selected to replace Boris Johnson by members of the Conservative Party
  • She announced a raft of unfunded tax cuts to “grow the economy”
  • The economy collapsed
  • She sacked her chancellor
  • She resigned

Fin.

On Criminal Nature

The reason republicans get so incredibly huffy when any of the tools of law enforcement are ever turned upon them is they think “criminals” as an inherent class of people (who they of course could never be part of) rather than a descriptor for someone who commits illegal acts.

@opinonhaver

Not too far-fetched an observation. Consider the following:

The Very Stable Genius by smiama6 More Pasta

McMaster: called him a dope with the intelligence of a kindergartner

Mattis: called him a 5th grader.

Mnuchin: called him an idiot.

Graham: called him a complete idiot.

Priebus: called him an idiot.

John Kelly: called him a f***ing idiot.

Tillerson: called him a f***ing moron.

Cohn: called him dumb as sh*t.

McRaven: called him the biggest threat to our democracy.

Bannon: called him a f***ing moron.

John Dowd: called him a f****ing liar and too dumb to testify.

Rupert Murdoch: called him a f***ing idiot.

John Bolton: “Trump has the attention span of a fruit fly.

William T. Kelley: (Professor at Penn) called him the dumbest goddamn student he ever had.

Fran Lebowitz (author): “Everyone says he is crazy – which maybe he is – but the scarier thing about him is that he is stupid. You do not know anyone as stupid as Donald Trump. You just don’t.

Tony Schwartz: (the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal”) called him a man with a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.

John Kelly: “He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.”

Anonymous GOP Congressman in a Safeway Rant: called him an evil, really f***ing stupid Forrest Gump.

Mueller: called him Individual 1

And the rest of the world just laughs at him.

Bheemla Nayak (2022) IMDb B

Excellent cinematography and art direction. Bouncy background score by Thaman. Rana Daggubati stole the show, is magnetic in every scene he’s in, and we were all amazed by the ease with which he plays arrogant douchenozzles 💯 Could’ve been at least an hour shorter. Lovely poetry.

A List of Patriotic Groups for Old Mouthbreathing Ultra-Conservative Chickenshits by Unknown More Pasta

Like the badass below 🔥🔥🔥

Got this off Reddit. Unsure of the OP. Too lovely to vanish off the internet. We have a few of these in Des Moines and I swear I quiver in my immigrant slippers every time I see them 😰

  • 101st Chairborne
  • 1st Methanized Infantile Division
  • Al-Kabob
  • Army National Lard
  • Battle of The Bulging Stomach
  • Bozo Haram
  • Branch Covidians
  • Buffet Brigade
  • Bundesmeal
  • Call of Foodie
  • Chowed Boys
  • Cosplaytriots
  • Country Bombkins
  • Coup Klutz Clan
  • CroMAGAnons
  • Cult 45
  • Delta Farce
  • Delta Forks
  • Fryatollahs
  • G.I. Jokes
  • G.I. Jugs
  • Ghost bacon
  • GI Jugs
  • GI Sloppy Joe
  • Gravy Seals
  • Green Beignets
  • Green Buffets
  • Griller Warfare
  • Hamburger Harkonnen
  • Hez-bubba
  • Hezba-la-mode
  • Hogan’s Zeroes
  • Insulin Insurgents
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Irrational Guar
  • Kommando Soup Kräfte
  • Kool-Aid Brigade
  • Luftwaffle
  • MAGAhideen
  • Mayonnaise Militia
  • Meal Team Six
  • MephamphetaMarines
  • Mid-life ISIS
  • National Lard
  • Natty ISIS
  • Oaf Creepers
  • Operation Dessert Storm
  • Prone Boys
  • Q Cucks Klan
  • Seal Team Snacks
  • Semper Fries
  • Semper Fudge
  • Shock & Olive Garden
  • Slaw and Order
  • Snack Ops
  • Special Courses
  • Special Farces
  • Special Portions
  • Special Weapons And Toppings
  • Sporktroopers
  • Stormscooters
  • Supper Fidelis
  • TactiTools
  • Taking up Space Force
  • Tali-Born Again
  • Talibangelicals
  • Talibanjos
  • Talibubba
  • The Califat
  • The Double Chinfantry
  • The Eatstern Front
  • The Expandables
  • The Mandalardians
  • The Queens Lard
  • The Secret Circus
  • Traitor Tots
  • Traitor Trash
  • Traitortots
  • Trumpanzees
  • U.S Marshmallows
  • Vanilla Isis
  • Vietnom-nom-nom Veterans
  • Wal-Martyrs
  • Well-fedayeen
  • Whiskey tango food truck
  • Wide Supremacist
  • Yeehawwdists
  • Yokel Haram
  • Y’all Qaeda
  • Y’alliban

Senator Grassley, People, and Party

More people like this, and on both sides, please.

Senator Grassley is 88 years old. He voted to oppose Judge Jackson’s nomination.

“Having carefully studied her record, unfortunately I think she and I have fundamentally different views on the role of judges and the role that they should play in our system of government because of those disagreements I can’t support her nomination,” Grassley said.

Jordain Carney, “Grassley to oppose Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination”, The Hill

Via JK.

The State of American Healthcare by ThatsWhatXiSaid More Pasta

With some minor formatting. They add:

The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2020 are $7,470 for single coverage and $21,342 for family coverage. Most covered workers make a contribution toward the cost of the premium for their coverage. On average, covered workers contribute 17% of the premium for single coverage ($1,270) and 27% of the premium for family coverage ($5,762).

It’s worth noting every penny of premiums is part of your total compensation, just as much as your salary. If you’re curious you can find out your specific amount on your W2 in box 12 with code DD.

Americans are paying a quarter million dollars more for healthcare over a lifetime compared to the most expensive socialized system on earth. Half a million dollars more than countries like Canada and the UK.

One in three American families had to forgo needed healthcare due to the cost last year. Almost three in ten had to skip prescribed medication due to cost. One in four had trouble paying a medical bill. Of those with insurance one in five had trouble paying a medical bill, and even for those with income above $100,000 14% had trouble. One in six Americans has unpaid medical debt on their credit report. 50% of all Americans fear bankruptcy due to a major health event.

So there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be able to pay for it, especially if you get sick enough to lose the job you depend on for insurance.

mediocre healthcare for free.

Except it’s US healthcare that’s mediocre vs. it’s peers.

The US has the worst rate of death by medically preventable causes among peer countries. A 31% higher disease adjusted life years average. Higher rates of medical and lab errors. A lower rate of being able to make a same or next day appointment with their doctor than average.

Comparing Health Outcomes of Privileged US Citizens With Those of Average Residents of Other Developed Countries

These findings imply that even if all US citizens experienced the same health outcomes enjoyed by privileged White US citizens, US health indicators would still lag behind those in many other countries.

When asked about their healthcare system as a whole the US system ranked dead last of 11 countries, with only 19.5% of people saying the system works relatively well and only needs minor changes. The average in the other countries is 46.9% saying the same. Canada ranked 9th with 34.5% saying the system works relatively well. The UK ranks fifth, with 44.5%. Australia ranked 6th at 44.4%. The best was Germany at 59.8%.

On rating the overall quality of care in the US, Americans again ranked dead last, with only 25.6% ranking it excellent or very good. The average was 50.8%. Canada ranked 9th with 45.1%. The UK ranked 2nd, at 63.4%. Australia was 3rd at 59.4%. The best was Switzerland at 65.5%.

OECD Countries Health Care Spending and Rankings (Source)

Country Govt. / Mandatory (PPP) Voluntary (PPP) Total (PPP) GDP Lancet HAQ Ranking WHO Ranking Prosperity Ranking CEO World Ranking Commonwealth Fund Ranking
United States $7,274 $3,798 $11,072 16.90% 29 37 59 30 11
Switzerland $4,988 $2,744 $7,732 12.20% 7 20 3 18 2
Norway $5,673 $974 $6,647 10.20% 2 11 5 15 7
Germany $5,648 $998 $6,646 11.20% 18 25 12 17 5
Austria $4,402 $1,449 $5,851 10.30% 13 9 10 4
Sweden $4,928 $854 $5,782 11.00% 8 23 15 28 3
Netherlands $4,767 $998 $5,765 9.90% 3 17 8 11 5
Denmark $4,663 $905 $5,568 10.50% 17 34 8 5
Luxembourg $4,697 $861 $5,558 5.40% 4 16 19
Belgium $4,125 $1,303 $5,428 10.40% 15 21 24 9
Canada $3,815 $1,603 $5,418 10.70% 14 30 25 23 10
France $4,501 $875 $5,376 11.20% 20 1 16 8 9
Ireland $3,919 $1,357 $5,276 7.10% 11 19 20 80
Australia $3,919 $1,268 $5,187 9.30% 5 32 18 10 4
Japan $4,064 $759 $4,823 10.90% 12 10 2 3
Iceland $3,988 $823 $4,811 8.30% 1 15 7 41
United Kingdom $3,620 $1,033 $4,653 9.80% 23 18 23 13 1
Finland $3,536 $1,042 $4,578 9.10% 6 31 26 12
Malta $2,789 $1,540 $4,329 9.30% 27 5 14
OECD Average $4,224 8.80%
New Zealand $3,343 $861 $4,204 9.30% 16 41 22 16 7
Italy $2,706 $943 $3,649 8.80% 9 2 17 37
Spain $2,560 $1,056 $3,616 8.90% 19 7 13 7
Czech Republic $2,854 $572 $3,426 7.50% 28 48 28 14
South Korea $2,057 $1,327 $3,384 8.10% 25 58 4 2
Portugal $2,069 $1,310 $3,379 9.10% 32 29 30 22
Slovenia $2,314 $910 $3,224 7.90% 21 38 24 47
Israel $1,898 $1,034 $2,932 7.50% 35 28 11 21

On Law and Character

Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.

— Law And Governance, The Spacing Guild Manual, Dune

I think we’re doing pretty well here. Things will be fine in 2024. Peaceful, lawful, and full of dignity and decorum 🙏

On ‘Deliberate’ Genocide in the Americas by CommodoreCoCo More Pasta

Responding to this chilling comment:

You are failing to understand genocide itself. INTENT, is the word, DELIBERATION. Deliberation to destroy an ethnic group. There was NEVER a deliberate attempt to destroy native culture in the Americas. In fact, you have laws since the 1512 protecting their rights and equalising them to Iberian Crown subjects, “Las Leyes de Burgos”.

Because, you see, unintentional genocide is A-OK.

I see I’ve been summoned. Your comments in this thread make it clear that nothing will change your position. It’s a difficult position to combat, because it’s in such a defiance of literally anything written on the topic in at least the last 50 years. You are not operating off the same foundations of evidence that others are, and for that reason I suspect they, like me, are not terribly interested in arguing. Because it’s unlikely your drivel will be removed, I’m posting some quotes and links for those who see this thread later and think you might have even begun to approach a point supported by any specialist on the topic. I do not intend these to be comprehensive; there are myriad examples of “deliberate attempts to destroy native culture in the Americas” in, well, literally any single book or article you can pick up about the era. Rather, because you’ve instead there never was any such thing, I’ve provided some obvious examples.


A primary goal of the Spanish colonial regime was to completely extirpate indigenous ways of life. While this was nominally about conversion to Catholicism, those in charge made it quite explicit that “conversion” not only should be but needed to be a violent process. Everything potentially conceivable as an indigenous practice, be it burial rituals, ways to build houses, or farming technologies, was targeted, To quote historian Peter Gose:

only by rebuilding Indian life from the ground up, educating, and preventing (with force if necessary) the return to idolatry could the missionary arrest these hereditary inclinations and modify them over time.

Francisco de Toledo, Viceroy of Peru, made clear in a 1570 decree that failure to comply with Catholicism was an offense punishable by death and within secular jurisdiction:

And should it occur that an infidel dogmatizer be found who disrupts the preaching of the gospel and manages to pervert the newly converted, in this case secular judges can proceed against such infidel dogmatizers, punishing them with death or other punishments that seem appropriate to them, since it is declared by congresses of theologians and jurists that His Majesty has convened in the Kingdoms of Spain that not only is this just cause for condemning such people to death, but even for waging war against a whole kingdom or province with all the death and damage to property that results

The same Toledo decreed in 1580 that Catholic priests and secular judges and magistrates should work together to destroy indigenous burial sites:

I order and command that each magistrate ensure that in his district all the tower tombs be knocked down, and that a large pit be dug into which all of the bones of those who died as pagans be mixed together, and that special care be taken henceforth to gather the intelligence necessary to discover whether any of the baptized are buried outside of the church, with the priest and the judge helping each other in such an important matter

Not only was the destruction of native culture a top-down decree, resistance was explicitly a death sentence.


The contemporary diversity of Latin America is not the result of natural “intermixing,” but the failure of the Spanish to assert themselves and the continuous resistance of the indigenous population. As early as 1588, we see letters from local priests airing grievances about the failure of the reduccion towns they were supposed to relocate native families to:

‘the corregidores are obliged, and the governors, to reduce the towns and order them reduced, and to build churches, take care to find out if the people come diligently for religious instruction and mass, to make them come and help the priest, and punish the careless, lazy, and bad Indians in the works of Christianity, as the ordinances of don Francisco de Toledo require, [but] they do not comply. Rather, many of the towns have yet to be reduced, and many churches are yet to be built, and a large part of the Indians are fled to many places where they neither see a priest nor receive religious instruction.

Reduccion was not a voluntary process, nor was it a question of simply “moving away.” Not only did it involve the destruction of native religious sites, it frequently involved the destruction of entire towns to repurpose building material and ensure people could not return. In fact, where we do see more voluntary participation in Spanish colonial structures, usually because of the political legibility and opportunities it provided, the resulting syncretism becomes an ever greater source of anxiety for the Spanish. Indigenous elites could selectively participate in Catholicism and game the system to their benefit- not something the state wanted to admit could happen.

These quotes come from Gose’s chapter on reducciones uploaded here.

I will also provide this section from the conclusion of Nicholas Robins’ book Mercury, Mining, and Empire; the entirety is uploaded here. The quoted chunk below is a summary of the various historical events presented in that chapter.

The white legend held much historiographical sway throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, and in no small part reflected a selective focus on legal structures rather than their application, subsumed in a denigratory view of native peoples, their cultures, and their heritage. As later twentieth-century historians began to examine the actual operation of the colony, the black legend again gained ascendance. As Benjamin Keen wrote, the black legend is “no legend at all.

Twentieth-century concepts of genocide have superseded this debate, and the genocidal nature of the conquest is, ironically, evident in the very Spanish laws that the advocates of the white legend used in their efforts to justify their position. Such policies in Latin America had a defining influence on Rafael Lemkin, the scholar who first developed the term genocide in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. As developed by Lemkin, “Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor,” which often included the establishment of settler colonies. Because of the intimate links between culture and national identity, Lemkin equated intentional cultural destruction with genocide. It was in no small part a result of his tireless efforts that in 1948 the United Nations adopted the defintion of genocide which, despite its shortcomings, serves today as international law. The fact that genocide is a modern concept and that colonists operated within the “spirit of the times” in no way lessens the genocidal nature of their actions. It was, in fact, historical genocides, including those in Latin America, that informed Lemkin’s thinking and gave rise to the term.

Dehumanization of the victim is the handmaiden of genocide, and that which occurred in Spanish America is no exception. Although there were those who recognized the humanity of the natives and sought to defend them, they were in the end a small minority. The image of the Indian as a lazy, thieving, ignorant, prevaricating drunkard who only responded to force was, perversely, a step up from the ranks of nonhumans in which they were initially cast. The official recognition that the Indians were in fact human had little effect in their daily lives, as they were still treated like animals and viewed as natural servants by non-Indians. It is remarkable that the white legend could ever emerge from this genocidogenic milieu. With the path to genocide thus opened by the machete of dehumanization, Spanish policies to culturally destroy and otherwise subject the Amerindians as a people were multifaceted, consistent, and enduring. Those developed and implemented by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in Peru in the 1570s have elevated him to the status of genocidier extraordinaire.

Once an Indian group had refused to submit to the Spanish crown, they could be legally enslaved, and calls for submission were usually made in a language the Indians did not understand and were often out of earshot. In some cases, the goal was the outright physical extermination or enslavement of specific ethnic groups whom the authorities could not control, such as the Chiriguano and Araucanian Indians. Another benefit from the crown’s perspective was that restive Spaniards and Creoles could be dispatched in such campaigns, thus relieving cities and towns of troublemakers while bringing new lands and labor into the kingdom. Ironically, de Toledo’s campaign to wipe out the Chiriguano contributed to his own ill health. Overall, however, genocidal policies in the Andes and the Americas centered on systematic cultural, religious, and linguistic destruction, forced labor, and forced relocation, much of which affected reproduction and the ability of individuals and communities to sustain themselves.

