Monday, August 31, 2020

How Desperate is Trump? What harm is he capable of inflicting on America over the next two months?

We MUST eradicate the orange menace. We MUST elect Joe Biden.

From historian Heather Cox Richardon:
Lots of folks are finally paying attention to the rise of authoritarianism here in the U.S. They are right to be concerned.
Scholars have seen worrisome signs all along. Trump has dismissed nonpartisan career officials and replaced them with loyalists. He has fired the independent inspectors general. He denies Congress’s right and duty to investigate members of the Executive Branch. He has used the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement officers of the Executive Branch as a private army. He has packed the courts. He has used the government to advance the interests of himself and his family, which he has installed into government positions. He has solicited help from foreign governments to get reelected. And he and his cronies are trying to undermine our election by preemptively saying the Democrats are committing fraud and by slowing down mail service when voters need to be able to mail in their ballots.
Now, Trump is clearly trying to change the national narrative from his disastrous response to the coronavirus and the economic crash to the idea that he alone can protect white Americans from their dangerous Black neighbors.
Stoking violence is a key tool in the authoritarian’s toolkit. The idea is to increase civil disorder. As violence increases, people will turn to a leader who promises “LAW & ORDER,” as Trump keeps tweeting. Once firmly in power, an authoritarian can then put down his opponents with the argument that they are dangerous criminals.
Trump is advancing just such a strategy. He and members of his administration refuse to condemn violence, and insist that legitimate protesters are all “Antifa.” They are blaming Democrats and “liberal politicians and their incompetent policies” for violent protests, although most of the injuries at the protests have been caused by police or by rightwing thugs. They are stoking white people’s fear of their Black neighbors, with Trump going so far as to talk of how he will keep low-income housing from the suburbs to protect the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.”
And they are going on the offensive, demanding that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemn the violence that they insist comes from protesters, while Trump is actually inciting it from rioters on the right. It is gaslighting at its finest.
America has seen this pattern before. Secessionist leaders before the Civil War needed badly to distract southern white farmers, who were falling behind in an economic system that concentrated wealth at the top, and they howled that northerners were assaulting white southerners and wanted to stamp out their way of life, based in human enslavement. They refused to permit any alternative information to reach their voters. And in the end, they succeeded in rallying their supporters to war.
But that does not have to happen here, now. We can see exactly what Trump is doing, and refuse to embrace it. Democratic leadership is calling out Trump for “willfully fanning the flames of this violence,” as Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) put it today.
Today Biden released a statement [published in full in my previous blog post]... saying “the deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable. Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same…. We must not become a country at war with ourselves. A country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you. A country that vows vengeance toward one another….”
“As a country,” he continued, “we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment that led to this deadly clash…. 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? He is recklessly encouraging violence…. The job of a President is to lower the temperature. To bring people who disagree with one another together. To make life better for all Americans, not just those who agree with us, support us, or vote for us.”
In Wisconsin, still reeling from the shooting of Jacob Blake in the back by law enforcement officers, the Lt. Governor cited Trump’s “incendiary remarks” and attempts to create division and said that Trump should not come to Kenosha on Tuesday as he currently plans. Governor Tony Evers (D) agreed, as did Kenosha’s mayor. Evers wrote: "I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state. I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together."
It is important to remember that Trump’s apparent power play is a desperate move.
More than 180,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 on his watch. We have far more deaths per capita than other advanced countries, and we still have no national testing program. The White House is now apparently taking the position that we will all just have to live with the disease and that schools and businesses should simply reopen, but Americans are not happy about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. Today he tried to help his numbers by retweeting a thread from a far-right website saying that, in fact, only around 9000 people have died in the U.S. of Covid-19, because the rest had co-morbidities and were going to die anyway. The argument is so far off the mark that Twitter flagged it for violating rules.
Polls show Trump continuing to lag behind Biden by significant numbers. Fifty-nine percent of Americans disapproved of the programming at the Republican National Convention, and he saw no bounce from it. Trump’s overall approval rating is a dismal 31%.
And Trump remains dogged by tell-all books and lawsuits that threaten to reveal criminality. Today, the New York Times ran a story by Michael S. Schmidt, a reporter covering national security and federal elections for the paper. Schmidt has a book coming out on Tuesday. It reveals that in 2017 former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein limited Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Rosenstein kept Mueller from exploring Trump’s own relationship with Russia while he was investigating Russia’s efforts to get Trump elected and Trump’s efforts to stop the inquiry. Rosenstein limited Mueller to conducting a criminal investigation and did not permit him to expand his inquiries.
Rosenstein did not tell the acting Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, that he had taken an investigation of Trump himself off the table, and McCabe did not realize it had happened. McCabe said that he was “surprised and disappointed” to hear this news, and had he known, he would have had the FBI do such an investigation “because we had information that indicated a national security threat might exist, specifically a counterintelligence threat involving the president and Russia. I expected that issue and issues related to it would be fully examined by the special counsel team.” McCabe noted that the issue at hand “was first and foremost a counterintelligence case…. Could the president actually be the point of coordination between the campaign and the Russian government? Could the president actually be maintaining some sort of inappropriate relationship with our most significant adversary in the world?”
Meanwhile, Senator Tammy Duckworth is keeping a tally of how many days it’s been since we learned that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked fighters for killing U.S. or allied soldiers in Afghanistan. Trump has refused to respond to that intelligence.
Russian troops appear to be trying to pick a fight with U.S. soldiers in northeastern Syria, the region from which the U.S. abruptly withdrew last fall. After smaller incidents, on Tuesday, in a Russian convoy sideswiped a U.S. vehicle and a Russian helicopter buzzed the convoy. Seven U.S. soldiers were injured, none seriously. The Pentagon blamed Russian forces for “deliberately provocative and aggressive behavior.” A bipartisan group of lawmakers called on the White House to “clearly communicate to the highest levels of the Russian government and military that actions like this will not be tolerated,” but so far, Trump has said nothing.
The bottom line question is how many credulous Americans are there who will fall for the brazen deception and stochastic terrorism of Donald Trump? Right now, the baseline appears to be 31 percent. I am not scared of the possibility that Trump will win. But I am concerned that he's so damn desperate that he's going to personally explode... figuratively speaking. More literally, I expect him to continue harming citizens and increasingly stoking violence until he is pushed out of office by the voters.

