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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 19, 2021
      In memorium, Ronald Anthony Wikrent August 8, 1963 – September 16, 2021 Please excuse me for putting this at the top, but I want to remember my “little” brother, Ronald Anthony Wikrent, who finally succumbed after a two year battle with a frighteningly aggressive cancer. He was seven years younger than me, and supported me throughout my life, both materially […]
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McGrath wins the primary in Kentucky.

All of the absentee ballots are in and Amy McGrath beat Charles Booker in the Democratic primary for Senator in Kentucky. Booker was the candidate supported by the Justice Democrats (AOC, Ilhan Omar, etc). Booker also got a nice push by the BLM protests.

But even though many of us were encouraged that so many voters were for him (we can debate new ideas without becoming pinko commies), his chances of winning in Kentucky against Mitch McConnell were infinitesimal. McGrath’s chances seem to be a bit better. She’s a veteran and not afraid of guns. We’ll see. If it looks like the Republicans will lose the senate, what would be gained by re-electing Mitch who would immediately become a back bencher?

I’m kind of sick of the sports contest approach to covering political campaigns. It starts way too early and too much emphasis is placed on personal quirks and words taken out of context. Sure, journalists need to make a living but I wish they’d cover this stuff more responsibly. Anyway, I’m kind of burned out on this whole election year already. November can’t come soon enough. Let’s get this over with.

Nevertheless, McGrath vs McConnell could be very exciting. That’s the one to watch.

Supreme Court Watch -Tax Return Edition

There are still two more rulings pending from the Supreme Court I think. They are whether Trump has to turn over his tax returns. One case was filed by the House against Mazars, the accounting firm that has the tax returns in conjunction with Deusche Bank. The other was filed by the state of NY pertaining to an investigation involving Trump.

They waited until the very last day, didn’t they? Is that so they could beat a hasty retreat afterwards?

Roberts hands the decision to his clerk. “We’re out of here. Wait 45 minutes before you give it to the press. It’s been nice knowing you. Good luck with the rest of your career”.

No matter what the answer is, someone isn’t going to like it.

The article linked above says the state of NY case is more likely to prevail. If it does, the grand jury will finally be able to see the returns. The concern is that there may be leaks about the contents but that is unlikely to happen.

If there’s something very damaging to Trump in returns and the USSC says turn them over anyway, the reaction from the White House will tell us how bad it is. Stay tuned for a mega tweet storm to break all previous records.

Or a primal scream from the Oval Office.


Does anyone else get the feeling that something big is about to happen? Like the GOP is finally beginning to realize that Trump isn’t going to moderate his tone or get a feel for this whole presidenting thing and something has to be done about it in the next couple of weeks.

I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. It’s just that this time feels… different.

Am I imagining that?

Bounty Hunters and Resignations.

I’ve been listening to the news off and on all day today and the story about how Putin offered the Taliban money for killing US soldiers is dominating the news. The Supreme Court cases that are also big news are getting buried by it.

The press secretary says Trump knew nothing about it. Or maybe he wasn’t paying attention. The former intelligence analysts turned pundits are getting more and more agitated with every new twist while White House allies are busily kicking sand in everyone’s faces.

So what is the truth? I don’t know except this side story I have picked up that seems to be, let’s say, interesting.

Supposedly, the whole thing started to come to light back in January. Now, January was a busy month for everyone. That’s when Covid started taking off in China and the president was impeached. There were a couple of other things that happened as well.

The national security council’s Russia expert was abruptly escorted off the White House grounds due to “security matters”. His name was Andrew Peek. Here’s the article on his quick resignation and a little bit about his background at the State Department:

While at the State Department, Peek served as a deputy assistant secretary focusing on Iran and Iraq.

Prior to this, he was a US Army intelligence adviser to now-retired Marine Gen. John Allen, who commanded the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan at the time.

Not much was written about Peek’s quick departure at the time. It’s almost like no one wanted to shine a light on it. That should be significant because Peek’s predecessor was Tim Morrison who resigned on October 31, 2019. And what’s special about Morrison is he took over from…

Fiona Hill.

