Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A historian's perspective on the debacle formerly known as a presidential debate UPDATED

Once more from Heather Cox Richardson,

Trump tipped his hand, though, when Wallace asked: "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?” Trump demanded names of such groups, and Wallace named, among others, the Proud Boys, the hate group that helped to organize the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia. After hedging, Trump finally answered: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left." "That's my president," the head of the Proud Boys posted on the social media chair that will still host them. Within an hour the group had new shoulder patches designed with the words “Stand Back and Stand By.” [Armed Forces veterans know this to be a call to prepare for combat. We cannot and must not allow him to get away with such egregious rhetoric.]
Trump called for his supporters to act as poll watchers to prevent a fraudulent vote. He is losing badly in Pennsylvania, a state he needs, and tonight he lied that Philadelphia election officials refused to permit his poll watchers to observe voting. “Bad things happen in Philadelphia,” he said, “bad things.” The truth is that seven satellite offices where voters can register and apply to vote, complete, and drop off mail in ballots opened in Philadelphia. Poll watchers are not allowed because there is no polling taking place. Trump’s calls for poll watchers are pretty clearly calls for voter intimidation.
Tonight, again, Trump refused to commit to accepting a Biden victory, saying that he could not agree to fraudulent results. He suggested the election could take months to solve, and that he “definitely” wants the Supreme Court, including his new nominee Amy Coney Barrett, to “look at the ballots.” (Democrats have said Barrett should recuse herself from any election-related cases; Republicans say that is “absurd.”)
It was a performance designed to show a strong man who is calling out his armed supporters to enable him to seize an election he cannot win freely. [But what it really showed was a weak, pathetic, shell of a man who has no clue how to do anything other than try to mount a Fascist takeover of a free country.]
But Trump performed as he did because it’s all he’s got. He has no policies, no platform, no plans that he can sell to the American people, and no attention span either to govern or to explain how he wants to govern.

There's an important contrast between 20th Century European Fascist movements and what Trump is doing. In Germany and Italy, the people had no historical reference point to draw on to recognize the impending ramifications of what Hitler and Mussolini were doing. We now know what to expect and will not succumb to the deception so easily as a country or an electorate.

As we stay focused and we remain resolute, he will not be able to withstand our resistance.


Evan McMullin, a former CIA intelligence officer who ran for president as an independent in 2016,  tweeted yesterday. See below the bottom-line key takeaway from disclosure of Trump's tax information by the New York Times on Sunday.

So yours truly went to (updated and designed the image above. Feel free to order your own bumper stickers using my design or come up with one on your own. Let's make it go viral.

In the event any trumpsters decide to take issue with the question, smile and simply say that you're asking the question, not providing any answer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Two AIRC chair wannabes clearly demonstrated dubious activities that disqualify them


Two independent candidates for redistricting panel support GOP candidates

Two people who applied to be the independent chairman of Arizona’s next redistricting commission have shown recent support for Republican candidates, public commenters warned the nominating panel that vets the candidates.

Comments, some of them from representatives of Democratic or progressive organizations, pointed out comments by applicants Anders Lundin and Robert Wilson [perhaps understandably due to his previous affiliation with the GOP, the court's website has this Mr. Wilson listed as a Republican even though his application specifically indicates that for the last three years he has been registered Independent] that they viewed as supportive of Republican politicians. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which received the comments, selected both men to be among the 11 applicants it will interview before narrowing the list of independents down to five finalists next week.

The comments about Lundin and Wilson were among the 198 pages of comments from the public submitted to the appellate commission regarding the 139 original applicants for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Wilson, who owns a gun store and business consulting practice in Flagstaff, hosted an Aug. 20 event by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in the parking lot of his store, Timberline Firearms and Training, Coconino County Democratic Party Chairwoman Ann Heitland told the appellate commission in an email. 

View note

Heitland’s email also included an image of an ad for a “shooting day” event the Trump campaign held at Timberline on Sept. 1. A Facebook post by Wilson the day before the 2018 election invited people to his store to meet Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican candidates Walt Blackman, who was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives, and Wendy Rogers, then a candidate for Congress. 

Another Facebook post in October 2019 asked, “Do you know your AZ state representatives?” and invited people to meet Blackman and Jon Saline, then a GOP candidate for the legislature.

Heitland said Wilson was a “a vocal and visible supporter of Republican candidates,” despite his independent registration. 

Wilson told the Arizona Daily Sun that he agreed to host the Aug. 20 Trump event to help inform the public, not to endorse any particular candidate. His Facebook posts didn’t urge anyone to vote for the candidates he was hosting at his store.

“I’m a strong advocate for an informed electorate. We as citizens have a responsibility to be educated on the candidates and the issues and act accordingly with the information we have to vote,” Wilson told the Arizona Daily Sun. “This was a great way to connect citizens to the potential elected leaders.”

Wilson couldn’t be reached for comment. But in a recent interview with the Mirror, he said, “I wouldn’t say I lean one way or the other. I have pretty strong opinions about single-issue kinds of things that fall on both sides of the spectrum.” 

