get ready… (updated)

…to marvel at the difference between the way the right wing will milk this morning’s shooting of GOP majority whip Steve Scalise for every scrap of hostility against “the left”, compared to their intense resistance to “politicizing” the Gabby Giffords shooting back in 2011 (and that’s just one example).

This story is actually developing faster than I can keep up, but Giffords, along with with 13 others (6 dead including one child) was shot by Jared Lee Loughner, a mentally ill young man whose inner demons, judging from his online utterances immediately prior to the attack, were  clearly activated by the  politically shrill  Tea Party rhetoric of the time.

It now seems that Scalise was shot (wounded in the hip apparently, there are no reports of fatalities as I write this, but there are other gunshot wounds) by one James T. Hodgkinson, a 66 year-old with a twitter profile suggesting he’s a Bernie Sanders’ fan with hostility toward Donald Trump.

There is at least one report already—from Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)— suggesting that today’s shooter asked if the people practicing on the baseball field “were Democrats or Republicans” prior to the shooting;

“There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there,” DeSantis said. “It was just a little odd, and then he kind of walked toward the area where all this happened.”

The Florida Republican said the man was not carrying anything when he spoke to him, but DeSantis believes he fired the shots a short time later.

Ten will get you twenty that this is just the beginning, and that we’ll now see a full court press not only to utterly “politicize” this, but to turn it into as much of a Reichstag moment as possible.

It’s already starting, in fact, with reports popping up all over the place about Kellyanne Conway already pushing the DeSantis angle, and, just for good measure, there’s  Uday Trump, or maybe it’s Qusay, already blaming it on that Shakespeare in the Park thing.

This will suck all the air out of the Russian inquiry balloon for days at least, if not weeks.

And let’s get one more thing straight while we here, because I’ve actually lost count of how often we’ve seen it happen now.

If this situation was reversed, and some nutter shot up a bunch of Democrats, or even children in their damn classroom, the “false flag” narratives would already be so thick right in the air right now it would be hard to see daylight between them.

Shooting people is never good, but the fallout from this particular example is going to be especially not good.

Update #1

Like the title of the piece says, get ready….

Here’s a local example courtesy of Colorado Pols blog, by way of an email sent by the peaceful and thoughtful Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who is absolutely not trying to get any mileage out of this;

Unruly protesters trashing Civic Center Park and clashing with cops in the streets.
Mock beheadings of President Trump by Kathy Griffin.
And now an ASSASSINATION attempt on Republican lawmakers!
The hate-inspired violent rhetoric against conservatives and Republicans was already at an all-time fever pitch before today, but now it just got very real.
The left is out of control. Their violent actions are un-American, and it needs to stop! … Frankly, I lay the blame squarely at the feet of “tolerance-preaching progressives” and their accomplices in the media who allowed violent rhetoric to get so out of control.

There’s plenty more, including the obligatory “socialist piece of trash”, but what’s to be done?
Glad you asked;

First, join me in praying for a speedy recovery for Congressman Scalise and the staff and law enforcement who were wounded in today’s attack.
Second, join me in calling on the media to denounce horrific attacks like this and to call for an end to the violent political rhetoric on the left that they’ve inspired.

Sounds good. That it?
Well no, not quite;

Finally, if you can, please show us that you’re not backing down by chipping-in $50 or $25 to Colorado Liberty PAC today so we can retake the State House in 2018. Your contribution today will help us advance our conservative values through passionate and peaceful civil discourse that makes our country great.

Pig Ignorant Toddler in the White House Hits New Low

The Mayor of London made a statement this morning :

“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.”

The London police stopped the terrorist attack last night, by killing all three  of  the perps only eight minutes after the attack started.

Donald Trump’s response?  Read it and weep:

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'”

Where’s there Muck there’s Money (Donald J Trump)

Oh, just let’s post the outrage!

To help, here are what seem to be the more egregious misstatements, misunderstandings, maybe even, dare I say, ‘fake facts’ from the ‘Fuck You, World’ speech. Don’t ask me to fact check any of them, life is just too short:

“So we’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”

“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. [I can find nothing directly about the Paris Accord’s impact on their website, or anything much on climate change. Only a pretty ordinary piece on carbon trading back in 2009.]

“This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need. Believe me, this is not what we need — including automobile jobs and the further decimation of vital American industries on which countless communities rely — they rely for so much, and we would be giving them so little.

“According to the same study, by 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following sectors: paper, down 12 percent; cement, down 23 percent; iron and steel, down 38 percent; coal, and I happen to love the coal miners, down 86 percent; natural gas, down 31 percent.

