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Republican Party has ‘flat out lost its mind’


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#1841 LFC

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 12:03 PM

 golden_valley, on 14 September 2020 - 11:32 AM, said:

How do we fix an electorate that doesn't turn out to vote; that doesn't pay attention to what is happening; or if it pays attention, that treats politics as if it is either an evil thing or just something for their entertainment like football?

ETA: The House used its oversight duties to harass a presidential candidate and an Administration. How do you restore honor, respect, and a sense of duty to the American people in the elected that sit in Congress?

Maybe we need another World War to pull the nation together. Or perhaps a semi-hot class war. But as Ben Franklin supposedly said...

Posted Image
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1842 LFC

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 03:35 PM

Here's an interesting piece at TPM titled The Right’s Long War On Howard Zinn Reaches The White House. The war against facing up to the reality of American history is being waged by the "conservatives" which in this case means conserving a whitewashed history. Fortunately it seems like they aren't haven't a whole lot of success.

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“If you want to read a real history book,” Matt Damon’s character tells his therapist, played by Robin Williams, in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, “read Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States.’ That book will knock you on your ass.”

It is very unlikely that President Donald Trump knew who Howard Zinn was before he saw the name on his teleprompter. And it is even less likely that he’s read “A People’s History of the United States.” But that didn’t stop him from saying — at the White House Conference on American History on Thursday — that today’s “left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools. It’s gone on far too long. Our children are instructed from propaganda tracts, like those of Howard Zinn, that try to make students ashamed of their own history.”

During his tirade, Trump announced his intention to create a national commission to promote “patriotic education.” The goal is to encourage, perhaps even require, teachers to inculcate students with a version of history that views the U.S. as an exceptionally just and benevolent democracy. (Surely he didn’t mean teaching impressionable youngsters that “The Pledge of Allegiance” was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a socialist, or that “America the Beautiful” was penned the next year by poet Katherine Lee Bates, another socialist as well as a lesbian and ardent anti-imperialist.)

“We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms, and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country,” Trump said. “We want our sons and daughters to know that they are the citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.” If “ideological poison” such as Zinn is not removed from schools, Trump warned, “it will destroy our country.”

The conference, which was held at the National Archives and which had the markings of a bright idea by Trump’s propaganda czar Stephen Miller, included panelists who want American history teachers to avoid reference to the nation’s flaws. This was, in fact, how American history was typically taught in the 1950s and early 1960s, when textbooks presented a triumphalist, consensus-oriented, almost conflict-free view of the country’s past. These were the years when Trump was growing up and which he constantly idealizes as a golden age, when America was “great” — before the raucous 1960s arrived, disrupting it with protest movements against racism, militarism, and sexism.

But Trump and his allies are fighting an uphill battle. A Pew Research Center poll in late August found that 71% of Americans — including 87% of Biden supporters and 51% of Trump supporters — agree that “It makes the U.S. stronger when we acknowledge the country’s historical flaws.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1843 LFC

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 04:10 PM

Laws are for other people.

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A signature-gathering trainer for a Michigan group working to overturn Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic restrictions has been caught on camera advising the group’s supporters on how to break the law.

The Detroit Free Press, which obtained a copy of the video, reports that trainer Erik Tisinger instructed supporters for Unlock Michigan in assorted nefarious practices for illegally collecting signatures.

Among other things, Tisinger told Unlock Michigan backers that it is “super easy” to give misleading answers under oath if they’re compelled to testify by a court of law about their activities; that they could leave copies of their petitions with store clerks to collect signatures even though getting signatures without properly witnessing them would be illegal; and that they could trespass on private property to collect signatures even without business owners’ permission.
Defend democracy. Click to invest in courageous progressive journalism today.

In fact, the only tactic that Tisinger strictly advises trainees against doing is outright forging of signatures, but only because forging signatures is easy to detect.

“This can be a real shady job,” Tisinger tells the trainees in the video. “And when I say shady, I mean, people do all sorts of illegal sh*t all the time and never get caught. It’s really hard to get caught doing sh*t except for, like, forgeries.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1844 LFC

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 04:23 PM

Experts agree that the Republican Party less resembles the right-wing parties of other functional democracies and rather looks a lot more like those in political garden spots like Hungary and Turkey. In other words they resemble parties looking to destroy democracy in their nations.

