And neither am I.
I’ve been keeping a naturalist diary. I go out with the cats almost every day, and now I know their likely actions well enough that, along with the leashes attached to their harnesses, I can fairly easily catch them if they decide to do something foolish or get to somewhere I can’t.
My yard is not extraordinarily large, but it sits on top of a little hill and has at least three microclimate zones. I’ve got some flowerbeds, but a lot of native plants growing where they care to. I also distributed half a pound of wildflower seed and additional native grass seed last fall. The geology is interesting – Santa Fe formation is the composite of a changing lake that was here when the Jemez volcano stopped up the Rio Grande.
So there’s lots to see, and being out with the cats gives me time to look. I come in and sit down at my computer and write up what I’ve seen in the yard.
I knew that a bobcat has come to the yard – I saw it one delightful day – but I didn’t realize how frequently. The snow has been good for tracks, and today there were some in the soil. Keeping the diary helped me to realize how often it comes. I think it comes to the yard about twice or three times a week, mostly at night. Here are a couple of the better tracks. The one in the red soil is on a slope, and the soft soil gave way to the cat’s weight.
I don’t know about you, but I am really tired of hashing out the Nevada primary. Are you writing, painting, doing crafts, fixing up your house? No-politics open thread!
The @TheNVIndy team has spread out across the state to cover today's Democratic presidential caucus. Here's our constantly-updating live blog for updates & news out of the caucus https://t.co/1YSA0QPOGb
— Nevada Independent (@TheNVIndy) February 22, 2020
Random scenes from the sausage factory. For some reason, seems like it was easier for reporters to visit Las Vegas in February than Iowa…
— Nevada Independent (@TheNVIndy) February 22, 2020
I represent one of the most diverse districts in the country and I know that @JoeBiden will continue to build the broad and diverse coalition necessary to beat Trump in November. pic.twitter.com/a6UV2LiMpF
— Dina Titus (@dinatitus) February 22, 2020
Well! It is already not Iowa. Results starting to trickle in. https://t.co/Hjyi0xVuRU
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) February 22, 2020
You may be seeing a lot of numbers out there. Remember they are very early — 2-4 percent. But it’s pretty clear that Bernie is going to win big and that the others will be grasping for spin.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) February 22, 2020
Still early, but @DecisionDeskHQ is the best. These guys are smart, and this outcome is possible. No one but Bernie can claim momentum out of here if he wins by 2 to 1. Margin of Bernie’s victory key to post-NV narrative. https://t.co/G7gzMJKG5C
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) February 22, 2020
Last night I wrote that it was a problem that Senator Sanders sat on the information that Vladimir Putin was interfering in the Democratic primaries to elevate his candidacy for a month. That by waiting, by not finding a way to get the information released or even leaked in a manner that he could control to get ahead of the information, he placed himself at the mercy of someone else leaking it. Someone else did leak it. And that leak was not done to assist Senator Sanders or his campaign. By sitting on the information, Senator Sanders made himself vulnerable to the other two principal leaders who also had the information: the President and Vladimir Putin. Neither of whom wants Senator Sanders to be the nominee because they want him to become President. Rather the President wants Senator Sanders to be the nominee because he has determined that Senator Sanders will be the easiest of the Democratic primary candidates to defeat. Vladimir Putin wants Senator Sanders to be the nominee because he has assessed that Senator Sanders is the most likely to create chaos within the Democratic Party, which furthers his goal of seeing the President reelected.
As was easily predictable, the information is now being weaponized by the President’s surrogates.
National security adviser Robert O'Brien tells ABC in interview to air tomorrow that he hasn't seen any evidence of Russia seeking to help Trump. Asked whether Russia might be helping Sanders, he says reports could be credible. "That's no surprise. He honeymooned in Moscow."
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) February 22, 2020
Assistant to the President-National Security Advisor (APNSA) O’Brien’s statement clearing the President of suspicion, but reaffirming the negative information against Senator Sanders will just be the first of many. Expect the Acting DNI, Ambassador Grennell, to make similar statements. Likely backed up by further leaks and/or official disclosures. US intelligence will be weaponized to dirty up Senator Sanders by the political loyalists the President has placed in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The narrative will be to tie the information that Putin is interfering in the primaries on behalf of Senator Sanders with Senator Sanders long history of support for hard socialist and communist leaders and officials in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia. This may not be fair, but this is what is going to happen.