The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have 7,000 less income, and in many cases, much worse than that.”

“. . .under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years, 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

“the agreement. . . just transfers those [coal] jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries. [The Chinese and Indians ship out the mines and mountain tops as well as the jobs, I presume?] 14 days of carbon emissions from China alone would wipe out the gains from America and this is an incredible statistic – would totally wipe out the gains from America’s expected reductions in the year 2030. After we have had to spend billions and billions of dollars, lost jobs, closed factories and suffered much higher energy costs for our businesses and for our homes.”

“The green fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close. Most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. . .[?]

“We’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars and we’re already way ahead of anybody else. Many of the other countries haven’t spent anything. And many of them will never pay one dime.

“The same nations asking us to stay in the agreement are the countries that have collectively cost America trillions of dollars through tough trade practices and in many cases lax contributions to our critical military alliance. You see what’s happening. It’s pretty obvious to those that want to keep an open mind.”

And the bit I particularly like for a good giggle:

“At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?. . . We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore, and they won’t be. They won’t be.” 

Sure about that Mr President?

(Both the G7 [-1], the NATO meeting and especially Macron’s trial-of-strength handshake really did get to him, didn’t they?)

 

and so it begins…

It was inevitable, of course, and we’ve been predicting it here for months and months.

Here’s Multnomah County GOP chair James Buchal (Portland, Oregon is in Multnomah County) talking about the current state of affairs after that White Supremacist and Trump fanboy slit a couple of people’s throats the other day;

For those of you who have never met any of these fucking muppets, these are Oath Keepers and this is what they look like. In jurisdictions where open carry is permitted, they wander around looking just exactly like this.

“I am sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there,” he said. “And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.”

Asked if this meant Republicans making their own security arrangements rather than relying on city or state police, Buchal said: “Yeah. And there are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.”

Now James Buchal is not what you’d call a high level official, but calls like this have to start somewhere.

More important though is that outfits like the Oath Keepers don’t need much in the way of encouragement anyway, they’re the kind of folks who’ve been showing up, without any invitation at all, at public functions (outdoor summer music events, community BBQ’s, Thursday night “music in the park” concerts- that kind of thing) around my neighborhood for a few years now, strutting around with serious faces in their Oath Keeper tee shirts and hats.  And visibly armed to the teeth. (As a side note, these fucking muppets are the primary reason I now don’t go anywhere around here without carrying a gun. Sooner or later a confrontation is inevitable, and, having thought it over many many times, I’ve concluded I’m not willing to be bullied, no matter the cost.)

Here’s the thing, though. Once a public official makes a statement like Buchal just did, it more or less ensures that these kinds of whackos will show up. They will consider it an invitation, which of course is exactly what it is, albeit a deniable one.

Now I don’t recall the current status of the gun laws in Oregon generally or Multnomah County and urban Portland particularly, but I suspect they are somewhat more restrictive than they are here. Oregon certainly doesn’t have reciprocal recognition of a Colorado (or any other) concealed carry permit, which makes them 1 of the only 12 states which don’t, and that suggests gaggles of Oath Keepers won’t be permitted to parade around with firearms on display as they can in so many other places. But they’ll show up anyway, and most of them are pretty big guys with military or law enforcement training who make special efforts to be visually intimidating. And the guns will be in the trunk of the car, parked nearby, we can be quite sure of that.

So, friends and neighbors, this is how it starts. With a mealy-mouthed suggestion that “private security forces” are necessary to “take back” the public square from the evil forces which have taken it over;

“Yeah. We’re thinking about that. Because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.”

Oh my! Can’t imagine where anyone could have picked up an idea like that, can you?

And this from people who don’t even believe in the idea of public space, but that’s a discussion for another day, maybe.

really?

OK, I don’t get it. Help me out here.

  • Wonder Boy is now alleged to have had a fireside chat or two with some Russian operative, Kislyak or something, about the possibility of setting up a “back channel” of communications between Der Führer’s administration and the Kremlin.  Using Russian security infrastructure to do so, apparently.
  • Kislyak then reported these conversations back to head office via communication channels which were monitored by US intelligence and that’s how, the narrative goes, we found out about it.
  • That intercepted intelligence was then “leaked” to the press.

All right, for the purposes of this discussion let’s start from there.

Upon scanning a few news interviews with various inside-the-beltway talking heads (congresspeople, security “experts”, retired intel operatives and so on) I notice the occasional interviewer asking the question I would have asked too; are the Russians  just blowing smoke up everyone’s ass?

That’s not how they ask it, more’s the pity, but that’s pretty much what they mean.