The forced relocation of Indians from usually spread-out settlements into reducciones, or Spanish-style communities, had among its primary objectives the abolition of indigenous religious and cultural practices and their replacement with those associated with Catholicism. As native lands and the surrounding geographical environment had tremendous spiritual significance, their physical removal also undermined indigenous spiritual relationships. Complementing the natives’ spiritual and cultural control was the physical control, and thus access to labor, offered by the new communities. The concentration of people also inadvertently fostered the spread of disease, giving added impetus to the demographic implosion. Finally, forced relocation was a direct attack on traditional means of sustenance, as many kin groups settled in and utilized the diverse microclimates of the region to provide a variety of foodstuffs and products for the group.

Integrated into this cultural onslaught were extirpation campaigns designed to seek out and destroy all indigenous religious shrines and icons and to either convert or kill native religious leaders. The damage matched the zeal and went to the heart of indigenous spiritual identity. For example, in 1559, an extirpation drive led by Augustinian friars resulted in the destruction of about 5,000 religious icons in the region of Huaylas, Peru, alone. Cultural destruction, or ethnocide, also occurred on a daily basis in Indian villages, where the natives were subject to forced baptism as well as physical and financial participation in a host of Catholic rites. As linchpins in the colonial apparatus, the clergy not only focused on spiritual conformity but also wielded formidable political and economic power in the community. Challenges to their authority were quickly met with the lash, imprisonment, exile, or the confiscation of property.

Miscegenation, often though not always through rape, also had profound personal, cultural, and genetic impacts on indigenous people. Part of the reason was the relative paucity of Spanish women in the colony, while power, opportunity, and impunity also played important roles. Genetic effacement was, in the 1770s, complemented by efforts to illegalize and eliminate native languages. A component in the wider effort to deculturate the indigenes, such policies were implemented with renewed vigor following the Great Rebellion of 1780–1782. Such laws contained provisions making it illegal to communicate with servants in anything but Spanish, and any servant who did not promptly learn the language was to be fired. The fact that there are still Indians in the Andes does not diminish the fact that they were victims of genocide, for few genocides are total.

Lastly, I would direct readers to the following article: Levene, Mark. 1999. “The Chittagong Hill Tracts: A Case Study in the Political Economy of ‘Creeping’ Genocide.” Third World Quarterly 20 (2): 339–69.

Though it talks about events a world away, it’s discussion of genocide is pertinent here. From the abstract:

The destruction of indigenous, tribal peoples in remote and/or frontier regions of the developing world is often assumed to be the outcome of inexorable, even inevitable forces of progress. People are not so much killed, they become extinct. Terms such as ethnocide, cultural genocide or developmental genocide suggest a distinct form of ‘off the map’ elimination which implicitly discourages comparison with other acknowledged examples of genocide. By concentrating on a little-known case study, that of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh, this article argues that this sort of categorisation is misplaced. Not only is the destruction or attempted destruction of fourth world peoples central to the pattern of contemporary genocide but, by examining such specific examples, we can more clearly delineate the phenomenon’s more general wellsprings and processes. The example of the CHT does have its own peculiar features; not least what has been termed here its ‘creeping’ nature. In other respects, however, the efforts of a new nation-state to overcome its structural weaknesses by attempting a forced-pace consolidation and settlement of its one, allegedly, unoccupied resource-rich frontier region closely mirrors other state-building, developmental agendas which have been confronted with communal resistance. The ensuing crisis of state–communal relations, however, cannot be viewed in national isolation. Bangladesh’s drive to develop the CHT has not only been funded by Western finance and aid but is closely linked to its efforts to integrate itself rapidly into a Western dominated and regulated international system. It is in these efforts ‘to realise what is actually unrealisable’ that the relationship between a flawed state power and genocide can be located.

Genocide need not be a state program uniquely articulated to eliminate a people or their culture. Rather, it is often disguised in the name “progress” or “development.” This connects to the Spanish colonial economic system, based on what Robins (above) calls the “ultra-violence” of forced labor in mines.

Aaron Rodgers

The sentiment inside The Orange Sphere of Shit, by this genius (who is treating himself with Ivermectin.)

Aaron Rodgers by Ben Garrison

QL made some observations:

  1. This is an incomplete pass.
  2. It’s probably unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
  3. It’s at least intentional grounding.
  4. It does no good, only hurts the rest of the team.
  5. The vaxxed player would be wearing a cup (you know, because they’re actually protected).
  6. What makes it “accurate” is that the whole point is to hurt another person.

That’ll show 'em.

On Spite

In his book Dying of Whiteness, Metzl told of the case of a forty-one-year-old white taxi driver who was suffering from an inflamed liver that threatened the man’s life. Because the Tennessee legislature had neither taken up the Affordable Care Act nor expanded Medicaid coverage, the man was not able to get the expensive, lifesaving treatment that would have been available to him had he lived just across the border in Kentucky. As he approached death, he stood by the conviction that he did not want the government involved. “No way I want my tax dollars paying for Mexicans or welfare queens,” the man told Metzl. “Ain’t no way I would ever support Obamacare or sign up for it. I would rather die.” And sadly, so he would.

Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Now,

You might wish to let that simmer for a few minutes. With his health as shaky as a Jenga tower, with his very life ebbing away, Trevor’s greater concern – his greater fear – was of undeserving “Mexicans or welfare queens” benefiting from his taxes, however much that might be on the wages of a used-to-be cab driver eking out his last days in a low-income housing facility.

If that’s sad and ridiculous – and it is both – it is also predictable. From the beginning, white fear has been a great, unspoken driver of this nation’s sins against difference. So Trevor is just a link in an unbroken line that binds Lincoln fretting about retribution from newly freed slaves, to Roosevelt worrying about treachery from Americans of Japanese heritage, to Trump seeing terrorism in brown-skinned toddlers on the southern border.

Decade after decade, election after election, so much of the white conservative appeal is an implicit promise to defend whiteness from blacks and browns. Metzl argues that white people themselves have borne and are bearing a terrific cost for this “defense,” that they are, in effect, killing themselves.

Leonard Pitts, “Dying of Whiteness

Paraphrasing a comment I read on Instagram: “You will let your Orange Highness shit on your head if it means that the liberal standing next to you has to smell it.”

Afghanistan

  • 47,245 Civilians Killed
  • 2,442 US Troops Killed
  • 20,666 US Troops Wounded
  • 66,000 - 69,000 Afghan Troops Killed
  • $2.26 Trillion Taxpayer Dollars

Via NPR. And then:

Just days before, Pardis had confided to his friend that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban, who had discovered he had worked as a translator for the United States Army for 16 months during the 20-year-long conflict.

“They were telling him you are a spy for the Americans, you are the eyes of the Americans and you are infidel, and we will kill you and your family,” his friend and co-worker Abdulhaq Ayoubi told CNN.

As he approached the checkpoint, Pardis put his foot on the accelerator to speed through. He was not seen alive again.

Afghan interpreter for US Army was beheaded by Taliban. Others fear they will be hunted down too”, CNN

What a nightmare, twenty years on. And it’s not like the powers that be didn’t know what they were getting into. Heck, here’s a scene from Rambo (via WN)

Whence “Gubernatorial”?

I’m put off by the word “gubernatorial” whenever I see it. Seems very silly, saccharine, like something a 5-year old mispronounced in 1953 that just stuck because it was so cute 🙄

Nope.

“Because, if you go back to where this word came from, in the original Latin, it’s from the verb, gubernare and gubernator, one who governs,” [Lisa McLendon, professor, University of Kansas School of Journalism] says.

Then, “governor, with the ‘v,’ came into English from French in about the 14th century,” she says. "French had taken the Latin and they swapped the ‘b’ for a ‘v.’ "

English speakers went back to the “b” about 400 years later, but just for gubernatorial. And, there’s the split.

Where Does The Term ‘Gubernatorial’ Come From?, NPR

On the Big Lie and the Dangerous Normalization of Fascism by kor_hookmaster More Pasta

I think because the normalization of Trump and his erosion of political norms over the last 5 years, many people don’t seem to see just how unfathomably dangerous and downright fascist this entire situation has become.

Donald Trump lost. He lost. That is irrefutable and indisputable. He has refused to concede. Not only has he refused to concede, he’s actively telling his millions of supporters that he actually won and that the opposition STOLE the election from him. He’s not saying there was some counting error or computer malfunction. He claims that a crime was committed. It’s absolutely inexcusable and outright seditious, as many in this subbreddit already know.

The founding fathers, for all their faults as men, were not stupid. Far from it. They understood how critically important it was that the absolute powers of a monarch (or a despot/dictator) needed to be diffused among many, and that those many separate entities would need to act as checks on one another. That’s why there’s essentially three branches of government in every iteration of democracies around the world; they each hold a fraction of the power that was once reserved for a sole monarch. This division is a check against corruption and the inherent nature of power to corrupt those who wield it. The only reason that democracy - any democracy, not just the American version - can survive is through a peaceful transfer of power. Without it, there is chaos. Several thousand years of recorded history taught the founding fathers that when absolute power is concentrated in one individual, when that individual dies or are overthrown, countless people suffer. Endless wars of succession and conflicts over who has the rightful claim to power plagued us for generations. Without a peaceful and legally delineated method to hand diffuse power from one individual to the next, there’s nothing to stop someone from raising an army, crossing the proverbial Rubicon, and grabbing the reins of power by force. That’s the real magic of a democratic system: that we all collectively agree that the power of the state is peacefully and legally passed down without bloodshed or recrimination. It’s something that only works because we all believe it does, much like the inherent value of money. It’s something we take for granted, but it’s really astonishing given most of human history.

There is a method baked right into the constitution for someone who thinks they lost an election if they believe it was unfair, or corrupt, or stolen: You take it to the courts - to the separate branch - for it to be ruled on. It’s the reason why the president-elect doesn’t just assume power the day after the election. If there’s a legitimate claim to malfeasance or miscounting, it goes to the courts, each side presents its case, and the judicial branch has the time to weigh the evidence and make a ruling.

This isn’t just hypothetical - it’s already happened. In 2000 the electoral college came down to one state: Florida. Gore lost to Bush by less than a thousand votes. The night of the election Gore conceded, and then in the following days as the picture became more clear, he retracted his concession and took the matter to the courts. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and he lost. They made their ruling and gave the election to Bush. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, it’s how the founding fathers designed it. No civil war. No bloodshed.

Did Gore claim that the Bush stole the election? Did he sulk away to his mansion and call himself the “real” president? Did he whip his supporters into a frenzy, tell them to “stop the steal” and unleash them on the capital building when the votes were going to be certified? No. He conceded. Not only did he concede, he thanked his supporters for their hard work, congratulated Bush, and told his people to throw their support behind the President-elect. Because that’s what you do in a democracy. It’s not because he’s some decent guy, it’s your responsibility as a participant in the electoral process.

You throw your hat into the ring. You run your campaign and try to sway the voters. If you lose, you concede. It’s not just a formality, it’s critically important to the health of the country as a whole. Every candidate knows this. Kerry conceded in 2004. McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. Nixon conceded when he lost to Kennedy in 1960, and Nixon was an irredeemable piece of shit. (Skip to 5:50 to hear Nixon describe the importance of concession and uniting around the victor)

Each speech is essentially the same: thanking supporters, officially conceding, and throwing your support behind the new president-elect and urging your supporters to do the same. Candidates, even the irredeemably shitty ones, know that elections are vicious and divisive, so effort needs to be made to try and unite afterwards. No one man is bigger or more important than the whole.

People need to have faith in the process, that elections are fair and free, and that the candidate with the most votes (or electoral votes) wins. If they doubt that very foundational premise some of them will resort to violence. They’ll resort to violence because they’ll believe that the legal channels for peaceful resolution aren’t relevant. That’s why the insurrectionists on January 6th thought they were being “patriots”. It’s a mass self-delusion that was perpetuated and allowed to fester and grow because Trump spent five years gaslighting the country and refusing to concede an election he lost. They might be ignorant authoritarians, but they wouldn’t be storming the capital without Trump and his big lie.

Trump had every legal right to contest the results of the 2020 election in the courts. He did. Over 60 lawsuits filed in multiple states. It went to the Supreme Court. He lost every single one. Those lawsuits failed or were tossed out because there was legitimately zero proof of the massive fraud and theft Trump was claiming.

The recent Vanity Fair interview with Trump is probably one of the scariest things I’ve read in a long while. Among the never-ending predictable lies and bullshit we come to expect from Trump came the fact that he was disappointed in the federal and state judges he appointed that decided against him or tossed out his lawsuits. He was upset with Brett Kavanagh and the conservative judges on the Supreme Court for their disloyalty. THEIR DISLOYALTY.

This is surreal. It’s beyond the pale. The President of the United States is upset that a separate branch of the federal government didn’t show him sufficient loyalty. What the everlasting fuck is this fascist nonsense? The federal government is not a mafia family. Federal judges don’t owe anyone loyalty - regardless of whether they’re from the same party or if they’ve been appointed by someone. Your merit is not judged on your loyalty, especially when your very role is to remain impartial and interpret the law. Judges are loyal to the constitution, not the President! It’s in their very oath of office!

This is why Trump is such a threat. It’s not just his ignorance, his incompetence, his vanity, his vindictiveness, his narcissism. Those are all horrible qualities to have. He’s a threat because he’s willing to completely disregard and tear down the very bedrock principles of democracy (the separation of authority and the peaceful transfer of power) to serve his needs. His ego can’t handle a loss, so the constitution and everything that makes democracy a functional alternative to despotism and authoritarianism can burn.

Trump isn’t just the worst president in history, he’s a threat to the very fabric of the country. Because of the slow crawl of his erosion of norms, the frenetic pace of 24 hour news, the short attention span of our modern society, and a media obsessed with ratings over information, Trump has been allowed to get away with this behaviour. The fact that Republicans are lining up and falling over each other to supplicate themselves before this man should be a stain that should never wash off and should be their legacy. If there is any justice in the world, history will not be kind to these enabling sycophants who actively helped this cancerous growth.

I wish I was being hyperbolic, I really do. But there’s no other way to see that one political party and millions of Americans are not only fine with authoritarianism, but will actively cheer it on and promote its rise.

Sure, a case can be made that this was inevitable given the course of the Republican party for the last 30 years. Trump is a mutated strain of their brand of “conservatism” which doesn’t really seem to stand for anything at this point beyond the acquisition and protection of power. But Trump is still far more dangerous than the original pathogen: he’s a force that wants to ensure that facts don’t mean anything and that loyalty is the only currency that matters.

Sometimes I feel like I’m screaming into the void about some of this, but I feel like Trump’s antics and firehose of bullshit is causing millions of people to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Hell, they’re losing sight of the galaxy for the pebbles of sand on the beach.

The only way I see out of this is if he faces legal ramifications for what he’s done. If he’s permitted to get away with it, and run in 2024, and win? That’s the absolute nightmare scenario.

Two Messages for Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and father figures who enrich our character, love us unconditionally, and give so much of themselves every day so we can live lives worthy of their dreams and sacrifices.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

And, this is real (as much as you hope it isn’t but know deep-down that it is):

Happy Father’s Day to all, including the Radical Left, RINOs, and other Losers of the world. Hopefully, eventually, everyone will come together!

A soon to be ‘reinstated’, former President

I do love the capitalized “Losers”.

Are they not Mothers and Fathers and Children?

I finish just by saying this: war is an easy thing to talk about; there are not many people - a - of the generation that remember it. The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup served with distinction in the last war. I never killed anyone but I wore uniform. But I was in London in the blitz in 1940, living in the Millbank tower, where I was born. Some different ideas have come in since. And every night, I went down to the shelter in Thames house. Every morning, I saw dockland burning. Five hundred people were killed in Westminster one night by a land mine. It was terrifying. Aren’t Arabs terrified? Aren’t Iraqis terrified? Don’t Arab and Iraqi women weep when their children die? Does bombing strengthen their determination? What fools we are to live in a generation for which war is a computer game for our children and just an interesting little channel for news item.