Prof Richardson's Notes:


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Trump is UNFIT for office; We MUST eradicate the menace

From the Boston Herald,
Like the self-explanatory poster that declares “Russell Crowe is ‘Unhinged,’” the new documentary “Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” sounds like it might be a funny look at the controversial guy in the White House.
Not so, says producer-director Dan Partland, 50. “We were very aware making this film that a lot of people saw Trump’s antics as odd, unusual, out of line, outrageous even but not scary.
“What we tried to show was while that may be attractive, what’s underlying it is really deadly serious.”
“Unfit” took wing in 2018 when, the two-time Emmy winner said from L.A. last week, “Many of us were inundated with news coverage. There was a different scandal day to day but a sameness.”
Partland used a Kickstarter campaign (“We knew it would not be funded from ordinary sources”) and he went into production at the start of 2019.
“We started reading anything we could find that was published on Trump psychology.
What the mental health pros had to share was jaw dropping. We tried to further discuss the issue with people who had first-hand dealings with Trump. One was Rick Reilly, who has known him for over 30 years.”
Reilly has written about Trump the golfer and he’s scathing onscreen, saying, “Cheating in golf reveals your character. He cheats all the time! He tells people he’s won club championships when he never played. He cheated playing with Tiger Woods!”
Anthony Scaramucci (“11 days as White House Communications Director”) and George Conway are onscreen as well.
“Scaramucci could really take you inside, he knows what Trump is like in person,” Partland said, adding, “Scaramucci provides much needed insight into the psychology of Trump supporters. He speaks very eloquently why a certain part of the electorate is so responsive.”
With “Unfit,” Partland emphasized, “We wanted to make sure we were non-partisan but anti-Trump. We wanted people to share the positives of Trump, although that was harder to come by.
“George was important because he and Scaramucci and some others could really explain the change from being a Trump supporter to being anti-Trump.”
(“Unfit” is available on streaming platforms.)

And an indirectly related exclamation from the Lincoln Project.


Statement from Joe Biden on the violence in Portland:

The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable. Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by any one, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same. It does not matter if you find the political views of your opponents abhorrent, any loss of life is a tragedy. Today there is another family grieving in America, and Jill and I offer our deepest condolences.
We must not become a country at war with ourselves. A country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you. A country that vows vengeance toward one another. But that is the America that President Trump wants us to be, the America he believes we are.
As a country, we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment that led to this deadly clash. 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? He is recklessly encouraging violence. He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is. He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership–or even basic human compassion.
The job of a President is to lower the temperature. To bring people who disagree with one another together. To make life better for all Americans, not just those who agree with us, support us, or vote for us.
Donald Trump has been president for almost four years. The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Cohen's estate likely would have authorized Trump to use a different song at the RNC

According to news reports this evening, the estate of Leonard Cohen, explicitly denied permission for the Republican National Convention to use "Hallelujah," Cohen's most important and famous song. But the Trump's illegal spectacle on the south lawn of the White House used it anyway.

Also in Reuters' news story, Cohen's estate indicated it would have given permission to use "You Want it Darker" had the RNC requested it.

THAT would have been fitting since lawlessness and Putin's propaganda method has been so seamlessly incorporated into the Trump administration and the Republican Party over the last four years.
The estate of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen is not rejoicing over the use of his song “Hallelujah” at the Republican National Convention.
Cohen’s estate and music publisher had actually turned down the Republican National Committee’s request to use the tune, but it was played twice anyway as fireworks exploded over the White House after Donald Trump’s lengthy closing speech Thursday night — first in a recorded version by Tori Kelly, then in a live performance by opera singer Christopher Macchio from a White House balcony. Now the estate is considering legal action.
Michelle L. Rice, legal representative of the Cohen Estate, also released a statement, saying, “We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah,’ one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue. We are exploring our legal options. Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want It Darker,’ for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.”
The Los Angeles Times conjectured that, “the president’s campaign may have procured what’s called a blanket license that would allow him to use certain songs at public events without having to seek case-by-case permission..." However, that sounds more like Putin's propaganda method which now has been embraced seamlessly by the Trump administration and the GOP, the firehose of falsehoods. They make some absurd and clearly false claim and do it so frequently and emphatically that nobody can keep up with it.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Now that Primary season is over, WHO is going to be the REAL Alpha Male (or Female)?

Hint: it's NOT Donald Trump (sr. or jr.)

This TED Talk was published two years ago in July.

I watched it then. In 2018, we didn't know who would end up being the Democratic Party nominee for president in 2020. Please take the 16 minutes to be enlightened by Frans de Waal.

In 2016, Trump conned millions of people with his demagoguery, aka fake empathy.

In 2020, Joe Biden is the real deal. So is Kamala Harris. They both have the qualities Professor de Waal says genuine alpha males demonstrate consistently. With Biden, it's not an act.

He's been a public servant all of his adult life. He has shown voters that he cares about Main Street America. Kamala's been a public servant for a long time also.

Other than enriching himself and his friends, does he do anything as president for any purpose other than projecting an image?

These images are from a TED Talk in 2013 by model Cameron Russell, that she titled "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model." But not only is image powerful, it's also superficial. Same with Trump and his performances this week at the Really Nutty and Crazy fest.

Anyway, for this election season, the "elephant" in the room is Trump's response to the covid19 pandemic.

#ETTD, aka everything Trump touches dies.

I know, that could be discouraging. But this next minute and a half video might help you feel a bit more hopeful.

Trump is going down, my friends. He'll bluster and figure out ways to cheat until it's over, but he will not win. He IS going down.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Are 161 Coronavirus cases just five days after the start of the new ASU semester significant?

On Twitter, Rachel Leingang reports on education for the Arizona Republic,
From ASU President Michael Crow:
ASU successfully launched its fall semester on Thursday, August 20, welcoming more than 127,500 students in multiple learning modalities. [...]

We currently have about 100,000 students and employees across our four campuses in metropolitan Phoenix, coming to the university on staggered days to maintain physical distancing. Since August 1, we have collected test results from 32,729 students and employees. Currently, ASU has 161 known positive cases within our community. Please keep in mind this number includes students and employees across our four metropolitan campuses and includes students living on and off campus throughout the broader community.
The Arizona Eagletarian reported, on June 27 (just shy of two months ago),
Significant spread of the disease (caused by the Covid19 virus) will occur on EVERY school campus that is opened this fall (August/Sept 2020).
I suppose that just five days after ASU resumed in-person instruction, with "about 100,000" students and employees, it may be debatable that "161 known positive cases" is significant. Apparently a LOT of families decided that they DO (or did) feel lucky.