The responses, uniformly, run something like this; “Well, the Russians are sophisticated and tricky, so anything’s possible, but it’s hard to see why they would wish to discredit an administration they helped install and from which they hope to extract a variety of advantageous policies going forward”

And this is where I get a brain freeze.  What if it’s not about the shorter-term game of discrediting the administration, but a longer game of discrediting the media?  You know, that “enemy of the people”?

I have no idea what the Russians think, but first of all this guy Kislyak is no novice in the covert ops game, so he has to know that the comm channels he used to report the alleged chats with Wonder Boy were monitored.  And if he knew that, then we must conclude that he chose those channels (rather than something more secure) because they would be intercepted.

So if the reports of Wonder Boy trying to establish a back channel are indeed fictional (I’m not arguing he’s not dumb enough to try it, because I’m sure he is, as is Der Führer, but that’s a different discussion), the Russians now just have to sit back and wait for the leak. If it doesn’t come, they can arrange one simply enough.

The payoff, after a few weeks of headlines above the fold, is that ultimately the whole narrative about back channels is revealed to be bogus. Either the meetings didn’t happen as reported, or the topic of back channels was never broached.

So what we have now is—altogether now, a-one-and-a-two-and-a—FAKE NEWS!

Ta-daa!

The media with egg all over their faces by playing right into The Donald’s fake news sand trap.

Apologies and retractions galore! Resignations!! More agitation to “do something” about out-of-control-journalism (can’t ever have too much of that, right?).

More fuel to the fire of the “sabotage by the deep state” narrative.

A perfect storm, really.

If that’s not the longer-range goal, and the narrative about back channels and Wonder Boy is not bogus and those conversations really did happen,  how do we explain why Kislyak reported back via channels that he simply had to know were not secure?

 

Update; I see now that Senator Lindsay Graham Senatorette Huckleberry Closetcase (R-Possum Holler) is now advancing the same argument as the one I’m making here, except he doesn’t seem to connect the dots to a possible outcome which would help Trump advance his victimhood narrative.

Lonely at the Top?

Another President whose hand is spurned by his wife . . .

 

Well, you know the bits about ‘Good job, Rodrigo, illegally killing 10,000 Filipinos’, the Mad Korean and the leaky nuclear subs. But it’s worth pondering a moment or two on that chat between Clown Donald and D30. It’s quite revealing.

(I’ve edited it to shorten it, otherwise it’s as the transcript. My emphases and occasional notes of course.)

This is how diplomacy is conducted, and how a crisis is managed when you have a president moping around a big empty house on his own bored with watching the telly and looking for a bit of company because his wife’s left him and there’s no-one to talk to because even Hope Hicks has gone home to find better things to do.

29 April 2017 10pm

POTUS:
Okay I hope its not too late? Its okay isn’t it? Is it too late?

PRRD
No its okay we are just having dinner with some of the members of ASEAN.
. . .
Oh ok good because I know you don’t sleep much, you’re just like me. You are not a person who goes to bed at all I know that, right?
. . .[Trump clearly either doesn’t know or doesn’t care what ASEAN is]. . .
I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.  Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that. [He’s just read that on Breitbart? Or seen something on Fox?]
. . .
So how is everyone doing, how is the Phls doing? [Finishing an ASEAN conference with a dinner, actually.]
. . .
What’s your opinion of him [Kim Jong Un] Rodrigo? Are we dealing with someone who stable or not stable?

PRRD
He is not stable, Mr President . . .he is laughing always and there’s a dangerous toy in his hands. . .

POTUS
. . .What do you think about China? Does China have power over him? [He has to ask that? He’s just spent two days with the Chinese president three weeks before!]

PRRD
. . .the ace has to be with China. . .He is playing with bombs. . .his mind is not working well and he might just go crazy one moment. China should make a last ditch effort to tell him to lay off. . .

POTUS
We have a lot of firepower over there. We have two submarines—the best in the world—we have two nuclear submarines not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but he could be crazy so we will see what happens.
. . .
I hope China solves the problem. . .They are doing certain things, like not accepting calls [coal? Or are they really not accepting Trump’s calls? Or Kim’s?]. But if China doesn’t do it, we will do it.

PRRD
I will try to make a call to President Xi and I will try to tell him that if we will remain to be peaceful, China has the card. The other option is a nuclear blast which is not good for everybody.

POTUS
You can tell him I am counting on him. I have a very good relationship with him. I had him in Florida for two days and got to know him well. He is a good guy.

PRRD
I will do that. . .

POTUS
We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 but we don’t want to use it. . . Please call China and tell them we are all counting on China. Tell the President—we became friends for two days—he was great.

On another subject I am coming to see you I guess sometime.