Every Member of Parliament tonight who votes for the Government motion will be consciously and deliberately accepting responsibility for the deaths of innocent people if the war begins, as I fear it will. Now that’s for their decision to take. But this is a quite unique debate. In my parliamentary experience, where we are asked to share responsibility for a decision we won’t really be taking, with consequences for people who have no part to play in the brutality of the regime which we are dealing with.

And I finish with this: on 24 October 1945—the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup will remember—the United Nations charter was passed. And the words of that charter are etched into my mind and move me even as I think of them. “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life-time has caused untold suffering to mankind”. That was the pledge of that generation to this generation, and it would be the greatest betrayal of all if we voted to abandon the charter, and take unilateral action and pretend that we were doing it in the name of the international community. And I shall vote against the motion for the reasons that I have given the house.

Tony Benn, on 17 February 1998, Westminster.

A Timeline of Cruelty, Denial, and Ineptitude by Lloyd Doggett More Pasta

May 2018

The Trump Administration disbands the White House pandemic response team.

July 2019

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) epidemiologist embedded in China’s disease control agency left the post, and the Trump Administration eliminated the role.

Oct. 2019

“Currently, there are insufficient funding sources designated for the federal government to use in response to a severe influenza pandemic.” [Source: The results of a Department of Health and Human Services 2019 influenza pandemic simulation]

Jan. 22, 2020

“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

Jan. 24, 2020

Trump praises China’s handling of the coronavirus: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

Jan. 28, 2020

“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency…This is going to be the roughest thing you face” Trump’s National Security Advisor to Trump

Jan. 30, 2020

“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on US soil… This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.” [Memo from Trump Trade Advisor Peter Navarro]

Feb. 2, 2020

“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

Feb. 7, 2020

“It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu… This is deadly stuff” [Trump in a private interview with Bob Woodward from The Washington Post made public on Sept. 9, 2020]

Feb. 10, 2020

“I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”

Feb. 10, 2020

“Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

Feb. 24, 2020

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… the Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb. 25, 2020

“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Feb. 25, 2020

“I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“Well, we’re testing everybody that we need to test. And we’re finding very little problem. Very little problem.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“This is a flu. This is like a flu.”

Feb. 27, 2020

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Feb. 27, 2020

“The ineptness with which the Trump Administration approached this problem is not only serious, it can be deadly if not changed in the approach.” – Rep. Lloyd Doggett [During a hearing, Rep. Doggett questions HHS Sec. Azar on Trump’s refusal to take this virus seriously, warning about mask and test shortages]

Feb. 28, 2020

“We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

March 2, 2020

“You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?” [Trump to health officials who answered “No.”]

March 2, 2020

“A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”

March 4, 2020

“Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild.”

March 4, 2020

“If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”

March 5, 2020

“I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”

March 5, 2020

“The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”

March 6, 2020

“I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”

March 6, 2020

“You have to be calm. It’ll go away.”

March 6, 2020

“Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful… the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”

March 6, 2020

“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

March 6, 2020

“I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

March 7, 2020

"No, I’m not concerned at all.

March 8, 2020

“We have a perfectly coordinated and fine-tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”

March 9, 2020

During a news conference, White House officials said the U.S. will have tested one million people that week and thereafter would complete 4 million tests per week. By the end of the week, the CDC had only completed a paltry 4,000 tests.

March 10, 2020

“Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 11, 2020

The World Health Organization categorizes the coronavirus as a pandemic due to its alarming spread and severity.

March 11, 2020

“It goes away…It’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.”

March 12, 2020

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now…That is a failing. Let’s admit it.” [Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to Congress]

March 12, 2020

“You know, you see what’s going on. And so I just wanted that to stop as it pertains to the United States. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve stopped it.”

March 13, 2020

“I don’t take responsibility at all.”

March 13, 2020

The Atlantic reports that less than 14,000 tests have been done in the ten weeks since the Administration had first been notified of the virus, though Mike Pence had promised the week prior that 1.5 million tests would be available by this time.

March 14, 2020

“I’d rate it a ten,” [Trump’s rating of his coronavirus response]

March 15, 2020

“Relax”

March 15, 2020

“This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”

March 16, 2020

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment-try getting it yourselves,”

March 17, 2020

“The only thing we haven’t done well is get good press.”

March 17, 2020

“I felt like it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

March 19, 2020

I intended “to always play it down.” [Trump in a private taped interview with Bob Woodward, made public on September 9]

March 20, 2020

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.” [Response to reporter’s question: “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”]

March 22, 2020

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.”

March 24, 2020

“I’m also hopeful to have Americans working again by that Easter - that beautiful Easter day.”

March 24, 2020

“We’ve never closed down the country for the flu,” Trump said. “So you say to yourself, what is this all about?”

March 24, 2020

“They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.’”

March 25, 2020

“The faster we go back, the better it’s going to be.”

March 26, 2020

The United States becomes the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases. A title it keeps for the remainder of Trump’s time in office.

March 26, 2020

“Congratulations AMERICA!” [On Senate passage of third relief bill]

March 26, 2020

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

March 26, 2020

“We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from — you know who I’m talking about — from Michigan,”

March 27, 2020

“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic. Yet your Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude!”

March 27, 2020

“Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him…”

March 27, 2020

“I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.”

March 27, 2020

“We’re doing a great job for the state of Washington and I think the Governor…he’s constantly chirping and I guess complaining would be a nice way of saying it.”

March 29, 2020

“Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000?”

March 29, 2020

“Unfortunately the enemy is death. It’s death. A lot of people are dying. So it’s very unpleasant.”

March 30, 2020

“Stay calm, it will go away. You know it – you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory.”

March 30, 2020

“I think New York should be fine, based on the numbers that we see, they should have more than enough. I mean, I’m hearing stories that they’re not used or they’re not used right.”

March 30, 2020

“I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. We’re testing more than any other nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests…But I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

March 30, 2020

“We inherited a broken test — the whole thing was broken.”

March 31, 2020

“…it’s not the flu. It’s vicious.”

April 1, 2020

“They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, 'Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.” [Trump’s response to governors who were pleading for medical gear and ventilators to treat surging coronavirus hospitalizations]

April 2, 2020

“Massive amounts of medical supplies… are being delivered directly to states…Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?). The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.”

April 2, 2020

“…the Federal Government is merely a back-up for state governments.”

April 3, 2020

“I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing – somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful resolute desk, the great resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind.”

April 5, 2020

“FEMA, the military — what they’ve done is a miracle…And you should be thanking them for what they’ve done, not always asking wise-guy questions.” [Trump’s response to a reporter when asked about slow government response to coronavirus]

April 6, 2020

“LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!”

April 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 10,000

April 7, 2020

“So, you know, things are happening. It’s a – it’s – I haven’t seen bad. I’ve not seen bad.”

April 7, 2020

“You are not going to die from this pill…I really think it’s a great thing to try.” [Trump promoting Hydroxychloroquine, not FDA approved to treat coronavirus]

April 7, 2020

“That was a flu. OK. So you could say that I said it was a flu, or you could say the flu is nothing to – sneeze at,” [Regarding Spanish Flu]

April 8, 2020

“I read about it maybe a day, two days ago… It was a recommendation that he had, I think he told certain people on the staff, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t see it.” [Trump referring to Peter Navarro’s January warning]

April 9, 2020

“I couldn’t have done it any better,” [When asked if his coronavirus response could have been better]

April 11, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 20,000

April 13, 2020

“But I guess I’m doing OK, because, to the best of my knowledge, I’m the President of the United States, despite the things that are said.”

April 14, 2020

“Enough!” [When a reporter questioned his claim that his authority as president is “total”]

April 14, 2020

“[w]hen somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.”

April 15, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 30,000

April 15, 2020

As Trump focuses on reopening, a leaked CDC and FEMA report warns of “significant risk of resurgence of the virus” with phased reopening.

April 19, 2020

“Now we’re going toward 50, I’m hearing, or 60,000 people [dead from the coronavirus]”

April 20, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 40,000

April 22, 2020

“If [coronavirus] comes back though, it won’t be coming back in the form that it was, it will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain…it’s also possible it doesn’t come back at all.”

April 23, 2020

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

April 23, 2020

“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn’t been checked but you’re gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way…”

April 23, 2020

“You see states are starting to open up now, and it’s very exciting to see,”

April 23, 2020

Over 26 million jobless claims have been filed

April 24, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 50,000

April 26, 2020

“The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history.”

April 27, 2020

“I can’t imagine why,” [Trump’s response to the influx in poison control calls about disinfectant]

April 29, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 60,000

April 29, 2020

“It’s gonna go away, this is going to go away.”

May 3, 2020

“Look, we’re going to lose anywhere from 75,000, 80,000 to 100,000 people,”

May 5, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 70,000

May 5, 2020

Consumer debt hits an all-time high

May 5, 2020

“Well run States should not be bailing out poorly run States, using CoronaVirus as the excuse!”

May 5, 2020

“I always felt 60, 65, 70, as horrible as that is. I mean, you’re talking about filling up Yankee Stadium with death! So I thought it was horrible. But it’s probably going to be somewhat higher than that,”

May 5, 2020

“There’ll be more death, that the virus will pass, with or without a vaccine. And I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass, and we’re going to be back to normal,”

May 5, 2020

“I don’t want to be Mr. Gloom-and-Doom. It’s a very bad subject… I’m not looking to tell the American people when nobody really knows what’s happening yet, ‘Oh, this is going to be so tragic.’”

May 6, 2020

The Brookings Institution reports that children were “experiencing food insecurity to an extent unprecedented in modern times” and “40.9 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported household food insecurity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Republicans block proposals to expand food stamps.

May 6, 2020

“Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people.” [Trump’s response to a nurse telling him that equipment supply has been “sporadic”]

May 7, 2020

Over 33 million jobless claims have been filed

May 8, 2020

“This is going to go away without a vaccine. It is going to go away. We are not going to see it again.”

May 9, 2020

“This is going to go away without a vaccine.”

May 11, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 80,000

May 11, 2020

“Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere. Big progress being made!”

May 11, 2020

“We have met the moment and we have prevailed,”

May 14, 2020

“Could be that testing’s, frankly, overrated. Maybe it is overrated.”

May 14, 2020

“Don’t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? Because we do more testing,”

May 15, 2020

"Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back. And we’re starting the process. In many cases, they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it.

May 16, 2020

“We’ve done a GREAT job on Covid response, making all Governors look good, some fantastic (and that’s OK), but the Lamestream Media doesn’t want to go with that narrative, and the Do Nothing Dems talking point is to say only bad about “Trump”. I made everybody look good, but me!”

May 18, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 90,000

May 19, 2020

“When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing… Because it means our testing is much better. I view it as a badge of honor, really, it’s a badge of honor.”

May 21, 2020

USA Today reports that home mortgage delinquencies surged by 1.6 million in April, the largest single-month jump in history.

May 22, 2020

Over 38 million jobless claims have been filed

May 27, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 100,000

May 29, 2020

“We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization”

June 6, 20202

U.S death toll passes 110,000

June 6, 2020

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country…This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.” [Trump referring to George Floyd, who was murdered on May 25, 2020.]

June 15, 2020

“At some point this stuff goes away and it’s going away.”

June 17, 2020

“It’s fading away. It’s going to fade away.”

June 18, 2020

“And it is dying out. The numbers are starting to get very good.”

June 20, 2020

“Testing is a double-edged sword… When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”

June 22, 2020

U.S death toll passes 120,000

June 23, 2020

“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!”

June 23, 2020

“It’s going away,”

June 25, 2020

“The number of ChinaVirus cases goes up, because of GREAT TESTING, while the number of deaths (mortality rate), goes way down. The Fake News doesn’t like telling you that!”

June 25, 2020

“Coronavirus deaths are way down. Mortality rate is one of the lowest in the World. Our Economy is roaring back and will NOT be shut down. “Embers” or flare ups will be put out, as necessary!”

June 30, 2020

The U.S. has just 4% of the global population, but 25% of global coronavirus cases and the second-highest death rate per capita.

July 1, 2020

“I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus.” “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of disappear, I hope.”

July 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 130,000

July 7, 2020

“I think we are in a good place.”

July 7, 2020

The president predicted that in the next two to four weeks, “I think we’re going to be in very good shape.”

July 8, 2020

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November election, but it is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

July 8, 2020

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking school [sic] to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

July 18, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 140,000

July 19, 2020

“I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world”

July 19, 2020

“Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day”

“They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test”

July 21, 2020

“You will never hear this on the Fake News concerning the China Virus, but by comparison to most other countries, who are suffering greatly, we are doing very well - and we have done things that few other countries could have done!”

July 27, 2020

“America will develop a vaccine very soon, and we will defeat the virus. We will have it delivered in record time.”

July 28, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 150,000

July 28, 2020

“He’s got this high approval rating. So why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect – and the administration – with respect to the virus?” (Trump referring to Anthony Fauci)

Aug. 1, 2020

“Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases,” (Donald Trump in a retweet of Anthony Fauci saying the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic)

Aug. 3, 2020

“I think we are doing very well and I think … as well as any nation,”

Aug. 3, 2020

“They are dying. That’s true. And you — it is what it is.”

Aug. 3, 2020

“OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!”

Aug. 3, 2020

“Right now I think it’s under control.”

Aug. 3, 2020

“You know, there are those that say you can test too much, you do know that.”

Aug. 4, 2020

“…we have among the lowest numbers.” - White House Press Briefing

Aug. 5, 2020

“If you look at children, children are almost - and I would almost say definitely - but almost immune from this disease.”

Aug. 5, 2020

“We’re supplying the world now with ventilators. You go back four months, we didn’t have any.” - Fox and Friends

Aug. 5, 2020

“It will go away like things go away”

Aug. 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 160,000

Aug. 12, 2020

U.S. reports the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in one day since mid-May

Aug. 16, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 170,000

Aug. 19, 2020

New York Times report reveals that in December 2020 that Trump yelled, “You’re killing me! This whole thing is! We’ve got all the damn cases…I want to do what Mexico does. They don’t give you a test till you get to the emergency room and you’re vomiting,” at Jared Kushner during an August 19, 2020 meeting.

Aug. 22, 2020

“Many doctors and studies disagree with this!” (Donald Trump in a quote tweet of a Twitter moment stating that the FDA is revoking hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment, as they are “unlikely to be effective”)

Aug. 22, 2020

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”

Aug. 23, 2020

The President claims that ballot drop boxes are a “voter security disaster” and a “big fraud,” “possible for a person to vote multiple times” and that they aren’t “Covid sanitized.”

Aug. 26, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 180,000

Aug. 31, 2020

“We’ve done a great job in Covid but we don’t get the credit.”

Aug. 31, 2020

Over Six million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sept. 4, 2020

There will be a vaccine “before the end of the year and maybe even before Nov. 1. I think we can probably have it sometime in October.”

Sept. 9, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 190,000

Sept. 10, 2020

“I really do believe that we are rounding the corner. The vaccines are right there”

Sept. 10, 2020

“This is nobody’s fault but China.”

Sept. 10, 2020

“We’ve possibly done the best job”

Sept. 10, 2020

“We have rounded the final turn”

Sept. 10, 2020

“I think that we’ve probably done the best job of any country”

Sept. 14, 2020

Trump was asked if he is afraid of Coronavirus risk at his rallies: “I’m on a stage, it’s very far away, so I’m not at all concerned.”

Sept. 16, 2020

“If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level I don’t think anybody in the world would be at.”

Sept. 16, 2020

Reporter: “[The head of the CDC] said that the vaccine for the general public wouldn’t be available until next Summer or maybe even early fall. Are you comfortable with that timeline?” Trump: “I think he made a mistake when he said that. That’s just incorrect information.”

Sept. 19, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 200,000

Sept. 21, 2020

“Take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system. But [the virus] affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing. By the way, open your schools everybody, open your schools.”

Sept. 21, 2020

“We’re rounding the corner,” “With or without a vaccine. They hate when I say that but that’s the way it is. … We’ve done a phenomenal job. Not just a good job, a phenomenal job. Other than public relations, but that’s because I have fake news. On public relations, I give myself a D. On the job itself, we take an A+.”

Sept. 21, 2020

“In some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing. By the way, open your schools everybody, open your schools.”

Sept. 23, 2020

“I think we’re rounding the turn very much.”

Sept. 28, 2020

"And I say, and I’ll say it all the time: We’re rounding the corner. And, very importantly, vaccines are coming, but we’re rounding the corner regardless. But vaccines are coming, and they’re coming fast. "

Sept. 29, 2020

"Well, so far we have had no problem whatsoever. " [Trump referring to the thousands of people attending his rallies]

October 2, 2020

Trump and the First Lady test positive for Coronavirus. More than a dozen White House staff and aides test positive shortly thereafter.