Yes, that Fiona Hill of the thick Northumbrian accent and the no-nonsense just the facts testimony on the Ukraine matter.

So, to recap:

Fiona Hill was the NSC Russia expert until July 2019.

Tim Morrison was NSC Russia expert from July 2019 to October 2019.

Andrew Peek was NSC Russia expert from November 2019 to January 2020.

And Tom Williams was acting NSC Russia expert from January 2020 to June 2020. Yep, he just resigned. No reason given. He just left to return to his job at the Pentagon about a week ago.

In less than a year, the NSC has had four Directors of Europe and Russia. For some reason the last three abruptly resigned. Morrison had a job lined up before he resigned but it was still sudden.

Who knows what’s been going on in Afghanistan. The smoke has yet to clear and more smoke is being generated hourly. What I’m interested in is what is going on with the Russia experts at the NSC. Four of them leaving in less than a year is something you can’t make up, folks. If I were an intrepid reporter into Russian intrigue, I’d want to find out why they’re all leaving. .

I’ll bet it would be very clarifying.

Who is more important?

The story about how Trump probably knew about the money Putin was offering the Taliban to pick American soldiers off in Afghanistan has quickly displaced the video Trump posted yesterday, as it should. The media iz learning.

Is it true? Did he know? Probably. It would explain why his Russia expert at the National Security Council abruptly quit recently. He was the third or fourth person to hold that job in the White House since Trump moved in. Oh, well, there’s more where he came from, right?

And that possibly explains Trump’s indifference as well towards the soldiers being picked off. There are a LOT of them. We have whole battalions. If we lose a few, NBD.

But there’s only ONE Putin, who is shortly to become “dictator for life” and he owns a whole country that’s bigger than ours.

I’ll bet it doesn’t go any farther than that in his head.

Are these tirades staged??

Here’s another woman losing her s#%^ in a grocery store. She actually has a mask but chooses to violently abuse an innocent basket of groceries rather than put it on.

The mess is right near the cash registers, it’s going to take a while to clean it up and her string of obscenities has got to have parents with children rattled.

Yesterday, a witness to the meltdown in Trader Joe’s said the woman walked into the store with a mask on. No surprise there. She probably couldn’t get in without one. But she took it off and prowled around the aisles for awhile until a store employee asked her to put her mask on. The witness said it looked like this person was waiting for it because her hissy fit was planned.

Is it possible this is another planned event? The girl has a mask. She’s not wearing it. And she’s close enough to the exit that she can make a hasty retreat before anyone can stop her.

Who are these people? What is it they’re trying to do?

And who is paying them?

Did he really do that??

I guess he did.

Trump tweeted a video of some of his supporters in The Villages, FL. One of them sped by on a golf cart shouting “White Power!”

His account has deleted the tweet but too late! When you have a lot of followers on Twitter, someone is gonna take a screenshot.

Jake Tapper asked John Bolton about the tweet. Bolton says Trump might have been aware of the entirety of the clip including the white power part or he may have just seen the pro-Trump signs on the golf cart and reflexively tweeted it because he doesn’t pay attention to a lot of things.

Well, that’s a comforting thought.

I think there’s a third option. This tweet is the shiny object that the media will go chasing. It was put out there to distract people from his catastrophic handling of the Covid19 pandemic, the imminent crash of the economy and his inaction regarding Putin offering a bounty on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

It’s pretty bad when you think a video supporting white nationalism will preserve your image.

Data Data Data

There’s never enough for STEM geeks, amirite?

Even most people in the US understand that putting a barrier between your respiratory system and someone else’s will very significantly reduce your chances of getting sick or getting someone else sick.

But for some ridiculous reason, people who watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh are getting a different message. WaPo has some disturbing news on this front:

Three serious research efforts have put numerical weight — yes, data-driven evidence — behind what many suspected all along: Americans who relied on Fox News, or similar right-wing sources, were duped as the coronavirus began its deadly spread.

Dangerously duped.

The studies “paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others,” wrote my colleague Christopher Ingraham in an analysis last week.

