Thursday, August 27, 2020

Trump fans the flames of violence, yet calls himself the law and order president updated

Update September 24, 2020: Trump himself is threatening insurrection, refusing to commit to a peaceful transition to power if he loses the election.https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-54274115 This advocate of law and order is threatening violence. What is he planning to do? Summon his armed militias, unleash his "federal troops" a la Portland? Call for violent demonstrations by the right-wing advocates of violence and civil war? Then what. This may fit under the category of insurrection and the military may see this as intervening, not as intervening in domestic politics but permitted under their charge to intervene in an armed insurrection. with case law.case law defining what it is.: Insurrection means “a violent uprising by a group or movement acting for the specific purpose of overthrowing the constituted government and seizing its powers. An insurrection occurs where a movement acts to overthrow the constituted government and to take possession of its inherent powers.” [Younis Bros. & Co. v. Cigna Worldwide Ins. Co., 899 F. Supp. 1385, 1392-1393 (E.D. Pa. 1995)]"

The Senate immediately passed a resolution upholding peaceful transition with a unanimous vote and a rebuke to Trump immediate and clear, though his name was not in the resollution.  For that we can be grateful, but what say the rest of the GOP?

August 31, Biden: " I want to make it absolutely clear, so I’m going to be very clear about all of this, rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites, destroys businesses, only hurts the working families that serve the community. It makes things worse across the board, not better."  

If you like the violent protests and racial strife, elect Trump and you will have four more years of it. August 27, 2020 This an update reflecting Biden's excellent response to the fear and loathing mongering of the Republican National Convention and reposting of an earlier blog post that tracks this theme of Trump promoting violence to use it as a political fear tool, and Biden's response to it.   Note the consistency and it should come as no surprise that is what they are up to. Biden needs to turn back a use Trump's words and deeds, not just once as he did today, but again, and again, and again.  Biden called out Trump for rooting for violence, not less, and pouring gasoline on the flames.  It is a powerful retort as Trump plays on the theme of fear. So what is he going to do in the next four years? More of the same to continue to fan those flames of violence to keep power, to scare people, to pit violence against violence, and it will not be peaceful.  There is documented evidence that Trump's words did cause violence.  https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/blame-abc-news-finds-17-cases-invoking-trump/story?id=58912889 It will be four more years of violence, racial conflict, and a fearful nation hating itself and others in it.  Is this what we want?  Biden has another vision...and he laid what he would do in his interview this morning...to bring peace and not more violence and more conflict...the solution of a real leader, not of a flame thrower who would make the next four years even worse.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/biden-says-trump-rooting-more-violence-not-less-n1238496?fbclid=IwAR0h36PKFrx-eJKwMiKcIobePG_Q0m6a7tQC1zj6-6kbvrAp_d0qAQecMRw

From the earlier blog postings

July 22, 2020

Trump is now the provocateur in chief, creating violence so he can tell in followers he can cure violence. It provides great photo ops and stories on FOX as he tries to scare those wavering support of him that he is the law and order president to save them from the violence he has provoked.  Law and order .means to him he creates the disorder and violates the law to save people from the disorder he created. Hitler sent his brown shirts out to foment street demonstrations and burned down the Reichstag so he could claim he could bring order to Germany. The strategy worked.

June 2, 2020  America has a president who has fanned the violence of the flames over domestic tranquility. He has seized on the opportunity of the riots to proclaim himself as the champion of law and order, as he himself does not respect the law, and his form of order is the oppression of one racial group that only begets more violence and strife for years to come.  Is this what our democracy has come to?  Is this going to be our country torn apart for years to come in racial strife and race wars with cities occupied by the active military to suppress any opposition he views to be an insurrection?. This instability and turmoil is the future Donald Trump is offering us if he is re-elected.  The contrast with Joe Biden's vision could not be starker. He presented it in an address on June 2. Biden offers the antidote to Trump's poisonous vision of violence,  oppression, hate, and fear.

July 18, 2020 and an edited  version of this is also a blog column(also posted separately  July 18 as Portland, Oregon incident defines Trump meaning of "law and order" that should scare believers in democracy.
Per media reports July 17, battle gear bedecked, military-style federal agents, Trump ordered are "reportedly pulling protestors into unmarked vehicles" and firing rubber bullets into crowds of protestors. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2020/07/17/trump-ordered-federal-agents-are-reportedly-pulling-protesters-into-unmarked-vehicles-drawing-outrage/
In this case in Portland, Oregon, Trump sent in the same kinds of forces that he used to clear Lafayette Park of peaceful demonstrators. There too, in face of generals refusing to allow the active military to clear the streets, he tried an end-run around them using unmarked military types trained and pulled from various federal agencies picked to do his bidding. In this Portland incident, he used his authority under the guise of "protecting federal property".  Since these troops were positioned away from federal property, as well, it appeared they were there to intimidate and scare away the protestors. A young man armed with a boom box held high was shot in the head, and cracking his skull, was their rubber bullet victim...who was nowhere near federal property...nor was he a threat. Of course, it was all caught on cell phone video.  Nearly every civil rights and a couple of laws you could name, or the same restraints courts had ordered local police to observe,  were violated by these military-style and trained Federales (a term applied to federal police used by tin-pot Latin American dictators to quell the masses), but the best term more applicable came from the mouth of Sen. Wyden: "storm troopers".   That one has roots in Hitler's rise to power and similar techniques he used to consolidate his power.  Kidnapping, holding without charges and manhandling have been used in recent times by Putin in Russia and China., particularly in Hong Kong. Using unmarked thugs and secret police are common techniques used to subdue opposition by historical and modern dictatorships.  What was peculiar about this incident in Portland, the intimidating actions by stormtroopers, was that it was apparently staged for the benefit of FOX and covered only by Trump's loyal media.at first,..but several days later, July 17, the outrage of the Oregon governor and the Portland Mayor and the emergence of a video of weapons firing seriously injuring someone and military types throwing demonstrators into unmarked cars brought it to mainstream media.  Both had worked hard to keep the demonstrations peaceful and their concern was that such action would only bring more hardcore protestors to the scene, ready themselves to do violent battle with the stormtroopers. The incident is still playing out since the request of local officials to leave the Portland streets have been ignored.