PRRD
November hopefully. . .

POTUS
Thank you Mr President. You are a good man. Yes, certainly in November. . .Rodrigo, look forward to seeing you. If you want to come to the Oval Office, I will love to have you in Oval office. Anytime you want to come. . . anytime if you are in DC or anywhere, come see me in the Oval Office. Work it out with your staff. Seriously, if you want to come over, just let us know.

PRRD
. . It is the last day of the ASEAN summit and everyone was asking. . .I will tell the remaining guys here what you told me. [Trump entirely deaf to hint.]

POTUS
Goodbye take care of yourself, come see me before November, you are invited anytime. . . Take care of yourself Rodrigo. God bless you.

This is the sort of person you know who calls you up at awkward hours for nothing, and whom, when you see the caller’s number, you don’t answer. . .

 

Der Führer visits middle earth

Just some Sauron impersonator and a handful of misogynist rich bullies laying their hands on some kind of glowing ball.

Probably nothing to worry about, right?

Melancholia, the stone-faced East European hooker with only one client who is now first-something-or-other, would seem to be genuinely transfixed however.

I have no fucking idea what’s going on here, or who all those people are, or where they are, or what the hell that orb thingy is all about, but it seems pretty clear The House of Saud took no time at all to figure out that if you give Der Führer something shiny, preferably made of gold, then hang it around his neck and tell him what a yuuuuge improvement he is over that nasty black guy who came before him and who definitely was not given a lovely necklace like that, well, he can be talked into all kinds of weird shit.

And if you ask nicely you’ll get a crapton of brand-new gee-whiz weapons at a reduced price as a bonus.

Oh, and a lovely speech which doesn’t call anyone any nasty names.

Meanwhile, back here in the US we’ll get a bunch of talking-heads on the Teevee (Bob Schieffer, today, on CBS just as one example) babbling once again about how “presidential” you sound.

I suppose, here and there, there just might be some cause for hope, but sometimes you gotta wonder, you really do.

Events, dear boy, events. . .

Obviously, everybody will be aware the British NHS has been crippled by a ransomware attack. The NHS being practically the British equivalent of the American Constitution (mess with it at your electoral peril) it’ll be interesting to see what impact this is going to have on the election.

As usual, we have had a pretty pathetic and pig-ignorant response from our Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who appeared to be congratulating herself on the fact that the hackers did not get access to any patient records. Unfortunately, of course, after about lunchtime on Friday, neither did NHS doctors, nurses or support staff. . .Her and Mrs May’s inevitable deflection—”It wasn’t our fault, it’s happened to lots of people”— might not go down too well either. OK, so Nissan, Telefonica, whoever, got clobbered too. But it happened to the NHS.

What we do know, is that while much of the NHS is relying on old Windows
OS and software*, it was this government that cancelled a deal with Microsoft to keep up support at a cost of a mere £5 million or so a year. . .and the Tories have wasted billions over the years paying certain software companies to develop systems for the NHS that didn’t work, and turned out to be a form of  ‘ransomware’ themselves. (We’ll get it fixed for another $20 million this year . . .and . . .again next year . . .)

Whatever, it means that for at least a week, the NHS could well be top of the political agenda again.  And, in politics speak, the Tories have ‘ownership’ of the disaster. And, unexpectedly, it’s not the Russians interfering with the election. . .though I bet Rudd and May are wishing it was.

* Funnily enough I’ve had the odd casual conversation about this in the hospital I go to, off and on over the last year or so, after I raised my eyebrows a bit at seeing what was on the screen. . .Most staff, I think, just despair. But of course, there are reasons. Much of the software might well start off-the-shelf, but it gets adapted and re-formulated.

I’ve been very annoyed with the usual fatuous ‘technical reporters’ who’ve kept saying for hours ‘If only they’d all installed Microsoft’s last patch  . . . or if they’d all upgraded their OS . . . it would never have happened. It’s all free, after all.”

We all know that’s not so easy, and it isn’t usually ‘free’. (£5 million a year to Microsoft for a start.) ‘Upgrade’ your OS, and ten to one you are going to have to buy in (again!) the latest version of a lot of the software you’ve been using; pay for umpteen licences, and ten-to-one it’s not going to behave quite the same way, or possibly not at all.

(My own hospital—I was there on Friday when this kicked off—didn’t get caught, but like most others, has effectively taken its systems off-line for the weekend. Interestingly, some departments there must use Macs as well: when I got a copy of my last [ever!] MRI scan, I was asked if I wanted it to run on Windows or Mac . . .It runs on a little stand-alone Mac program I’ve never seen before.)