Retired ASU astrophysics professor Jeff Hester said, back in June,

A few days ago, Prof Hester published another video to explain why hybrid classes are NOT a safe answer to today's Covid19 pandemic.

Michael Crow may be determined to solve problems. But minimizing the significance of 161 cases and suggesting that student partying is the crux of the matter rather than actually attending classes, strikes me more as subterfuge than legitimate problem solving.

On the other hand, Florida teachers, like East Valley's J.O. Combs school district teachers, weren't satisfied with their personal safety being compromised without an adequate say in the matter. Combs teachers got the governing board to change course about re-opening.

Florida teachers sued, and WON.
Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of Florida’s statewide teachers union Monday, saying Department of Education officials “essentially ignored the requirement of school safety” when they ordered campuses to reopen for face-to-face classes this month.
All parents AND educators must realize and recognize that obedience is always voluntary, even when those demanding compliance don't present the directives as optional. Committed, sustained, nonviolent struggle WORKS.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Redistricting Commissioner applications warrant close scrutiny already

The 2021 Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Chairperson will not be a paid position. However, it will, absolutely be pivotal to the ability of Arizona voters in all legislative and Congressional districts to have a fair and legitimate opportunity to choose their own lawmakers in elections from 2022 until 2030.

Because the chair's responsibility is so grave, the potential for a person of dubious integrity to cause long lasting damage to, not only voting rights, but to every other right that could be adversely impacted by any or all legislation which may regard the personal and civil and property rights of Arizonans, we the citizens must be ever vigilant to ensure that all redistricting processes are free from undue influence of any kind.

Thirty-nine of the 138 commissioner applicants have declared themselves to be unaffiliated with either the Republican or Democratic Parties. That's 38 Independents and one Libertarian. Those 39 are the only ones who will be considered for appointment as chair of the 2021 Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

A concerned citizen has already approached me with information challenging the stated qualifications of one of those 39. I advised this citizen to document those concerns and forward them as soon as possible to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments. The email address to direct such comments is

Citizens are the first defense against undue influence. The second line of defense is the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments (which maybe referred to also as the screening committee). This committee will not interview all 138 candidates, or even all 39 potential candidates for the chair position.

Because of the significance of independent redistricting, you can be certain that there will be aggressive efforts made to secure such undue influence in the process. The starkest example from the last redistricting cycle is the Hofeller Files.

To the extent of your knowledge and experience, I urge all citizens to go over each application in detail. When you find something of concern, especially wrongly or overstated credentials, by all means, contact the screening committee, and if you wish, feel free to email me.

Friday, August 21, 2020

2021 Redistricting Process begins with 138 applicants for Commissioner

From the Arizona Mirror,
One hundred thirty-eight people applied to serve on the next Independent Redistricting Commission, which will determine the boundaries of Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts for the next decade.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments received applications [pick one or many to read and evaluate] from 55 Democrats and 44 Republicans, 38 independents and 1 Libertarian.
Because no more than 2 commissioners can be from the same political party, the pool of independents, along with the Libertarian, will provide the pool of candidates to serve as the all-important chair of the redistricting commission who acts as a tiebreaker if the Democratic and Republican members are deadlocked.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments must winnow the list down to 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 5 independents or others. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the state House of Representatives and Senate will each select one commissioner, and those four will select a fifth commissioner to serve as chairman.
The Arizona Constitution requires geographic diversity among the commissioners, and no more than 2 of the first four selected can reside in the same county. There are 89 applicants from Maricopa County and 28 from Pima County, along with 8 from Coconino County and 3 from Pinal and Yavapai counties. No other county has more than two applicants. No residents of Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Navajo, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties applied.
The total number of applicants for the IRC increased from 2010, when only 79 people sought seats on the redistricting commission. In 2000, the first year Arizona used an independent commission for redistricting, 311 people applied.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will meet on Sept. 17 to review applications and take public testimony on the candidates. People can also submit public comments regarding the applicants via email at, or by mailing them to the commission’s offices. Comments cannot be submitted anonymously.
By early January, the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will narrow the list of applicants down to 25 people.
A number of notable people applied to serve on the redistricting commission. Among them are:
  • Christopher Bavasi, independent, Coconino County: Former Flagstaff mayor and city council member.
  • Cheryl Cage, Democrat, Pima County: Cage is the former chairwoman of the Pima County Democratic Party and was a candidate for the Arizona Senate in 2008 and 2010.
  • Ernest Calderon, Democrat, Maricopa County: Calderon is the former president of the Arizona Board of Regents. He is also a former member of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments.
  • Nick Dranias, independent, Maricopa County: Dranias is a former attorney with the conservative Goldwater Institute. Dranius appears to be a member of the Federalist Society, which is almost exclusively composed of Republican attorneys. 
  • Louis Hoffman, Democrat, Maricopa County: Hoffman is the former chairman of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
  • Leezie Kim, independent, Maricopa County: Kim served as general counsel for Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, and later served under Napolitano as deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Thomas Loquvam, independent, Maricopa County: Loquvam is general counsel and vice president for corporate services at the utility company EPCOR. He previously served as general counsel for Pinnacle West, the parent company of Arizona Public Service, [and apparently is brother to soon-to-be-former APS lobbying operative Jessica Pacheco].
  • Randy Pullen, Republican, Coconino: Pullen is the former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. He ran for Phoenix mayor in 2007 and for state treasurer in 2014.
  • Ken Strobeck, Republican, Maricopa County: Strobeck is the former executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. He served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives before moving to Arizona.
[Looking back to how things played out after the 2011 Redistricting Commission was reconstituted] The most contentious part of the selection process may be the vetting of the independent candidates and the selection of the chair, a pivotal decision that could allow the Democrats or Republicans to seize effective control of the redistricting commission.
In 2011, the four commissioners appointed by legislative leaders chose Colleen Coyle Mathis, an independent from Tucson, to serve as IRC chair. Partisan disagreements quickly emerged ... [as documented in detail in the Arizona Eagletarian's posts from 2011-2012]
Republicans filed lawsuits challenging the IRC’s congressional and legislative maps, both of which were upheld by the courts. Another lawsuit led by GOP lawmakers challenged the commission’s existence, arguing that the U.S. Constitution reserved redistricting duties for state legislatures and did not permit those duties to be delegated to an independent commission. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the redistricting commission in a landmark 5-4 decision in 2015.
Arizona is expected to gain a 10th congressional seat after the 2020 Census is completed.