After the Arizona Democratic Party noted that Wilson’s gun shop hosted a Trump rally — the event occurred after he submitted his application for the IRC — Wilson told the Mirror that he supports voter education and does what he can to promote it. 

“I welcome any candidate that would like an opportunity to meet the folks in our neighborhood,” he said.

Wilson said he’s also a member of Mom’s Demand Action, a pro-gun control group, and said he’s been a member of several “far left organizations” in Flagstaff, “trying to better understand and learn and share thoughts on issues with them.” His IRC application lists him as a former member of Speak Up Flagstaff, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future and Flagstaff Liberty Alliance. 

Lundin, a retired attorney who lives in Fountain Hills, submitted a letter earlier this month to the Fountain Hills Times defending Republican Congressman David Schweikert, who represents the area, over his admission to 11 ethics violations following a report by the House Ethics Committee that found evidence of misuse of office and campaign funds. Lundin decried “drips from a leaky tap” against Schweikert, whom he called a “faithful representative” who “has taken responsibility for having numbers challenged in his old campaign.”

“If you have gone out to actually meet him at any of the numerous groups he has appeared at, you have found him to be positive, intelligent and personable. It’s time to get off his case and move forward. Let him who is without sin be the first to cast stones on this too much maligned public servant,” Lundin wrote. [For whatever it may be worth, I AM without the sins for which the House Ethics investigation found him guilty. I did one time run for public office (a school board seat) but did not win, so I can't be found guilty of favoring campaign donors, misusing campaign funds or public/taxpayer funds. So yes, I can cast verbal stones -- against elected officials who do have been found to do things -- in good conscience.] 

Lundin declined to comment to the Arizona Mirror

Neither Wilson’s political activity nor Lundin’s letter to his local newspaper were discussed by the appellate screening commissioners. [Both should be discussed and highlighted rather than minimized in the upcoming interviews.]

Congressional Redistricting Tool for concerned citizens to try their hand at drawing the maps.

The Independent Redistricting Commission consists of five people: two Republicans, two Democrats and a third member from neither party — traditionally an independent — who serves as chair. That makes the chair the key to the process, serving as a tiebreaker vote if the two Democrats and Republicans deadlock. As such, partisans on both sides of the aisle typically have a keen eye for any potential bias by the independents who apply for the position.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments must select 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans and five independents as finalists for the redistricting commission. Democratic and Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives and Senate choose the first four members, and those four select an independent to serve as chair.

When the appellate commission winnowed the list of 139 applicants down to the 51 they’ll interview, nine of 14 commissioners voted for Lundin and 7 seven voted for Wilson. 

The appellate commission unanimously rejected two independent applicants with partisan activities in their backgrounds. Commissioners noted that one applicant was an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2012, [this Mr. Wilson included GOP activity in 2012 on his application] and that another created an organization supporting Bernie Sanders’ 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Another independent applicant, a former aide to Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, received only two votes and was not selected for an interview.

Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor for questions: Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.


I submitted the following comment to the screening committee yesterday.

ALL Republican, Democrat AND unaffiliated candidates MUST have their personal and business debt examined to determine whether there are risks to the security of the IRC and its work.

It must be evaluated and discussed publicly.

There is substantive value in asking each during the public interview to get them on record as to the magnitude of the debt and to whom debt is owed.

By the way, I am not seeking a seat on the IRC. Therefore, I declare my allegiance in the upcoming election with confidence, as has Capt. Sully Sullenberger

And from Atlanta Journal Constitution political cartoonist Mike Luckovich,


Monday, September 28, 2020

Apparently, Trump DOES care about somebody other than himself...

From Heather Cox Richardson tonight (September 29, 2020),

Last night’s tax story earned Trump’s predictable angry tweets. But there was a thundering silence from Republicans about the tax story, while Democrats expressed alarm at the dangers of a president exposed to more than $300 million in debt. For ordinary Americans, even small debt can prevent obtaining a security clearance because it makes a person vulnerable to blackmail or other pressure.

Thus far, there has been plenty of speculation about why Trump is as deferential to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as he has so obviously demonstrated since at least 2016. There will, no doubt, be plenty more speculation. But what's plain to see is that he is deferential as many debtors ARE. 

In light of this amazing news, it is now of the highest import to those of us who vigilantly watch over and care about the legislative and Congressional redistricting in our state that each of the 51 applicants to be interviewed for positions on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission be above all suspicion in this regard. Therefore, during the public interviews coming up in early October, each interviewee must be made to publicly go on the record with adequate DETAIL about the magnitude and character of their personal and business debt. 

Please contact the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments (email Blanca Calles to demand ALL interviewees be put on record during the public interviews as to their debts.

Thereafter, those who end up on the list of vetted candidates sent to legislative leaders when the time comes, will have the opportunity to verify the claims made in the interviews.