The purpose was political, it appears since the incident coverage was engineered on Trump media.  This is an indication that the purpose was political..to keep the favor of the cult-like followers of Trump, to whom the concept of democracy and civil rights seems to be considered a barrier to Trump's power rather than as some ideal worthy to protect. Trump was faced with polling showing his approval ratings had dropped to the high 30%  due to his inept handling of the pandemic and the George Floyd protests. Raising the issue of "law and order" was certainly a diversion of attention from his tanking poll numbers. This kind of military action certainly appeals to the core of the only group of followers who still had the majority of their demographics favoring him: white men with no college education, per recent polling, and followers of the ideology of some of Trump's ardent advisors: dominate the streets with military and suppress demonstrators, peaceful or not.   It was meant to send a message that Trump's law and Trump's techniques to force order would rule,  but the message it sent to the majority of voters who are now not supportive of him was democracy has no place in Trumpland nor was any respect for civil rights or the rule of law. It was what we could expect in a Trump second term.

An ad run by a Trump PAC has also accused Biden of wanting to defund police. It was as close to a lie as any ad could be. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-federal-aid-police-epartments-defunding/
"No, I don't support defunding the police," Biden told O'Donnell. "I support conditioning federal aid to police, based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community."




Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Trump defines insanity: doing the same thing over again and expecting something better.. .

A version of this was published in the Winter Park Times, 9/4/ 20

https://winterparktimes.com/opinion/columnists/the-president-is-playing-his-trump-card-fear/

Updated August 29-31, 2020.  You really think a  President Trump's second term would be any different, that safety will break out in your cities and neighborhoods?  Joe Biden phrased a parallel question in a forceful address August 31: "Do you feel safer today with Trump?"  Protests, peaceful and violent,. racially rooted, are the most frequent and widespread in fifty years and they have taken place during the President's three and a half years in the Oval Office. ..Do you really think that more of Trump's same actions and words in the next four years will make you feel safer? That is the definition of insanity: doing the same over and over again and expecting something different

 A strong leader like Trump is what is needed to bring order, coo his admiring fans.  Leadership to do what?  Upholding the law?  It is hard to uphold the law when the law enforcer supports the lawless.  With his support of long gun-toting militias and right-wing extremists, calling these vigilantes patriots, he has taken the side of the advocates and practitioners of lawlessness violence.  Refusing to condemn police shooting black suspects in the back or treating a white suspect of killing to people differently is giving law enforcement a permission slip to carry on with the kind of racial bias that sparked protests in the first place. Trump attempted to use the active military for his political purpose and inserted militaristic federal agents uninvited into conflicts. Both strategies failed, since the active military refused to participate in domestic politics and the faux military of "federal agents" just provoked more violence and inspired larger gatherings of angry protestors. The federal agent fiasco made Portland look like the Chinese communist crackdown on Hong Kong's advocates for democracy. The outrage that resulted forced him to withdraw "his troops".  

 Trump has the gall to say he will fix the violence to which he contributed. Trump's  "fix" is doing more of the same that made violence worse..   Trump's own ad now running is self- damning. To illustrate what the streets would be like if Joe Biden were elected, he shows clips of the violence that occurred this summer under his watch.

Trump is playing his trump card. It is fear. and he has made no attempt to promote peace because fear is  Trump's best political weapon,.  Instead of bringing peace. he believes the chaos and violence benefit his political power, to get more of it, win in November, and to keep himself in power for the next four years if not beyond... Why should he want to soothe the waters of hate? Order is not his goal. Fear and chaos benefit him. as even his advisor Kellyanne Conway recently admitted. The more chaos and violence there is making it more possible to harness fear as a political tool. Ginning up fear has another benefit to Trump as well. It helps voters forget Trump's failures in combatting COVID, his incompetence, his poor judgment, and his lack of caring about life and suffering if it hurts him politically. It is a diversion from the pain the middle class is feeling and his failure to address the stress of inadequate health care,  poverty level wage scales, the safety of their family and their kids from unhinged shooters and COVID  infection, and, surviving, and catching up with mortgages and rents after depression level unemployment.  It is fear and continuing conflict he offers us instead of a plan to deal with any of these problems. The RNC did not even bother to present a 2020 platform and voted to support Trump to do whatever he wanted to do. They gave him a blank check to carry on.  