From the Commission on Appellate Courts Appointments,
The public is being asked for comments on 138 applicants for Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission, which will oversee the mapping of Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts in 2021. The Arizona constitution directs the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments to review the applications and to nominate 25 people to serve. The Commission’s nominees must be submitted by January 8, 2021. Four elected officials [who will be actual legislative leaders] will appoint the first four members of the Independent Redistricting Commission. The fifth member will be chosen by the four members appointed to the Commission.
No more than two members of the Independent Redistricting Commission can be members of the same political party. Of the first four appointed, no more than two can be residents of the same county. Among the applicants there are 55 Democrats, 44 Republicans, 38 Independents, and 1 Libertarian. Applications were received from nine of Arizona’s 15 counties.
An alphabetical list of all applicants follows. Their applications can be viewed online at the nomination website, The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review the applications and take public testimony in a meeting on September 17, 2020. The meeting will be held at the Arizona State Courts Building in Phoenix, 1501 W. Washington, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Further information about this meeting will be provided on the meeting agenda which will be posted on the nomination website at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting. 
Public comment is accepted at this meeting, however, citizens are strongly encouraged to submit all comments to or to 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Written comments must be received by September 14, 2020 to be considered. Anonymous comments cannot be considered. Comments should not be sent directly to individual Commissioners.

In a recent post, I noted the short-sightedness of the GOP-controlled legislature when it tried to hamstring any and all citizen initiatives. Former Republican state senator Rich Crandall and local Republican attorney Kory Langhofer made a case to the AZ Supremes that despite their misgivings about the Invest in Ed initiative, the issues raised by local Chamber of Commerce (special) interests in the lawsuit trying to get it knocked off the ballot were a bad idea. Today, the Yellow Sheet Report had Dominionist operative CQ (Constantin Querard) suggesting that even if Dems do flip the legislature in November, such gains won't last.
Even if 2020 turns out to be a banner year for Democrats, if Republicans play their cards right during redistricting, they should hold strong majorities in the Legislature and congressional delegation by 2022, conservative consultant Constantin Querard told our reporter. “If the Democrats do finally get control of something, it’s quite likely to be a two-year rental,” he said.
Querard envisioned a scenario where Arizona’s new 10-member congressional delegation included only three Democratic districts – Grijalva’s CD3, Gallego’s CD7 and perhaps O’Halleran’s CD1 or Kirkpatrick’s CD2. Because the US Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in its Shelby County v. Holder decision, Arizona map-drawers will no longer need preclearance from the US Dept of Justice when drawing maps. And the court’s 2019 decision in Rucho v. Common Cause declaring partisan gerrymandering outside the judicial branch’s scope means simply showing that the maps were drawn explicitly to benefit Republicans won’t carry any weight in the [federal] courts.
Those decisions will make it much easier for Republicans to control the process that Democrats dominated last time around, Querard said. Still, the long-term demographic trends are not on the side of Republicans, he said. “The fact is if California continues to move in and bring their bad ways with them, no matter how you draw the maps, the trend will still be towards Democrats over time,” he said.
I neither agree nor disagree with CQ on this issue. My view is that vigilance is always necessary.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Another instance of NONVIOLENT STUGGLE works

A Pinal County school district, J.O.Combs, publicly intended to resume in-person instruction at its facilities on Monday this week. But district teachers united in nonviolent struggle.

Previously, AZ Department of Health Services director Cara Christ, along with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman released guidelines for doing so ostensibly in a safe manner based on metrics related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three data benchmarks that will guide school reopening decisions are:
  • The number of cases. Schools could open in a limited capacity when the county's rate of new cases per 100,000 people dips below 100 per week for two weeks, or their is a two-week consecutive decline in cases.
  • People testing positive. Schools are recommended to open in a limited capacity when the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in their county falls below 7%.
  • Hospitalizations. Schools could open on a limited basis when the percent of hospital visits caused by COVID-like illness falls below 10% for two weeks.
From today's Yellow Sheet Report,
JO Combs, the most notable district where teachers are bucking their governing board’s decision to ignore Ducey’s guidelines, is in Pinal County, which meets [only] two of three guidelines – its cases per capita is not below 100 for two consecutive weeks but it is on a two-week downward trend and the county meets the benchmark of less than 10 percent of hospital visits being for Covid-like illness for two consecutive weeks. However, the percent of tests coming back positive has been well over 7 percent for two consecutive weeks (10.6 percent and 9.1 percent with the most recent week ending Aug 2). Schools in JO Combs were supposed to open for hybrid learning on Aug 17, but a standoff between teachers and the school leaders [whatever that means] led to full cancellations of in-person and virtual learning for three days this week, leading [so who exactly was doing the ACTUAL leading?] the governing board to vote last night to reverse its decision on in-person learning and instead offer virtual learning only. Today’s weekly school metrics update shows four counties have hit the metrics to reopen for hybrid learning: Apache, Cochise, Coconino and Yavapai.
"Leaders" (including elected officials) only lead when voluntary obedience is granted by the constituents. Even military officers understand the concept.
We have to learn from what we do right and what we do wrong, then move on. There were twenty-three of us, back to back. Now there are twenty-two. We have to get each other home in one piece.” 
The Marine nodded, accepting this line of reasoning. Strong combat leadership is never by committee. Platoon commanders must command, and command in battle isn’t based on consensus. It’s based on consent. Any leader wields only as much authority and influence as is conferred by the consent of those he leads. The[se] Marines allowed me to be their commander, and they could revoke their permission at any time.
Fick, Nathaniel C.. One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer (p. 276). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition. 
By the way, also in today's Yellow Sheet Report, "[Democratic US Senate nominee and former US Navy Captain] Mark Kelly spent roughly 40 minutes on the Republic’s political podcast dodging questions about how he would govern, and pivoting to criticisms of McSally." I don't know how the questions were posed to Kelly, but my initial impression is that US Senators do not govern anyone except their staff. It may be just a little bit premature for Kelly to be considering a run for Arizona governor or president of the United States.