From the website of Colorado law firm, Robinson & Henry,
In short, individuals who have excessive and/or delinquent debt are seen to be a greater security risk than those who are more financially stable. The U.S. government has had problems in the past with security clearance holders leaking secret information, either because they were offered a monetary bride, or were financially blackmailed for information. As such, the federal government has established guidelines to red-flag prospective and current federal employees, military personnel and contractors.
What are the red flags?
Typically debt that has a high debt-to-income ratio and/or debt that is delinquent usually cause bigger problems for security clearance holders/appliers. According to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau:
“Financial experts say that less than 37 percent debt-to-income ratio is healthy and anything over 43 percent is a sign that financial distress is inevitable, if not imminent.”
However, it’s not just the presence of debt – but its cause, which interests the federal government. The cause of debt can reflect a person’s reliability, trustworthiness and judgment. In short, someone who mismanages their money may also mismanage their responsibilities concerning classified information.
Do I need to explain the importance of integrity and that redistricting commissioners must not be subject to undue influence as they carry out their duties?


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Barry Goldwater's most famous quote is inherently wrong.

Isn't it about time that we, despite the many contributions Barry Goldwater made to Arizona, say, HEY! wait a doggone minute? Barry's long gone. But his words remain with us. From the 1964 Republican national convention, where he was nominated for president,

Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. -- Barry Goldwater said in the 1960s.

In an election year when the Libertarian Party put forth Harry Browne as a candidate for president, I was able to call in to ask him a question during a radio interview on local station KTAR. I don't remember if it was 1996 or 2000. The question stumped Browne who, of course, was an ardent advocate of liberty and restraining government at all levels from interfering with people's lives. 

My question to him related to HOW or whether his platform promoted egalitarianism or, equality, in America. He had no answer. That's because it does NOT promote any degree of equality in any area. Liberty as a political doctrine, taken to its extreme, most definitely promotes INEQUALITY.


    Liberty and equality have usually in England been considered antithetic; and, since fraternity has rarely been considered at all, the famous trilogy has been easily dismissed as a hybrid abortion. Equality implies the deliberate acceptance of social restraints upon individual expansion. It involves the prevention of sensational extremes of wealth and power by public action for the public good. If liberty means, therefore, that every individual shall be free, according to his opportunities, to indulge without limit his appetite for either, it is clearly incompatible, not only with economic and social, but with civil and political, equality, which also prevent the strong exploiting to the full the advantages of their strength... But freedom for the pike is death for the minnows. [According to the Constitution of OUR country, we are NOT minnows, literally or allegorically.]

Well, certain evil geniuses have gotten away with hoodwinking the American people in our government and economics ever since, to restrict the public dialogue from even considering the brazen contrast as spelled out in the quoted paragraph from 

Now, because the history of the last 60 plus years has produced copious amounts of data, we can and do know that Barry G, a godfather of the movement for extreme economic liberty by way of deregulation, all but eliminating the duty of the Capitalist elite from carrying the financial burden for the infrastructure that has enabled them to get filthy rich, and empowering them to completely capture American government at all levels was obscenely wrong. and so obviously antithetical to the purpose of the Constitution.

Instead of ensuring domestic tranquility, we have Fascism hoodlums without identification attacking our cities where everyday Americans are doing nothing more than shouting their demands for equal rights according to the law. 

Instead of promoting the general welfare, we have the most egregious degree of economic insecurity and inequality since the Great Depression or maybe longer.

Instead of establishing justice, we have police getting away with murdering Breonna Taylor in Louisville in cold blood and Daniel Prude in Rochester, NY in an incident medical examiners ruled a homicide, and Mr. Prude's death occurred BEFORE George Floyd... not to mention epidemic levels of cops shooting unarmed young Black men nationwide.

Instead of providing for the common defense, we have a presider over the federal government who is overtly in thrall to Russian dictator Vlad Putin. Said presider along with elected and appointed officials in the same political party refuses to take action to eradicate Putin's interference with American elections IN 2020.

We have the opportunity to change the direction of our government in less than 40 days. 

VOTE. Assert your most basic citizenship. Speak UP. Speak OUT. Rise UP!

From Kurt Andersen's Evil Geniuses (P. 359),

    Among the great examples of nonbinary thinking are the efforts of both presidents Roosevelt: they got the federal government to intervene in the free-market system in the early 1900s as it never had before in order to save the free-market system, to keep out-of-control capitalists from wrecking capitalism. The year upper-class FDR said of the forces of “business and financial monopoly” and “organized money” that he “welcome[d] their hatred” was the same year F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time.”

I believe Joe Biden is capable of holding two opposed ideas in his mind at the same time and that he can direct the federal government to change direction so that we see a return to the purposes the Founders spelled out in the Preamble to the US Constitution.


Note that the Blogger platform ( recently revamped its text editing software. The quote text function has not been working properly ever since. Until either I figure out something better, or Blogger fixes the problem, I will indent paragraphs with quoted text and will not indent my own.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Origins of Policing in America

 Video from the Washington Post

And we've also learned, in a Michael Moore film, that other countries have enacted alternative models for law enforcement.

We are well past time for this to be addressed by the two major candidates for president in 2020.

But as we saw Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign seriously open the Overton Window to make new and different ideas acceptable to the American electorate, so too the almost exclusively nonviolent (except for Fascist provocateurs which infiltrated the movement) will likely do the same for us regarding public safety.