Oct. 5, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 210,000

Oct. 5, 2020

“Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

Oct. 6, 2020

“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu, Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” [Source: Trump Tweet and Facebook Post, both were taken down]

Oct. 10, 2020

“But it’s going to disappear; it is disappearing.”

Oct. 11, 2020

“…We have done a “phenomenal” job, according to certain governors. Many people agree…And now come the Vaccines & Cures, long ahead of projections!”

Oct. 12, 2020

“Under my leadership, we’re delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like nobody can even believe. And if you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we’ve recovered economically or otherwise, not even close.”

Oct. 12, 2020

“I went through it. Now, they say I’m immune. I can feel—I feel so powerful.”

Oct. 12, 2020

“When this first came out, if we didn’t do a good job, they predicted 2.2 million people would die, we’re 210,000. We shouldn’t be at, one, it’s China’s fault. They allowed this to happen.”

Oct. 15, 2020

“Excess mortality, we’re a winner on the excess mortality. And what we’ve done has been amazing. And we have done an amazing job. And it’s rounding the corner and we have the vaccines coming, and we have the therapies coming.”

Oct. 18, 2020

“He’ll listen to the scientists… If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead — we’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.” [Trump referring to Biden]

Oct. 19, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 220,000

Oct. 19, 2020

“People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots…Fauci is a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years.”

Oct. 19, 2020

“They are getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they? You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. ‘Covid, Covid, Pandemic, Covid, Covid.’ You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN, you dumb bastards.”

Oct. 20, 2020

Politico reports that The White House is considering slashing millions of dollars for coronavirus relief, HIV treatment, screenings for newborns and other programs in Democratic-led cities that President Donald Trump has deemed “anarchist jurisdictions.”

Oct. 22, 2020

“We are rounding the turn (on coronavirus). We are rounding the corner.”

Oct. 24, 2020

"Turn on television: ‘covid, covid, covid, covid, covid.’ A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it — ‘covid, covid, covid, covid,’ “By the way, on November 4th, you won’t hear about it anymore.”

Oct. 26, 2020

“Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., the topic will totally change. VOTE!”

Oct. 26, 2020

“We have made tremendous progress with the China Virus, but the Fake News refuses to talk about it this close to the Election. COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by them, in total coordination, in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!”

Oct. 27, 2020

“So they brought it down now, immunity, from life to four months. And you know now with them, you can’t watch anything else. You turn on… COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. Well, we have a spike in cases. You ever notice, they don’t use the word death. They use the word cases, cases. Like, “Barron Trump is a case.” He has sniffles. He was sniffling. One Kleenex, that’s all he needed. One, and he was better. But he’s a case”

Oct. 27, 2020

“November 4th. On November 4th, you’ll hear, “It’s getting better. It’s getting better.” You watch. No, no, they’re doing heavy COVID because they want to scare people, and people get it.” [Trump referring to news media]

Oct. 28, 2020

“Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.”

Oct. 30, 2020

“More Testing equals more Cases. We have the best testing. Deaths WAY DOWN. Hospitals have great additional capacity! Doing much better than Europe. Therapeutics working!”

Oct. 30, 2020

Nine million Americans have now been infected by the coronavirus.

Oct. 30, 2020

“Our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid,” and so “when in doubt choose Covid.”

Nov. 1, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 230,000

Nov. 1, 2020

“Biden wants to LOCKDOWN our Country, maybe for years. Crazy! There will be NO LOCKDOWNS. The great American Comeback is underway!!!”

Nov. 2, 2020

“Joe Biden is promising to delay the vaccine and turn America into a prison state—locking you in your home while letting far-left rioters roam free. The Biden Lockdown will mean no school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no Fourth of July”

Nov. 2, 2020

“We have more Cases because we have more Testing!”

Nov. 9, 2020

“If Joe Biden were President, you wouldn’t have the Vaccine for another four years, nor would the @US_FDA have ever approved it so quickly. The bureaucracy would have destroyed millions of lives”

Nov. 10, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 240,000

Nov. 11, 2020

U.S. hits a record 140,000 COVID-19 cases per day

November 11, 2020

Texas hits 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases

Nov. 18, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 250,000

Nov. 19, 2020

Last Coronavirus Task Force press briefing under the Trump Administration.

Nov. 24, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 260,000

Dec. 2, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 270,000

Dec. 7, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 280,000

Dec. 8, 2020

“Before Operation Warp Speed, the typical time [for vaccine approval] could be infinity.”

Dec. 8, 2020

Trump continues holding White House holiday parties despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit indoor gatherings and curtain travel amid the spike in virus infections. Masks are not required, according to guests.

Dec. 9, 2020

3,103 U.S. COVID-19 deaths in one day

Dec. 10, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 290,000

Dec. 14, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 300,000

Dec. 17, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 310,000

Dec. 22, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 320,000

Dec. 22, 2020

“Distribution of both vaccines is going very smoothly. Amazing how many people are being vaccinated, record numbers. Our Country, and indeed the World, will soon see the great miracle of what the Trump Administration has accomplished. They said it couldn’t be done!!!”

Dec. 25, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 330,000

Dec. 30, 2020

As recently as mid-December, the Trump administration touted an ambitious goal: 20 million COVID-19 vaccinations by the year’s end. A CDC tracker shows only about 2 million people have been vaccinated so far.

Dec. 31, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 340,000

Dec. 31, 2020

Trump tweets, “The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!”

Dec. 31, 2020

HHS awards a contract to a private firm to review COVID-19 tests in an attempt to bypass scientists at the FDA.

January 1, 2020

U.S. surpasses 20 million confirmed COVID-19 cases

January 3, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 350,000

January 3, 2020

“Something how Dr. Fauci is revered by the LameStream Media as such a great professional, having done, they say, such an incredible job, yet he works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work. Gee, could this just be more Fake News?”

January 3, 2020

“The number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov’s ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low. “When in doubt, call it Covid.” Fake News!” Fauci responds, "“The deaths are real deaths. All you need to do is go out into the trenches…”

January 3, 2020

Trump tweets, “The vaccines are being delivered to the states by the Federal Government far faster than they can be administered!”

January 4, 2020

CDC reports that 4.6 million people have been vaccinated.

January 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 360,000

January 6, 2020

Trump mob storms Congress. Officials reported at least 3,963 new coronavirus deaths in the US, a new single-day record.

January 9, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 370,000

January 12, 2020

HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the federal government would begin releasing vaccine doses that had been held in reserve for second shots, but no such reserve existed. His false announcement raised false hopes among state and local officials.

January 13, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 380,000

January 14, 2020

The Trump administration promised to have 20 million people given their first shot by the end of 2020. Two weeks later, they have administered just over 11 million.

January 15, 2020

12 million doses of vaccine administered.

January 16, 2020

U.S. death tool passes 390,000

January 18, 2020

Washington Post reports that emergency PPP loans were provided for organizations that spread misinformation about coronavirus and vaccination.

January 20, 2020

Each day in January, covid-19 killed an average of 3,100 people in the United States — one every 28 seconds.

January 20, 2021

Trump’s term in office saw over 25 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, over 400,000 of which resulted in death.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn into office.

Source

On The Intellectual, Artistic, and Cultural Wealth of Pre-Colonial Africa by RegularCockroach More Pasta

The Alt-History YouTuber Whatifalthist decided to dip his toes into real history again and made a YouTube video in which he supposedly breaks down his top 11 historical misconceptions, in which he says a section entitled “7: All of Pre-Colonial Africa.” As a massive enthusiast of pre-colonial Subsaharan African history, I decided I’d take a look at this section, I thought it would be interesting to take a look, but what I saw was very disappointing.

He starts by making the claim that Africa was not a monolith and that the development of urbanized societies was not consistent throughout the continent.

Africa was simultaneously primitive and advanced. You could find places like Tanzania where 100 year ago, 60% of the land was uninhabitable due to disease, and the rest was inhabited by illiterate iron age societies.

Now, this section is true in a hyper-literal sense. However, the problem is that this statement also applied to pretty much the entire world in the pre-modern age. Every continent has large swathes of land that are either unoccupied or inhabited by peoples who could be considered “illiterate iron age societies” by Whatifalthist’s standards. In short, the presence of nonliterate societies is in no way unique to Subsaharan Africa.

Then, he posts the cursed map. I don’t even know where to begin with everything wrong with this image. Supposedly displaying levels of development (whatever that means) before colonization, the map is riddled with atrocious errors.

Maybe the worst error in the map is Somalia, which he labels in its entirety as “nomadic goat herders.” Anyone with a passing knowledge of Somali history will know how inaccurate this is. Throughout the late middle ages and early modern period, Southern Somalia was dominated by the Ajuraan sultanate, a centralized and literate state. While much of rural Ajuraan was inhabited by nomadic pastoralists, these pastoralists were subject to the rule and whims of the urban elites who ruled over the region. Mogadishu was one of the most influential ports on the Indian Ocean throughout the medieval and early modern periods. In modern Eastern-Ethiopia, the Somali Adal sultanate was another example of a literate, centralized, urban state in the Eastern horn of Africa. Ok, maybe he was only referring to Somalia in the era immediately before European colonization. Well, even then, it’s still inaccurate, as there were plenty of urbanized and literate societies in 19th and early 20th century Somalia. In fact, the Geledi sultanate during its apex was at one point even capable of extracting regular tribute payments from the Sultan of Oman. (Read about this in Kevin Shillington’s History of Africa, 2005).

He also insulting labels the regions of Nigeria and Ghana as “urban illiterate peoples.” This is especially untrue in southern Nigeria, considering that the region literally developed a unique script for writing in late antiquity that remained in use until the late medieval period. Northern Nigeria being labelled as illiterate is equally insulting. The region, which was dominated by various Hausa city-states until united by the Sokoto Caliphate, had a long-standing tradition of literacy and literary education. Despite this, Whatifalthist arbitrarily labels half the region as illiterate and the other half as “jungle farmers”, whatever that means. In modern Ghana, on the other hand, there existed a state called the Ashanti kingdom. How widespread literacy was within Ashantiland in the precolonial era is not well documented. However, during the British invasion of the empire’s capital at Kumasi, the British note that the royal palace possessed an impressive collection of foreign and domestically produced books. They then proceeded to blow it up. I’d also like to mention that he arbitrarily designates several advanced, urban, and, in some cases, literate West African states in the West African forest region (such as Oyo and Akwamu) as “jungle farmers.”

He also questionably labels the Swahili coast as “illiterate cattle herders”, and just blots out Madagascar for some reason, which was inhabited by multiple advanced, literate states prior to colonization.

Now, with the cursed map out of the way, I want to get onto the next part of the video that bothered me. Whatifalthist makes some questionable statements in the section in between, but nothing major, and actually makes some good points in pointing out that many of the larger, more centralized states in Western Africa were just as advanced as those in any other part of the world. However, he then goes on to say this:

“However, as institutions went, they were quite primitive. No African state had a strong intellectual tradition, almost all were caste societies without any real ability for social advancement. You never saw parliaments, scientific revolutions, or cultural movements that spread to the rest of the world coming out of Subsaharan Africa.”

Just about everything in this statement is incredibly wrong, so I’ll break it down one piece at a time.

“No subsaharan African state had a strong intellectual tradition”

This is grossly untrue. The most famous example of intellectual traditions in West Africa comes from the scholarly lineages of Timbuktu, but intellectual traditions in the region were far more widespread than just Timbuktu, with Kano and Gao also serving as important intellectual centers of theology, philosophy, and natural sciences.. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, there is a longstanding intellectual tradition which based itself primarily in the country’s many Christian monasteries. Because of this monastic tradition, Ethiopia has possesses some of the oldest and best preserved manuscripts of anywhere in the world.

“Almost all were caste societies without any real ability for social advancement.”

Keep in mind, this was true in pretty much every settled society until relatively recently. Even then, the concept that pre-colonial African societies were any more hierarchically rigid than their contemporaries in Europe and Asia is questionable at best. Arguably the most meritocratic civilization of antiquity, Aksum, was located in East Africa. Frumentius, the first bishop of Aksum and the first abuna of the Aksumite church, first came to Aksum as a slave. The same is true for Abraha, who was elevated from slave to royal advisor and eventually was given a generalship, which he then used to carve out his own independent kingdom in modern Yemen. These are, admittedly, extreme and unusual examples. Like in the rest of the world, if you were born in the lower classes in pre-colonial Africa, you’d probably die in the lower classes. This was not necessarily true all the time though. In the Ashanti kingdom, a common subject who acquired great amounts of wealth or showcased prowess on the battlefield could be granted the title of Obirempon (big man), by the Asantehene.

You never saw parliaments

Yes you did. Just for one example, the Ashanti kingdom possessed an institution called the Kotoko council, a council of nobles, elders, priests, and aristocrats.This institution is pretty similar to the House of Lords in Great Britain, and possessed real power, often overruling decisions made by the Asantehene (Ashanti King).

“You never saw scientific revolutions.”

I’m not sure what exactly he means by “scientific revolution”, but there were certainly numerous examples of scientific advancements made in Subsaharan Africa, some of which even had wide-ranging impacts on regions outside of the continent. The medical technique of innoculation is maybe the most well known. While inoculation techniques existed in East Asia and the Near East for a long time, the technique of smallpox inoculation was first introduced to the United States through an Akan slave from modern-day Ghana named Onesimus. This may be only one example (others exist), but it’s enough to disprove the absolute.

“Africa had no cultural movements that spread to the rest of the world.”

Because of the peculiar way it’s phrased, I’m not sure exactly what he meant by this. I assume he means that African culture has had little impact on the rest of the world. If this is indeed what he meant, it is not true. I can counter this with simply one word: music.

In the next part of the video, Whatifalthist switches gears to move away from making embarrassingly untrue statements about African societies and instead moves on to discussing colonialism and the slave trade.

“Also, another thing people forget about pre-colonial Africa is that Europeans weren’t the only colonizers. The Muslims operated the largest slave trade in history out of here. Traders operating in the Central DRC had far higher death-rates than the Europeans. The Omanis controlled the whole East Coast of Africa and the Egyptians had conquered everything down to the Congo by the Early 19th century.”

So, I looked really hard for figures on the death-rates of African slaves captured by Arabian slavers in the 19th century, and couldn’t find any reliable figures. Any scholarly census of either the transatlantic or Arab slave trades will note the unreliability of their estimates. Frankly, the statement that “the Islamic slave trade was the largest slave trade in history” sounds like something he pulled out of his ass. Based on the estimates we do have, the Arab slave trade is significantly smaller than the transatlantic slave trade even when you take into account that the latter lasted significantly longer. Regardless, is it really necessary to engage in slavery olympics? Slavery is bad no matter who does it. Now, I would have enjoyed it if the YouTuber in question actually went into more details about the tragic but interesting history of slavery in East Africa, such as the wars between the Afro-Arab slaver Tippu Tip and the Belgians in the 19th century, the history of clove plantations in the Swahili coast, etc. But, instead, he indulges in whataboutisms and dives no further.

The root of the problem with the video are its sources

At the end of each section, Whatifalthist lists his sources used on the section. Once I saw what they were, it immediately became clear to me what the problem was. His sources are “The Tree of Culture”, a book written by anthropologist Ralph Linton, and “Conquests and Cultures” by economist Thomas Sowell.

The Tree of Culture is not a book about African history, but rather an anthropological study on the origin of human cultures. To my knowledge, the book is largely considered good, if outdated (it was written in the early 50s), as Linton was a respected academic who laid out a detailed methodology. However, keep in mind, it is not a book about African history, but an anthropological study that dedicates only a few chapters to Africa. No disrespect to Linton, his work is undeniably formative in the field of anthropology. I’m sure Linton himself would not be happy if people read this book and walked away with the impression that it was remotely close to offering a full, detailed picture of African history.

Sowell’s book is similarly not a book on African history, but is better described as Sowell’s academic manifesto for his philosophical conceptions of race and culture. Ok, neat, but considering that the book only dedicates a portion of its contents to Africa and that most of that is generalities of geography and culture, not history, it’s not appropriate to cite as a source on African history.

This is ultimately the problem with the video. Instead of engaging in true research with sources on African history, Whatifalthist instead engaged in research with anthropological vagueries and filled in the historical blanks with his own preconceptions and stereotypes.

TL;DR: I did not like the video. I can’t speak for the rest of it, but the parts about Africa were really bad.