In the wake of Portland and Kenosha, Biden in no uncertain terms condemned "violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right...As a country, we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment protest,".... "It is not a peaceful protest when you go out spoiling for a fight. What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters?. At the Republican convention, you heard speakers claim Democrats would defund police. That is a flat out lie. Joe Biden was the first Democratic candidate to decry the term "defund police" and in his platform, he adds more police.  He does urge police reform, fairness in the justice system, and giving more support to social workers and mental health, and negotiations, sitting down with the conflicting factions. He also supports the arrest and prosecution of the violent actors, those committing arson and destruction. Those are not protests, he said, they are lawless acts that should be prosecuted. He has a far better chance of bringing an end to the civil unrest than a race-baiting, violence cheering Trump who is using the promotion of chaos, violence, fear, and loathing he sees as a way to gain and keep power. 



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 Would this exploitation of white fear end if he is elected for a second term?  Trump is an admirer of dictators  He has no allegiance to democracy. Voters are to be feared, manipulated, and suppressed in his and the world of autocrats.  Like them,  he even opined openly would like to be president for life. That, I am sure, is not the kind of "strong leader" even my Trump supporter friends want., Careful what you wish. Spinning fear of chaos and violence is also a powerful tool for continuing in power, yet his techniques to control it have caused more fear and violence. Worrying us should also be in.the second term of  Trump will be out of control. Neither law or the Constitution constrained him much yet, as he tramples both and claim he can do whatever he wants while he is in office.  If he wins a second term, he would be unchained from worrying about voter approval since he is term-limited. ,.  The Republican National  Convention passed a resolution to support whatever Trump wanted to do. He has been given a blank check by his party. 

 

https://www.businessinsider.com/kellyanne-conway-chaos-and-violence-is-good-for-trumps-reelection-2020-8


https://www.vox.com/2020/8/25/21400782/rnc-republicans-democrats-defund-police-joe-biden-black-lives-matter





  







  



Saturday, August 22, 2020

All protests are not the same, part 2

 There are those within the civil rights movement,  and on the extreme right, anarchists and others who think that some kind of violent civil war would help their cause.. On the right, neo-Nazis, the militias, and the Boogaloo boys, to name a few are among those who promote and threaten such violence. There are those who inspire others to act violently. including Qanon, who the FBI  has named a domestic terrorist group for that reason. Both Trump and the GOP leadership have welcomed Qanon advocates into their political tent and has called Nazis and armed militias storming state legislatures as "some fine people" or "good people,  who " love their country and like him".  So far the Boogaloo Boys are the only ones caught by law enforcement infiltrating peaceful demonstrations, agitating, urging violence to commit arson, window-smashing in an attempt to pin blame on, peaceful protesters...  Not one FBI report has found that "Antifa" activists from the left have been involved in any of the George Floyd re-inspired street violence this summer in Portland, Oregon, or elsewhere. .This fear of "Antifa" was hyped by Trump's loyal media. Videos of violence attributed to protesters and filmed for pro-Trump advertising were of a pro-democracy protest in Ukraine several years earlier. Guess the Portland made for TV videos of spray painting graffiti and window breaking were not violent enough to make the point they wanted to convey that these acts deserved a military crackdown...

Lessons learned from demonstrations than began peacefully and turned violent, was that the more "federal agents" clad for war inserted themselves outside the federal building perimeters, the more violent the protests became  If those Fox viewers believe that suppression and domination by such militarization will make a Trump second term more peaceful, they are fooling themselves. If anything was learned from the civil rights movent in the past 40 years to Portland, such heavy-handedness only creates more violent reactions and many martyrs for civil rights causes.  What Trump's federal agents in Portland did was to make him look like a fascist leader of the 1930s  That is what is in store for the country if Trump thinks winning the election means he can get away with such tactics.  We will be facing more violent racial strife, not less. Trump fans the flames of violence with his white nationalist rhetoric and his "federal agents".

Quoting Martin Luther King, demonstrators often cite remarks he made that demonstrations and protests are the way the voiceless get heard, but the clause immediately after King's words that are often left out is that riots are counterproductive and hurt the cause.  That is why he advocated non-violence and civil disobedience in the place of "riots".  They were far more effective in advancing civil rights than the violent alternative. The last of his great followers and a fellow marcher with King, John Lewis, was laid to rest this summer. What King advocated and Lewis practiced,  peaceful marches and civil disobedience, were very effective, leading to the passage of a historic civil rights legislation.   Yes, civil disobedience and peaceful marches can and do inspire violent police response with dogs, teargas, clubbing, beating marchers, but in so doing, also create martyrs and create sympathy for the civil rights movement. That is what happened this summer when the marchers became multi-racial and public opinion "woke" to realize that police brutality was not happening in an isolated few cases, but policing practices of dealing with a racial minority more brutally than with the white suspect was widespread and justified the protests.



