On the internet: Video after video of police officers behaving abusively, escalating situations, cursing at people, threatening them, intimidating them, killing them, all over the country. CNN has an expert on to explain that our brains work differently when we’re under stress.
The “stress professor” and the Vanderbilt guy both agreed that we need more training for police.
I’ve been involved in criminology in one way or another for fifty years. I did research on female police partners and male use of deadly force in the 70s. Training is not the problem. Minneapolis, for example, spent a small fortune on training.
Police culture will win out over all the training and policy in the world.
If you look at the Derek Chauvin case as an example, Chauvin didn’t take the stand because basically his defense is that he didn’t do anything wrong and that he would do it again if he had the chance.
It appears that Alexander Navalny is dangerously close to dying. In the past, he told colleagues he couldn’t understand people using hunger strikes to advance their cases. It seemed, to him, merely a way to hand the state a tool. But, evidently the situation for him in prison was so bad, he resorted to using his own body as a tool to try to get help. It’s unlikely to work. The world stands by and watches.
Gary Kasperov, former Russian chess player and current activist, pointed out on Twitter that the West continues to deal with Putin as if he were some quasi-democratic head of state. Kasperov noted that Biden’s decision to turn around a ship to try to appease Putin was the wrong tactic. Autocrats, kleptocrats, authoritarians view offers of compromise as weakness.
Biden deals with Putin the way the Democrats deal with the Republicans. When will they learn that authoritarians cannot be compromised with or appealed to?
Joe Scarborough, who helped elect Trump, is now back to his rabid Republican heckling. It is difficult for me to understand how anybody could think that Scarborough was an ally. He and the dreadful Mika were up Trump’s ass until Trump threatened to reveal their adulterous affair. People need to remember we have Mika on tape asking Trump’s permission to ask him a “hard” question. Morning Joe as outlived its usefulness if it ever had any. It belongs in the Chris Matthews trash bag of programming. MSNBC needs to do better.
While I’m on MSNBC, the nightly news programs continue to use Jason “island of misfit black girls” Johnson as a commentator. He lost his job at the Root for his nasty, racist comment about the women who worked for Bernie Sanders, and MSNBC punished him with a few weeks off air. But, he’s back now with a vengeance. Joy Reid loves him because she actively worked to destroy Sanders’ campaign. The lesson here? You can say anything and get away with it if it’s about Bernie Sanders or his campaign.
The new feral cat we are socializing woke me up at 3:30 in the morning because his food bowls were empty. I’m wide awake, but he’s back asleep, stretched out at the foot of the bed on a quilt. They learn so quickly. Cats are the masters of psychological manipulation. His name is Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
Biden’s choice of Neera Tanden to head the Department of Management and Budget is yet another slap in the face of progressives and a further indication that progressives need to leave the Democratic Party.
As Briahna Joy Gray, a former press secretary for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted about the nomination: “Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden.”
Since 2003, Tanden has been the head of what some in the media term a “left of center” think tank, the Center for American Progress. This think tank was supposedly established to counter more conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.
But, according to article in Business Insider, “Tanden has come under scrutiny from some of her own colleagues over allegations that she censored employees who were critical of Israel while the organization attempted to build a stronger bond between the Democratic Party and the right-wing Israeli government. Under Tanden, the think tank shut down its independent journalistic arm, Think Progress…following its unionization.”
Former employees of CAP also criticized Tanden for using the think tank as more of a vehicle for her own ambition than an institution based on any left of center policy commitment. Tanden has openly opposed single payer health care, supported cuts in Social Security, and is friendly with Israel’s conservative leadership. That simply cannot be termed “left of center.”
Tanden is being nominated for this important position after having been a close advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, both failures. And, she was closely involved with engineering the ACA, another notable policy failure.
But, Tanden is part of the entitled professional class surrounding Clinton and Obama who are being put back in government by Biden just as progressives warned. As Biden said in a speech to wealthy donors – “nothing will change.” That’s what progressives who were being badgered to vote for Biden feared, and that is what we are seeing.