Sorry for the typo in the title

Thanks for the gold and platinum! Much appreciated.

Citations (in order of their appearance in the post):

  • Cassanelli, Lee V. Pastoral Power: The Ajuraan in History and Tradition.” The Shaping of Somali Society, 1982. https://doi.org/10.9783/9781512806663-007.
  • Chaudhuri, K. N. Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean: an Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji. “Adal Sultanate.” The Encyclopedia of Empire, 2016, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118455074.wbeoe145.
  • Luling, Virginia. Somali Sultanate: the Geledi City-State over 150 Years. London: HAAN, 2002.
  • Nwosu, Maik. “In the Name of the Sign: The Nsibidi Script as the * Language and Literature of the Crossroads.” Semiotica 2010, no. 182 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2010.061.
  • Mohammed, Hassan Salah El. Lore of the Traditional Malam: Material * Culture of Literacy and Ethnography of Writing among the Hausa of Northern Nigeria, 1990.
  • Lloyd, Alan. The Drums of Kumasi: the Story of the Ashanti Wars. London: Panther Book, 1965.
  • Kane, Ousmane. Beyond Timbuktu: an Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.
  • Bausi, Alessandro. “Cataloguing Ethiopic Manuscripts: Update and Overview on Ongoing Work.” Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.csmc.* uni-hamburg.de/publications/conference-contributions/files/bausi-text.pdf.
  • McCaskie, T. C. State and Society in Pre-Colonial Asante. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Brown, Thomas H. “The African Connection.” JAMA 260, no. 15, 1988.
    https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1988.03410150095037.
  • Berlin, Edward A., and Edward A. Berlin. Ragtime: a Musical and Cultural History. University of California Press, 2002.
  • “The Mediterranean Islamic Slave Trade out of Africa: A Tentative Census.” Slave Trades, 1500–1800, 2016, 35–70. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315243016-8.
  • The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Uprooted Millions. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/the-trans-atlantic-slave-trade-uprooted-millions/ar-AAG3WvO.

American Polarization

One of the most disheartening charts I’ve seen about the current hyperpartisan political climate. We fear each other so much more.

CBS poll on American Polarization

Source

I suppose all’s fine and dandy if you’re in news or social media and are spiritually obligated to deliver Value™ to stakeholders via those almighty engagement metrics that do nothing more than sow rancor among people who have a lot more in common than they’re led to believe. All Facebook does is hold a mirror up to society. All the news media does is report. Ethics and responsibility are for the Value™-illiterate. The only thing that matters, as the society and country you and your children live in devours itself, is making gobs of cash.

The Great Republican Bamboo Fiber Hunt

You know, the one where Evil Liberals partnered with Soros and Hillary and flew in 40,000 ballots (and not more) from China (or thereabouts) to Maricopa County in Arizona (and nowhere else.) So the only way to make sure the ballots are authentic is to stick them under a microscope and look for bamboo fibers because… you know… Kung-Fu Panda? Asians? Bamboo?

From an article in The Guardian:

[…] “I do think it’s somewhat of a waste of time, but it will help unhinge people,” Brakey said on Wednesday. “They’re not gonna find bamboo … If they do, I think we need to know, don’t you?”

I don’t think anyone’s getting unhinged in that party anymore, Mr. Brakey.

One of the people who spread the lie about China dumping ballots, according to Slate, was Javon Pulitzer, a treasure hunter and inventor, who is reportedly assisting with the Maricopa county audit. Though it’s not clear in what capacity Pulitzer is assisting, Brakey told reporters on Tuesday that the machines capturing the microscopic images of the ballots were linked to Pulitzer. “This guy is nuts,” he said. “He’s a fraudster … It’s ridiculous that we’re doing some of this.”

Then why do you keep doing it?

The county has hired a firm called “Cyber Ninjas” to perform the audit. Because it’s the late 90’s and we just allow teenagers to give ‘cool’ names to companies. Like most entities in the World of Orange, they’re exceedingly good at their job, just like all the top-notch attorneys on the Elite Strike-Force Team 💯

[Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug] Logan’s “Stop the Steal” antics extend beyond social media. He is listed as an expert witness in a lawsuit alleging voter fraud in Michigan. Logan was also the author of a document called “Election Fraud Facts & Details” that Sidney Powell, the conservative attorney who is now embroiled in a defamation lawsuit concerning her election conspiracy theories, shared on her website. In the document, he props up the Venezuela narrative and a similarly absurd and debunked theory regarding Chinese investment in the voting machine manufacturer Dominion.

[…] Election experts noted that the company has already made rookie mistakes. For instance, Arizona Republic reporter Jen Fifield spotted auditors using blue pens, which is not best practice since there is a risk of altering the vote on a ballot. The state’s own election process manual prohibits anything but red pens from being used. When Fifield brought the issue up with Logan, she says he was unaware that the blue ink could be a problem and seemed unsure overall about the correct procedure. A judge later ordered the removal of all black and blue pens from the facility where the recount is taking place. The Brennan Center for Justice, a legal think tank associated with New York University, also sent a letter to the Department of Justice last week alleging that Cyber Ninjas has not been following basic security practices like locking doors to the facility holding the ballots and preventing unauthorized individuals from entering.

Arizona Is Holding Yet Another 2020 Recount. The Company Running It Makes It Even Worse., Slate

For more ineptitude, here’s an account from Jennifer Morrell at The Washington Post (cached)

I was stunned to see spinning conveyor wheels, whizzing hundreds of ballots past “counters,” who struggled to mark, on a tally sheet, each voter’s selection for the presidential and Senate races. They had only a few seconds to record what they saw. Occasionally, I saw a counter look up, realize they missed a ballot and then grab the wheel to stop it. This process sets them up to make so many mistakes, I kept thinking. Humans are terrible at tedious, repetitive tasks; we’re especially bad at counting. That’s why, in all the other audits I’ve seen, bipartisan teams follow a tallying method that allows for careful review and inspection of each ballot, followed by a verification process. I’d never seen an audit use contraptions to speed up the process.

Speed doesn’t necessarily pose a problem if the audit has a process for catching and correcting mistakes. But it didn’t. Each table had three volunteers tallying the ballots, and their tally sheets were considered “done” as long as two of the three tallies matched, and the third was off by no more than two ballots. The volunteers only recounted if their tally sheets had three or more errors — a threshold they stuck to, no matter how many ballots a stack contained, whether it was 50 or 100. This allowed for a shocking amount of error. Some table managers told the counters to go back and recount when there were too many errors; other table managers just instructed the counters to fix their “math mistakes.” At no point did anyone track how many ballots they were processing at their station, to ensure that none got added or lost during handling.

I also observed other auditors working on a “forensic paper audit,” flagging ballots as “suspicious” for a variety of reasons. One was presidential selection: If someone thought the voter’s choice looked as though it was marked by a machine, they flagged it as “anomalous.” Another was “missing security markers.” (It’s virtually impossible for a ballot to be missing its security markers, since voting equipment is designed to reject ballots without them.) The third was paper weight — the forensics tables had scales for weighing ballots, though I never saw anyone use them — and texture. Volunteers scrutinized ballots for, of all things, bamboo fibers. Only later, after the shift, did I learn that this was connected to a conspiracy theory that fake ballots had been flown in from South Korea.

The fourth reason was folding. The auditors reasoned that only absentee voters would fold their ballots; an in-person, Election Day voter would take a flat ballot, mark it in the booth and submit it, perfectly pristine. I almost had to laugh: In my experience, voters will fold ballots every which way, no matter where they vote or what the ballot instructs them to do. Chalk it up to privacy concerns or individual quirks — but no experienced elections official would call that suspicious.

[…] Their equipment worried me more than their wild theorizing. At the forensics tables, auditors took a photo of each ballot using a camera suspended by a frame, then passed the ballot to someone operating a lightbox with four microscope cameras attached. This was a huge deviation from the norm. Usually, all equipment that election officials use to handle a ballot — from creating to scanning to tallying it — has been federally tested and certified; often, states will conduct further tests before their jurisdictions accept the machines. It jarred me to see volunteers using this untested, uncertified equipment on ballots, claiming that the images would be used at some point in the future for an electronic re-tally.

[…] What I saw in Arizona shook me. If the process wraps up and Cyber Ninjas puts together some kind of report, that report will almost certainly claim that there were issues with Maricopa County’s ballots. After all, Cyber Ninjas chief executive Doug Logan has publicly voiced his wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. But the real problem is the so-called audit itself.

The Best People, folks ♥️

Chomsky on Russell

[…] I think late 50’s he was asked once “Why are you wasting your time with CND demonstrations when you could be working on logic and philosophy and doing something of lasting significance?” And his answer wasn’t bad. He said “If I’m not out there demonstrating, there won’t be anyone around to read the logic and philosophy.” And that’s a pretty good response.

Source

Shitkraken: A Quarterly Report

I didn’t want to post anything more about this seemingly interminable saga of ineptitude and batshittery. But I am a collector of various things. And collectors value completeness. So here we go.

An Ex-Member of the “Elite Strike-Force Team” says “reasonable people” wouldn’t really believe her bullshit so please don’t sue her for a billion and change:

Pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell asked a federal court to dismiss a roughly $1.3 billion defamation suit filed against her by Dominion Voting Systems, arguing that her claims the company’s voting machines rigged the election for Joe Biden represented her opinion, not statements of fact.

[…] In its Monday motion, Ms. Powell’s legal team argued that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process."

Pro-Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell Seeks to Dismiss Defamation Suit Over Election Claims”, The Wall Street Journal (cached)

The Fearless Leader of the verysame “Elite Strike-Force Team” is in some trouble:

Federal agents executed search warrants Wednesday at the Manhattan apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani, his attorney said, advancing a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors that has been underway for more than two years.

Giuliani […] has been the focus of an investigation concerning his activities in Ukraine, including whether he conducted illegal lobbying for Ukrainian officials while he pursued an investigation linked to Trump’s primary political rival, President Joe Biden, CNN has reported.

[…] Giuliani is also facing other legal exposure for his role in the 2020 election. The election technology company Dominon sued Giuliani in January for defamation after he spread baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud on his podcast and during TV appearances.

[…] Guiliani is also likely to face scrutiny from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating Trump’s efforts to influence Georgia’s election results. […] One area Willis is exploring: whether Giuliani may have violated the law by making false statements about voting in Georgia in front of the state legislature, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Federal agents execute search warrants on Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office”, CNN

As this article notes: The man hadn’t practised law since 1992, “basically he’s a novice” at state election law, and is considered a “gift to legal ethics professors that just keeps on giving” because “Charging astronomical rates for work–especially work for which the attorney does not have deep expertise or ability—is an ethics violation.” Probably a good thing, then, that he most likely hasn’t been paid for his expertise.

The Best People ♥️

Update

Rudy Giuliani’s press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, between a dildo store and a crematorium, is still appropriate because Rudy is somewhere between fucked and dead.

@Sundae_Gurl

Fuckface on His Own Daughter by Unknown More Pasta

Conservative values we can al get behind ♥️🤮

She’s “voluptuous

She’s a “piece of ass”.

Perhaps I’d be dating her”.

She has “the best body”.

If I weren’t happily married…

Is it wrong to be more sexually attracted to your own daughter than your wife?

She’s hot”.

They have “sex [in common]".

Expressing shock that a gay Apprentice contestant wasn’t attracted to her.

Also of note: A teen pageant contestant complained to Ivanka in 1997 about Trump barging into the dressing rooms while the competitors were changing clothes. Ivanka’s response: “Yeah, he does that.

And listen to the 2016 testimony of Jane Doe, who claims Trump raped her when she was 13 at one of Jeffrey Epstein’s parties. Doe says that Trump communicated to the recruiter that he was interested in her because she was wearing a blonde wig and reminded him of his daughter.

Update: More family values for a Christian nation ✨:

“Aides said he talked about Ivanka Trump’s breasts, her backside, and what it might be like to have sex with her, remarks that once led John Kelly to remind the president that Ivanka was his daughter,” Taylor writes.

“Afterward, Kelly retold that story to me in visible disgust. Trump, he said, was ‘a very, very evil man.’”

On Privatizing Gain and Socializing Loss

Though capitalism has had a longer lease of life than some of us would’ve predicted or that many of our ancestors of the socialist movement did predict or allow, it still produces the fax machine and the microchip and still able to lower its costs and still able to flatten its distribution curve very well. It’s central contradiction remains the same; It produces publicly, it produces socially, it conscripts and it mobilizes and educates whole new work forces of people, it has an enormous transforming liberating effect in that respect but it appropriates privately. The resources and the natural abilities are held in common, the earth belongs to us all. You can’t buy your child a place at a school with better ozone. You can’t pretend that the world is other than what it is which is one and human and natural and in common. Though capitalism must do that because it must make us all work until the point when the social product is to be shared. When suddenly the appropriation is private and suddenly Donald Trump outvotes any congressman you can name and anyone with a vote because of the ownership of capital and its that effect, that annexation of what we all do and must do — the influence of labor and intelligence and creativity on nature; the same air, the same water that we must breathe and drink. That means that we may not have long in which to make this critique of the system sing again and relevant again and incisive again.

Christopher Hitchens, Is Socialism Obsolete? (Recorded in Washington DC on October 11, 1989)

“Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of Political Intercourse”

Somoza called himself “president”. The Sandinistas called him a “dictator”. They called themselves “freedom fighters”. He called them “Commie terrorists”. So they kicked him out then they were in charge. Ronald Reagan called them “Commie oppressors” and he sent in the Contras, whom he called “freedom fighters” and they called “mercenary terrorists.”

So basically, what you’re called depends largely on who’s doing the talking because hypocrisy is the vaseline of political intercourse. They didn’t like what they saw, so they changed it to make it sound better. Just like in these personal ads. It sounds great; but it’s all lies.

Billy Connolly

The Diabetic Racist

Matt Rowan is a family man, a Christian, and a former youth pastor (so we’re off to a fantastic start.) At a high school basketball game, this pillar of the community called children “f****** n******s” for that grave sin of actually kneeling during the national anthem.

On the video, Rowan is heard to refer to the players as “f****** n******.” He added, "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked,” and then "I hope they lose. C’mon Midwest City. They’re gonna kneel like that? Hell no.”

Brian D. King, “Local man apologizes for racist remarks caught on hot mic at basketball game”, Tahlequah Daily Press

Now in what has to be the most shameless excuse for reprehensible behaviour I’ve read to date, he blames his MAGA1 outburst on his blood sugar!

I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes, and during the game, my sugar was spiking. While not excusing my remarks, it is not unusual when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate, as well as hurtful. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.

He helpfully adds:

While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am racist, I am not, I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made these comments.

I think most reasonable people would have a simple one-word explanation. And to quote Conservative Hannibal Lecter: “While the body parts in the fridge would certainly seem to indicate that I am a psychopathic murderer, I have never considered myself to be one.”

No word has been issued as far as repercussions for the Hulbert employee.

In Rowan’s statement, he said he believed the microphone to be off, but “that is no excuse; such comments should have never been uttered.”

Like almost all this-is-really-not-who-I-am people, he’s only sorry he got caught.

  1. One guess as to who Mr. Rowan voted for. ↩︎

We Ought to Live in a Society, not an Economy by BaldKnobber123 More Pasta

It’s important to state though, particularly since our current economic structure has pushed that “there is no such thing as society”.

That might sound insane, but it is not hyperbolic. In 1987, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the UK, said that “There is no such thing as society. There is [a] living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

It was supposed to be on the people: they look to themselves, they help their family and their neighbor. Aid is individualized, then can be reciprocated. But, at the same time as “individuals” were supposed to be stepping up, Thatcher’s policies were stepping on them, especially the most vulnerable. This all making it harder to even look to oneself. Is it on the child to look to oneself? The child whose development was stunted by environmental pollution exacerbated by a history of systemic factors?

That has become one of Thatcher’s most famous quotes, this rejection of society in favor of individualism, a backbone of ideology that drove her move towards deregulating the British economy, towards privatizing the British services, towards turning the commons to the few, towards “tough to swallow” austerity measures. Meanwhile, today, Republicans meet with Biden to “compromise” by proposing relief 1/3 the size of the Democrats proposal (which is arguably lower than needed as is). The ever fading in, fading out, debt concerns rising again. Austerity does not work, but it is slow to die. An idea slow to die, but fast to kill.