All protests are not the same, part 1.

Update: September 1, 2020: Biden's speech August 31: " I want to make it absolutely clear, so I’m going to be very clear about all of this, rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites, destroys businesses, only hurts the working families that serve the community. It makes things worse across the board, not better. "   Biden delivered.

One trap the Democrats are in danger of falling into when supporting protest marches is separating the peaceful ones from the violent ones.  The right to protest peacefully is protected in the Constitution; violent protests are not. We have seen the fear monger in chief, Donald Trump, take advantage of a conception that violent and peaceful demonstrations are the same evil,  to scare "suburban housewives' and moderate male white voters back into his fold. Peaceful marches can turn into violent ones unless their leaders maintain control to keep them nonviolent or poor law enforcement strategies provoke a violent reaction with their threats or disproportionate actions.

  Expect this next week of the GOP national convention to convey a message that chaos and violence will be what a Democratic victory will bring them, that peaceful protests and violent ones are the same and are to be feared and stamped out by the federal government military-like force.   What the convention voices will not note is that the actions that Trump's uninvited federal forces took this summer in Portland inflamed more violence and failed to restore peace. They left after state and local officials demand them to leave.  This violence happened in his administration. He made a bad situation worse and there is no reason to believe he will make civil unrest more peaceful in a second term.

 One can imagine what a lame-duck second term Trump presidency will look like, as he takes a win as a permission slip to continue his inflammatory tactics. These GOP  solutions to suppress even peaceful protests against the brutality of the police and "federal agents" will create hate and fear-filled four more years full of violence. Angry civil unrest will be the rule, not the exception.  This is a prediction.   It is not a threat, and it is based upon the experience of seventy years of racial strife in this country particularly during this summer.  Unless the demonstrators and marchers have faith that their voices are heard and action will be taken, as Joe Biden has made clear he will,  reaction to a continued  Trump inflammatory modus and tweets will be four more years of strife, more violence, more fear, and more hate.  Is this the kind of country we want to live in?


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Is this what the next four years to be?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53844958  Another dissident in Russia is poisoned, like a Putin dissident in exile in England was likewise attacked..

 In a dictatorship (we are calling more kindly an autocracy..rule of a person instead of the rule of law), this is how dissidents and journalists who report their words are silenced, by poison or assassinated or "falling off" a high balcony, or acid thrown in their faces... This incidence is one of a string of them. This is in a country ruled by a dictator, Putin, about whom Trump has never uttered an unkind word ..and from whose intelligence and national security. Trump may not do it by  "eliminating" opponents, but he will do it by more subtle methods of favoring "his media" with access, suppressing the voice of those who reveal his misdeeds and lies,  and suppressing peaceful demonstrations with force by using his loyal federal agents,  making it difficult for voters to vote in fair and free elections, and causing more racial unrest as he violates their civil rights and promotes white superiority and domination. That is how wannabe dictators have realized their eventual hold on forever power.  That is what he has done over the past four years and if he is re-elected, he will claim his autocratic methods have the approval of the American people. .Your vote for him is giving him the go-ahead to do even more.  Is this what we want for the next four years to be?.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-report-russian-interference-2016-us-election/ 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/obama-dnc-2020-speech-trump-hasnt-grown-into-the-job-because-he-cant-03132 This summary from yahoo news missed what I think was the most important point of Obama's somber address to the Democratic NatiionalConvention...and the reason Obama was standing in front of the US constitution when he delivered the address.  He warned us. This is a fight for continuing American democracy as we have known it,  warts and all, as we keep striving for a more perfect union..  As he said, if you think this is bad now, it can be much worse. Perhaps Yahoo missed the point because, other than tying the destruction of democracy into voter suppression and sabotage of the mail system,  he did not dwell on the other ways Trump has attempted to also sabotage democracy and what that would look like if he were re-elected to a second term.  See it yourself at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bps3m4eFTuE




Saturday, August 15, 2020

Trump urges his voters to commit fraud:

Updated from an 8/15/post: September 4, 2020  Remember that old joke about Chicago? Vote early and vote often? That is illegal in many states.  If you try that in Colorado, only your in-person ballot will be counted; your mail-in vote will not be counted.. The President has just urged voters to vote twice, by mail and in-person in order to test the system. https://www.reuters.com/…/trump-says-people-in-north-caroli…In some states, that is illegal. It is in North Carolina. The question is if these wilful lawbreakers try it is not that they can vote twice, it is will their vote be counted twice. In Colorado, if you vote by mail and then show up to vote again in person, you can do it, but the mail-in vote will not be counted. If there is a gap in the timing between the time the mail-in ballot is received and not yet marked off in the information the polling judge receives it, it will be caught. However, in Colorado that has had mail-in voting where every registered voter gets a ballot in the mail since 2013, in-person voting on election day has dwindled to 3-4% percentage because mail-in voting is so convenient even before COVID. Thanks to the miracle of computerized voter registration and the ability to check off quickly if a person already voted, that is the essential question. Besides, those who are concerned their mail-in vote did not make it in time or there is some hanky panky, they can trace their mail-in ballot online just as they can also trace the status of their UPS shipment. and nearly all states have this service. Trump, as usual, is displaying his ignorance or hoping voters are ignorant so he can manipulate them by spreading ignorance. .The second backup is the ability in Colorado to compare signatures at the time the voter registered vs the signatures at the time the ballot is cast either at a polling place or by mail and if there is a question, a bi-partisan group will make the judgment call.