Black Lives Matter. We must assert our citizenship to move the country in the direction of a more perfect union. Progress, not reactionary movement.

Note: I'm not as much of a fan of Michael Moore as I used to be. But he does have a way with effectively communicating by film.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Inevitable corruption in privatized public education

Joann Vega and Harold Cadiz Photo courtesy of

Arizona Republic investigative journalist Craig Harris reports today that a second charter school official has been sentenced to prison for enrollment fraud

Charter schools, as well as district run public schools are funded on the basis of the number of students who go to those schools.

    Joann Vega and two other executives at the now-closed Discovery Creemos Academy charter school knew they were in financial trouble during the 2016-17 academic year.

    Enrollment was falling at the K-8 Goodyear charter school, and there were concerns about keeping teachers employed and classrooms open for students.

    The three orchestrated an enrollment-inflation scheme to keep $2.5 million in state and federal tax dollars flowing into the school from 2016 to 2018, court records show.

    Eventually, they were caught and each admitted to the fraud.

    Vega on Wednesday became the second school executive sentenced in the case. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jay Ryan Adleman ordered Vega to serve four months in Maricopa County Jail and five years of supervised probation after her release.

    Vega, according to court records, suggested the school use "placeholder students" to inflate the school's enrollment. The hope was that the made-up students would eventually be replaced by real students, but that never happened.

The prosecutor sought a sentence of 3.5 years in prison. The judge gave Vega four months.

Public corruption is a serious matter. It's no secret that neoliberalist ideology mandates privatization of everything. Journalist and author Kurt Andersen, in Evil Geniuses, explicitly makes the case that the economy and American government have, since 1971 been overrun by very aggressive action by Big Money/Capital.

The charter school movement has been a significant factor in looting of state and local treasuries (taxpayer funding). The Arizona Legislature has consistently turned a blind eye to oversight of charter school finances. A four-month prison sentence for scamming taxpayers to the tune of $2.5 million seems like not quite a slap on the wrist.

    Vega also brought $1,500 to court as an initial installment for restitution of the $2.5 million the school fraudulently received.

Even without charging interest, it would take 1,667 payments of $1,500 to make full restitution.

What can and should be done?

How about we start by opening the Overton Window a lot wider to bring viable solutions into the realm of possibly stemming the tide of corruption in government. The charter school industry is quite lucrative (the word is related to the expression filthy lucre). The movement was started so that privateers could get their hands on public school funding. Public education makes up the vast majority of what taxpayers fund in Arizona.

Let's start by turning Arizona Blue. Contrary to popular mythology, Democratic policies cause economies to function better than those of Republicans. 


Note that the Blogger platform ( recently revamped its text editing software. The quote text function has not been working properly ever since. Until either I figure out something better, or Blogger fixes the problem, I will indent paragraphs with quoted text and will not indent my own.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Review redistricting commissioner applications and give screening cmte your impressions


Monday, September 21, 2020

GOP senators imply they expect to lose the senate and the presidency? UPDATED 9-22-2020 3:45pm MST

It appears they KNOW or at least strongly expect they're going to lose the election. Otherwise, why would they be freaking out today about rushing through a successor to #RBG?

They KNOW they're "fucked," to paraphrase Donald Trump himself, about himself.

From the Washington Post,

    Jockeying over President Trump’s next Supreme Court pick ramped up Monday as the president pledged to unveil his candidate to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg [RBG is irreplaceable, but eventually there will be a successor] by the end of the week and conservative groups began aligning behind a push to quickly confirm the eventual nominee.

    Trump continued to seek advice from senior White House officials, key Senate Republicans and conservative leaders about his Supreme Court choice, who if confirmed [apparently*] would cement a conservative majority on the court for years. The momentum appeared to grow behind Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, who met with Trump at the White House on Monday, according to two people familiar with her visit.

From the Lincoln Project,

and it's not only Lindsey,

 We can and must make their self-fulfilling prophesy come to pass.

* Democrats may or may not be able to stall the process. The PEOPLE may be able to put immense pressure on the senate to block confirmation. But we KNOW that this GOP version of a Hail Mary pass is not the last word regardless of whether or not a Dominionist is confirmed.

Stay tuned.


In a post sent today from The Bulwark by Jonathan V. Last, he makes essentially the same point,

The SCOTUS Vote Is a Sign of Republican Weakness

They think they're going to get blown out on November 3.

    Here are the two data points that explain why Republicans are going to push a SCOTUS nomination through before November 3:

    62 percent of Americans say the winner of the election should pick the next nominee.

Joe Biden leads the national polling average by +7 points.

    That’s it. That’s your explanation.

    The polling on who should be making this SCOTUS pick is pretty definitive. Only 23 percent of respondents said that Trump should be the one making the nomination.

    So why would Republicans rush into a high-profile fight where they’re on the wrong side of public opinion[and they KNOW it] by nearly 3-to-1? And in the process weaken their presidential nominee and make a bunch of vulnerable senators even more vulnerable?

    Because they believe Trump is going to lose.

    If Republicans were confident that Trump was going to win, they’d hold off on the SCOTUS vote. They wouldn’t expose senators such as McSally or Gardner.