The nomination of Tanden is yet another indication that the corporate elite in the Democratic Party have contempt for the progressive vote and are determined to block any meaningful social change.
“There are very few people who have been as aggressively critical — I would say sometimes obsessively critical — of the progressive left, and in particular of Bernie Sanders, than Neera,” a former senior Center for American Progress employee told Business Insider.
Tanden is already cynically using her supposedly deprived family background to try to evoke sympathy. She is saying that her family found it necessary to use the social services she will have an impact on funding. She is evidently using this argument as a way of placating the progressive wing of the party. But, this only means that her opposition to Medicare for All and adequate funding of Social Security is all the more ruthless and contemptuous of working families. She had to rely on these services herself, but that doesn’t mean she believes others are entitled to them.
Neera Tanden is part of a little mafia of women (Zerlina Maxwell, Jennifer Palmieri and others) who felt themselves entitled to win the presidency, entitled to be in the White House and livid that Bernie Sanders had the nerve to run against the Queen.
In addition, these women felt that they had some kind of right to the presidency because of gender. A question asked Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary sums it up. Yamiche Alcindor (who, after confronting Sanders, went from being a low level New York Times reporter to being on television every night and then hosting programs on NPR) asked Sanders if he didn’t think it was sexist to run against Clinton.
This little mafia ring of women never stopped blaming Sanders for all their own failures in the Clinton campaigns. And, they never missed an opportunity to slam and slander Sanders and his campaign in the corporate media.
Neera Tanden, as Gray says, is just the beginning and she illustrates everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party. The leadership in the Democratic Party is smug, entitled, vindictive, ruthless and bought up to the eyeballs by corporate money.
Trump in a news conference (or whatever that things is he does when he comes out and lies for an extended period of time) is preparing the population for a “disaster” on election day. He keeps repeating the scenario and thereby painting the picture for his supporters of total confusion. Today he said that the Republicans are appealing to the courts who he hopes will “see this clearly and stop it.” He called the sending out of ballots to citizens as “the scam of all time.”
The reporter for CNN falls for the head fake and says: Mail in voting is safe. There is no fraud and there are no missing ballots as Trump accused.
So, once again, just as in 2016, the Republicans scream rigging, the Democrats and the media yell, no rigging. The Republicans rig and the Democrats and the media are left stunned.
Election Security: Stealing the Election
Jennifer Cohn is tweeting that the DeVos family company Amway partnered with Russia’s Alfa Bank in 2014. It was Alfa Bank that was pinging both Trump Tower and Spectrum Health thousands of times in the summer of 2016. This has never been explained.
Run, don’t walk to get a copy of Jonathan Simon’s “Code Red” 2020 edition.
Trump is tweeting that the Governor of Virginia (where early voting starts today) “wants to take away your guns,” and “is in favor of executing babies after birth.”
According to Jennifer Cohn, (relying on Woodward), Russians installed malware in the voter registration systems of “at least two” Florida counties. The malware was designed to erase voters. (Twitter)
Precinct ballot scanners in Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida include wireless modems that connect scanners and county central tabulators to the internet. (Twitter, Jennifer Cohn)
Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Rhode Island also have modems that need to be removed before the election. (Cohn, Twitter)
Information on voting of Interest:
Zetter, Kim (8/8/19) “Critical U.S. ElectionSystems…” Vice
Other Information of Interest
Podcast on 9/11 Blindspot.
102 of 140 inmates at a women’s prison in South Dakota have tested positive for Coronavirus. (AP)
It has become obvious to me that the Republican Party is stealing the 2020 election.
They are stealing it behind our backs and they are stealing it in front of our faces. All you have to do to come to this conclusion is spend some time researching targeted voter sabotage as practiced by the Republicans since at least 2000.
But, instead of looking at the evidence and making a plan for what to do when the Republicans pull off yet another theft of a major election, the Democratic Party, the corporate media and regular citizens are busily waltzing off a cliff in a haze of self-congratulatory delusion. If, they tell us, we just go out and vote, Trump will be defeated, and all will be well.