I served as an election commissioner in Denver for over 7 years as part of my duty as Clerk and Recorder..1983-91. We used the old New York lever machines that left a paper trail and in every step of the process, both a Democrat and a Republican double-checked each other. Computers were a new thing then, but we rejected them because they could have been easily hacked.,.thinking that maybe someday they would be more secure. They are not in 2020, at least in tallying the vote. I am satisfied that having signatures checked by both D and R officials, running election registration against Social Security data files to discover who is still alive, is as reassuring as you can get. They do that in Colorado. That Russians were able to hack into election systems in all 50 states in 2016 is troubling...but having actual mail-in ballots in hand for scrutiny after the elections is as foolproof as you can get. There will always be crooked fools who try, but if the system set up as it has been for years in Colorado leaves an evidence trail in actual ballots, then that is the best evidence there is if an election result is challenged. That is the best deterrent to election fraud there is. https://www.5280.com/…/no-fraud-isnt-rampant-in-colorados-…/ Why? Systems are in place, per this article.

https://www.denverpost.com/…/colorado-denver-mail-votin…/For Colorado deadlines, registration, ID requirements, vote by mail or dropoff; https://www.sos.state.co.us/pu…/elections/electionInfo.html…. Early in person voting in Colorado begins October 19. www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/main.html "Review your voter record to make sure your information is up to date. October 9 - Counties will begin mailing ballots for the November 3 rd General Election. October 26 - deadline to register to vote or update your registration and still receive a ballot in the mail. In Colorado, you can register to vote and vote in person up to 7 PM on Election Day. 

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/26/biden-supporters-in-states-where-it-is-hardest-to-vote-by-mail-are-most-concerned-about-voting-this-fall/ft_2020-08-26_votebymail_04a/
What is revealing is that Russia and Trump are on the same page, using the same propaganda line to delegitimize the election in advance by claiming mail-in votes are a fraud. The purpose could be to give Trump some sort of an argument in case he lost the electoral vote to claim he did not lose the election, the election was rigged, and all mail-in ballots are fraudulent. He already has declared in advance if he loses, the election was rigged, and he has publicly expressed desires to be president for life.. What then? What if he tries to stay in power and refuses to leave the Oval Office by Inauguration Day.  The Joint Chiefs have made it clear the active military will not be used for domestic political purposes as Trump tried to get them to do in Lafayette Park, or, it is assumed, they would refuse to march Trump out of the White House if Trump refuses to vacate it. in the same way, other dictators seized power elsewhere. What then happens: the mother of all constitutional crises, court orders, the Supreme Court,  US Martials follow the court ruling and escort Trump out,.. While all of this gets resolved,. Nancy Pelosi, third in line, will assume the presidency temporarily., Worst-case scenario: some long gun-armed right-wing terrorist groups start an armed civil war in defense of Trump. and people die.  Take your pick.pick.
Trump's refusal in advance to say he will honor the outcome of the election and that"the only way he will lose the election is if the election is rigged"  would be ironic if it were not so scary. The irony is not lost since he is the one trying to rig this election by voter suppression tactics aimed at assumed anti-Trump minority voters, by using administrative measures, intimidating in-person voters, and sabotaging the ability US postal service to process mail in a timely way, including mail-in ballots.  The postal service's new head ceased doing more to curtail prompt delivery but left the automatic sorters disconnected, the corner post office boxes still gone,  and overtime limited. 


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Saturday, August 8, 2020

GOP Senators engineer September surprise with help of the Russians

 https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/russia-ukraine-trump-biden-intelligence-foreign-interference-election.html

n this case, the colluding is more widespread than just by the president, candidate, and in-office, inviting Russians to find Hillary's emails and looing the other way as his subordinates take the fall for lying about doing it. It is about the GOP constructing an "October surprise" with the help of Russian operatives, only it is beginning soon as Trump's allies plan to hold Senate hearings... ..II is by Congressional members and leadership who will be carrying the Russian propaganda to their Trump devoted and ignorant followers who will swallow every word as the truth. This conduit is coming from one Russian loving Ukraine ex-MP working with Rudy Guiliani, to devise an October 2020 surprise, sprung before Biden can refute with facts. That this source and effort is now exposed by the US intelligence services in August, naming exactly which Senators are in collusion, particularly Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, and the exact name of the Ukraine source, is very important, but naming names is a proactive step to warn voters to consider the source and the credibility of the evidence. That China and Iran are also trying to help Biden, but their efforts are minor compared to Russian activities per the intelligence reports. It is that China and Iran are getting their message across on social media while Russia is actively interfering by impacting US Senate action by feeding Trump's Senate loyalists.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Trump turns mostly peaceful protests into something else

 Column: Winter Park Times published 8/7/20

https://winterparktimes.com/opinion/columnists/turning-a-peaceful-protest-into-something-else/  

The Winter Park Times is a version of this posting. The "something else" is violence and making autocracy a hot topic.