    If Republicans thought that Trump had a realistic chance to win, they’d also hold off on the vote. Because they’d be scrapping for any issue that might tilt 50-50 odds in their favor.

    (And besides, they could tell themselves that if this gamble didn’t pay off, then they could always vote on the nomination in the lame duck session.)

    But the decision to vote now tells us that Mitch McConnell and the Republican caucus have decided that Trump is highly likely to lose—and that they are likely to lose their majority, too.

    Which is why they have to push the vote through before the election—because doing it in a lame-duck after a large-scale loss would invite apocalyptic levels of public backlash.

    In other words: This is a decision based not on strength, but on weakness and fear. And you know what the old green guy says about fear:

You might think of Senate Republicans as a bunch of bank robbers, running around in the vault, stuffing every last wad of cash they can grab down the front of their pants because they hear the sirens and they know that the cozzers will be on the scene any minute.

One more thing: In all of the SCOTUS drama of the last few days, you don’t see a lot of “more in sorrow than in anger” arguments from Republicans saying, something like:

Yes, this is worrisome. Yes, it’s a judgment call. And yes we understand that it looks bad and that there will be adverse consequences for the court and the country if we hold this vote. But for reasons X, Y, and Z, voting on Trump’s nominee is still the most prudent course.

Instead what you see is closer to . . . glee.

It’s almost as if Republicans are relishing jamming through a last-minute vote even more than they would a normal, orderly confirmation process.

It’s almost as if the norm-busting is part of the appeal.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Unspeakable sadness: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has passed away


[Justice] Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter days before her death, NPR News [in a most worthy obit by Nina Totenberg] reports: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Her accolades were many. Her achievements even more, for human rights, especially gender equality/rights.

She had no equal. I am tremendously sad.

From the Washington Post,

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court and a legal pioneer for gender equality whose fierce opinions as a justice made her a hero to the left, died Sept. 18 at her home in Washington. She was 87.

    The death was announced in a statement by the U.S. Supreme Court. She had recently been treated for pancreatic cancer. 

    Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Justice Ginsburg excelled academically and went to the top of her law school class at a time when women were still called upon to justify taking a man’s place. She earned a reputation as the legal embodiment of the women’s liberation movement and as a widely admired role model for generations of female lawyers.

    Working in the 1970s with the American Civil Liberties Union, Justice Ginsburg successfully argued a series of cases before the high court that strategically chipped away at the legal wall of gender discrimination, eventually causing it to topple. Later, as a member of the court’s liberal block, she was a reliable vote to enhance the rights of women, protect affirmative action and minority voting rights and defend a woman’s right to choose an abortion.


Two Republican and Democratic election attorneys agree that state law and Senate practices would make Kelly eligible to take over the seat once held by Sen. John McCain as soon as Nov. 30, when the state election results are expected to be canvassed.


Screening Committee WILL interview redistricting applicants after cutting most of them today

The list of redistricting applicants to be interviewed in October (h/t @jeremyduda),

with links to their applications,

11 who are not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party


Wilson, Robert

20 Republicans,



And 20 Democrats,


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Former Pence advisor discloses Trump's deadly non-response to Covid19

From USA Today,
    WASHINGTON — A former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who worked on the pandemic response has come out against President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus and said she will vote for Joe Biden.

    Olivia Troye, who departed the White House in August after serving as homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser to the vice president, said in a new video released Thursday by Republican Voters Against Trump that the president's main concern in his coronavirus response was his re-election.

    "The truth is, he doesn't actually care about anyone but himself," Troye said. [I believe that Trump is mentally incapable of caring about anyone but himself. That's what makes him so damn dangerous.]

    Troye, who told The Washington Post she helped organize and attended all the coronavirus task force meetings between February and July, described dismay at Trump's public comments about the coronavirus in the video and in an interview with the Post. He was recently revealed to have told journalist Bob Woodward he intentionally downplayed the severity of the virus to avoid causing panic.

    "If the president had taken this virus seriously or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would've slowed the virus spread. He would've saved lives," Troye said in the video.

From the Washington Post (link embedded above),
    President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic showed a “flat out disregard for human life” because his “main concern was the economy and his reelection,” according to a senior adviser on the White House coronavirus task force who left the White House in August.

Trump told a reporter his biggest secret: that he is a danger to the American people

    If Bob Woodward’s new blockbuster teaches us anything new about the character of the 45th president, it’s that we don’t yet have the words to describe the multiple variants of the vacuum inside his head.

    There’s the stupidity of arrogance, the stupidity of ignorance and his old friend: the stupidity of blatant duplicity. There’s his homicidal stupidity, his traitorous stupidity, his criminally corrupt stupidity and his plain old infantile stupidity.

    Let’s start with the top of this taxonomy: the domain of Donald’s dumbness. At his core, the former reality TV star is a particularly stupid man who thinks he is very smart. Or as he prefers to call his own character, “a very stable genius”.

    Perhaps, just maybe, this lies at the root of his monumentally dumb decision to grant Woodward 18 interviews, on the record and on tape.