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The Republican Supreme Court power grab after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death should be shocking, given the naked hypocrisy involved. The only reason it isn’t is that we’ve come to expect this from Republicans — and not just under Trump.

Republicans shut down the government in the 1990s and impeached President Bill Clinton over far less than what Trump has done in office. Under Obama, they fanned the flames of birtherism, held the global economy hostage to force spending cuts, and elevated obstructionism to the level of governing principle.

At the state level, they have rewritten electoral rules to block Democrats from voting and seized power from Democratic governors after they have won elections. Just this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed a bill that would effectively criminalize anti-police violence protests — and protect drivers who ran over protesters with their cars.

This kind of radicalism is not at all normal — at least, when compared to center-right parties in other advanced democracies.

Experts on comparative politics say the GOP is an extremist outlier, no longer belonging in the same conversation with “normal” right-wing parties like Canada’s Conservative Party (CPC) or Germany’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU). Instead, it more closely resembles more extreme right parties — like Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in Hungary or Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP in Turkey — that have actively worked to dismantle democracy in their own countries.

The Supreme Court saga can’t be considered in isolation. It is symptomatic of a profound brokenness in American politics, one party dragging us away from the developed-world political standards we aspire to and towards a fight over the most basic of democratic principles: whether power should be shared. And that’s a disaster for American democracy.

“The only way we move forward is when Republicans reform, and cease to be an increasingly authoritarian white nationalist party,” says Steven Levitsky, a Harvard professor and the co-author (with Daniel Ziblatt) of How Democracies Die.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1845 LFC

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 11:54 AM

A number of actual American patriots have created the Transition Integrity Project in response to Trump's lies and refusal to say he would accept any other outcome other than he won. The right-wingnuts, including border wall grifter Steve Bannon, are screeching that this is the Democrats' plan to execute a coup should Trump win or, in other words, do exactly what Trump is threatening out loud to do: refuse to accept the results of the election. "Every accusation is also a confession."

Here's the opener but the whole thing is seriously worth the read.

Quote

On the Sept. 3 episode of his show, The National Pulse, right-wing broadcaster Raheem Kassam acknowledged that he might be irritating his audience with his repeated references to a series of tabletop election simulations that happened in June.

“Transition Integrity Project: I know people are going to get bored of me saying that term between now and the election,” he said. “But this is everything right here, and it’s everything because they’ve given their playbook away.”

Kassam was right about one thing: Conservative news consumers have been absolutely bombarded with content about the Transition Integrity Project, or TIP.

In reality, TIP was basically Dungeons and Dragons for stressed out Beltway types: A series of election “war games” in which several bigshot politicos and media figures — including former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and former RNC chair Michael Steele — volunteered to game out what could happen in the event of various contested election scenarios. Instead of wizards and rogues, they played major presidential candidates, legislators, the media, the public and so on.

Why? Among other things, they were worried that the President would refuse to concede a failed campaign and instead cast any loss as fraudulent and invalid — as he has, in fact, since done repeatedly.

But Kassam, an early adopter of the conspiracy theory that TIP represented a coup attempt, had begun telling his readers and viewers in early August that TIP was yet another “globalist front” full of A-list bogeymen. And rank-and-file right-wingers have responded to the conspiracy hype, threatening participants in the project and preparing their own responses to an imaginary Democratic coup attempt.

In the extended universe of the emerging conspiracy theory, George Soros was represented because TIP co-founder Rosa Brooks, a law professor and former Pentagon official, used to serve as a board member at Soros’ Open Society Foundations. TIP’s other co-founder, Nils Gilman, is a vice president at the Berggruen Institute, and the organization’s focus on China makes it a target for the fever swamp. There were plenty of Bush and Obama administration staffers involved in the project as well, rounding out the group’s Deep State credentials.

As Alex Jones’ site InfoWars — another early adopter of the conspiracy theory — asserted on Aug. 3, TIP was an effort “to formulate how to overthrow Donald Trump if he’s reelected.” Now, Trump’s recently indicted former campaign chairman, Steve Bannon, has picked up the thread as well, going so far as to launch a speaking tour promoting Democrats’ plan to steal the election.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1846 LFC

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 04:57 PM

I hadn't been to TAC for a bit and wanted to see if they covered the debate. (They didn't really. The have a podcast that doesn't interest me and they have one article called First Debate Full of Missed Opportunities for Biden because of course this is what we learned from that shitshow.)