I do not believe this to be true. I do not believe it to be true because I cannot look at the evidence that is available and come to that conclusion.
One of the first things you learn as a researcher is to question most what you want to believe. People in this country WANT to believe that the voting process is fair, that all they have to do is vote. There is an almost pig-headed refusal to look at the evidence that the voting system is not fair, has been rigged in the past, is being rigged now, and that rigging will likely determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
The Democratic Party leadership and party strategists desperately want to believe that all they have to do is put out ads, analyze polls, make campaign appearances (sometimes) and get out the vote. This is all they know – conventional campaign tactics. And, they simply refuse to accept the fact that we have entered a world in which conventional campaign strategies are meaningless. I don’t care how many polls you analyze, or how well you analyze them, if the vote count is manipulated, your effort will be irrelevant.
But, on the corporate news programs I listen to hour after hour of discussion of the polls and demographics, and likely voter turn-out. Corporate news pundits giddily and endlessly talk to other corporate news pundits, none of them willing to acknowledge the fact that if the Republicans do in this election what they have been doing in other elections for two decades, none of the polls and none of the analysis, is relevant. This means, of course, that the pollsters and strategists themselves are not relevant, and that is one thing they will never admit. So, they lie to themselves and they lie to us.
With this lie, they make us believe that a corrupted voting system is fair because THEY WANT TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS FAIR. If it is not fair, if all the traditional campaign strategies are useless, they might have to DO SOMETHING. They might have to stop rabbiting on endlessly on cable news, stop comparing each other’s living rooms, stop telling jokes and selling a “return to civic grace” as the answer to all our problems. They might have to do something. And, that’s the problem.
The demographics of the voting population, the polls, getting out the vote, promoting mail-in ballots, won’t make a damn bit of difference if the Republicans at the state and county level manipulate the vote count to win as they have done in the past.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that they will not manipulate the vote count and a great deal of evidence that they will. But, by ignoring this fact, the DNC, the strategists and the pollsters and the corporate news pundits keep themselves at the center of a rat wheel of influence, money, talk and activity.
The result, I fear, is that once again on November 4, we will be sitting in our homes looking at stunned corporate media pundits, strategists and pollsters disoriented and wondering how Donald Trump managed to win the electoral college yet again. They will babble about how amazing it is that the exit polls (if we even have them) could be so wrong. They will make the excuse that Trump voters don’t show up in the polling because they are ashamed to say they are voting for Trump. But, they will never, never question the integrity of the voting process itself.
When Trump has apparently secured enough electoral college votes to win, there will be nothing the Democrats and the corporate media and the strategists and the pollsters will be prepared to do. They will wring their hands and lament. They will talk about writing strongly worded letters. But, they will not question the validity of the results of the election and they will not fight to ensure that there is a fair election vote count. They have never effectively done so in the past and they will not do so in 2020.
Between now and November 3, (in order to try not to go bat-shit crazy) I intend to examine and share the information that is available to demonstrate what is almost certain to happen on November 3.
I am painfully aware that this is a process that makes people feel uncomfortable. People do not want to examine or talk about the corruption of the voting system. It’s inconvenient, it’s frightening, it’s paradigm changing and it means that they might have to DO SOMETHING.
People struggle to hold on to what makes them feel safe, and if this election is stolen like others before it, it will mean that we will be living in a different world. People are understandably afraid of that. But, putting our heads in the sand will not save us. On the contrary, I believe putting our heads in the sand will leave us disoriented, disorganized, demoralized and even more vulnerable to the onslaught of authoritarianism that will follow if Trump manages to remain in power.
The rights we think we have, the rights that we rely on to conduct daily life, will no longer exist for us, and that is a frightening prospect. But, no matter how much we want to believe that all we have to do is get out and vote, that desire doesn’t make it a reality.