Of course, there are plenty who would say to me, "well you know what they were talking about." To which I respond that words matter. There's a reason many journalists are unable to make the distinction between elected officials and leaders.


And in the Unintended Consequences caused by shortsightedness and failure of imagination Department (also from the Yellow Sheet Report),
...former lawmaker Rich Crandall backed Invest in Education’s battle at the [Arizona] Supreme Court with an amicus brief that he said aimed to warn Republicans that they’ll regret restricting initiatives if they lose political power at the Capitol. Crandall and his attorney, Kory Langhofer (who successfully challenged the 2018 Invest in Ed initiative) called the initiative “flawed policy that should not be enacted.” 
However, they urged the high court to reject the Chamber of Commerce’s argument that ARS 19-118.01, as enacted by Leach’s Laws 2017, Chapter 52 (H2404: initiatives; circulators; signature collection; contests), which made it illegal to pay initiative petition circulators by the signature, means that Petition Partners violated that law when it paid circulators bonuses and other incentives based, in part, on the number of signatures they gathered. While banning paying per signature is a constitutionally valid precaution, the law doesn’t ban petition circulation companies from rewarding productive workers with bonuses, as those working for Invest in Ed did, Langhofer argued in the brief. 
The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously agreed that the incentive structure didn’t violate ARS 19-118.01. Crandall told our reporter that he decided to join the fray because he’s worried that when Republicans lose the majority in either the House or the Senate, the barriers Republicans have set up to ballot access in the Legislature and in the courts will cripple their ability to set policy. “Someday, that may be our only option as Republicans,” he said. “And if you make the rules so strict that a citizen’s initiative can never get on the ballot, this could [will almost certainly] come back to bite us in ways we haven’t even imagined.”
He imagined a scenario where Republicans [Democrats] control the House and Senate and Governor’s Office and attempt to curtail school choice. Republicans might want to use the initiative to reinstitute school choice policies, which are generally popular among voters, and have them voter protected, he noted.
“This isn’t really about Invest in Ed,” he said.

God forbid, what if Trump is what America needed?

This notion occurred to me early on in the reign of the orange menace. It's kinda like going through massive doses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment to rid oneself of a deadly metastasized cancerous tumor.

From the Bulwark (but not the image),

The great revealer laid bare what was rotten. And now we have a chance to fix it.

by Gregg Hurwitz and Marshall Herskovitz
August 19, 2020
In 2016, Americans were asked to pick their poison.
On the one hand a highly competent, highly qualified mainstream pro-Wall Street pro-corporate candidate who would in most regards hold the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama trajectory—while entirely missing the desperation working Americans were feeling.
On the other hand a corrupt businessman calling bullshit on the entire system, willing to burn everything down to Make America Great Again—meaning give working people back the dignity (and manufacturing jobs) that had been stolen from them by the evil cabal of globalist elites. The fact that he was lying was entirely beside the point for his supporters.
And many Americans were willing to live with his exploiting of resentments and divisions to get anything that wasn’t business as usual.
What was business as usual?
  • Real wages for American workers were exactly the same as they had been in 1980. Upward mobility was a distant memory for most.
  • 49 million Americans experienced food insecurity daily.
  • There were 1.68 million African-American men under state and federal criminal justice supervision, and they were receiving sentences 19 percent longer than white males convicted of the same charges.
  • The purchasing power of the minimum wage had been falling since 1968.
  • 40 percent of Americans could not handle a $400 emergency.
  • 71 percent of young Americans would be unfit to serve in the military if they enlisted because they’d either fail the physical or be unable to read at a sixth-grade level.
  • Our students ranked 26th out of the 34 wealthiest countries in math, despite the fact that we spent the 5th most on education.
  • The prevalence of lobbyists in Washington meant that the percentage of Americans who supported a law had 0 percent bearing on whether that law would pass. Citizens’ impact on public policy was statistically non-significant.
  • Lawmakers in Washington spent 70 percent of their time raising money for reelection. In some Senate races candidates had to raise $45,000 a day, 365 days a year, for 6 years in order to have a shot at winning.
  • America had the most expensive—and infuriating—health care system in the world.
Not good.
Because Trump was lying, as soon as he won he set about doing the opposite of what he’d promised: exploiting the presidency to make money and helping his friends and relations loot the country even more spectacularly than his predecessors.
Jobs continued to bleed out of the country, and after Trump cut taxes on corporations and the rich, he didn’t care that those corporations bought back stock and lavished bonuses on their executives instead of raising worker salaries and investing in new production.
Ironically, all this may be why he was exactly what we needed. Because it wasn’t just Hillary Clinton who missed how angry Americans had become. With the exception of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, everyone missed it. And missed it big: missed the opioid epidemic, the deaths of despair, the disintegration of families and the local institutions that had supported them.
It took Donald Trump to give one last shove to our societal infrastructure before its rotten foundations started to collapse. And what was revealed was not just that America didn’t work anymore, but that the people at the top—the lawmakers and the wealthy who patronized them—either didn’t know or care that it didn’t work. They were utterly insulated from its not-working because capitalism had long since morphed into something that insulated them, something ugly and toxic: oligarchy. [case in point: David Schweikert R-AZ06
In America, hard work and talent should be rewarded, but let’s not pretend that in the past 40 years everyone in the top hundredth of a point got that much more brilliant and productive. Let’s not pretend that bail-outs and stock buy backs and venal corporatism entrenched by $3.47 billion in annual lobbying is a “free market.” Let’s not pretend that the people engineering mergers and acquisitions were doing so to enhance the competition necessary for capitalism to thrive.
As Rick Wilson has said,
"Once corporations discovered it was cheaper to lobby than to compete and innovate, the game was over. It was permanently rigged. I was having a drink with a lobbyist for the financial industry who looked me in the eye and said, 'If America had any fucking idea what we do to them, they’d burn this fucking city to the ground and kill every one of us.'”
If liberals like us can agree this bigly with Rick Wilson, then perhaps this is where we can all meet. Perhaps anyone not irredeemably corrupt can be made to care about this kind of unfair, rigged-game corruption, from Bernie Bros to suburban women to Obama-Trump voters to Never Trumpers to libertarians to country-club Republicans to diner-dwelling coal miners who are no doubt exhausted of being anthropologically studied over their cup of morning joe.
And we are seeing surprising opportunities for agreement, from Marco Rubio to Bernie Sanders, from Josh Hawley to Cory Booker, that the way business and government interact must be changed. They might have different opinions about how we got here, who is to blame, and what we need to do now, but many of their ends are the same: enforce competition in the marketplace, protect the small against the large, end corporate welfare, and reestablish the principle that corporations have a responsibility beyond their shareholders and the next quarter’s bottom line.
Now let’s ponder this: If we were in year 3.5 of a Hillary Clinton presidency, where would be in our discussions of income injustice? Corruption in government? Dignity of work?
Maybe all the pain and division and loss and fear of these kidney-stone-excruciating years brought us an opportunity for insight and actual change. Maybe we had to see all this barely-beneath-the-surface hideousness in such undeniable fashion to make sure none of us would be willing to go back to the way things were before.
If we do set course on this incremental journey back to wholeness, then Donald Trump ultimately—paradoxically—will have MAGA because the greatness of America will be in its repudiation not just of him but all the toxicity he forced to the surface.
In 2016, America picked its poison, a poison that forced a national reckoning.
Whether that proves to have been the right poison is up to us now. And what we do next.
We might not recover from a second dose.