 We recently watched President Donald Trump's attempt to demonstrate what a great, strong leader he is by bringing his brand of law and order to Democratic-run cities.  He also delivered messages he did not intend. He also showed he could turn mostly peaceful demonstrators into mostly violent ones.  When he sent federal agents into Portland, Oregon, who were dressed for battle in Afghanistan, the unintended consequences of his actions created a cause that reached beyond racial demonstrations and protests.  He has now made combatting "autocracy" a more publicly burning matter that affects all lives, not just black ones.

 Before our very eyes on the TV and social media, we saw heavily armed uniformed military types dressed for anticipating or provoking violence,  attempting to frighten unarmed protestors into submission. Instead of bringing calm by forceful suppression, the reaction to the  “agents”  increased the level of violence and the size of the demonstrations. We got a taste of what Trump’s second term would look like as he promoted dominating the streets and suppressing protests. What was once a criticism of Trump’s autocratic tendencies, a dry “political science” argument that the public was not able to touch, feel, or see, was now right in front of our eyes

     Trump chose one of the whitest cities in America, Portland to show how he would dominate the streets and put down protestors, tear-gassing and clubbing both peaceful and violent, white or black, moms and veterans. Initially, only media friendly to him covered the story and their film footage was turned into campaign ads. A few days later mainstream media began covering civil rights abuses they saw. The Trump administration used the federal agents outfitted for war.to do much more than just protect federal real estate. Trump looked like he was using dictator’s thugs to foment street violence so he could show how he could fix civil unrest he himself helped provoke. What he did accomplish instead was to show how easy it was to turn mostly peaceful demonstrators into mostly violent ones by using an aggressive force untrained, unrestrained, and unsuited for the task of calming angry waters.  Ignoring any constraints of civil rights laws, federal agents were  "reportedly pulling protestors into unmarked vehicles" and firing rubber bullets into crowds of protestors per a Forbes reporter. Even those not near or even threatening the federal property the agents were supposed to protect were spirited away to be interrogated . One protestor wielding a boom box message amplifier lifted over his head was shot with a rubber bullet, fracturing his skull. 

 For days Trump ignored state and local officials' requests to withdraw his forces because they were making a bad situation worse.  July 31 the battle geared federal agents were withdrawn after negotiation with state and local officials and Trump’s favorable polling numbers continued to sink.

     What we saw in Portland was not my mother’s, father’s, or our founder's version of democracy. It is the opposite, an autocracy. The way most modern autocrats gain power is the use of fear and force and abusing the power they had been given by voters. The history of autocrats from the left or right is to take the power away from people, convincing them to delay elections on some pretext as Trump just attempted, refusing to honor election results as Trump has threatened he would, and using suppression and intimidation as he just demonstrated he could use in Portland.  It does not have to be this way. The alternative is supporting the small d democracy, the kind we have had for the past 240 years.  It calls for allegiance to the rule of law instead of being forced to obey the rule by a person. In small d democracies, the laws should be written by a freely elected representative government and upheld by an independent judiciary. A small d democracy protects freedom of the press, the right to peacefully assemble to present grievances, an orderly transition of power. All of those concepts the President has challenged including stacking the judiciary, and favoring friendly media while denying critics access as punishment. The only obstacle standing between democracy and autocracy is words on a  piece of paper, the  Constitution, The only sure power left to defend the Constitution and to continue it as we have known it in practice still lies in the hands of the voters in 2020.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The moral hazards nonesense in bailouts of unemployed workers and small business

The nonsense of moral hazards created in COVID 19 bailouts of small businesses and unemployed workers
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/30/senate-gop-unemployment-extension-388170