Is it any surprise then that Thatcher turned on unions as well? They are not individuals, they are society, they are collectives. That she would work to disband the unions in the name of “economic growth”. A “growth” that she handed to the individuals - no not those individuals that needs it, but those at the top. Inequality took off in the 1980s under Thatcher, much like it did in the US under her buddy Ronald Reagan. No surprise. They both used economic theory crafted by the same bundle of Neoliberal economists: Friedman, Stigler, Hayek, Buchanan, etc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_of_the_Universe_(book)

A week after Thatcher won, Milton Friedman sent a letter to her saying “The battle has now begun. We must win.” Friedman would be an adviser to both Thatcher and Reagan, pushing his economic view of “freeing the individual”. Out of the tax cuts, the deregulation, the privatization, there was to arise the “free” market. A market that was never free up to that point, and has not been free since. Just transformed. What “individual” was freed?

Since then, there has only been a growth in the Precariat - a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which means existing without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare.

The promise didn’t deliver, except to those that knew they would be made richer. They all knew the rich would get richer. That’s why the basis was “trickle down”. Sure they would get rich, but it would eventually come down. It didn’t. Even in Thatcher’s own terms of “saving the economy”, it did not deliver..

Now, we are dealing with the fallout of that, the precarity of a society that denies itself. The failings of which, whether in Brexit or in Trump, were made material.

Good Old Iowan Common Sense

As of the 4th of February 2021, and under its Governor’s wise, prescient, expert and data-driven leadership, Iowa ranks 47th in the nation for the number of vaccines administered 💯

Iowa has received 446,825 doses of vaccine and has administered 266,777 doses, or just under 60% of vaccines received, the CDC reported Thursday. The state has the sixth-lowest rate of administered vaccine per capita in the nation.

“We’re averaging about 60% in getting the vaccines administered and that’s not where we need to be,” Reynolds said. “We want to do better. We know we can do better.”

AP, “Iowa’s vaccination rate is 47th in the US

We certainly can. The number of COVID-related deaths in Iowa stood at 5,033 as of this date. The very next day, our fearless Governor signed a Public Health Disaster proclamation that, compared to its predecessor, ended mask mandates and removed all limits on public gatherings.

In time for the Super Bowl, of course.

All of these relaxations at this stage of the pandemic make about as much sense as wearing underwear constructed out of nails and thumbtacks. If anything, Iowa should be enhancing precautions during the next several weeks, as long as the colder temperatures and drier air may be driving greater transmission of the virus. What is the scientific justification for what Reynolds has declared in the emergency declaration? It’s unclear. Seems like someone may owe Iowa an explanation.

Bruce Y. Lee, “#CovidKim Trends After Iowa Governor Reynolds Lifts Covid-19 Coronavirus Precautions

Other the the usual bullshit conservative pabulum about freedom and small businesses and bootstraps and moochers and handouts, I don’t expect any explanation that makes sense.

On Space Lasers

Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

Jean-Paul Sartre, “Anti-Semite and Jew

On American Meritocracy by BaldKnobber123 More Pasta

I find even many people who don’t vote Republican and don’t see themselves as conservatives use this type of response when discussing programs like Affirmative Action. They see themselves as arguing for the “meritocracy”, yet don’t recognize how fraudulent the idea of the US as a meritocracy is.

To keep with the Affirmative Action example, since it is one of the most prominent, they tend to get tons wrong about affirmative action, what it actually does for minorities, and the large amounts of “unspoken” affirmative action that exists for the wealthy and alumni (both of which are more likely to be white due to racial wealth gaps and the historical legacy of admissions):

At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.

Roughly one in four of the richest students attend an elite college – universities that typically cluster toward the top of annual rankings. In contrast, less than one-half of 1 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college; less than half attend any college at all.

At elite colleges, the share of students from the bottom 40 percent has remained mostly flat for a decade. Access to top colleges has not changed much, at least when measured in quintiles. (The poor have gotten poorer over that time, and the very rich have gotten richer.)

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.htm

The children of the rich and famous received special treatment, as did the children of alumni. If your parent or grandparent had gone to the university, your admission chances were greatly enhanced. The thought was a family’s loyalty to the institution should be rewarded even though it created unfairness for first-generation college students. Ultimately, there would be a book by Daniel Golden entitled “The Price of Admission” that explained how Brown and other Ivies had risen to prominence in part based on “affirmative action” for wealthy donors and famous celebrities.

Documents unsealed during that litigation showed how Harvard privileged the applications of the wealthy, donors, legacies (that is, alumni offspring), and faculty children. As an example, the admission rate for legacies was 33.6 percent, compared to 5.9 percent for non-alumni applicants.

Under oath, the Harvard dean of admissions was forced to explain emails he had sent “suggesting special consideration for the offspring of big donors, those who have ‘already committed to a building’ or have ‘an art collection which could conceivably come our way.’”

At Brown, I saw similar practices firsthand. When the children of prominent people came to campus for admissions tours, the development office would call me and other faculty members to set up individual meetings with them. On many occasions, I met the children of famous politicians and media celebrities who wanted their son or daughter to get into Brown. I talked with them about the university, and sometimes wrote letters on their behalf describing the meeting. It was standard operating procedure at the university as well as other elite institutions to provide special treatment for offspring of the prominent and well heeled.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2019/03/15/inside-the-ivy-league-college-admissions-process/

Last year’s survey of college admissions directors by Inside Higher Ed found that 42 percent of admissions directors at private colleges and universities said legacy status is a factor in admissions decisions at their institutions. The figure at public institutions is only 6 percent.

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/04/22/study-shows-significant-impact-legacy-status-admissions-and-applicants

A new study notes that in the six admissions cycles between 2014 and 2019, 43% of white students admitted to Harvard were either legacies, recruited athletes, children of faculty and staff, or students on the Dean’s Interest List—a list of applicants whose relatives have donated to Harvard, the existence of which only became public knowledge in 2018. By contrast, no more than 16% of admitted students who were African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic fell into one of those favored categories.

The Wall Street Journal reports that over the past five years, Princeton University admitted 30% of its legacy applicants, compared to 7% of the general applicant pool, while the acceptance rate for legacies at the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, and the University of Virginia is roughly double the rate for the overall applicant pool.

Since Ivy League schools were overwhelmingly white for the bulk of their histories, giving special status to the descendants of previous attendees would seem to perpetuate an unjust history of discrimination. (Indeed, legacy admissions policies were invented to justify discrimination against Jewish students at elite schools.)

https://qz.com/1713033/at-harvard-43-percent-of-white-students-are-legacies-or-athletes/

Meanwhile, the competiveness of these institutions has greatly increased over the past few decades

What race is most likely to have legacy to Ivy League universities? Racial wealth gaps? And racial income gaps? All this not even getting into the indirect benefits, such as better schools, repercussions of a racists justice system faced disproportionately by other racial groups, higher places on the racial wealth and income trends leading to more resources for test prep, the effects of poverty on development, etc.

Racial affirmative action and “racist unmeritocratic admissions” is a beautiful issue to tactically push as a wedge, yet there are more Ivy Leaguers from the top 1% than bottom 60% - as if the portion of smart kids in the bottom 60% is that drastically lower.

In face of that, some argue that affirmative action should just be income or wealth based (which should be included), but when there has been decades of de jure and de facto racial segregation creating living conditions, it becomes necessary to take into account the historical, and current, racial structures.

Poor whites tend to live in more affluent neighborhoods than do middle- class blacks and Latinos, a situation that leaves those minorities more likely to contend with weaker schools, higher crime and greater social problems, according to a new study.

The new research by scholars at the Stanford Graduate School of Education found that the gap separating black and Hispanic neighborhoods from white ones persists up and down the income ladder. A black household with an annual income of $50,000 lives on average in a neighborhood where the median income is under $43,000. But whites with the same income live in neighborhoods where the median income is almost $53,000—about 25 percent higher.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/24/poor-whites-live-in-richer-neighborhoods-than-middle-class-blacks-and-latinos/

A recent, large study examining the effects of California’s ban on racial affirmative action for public schools found that the ban hurt Black and Hispanic students quite badly, while providing relatively little benefit to White and Asian-American students:

A comprehensive study released Friday finds that by nearly every measure, the ban has harmed Black and Hispanic students, decreasing their number in the University of California system while reducing their odds of finishing college, going to graduate school and earning a high salary. At the same time, the policy didn’t appear to greatly benefit the white and Asian-American students who took their place.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/21/upshot/00up-affirmative-action-california-study.html

This isn’t to say the current affirmative action is perfect: for example, American Hmong and Chinese applicants both get treated as “Asian”, despite having different historical background in America and the average test scores and wealth differing dramatically between groups. As well as other inequalities between different Asian ethnicities. But, there are strong reasons for programs that recognize past discrimination and try to level overall playing fields for the future generations.

Given the racial inequalities in the US, the playing field is not equal, and if you treat everyone as equal, when some have significant advantages (on average) for their educational development, then all you do is strengthen the future divide by rewarding the current divide.

A Malarkey-Free America

Here’s to a Malarkey-Free America 🇺🇸🍦😎 Things won’t magically start getting better. He isn’t perfect. But he certainly is a decent human being, if only because he isn’t malevolent narcissism incarnate.

And unless your career depends on democratic dysfunction and systemic ineptitude, cruelty, and dishonesty that sow and sustain rancour1, you at least ought to be relieved you won’t have to say “God what the fuck did he do now?” with the exhausting and dismaying frequency you did over the past four (THOUSAND) years. That’s something.

🙏♥️🇺🇸

Biden

  1. Special 📣 to some #techbros and their engagement targets 💸 ↩︎

Bernie Being Wholesomely On-Brand at the Inauguration

Wait, is Bernie is wearing the same jacket from his meme at the inauguration?

@thealanjohnson

Bernie at the Inauguration
Bernie at the Inauguration


The pose. The mittens. The social distance.

@vulture

Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to do list today but ain’t his whole day.

@MsReeezy

Bernie at the Inauguration


And about those mittens:

Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.

@rubycramer

A little more backstory:

Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, made the mittens and gave them to Sanders. She used repurposed wool from sweaters and lined them with fleece. She generally sells mittens at craft fairs or gives them to friends. Sanders’ daughter-in-law, Liza Driscoll, runs Ellis’ daughter’s daycare, so one holiday season, Ellis made mittens for all the teachers — plus Bernie.

“I just put in a little note that was like, ‘I believe in you, I’ve always believed in you and I hope you run again,’” Ellis said. “And now he is running again, and he apparently is wearing the mittens that I made for him!”

Sasha Goldstein, Those Mittens Bernie Sanders Wears Campaigning Are Made in Vermont

And finally (via KP):

Bernie

Update

This is the best one I’ve seen so far (via JK):

There’s also a collection (via CK) and another called “The approximate size of various ocean animals with a Bernie for scale” (via Deepu), and a Zillow listing.

It’s Not Over

People moving a goalpost

And it won’t matter after that because, proof be damned, it was a massive fraud perpetrated upon us.

We Love America the Mostest

I’m always curious what exactly Conservatives mean when they say they “Love America” because you hate most of the people who live here, you hate the civil liberties afforded by the Constitution, you hate the separation of Church and State. You might claim to love its economy but you hate all of the states that make up the largest part of it. You hate the Government, you hate people who are anti-Government, you hate the rich because they’re part of a conspiracy…, you hate the poor because you think they’re lazy. You hate this country’s natural beauty because it gets in the way of industry, you hate industry because it keeps giving jobs away to immigrants. You hate immigrants for taking things you feel entitled to, you hate liberals because you feel they’re too entitled. You hate Government interference for getting in the way of Big Business, you hate Big Business for being too globalized. You hate Globalism for taking jobs away from American workers. You hate American workers for unionizing and demanding better jobs. When you say you “love America”, what aspect of America are you actually talking about?

@TheLonliestWolf

Via CK. Cached.

A Conservative Plan

By Amii James (Instagram). Context was the Tories but applies to our fine people stateside as well.

The Compassionate Conservative Plan

Tory ministers saying “we owe it to children to keep schools open” might want to explain to me why they closed my youth centre, cut mental health services, underfunded my secondary school, stripped free school meals from my peers, tripled uni fees, demonised climate strikers…

Hasan Patel

Conversion Table by Prof. Kieran Healy More Pasta

A B
No one could have predicted this would happen Many people have been saying something like this would happen
I never thought I’d live to see this day I have been asleep for the past five years
Anarchists Trump Supporters
This is not who we are This is exactly who we are
Our 250 year experiment in freedom and democracy Our 280 year experiment in de jure or de facto apartheid
It’s not a coup because it doesn’t meet the technical conditions of the military branch attempting to seize power in a coordinated effort to remove the President from office… I have a very comfortable job
We are better than this We are exactly like this
We need to turn a page and move on I am incapable of grasping and this determined to memory-hole these events
It’s time for healing and reconciliation I fear I may not be in power much longer
This is America This is America

THIS is America

Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.

These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.

Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.

You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.

Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.

Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name, amen.

Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain of the Senate, CBS News (emphases mine)

And please get off this gentleman’s lawn and out of his city.

This Is America

Fucking hell

Fucking hell

Fucking hell

During the four years of the Civil War, the confederates never got closer to Washington than Fort Stevens. Until today, when insurrectionist supporters of @realDonaldTrump paraded through the U.S. Capitol Building carrying the Confederate battle flag.

@JordanOnRecord

Fucking hell

The ultimate in White privilege is when you’ve broken in to the Speaker’s Lobby, you’ve broken down the windows, and you’re trying to break in to the floor of the House, you’re 12” from a gun, and you’re still not dead.

@JSSPalding

Fucking hell

Call the zip ties by their correct name: The guys were carrying flex cuffs, the plastic double restraints often used by police in mass arrest situations. They walked through the Senate chamber with a sense of purpose. They were not dressed in silly costumes but kitted out in full paramilitary regalia: helmets, armor, camo, holsters with sidearms. At least one had a semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails. At least one, unlike nearly every other right-wing rioter photographed that day, wore a mask that obscured his face.

These are the same guys who, when the windows of the Capitol were broken and entry secured, went in first with what I’d call military-ish precision. They moved with purpose, to the offices of major figures like Nancy Pelosi and then to the Senate floor. What was that purpose? It wasn’t to pose for photos. It was to use those flex cuffs on someone.

Dan Kois, “They Were Out for Blood: The men who carried zip ties as they stormed the Capitol weren’t clowning around.

Fucking hell

Fucking hell

Via @igorbobic’s thread:

Brittany Packnett Cunningham on Trump supporters rioting & looting the U.S. Capitol building: “This is the literal example of white supremacy.”

@monolithic87

Fucking hell

Fucking hell

Some real perspective:

the olay body wash at CVS has better security

@IsabelSteckel

and

Can’t believe the creators of the monster have lost control of the monster, is there any precedent for this in books or film

@DanAmira

and

“May we never forget the brave Wal-Martyrs, Gravy Seals, Green Buffets, Meal Team Six, Delta Farce, and every other Walmart Warrior of the 1st Methanized Infantile Division who fought in the Great American Inbredsurrection”

Unknown, via VM

See also: Nachkommen

Scottish Sass

Asked about speculation that Mr Trump could travel to Scotland in order to avoid the inauguration, Ms Sturgeon said: "I have no idea what Donald Trump’s travel plans are, you’ll be glad to know.

"I hope and expect that – as everybody expects, not everybody necessarily will hope – that the travel plan immediately that he has is to exit the White House.

Nicola Sturgeon, as quoted by Chiara Giordano, “Trump not allowed into Scotland to escape Biden inauguration, Sturgeon warns” (emphasis mine.)

Reaganomics: The Rest of You Shall Eat Shit

The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that “trickle-down economics” had been tried before in the United States in the 1890s under the name “horse-and-sparrow theory”, writing:

Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy—what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: ‘If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.’

Galbraith claimed that the horse-and-sparrow theory was partly to blame for the Panic of 1896. While running against Ronald Reagan for the Presidential nomination in 1980, George H. W. Bush had derided the trickle-down approach as “voodoo economics”. In the 1992 presidential election, independent candidate Ross Perot also referred to trickle-down economics “political voodoo”. In the same election during a presidential town hall debate, Bill Clinton said:

What I want you to understand is the national debt is not the only cause of [declining economic conditions in America]. It is because America has not invested in its people. It is because we have not grown. It is because we’ve had 12 years of trickle-down economics. We’ve gone from first to twelfth in the world in wages. We’ve had four years where we’ve produced no private-sector jobs. Most people are working harder for less money than they were making 10 years ago.

Wikipedia

It never made sense and simply doesn’t work.

Democracy Dies Behind Paywalls

Why can't Bezos fund WaPo in perpetuity?