But one of the top articles was by Rod "Professional Panicked Victim" Dreher. He makes the case that America is marching toward totalitarianism and guess which one is the offending side? Yes he throws a few bones to reality but he really believes that the "elites" in universities and now in business are coming for him and his ilk and they will crush them. It's a longish read but I recommend it if you want to understand right-wing victim mentality at its most pathetic.

FYI it's actually a longish post because he has all sorts of history as he seems to avoid the punchline (AAAAHHHH!!! SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS WILL LOCK US UP!!!) but this is actually one of his go-to techniques. And of course, Nazis.

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What does contemporary America have in common with pre-Nazi Germany and pre-Soviet Russia? Arendt’s analysis found a number of social, political, and cultural conditions that tilled the ground for those nations to welcome poisonous ideas.


This snippet was particularly amusing. First there isn't a hint of a clue that the right-wingers aided by the Republican Party have been at war with institutions that did not help them retain power. The business model of Faux News and its copy-cats literally depends upon attacking any and all independent institutions.

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Losing Faith in Hierarchies and Institutions

Surveying the political scene in Germany during the 1920s, Arendt noted a “terrifying negative solidarity” among people from diverse classes, united in their belief that all political parties were populated by fools. Likewise, in late imperial Russia, Marxist radicals finally gained traction with the middle class when the Tsarist government failed miserably to deal with a catastrophic 1891-92 famine.

Are we today really so different? According to Gallup, Americans’ confidence in their institutions—political, media, religious, legal, medical, corporate—is at historic lows across the board. Only the military, the police, and small businesses retain the strong confidence of over 50 percent. Democratic norms are under strain in many industrialized nations, with the support for mainstream parties of left and right in decline.

In Europe of the 1920s, says Arendt, the first indication of the coming totalitarianism was the failure of established parties to attract younger members, and the willingness of the passive masses to consider radical alternatives to discredited establishment parties.

A loss of faith in democratic politics is a sign of a deeper and broader instability. As radical individualism has become more pervasive in our consumerist-driven culture, people have ceased to look outside themselves to religion or other traditional sources of authoritative meaning.

But this imposes a terrible psychological burden on the individual. Many of them may seek deliverance as the alienated masses of pre-totalitarian Germany and Russia did: in the certainties and solidarity offered by totalitarian movements.

I have no idea who Hannah Arendt is but she clearly doesn't grasp which U.S. political party attracts more younger members. Kind of a red flag disqualifying mistake if you ask me. As for religion as a driving force in totalitarianism well Dreher need look no further than his buddy, the dictator of Hungary. The use of religion to create his totalitarian society is critical. It was for Hitler and Mussolini too. And now Trump? Religion in and of itself is an awful tool for holding off strongmen. The skillful wield it as a weapon.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1847 LFC

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 11:12 AM

TAC has another shrill, screeching piece about how America is in danger from a socialist revolution circa Russia 1917. (No, not Dreher.) The complete and total inability of America's "conservatives" to see their own side with clear eyes never ceases to amaze me. The litany of anti-democratic maneuvers continues to pile up and at an ever faster rate in the past 4 years. Votes are suppressed, the imperial presidency is pushed to the limit, the courts are being packed, almost no governance is occurring, unidentified federal police troops are sent to attack peaceful protesters, people are grabbed and jailed without charges, an entire political party now uses "alternative facts", they have an entire propaganda arm in the media, they have blatantly teamed up with Putin to influence elections, and on and on.

Meanwhile there are PC liberals in some universities and a number of companies are saying you need to understand the history of whites vs. blacks and men vs. women in terms of advantage and discrimination / harassment. Yeah, they're the real threat to America. Not Moscow Mitch, Leningrad Lindsey, Trump, Barr, and the rest of the crew.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1848 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 12:00 PM

 LFC, on 01 October 2020 - 04:57 PM, said:

I have no idea who Hannah Arendt is but she clearly doesn't grasp which U.S. political party attracts more younger members.

https://en.wikipedia...i/Hannah_Arendt -- please note that she died in 1975, so anything of hers that someone takes as contemporary commentary needs to be seen in light of more analysis than a sound bite.
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#1849 LFC

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:03 PM

This is from a friend.