Even among the community of people who study election sabotage and who have been warning about hackable modems in voting machines, voting systems that cannot be audited, the purging of voter lists, outrageously biased voting rules and a hundred other things that can and will be used to alter the vote count, there is still the tendency to want to argue that “overwhelming turnout” can overcome any voter system sabotage that may occur.
I simply cannot understand how this makes logical sense.
If Republicans sabotage the vote count, turnout, “overwhelming” or otherwise will not make that vote count accurate. If you can change vote tallies you can change thousands of votes or hundreds of votes. I have asked this question over and over to various experts in the field. The best answer I get is a rather weak statement about how “overwhelming voter turnout” will make it harder to alter the vote.
But, I don’t even understand the logic of this. Why will it make it harder? And how?
I can cast a vote for one candidate, but I cannot in any way determine how other people in my country cast their votes. If the county says that I was the only person voting for Biden in the entire county, how am I supposed to contest that? I have no access to the actual votes. I have no idea how other people voted. And, evidently in Georgia, there is not even an auditable vote count. So even if people in authority demanded a “recount,” it wouldn’t make vote sabotage any clearer.
In the state of Georgia, a recount of the votes involves nothing more than putting computer generated ballots through the same scanners a second time. A human being cannot determine by looking at these ballots who the voter voted for. The actual vote is recorded in a bar code that is unreadable by a human. So, a recount is just recounting the same ballots (which might be manipulated) all over again. That is useless.
I don’t know what to do but try to put together for myself the evidence leading to the conclusion that the Republican Party will successfully steal this election. It’s there now. There’s no need to wait until the election to see the outlines of the methods Republicans are using to manipulate the vote. They are doing it before our eyes.
If you have information, please let me know. If you have information refuting the supposition, please let me know also. If you find an argument weak, suggest another one. I’m open to all reputable information and welcome all critique. But, I cannot stand silent behaving as if I believe that voting is going to oust Trump and the Republicans. They have too much to lose to allow this vote to go against them. And, delusion is dangerous. In this case will only leave us totally unprepared for dealing with the outcome of another stolen election.
I hope I’m wrong about this. I truly hope I am wrong, but I do not think I am.
There are three important stories in the news within the past week relating to Latin America.
First, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams U.S. Special Representative for Iran. For those of us who have been interested in Latin America for decades, Elliott Abrams is a criminal who is widely despised. He should be in jail. If there was anything like a justice system for high level corporate, political and white collar criminals, he would be.
As Common Dreams (8/6/20 ) has noted, “Abrams is one of the architects of right-wing “regime change.” He “has made a career of lying and committing criminal acts that have led to the death and suffering of innocent people from Guatemala to Iraq.” “He embraces militarism, covers up for gross human rights abuses, and has a history of supporting authoritarian regimes.”
As if this wasn’t enough, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 as part of the Iran-Contra affair. He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush. Abrams admitted that he had willfully withheld information from congress in 1986 when he testified about the “secret Contra supply network and his role in soliciting a $10 million contribution for anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua” (the Contras).
See “CODEPINK Denounces Elliott Abrams’…” common Dreams. August 6, 2020
The second story is about the release of a report detailing a State Department plan for regime change in Nicaragua intended to oust popularly elected members of the Sandinistas.
Ben Norton reports in The Grayzone that:
This newly released document outlines plans for USAID to oversee a regime-change plan to oust Nicaragua’s elected leftist government.
USAID (also widely despised in Latin America), is planning to establish a “market economy” in Nicaragua and purge the Sandinistas.
The socialist government in Nicaragua is democratically elected.
USAID, as always, functions here as a “regime-change” vehicle that “uses the pretense of humanitarian aid to advance Washington’s aggressive foreign-policy interests.”
The document presents this as a plan for “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” This is a euphemism for removing the leftist Sandinistas.
The report doesn’t even pretend to be anything but a hardline neoconservative document. It refers to the “Ortega regime” and makes it clear that the intent is to install a “neoliberal administration that will privatize the economy and…purge all institutions of any trace of the leftist Sandinista movement.”