 Some GOP senators approved large bailouts for business and did not complain if it ran up the federal deficit, or even if it created a moral hazard making it easy for a business to cheat and giving them the temptation to do it.. However, when it came to the low wage earners, all of a sudden it became a moral hazard discouraging them from getting a job and it was too bad if these workers could not pay their rent or mortgage or buy food because their jobs had evaporated in the COVID depression. .  These GOP senators, standing in the way of enhanced unemployment payments are a moral issue unto themselves. It is a " let them eat cake" attitude that long ago became the symbol of class deafness and ignorance, over which many of the elite lost their heads in the French Revolution.  The Heroes act passed by the Democrats in the House includes a bipartisan agreement  on the PPP act extension (aid to small business second round and for PPP aid to small business in the first round that has not been spent yet.   The Cares act passage is being held up as of 8/5 by refusal of some GOP Senators to support it.  Support of small business in the relief package has  bipartisan support.  
 The hardest hit by COVID 19  are restaurants and even some we consider successful are facing tough times.  This from The Colorado Sun tells why some well-known ones are on the edge.  I am a restaurant fan loyalist and I am selfish. I do not want to see my favorites not make it through COVID 19 because going to them is one of my beloved joys in life. However, every one of my children has at one time or another, and likewise, some of my grandchildren, have worked for restaurants. One made the food industry her career; another almost did.  One of the problems is that being a server, a cook, a hotel bar manager has been underpaid and they have moved on to get more education and earn a living wage in another industry.  The question is then why should there be a labor shortage and few want to work? It is because welfare...increased unemployment insurance..pays more than they earned eeking out a living in lower-rung food jobs and restaurants have made ends meet with paying their workers so little even tips cannot make up the difference.  These low paid workers rarely have employer-provided health insurance and Obamacare has been a godsend.  However, the Trump administration is attempting to kill it via a lawsuit that will be heard by the Supreme Court this fall and be ruled upon in the spring.   What it may also mean that to pay a living wage after COVID, restaurants my have to raise their prices and pay their workers better.  The genie of what is a living wage is out of the bottle and starvation wages will no longer be tolerated.  Also, being a food service waiter or cashier or even a busser has the same perils as a grocery store clerk that comes in contact with the public and the self-serving anti maskers who thumb their nose at being responsible for their own health as well as others. There is a risk of catching the virus is a hazard involved in being a server. The other reason is the loss of jobs to even return to since so many restaurants have closed their doors and there is not a job to return to or one within commuting distance.  So much of the problem above and beyond other areas in the country is that so many of them depend on tourist business for customers since tourism is Colorado is one of our major industries.
Miller Hudson writing in the Colorado Statesman addressed the unmotivated worker myth: "The notion that indolent workers can be incentivized to return to jobs that no longer exist before we bring COVID-19 under control is absurd. Until then, keeping those who have lost their paychecks housed and out of soup kitchens will prove cheaper than flooding our streets with an avalanche of homelessness and misery. Colorado’s second bout of economic peristalsis is likely to bring on evictions and a run on MEDICAID, as employer-based insurance coverage expires, threatening the rickety structure of a health system approaching collapse. It’s not a propitious time to be serving as governor." 

If making it possible for the unemployed to survive COVID with an extra $600 is a moral hazard, the small business loans made to restaurants could also be a moral hazard that could come back to haunt them if they were not honest about the jobs they created. Why that was made a loan instead of a cash grant is a mystery to me if there was no accountability now.  If in the future, an audit shows the business lied about maintaining their payroll, rent or utilities comprising 70% of the loan,  and they are forced to pay back the loans, there could be another wave of restaurant closures. The interest rates were so low and the loans were over a 2 years period, there may be defaults, not just in the restaurant sector but in many small businesses.. Auditing all of that is going to be crazy so expect many loans will just be written off a loss to taxpayers and a low-cost  2% loan will be a gift to franchises and small businesses.  The result is those many of those business owners may get away with not providing jobs which was one of the rationales for the bailout loans.  We would just have been better off by making it a smaller grant to small business, a percentage of past income,  than going through this brain damage and future bureaucratic gobbledegook that created a moral hazard, a temptation to cheat.  Why not just consider all of this an economic stimulus
and a humanitarian necessity that puts money back into the economy during the worst economic times since the great depression. States cannot do it because they have balanced budget requirements and the only entity that can is the federal government. 

Response to Facebook Friend who opposed the
$600 on the basis it would discourage people from
working:
How does that work if there is no job to go back to even if they wanted..50 million jobs have been lost in the US... My guess after this people realize that it takes $15 per hour to not live in poverty or qualify for food stamps. That may be a bad thing if you are an employer, and consumer prices may have to rise, but I think it did give an impetus to legislation. Lucky for me as a rental complex owner my tenants have paid their rent..these are truly tough times. Landlords will be suffering, too.

Another legislative impetus will be to either protect Obamacare and expand it or to adopt some other method of making healthcare affordable  It became abundantly clear that insurance tied to employment is not wise..  




h

Monday, August 3, 2020

Trump's Portland action stoked autocracy fears

Update August 17, 2020: With a President in the White House who tries to act like an autocrat or aspires to be one, or who claims he has the power to do anything he wants, may be true in a national emergency. Per the opinion piece cited here,. he has powers to do things we know.    what: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/opinion/trump-coronavirus-emergency-powers.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR0tdBOC25yraSHBISsb9CrjL1nUetVYeVEFkylNzW3cit_PVK_sfMNAfUw