Here’s the reality, now backed by numbers:

Those who relied on mainstream sources — the network evening newscasts or national newspapers that President Trump constantly blasts as “fake news” — got an accurate assessment of the pandemic’s risks. Those were the news consumers who were more likely to respond accordingly, protecting themselves and others against the disease that has now killed more than 123,000 in the United States with no end in sight.

Those who relied on Fox or, say, radio personality Rush Limbaugh, came to believe that vitamin C was a possible remedy, that the Chinese government created the virus in a lab, and that government health agencies were exaggerating the dangers in the hopes of damaging Trump politically, a survey showed.

Of course you only believe the research if you trust the source, right? And who are you going to believe? The Washington Post that has one of the best reputations for journalism in the world or a blonde flanked by two beta males that look like they’re going to do a threesome after the camera is off?

The huge number of papers that say that hydroxychloroquine is quackery and that remedisivir and dexamethasone are the only modestly effective treatments for COVID-19 or an irreverent, obscene and psychopathic radio show host without a life sciences degree who is pushing vitamin C?

I guess that it’s up to each individual to determine but if it were me, I’d be pissed to find out I’ve been “duped”.

Your mileage may vary.


Two things:

1.) Minority governments no matter how “duly elected” by an electoral college and not by the popular vote are congenitally unstable.

2.) REAL Republican conservatives are not Trump lovers and do not defend him.

I miss America.

Jared Sexton writes about what makes the white working class and evangelicals tick and has this to say about where we are as a country right now:

In other words, we now have to put everything else aside and bring this country to a standstill in order to deal with this problem. This much pain was preventable. All it took was leadership that was capable of dealing with it instead of using it to attack his “enemies” in the blue states.

So, as we wind down again and become a nation of shut-ins, maintaining a slow, syrupy pace, I remember the time not too long ago when the America i thrived in was a fast paced, mind melting, thrilling roller coaster ride of energy, talent and spirit.

Like this, this is when America was great. The visuals in this video will make you weep:

I’m outta here for the afternoon. Going to mask up and hit IKEA.

Hej do.

She seems nice

Somehow, Trump has managed to reach deep down into millions of people and pull up the darkest parts of their minds for all of us to see.

I’m not sure that was such a good idea. I don’t mean for Trump. I mean for them. There might be something cathartic about unleashing this kind of vicious anger at the rest of the world but you have to live with the fallout later.

I guess she’s hot to someone. 🙄

Here’s another one:

Ok, she goes to a Trader Joe’s without a mask. Someone asks her to put one on. People, there is no tactful way to ask someone like this to put a mask on. But what really disturbs me is all of the sudden the person who asks her to put a mask on is a Democratic pig. That’s twice today in two separate videos. That anger and rage that someone is taking away their freedom to deny the pandemic and do whatever the f#%^ they want is directed at Democrats. And by the way, why does she assume that only Democrats go to Trader Joe’s? The other person could have been a Republican, independent or a cancer patient going through chemo. But no, she jumps straight into politicizing the mask thing and presumed that it’s a Democrat who is trampling on her right to “live free or die”. Or “live free AND die” in this case.

Anyway, it’s a trend. A few more n’s and we can call it a correlated. It is “Democrats are taking away your liberty by acting like this virus is worse than it is and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that.”

Who benefits from promoting this kind of false narrative and hateful disunity? Which media outlet is spreading this? And what, besides freaking out and shrieking, are the Karens and Butch’s going to do about it next? Is this part of a strategy to paint mask wearers as the antichrist Democrats of communism or is it coming from a sense of fear and frustration that they are losing the argument? And the plot?


Bring your own bomb

Did any of you out there hear the Coronavirus Task Force press conference today? I listened to it as I was pouring over a hot keyboard. Pence refused to promote wearing a mask at Trump rallies right after he spent half an hour telling everyone that the young were irresponsible for going to bars.

