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Member since: Sat Apr 11, 2020, 11:56 AM
Number of posts: 301

Journal Archives

Trump is desperate -- and dangerous (Michael D'Antonio, CNN).

Now wounded, Trump is resorting to a kind of political terror campaign, spreading blatant lies about foreign-based election fraud and a "RIGGED 2020 ELECTION." Trump's false claims, which have been repeatedly debunked by CNN and others, destroy public trust in the foundation of our democracy and set the stage for a potentially dangerous crisis if voters end up questioning the results on Election Day.

After three-and-a-half years of his deceitful and chaotic reign, Trump's lies about voting come as no surprise. The same is true for the string of awful choices that have put him in a hole with the voters. In this case, Exhibit A is his administration's failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While Trump claimed all was well and played snake-oil salesman for a treatment that was not effective, the virus went on to kill more than 120,000 Americans. And now it's only getting worse. In states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida, where GOP governors followed his lead, the spikes in infections have helped push the nation to break the previous single-day record of new cases.

The pandemic, made worse by his failed leadership, has destroyed the economic record Trump hoped would earn him reelection. Then came the nationwide protests against the police treatment of Black Americans, sparked by the caught-on-camera killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. A majority of Americans, according to the Pew Research Center, say they support the Black Lives Matter movement. But Trump has responded with little empathy for their concerns and repeated calls for "law and order." He has also proposed criminal penalties for flag burning, urged lengthy prison sentences for those who tear down statues honoring Confederates and personally instructed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to restore the only Confederate statue in Washington, DC, after it was torn down last week.

Beset by these crises, the president has refused to alter course. (This is, it seems, a man who would rather double-down on a deadly decision than admit a mistake.) True to his dangerously divisive form, he's risking the safety of Asian Americans -- who have already been attacked as scapegoats for the pandemic -- by using a racist phrase to describe Covid-19. He has also continued to use social media to spread inflammatory videos; he retweeted clips that show Black people physically assaulting White people and shared a doctored "racist baby" video. (The video, which was manipulated to look like a CNN segment, was taken down by Facebook and Twitter after one of the children's parents lodged copyright objections.)

What's going on here? A recent New York Times and Siena College poll shows Trump is 14 points behind Biden. Never one for learning new tricks, Trump is responding by pushing all the buttons that worked for him as an outsider candidate in 2016. He indulges in stream-of-consciousness rants, like the one explaining his recent physical struggles at West Point. He pastes ugly nicknames on his opponents. And he continues to rail against immigration. In Arizona, the president didn't meet with brave nurses treating coronavirus patients or comfort the families of those who died from Covid-19. He did, however, tour a recently built barrier at the border with Mexico.

The trouble with Trump's rerun approach is that he's not an outsider anymore. He's the President -- which means he bears responsibility for the state our country is currently in. Things are so bad that he's even lost his chance to brag about the economy, which was once at the center of his claim to success. Unemployment is above 13%, and the economy is estimated to contract 5% in 2020. And while other nations are easing out of lockdown and kickstarting their economies thanks to strong public health measures, Trump's pandemic bungling threatens to make the economic price even steeper for Americans.


A beast is at its most dangerous when wounded and cornered.

The conditions that allow for the Republican Party to exist in its current form must be remedied.

That will be our only hope.

"Yes, this is an ongoing national and global crisis, but WHAT ABOUT OBAMA" - Trump/Republicans

Conservatives ​Threaten to Leave Twitter for Parler​--But for Real This Time

Right-wing commentators and media personalities are again threatening ​to abandon Twitter in favor of ​Parler, an alternative social media platform where they ​say they won’t be persecuted for holding conservative beliefs. Nearly identical calls for a Twitter exodus echoed through right-wing social media circles last year, but the transition failed to ​take hold at any major scale.​

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign was weighing alternatives to traditional social media platforms after Twitter and Facebook took moderation actions against posts from the president and his campaign. Facebook last week removed Trump campaign ads that contained red inverted triangles—a symbol used by Nazis to designate political prisoners in concentration camps—citing site policies against organized hate. Twitter has recently added warning labels and fact-checking links to Trump tweets that contain misinformation or content that violates Twitter community guidelines.

The Journal reported that the recent moderation action has “top campaign officials considering alternatives, such as moving to another, lesser known company, building their own platform or doubling down on efforts to move supporters to the campaign’s smartphone app, according to people familiar with the discussions.” One possibility reportedly floated by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale is a Twitter alternative called Parler.