We recently watched President Donald Trump's attempt to demonstrate what a great, strong leader he is by bringing his brand of law and order to Democratic-run cities.  He also delivered messages he did not intend. He also showed he could turn mostly peaceful demonstrators into mostly violent ones.  When he sent federal agents into Portland, Oregon, who were dressed for battle in Afghanistan, the unintended consequences of his actions created a cause that reached beyond racial demonstrations and protests.  He has now made combatting "autocracy" a more publicly burning matter that affects all lives, not just black ones.
 Before our very eyes on the TV and social media, we saw heavily armed uniformed military types dressed for anticipating or provoking violence,  attempting to frighten unarmed protestors into submission. Instead of bringing calm by forceful suppression, the reaction to the  “agents”  increased the level of violence and the size of the demonstrations. We got a taste of what Trump’s second term would look like as he promoted dominating the streets and suppressing protests. What was once a criticism of Trump’s autocratic tendencies, a dry “political science” argument that the public was not able to touch, feel, or see, was now right in front of our eyes
     Trump chose one of the whitest cities in America, Portland to show how he would dominate the streets and put down protestors, tear-gassing and clubbing both peaceful and violent, white or black, moms and veterans. Initially, only media friendly to him covered the story and their film footage was turned into campaign ads. A few days later mainstream media began covering civil rights abuses they saw. The Trump administration used the federal agents outfitted for war.to do much more than just protect federal real estate. Trump looked like he was using dictator’s thugs to foment street violence so he could show how he could fix civil unrest he himself helped provoke. What he did accomplish instead was to show how easy it was to turn mostly peaceful demonstrators into mostly violent ones by using an aggressive force untrained, unrestrained, and unsuited for the task of calming angry waters.  Ignoring any constraints of civil rights laws, federal agents were  "reportedly pulling protestors into unmarked vehicles" and firing rubber bullets into crowds of protestors per a Forbes reporter. Even those not near or even threatening the federal property the agents were supposed to protect were spirited away to be interrogated . One protestor wielding a boom box message amplifier lifted over his head was shot with a rubber bullet, fracturing his skull. 
 For days Trump ignored state and local officials' requests to withdraw his forces because they were making a bad situation worse.  July 31 the battle geared federal agents were withdrawn after negotiation with state and local officials and Trump’s favorable polling numbers continued to sink.
     What we saw in Portland was not my mother’s, father’s, or our founder's version of democracy. It is the opposite, an autocracy. The way most modern autocrats gain power is the use of fear and force and abusing the power they had been given by voters. The history of autocrats from the left or right is to take the power away from people, convincing them to delay elections on some pretext as Trump just attempted, refusing to honor election results as Trump has threatened he would, and using suppression and intimidation as he just demonstrated he could use in Portland.  It does not have to be this way. The alternative is supporting the small d democracy, the kind we have had for the past 240 years.  It calls for allegiance to the rule of law instead of being forced to obey the rule by a person. In small d democracies, the laws should be written by a freely elected representative government and upheld by an independent judiciary. A small d democracy protects freedom of the press, the right to peacefully assemble to present grievances, an orderly transition of power. All of those concepts the President has challenged including stacking the judiciary, and favoring friendly media while denying critics access as punishment. The only obstacle standing between democracy and autocracy is words on a  piece of paper, the  Constitution, The only sure power left to defend the Constitution and to continue it as we have known it in practice still lies in the hands of the voters in 2020.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-trouble-thirds-americans-disapprove-handling-covid-19/story?c

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Anti maskers and anti vaccination advocates are cut from the same dangerous cloth


https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/05/29/mapping-covid-19s-spread-from-blue-to-red-america/ Highest pro Trump 2016 counties have the highest rate of COID19 infections.  COVID goes where there irresponsible adults who drank the and swallowed the Trump propaganda.  Anti maskers and anti-vaccination advocates are cut from the same dangerous cloth. The argument is the same whether it is about anti-vaxxers (anti-vaccinations) and anti maskers. At issue:; personal rights vs the impact on others. Both are anti-science and both are about being responsible for ourselves and our health and society. If the goal to kill the COVID-19 virus is for 60% of the population to become immune, either having and surviving the virus and/or getting vaccinated, then we should. get vaccinated. once there is an effective and safe vaccine. I will not make my decision based upon some ideological devotion to a theoretical concept. but I do appreciate the ability to have a choice based upon science...not some misplaced reliance solely on libertarianism rights and unsubstantiated beliefs. Trump's push to hurry up to get a vaccination is harmful if it shortcuts the scientific research and trial studies. We owe it to ourselves and others to get vaccinated. We are so far away from that percentage, we will not get there alone with those infected by surviving the virus they caught without vaccinations. .For those who refuse to get vaccinations or wear masks, they are unwittingly or uncaring enough to keep from spreading it to others. It is a matter of responsibility to society versus personal beliefs..and science.. I come down on the side being responsible to society and also to myself. Those values are not in conflict. My view comes from being aware of my self-interest, too.: I consider anti maskers a public health threat to my well-being especially since I am a senior over 80 years old. Scientific evidence is overwhelming that masks do cut down on the amount of spreading of the disease. I consider anti-vaxxers a threat to my great-grandchildren since all of my children and grandchildren have been vaccinated. against DPT and polio, and measles, and have never died from those diseases. Whooping cough is on the rise because of such anti-vaxxers..There is a correlation between the rates of mortality of children and the advent of vaccinations of over a century, as well., that cannot be ignored. .There are plenty of studies showing that learning disabilities are not caused by vaccinations but by many other factors, including heredity. My daughter is a teacher and she must have boosters and shots against DPT and measles as a requirement to teach and to protect herself from the anti-vaxxers in her classroom.. I will follow the science on both accounts...science provided by evidence of scientific studies and experts who know because of their education. Whether I get vaccinated against the virus will depend on how the scientific trials now going on provide evidence they are effective and safe. I will not make my decision based upon some ideological devotion to a theoretical concept. but I do appreciate the ability to have a choice based upon science...not some misplaced reliance solely on libertarianism rights or everything not supplied by mother nature or God is bad or some far fetched conspiracy theory .lacking evidence.