Florida Woman vs. Florida Man

In case you missed it, here’s a speech by a young woman, Emma Gonzalez, who survived the Douglas High School massacre. She calls out Trump, the NRA, Senator Grassley and the other cowardly shits who have done nothing while people, including school children, are slaughtered by maniacs with easy access to weapons of war:

I’m so damn proud of these kids. Some highlights for the video-phobes:

If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.

You want to know something? It doesn’t matter, because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump? If you don’t do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.

To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.

[Crowd chants: “Shame on you!”]

If your money was as threatened as us, would your first thought be, how is this going to reflect on my campaign? Which should I choose? Or would you choose us, and if you answered us, will you act like it for once? You know what would be a good way to act like it? I have an example of how to not act like it. In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.

From the interactions that I had with the shooter before the shooting and from the information that I currently know about him, I don’t really know if he was mentally ill. I wrote this before I heard what Delaney said. Delaney said he was diagnosed. I don’t need a psychologist and I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that repealing that regulation was a really dumb idea.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was the sole sponsor on this bill that stops the FBI from performing background checks on people adjudicated to be mentally ill and now he’s stating for the record, ‘Well, it’s a shame the FBI isn’t doing background checks on these mentally ill people.’ Well, duh. You took that opportunity away last year.

The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS.Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn’t reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.

If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.

[Crowd chants: “Throw them out!]

Several hundred folks in my part of Florida — hundreds of miles from the Douglas High massacre — had a rally against gun violence yesterday. Wouldn’t it be ironic as shit if FLORIDA, of all fucking places, ends up being the birthplace of gun sanity?

Meanwhile, from his Disgraceland estate in Florida, Trump uses dead kids and teachers as human shields:

That deranged globule of rancid marmalade is on a Twitter tear this morning. I’m not going to subject you to further rantings from that quarter in this post, but it confirms what we already knew: Now that Trump can no longer deny Russia’s cyber attack on U.S. democracy, he’s casting himself as its chief victim, and he’ll do absolutely nothing to stop further attacks.

Like the high school kids in Florida, we must find the courage to put an end to this bullshit ourselves. Our government, as presently constituted, isn’t going to help us. We have to change it.



Fox News Confirmation Bias Cycle: Exhibit A

We’ve discussed at length the destructive effects of Fox News. We’ve marveled at the network’s ability to sell “up” as “down” and “black” as “white” to a significant portion of U.S. citizens, thus undermining a pillar of democracy — an informed citizenry — and compromising the concept of “truth” itself.

The Fox News effect a deliberate and decades-long project that culminated in the installation of a pathological liar in the White House. Predictably, the pressure to reconcile said liar’s continuous string of falsehoods with reality has caused the Republican Party and its media arm to become even more unmoored from the truth.

This is bad news for the republic, obviously. But I wonder if the party’s wholesale estrangement from reality might cause it to make dumb mistakes that fatally dent its credibility with anyone outside the Trump base?

Exhibit A is the current furor in wingnut circles over a partially declassified memo filed by National Security Adviser Susan Rice on her last day on the job. Here it is (image via TPM):

Now, a sane person would read that and think, “Holy shit! The outgoing president was wary of sharing information with the incoming president’s staff even before the incoming administration’s National Security Adviser and foreign policy adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their nefarious contacts with foreign nationals and before the former campaign chairman and his deputy were charged with conspiring against the United States!”

I mean, that highlighted paragraph is pretty stark, right? It straight-up says the Obama people were concerned about sharing information about Russia with the Trump people because they didn’t trust Team Trump to safeguard national security. Subsequent events, including Trump blurting out top secret information to the visiting Russian foreign minister and ambassador a few months after taking office, sorta validates the Obama team’s suspicions. Not to mention the aforementioned guilty pleas and charges of conspiracy!

But that’s not how the memo is being received on the right. Republicans have always had a weird antipathy to the no-nonsense Ms. Rice. (Can’t imagine why! Not.) They spent millions of dollars and countless hours pretending that a set of bland talking points from Ms. Rice’s shop after the Benghazi incident was evidence of a treasonous conspiracy.

Their takeaway from this Rice memo is that it is evidence that the Obama team was out to frame Trump for collusion with Russia and to cover their tracks by asserting on the record that the investigation had been handled “by the book.” Here’s a representative sample of how the memo is being treated from a Fox & Friends segment this morning — one of four so far today on this topic:

Forget the Fox News audience for a moment. (Actually, forget them forever; they’re unreachable, so fuck ’em.) The danger here — for Trump and his enablers — is that the feedback loop hasn’t just ensnared rage-grandpas lolling on recliners nationwide. Chuck Grassley caused the memo to be released, complete with the damning contemporaneous account of the Obama team’s suspicions about Trump’s inner circle, because Grassley thinks it’s such a red-hot gotcha.

Lindsey Graham appeared on a later Fox & Friends segment to reinforce that message. And if he’s not live-tweeting Fox & Friends already, Trump will eventually get around to advancing the same narrative, probably in gloating tweets in which he refers to himself in the third person and in scare quotes.

Grassley, Nunes, Graham — and Trump — have become so caught up in preaching to the choir that they’ve forgotten it’s not just the congregation who hears them. This was evident in their attempt to make Carter Page a national security overreach martyr, and it’s even more evident with the Rice memo.

Not content to crow about it on Fox News, Grassley indignantly issued a letter to Ms. Rice demanding answers to a string of questions about the memo. Grassley may get more of an answer than he expects.