    Maintaining a modicum of self-restraint would be an overwhelming challenge for this president for the duration of just one response to one question. Over the course of many hours of conversation, after business hours in the executive mansion, even the ultra-disciplined Barack Obama would struggle to keep his guard up.

    Instead, our very stupid genius vomited up all manner of secrets that collectively prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he represents the greatest single danger to the fate of both the American people and to himself.

    How do we classify the stupidity of blabbing the greatest secret of them all: that he knew all along how Covid-19 was deadly and easily transmissible? We now know that in late January, his national security adviser told him the coronavirus was the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency. A week later, he told Woodward that the disease was “more deadly even than your strenuous flus”.

    Did he bother to share this with the American people so they could protect their own lives? Not quite. For the rest of February and March, he told the world it would disappear like a miracle, that it was no worse than the flu. “I wanted to always play it down,” he told Woodward. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” [Peak disingenuousness]

    This from a president whose entire re-election campaign rests on injecting panic in white voters like bleach.

    For some time we have misclassified Trump’s botched pandemic response as the stupidity of ignorance. But it turns out to be a hybrid specimen of the stupidities of arrogance and duplicity. Certainly within the homicidal genus. The scientific world should take note.

    Our proof was on display on Wednesday as it emerged from – where else? – the blabbing hole of the presidential mouth at his own press conference. “So the fact is, I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country. And I don’t want people to be frightened,” he told reporters. “We want to show confidence. We want to show strength.”

    Nothing says confidence or strength quite like 190,000 [that was last week, as of three days about the death toll had reached 194,000 Americans, with total cases exceeding 6.6 million] dead citizens. And nothing blows up your pushback against Woodward (“another political hit job”) like admitting to your arrogance and duplicity at a press conference.

    Sometimes there are actual reasons for people to be frightened. Sometimes your citizens need to take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their country. One of those times is when they have a colossally cretinous commander-in-chief.

    The stupidity of arrogance is the only way to classify Trump’s blithe declassification of the existence of a secret nuclear program, in one of his many happy-go-lucky chit-chats with the man who destroyed the Nixon presidency.

    “I have built a nuclear – a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before,” said the leader of the free world, making sure that the Russian and Chinese leaders have now heard about his super-duper-secret new weapons system. Woodward reports that his sources were surprised that Trump had revealed its existence.

    It’s hard to be in stealth mode when your leader’s loose lips are busy sinking ships.

    This possibly sits within the traitorous genus of stupidity, although there are multiple specimens of this. So many, in fact, that the wise old men who sullied their reputations by serving him decided that Something Must Be Done.

    Woodward recounts that Jim Mattis, Trump’s defense secretary, went to the national cathedral to pray for the nation, and emerged to tell Dan Coats, Trump’s intelligence chief, that “there may come a time when we have to take collective action”. This appears to be a reference to the cabinet invoking the 25th amendment to remove an incapacitated president from office.

    In reality, despite all that praying, it was Mattis and Coats who were incapacitated: they knew Trump was a danger to the republic but couldn’t bring themselves to say such things to the world in real time. Coats himself came to believe that “Putin had something on Trump” but couldn’t figure out what it was. What’s the point of being smart if you’re constantly outplayed by someone so stupid?

    Because of their failures to act, we now have an intelligence community that suppresses warnings about Russian election interference and white supremacist terrorists, while hyping conspiracies about antifa. You could say this was an impeachable state of affairs, but Republican senators have developed a new stupidity of cowardice.

    Like all truly stupid people, Trump thinks he’s rather brilliant at identifying the intelligence of those around him. He thinks that George W Bush is “a stupid moron” and that Barack Obama isn’t smart but instead “highly overrated” – and a poor speaker to boot. A broken clock may be right twice a day, but it still can’t tell the time.

    Of course it takes a village of idiots to create this Olympic-sized village idiot. So it is comforting to learn that Jared Kushner has identified the problem in this White House. The president’s son-in-law likes to think of himself as the best and brightest of Trump’s bozos, but we can all see him as a classic cross-breed of corrupt and infantile stupidity.

    “The most dangerous people around the president are overconfident idiots,” Kushner told Woodward, apparently referring to people like Mattis.

    The irony gods have truly bequeathed us a feast of overconfident idiots. We shall celebrate it each year in November, once we think of the right word to define their dangerous mix of overconfidence and idiocy. Because snowflake seems such an innocent way to describe such stupid men.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Trump ate Ducey's soul; Wall Street Ate America, aka Vampire Capitalism

After spending a year pushing the citizen initiative Outlaw Dirty Money (unsuccessful largely due to the pandemic), it now occurs to me that even that project didn't aim close enough to the roots of the problems inherent in America's economic and political dysfunction.

