eighty-eight things tagged “politics”

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. ↩︎

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

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.

🙏♥️🇺🇸

  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



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


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):

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.




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.

“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.


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