The third, and related story, is that Joe Biden has recruited Anna Navarro to help him mobilize the Hispanic vote. The Democrats are opening positions of power within the party to a variety of never-Trump Republicans who have no goals or interests in common with publicly stated Democratic positions.
As Ban Norton (3/1/20) points out in his article published on The Gray Zone, Navarro has become “something of a celebrity among the anti-Trump republicans…” She has also become a welcome anti-Trump Republican voice among the corporate media. She is, for example, a frequent commentator on CNN and “The View.”
As Norton points out, “corporate media networks give Navarro a massive platform to attack progressives like Bernie Sanders and rebrand her neoconservative politics before impressionable liberal viewers who despise Trump, Navarro’s professional background has faced little scrutiny.”
Navarro, however, “lobbied for El Salvador’s corruption-drenched right-wing government.” “Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) documents reviewed by The Grayzone reveal that Ana Navarro and her Republican lobbyist husband, Al Cárdenas, have worked with some of the most corrupt right-wing governments in recent Latin American history, including leaders who have overseen egregious human rights abuses and been convicted for serious criminal offenses.”
“Navarro hails from a wealthy family in Nicaragua, and still today she remains a staunch supporter of the Contras, far-right death squads that the CIA armed and trained in the 1980s in a regime-change war targeting the country’s socialist Sandinista government. The Contras waged a relentless terrorist campaign, massacring and torturing civilians in hopes of destabilizing the country. And Navarro has celebrated them as freedom fighters.
Navarro, now calls herself a “strategist” has branded herself a “moderate.”
None of this bodes well for Nicaragua or Latin America. And, it only reinforces the argument that Joe Biden, the corporate Democrats and the corporate media are turning the Democratic Party into Republican-light. It gives us even less reason to stay with the party.
Armed federal agents, dressed in combat gear, have been sent into the streets of Portland, Oregon against the wishes of local authorities. These agents display no identifying information and are taking citizens off the streets in unmarked cars to undisclosed locations. The agents are reporting to the Department of Homeland Security.
In a strong stand against such unbridled intervention, the House Appropriations Committee just approved a new Homeland Security Funding Bill.
The Oregon Attorney General has sued over the deployment of the federal agents and asked for a restraining order. The Trump administration is expressing disdain over the objections of local officials and publicity threatened to send more anonymous police into other Demcratic-led cities.
According to an interview on MSNBC (7/20/20) with Ryan Haas, Oregon Public Broadcasting:
Protestors are sometimes not even near federal property.
People are being taken in for questioning inside the federal courthouse.
Charges range from pointing something at federal officers, assault of federal officer, and defacing property.
The administration dismissed warnings of local officials that the actions of the federal agents is making the situation worse. In fact, that is likely exactly what they want. They are being sent into Democratic-run cities, generating conflict and confrontation with protestors, in order to scare the suburbs into thinking that violence is widespread and escalating.
DHS, therefore, has been transformed into a political arm for the Republican candidate.
The use of secret police is common in authoritarian governments, but again, as with all the moves toward authoritarian control in this country, the corporate media fails to sound the alarm and normalizes the activities. While they spend hours and hours talking about Trump’s psychology and dysfunctional family history, they have no commentators talking about the implications of using the federal government as instruments of political power. In addition, CNN, is blurring out the faces of the federal agents so that they can’t be recognized.
In another move common, indeed essential, to authoritarian leaders, Trump is installing loyalists to senior roles at the Pentagon. These toadies are being put in place as “acting” officials, thus skirting a Senate confirmation process. The administration just announced that they are assigning a 33-year-old White House chief technology officer to be the head of the research and engineering for the entire Department of Defense.
The man has a bachelor’s degree in political science and is replacing a man with a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.
The Trump administration is discussing installing a “Fox News regular” to be the Pentagon’s top policy official.
The assurance of loyalty and the elimination of expertise is essential to establishing authoritarian rule. We have seen this play out during the Trump administration in the State Department, the CDC, and now the Pentagon.
A discussion of politics, law, justice, and crime.