In Evil Geniuses (p. 155), author Kurt Andersen quotes Harvard political scientist Gautum Makunda in a piece Makunda wrote for the Harvard Business Review,
Real power comes not from forcing people to do what you want, but from changing the way people think, so that they want to do what you want... The ability of a powerful group to reward those who agree with it and punish those who don't distorts the marketplace of ideas... The result can be an entire society twisted to serve the interests of its most powerful group, further increasing the group's power in a vicious cycle... In the United States... it's... the financial sector--particularly Wall Street--that has disproportionate power... The financial system is the economy's circulatory system. The large banks that have driven finance's incredible growth are the heart of the financial system... The American economy is suffering from an enlarged heart.   
Also from Evil Geniuses (p 166, 167)
"After a long dry spell," the first line of a breathless New York Times business story announced in 1980, "venture capital is booming again." The reporter felt obligated to explain what venture capitalists were, the way articles back then had to explain what Silicone Valley was. The last six months has been the hottest we've ever seen," a VC in San Francisco told the reporter. All at once, the three hot species of swinging financial firms--revitalized VCs, legitimized hedge funds, overleveraged takeover artists rationalized as private equity investors--were flooded with investment capital from big commercial banks, investment banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and university and foundation endowments. At the same moment that alternative rock became a genre, so did these  alternative investments and alternative investment managers. Meanwhile, money from merely well-to-do and solvent individuals was gushing into conventional mass-market mutual funds, turning them into far, far more powerful economic institutions than they'd ever been before. 
The story of leveraged buyouts (and in particular, that of RJR Nabisco in the 1980s) was the subject of the book and movie, Barbarians at the Gate. The book authors reflected in 2008 on the Wall Street Madness.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- "Barbarians at the Gate," the absorbing tale of the takeover of RJR Nabisco, was a New York Times No. 1 bestseller. It also spawned a well-received movie on HBO. But before they could envision creating a pop-culture icon, co-authors Bryan Burrough and John Helyar had a modest goal.
"Our whole goal was writing a book!" Burrough said.
I'm not the only person who thinks "Barbarians at the Gate" is the best business book ever. [As of 12 years ago, I suppose. But I'm thinking that Kurt Andersen's Evil Geniuses now more masterfully distills the essence of the economic and political problems in the US] But penning a classic that defined the go-go 1980s on Wall Street was the furthest thing from their minds. "We were too stupid and naïve to know what we were doing," Burrough told me when I sat down with the authors at Dow Jones headquarters.
Helyar smiled when he recalled that he and Burrough ultimately created a "part-comic, part-dramatic operetta" that reflected "the human comedy" of Wall Street at the time.
Wall Street is still governed by fear and, especially, greed today in the wake of the collapse of the securities, real estate and automotive industries. "I'll give you my 'Wall Street 101' lecture," Helyar said. "Then, the M&A artists were over-the-top in some cases but were still tethered to real corporate America."
Fast-forward to today: "Wall Street became more of a blue smoke-and mirrors" environment, Helyar said.

BARBARIANS_AT_THE_GATE from Javier Gonzalez on Vimeo.

2021 Redistricting Cycle begins: Initial public screening of commissioner applicants

Tomorrow, September 17, 2020, the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments (AZCACA) will hold its first meeting for the purpose of review and screening of the 139 applicants. To become one of the five chosen to become commissioners for the next decade, we'll get our first look at how (superficially or in-depth) they will be evaluated.

You may know that the process has already been subject to controversy in that Gov. Ducey has neglected to appoint an adequately diverse membership to the AZCACA.

From information provided by the court,
The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in conference room 101 of the Arizona State Courts Building in Phoenix, 1501 W. Washington. Public comment is accepted at this meeting, however, in order to maintain social distance, there is very limited seating available. We highly encourage all comments to be submitted via email to or via mail to 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, AZ 85007. All comments received at these addresses will be shared with the Commission.
If you choose to speak to the Commission in person, you must send your information and the subject of your comments to Blanca Moreno at by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Those who submit a request to speak will have access to the available seats first. All other attendees will be allowed into the meeting on a first come, first served basis. Masks are required to enter and remain in the building.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments may vote on nominations for the Independent Redistricting Commission at the September 17, 2020 meeting or at a later meeting.
This highlighted statement suggests the AZCACA may decide to not even interview applicants. That would seem to be highly problematic, if true.

To view the live stream of the meeting, click on this link.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

WaPo Satirist/columnist Alexandra Petri exposes hypocrisy of AEI hack

American Enterprise Institute hack Danielle Pletka penned an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Monday, September 14, 2020. In essence,
In 2016, I never considered voting for Donald Trump. The Johnny-come-lately Republican and his nasty schoolyard jibes seemed to me the worst degradation of American politics. But in 2020, I may be forced to vote for the man
Hear me out.

I don’t need a bumper sticker or a lawn sign to convey my distaste for Trump — his odious tweets, his chronic mendacity and general crudeness. Over the past four years, like an oil slick that besmirches all it touches, Trump himself has managed to obscure his administration’s more-substantive accomplishments, such as focusing the world’s attention on China’s threat to global security and brokering a new era of Middle East peace.

I fear Trump’s erratic, personality-driven decision-making... 
But I fear the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party even more.

What is there to be afraid of? I fear that former vice president Joe Biden would be a figurehead president, incapable of focus or leadership... I fear the grip of Manhattan-San Francisco progressive mores that increasingly permeate my daily newspapers, my children’s curriculums and my local government.
Oh MY God! Dread the thought. Here's what Pletka said about Trump, apparently during the 2016 campaign.