In my imagining, early in the reign of the orange menage, a Hillary Clinton administration--in addition to a vastly different operation of the federal government as well as domestic and foreign policy--I clearly saw the MAGAts and the members of Trump's demagogic following raising ever more chaos than they have under the current administration.

Let's end Trump's reign of terror and error on November 3rd. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Bipartisan Senate Intel Committee report on Russian Interference in the 2016 election

As if we didn't already know intuitively that this was the case?

As the report is nearly 1,000 pages long, here are excerpts. Here's the link to the entire bipartisan report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Russian Active Measures and Interference in the 2016 US Election, Volume 5.  It specifies that Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to attack the American electorate and deprive us of the rightful outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The [Senate Intel] Committee found that the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multi faceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Parts of this effort are outlined in the Committee's earlier volumes on election security , social media, the Obama Administration's response to the threat, and the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment ICA).
The fifth and final volume focuses on the counterintelligence threat, outlining a wide range of Russian efforts to influence the Trump Campaign and the 2016 election. In this volume the Committee lays out its findings in detail by looking at many aspects of the counterintelligence threat posed by the Russian influence operation. For example, the Committee examined Paul Manafort's connections to Russian influence actors and the FBI's treatment of reporting produced by Christopher Steele. While the Committee does not describe the final result as a complete picture, this volume provides the most comprehensive description to date of Russia's activities and the threat they posed. This volume presents this information in topical sections in order to address coherently and in detail the wide variety of Russian actions. The events explained in these sections in many cases overlap, and references in each section will direct the reader to those overlapping parts of the volume. Immediately below is a summary of key findings from several sections. [...] 
(U) The Committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian effort to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak information damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president. Moscow's intent was to harm the Clinton Campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration , help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the U.S.democratic process. WikiLeaks actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort. The Committee found significant indications that[redacted]. At the time of the first WikiLeaks releases, the U.S.Government had not yet declared WikiLeaks a hostile organization and many treated it as a journalistic entity.
While the GRU and WikiLeaks were releasing hacked documents, the Trump Campaign sought to maximize the impact of those leaks to aid Trump's electoral prospects . Staff on the Trump Campaign sought advance notice about WikiLeaks releases, created messaging strategies to promote and share the materials in anticipation of and following their release, and encouraged further leaks. The Trump Campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia and was indifferent to whether it and WikiLeaks were furthering a Russian election interference effort. The Committee found no evidence that Campaign officials received an authoritative government notification that the hack was perpetrated by the Russian government before October 7, 2016 , when the ODNI and DHS issued a joint statement to that effect. However, the Campaign was aware of the extensive media reporting and other private sector attribution of the hack to Russian actors prior to that point. [...]
(U) Almost four years after the 2016 U.S.presidential election , the Committee has now published the bipartisan results of its investigation of the Russian government's election interference and efforts to aid Donald Trump's candidacy. The Committee's work product is voluminous , fact-oriented, and essential reading for all Americans. But the Committee has not sought to draw overarching conclusions about its investigation , opting instead to let the reader determine the significance of these events. These additional views provide necessary context for the reader regarding (1) the Trump Campaign's coopération with Russia; (2) investigative limitations; and (3) significant ongoing concerns. 
(U) The Trump Campaign's Cooperation with Russia
(U) The Committee's bipartisan Report unambiguously shows that members of the Trump Campaign cooperated with Russian efforts to get Trump elected. It recounts efforts by Trump and his team to obtain dirt on their opponent from operatives acting on behalf of the Russian government. It reveals the extraordinary lengths by which Trump and his associates actively sought to enable the Russian interference operation by amplifying its electoral impact and rewarding its perpetrators even being warned of its Russian origins. And it presents, for the first time, concerning evidence that the head of the Trump Campaign was directly connected to the Russian meddling through his communications with an individual found to be a Russian intelligence officer. 
(U) These are stubborn facts that cannot be ignored. They build on the Committee's bipartisan findings in Volume 2 and Volume 4 that show an extensive Kremlin-directed effort to covertly help candidate Trump in 2016, and they speak to a willingness by a major party candidate and his associates, in the face of a foreign adversary's assault on the political integrity of the United States, to welcome that foreign threat in exchange for advancing their own self-interest.
(U) The Committee's bipartisan Report found that Paul Manafort, while he was Chairman of the Trump Campaign,was secretly communicating with a Russian intelligence officer with whom he discussed Campaign strategy and repeatedly shared internal Campaign polling data. This took place while the Russian intelligence operation to assist Trump was ongoing. Further, Manafort took steps to hide these communications and repeatedly lied to federal investigators, and his deputy on the Campaign destroyed evidence of communications with the Russian intelligence officer. The Committee obtained some information suggesting that the Russian intelligence officer, with whom Manafort had a longstanding relationship, may have been connected to the GRU's hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election. This is what collusion looks like. [...]
(U) It is our conclusion, based on the facts detailed in the Committee's Report that the Russian intelligence services assault on the integrity of the 2016 U.S.electoral process and Trump and his associates' participation in and enabling of this Russian activity, represents one of the single most grave counterintelligence threats to American national security in the modern era. [...]
(U) There is also important additional context that should be provided to the reader regarding what the Committee's Report is, and what it is not. The Committee's Report does not duplicate the Special Counsel's investigation. The Special Counsel's work was criminal in nature, not a counterintelligence investigation. Counterintelligence investigations address intelligence questions pertaining to national security threats, not merely statutorily prohibited crimes. That is why the Committee pursued its investigation from a counterintelligence perspective. And it is why the Special Counsel's inability to "establish” a criminal conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia does not convey the breadth and complexity of the threat presented by their actions. [...]
(U) Nevertheless , the facts above, which are further examined in the Committee's bipartisan Report, clearly show that what did happen between Russia and the Trump Campaign in 2016 is far worse than has been publicly revealed thus far. Furthermore, in nearly 1,000 pages of text, we are not aware of a single case where the information that is redacted makes the conduct of Trump or his associates less concerning. To the contrary , across the Report's most critical sections, the redacted information makes the already alarming public findings even more granular, explicit and concerning.
(U) The value of the Committee's investigation is not purely historical. The counterintelligence lessons contained in this report regarding what happened to the United States in 2016 should be an alarm bell for the nation, and for those preparing to defend the nation against current and evolving threats targeting the upcoming U.S. elections. Indeed, Russia is actively interfering again in the 2020 U.S. election to assist Donald Trump, and some of the President's associates are amplifying those efforts. It is vitally important that the country be ready. [...]
(U) It is our conclusion, based on the facts detailed in the Committee's Report that the Russian intelligence services assault on the integrity of the 2016 U.S. electoral process and Trump and his associates' participation in and enabling of this Russian activity, represents one of the single most grave counterintelligence threats to American national security in the modern era. [...]
Additional views of Senator Wyden
(U ) The fifth and final volume of the Committee's report includes a wealth of extremely troubling new revelations about the counterintelligence threat posed by Donald Trump and his campaign. Much of the new information in this report, however, remains needlessly classified . That is unfortunate, not only because the counterintelligence concerns that surround Donald Trump constitute an ongoing threat to national security, but because this report includes redacted information that is directly relevant to Russia's interference in the 2020 election.
(U) As the report details, the Committee was hindered in numerous ways by the subjects of its investigation. In other respects, however, the impediments to the investigation were self inflicted. First, while the Committee investigated interactions between Donald Trump and particular Russians and identified deeply concerning financial links, it did not seek to answer key questions about Donald Trump's finances that relate directly to counterintelligence. In short, the Committee did not follow the money. [...]
(U) From day one, I said that the Committee must follow the money--that is, scrutinize Donald Trump's extensive financial entanglements with foreign adversaries. Following the money is, after all, Counterintelligence 101. The way to compromise people is through money. Donald Trump, had he been an applicant for a national security position in the U.S.government, would never have obtained even the lowest level security clearance. What's more, no review of his suitability for a clearance would have ignored his finances. It is therefore derelict that the Committee, having set out to conduct an investigation of counterintelligence threats and vulnerabilities, would have failed to scrutinize so much information that would be relevant to any application for a security clearance. This must be the last time that the Committee gives short shrift to this issue. 
(U) The Committee investigated specific counterintelligence threats and did uncover concerning new financial connections. The section on Donald Trump's pursuit of a Trump Tower Moscow, while he was publicly praising Vladimir Putin, is deeply troubling, particularly given the revelation that Putin was almost certainly aware of the deal by January 2016. The report also describes important new information about the Agalarovs, with whom Donald Trump had a long-standing financial relationship, noting that Aras Agalarov has significant ties to the Russian government, including to individuals involved in influence operations targeting the 2016 election. Unfortunately, this section also suffers from extensive redactions. 
(U) These and other revelations in the report suffice to establish that Donald Trump poses a counterintelligence threat to the United States, no less because he is President of the United States and not a government employee with a low level security clearance. But the report falls far short of telling the full story. As has been extensively reported in the media, Donald Trump has spent decades developing, maintaining, and relying on financial relationships with Russia. The details of these relationships would almost certainly lead investigators to specific counterintelligence concerns. But the sheer volume of Trump's financial entanglements with Russia also point toward the inescapable conclusion that Donald Trump has been, as Donald Jr. acknowledged publicly, financially dependent on Russia and that, in itself, is a counterintelligence threat.
While the report overall may, to some, be depressing or discouraging, it is important that we take heart knowing that knowledge is power. We SHALL improvise, adapt, and overcome. Trump will NOT succeed.