Quote

A friend of mine for College who spent 20 years lobbying in Washington for his defense related company told me that Kevin McCarthy is actually the dumbest human. "He's got one or two more brain-cells than is needed to maintain basic metabolic functions."

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1850 baw1064

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:21 PM

Has he met Devin Nunes, though?
“We are happy to announce that the health of the President is decidedly better, the disease with which he was afflicted having assumed a more favorable aspect.”

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#1851 LFC

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:29 PM

 baw1064, on 03 October 2020 - 07:21 PM, said:

Has he met Devin Nunes, though?

Or Louie Gohmert. It was in response to a post about Matt Gaetz. So much stupid to pick from.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1852 LFC

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 02:34 PM

Chris Christie. I hope this disease savages your body. You earned it.

Posted Image
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1853 LFC

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 06:49 PM

The intellectual wing of the GOP strikes again.

Quote

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a symbolic bill committing its members to the peaceful transfer of power after the upcoming election – but while 397 members voted for it, 5 Republicans voted no.

The vote came on the same day as Donald Trump’s first TV debate with Joe Biden, during which the president not only refused to guarantee an orderly transition but also declined to disavow white supremacy, while also telling the violent Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”.

The legislation as written reaffirms “the House of Representatives' commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States”. Of the House’s 435 voting members, 397 voted to back it; many others were unable to vote or abstained.

However, taking a stand against the bill were five Republicans: Florida’s Matt Gaetz, Texas’s Louie Gohmert, Louisiana’s Clay Higgins, Iowa’s Steve King and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1854 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 12:59 AM

View PostLFC, on 04 October 2020 - 06:49 PM, said:

The intellectual wing of the GOP strikes again.

Quote

However, taking a stand against the bill were five Republicans: Florida’s Matt Gaetz, Texas’s Louie Gohmert, Louisiana’s Clay Higgins, Iowa’s Steve King and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie.


Three of those names were no surprise even to (not especially well informed) me. And all the states except Iowa.
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#1855 LFC

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 08:59 AM

View PostRich T Bikkies, on 05 October 2020 - 12:59 AM, said:

And all the states except Iowa.

On the upside Steve King lost his primary in Iowa so the most overtly racist member of Congress is going away.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1856 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 09:10 AM

View PostLFC, on 05 October 2020 - 08:59 AM, said:

On the upside Steve King lost his primary in Iowa so the most overtly racist member of Congress is going away.

Let me guess: to be replaced by an even more overt racist.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#1857 LFC

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 09:48 AM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 05 October 2020 - 09:10 AM, said:

Let me guess: to be replaced by an even more overt racist.

Nah, that one backfired a bit. Apparently losing his seat on the Agriculture Committee as a Rep in Iowa is a political death sentence. Judging from how long King has been an overt racist but without making national news about it I'd say that quiet racism is just fine in that district. It IS, after all, Trump country.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1858 LFC

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 11:11 AM

Steve Bannon has connections with an advertising agency that may or may not even actually exist which is wound up with a company that is in trouble for suckering older conservatives ("white" is implied) by getting them to invest their savings in highly overpriced gold, sold at up 300% of market price. The article is a little long but you really have to go through it all to see just how slimy a web of bullshit companies has been made. I have no problems believing that Bannon decided to get in on this scam. After all the Wall scam had a limited shelf-life. Scamming old, frightened, right-winger is perpetual.

Quote

When former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s nonprofit sought to restore an American golden age, it turned to a company with connections to a consortium that allegedly strip-mined the retirement accounts of elderly conservatives, The Daily Beast has discovered.

Bannon’s “economic nationalist” group Citizens of the American Republic hired the Wyoming-based firm Platinum Advertising Corporation in 2018 to handle its “websites/social media,” Internal Revenue Service records show. A tangle of corporate and legal documents ties Platinum Advertising to TMTE Inc.—a precious metal dealer accused on Friday of fraudulently extracting $185 million from senior citizens by selling them overpriced bullion.

The massive joint action the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission and 30 states announced against TMTE alleged that the Los Angeles-based company had suckered 1,600 mostly silver-haired victims into sinking their life savings into precious metals sold at up to 300 percent of their market value. The charges are familiar to anybody who has followed the long trail of news reports and regulatory actions describing how TMTE—which has variously used the monikers Access Unlimited, TEM, Chase Metals, and Metals.com—cashed in on the right-wing paranoia of the Trump era.