This influence campaign, one which will be carried out not just by surrogates and supporters outside of government, but by actual appointed senior officials in the President’s administration like APNSA O’Brien has done with his statement today are not really intended to effect Senator Sanders’ core supporters. Nor is it really intended to influence the Democratic primary. What it is intended to do is create material for Facebook ads to micro-target more moderate Democrats, Democratic leaning Independents, and formerly Republican leaning Independents, as well as to provide material that can be weaponized to reach these same people on Twitter and other social and digital media platforms. The point of doing this will be to depress Democratic turnout, as well as the turnout of non Democrats that will be needed to ensure an Electoral College victory against the President should Senator Sanders be the Democratic nominee. It is also intended to effect down balance races to maintain the Republican majority in the Senate, flip the House majority back to the Republicans, and capture as many Democratic held governorships and state legislatures as possible before the next round of redistricting after the 2020 census.
I’m not writing this to harm Senator Sanders. I guarantee that there is a similar influence operation already planned for each of the potential Democratic nominees. Whichever Democrat gets the nomination is going to face something similar. We’ve been watching the operation against VP Biden for well over a year now. And we know, because I’ve put it on the front page at least eight times, that the seeds of that influence operation against VP Biden were first sown in 2o14. And that should be a concern to Senator Sanders, his campaign, his key surrogates, and his supporters because Senator Sanders has over 40 years of taking controversial, hard left positions and supporting some of the worst hard left, socialist, and communist leaders outside the US. And because the Soviet Intelligence Services were collecting video and audio on him the entire time he was in Soviet Russia for his honeymoon; video and audio that Vladimir Putin will weaponize if and when he feels the need too. And that’s before the President, his campaign, and his surrogates decide to juxtapose the now leaked intelligence that Putin is acting to aid Senator Sanders in the Democratic primary with Senator Sanders voting record regarding Russia – a voting record that leaves a lot to be desired. He voted against the Magnitsky Act in 2012, the sanctions against Russia in 2014 and 2017, and didn’t vote at all when the sanctions against Russia bill came up in 2019. This voting record combined with the now leaked intelligence that Putin is interfering in the Democratic primary on his behalf is all the President, his campaign, and his surrogates need to argue that the President is the one who has and will continue to stand up to Putin, not Senator Sanders who always votes in Putin’s favor. That’s not my argument, that is me anticipating the President’s argument.
This is the reality of the 2020 election. I warned everyone who reads Balloon Juice that the 2020 election was going to be open information warfare back in March 2019. What is happening should not be surprising to anyone. And if Senator Warren or Mayor Buttigieg or Senator Klobuchar were the front runners right now, we would have different weaponized information to produce influence being deployed against them right now. And if one of them should become the front runner, we will.
John will tell me this is crazy – never ask people for complaints! In fact, if Cole were Leroy Jethro Gibbs, that would be Rule 1-15.
But, even it it is crazy or stupid, I feel the need to do it anyway because I plan to have a conversation with the developers this week about any issues that remain, so I need to be clear about what those issues are, how frequently they occur, and just how many people are being affected by them.
To reiterate, my primary goals are to determine the following:
· What problems remain?
· How frequently do they occur?
· How many people are affected by each issue?
If you you talk about an existing issue in the comments, it will be most helpful if you include the Identifier, eg A-1 or B-3.
Confirmed That these Issues Have Been Resolved (yay!)
- A-1. Sometimes comments do not show up until a manual refresh, or multiple manual refreshes.
- A-2. Sometimes people lose the ability to Edit their comments.
- A-3. Sometimes people bounce to the top after making a comment.
Top Tier Issues That I am Currently Aware Of
- B-1. Clicking @nym in a reply no longer anchors you in the way that clicking the date/time stamp anchors you.
- B-2. Back arrow no longer reliably takes you even one step back. The back arrow took you back many steps during testing before the rollout.
- B-3. When clicking on Reply, sometimes @nym does not show up in the popup reply box.
Second Tier Issues That I am Currently Aware Of
- C-1. Visual and text tabs are not always visible; when that happens it defaults to text with no tabs showing. (Question: is that true in the comment box only or also in the reply popup?)
- C-2. Recent comments not updating properly for just a few people.
More Obscure Issues That I am Currently Aware Of
- D-1. Titles with quotation marks: open quote is correct; close quote is missing or shows as an apostrophe. (Google Font Library Issue)
- D-2. Balloon Juice pages resize after/while loading.
- D-3. RSS issues with SharpReader.