Monday, August 17, 2020

WOW! Just Wow. Michelle Obama at the DNC UPDATED w/Kristin Urquiza's Speech

Trump "CANNOT meet this moment." Truer words have never been spoken.

"Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness," she said, "what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy."

We've got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.

Trump CANNOT meet this moment.

He will flail and bluster more and worse every day until he is forced out of the White House.

We CAN and MUST oust him.

The text of Michelle Obama's speech is posted on MSNBC.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Nonviolent struggle WORKS: Save the Post Office from Trump!

Remember, Nonviolent is NOT passive. It's active. It's powerful. It's necessary.

We SHALL improvise, adapt, and overcome!

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi has called the House to return to DC early from its August recess to pass legislation that will stop Trump's destruction of the Postal Service.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to demand that McConnell do the same.

Call and email your Members of Congress (both House and Senate) to demand they put a stop to the White House dismantling the Postal Service.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Are you going to let Trump get away with this? Nonviolent struggle works, sometimes quickly

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan hit the Bull's Eye this morning,
Listen to President Trump long enough, and, despite his penchant for falsehood, you’ll eventually hear some unvarnished truth.
That happened Thursday when he stated his intentions clearly in an interview with Fox Business Network. He doesn’t want to approve billions in emergency funding for the cash-strapped and struggling U.S. Postal Service for a simple reason: Democrats want to expand mail-in voting during the pandemic.
His words were stark: “Now, they need that money in order to have the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.” He added that holding back funding means “they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.”
In other words, he doesn’t want American citizens, fearful of exposure to the coronavirus, to have every opportunity to vote in November.