The social platform Parler​, launched in 2018, bills itself as an alternative to Twitter, closely resembling the all-but-defunct app Gab, which was quickly overrun with extremists and conspiracy theorists shortly after its inception. Like Gab, Parler has become home to its own pockets of far-right extremists who enjoy the platform’s loose content moderation policies. Although Parler claims to be nonideological, it exists currently as a bastion of almost exclusively pro-Trump​, right-wing content. Trump’s campaign teased nearly identical considerations to the press this time last year​, but a shift to Parler never materialized in any major sense.

The Daily Beast reported last year that Parler and Gab were locked in a heated standoff over which platform ​Trump would post on first, although as it stands Trump has yet to give up Twitter—where he is able to shape national news ​with 280 characters ​a tweet at a time and reach more than 82 million followers. No reporting since then has indicated serious plans for Trump to join either platform soon.

But with Parler in the news, Trump’s leading ​online sycophants are once again vowing to abandon Twitter once and for all.


So...which Nazi alternative to Twitter will be get Trump first? Or (more likely IMO) will Trump continue to post on Twitter while Nazi courtiers and social media grifters desperately try to get his attention?

Anyone want to take any bets?

I wouldn't count on *anyone* being competitive against McConnell. Trump voters will be out in force

They'll pull the lever for McConnell. And as already noted, McConnell is a master at fundraising and campaigning, for himself and for his colleagues. How else can someone as dull and repulsive as him keep winning elections?

I hate to say this, and I hope I'm wrong...but I suspect I'm not.

Saudi Arabia's fear of Iran is driven less by sectarian than by domestic and geopolitical concerns.

Think about it. Where is Saudi Arabia's Shia population heavily concentrated? Answer: its Eastern Province, bordering the other Gulf monarchies and directly across the Gulf from Iran.

More importantly for Saudi Arabia's economy, and one of the two foundations of its global importance (the other being the host of Mecca and Medina), where is the vast majority of the oil in Saudi Arabia located? Oh right, also the Eastern Province. Saudi Shia are a much larger part of the labor force in the Kingdom than Sunnis are - especially in the critical oil sector (of course, the largest part of the Saudi labor force are all of the basically slave workers from other countries). The implications are obvious.

What did the Iranian (Islamic) Revolution overthrow? An absolute monarchy (and key US ally in the Middle East). The motto of the Islamic Republic of Iran has not just been Death to Israel, or Death to America - but Death to Monarchs and oppressors of Muslims globally. The Islamic Revolution was not merely an Iranian one, or not meant to be, at least, and it was critically, not merely meant to inspire Shiites; it was PAN-ISLAMIC. In other words, Iran was, and is, a direct, brazen challenge to the Kingdom's global role as the Guardians or "Custodians" of the Cradle of Islam - Mecca and Medina. Needless to say, that freaked the House of Saud the fuck out!

Who else hates and fears Iran? The United States and Israel, for obvious reasons. But also, critically, the United Arab Emirates - who have also been THE key players within the Islamic world (along with Egypt) in fighting the Muslim Brotherhood - a Sunni Islamist movement that, whatever ties to jihadists that some parts or offshoots of it have had over the years, consistently promotes religious, social, and POLITICAL reform, to one extent or another. That's the real threat, particularly to absolute monarchies like the UAE or military dictatorships like Egypt.

The Arab Spring only served to confirm the worst fears of the despots of the Middle East - including those in Saudi Arabia. You see, the Muslim Brotherhood historically was SUPPORTED to one extent or another by the House of Saud, because they were seen as a useful Islamic counterbalance to secular pan-Arabist movements as exemplified by Egypt's Nasser regime (whom, not coincidentally, detained, tortured, executed, or exiled many Brotherhood figures - the last of whom were taken in by Saudi Arabia in the 60s and 70s and given important roles in the religious and educational apparatuses of the Saudi regime).

However, after it became clear over time that the Brotherhood could never be counted on for being loyal to the House of Saud, and that many Brotherhood or Brotherhood-influenced figures in Saudi Arabia were not afraid of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, but rather, felt INSPIRED by it as a good thing...well, the al-Saud's repression of the movement grew more intense over time. Today, Muhammad bin Salman is the most anti-Brotherhood Saudi leader ever; not coincidentally, MBS is also the most totalitarian Saudi leader in his violent intolerance of ALL dissent, be it secular or religious, and has a very close relationship with Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) of the UAE.

Which brings me back to the thread title, and the role of the US, Israel, the UAE, and Egypt in Saudi Arabia's fear of and rivalry with Iran. Crackdown on any Saudi Shiite "unrest" in the economically and geopolitically critical Eastern Province can always be justified to the US and its other regional allies as "countering Iranian expansionism."

Furthermore, the Wahhabi/Salafi religious elements in Saudi Arabia can be appeased on sectarian lines, and MBS can redirect their hatred of the US and Israel toward Iran and Shiite (and secular) Saudi dissidents. Divide and conquer, tale as old as time for tyrants.