World’s richest men added billions to their fortunes last year as others struggled: Billionaires have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began” (WaPo, Paywall.)

(Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of any complexities it creates for me.)

Jeff Bezos, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker

So why can’t the World’s Richest Man fund a paper as “critical” as the Washington Post in perpetuity?

Dorothy Counts

04 September, 1957

Dorothy Counts, the first and at the time only black student to enroll in the newly desegregated Harry Harding High School in Charlotte (NC), is mocked by protestors on her first day of school. Bystanders threw rocks and screamed at Dorothy to go back to where she came from.

The man walking beside her is probably Dr. Edwin Tompkins, a friend of the family and a professor at the black college Johnson C. Smith University. After a string of abuses, Dorothy’s family withdrew her from the school after only four days. Children had been enrolling for the new school year and tension was particularly high in the south for districts trying to comply with the US Supreme Court’s ruling that states should desegregate their schools with deliberate speed.

World Press Photo

I cannot imagine what she must have felt.

“There was unutterable pride, tension and anguish in that girl’s face as she approached the halls of learning, with history jeering at her back,” he later said. “It made me furious. It filled me with both hatred and pity. And it made me ashamed. Some one of us should have been there with her.”

Michael Graff, quoting James Baldwin, “This picture signaled an end to segregation. Why has so little changed?”, The Guardian

Photos by Douglas Martin.

Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin
Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin
Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin
Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin

What are Left and Right critiques of Liberalism? by TychoCelchuuu on Reddit More Pasta

Well, we could go on forever listing various critiques from both the Left and the Right, so I’ll just cover a few and maybe other people will stop by and list more.

The Left

Marxism/socialism

There are lots of criticisms of liberalism from the Marxist and socialist corners. We could be here all day listing them, so I’ll just mention one that hits at the heart of liberalism, which is freedom. The charge is that the kind of freedom valued by liberalism is a very limited kind of freedom, mainly a sort of freedom to be an actor in capitalism. Think of this part from the Communist Manifesto:

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at. By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying. But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeois about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

So what liberalism conceives of as restrictions on freedom, like for instance the sorts of measures that might be in place in a communist society, are in fact only restrictions on a warped notion of freedom that depends on the conditions of capitalism for its attractiveness.

Feminism

Again, there are lots of criticisms that fall under this broad umbrella, and I’ll just mention one. Liberalism is very concerned with autonomy and autonomous choices, but many feminist understandings of autonomy move away from the traditional liberal conception of the isolated individual to a notion of autonomy that sees it as an inherently relational property which arises out of people being situated in certain ways in society. If this is our understanding of autonomy, much of classical liberalism makes no sense: for instance, the social contract model of the state, according to which consent from each person is what legitimizes the state, breaks down, because we can’t coherently speak of consent or any other function of an individual’s autonomy until we already have on the table the structure of society. If that structure includes the state, and presumably it does, then the state is somehow prior to the people consenting to it, which is bad news for liberals. We could draw links here to Hegel and communitarianism, which will come up later when we look at the Right.

Anti-Racism

In The Racial Contract Mills argues that social contract theory is predicated on white supremacy and that all the ostensibly color-blind theories of liberalism built around it are in fact just reifications of racism. Mills actually thinks liberalism can be saved in the form of what he calls “black radical liberalism” (this is a somewhat recent development - see here for instance) but one might disagree with him, and even if we agreed, I think this still counts as a critique of liberalism, right?

Pragmatism

By this I don’t mean actual philosophical pragmatism but rather the view that sometimes, liberalism isn’t tenable simply because respect for individual rights will lead to consequences too dire to accept. So, this is just a straightforward consequentialist argument: the ends justify the means, and sometimes the ends will require adopting means other than liberalism. So for instance Arneson has advocated for an instrumentalist defense of democracy (see here) according to which there is a right to democratic participation only insofar as democracy is going to generate good results in that society, and if this isn’t the case, then there’s no such right (see also his article “On the Supposed Right to a Democratic Say”). We might call these people fair-weather liberals. They have something in common with the communitarians, insofar as the character of the society in question helps decide whether various facets of liberalism are appropriate.

The Right

Communitarianism

This is what has its roots in Hegel, and we can see it in people like Taylor and Sandel, cited here. The broadest possible way of describing what’s going on here is that there are different principles fit for different societies, depending on the character of those societies. So if a society has illiberal traditions, it typically doesn’t make sense to come in with a liberal steamroller and tell them that they’re doing everything wrong and that they have to change. We might think morality simply doesn’t work this way, either because there’s no such universal morality in the first place, or because the way morality works requires it getting a certain foothold in the individual’s life in a way that makes sense to that individual and not all people in all societies will be amenable to liberalism, or whatever. Another facet of this critique (especially from Sandel) echoes the feminist point above: the idea is that it makes no sense to conceive of the individual outside the context of their society, and to talk about the rights and choices of that individual in any meaningful sense.

If you want any more detail on any of these answers, let me know. I’m not sure how much you know about liberalism: I’ve assumed a fair amount of knowledge on your part, and thus left out much of the details in terms of what parts of liberalism these critiques are attacking and how they hurt, insofar as they succeed. I’d be happy to fill that out, or anything else that needs filling out.

On America Right Now

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time – when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

and

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The Conservative Refrain

Starring Ted Cruz. It cannot be anyone else.

And there’s the 10-hour version (of course) for when a batshit-crazy, cultist conservative whinges about freedom and liberty and censorship and free markets and privatization and regulation and “corporations are people” and the incipient Demise of Western Civilization (due to ‘Marxists’ and Feminists and Immigrants) a little more than usual.

On Moochers

Many years ago interviewed an older gentleman as part of a study I was conducting. He said “Republicans are people who will withhold food from 100 people out fear that 1 might not need or deserve it. Democrats will feed 100 out of concern that 1 might really need it.

@silvercoug

With this follow-up:

The flip side of course is that Democrats will regulate 100 businesses out of fear that 1 will be a cheater, but Republicans will eliminate regulations out of fear that one might not survive.

BTW for my part I am 100% with the Democrats on both of these.

@dudleypj

Saving America is No Menial Task, Sir

I hope Dominion’s lawyers don’t underestimate the Elite Strike-Force Team’s Star Witness’ What-Do-You-Mean-I-Have-To-Make-An-Appointment-Online Energy 😬

“You gained international infamy earlier this month as Rudy Giuliani’s so-called ‘star witness’ who could supposedly corroborate outlandish accusations that Dominion has somehow rigged or otherwise improperly influenced the outcome of the Nov. 2020 U.S. presidential election,” attorneys Thomas Clare and Megan Meier wrote. “Without a shred of corroborating evidence, you have claimed that you witnessed several different versions of voter fraud—ranging from one story involving a van, to other accusations that votes were counted multiple times. You published these statements even though you knew all along that your attacks on Dominion have no basis in reality.”

[…] “We write to you now because you have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign by pretending to have some sort of ‘insider’s knowledge’ regarding Dominion’s business activities, when in reality you were hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks,” the letter stated.

Dominion Attorneys Send Brutal Letter to Trump Campaign’s ‘So-Called Star Witness’ Mellissa Carone

Supply-Side Jesus

Saith The Lord to Socialist Democrats:

ha, nice try. healthcare is about consumer choice. get a job and enroll in a market-based plan.

no peter i won’t help you that will only create dependency pick yourself up by your own sandal straps it’s called personal responsibility.

i would love to give you this, really i would but the richest israelites actually need this more so they can stimulate economic growth!

sorry, feeding you would be a waste of resources. i’m just not seeing results.

Unknown

Schrodinger’s Douchebag

One who makes douchebag statements, particularly sexist, racist or otherwise bigoted ones, then decides whether they were “just joking” or dead serious based on whether other people in the group approve or not.

Urban Dictionary

They’re always “just joking.” About pandemic response, about requesting foreign interference in their country’s elections, injecting disinfectants to treat disease, asking for more police brutality, mocking the disabled, treason, dangling pardons like a mob boss, asking foreign governments to investigate political opponents, calling onself “The Chosen One”, calling a former president the founder of a terrorist organization, or condoning violence against journalists. Just look at your face, bro 😆

And then there’s Schrodinger’s Asshole:

A person who decides whether or not they’re full of shit by the reactions of those around them.

Via Mark.

Mister Babcock is Just Fine

When conservative activist Meshawn Maddock obtained a list of allegedly dead Michigan voters, she didn’t report it to law enforcement.

[…]

The list of 150 or so names was part of a larger file of more than 2,000 people who “voted in Wayne County by absentee ballot that are CONFIRMED deceased,” claimed Maddock, a prominent Republican who is seeking to become the party’s state vice chair.

It would appear that the only way to make it in the party is by embracing batshit crazy. But there are pesky little ‘facts’ to contend with:

“I am certainly not dead!” wrote one woman […], including holiday photos of her family she had recently posted.

“Two people in my neighborhood are on this list,” wrote another man. “They’re very much alive. Hell, their boys play baseball with my sons.”

Mr. Babcock speaks for Sane America that’s bewildered by the post-election tantrums like these. Emphases mine:

Among the alleged dead was Bill Babcock, a Grosse Pointe Woods voter who said Tuesday he is “doing fine,” aside from the grueling year-end inventory he was performing in his job as a swimming pool salesman.

I think it sucks,” he told Bridge Michigan on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Maddock posted his name and home address in an attempt to prove voter fraud that state officials have not found.

Can’t we just move on? There are bigger problems out there, like getting this vaccine thing situated,” Babcock said.

‘I am certainly not dead!’ Living voters contradict Michigan GOP fraud claims, Bridge Michigan

Shitkraken Part Deux - The Leghumper

The SC swatted it away like the “Garbage, but dangerous garbage” it was, but even this “conservative evangelical American blogger and radio host” just had it with the sycophantic tantrum:

I personally think my company should pay me workers compensation for brain damage for having to read that lawsuit and related filings. It really is one of the stupidest bits of performative leg humping we have seen in the last five years. These attorneys general are willing to beclown themselves and their states all to get in good with the losing presidential candidate.

The suit is absurd on its face. These states seek to interfere in the internal affairs of other states when those states are not actually electing the President, but allowing their voters to chose members of the Electoral College.

The lawsuit appears to be a pile of shit (one wouldn’t expect any less from the Elite Strike Forces that surround the God Emperor) but:

If Texas were to win this, it would dissolve the horizontal federalism of our union and only expand the powers of the federal government. It would also lead to a Civil War as a handful of states overturn the rules and laws of other states and dictate those states’ internal affairs. Wait for Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo to give this precedent a whirl. Wait for progressive states to start suing conservative states over religious liberty, transgender rights, police brutality, tax policies that “steal” residents of progressive states, etc.

One can dream! He ends with a plea (emphasis mine):

I’m really tired of the Republican Party beclowning itself for a losing candidate out of fear for that candidate’s voters. That is all this is and delusions of fools notwithstanding, despite all sorts of stupid arguments being wrapped in pomp and “equal protection” phraseology, the election is over and Joe Biden will be President-Elect officially next week.

Guys, come on — you’re just going to spark crazy to violence [sic] at this point. The election wasn’t stolen and most of you know it and those of you who don’t know it need to, at some point, realize you’ve been lied to. And frankly, Ken Paxton needs to work on repentance for a whole lot of stuff.

Erick-Woods Erickson, “About the Texas Lawsuit”, Erick Erickson’s Confessions of a Political Junkie

Things are so crazy, that’s reasonable stuff from this guy:

The Joke

Trump has been saying the pandemic has been totally under control since January, and said it would just “go away” in February.

He reiterated this in March as the virus surged, and insisted we had “perfect” tests that anyone could get after reports of faulty tests. He said he wanted pandemic-related shutdowns to end by Easter so churches could be “packed” while claiming Hydroxychloroquine would be a miracle cure for COVID-19.

In April he continued to promote Hydroxychloroquine without evidence and suggested we could inject disinfectants or use UVC light inside the body to kill the virus, and right up through May Trump was discouraging the use of masks and refused to require them anywhere, with him and Pence famously flouting requirements at hospitals and factories. Trump also claimed he was taking Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against the disease. At this point they were even planning to dismantle their own COVID-19 task force.

In June they were still insisting it was under control while fighting the FDA’s revocation of authorizations for Hydroxychloroquine, and denying that there was a second surge happening. They instead blamed the high infection statistics on there being more testing, and Trump suggested slowing down testing to improve the stats, noting he does not joke.

Rolling into July he still insisted he had things under control, claiming they had done an incredible job, as the White House nuked a trove of data previously available through the CDC while Trump was still hyping Hydroxychloroquine and his son was temporarily suspended from Twitter for continuing to spread disinformation about it.

Even in August, Trump claimed COVID-19 was totally under control, and the ~150k dead with a simple “it is what it is,”, and reiterated that the virus would go away all on its own. He finally encouraged the wearing of masks, but ignored all guidelines during his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican Convention.

In September Trump was saying that COVID-19 hurt “virtually nobody”, and openly disputed the CDC’s own claims about the effectiveness of masks.

In October Trump got COVID-19, and while still undergoing treatment, went on a quick spin around the hospital to wave to his supporters outside. He was discharged to the White House after only three days, posing for photo-ops without a mask. At this point White House officials finally concede that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.”. This would be the last time the COVID-19 task force would formally meet.

Since then Trump has pretty much avoided any and all public appearances except to complain about the election. November marked the point where a quarter of a million Americans had died of COVID-19. There are now more people dying each day of COVID-19 than died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 or in the Invasion of Normandy.

That’s the joke.

/u/kichigai (month highlights mine)

The Kraken Is Dead.

Well, shit. Emphasis mine:

… a judge in Wisconsin dismissed the fourth and final lawsuit, noting that it is voters, not judges, who decide who goes to the White House.

Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country,” U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper wrote in a 45-page ruling.

“One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so. After a week of sometimes odd and often harried litigation, the court is no closer to answering the ‘why.’ But this federal court has no authority or jurisdiction to grant the relief the remaining plaintiff seeks.”

David Gilbert, The Kraken Is Dead: Sidney Powell’s Final Lawsuit Just Got Dismissed, Vice

The article notes that Judge Pepper also had to point out the following errors:

  • “that Powell had sought 48 hours’ worth of surveillance footage from the TCF Center — which is in Michigan, not Wisconsin.”
  • “that Powell misspelled the name of her lead plaintiff, referring to William Feehan, a would-be Trump elector, as ‘Meehan.’”
  • “that the plaintiff appeared to have made up a quote purporting to come from a decision made by Pepper’s own colleague Judge J. P. Stadtmueller. The quote simply doesn’t exist.”

About as Elite as it gets.

Sydney Powell

“A Small Man with a Small Mind and Bad Mustache”

A member of The Elite Strike-Force Team bemoaned being “canceled” and asked to resign from an elite club after calling for violence against the country’s former CyberSecurity chief who said that the elections were “the most secure in American history” (which was the opinion that got him fired.) Mercifully, Operation #shitkraken continues to deliver despite this minor upset.

Here’s some lovely, old-school, traditional, conservative barbarism:

“Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs … he should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot,” diGenova said on the radio show.

Zack Budryk, “Trump campaign lawyer resigns from Gridiron Club after saying Krebs should be shot”, The Hill

Which drew this impassioned response from a Georgia election official:

It was all “hyperbole” and “in jest”, of course! They tend to pick the best subjects for humor. And only the most Elite can handle the spotlight:

“It’s egregious, I’m at a loss for words at how absurd those and offensive those comments were, I think that’s got to violate some type of code of professional conduct for the DC Bar, and I hope they look into it,” Travis, the former deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said at the Aspen Institute’s virtual Cyber Summit on Tuesday.

“He’s a small man with a small mind and bad mustache,” Travis said of diGenova, adding that he hoped diGenova would “take back those words, apologize and recognize that maybe the hot lights of the studio got to him.”

Maggie Miller, “Former cyber official condemns Trump attorney for threats against Krebs, details ouster”, The Hill

An Attorney Of Scant Accomplishment - The Elite Sidekick

‘Reporters’ at the Failing NYTimes explore: “How Is Trump’s Lawyer Jenna Ellis ‘Elite Strike Force’ Material?” (cached) I should just copypasta the whole thing but here we go:

Since she graduated law school in 2011, nothing in her record in the courtroom […] shows any time spent litigating election law cases.

She holds herself out as an expert on the Constitution based on her self-published book and her teaching of pre-law classes to undergraduates. She has never appeared in federal district or circuit court, where most constitutional matters are considered, according to national databases of federal cases, and does not appear to have played a major role in any cases beyond her criminal and civil work in Colorado.

