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    • The Slow Bipartisan Slide to Authoritarianism
      The funniest thing about Trump are those who feel he is of a piece, separate from American history, and somehow a break from it.  That this government is significantly qualitatively worse than those that came before, rather than an extension of it. (A good example is immigration policy, in which Trump is somewhat worse than […]
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Lack of dementia != lack of evil

The Montreal Cognition test, have you seen it? It’s 30 questions that a third grader should be able to ace. No, seriously, check it out yourself. It asks the subject to do simple things like draw a clock face for 10 minutes past 11 or what do an orange and banana have in common (concrete answer: they’re both fruit. More abstract answer(s): they’re both fruits that are peeled, they both grow in warm sub-tropical to tropical climates, they’re both sweet, they aren’t blue). Any eight year old should be able to do this test enthusiastically. In fact, you’ll probably get more answers from a delightful 8 year old than you needed. They can’t get enough of this stuff.

I can see where this is a useful test for a family member who mistakes his wife for a hat. But note that forgetfulness, confusion and early signs of dementia are not the same thing as disinterest, stupidity or lack of talent. It’s scary that Reagan would have failed this test but as bad as Reagan was, he was still smarter and more capable of doing his job than Donald.

Here is what the test is not: it’s not an intelligence test, it’s not a personality test like the MMPI, it’s not a psychological assessment and it is not a test for evil. Evil is knowing that doing something is wrong and harmful and doing it anyway. For more on this topic, read The Lucifer Effect by the designer of the Stanford Prison Experiment, psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Read that sucker. You’ll understand Donald Trump completely. It explains why he uses Dreamers as bargaining chips, can ignore the health of poor sick children on CHIP, deliberately screwed the blue states on taxes including California which has the 5th largest economy in the world, and can make Puerto Rican’s even more miserable by signing a tax “reform” bill that imposes an excise tax on American citizens that have already suffered a devastating hurricane and who are still in the dark three months later.

Let’s not let Republicans off the hook. They’re either complicit or scared to death that Donald’s childish, mean spirited, retributive score settling and petulance will turn its eye on them and their states next. This is a man who has been allowed to skate his whole life, who has been given break after break, has been praised and appeased like Veruka Salt, and believes that if you’re rich enough, you’re never held accountable for any bad behavior you can pay lawyers to take care of for you.

It’s no wonder that he does bad things, stupid things, careless things. What’s awful about the Montreal cognitive assessment test is now we know that he is perfectly capable and aware of exactly how much harm he’s doing.

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Tweet du Jour:

Stiff competition:

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Corey Booker schools Kierstjen Nielsen. Best quote from Martin Luther King Jr:

Listen up, Trumpers, we all went to school during the Civil Rights era when we were told to never judge a book by its cover and that prejudice was bad. I can’t even say the N word. Haven’t since I was four years old and asked my mom what it meant. Racism is shameful. It diminishes the person who believes that one group of people is better and deserves more of everything good in life. And you all know this. You have an opportunity every day to wake up and see other people as people whose circumstances in life may be wholly different from yours. So do it.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Don’t do evil.

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For those of you struggling with DACA and the budget…

…let me make this easier for you.

This is a Dreamer:

This is a bargaining chip:

See the difference?

Ok, then. Go tell your president to stop being a dick.

Oh, I’m sorry, I meant a racist dick.

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If you missed the amazing Women’s March in Pittsburgh last year you can join in the fun this year on January 21. Bring your memorable signage and your pussy hat.

Here are the details.

And if you’re looking for something to wear for the occasion, consider this appropriate attire:

Get your shirt here.

wordpress html seems wonky. try going directly to https://secure.actblue.com/donate/jagoffshirts

Deep in my heart, I do believe.

We shall overcome some day. To my neighbors, friends and all the lovely people I have met in the last several years while working on the campaign or in the Get-Go or on the bus, like Lori who works downtown in a hotel and listens to MSNBC obsessively:

People are people, Love is Love and judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin is something that no American should be struggling with in the 21st century.

Just sayin’

Found this in my Twitter stream because I dig Paleo-Anthropology (get it?, ok, never mind.). Looks like we’re all from the Shithole countries:

Sooooo, you know, there’s that.

The Neanderthals were probably none too pleased to see us coming, overstaying our visas, having children in France, taking all the good mammoth hunting grounds, creating urban hellholes in all the caves in the Basque provinces. Have you SEEN all the graffiti?!? Shocking.

Cue the Trumpers to start asking why we all had to leave Africa in the first place.

No?

Hypocrites.

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BTW, if you are finding that your comments are getting swallowed by the moderation queue, try changing the word “racist” to “r@cist”. The filter word was inserted in 2008 to prevent Obamabots from accusing us of racism whenever we were insufficiently orgasmic over his candidacy.

“Sh*tholes”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last 24 hours, you’ve heard that Donald Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as “shitholes” while simultaneously wondering why we don’t encourage more immigration from Norway.