- D-4. Line spacing in text mode adds an extra line between the final two lines. (Firefox issue)
- D-5. Strange problem with videos in Safari – when trying to enlarge videos to full screen, instead the entire web page enlarges to full screen.
- D-6. The navigation bar items (comment, refresh, & arrows) at the top are not working most of the time (one person Sony Xperia X: Firefox)
- D-7. Nym and email not sticking for one person (I have sent email asking if private browsing or no cookies is a possibility, but no reply yet.)
- D-8. One-time Safari phone problem, the site suddenly rendered as a long blank page.
- D-9. Twitter embeds not showing up in posts in Firefox (may be a configuration issue).
These Should Never Happen (If this ever happens to you, please share details below)
- E-1. You should never be able to post an identical comment that has already been posted.
- E-2. Comments should never get eaten for no reason. Please report it if that happens, so I an look into it.)
I was going to post this later this evening, but since posting is light this afternoon, I thought maybe earlier would be better.
Edit: I kind of have a crush on John’s new girlfriend, so I used her for the image.
Note for the day:
The first Playing to Win went up on Thursday. I am putting this up again today so the weekend people can also see it. I find it inspiring to see what everyone is doing and it’s great to see people answering the questions that come up in these threads. But this is for you guys, so please speak up about what you want and what works for you.
If you are interested in these posts, feel free to share your thoughts on frequency and times. Some of the suggestions so far have been M-W-F, Tu-Th, and one or two weekdays + one weekend day.
In the meantime, people have asked for an easy way to find these threads. There is a link in the hamburger (on mobile) that will take you to the whole series, with the latest post on top. There are links in the sidebar (on computers and tablets in landscape mode). You can also click on the Playing to Win category that shows up just under the byline at the top of the post. And if you’re
super lazy worn out from all your work canvassing and calling and texting, you can click this link right here.
I have started compiling a list of opportunities and resources that people have shared on the threads so far, and I’ll continue to do that if you guys find that useful. You’ll find the link to those resources on the Playing to Win page described in the paragraph above.
Let’s try Wednesday and Friday mornings, somewhere close to 9am, and Sunday afternoon. The Sunday afternoon thread will come after the Garden Chat and before the BGinCHI guest posts on culture, which are always at 5pm.
A couple of our jackals requested a daily political “action” thread, so how about if we try it for a bit and see how that goes? If you guys think it’s useful, we can keep it up, and if it ends up being more “seemed like a good idea at the time,” then we can let it go.
The goal is a poll-free, spin-free, prognostication-free, media-free, what’s-wrong-with-the-other-candidate-free-zone – a political thread where the focus is on ACTION: What can be done to help our candidates, and what are we doing to help them, every day?
The hope is that this will help provide inspiration, and encourage action, as an alternative to anger, frustration and despair.
Everyone is free to chime in about what they are doing for their their preferred candidate. What actions are we taking at Balloon Juice, individually or collectively, to help candidates we believe in?
What might you like to do, if you weren’t stuck on not quite knowing how to go from thinking about doing something to actually doing something?
I have confirmed this reporting from the stellar team at @washingtonpost. Briefing given to Sen. Sanders was not routine and was provided in response to compelling intelligence that Moscow is favoring him in the Democratic primary, sources said.https://t.co/iW8XqzWrOe https://t.co/Z3l2oHl3g6
— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) February 22, 2020
For the record, I absolutely DO NOT think that Senator Sanders, after being briefed that Russia was attempting to interfere in his favor during the 2020 election, deliberately attempted to hide this information from the voters.
I think, just as he’s said he ‘disregarded’ the nagging chest pains prior to his heart attack, he put his head down and hoped the Russian news… would go away. At least until after the election. Because it just wasn’t a good time to deal with distractions, dammit!
Didn’t work to keep his heart muscle from dying; isn’t gonna work any better in the general election, even if he wins the Nevada caucuses.
He forgot to add “Fake News.”
In case anyone wonders why Russia seems to feel a Sanders v. Trump would be in their best interest. https://t.co/Ev0Mv2fxWY
— Patrick Murray (@PollsterPatrick) February 22, 2020
Credit where due — now that he’s been pinned to the wall, Strong Words!
This is the correct response from @BernieSanders Sanders:
“Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia.”
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) February 21, 2020
“Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election.”
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) February 21, 2020
“In 2016, Russia used internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) February 21, 2020
Can’t see anything so ‘classified’ in this statement that Sanders couldn’t have made it a month ago… except that he didn’t want to have reporters asking awkward questions. But if, purely coincidentally, his silence happened to give him a little extra edge in Nevada…
Another Q, raised by @beyerstein, is what justification could IC have for telling the beneficiary of the Russian activities but the the presumed victims?