Alas, Ms Pletka doesn't explain who has put a gun to her head to force her. That is, other than the AEI brand that has made a seemingly indelible mark on our country's laws, politics, and government.

If you want to understand what hand AEI has had in undermining the political power of Main Street America since the 1971 inflection point brought on by the Powell Manifesto, you will want to read Kurt Andersen's latest book, Evil Geniuses, the Unmaking of America

On AEI's website, the headline issue at this moment is an brazen effort to completely undermine public education. So, it's no wonder Ms Plentka is trying to torpedo Joe Biden's campaign.

This afternoon, WaPo satirist/opinion columnist Alexandra Petri answered Pletka.
Opinion by Alexandra Petri, columnist
September 15, 2020 at 1:05 p.m. MST
Believe me when I tell you that the LAST THING I could POSSIBLY want would be to vote for Donald Trump. That’s why I am so stunned that you have taken it upon yourself to go to such lengths to FORCE me to vote for him! You sick, sick monster! I don’t even like him, not even one little bit. So I hope you’re happy with what YOU are making me do, which comes to me as a total surprise and is definitely not a foregone conclusion in any way.
Over the past four years, Trump’s ominous shadow has devoured everything that was precious about America, chewed on it and spat out only bones and gristle. This has slightly obscured the accomplishments of his administration, which include, if I am remembering right (DON’T TELL ME IF I’M NOT; THAT WILL MAKE ME ANGRY, AND YOU KNOW WHO ANGRY PEOPLE VOTE FOR), ending the budget deficit and doing whatever it was Abraham Lincoln did, but better and faster.
Do I think Trump has the attributes necessary for governing? Absolutely not! He is a dangerous man, and every day we spend under his leadership is a day we lose a precious share of the world’s respect that we may never regain. There’s definitely not a “But!” coming after such a strong and overwhelming condemnation of his leadership.
But! (You MONSTER! I can’t BELIEVE you put a “BUT” right here in my otherwise full-throated condemnation! That is the only explanation for how it could have gotten there; I know I would not have put it there.) I am more afraid that Joe Biden is the unwitting puppet of dangerous socialists, something you forced me to think using a mind ray. God! You’re even more disgusting than I imagined.
It is also bizarre and, frankly, counterproductive of you to insist that I not read any of Biden’s policy positions on anything, or how you have expended all this effort to make me baselessly paranoid that some shadowy, unseen figure is pulling his strings — something I would not think on my own! Can’t believe you’ve pushed me to this point.
I should also note that, much as I hold deep, principled reservations about Trump’s leadership, I just want to say that if anyone makes me feel the least bit uncomfortable about the legacy of racism in this country or urges me to learn one particle of history that I would not like to learn, I will panic, and when I panic, I vote for Trump (which is, I admit, weird given that I have ZERO desire to do so).
Also, I am sick of media bias. Journalists never quote the president saying anything that makes him look good or sound competent. But just statistically a person must sometimes sound at least kind of competent. Like the monkey-typewriter-Shakespeare thing! So if I see anywhere that the president said something that makes him look bad, malicious or incompetent, you know what that means: I’m going to have to vote for him. Twist my arm, why don’t you!

I am not worried about any dictatorial tendencies from Trump. Yes, he says all the time now that he deserves a third term and that his first one should not be counted, and he constantly implies that he will not accept the results of the election as legitimate if they involve the counting of mailed-in ballots. He also loves nothing better than to embrace creepy strongmen abroad! But (whoa, another “but”! You must be really messed up) I just kind of don’t think he really will follow through on any of it? And what if Biden, whom I have no reason to believe would do any of these things, were secretly planning something much, much worse?
Are there people on the right as bad as the people on the left who are really what is wrong with America? Yes, I think? You made me frame that very confusingly. Sure, it’s bad that the president is giving aid and cover to white supremacists, but — I can’t BELIEVE you would make me put another “but” here! This isn’t a sentence that should have a “but” in it! Though while we’re here, I guess I would say, since you’ve forced me to — but how much do we really need to care about that? You’ve given me no choice but to vote for Trump.
Is there anything any of you could say or do that would make me not vote for him? Wow, it’s condescending questions like this that have really forced my hand.
So I am going to hold my nose and vote for Donald Trump. It would be a real shame for the country, I think, but then again, it might not be such a shame. It almost feels like you WANT me to do it. Okay, I’ll do it.
God forbid that the radical takeover of American government since the 1970s be challenged. That takeover, has been nearly invisible to most of us. The voice of the American people, the American electorate, the American voter CAN and must be given heed so that those who dare to echo Lincoln's call for government, of the people, by the people and for the people actually again be heard.

We stand together in FIERCE HOPE for regime change in America. That regime change must be accompanied by scholarship by researchers who expose the hypocrisy and oppressiveness of the unbridled capitalism that has cast a dark shadow over our land. That shadow is increasingly fostering calamities due to climate change and oppression from unregulated business practices. Without such scholarly research, another Trump-like demagogue won't be far off in our future.