Let’s start with the last point first. Norwegians are the happiest people on earth. They live in a country with a high standard of living and they have universal healthcare, pretty decent gender equity and a strong social safety net. They don’t even officially belong to the EU so it’s hard for Rupert Murdoch types to figure out how to divide them with resentments and grievances. It also happens to be one of the whitest populations on earth but let’s not forget that the tragic mass shooting in Norway was carried out by a white nationalist who resented the fact that Norway was inviting non-white refugees to settle there. Let that sink in. The worst news we’ve heard from Norway was caused by some idiot who couldn’t figure out why Norway was allowing immigration from Shithole countries. We know that correlation does not indicate causation but it is curious that that worst thing to happen to this country in a long time, that is, the election of Donald Trump, was brought to fruition by activating similar resentments lurking in the dark corners of almost half of our population.

There’s a reason why political correctness is so important. It keeps people from saying and acting on those dark thoughts. They might not be illegal but they are incredibly ugly. As IBW says, it’s a test of character and they failed.

Anyway, Norwegians aren’t likely to come to the US for anything but vacation. Maybe. That is if other beautiful places on earth are too crowded in August.

Now to the Shithole comment.

I watched and listened to a lot of journalists on YouTube using the word “shithole” on air with a mix of incredulity, embarrassment, anger and hurt.

Some, like Jake Tapper on Late Night with Seth Meyers said that when Trump was elected last year, he expected the incompetence but he never expected the chaos and corruption and tastelessness.

I’m both surprised and not surprised by this. I saw this coming as probably many of you. That’s because we read history and we know how good nations go bad.

But the vast majority of Americans don’t and have no experience for what it is like to live under a corrupt or dictatorial presidency with a legislative branch that seems intent to aide and abet him.

This is what happens to OTHER countries. Not this country.

I have no idea why they thought this. There ultimately is nothing exceptional about America. The uniqueness we took pride in was enshrined in less than 30 amendments and countless norms and civility. The norms and civility are gone now. The Republicans have run over all of that and the Democrats have decided, after being trampled and outmaneuvered by a party that takes no prisoners that now, after keeping their powder dry for years, they have to fight back. Well, what else are they going to do?? All the unwritten rules and norms and courtesies are gone. Now it’s a matter of self defense. Diane Feinstein finally pulled out a weapon and used it. Let’s get to it then.

Before we become another shithole country.

This one’s for you, Niles:

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More fallout on Twitter suggests what the real shithole country of the developed world is:

When the NYTimes is Part of the Story

This is the blurb the NYT put up on the story about the Simpson testimony on the Steele Dossier that Feinstein released yesterday.

Two things: 1.) it was “below the fold” digitally. You’d think that it would be right under the story about the DACA court ruling but I actually had to scroll quite a ways down the page to find it. 2.) the words “salacious” and “unsubstantiated” are a little over the top. For the record, there is nothing in the dossier that has been proven untrue. Chris Steele was a well respected former British Intelligence officer who area of expertise was Russia. Some of the details may be inaccurate (I’ve heard that there are a total of 2 of them, both very minor) but everything else checks out.

So what might the NYT be objecting to? Maybe it was the part of Simpson’s testimony where he relates that Steele stopped cooperating with the FBI after he initially contacted it when he saw the NYT headline in late October 2016 that the FBI had concluded there was no link between the Trump Campaign and Russia when he knew that the exact opposite was the case. Steele was justifiably concerned that some elements of the FBI in New York were compromised or were working with the Trump campaign. Indeed, it was putting its finger on the scale for Trump in the last couple weeks of the campaign. And the NYT just dutifully wrote it up without much question.

The paper of record really did a number on Hillary Clinton. And anyone who’s ever been in high school knows that when the popular kids start hating on you, four years can feel like forever and no one wants to be your friend. People are herd animals. They follow. If everyone is avoiding you and talking smack about you, it’s not long before you’re “unlikeable”, “not transparent”, “untrustworthy”, etc. We all know how this works.

It’s like blaming Hillary for not visiting Michigan and Wisconsin when anyone familiar with national campaign know that winning them wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference if she lost Pennsylvania. But let’s give some aggrieved white guys in MI and WI time on TV to whine about how insulted they were and ignore all the stupid lefties who voted for Jill Stein.

The NYT crafted a narrative about Hillary and took every opportunity to make her news unpleasant and difficult while greasing the skids for Trump.

The only thing we need to know now is why.

Don’t F}#% with Feinstein

Senator Diane Feinstein released Greg Simpson’s testimony regarding Fusion GPS’s involvement with the Steele Dossier.

For those of you who watch Fox and may be following a completely different news story, Chris Steele was a former British intelligence officer who did some opposition research about Trump first for the Republicans and then for the DNC and Clinton. What he found alarmed him so he contacted the FBI. He was a contractor for Fusion GPS. Simpson testified for the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Grassley was happily going to keep this testimony under wraps indefinitely until Feinstein took matters into her own hands today and gave it away for free! Wasn’t that nice?

For those of you interested in what it all means, check out Heidi Li Feldman, law professor at Georgetown University. She’s annotating the testimony on Twitter:

Here’s Heidi’s version of the document with her annotation.

Damn, she’s fast.