The US government, especially under Trump, is obsessed with Iran. Israel is obsessed with Iran. The UAE is obsessed with Iran. And Saudi Arabia is obsessed with Iran. A shared enemy can bind people - and governments - together, regardless of differences among them.

I haven't even gotten into the Turkish Islamist (and allegedly "neo-Ottomanist" ) threat and challenge under Erdogan, or the vulnerable southern flank of Saudi Arabia in Yemen.....

.....or the Saudi and ESPECIALLY Emirati hatred of Qatar - who stubbornly insistent on acting independently from Saudi and Emirati policy, on independently dealing with Iran, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinians as the Qataris see fit, who host dissidents and exiles in Doha from other countries in the region, who have the critical US military base in the region (a base that the Saudis used to have and now would appear to very much want back), and who have the nerve to host al-Jazeera, a consistent middle finger to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Israel - and US policy in the region, especially under the current Trump regime.

Don't let the peddlers of sectarian narratives fool you. This is about dictators preserving their regimes, and all the wealth, power, and influence in the region - and around the world - that goes with it.

When was the anti-war movement co-opted or at least infiltrated by apologists for dictators?

I'm thinking specifically of the Tulsi Gabbards and Jill Steins of the world, along with the rest of those who would have us believe that "Trump is anti-interventionist" or that "Assad and Putin are just fighting terrorists, nothing to see here folks", WikiLeaks and those who slavishly devote themselves to parroting Julian Assange's propaganda, etc.

Yes, I know that Putin and his allies have obviously been directly and indirectly sponsoring a lot of this, and taking advantage of all of it, but propaganda is only effective if enough people actually believe it. So, am I crazy in thinking this is a massive problem for all of us who genuinely do want peace, justice, rule of law, active respect for human rights, democracy, and equality across the world?

Saboteurs and infiltrators with obvious ulterior motives will seize on any divisions among Democrats

K&R. Thanks for this thread.

"It will be a much different scene!" He's so nakedly fascistic in his threats of violence, it's evil

This vicious, racist, fraudulent, narcissistic, psychopathic, sadistic, proudly ignorant, misogynistic sexual predator (rapist) is the embodiment of evil in the criminal ruling class of capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy.

Get him outta there (the White Hosue) and into prison!

We Need Solidarity, Not White Guilt, to Fight Racism

Yes, yes, I know it's from Jacobin...but I personally thought this was a good article.

We Need Solidarity, Not White Guilt, to Fight Racism

Racist attitudes, from the most embarrassing to the most pernicious, help reinforce white supremacy on a day-to-day basis. If state institutions — from violent police forces to segregated, unequal education to fatally disparate health care — form the bars that hold black America in second-class citizenship, the ideology of racism is the diet of the prison guards. For every Amy Cooper who calls the cops on a black man, knowing full well the potential consequences of such a call, to every white doctor who disbelieves a person of color when they arrive at the hospital, the repercussions of racist ideas are undeniably real.

It is therefore useful for people, especially white people, to examine their ingrained assumptions and implicit biases. Living in a racist society means absorbing bigoted ideas — they are the air we breathe. Humility and a sense of how much we have to learn is therefore warranted.

At the same time, the (often well-intentioned) rush these days among white progressives to soul-search and “check their privilege” risks allowing guilt to guide actions, causing them to stay on the sidelines, “mute themselves,” or retreat into internal reflection instead of building solidarity and joining the struggle.

White people “stepping up” to “take responsibility” for their privilege won’t get us very far. But forging real solidarity through concrete campaigns, protests, and movements can. There are a couple of reasons why.

First, our struggles are structural, and they are interconnected. We live in a society that quickly marshaled thousands of troops, dozens of curfews, and countless police armed to the teeth in response to protests, but that left hospitals without enough ventilators and PPE to deal with a deadly pandemic. We live in a society with devastating levels of homelessness, on the precipice of a potential wave of evictions, but that would rather spend money to arrest and brutalize people than provide decent housing.

The movement on the streets is insisting that we defund the police and redirect those resources to hospitals, schools, and public housing, recognizing that racial injustice and the economic strangulation of black America cannot be separated from our corroded public budgets and decrepit social welfare state. If we are going to root out racism, we need collective, mass action that can push for far-reaching material solutions and change the very political economy of the United States.


There is a rich tradition in the United States of multiracial organizing, and of white people putting their bodies on the line in solidarity with people of color to fight racism. To win substantive change, we don’t have to disavow one-on-one conversations or personal education. But we do have to set our sights much higher, on dismantling the institutions that entrench racial inequality and violence. That requires getting involved in political struggle, not just looking inward.


Just one article I thought was pretty solid...
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