Even prior to the CFTC-led case on Friday, a dozen states, including Alabama and Kentucky, had accused TMTE of posing as an investment adviser and bilking senior citizens of their assets. Articles in Quartz last year detailed how the company used a combination of politically themed Facebook ads, talk radio spots, misleading websites, and high-pressure telephone sales tactics to target right-leaning, Fox News-viewing retirees and convince them to purchase gold and silver at hugely inflated rates. These efforts often involved overt biblical appeals, or echoed the rhetoric of President Donald Trump and Republican pundits by invoking the threat “liberals” and the “Deep State” supposedly posed to the economy and to the victims’ personal finances.

“Metals[.com] reached potential investors through advertisements on Facebook, conservative talk radio show, and conservative-leaning financial newsletters,” Colorado Securities Commissioner Tung Chan told The Daily Beast. “They targeted these ads at potential investors at or near retirement age with conservative political leanings.”

These echo findings in Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada that TMTE relied on ominous advertising, “scare tactics,” and “misstatements and omitted information” to sell marked-up coins to vulnerable people aged 60 and up. Despite signing multiple cease-and-desist deals and disgorging millions of dollars, TMTE has publicly denied ever committing fraud.

Citizens of the American Republic’s bank-shot association with TMTE, which has never before been revealed, is just the latest problematic partnership for Bannon, who was caught up in a two-count federal indictment alleging fraud at a separate nonprofit, We Build the Wall, Inc. But the ties between the former Breitbart chairman and TMTE are less direct and more complex than his relationship to the alleged private border wall grifting operation.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1859 LFC

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 11:32 AM

Project Veritas is still alive and unwell. Here's another "Bargain-Bin James Bond." They sure do attract the crazy and incompetent.

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As far as spy names go, “James Fortune” sounds like a bargain-bin Bond, something out of a lazily-written pulp novel. So of course when Project Veritas tried to infiltrate several progressive groups in North Carolina, the right-wing pseudo-journalism outfit sent in a guy with the fakest possible nom de guerre, only to see Fortune undone by his own hubris—and a killer bout of seasickness.

Far from being a suave super-spy, Fortune was really just a mindfulness-loving Crossfit bro from NYC, a long-time member of Project Veritas cosplaying his way through another operation. In that, he was like several “undercover journalists” in recent months, executing James O’Keefe’s vision for undermining faith in our voting processes and generally doing their best to help Donald Trump win re-election. Oh, and doing it with the help of white supremacists.

Project Veritas continues to attract attention because they're able to pitch themselves as old-school reporters—watchdogs who simply want transparency in government. But, as the case of "James Fortune" shows, they're more often than not right-wing partisans, executing clumsy stings and producing journalism that's questionable, at best. And yet Veritas' "investigations" are still being cited by Republican politicians, all the way up to the president, most recently to push the conspiracy theory that rampant voter fraud is going to corrupt the 2020 election. Knowing who's behind these undercover operations helps the public assess how seriously—or not—to take Veritas' purported revelations.

As embarrassingly detailed in an expose by NC Policy Watch, James Fortune presented himself as the operator of Equality Gym in New York City. (As if the name weren’t already a bad parody of liberal wokeness, Equality Gym’s Twitter avatar featured two sweaty men, one White and one Black, clasping hands triumphantly.) Fortune claimed that he wanted to open a new gym in North Carolina.

More importantly, he wanted to donate $20,000 to worthy local causes. He contacted Common Cause of North Carolina, the North Carolina Black Alliance, and other progressive and voter-education groups. According to people who met with him, he asked naive, even leading, questions about what his money could do. He tried to recommend his “proteges” for jobs, and awkwardly touted his lefty credentials. He described how fitness had given direction to his life, and how his ex-girlfriend, a Colombian social worker in Queens, had helped him really understand the plight of Latinx people in the United States.

“This guy just seemed odd,” says Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause. “He’s just come in from nowhere; now he’s talking about giving me $10,000, and he wants to start something—a gym—which at the time was prohibited at the time because of COVID.” Philips notes that Fortune never seemed to spend any time scouting locations for his planned gym.

Fortune’s bumbling soon had people suspecting an ulterior motive. He kept asking about activities that would violate election laws; in hindsight, his supposed mentees look an awful lot like potential infiltrators he hoped to place in targeted organizations.