And from Congressman Gerry Connolly, D-VA, chairman of the House subcommittee on Government Operations, in a letter to USPS Inpector General Tammy Whitcomb,
As you are aware, I and other Members of Congress are disturbed by recent steps taken by Postmaster General (PMG) Louis Deloy to restructure the Postal Service The timing of his proposals - amidst a global pandemic and just weeks before a contentious presidential election that will rely on the Postal Service to deliver unprecedented volumes of mail-in-ballots - constitutes a deliberate attempt to use the Postal Service to stifle democracy and influence an election.
It remains unclear whether the Postmaster General is complying with all statutory, regulatory, and administrative processes related to implementation of his drastic changes to nationwide operations and service delivery standards. I believe he is not. I, therefore, write to ask that you perform a rapid review of the statutory and regulatory compliance of Mr. DeJoy's recent actions.
Walter Shaub is former director of the United States [executive branch] Office of Government Ethics.
The American electorate is already answering the call to Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.

A new Facebook friend of mine wrote the following letter that he sent to the USPS Board of Governors (email addresses below, not yet verified). Please also send this letter or one expressing these sentiments in your own words.
Dear Board of Governors,
My family, and millions of Americans like us, depend on the integrity of the U.S. Postal Service to deliver critical medications, paychecks, legal notices and other essential mail. We kindly urge you to immediately discharge Louis DeJoy from his position as Postmaster General and inform Donald Trump that you will not approve any nominee that engages in similar behavior or policies.
The recent Friday night massacre of dozens of dedicated USPS men and women, the destruction of automated mail sorting machines, and mass removal of mail drop boxes across the country are just the tip of the iceberg in an apparent effort to sabotage from within the most trusted government institution in U.S. history. All this during a pandemic when people most depend on the mail for medicine, and for those paychecks, and right before an election where voting by mail is concomitant with the very right to vote.
Donald Trump has already publicly admitted that he seeks to undermine the USPS to interfere with that right to vote. And Mr DeJoy is his agent in that dark effort. To interfere with even one piece of mail is a federal crime. To interfere with millions of critical mail — among them ballots — the crime of the century. Many will say that Mr. DeJoy’s conduct was all too predictable to you. A staunch Trump supporter who donated millions to his campaign, who has tens of millions invested in USPS competitors. Why in the world would you appoint such a biased man, with such blatant conflicts of interest, to our most trusted non-partisan institution in the first place?
A few days ago, each of you was all but anonymous. No more. Your names are spreading across the internet like wildfire. You, and you alone, will decide if your names become revered, or infamous. You alone will decide if you are enablers of the most vicious assault on an American institution and our very democracy — or are the ones who nipped it in the bud and brought it to a screeching halt. You, and you alone, determine right now if you are on the right side of history.
You have a solemn duty to protect the U.S. Mail. The U.S. Mail and the American people need you to exercise that duty and do the right thing. Please dismiss Louis DeJoy now.
Robert Duncan: (Also chairman, president and CEO of Inez Deposit Bank, Inez, KY 41224)
John Barger: (also managing director of NorthernCross Partners, an investment and advisory firm providing private capital and advisory services to middle market companies and private equity funds.)
Ron Bloom: (also vice-president and managing partner of Brookfield Asset Management)
Roman Martinez IV:   (also former investment banker at Lehman Bros.) 
Donald Moak: (also co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Moak Group, a public affairs, advocacy, and business consulting firm.)
William Zollers: 
Several of these USPS directors are very recent appointees. As they all have outside interests, some of which may conflict, they may be vulnerable to negative publicity.

Additionally, Mary Trump, the president's niece and author of Too Much and Never Enough about the emotional dysfunction in her family posted this tweet yesterday,

Friday, August 14, 2020

We will improvise, adapt and overcome!

Loud and clear the orange menace has declared war on the American people.
[The orange menace] stunned even hardened observers when he admitted on national television Thursday morning that he would not agree to additional U.S. Postal Service funding because it would make mail-in balloting easier.
“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
Later Thursday, Vice reported that the Postal Service is removing machines that sort mail ― including ballots ― from offices without an explanation, further raising alarms that Trump will degrade the post office to hurt mail-in voting.
But starving the Postal Service of funding is just one tool at the president’s disposal to slow or stop the counting of ballots sent by mail. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are already engaged in litigation to prevent voters from easily casting absentee or mail-in ballots. In Pennsylvania, they are trying to block the implementation of ballot drop boxes ― curbside boxes where voters can drop their absentee ballots to be picked up by election officials. In California, the RNC tried to stop the mailing of ballots to all voters, but failed. And the Trump campaign is also challenging a new Nevada law that would mail ballots to all active voters.
So, what are we supposed to do, roll over and accept defeat? Not only NO. But HELL NO!

We are, as Joe Biden has said, in a BATTLE for the soul of America. The BidenHarris2020 campaign raised a record amount of funds in the 24 hours after Biden announced that he had selected Kamala Harris as his running mate. That means 1) America gets it; and 2) of course the Trump campaign will push its fund raising too. Therefore, the battle intensifies and will continue to do so.

What do warriors determined to protect their homeland do when the battles rage? They improvise, adapt and overcome. But first, they have to train themselves (as a team) to think and act like warriors.

I'm not saying we have to be as profane as portrayed in the video above. But we need to take a lesson from Eastwood's character, Gunnery Sgt Thomas Highway and adopt the Can Do attitude with a certain degree of mental discipline such that we do not let Trump's sinister actions disturb or freak us out.

And if you need any additional motivation,

And some quotes/excerpts from One Bullet Away, the Making of a Marine Officer, by Nathaniel Fick,

“Superior thinking has always overcome superior force”

About Marine Officer Candidate School training,
The leadership traits [successful candidates would ultimately exhibit] were bearing, courage, decisiveness, dependability, endurance, enthusiasm, initiative, integrity, judgment, justice, knowledge, loyalty, tact, and unselfishness.

Marching didn’t matter. It was about cool under pressure. It was about detachment. We had to retain our ability to think when the world was crumbling around us.

Regarding training after taking command of an operational platoon,
"My wool watch cap, soaked with salt water, kept slipping over my eyes. I pushed it back to look at Captain Whitmer. He squinted through the blowing spray. I imagined him hearing the siren song of warmth and rest for his troops on the ship and the satisfaction of running a mission as briefed. But this was training, and Captain Whitmer would do whatever challenged the company most, forcing it to improvise, adapt, and overcome."

Never forget that The Obstacle is the Way.

And from the American Crisis, a pivotal essay written during the Revolutionary War by Thomas Paine,
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
Throughout America, activists should, can and will organize to have volunteers provide free rides to polling stations/vote centers WITH personal protective equipment. And develop other ways to protect this most critical general election vote.