And why didn’t Bernie insist they be briefed too? They could all be told: it’s a former VP, a USN intel officer, & 2 Senators
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) February 22, 2020
And if we don’t get these answers before the primary is over, and Sanders emerges as the nominee, you can bet Graham and the Senate Judiciary will be more than happy to drag him in during the general to ask about it.
— Andy (@trtx84) February 22, 2020
.@Lawrence asks @ewarren the case for her vs. Bernie: “I get real stuff done. I don’t want to be president just to yell at people, I want to be president to change things. That's why I'm going there." #effective pic.twitter.com/8qb8qXiWuu
— BoldProgressives.org (@BoldProgressive) February 21, 2020
She’s set an excellent example for the rest of the current field…
warren's billionaire tax in action https://t.co/81ydACmkLz
— m i t h (@ManlnTheHoody) February 21, 2020
But here’s the reality: With Michael Bloomberg in the race, and with nine dark money groups supporting Bernie Sanders, the goal posts have changed.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 20, 2020
If you believe we shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and one candidate who wants to buy this party out, please help us raise $13 million before Super Tuesday so we can stay competitive in this race. https://t.co/Utrbwcq3jW
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 20, 2020
Visited with @Culinary226 workers at Mandalay Bay here in Las Vegas this morning! Culinary has helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens. Their work is remarkable and what the American Dream is all about. pic.twitter.com/At25iTzwyB
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 22, 2020
What unites us is so much bigger than what divides us.
We need a candidate who can bring people with her — a fired-up Democratic base, Independents and moderate Republicans. I’ve done that every single time and I’ll do it again leading this ticket. pic.twitter.com/BgTLUH3iKH
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 21, 2020
Anderson Cooper burns Blago to the ground, whisks the ashes into a dustpan, deposits them in a toilet and flushes…
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) February 22, 2020
Well done, Anderson Cooper!
1. #COVID19: China's Feb. 21 numbers are out.
397 new cases, 109 new deaths.
The official totals are now 76,288 confirmed & 2345 deaths. There are also 5365 suspect cases, and I don't know if that means results pending, never tested but probably Covid-19 or a mix of the 2. pic.twitter.com/t4PQUvREZ7
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) February 22, 2020
oh look, a day after officials were told that they would be punished if any hidden cases were found past that day the number of new infections has significantly dropped. what an amazing coincidence.
— James Palmer (@BeijingPalmer) February 20, 2020
The tweet below is snark, BUT… it’s just in the last day or so that I’m seeing coronavirus stories linked on the ‘Political Twitter’ threads I follow. The monster, it would seem, is inside the house.
The odd thing about the Chinese Death Plague is that the closer it gets to a global pandemic, the less coverage it gets in The Discourse.
— Starfish Who Should Be Told To Get Back To Work (@IRHotTakes) February 21, 2020
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) February 21, 2020
Doesn’t mean that we’re all gonna die, of course — or even that it’s going to become widespread in the U.S. But it looks like it’s not going to ‘disappear’ the way SARS did, either.
Where the immune system is concerned, men are the weaker sex. In the coronavirus outbreak, that is making a difference. https://t.co/mc1RzFffcg
— NYT Health (@NYTHealth) February 21, 2020
— ɪᴀɴ ᴍ ᴍᴀᴄᴋᴀʏ, ᴘʜᴅ 🦠🤧🧬🥼🦟 (@MackayIM) February 21, 2020
I know we have a lot of red alerts right now, but when you read coronavirus stories where everything went to hell when the Americans took over, maybe we need to knock this up ahead of a brokered convention on our doomsday list. https://t.co/DMAK4AbDIT
— Schooley (@Rschooley) February 21, 2020
I've got news for the Republican establishment. I've got news for the Democratic establishment. They can't stop us.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 22, 2020
This pretty much sums up my feelings about that:
The “Democratic Establishment” is just Democrats.
If you don’t want Democrats to have a voice get the hell out of OUR primary.
— Millennials For Her (@Millennials4Her) February 22, 2020
Everything else I’m thinking I won’t say, except I just filled out my ballot for Elizabeth Warren.
The Washington Post has reported that both Senator Sanders and the President have both been briefed that Vladimir Putin is interfering on both their behalf in the 2020 election:
U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter.