His biggest mistake came when he talked his way onto a fishing trip with one of the targeted groups, claiming to be a hardened deep sea fisherman. Out on the ocean, he became profoundly seasick and spent the next 12 hours either throwing up or sleeping. Soon after—but not before his activities had been reported to the authorities—the man himself cut off contact. Twitter DMs, emails, phone—nothing.

James Fortune was in the wind.

But the would-be super-spy wasn’t hard to find. After being shown photos of him, four people targeted by James Fortune in North Carolina confirmed he is actually James Lalino, a 35-year-old living in New York City. He’s active in local Republican politics; according to a bio with the Gertrude & Morrison Parker West Side Republican Club, where he’s listed as a board member, Lalino “became a Republican at the age of 25 when he realized that progressive policies lead to social decay.” (James Lalino did not respond to requests for comment delivered via email, phone call, and text message. Project Veritas did not respond to emailed requests for comment.)

A lighting assistant by trade, Lalino’s IMDB credits include Now You See Me, the Jesse Eisenberg illusionist-caper movie, and While We're Young, the very Noah Baumbach film about aging, idealism, and holding on to your dreams. In another online bio he describes himself as “a veteran film industry lighting technician by day and political communications upstart by night.”

That’s likely a coy allusion to his long association with Project Veritas. According to internal documents and sources close to the group, Lalino is code-named “Lefty,” and can often be glimpsed in the group’s videos. That’s him ambushing CNN’s Jeff Zucker and Steve Brush on the sidewalk late last year; he’s there again, briefly appearing in a beard and sunglasses, staking out a South Carolina parking lot to pounce on members of the Sanders campaign during the Democratic primaries. Project Veritas documents show he worked on Gold Mine, the group’s mostly fruitless attempt to infiltrate Democratic primary campaigns and produce embarrassing videos about the candidates. (“Lefty” had the unfortunate luck of being assigned to Beto O'Rourke and Eric Swalwell’s doomed presidential bids.)

Lalino’s slim online trail reveals that, when not indulging in right-wing skulduggery, he’s apparently an active Crossfitter, working out at a gym in NYC’s Upper East Side; he’s dedicated enough that when in Rome in 2017, he dropped by a local Crossfit gym.

Far from being only a gym rat, though, the man who would be James Fortune also cultivates a life of mindfulness. A biography published on Community of Mindfulness New York Metro describes Lalino as a solo traveler on a cross-country train through France, when a kindly stranger introduced him to the work of Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese monk and mindfulness guru. He seemingly recommended the convenient, pocket-sized edition of Hahn’s teachings on Goodreads, and attended meetings of a meditation group dedicated to Hahn's teachings.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#1860 LFC

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 02:14 PM

QAnon continues its weird obsession with pedophilia. The all too correct "every accusation is also a confession" is really creeping me out right now.

Quote

As they’ve done numerous times during his Presidency, believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory have taken President Donald Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19 as yet another sign that he will imminently announce the mass arrests of scores of elite “deep state” pedophiles.

Rather than assuming that Trump had actually been struck by the virus, which has infected more than 7 million people in the United States, QAnon believers have asserted online — yet again — that Trump has really been busy carrying out a key element of the conspiracy theory: mass arrests of Trump’s political enemies. Or, as Q adherents call it, “the storm.”

“Deep down [they] know this is their biggest nightmare come true,” wrote one QAnon-oriented Twitter account on Friday. “He isn’t sick, he is about to unleash the greatest military operation in the history of mankind.”

The post was retweeted nearly five thousand times. On Sunday, the same account speculated that “if he is already returning to the White House soon then the operations went very smoothly.”

As PolitiFact detailed separately, several QAnon believers asserted that Trump was really on Air Force One, rather than Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Some speculated that Trump’s recently deceased brother, Robert, had in fact faked his own death and was now acting as Trump’s body double.

NBC News’ Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, close observers of the QAnon movement, reported that “elated” QAnon followers reacted to the President’s hospitalization with “near-universal celebration.”

The expansive conspiracy theory, which holds that Trump is battling behind the scenes against a satanic, pedophilic cabal that runs Washington, has exploded in popularity in recent weeks. That comes with political power: Recently, 17 Republicans and 1 independent in the House of Representatives voted against a resolution condemning QAnon.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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