The Trump campaign and its supporters have so far filed about 50 election-related lawsuits. She has not signed her name or appeared in court to argue a single one.

“I find it astonishing that she’s gotten to this point,” said Stephanie Stout, a lawyer in private practice in Greeley, Colo., who worked with Ms. Ellis a few years ago defending a man who was accused of attempted murder. The partnership was short-lived, Ms. Stout said, because their client fired Ms. Ellis, deeming her not up to the job.

She just didn’t have the legal chops,” added Ms. Stout, who ultimately won the case on her own. “After that, Jenna decided that I had stolen the case from her.”

Craig Silverman, a lawyer in Denver who used to host a radio show on legal matters and current events that Ms. Ellis occasionally appeared on, described her as “an attorney of scant accomplishment.” The cases she discussed with him, he recalled, were bread-and-butter criminal defense work. And he said he had always expected her to pursue a career in teaching and media — not the law.

[…] Though Mr. Silverman once considered himself friendly with Ms. Ellis, he said her insistence of widespread voter fraud had so unnerved him that he believed she might have violated Colorado’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers, which prohibit making false statements.

In 2015 she joined Colorado Christian University […] [which] does not have a law school or a program in constitutional law. Ms. Ellis taught pre-law and political science to undergraduates and was part of the team that developed and advised a moot court program, according to a university spokesman. Eventually she was made an assistant professor of legal studies — but never a “professor of constitutional law,” which is how she identified herself in pieces for The Washington Examiner that she started writing in 2017.

Here’s how you get noticed and get a spot on the ultra-selective Elite Strike-Force team: become “star player in the president’s theater of grievance and denial”:

But she did have an attribute that can carry just as much weight in his eyes: the ability to go on television and deliver scathing attacks on his critics.

Ms. Ellis beat the drum for the president on cable and wherever else she had a platform.

But those who know Ms. Ellis said they imagined that her willingness to say almost anything in the president’s defense was what he found appealing about her.

Her response is to simply call the entire thing a “false ‘report’” and dream publicly about becoming the next Amy Coney Barrett.

The failing NY Times plans to run a hit piece today. They’re trying to undermine the public’s confidence in the President’s election integrity battle by pushing a false “report” on my credentials & experience.

Well… Libs said ACB wasn’t qualified. And she’s Justice ACB now. 😉

@JennaEllisEsq

Bassakwardkraken

Despite being cut loose from President Donald Trump’s legal team, Powell is forging ahead with her election-conspiracy crusade to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win.

But the conservative attorney’s self-described Kraken keeps getting its tentacles tied in a knot of typos and errors — including the recent backward claim, later amended, that a pernicious voting algorithm took votes from Biden and flipped them to Trump.

So when she tried to argue that “pernicious” algorithms in Dominion’s voting machines1 flipped the election in Georgia for her guy? Well it was really late at night and she had other shit to do and she really meant the opposite (emphasis mine):

If I had a Nicole for every mistake I’ve made in life, I could retire,” Powell’s email to a reporter said. “Wish I had you as a proofreader at 1 a.m.”

“In addition, counsel had internet and computer problems that delayed our communications, in addition to what can only be called ‘operator errors’ by lead counsel late night that caused the omission of the list of authorities and a substantive misstatement thoughtfully identified by CNBC this morning, which the contemporaneously filed brief corrects,” Powell wrote.

Kevin Breuninger, Sidney Powell amends court filing that mistakenly said Georgia votes were flipped from Biden to Trump, CNBC
  1. The really sophisticated ones that count things. ↩︎

A Kraken of Shit

To the surprise of no one (well, normal people), “The Kraken”, authored by an ex-member of the “Elite Strike-Force Team”, turned out to be a “truly awful” and unmistakably QAnon-laced lawsuit full of basic formatting, spelling, and grammatical errors that would “drive a proofreader to drink.”

From a must-read via PLG:

This is all batshit crazy. It is as stupid an elections lawsuit as I’ve ever seen. And there’s no guarantee that it’s the worst case we’re going to see, because even though their legal arguments are being dismissed with extreme prejudice, when it comes to the political/propaganda aims of the litigants—this stuff works. Once the true believers are on board, it’s hard to get them off.

[…] The Kraken is the stupidest election fraud lawsuit in history today. But who knows what next week will bring.

Mike Dunford, “The ‘Kraken’ Lawsuit Was Released And It’s Way Dumber Than You Realize”, The Bulwark (cached)

Amazing. It’s almost as if The Best People don’t really care about the substance of the lawsuits1 but want to seen as filing them in the courts of “activist” judges who swat them away, quite unfairly of course, for the sophomoric and baseless crocks of shit they are. Conservative, Republican, Trump-appointed activist judges, that is.

  1. And as if they ‘wrote’ it using a 1999 version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. ↩︎

Highly Informed Outrage

A lovely Techbro aside from the ongoing #shitkraken.

Greg Stenstrom, another poll watcher, said that in Delaware County, 47 USB cards were missing.

As a computer scientist, an American and a patriot, it doesn’t matter who those votes were for. It was shocking to me that that could even happen,” he said.

“There is no cure for this, no remedy for this. I don’t believe as a citizen and an observer to this, anyone can certify this with a good conscience.”

Harriet Alexander, “‘Your election is a sham’: Giuliani tells Pennsylvania ‘I know crooks really well’ as he appears in Gettysburg”, The Independent

(Emphasis mine.) Indeed, Gregory. When USB cards go missing, one needs formal training in Algorithms, Data Structures, the Theories of Computation and Complexity, Formal Logic (of course), and more, to express appropriate outrage at an election that’s fraudulent only in your head and only because your guy didn’t win.

The Continuing Saga of an A+ Elite Strike-Force Team Saving Our Imperiled Democracy

Will tag updates as I read them with amusement and disbelief. Armando Ianucci must be weeping right now. All emphases are mine.

In a court filing signed by Rudy Giuliani and Marc Scaringi1 — the two remaining attorneys on the case after everyone else quit — the campaign asked for the judge to hand over Pennsylvania’s electors.

[…] “You’re asking this court to invalidate more than 6.8 million votes, thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the commonwealth,” Brann said at the hearing. “Can you tell me how this result can possibly be justified?”

Jacob Shamsian, “Rudy Giuliani straight up asked a federal judge to ignore Pennsylvania voters and declare Trump won the state.”, Business Insider India

And:

Before Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani last registered an appearance in the U.S. federal judiciary in 1992, and in the view of many legal observers, it showed. The former mayor of New York flubbed basic concepts of law and, in at least one instance, displayed a poor command of the English language.

Giuliani confessed that he did not know the word “opacity,” applying the Bizarro World definition that it “probably means you can see.”

“It means you can’t,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann corrected2.

[…] When pressed by the judge on what standard of scrutiny should be applied to Pennsylvania government’s action, Giuliani replied: “The normal one.”

Adam Klasfield, “When Applying ‘Normal’ Scrutiny, Rudy Giuliani’s Court Appearance Was a Total Flop”, Law & Crime

And because IANAL, some helpful context:

At one point, he even appeared ignorant of the concept of strict scrutiny, a basic and fundamental concept for a practicing lawyer to know when arguing a case on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. Imagine if you were lying in an operating room, about to go under general anesthesia, and heard your surgeon ask, “Hey, what are all these knives for?” Now you are in general orbit around whatever planet on which the former New York mayor happens to be residing.

Matt Ford, “The Unpardonable Sins of Lindsey Graham”, The New Republic

Onward:

At one point he referred to president-elect Joe Biden as a “crook” and chastised the press for reporting that he has no evidence of fraud. Mr Giuliani has offered no evidence in court of fraud.

[…] He compared election observers being corralled away from the votes counts to a moment in the movie in which the eponymous character asks a witness in court how many fingers he is holding up, claiming that they could not see a thing.

[…] As what appeared to be hair dye dripped down both sides of his face

[…] Ellis described the assembled lawyers as “an elite strike-force team” working on behalf of the president.

Oliver O’Connell, “Giuliani quotes ‘My Cousin Vinny’ as he sets out conspiracy theories at bizarre press conference”, The Independent

And finally:

President Donald Trump’s campaign says it’s dropping its Michigan election lawsuit because it succeeded in halting certification of election results in Detroit and surrounding Wayne County, despite the outcome already having been certified in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

Eric Larson and David Voreacos, “Trump Campaign Drops Michigan Election Suit, Claims Victory”, Bloomberg

An “Absolutely Brilliant” Elite Mercurial Powerhouse Leader of the Best Legal Team3 one could assemble given the seriousness of the charges against our democratic systems, folks. So unbelievably competent, Snopes had to publish an entry about his performance in court 💯


Update 20 Nov 2020.

But his attorneys have repeatedly made elementary errors in those high-profile cases: misspelling “poll watcher” as “pole watcher,” forgetting the name of the presiding judge during a hearing, inadvertently filing a Michigan lawsuit before an obscure court in Washington and having to refile complaints after erasing entire arguments they’re using to challenge results.

“The sloppiness just serves to underscore the lack of seriousness with which these claims are being brought,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.

[…] “I know crimes. I can smell them,” Giuliani said as streaks of sweat and what appeared to be hair dye ran down the sides of his face. “You don’t have to smell this one. I can prove it to you 18 different ways.”

[…] “Part of the reason he doesn’t have good lawyers is he doesn’t have good claims to bring.”

Colleen Long, Jill Colvin, and Alanna Durkin Richer, Trump’s lawsuits plagued by spelling errors: ‘I’ve never seen an election lawyer handle a case as poorly as Giuliani has’, The Independent

Huh.

Charlie Kelly


Update 21 Nov 2020

The painful monologue screeched to a halt whenever Rudy hit the guardrails of judicial questioning. Asked the most important question in nearly any election lawsuit, what standard of review should apply, he was caught completely off guard. For non-lawyers, it’s hard to explain just how appalling this is. Standard of review is the sort of thing that every first-year law student learns. But rather than agreeing with the judge that the case demanded “strict scrutiny,” or arguing that it called for rational basis review, he simply advocated for “the normal one.” If legal Twitter had a voice in that moment, the scream would have been heard around the world.

[…] But what Rudy did next crossed a line: he lied. He didn’t spin, argue, or put his best take on the evidence, he flat-out lied to a judge in open court.

[…] Actually, Rudy’s first lie came before he ever set foot in the Pennsylvania courthouse. On Tuesday morning, Rudy petitioned to represent the Trump campaign, which is a routine step for lawyers appearing out of state. If you aren’t licensed to practice in a court, you have to request permission to argue. Sadly, Rudy couldn’t complete this two-page form without committing perjury. Rudy claimed to be licensed in the District of Columbia, where in fact he’s currently suspended for not paying his dues.

Albert Fox Cahn, “It’s Time to Take Away Rudy’s Law License”, The Daily Beast

Update 25 Nov 2020

The only place maybe worse is Michigan, and particularly the city of Detroit. The city of Detroit probably had more voters than it had citizens. I’m exaggerating a bit, but all you have to do is look at statistical data and you can see that the fraud was rampant and out of control.

Ian Schwartz, “Giuliani: We’re Pursuing a Supreme Court Challenge Due To ‘Misconduct Of The Election’”, RealClearPolitics

Update 26 Nov 2020

It keeps getting more divorced from reality.

I think we may actually have won Virginia, but that’s another battle,” Mr Giuliani said.

The comments were made during a meeting of Republican state lawmakers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump in Virginia by 451,138 votes.

Graig Graziosi, “Giuliani thinks Trump ‘may have won Virginia’ despite Biden winning state by nearly half a million votes”, The Independent

As for Pennsylvania, where the plaintiff literally phoned it in at Gettysburg:

Despite having told a federal judge that theirs was “not a fraud case”, the 76-year-old former mayor of New York introduced a series of Pennsylvania residents to complain about fraud, to cheers and whoops, and the occasional audible sharp intake of breath from the staunchly pro-Trump crowd.

[…] On Monday Pennsylvania certified the vote, meaning that the process is concluded. Mr Biden won the state by 80,555 votes.

[…] He claimed that 682,770 mail-in ballots entered in Allegheny County and Philadelphia were “not observed by any single Republican.”

They could have been from the same person,” he said. “There could have been multiples, there was no name on them”.

There’s more, of course.

“The mail-in ballots that were received were not inspected at all by any Republicans. They were hidden from Republicans,” he said.

He said he “couldn’t be entirely sure,” though.

And arithmetic, compounded with the passage of time can lead to undemocratic effects:

He expressed surprise, once again, that when he went to sleep Mr Trump was in the lead but that lead evaporated.

What are the odds that they all switched, overnight? They switched, by the next day.

The lead evaporated because more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail, and as their votes were slowly counted, the pendulum swung in Mr Biden’s favour.

Harriet Alexander, “‘Your election is a sham’: Giuliani tells Pennsylvania ‘I know crooks really well’ as he appears in Gettysburg”, The Independent
  1. "The day before a major argument in Pennsylvania, three lawyers for Trump withdrew and were replaced in part by Marc Scaringi, an attorney and talk show host who wrote a blog post after the election referring to ‘President-elect Joe Biden.’ Scaringi himself had told listeners on his radio show days after the election that ‘there are really no bombshells’ about to drop ‘that will derail a Biden presidency,’ and noting that several of the lawsuits ‘don’t seem to have much evidence to substantiate their claims.’ - The Independent ↩︎

  2. “Big words, your honor,” Giuliani said. ↩︎

  3. Screenshot is from the Facebook page of a True Believer. This person and the commenter are not trying to be funny. They cannot be, even if they tried. “Believe me.” ↩︎

Staying Out of It

And then I explain to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.

– Elie Wiesel, Nobel Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1986

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

– Desmond Tutu (quoted in Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes, 1984)

I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal1.

– Martin Luther King, Jr., Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, April 30, 1967

  1. Found out this doesn’t really appear in Inferno. ↩︎

The Official Response

WOOLEY. What if the Prime Minister insists we help them?
SIR APPLEBY. Then we follow the four-stage strategy.
WOOLEY. What’s that?
SIR WHARTON. Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis.
SIR WHARTON. In stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
SIR APPLEBY. Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
SIR WHARTON. In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we can do.
SIR APPLEBY. Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.

A political manual for the ages.

The Unborn

“The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. It’s almost as if, by being born, they have died to you. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.

Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.

Dave Barnhardt, Methodist pastor

and

They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.

– George Carlin, Back in Town

Apu

From Soutik Biswas’, “The Simpsons: Not all Indians think Apu is a racist stereotype

“As I see it, there are two primary products that second generation Indian American comedians sell - the ridiculousness of their parents’ ‘culture’ (arranged marriage and ‘my son, the doctor’ are the commonest tropes); and the racism of white Americans,” Professor Chakravorty, who teaches at Temple University in Pennsylvania, told me in an email interview .

“It is not hard to see why these two lowest hanging fruits are plucked all the time. This is very standard fare. Apu is also very standard fare. What Kondabulu has done is nothing new. He picked almost the most identifiable Indian project possible in the US. And he plugged into the market for identity-based outrage.”

and

“I like Apu, in fact I love him. He has a PhD in computer science, but enjoys running his store, he is a valued citizen of Springfield, a ladies man and adores cricket and is funny,” Sidharth Bhatia, Mumbai-based founder-editor of The Wire, told me.

“It reflects true American diversity. The controversy about the stereotyping is classist snobbery - Indians in America don’t want to be reminded of a certain kind of immigrant from their country - the shop keepers, the taxi drivers, the burger flippers,” says Mr Bhatia.

“They would rather project only Silicon Valley successes, the Wall Street players and the Ivy League products, with the proper accents, people they meet for dinner - by itself a stereotype. The millions of Apus in America, the salt-of-the-earth types, with their less ‘posh’ accents, are an inconvenience to that self-image of this small group of Indian-Americans.”

Bingo.

His accent apart, Apu is a Midwestern pillar. Would the critics really have him speak like the other characters in the show, as if to say you’re not American unless you sound like someone from Des Moines? Are all caricatured accents racist? Should we ban “foreigners” from comedy shows altogether?

Naturally not—because we wouldn’t, then, have Apu. And can you really imagine America without him?

– Tunku Varadarajan, Leave Apu Alone – He’s a Great American

To quote Lewis Black entirely out of context: on a list of priorities, this “is on page six after ‘Are we eating too much garlic as a people?’”

Orwell

When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases – bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder – one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

– George Orwell, “Politics and The English Language