President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken. U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to boost Sanders campaign against Hillary Clinton, part of a broader effort to hurt Clinton, sow dissension in the American electorate and ultimately help elect Donald Trump.
Senator Sanders both gave The Washington Post an appropriate response, but had his campaign issue it as a formal and official one as well.
“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement to The Washington Post. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.
Unfortunately Senator Sanders was briefed on this information a month ago!
Sanders tells reporters he learned about Russian interference in his campaign about a month ago.
But asked why it came out now, Sanders points to the fact that the NV caucuses are a day away. And adds sarcastically, "Washington Post? Good friends."
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) February 21, 2020
That’s a problem. Despite the briefing being classified there are ways to get ahead of these things and getting the information out, because eventually the information is going to leak out anyway. This information did, indeed, leak out. And it would not surprise me if the President didn’t leak it to try to distract from the reporting about the briefing he and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence received about Putin’s ongoing election interference. The specific problem here is that Senator Sanders knew, the President knew, and Vladimir Putin knew. The rest of us, however, did not know. We may have surmised based on what we know happened in 2016, but we did not know. And that means for the past month the President and Vladimir Putin have had leverage over Senator Sanders. I’m not suggesting that Senator Sanders is an agent of either one’s influence, but by sitting on the information for a month it provided both of them leverage that they could have used against him.
If there is one overarching lesson that we should all take away from what Putin did in 2016 and has been doing since 2016 is that when senior officials, or those seeking high office, refuse to be forthcoming about their activities, actions, and interests (personal, professional, business), it provides the other people that know about these activities, actions, and interests leverage over them. The problem in 2016 wasn’t that the President, as a candidate, was trying to do business in Russia. The problem was he kept lying about it over and over and over all while Putin and several of those around Putin knew the truth. Which provided Putin with leverage over the President. The same dynamic was also at play when Senator Sanders and his supporters demanded to see transcripts of Secretary Clinton’s speeches during the 2016 campaign because they wanted to know what she may or may not have said or promised to those who were paying her to give those talks. There was no indication she promised anyone anything, But the argument then was that it provided the interests paying for her to give a speech leverage on her above and beyond the speaker’s fee and expenses she was paid.
I know, you know, we all know that Senator Sanders is not a witting or unwitting asset of Putin’s. We know that Putin doesn’t actually want him to be president, Putin just wants him or his supporters to create chaos by ripping the Democratic Party apart* in order to achieve the strategic effect that Putin does want: having the President reelected to a second term. Because that strategic effect creates even more chaos, which increases the likelihood that Putin achieves his overarching strategic objective: weakening the US and with it the US created and backed post WW II international order; leaving Putin free to operate with impunity. Loose lips may sink ships, but in this case being forthcoming is the way to ensure operational security and dispel questions and doubts.
* I do not actually know what will happen if Senator Sanders wins the Democratic nomination for president. I would like to believe that we are all mature enough and realistic enough to recognize the threat to the Republic overrides our individual political preferences in a potential Democratic candidate. I would like to say I was sure this would be the case, but I cannot.
The right thing to do on this is for all Democrats to condemn Russian interference. There are plenty of legitimate issues to bring up if Sanders isn’t your preferred candidate. One thing we know for certain is that any candidate on the debate stage on Wednesday would be terrible for Putin, especially compared to the current occupant of the White House.
Commentor Luciamia has offered Shakespeare a home — but she doesn’t have transport. Update from Deb S:
My mom has only a week or two to live, Luciamia is in Baltimore… If a volunteer can make the trip, that will make my life easier. I can pay expenses. I also got medication to calm him during the trip that I can administer in advance…
I’m trying to run back home to Maine for a day to get one of my own cats boarded, the one who vanishes and can’t be found to be pilled. By the time I get home she’ll have been off her meds for over a week. I would like to send Shakespeare on his way first. We need to keep him locked away from my mother because she’s on oxygen and we can’t risk him disturbing anything, I’ll feel better knowing he’s out of the apartment before I leave.
Anyone got some spare time this weekend? Big ask, I know. Best would be if people could do shifts, swapping Shakespeare off at service stops between NYC and Baltimore.
I don’t know if public transit would be possible, if someone were willing to ride down & back with his crate under the seat. Does Amtrak permit pets? Is there an intercity bus route that would work?
Other city-to-city pet transport services under short notice? (I’d donate towards costs here… )
Anybody wants to volunteer, or has information that would help, leave a comment below. Or contact me via email and I’ll forward your message to Deb.