But before I get to that, here’s the exchange du jour that everyone will be talking about. Watch it and then we’ll break down why you’ve had to check your brain at the door if you fall for this:

Here’s the rub: if you go to a presidential campaign rally, you will need to be searched before you get in the door. That’s right, you’re not allowed to bring your own bomb. Hey, the second amendment says you have a right to bear arms and bombs are arms, aren’t they? Of course they are. But for some capricious reason, the secret service doesn’t want you carting them into a campaign rally. That would seem to be a violation of your constitutional rights. No one said you were going to use it. They just don’t want it going off accidentally. Your bomb could hurt someone. So they make you leave your bombs at home. Same with guns. You 2A people should be livid. You can’t take your guns to a trump rally? I know right? It’s ridiculous but there you are. Freedom doesn’t pass the secret service test.

But that’s not the amendment that Pence is referring to in the above video, is it? No, he says the right to peaceably assemble is being violated if social distancing rules and mask wearing is compulsory.

How does that work exactly?

Can you still go to a rally? Yes. Can you still peaceably assemble with whatever conspiracy theorists are your favorite flavor of the month? Yes! Yes, you can! Si, se puede!! Your constitutional rights of free speech and peaceable assembly are not in jeopardy. Maybe your unsolicited noise is muffled a bit but going to a Trump rally wearing a mask is not the same thing as being sentenced to a gulag.

Wait, maybe it is the same… I guess it depends.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the notion that your constitutional rights are violated (hey, go look up Typhoid Mary if you want to find out about real rights violations – and they got away with it. They didn’t mess around with infection control at the turn of the last century because they didn’t have modern medicines to treat them. Sort of like what we have here with coronavirus).

As I was saying, young people. Yeah, they’re the ones getting the crappy deal here. It’s the summer, classes should be done, some of them are essential workers or working from home. They should be out on the weekend mingling with friends and getting stupid at a bar. It’s called socializing. It’s good for their mental health. If they hook up (I don’t judge) that satisfies their skin hunger. It’s all very normal and healthy.

Now, imagine you’re a 25 year old and some white haired bible thumping politician who calls his wife “mother” gets on a platform and tells you to behave and not be irresponsible by hanging out at bars and cafes but if you do, wear a mask and practice social distancing. But wait! It gets better.

This is the same guy who tells you 5 minutes later that he’s not going to let any viral pandemic interfere with his base going to a rally with thousands of other out of shape MAGA heads without masks and in close proximity to each other because freedom!

I’d. Be. Livid.

That’s some serious chutzpah there. Don’t hang out at a bar with your friends because you might end up killing grandma! But you Arizona college students who came to the rally on Tuesday without your masks and standing cheek to cheek can go forth and be fruitful and multiply that retrovirus all over the place. It’s your right.

And how did we get to this place? We got here because the Trump administration fired the pandemic response team, failed to act quickly to implement widespread testing and contact tracing, forcing the governors of many coastal states to enforce a lockdown, sending many people into unemployment and ruining the economy.

There has been so much incompetence and bungling and defiance of public health advice that it’s criminal. Now the southern states are getting slammed because their governors felt it would be better if people died for the economy. So what if most people get infected?? Most people will survive.

But what about the car crash victims? The heart attack sufferers? The cancer patients waiting for surgery? Well, I guess they never really thought about that even when the whole world was running around with their hair on fire telling them to make people wear masks and bring your infection rate down to insignificance before they opened.

Some states made it impossible for local officials to enforce mask wearing and social distancing. Florida and Mississippi come to mind. Today, Florida had 8000 new cases. Yeah, a state filled with old people is going to go through some things in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Fauci has finally given in to despair. There is no possibility of contact tracing anymore. We have passed that benchmark. When the virus is this widespread in the community, your chances of getting it from multiple sources is increased. Once it was the brother of your cousin’s wife. Now it could be anyone.

If you didn’t like social distancing before, you’re going to like it less now. There may be MORE lockdowns. MORE unemployment. MORE food bank visitors. MORE evictions. MORE loss of healthcare. MORE businesses shuttered against their will. And all because a bunch of diehards have a misbegotten notion of what it means to have their “freedom” taken away from them. All because to be disgusted with the way Donald has been screwing this up makes us haters, not merely citizens concerned about our lives and livelihoods.

Welcome to the American Gulag. This is an indefinite sentence.