“Executive Time” Open Thread

Here are Twitler’s bunker babblings so far today:

Taking the tweets in chronological order from the bottom up, the ill-informed gibe about the UK’s NHS was apparently inspired by yellow-fanged fascist-coddler Nigel Farange’s appearance on Fox & Friends, which further inspired Twitler to slobber over the three vapid sofa squatters on that program. Is this unprecedented in U.S. history, a president* acting as social media director for a partisan cable news morning program? As far as I know, yes!

Congrats to Congressman Schiff for getting under the creature’s skin in a big way to earn a “Little” nickname. Is it unprecedented in U.S. history for a president* to relentlessly drag members of congress on social media and issue vague, blustery imperatives like “Must be stopped!” about an elected official to an army of heavily armed, brain-dead cultists? I believe so, gentle reader, and let’s hope Congressman Schiff has robust security!

If Trump were a rational actor, one might be tempted to read hope into the tweet about DACA since it doesn’t explicitly mention the nonstarter demands to drastically curtail LEGAL immigration. But since we’re dealing with a clown who has already rejected a bipartisan bill that meets the named conditions, the probable explanation is that Stephen Miller simply isn’t in the golf cart this morning. Is this unprecedented in U.S. history, a president* who’s such a spongy amalgam of malice, ego and cluelessness that elected officials of both parties and people whose lives depend on policy outcomes just have no idea what to expect? Eh, maybe not.

And finally, the valorization of the stooge Devin Nunes. The only ray of sunshine in that black hole of stupid is that Twitler seems to be aware, if dimly, of the controversy surrounding the slam-dunk “vindication” memo. I guess even Fox & Friends can’t hide that.

Open thread!



Friday Evening Open Thread

Got my great-grandma’s old fountain pen back from the restoration place. It works:

Speaking of the treason-weasel, I’m mildly surprised (and pleased!) at how elected Democrats are savaging him on Twitter for dropping the Nunes memo. I cited usually mild-mannered Senator Bill Nelson’s tweet earlier. Here are a couple more:

Good for them.

What are y’all up to this weekend? I think hubby and I are going to ride motorcycles out in the country tomorrow since the weather is fine. Then Superb Owl party on Sunday.

Open thread!



Memo Released — Updated

Of course Trump was going to release the memo. He ordered it, after all, like an overdone steak with a side of ketchup. Via The Post:

GOP memo criticizing FBI surveillance is released

A GOP memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI has been released, intensifying a fight between the White House and Republican lawmakers, on one side, and the nation’s top law enforcement agency over whether the origins of a probe into Russian interference in 2016 were tainted by political bias.

President Trump had approved release of the memo without redactions Friday morning.

The president told reporters in the Oval Office, “I think it’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country. A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.”

The FBI and the Justice Department had lobbied strenuously against the memo’s release. In a statement Wednesday, the FBI had said it was “gravely concerned” that key facts were missing from the memo, which, it said, left an inaccurate impression of how the agency conducted surveillance under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Yesterday, Paul Ryan said the memo isn’t “an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice.” Trump yanked the rug out from under his widow-peaked lackey about 12 hours later with this tweet:

So, now we get to find out if Trump and his stooges can convince folks that the all-Republican, Trump-appointed FBI and DOJ leadership team and overwhelmingly Republican investigator crew are biased against the president who hired them and in favor of the candidate the FBI sandbagged just days before the election.

This absurd theory is already an article of faith on Fox News, but will it resonate outside the 27%? US Senator from Florida Bill Nelson, not known to be a wild-eyed lefty, said this:

Those are fighting words, Bill. Good.

Courtesy of The Post, here’s a link to the memo.

ETA: Okay, I read it. Initial impression:

This is going to blow up in their stupid fucking faces SO hard.



Shitgibbon to hit the fan?

Breaking news from The Post:

Mueller seeks to question Trump about Flynn and Comey departures

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans.

Mueller’s interest in the events that led Trump to push out Flynn and Comey indicates that his investigation is intensifying its focus on possible efforts by the president or others to obstruct or blunt the special counsel’s probe…

People close to Trump have tried to warn him for months that Mueller is a “killer,” in the words of one associate, noting that the special counsel has shown interest in the president’s actions.

Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to Trump, said he should try to avoid an interview at all costs, saying agreeing to such a session would be a “suicide mission.”

“I find it to be a death wish. Why would you walk into a perjury trap?” Stone said. “The president would be very poorly advised to give Mueller an interview.”

There have been tantalizing bits of evidence for months now that Mueller is looking at the question of whether Trump tried to obstruct justice — as well there should be since shart-fer-brains confessed as much to Lester Holt in front of a camera crew.

Here’s hoping Preznit Oppositional Defiance Disorder disregards the warnings of advisers and attorneys and decides to rely on his own superior genes and very good brain to shield himself from legal peril.

A promising interview strategy might be to give Trump openings to throw his co-conspirators under the bus, knowing that Trump would pounce on those opportunities like they were a leggy Miss Norway carrying TWO buckets of KFC, then haul the co-conspirators out from the undercarriage and persuade them to flip on Trump.

Honestly, I try not to get too excited about developments in the Mueller probe and am fully prepared to be disappointed if it all comes to naught. But how sweet it would be if Trump’s big fat mouth and compulsion to point fingers at everyone else brought him down.

Open thread!



“Bring me the brain bleach and the big knife…” (Open Thread)

I know some of y’all dislike prurience, are depressed by bitterness, do not like “not normal” framings and despise GIFs. As a courtesy to you, I’m putting most of the content below the fold. You’ve been warned! Read more