Before I comment on anything else, please absorb this fact: U.S. hits 50,000 deaths from coronavirus – just as many states announce plans to ease social distancing. Some people have trouble with numbers. So let me give you a couple of comparisons: for every person who was killed in the 9/11 attacks, more than 16 Americans have been killed by COVID-19… so as of Friday afternoon, COVID-19 represents more than 16 9/lls… and yet there are people who think the precautions many states have taken are an overreaction…
Meanwhile, Coronavirus is spreading fast in states that may reopen soon, study finds. I don’t know what to say on this. I know that a fraction of the population doesn’t believe any of the facts we show them. And I know the politicians believe the facts, but they also believe that the people who die don’t matter… I don’t know how to get the idiots who don’t realize that their leaders want them to die to keep the economy moving to see what’s happening…
And maybe there isn’t a way, because while the president is spouting nonsense like this stuff: President Trump’s batsh*t crazy coronavirus ‘cure’ theories are not just shockingly senseless and stupid – they’re going to kill people, which you would expect anyone with a lick of sense to recognize as nonsense. Bleach is poison! Lysol is poison! It kills the virus on inanimate objects, sure, but if you put it in your body it will kill you. Everyone knows that, right?
Apparently not: Conservative radio host agrees with caller that vaping bleach might cure COVID-19: ‘You’re not crazy’ and American health hotlines have been swamped by anxious callers following last week’s bizarre suggestion by Donald Trump that researchers try using disinfectants to cure Covid-19 patients.
So apparently no, a lot of people really are that ignorant. Wow. Which is why pretty much every company the manufactures home use disinfectants came out with statements warning and even begging people not to do it: Trump’s Suggestion That Disinfectants Could Be Used to Treat Coronavirus Prompts Aggressive Pushback.
It is still boggling my mind. Have none of these people been responsible for raising or taking care of small children? When I was a kid I had it drilled into my head that bleach and lysol and ammonia and other cleaning chemicals we kept in the house were poisonous. Once I had a younger sibling, it was emphasized that I should keep an eye out to help make sure my sister didn’t drink any of the poison. And so on. Aaaagggh!
(Yes, I have been reduced to yelling incoherntly at the screen)
All of that craziness led to this: New York Daily News Hits Donald Trump With A Caustic New Nickname – The president’s comments about disinfectant and the coronavirus inspired the tabloid’s scathing moniker.
I’ve included an image of a front page of the New York Daily News above where they use the new nickname, but that’s not the big headline. The big headline goes to another corrupt Republican! McConnell says giving aid to states to help ease the pain from the pandemic would be a ‘blue state bailout.’ But most states were doing the right thing before the coronavirus hit. Which prompted a whole lot of people to point out that McConnell’s state has been leeching off far more federal tax dollars than it generates for decades, and in fact most of the so-called Red States always have, while it it so same Blue States who are carrying the load: Cuomo Swings At McConnell Again: ‘Just Give Me My Money Back, Senator’.
I could link to a whole lot more, including a lot of McConnell’s fellow Republicans, but thankfully our dear friends at the Wonkette have already gathered a bunch of those along with their own snarky commentary: It’s A ‘Kick Mitch McConnell In The Dick’ Contest, And Everyone Is Playing!.
Oh, and did you hear that the President fired the health expert in charge of coordinating vaccine development because he would jump on the chloroquine bandwagon? Ex-FDA Head: Ouster Of Vaccine Chief “Sets Us Back”. I mean, I’m sure that whatever sycophant that Trump chose to take over will do a fine job. Vaccines are hard, are they?
Meanwhile, the rest of the Republican crooks are started to get worried that maybe getting on the Trump train wasn’t such a good idea: Nervous Republicans See Trump Sinking, and Taking Senate With Him – The election is still six months away, but a rash of ominous new polls and the president’s erratic briefings have the G.O.P. worried about a Democratic takeover. Note that they aren’t worried about tens of thousands of Americans dying, or the tens of millions unemployed. No, they’re just worried about keeping control of at least one house of Congress so they can keep lining their pockets and the pockets of their billionaire buddies…
Maybe I should just let Randy Rainbow take us out on a lighter(?) note?
A SPOONFUL OF CLOROX – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
So, Andy Ngo is probably most famous for trying to claim that a milkshake someone threw at him while he was allegedly reporting on a Patriot Prayer rally actually contained quick-drying cement, and that led to him being hospitalized with (depending on which day he talked about it later while begging people to donate to his various crowdsource funds), a brain hemorrhage, a brain bleed, or traumatic brain injury. We’ll come back to the medical bit, but the quick-drying cement is not only a lie, but it is a lie that defies the laws of physics.
In the video, a person is clearly seen flicking a milkshake container and the liquid flies out of it behaving exactly like a milkshake. If it were quick drying cement that had been mixed to a consistency where a flick of a wrist could send it flying like that, then the density and mass of the liquid would cause absolutely no more damage than an ordinary milkshake. Even if it magically hardened midair somehow, physics tells us force is equal to mass times accelleration and it doesn’t matter whether the mass is liquid or solid. Besides, some of Ngo’s own footage from moments before showed the folks in the crowd who had the drink containers drinking from them. If they had been drinking quick drying cement, they were the ones who would have ended up in the hospital.
But let’s get back to the medical report. Despite a number of legitimate news organizations trying to confirm that Andy was hospitalized overnight, no one was able to confirm it. Also, while a layman might think that the three diagnostic terms (brain hemorrhage, brain bleed, or traumatic brain injury) are interchangeable, they are not. The term brain hemorrhage is usually used to describe a specific kind of stroke. Brain bleed would be the term usually used for intercranial bleeding caused by a blow to the head. Ngo was punched in the face on video before the milkshake was thrown at him, so he might well have had a brain bleed and/or a concussion. Traumatic brain injury is a much more complicated medical condition, and would require considerably more tests than those a typical ER would run for a head injury. And if they did diagnose it as a traumatic brain injury, they probably would have kept him for more than one night.
And remember, no one has been able to verify the overnight stay.
I agree that it appears that the punch in the face was assault. If the punch in the face was unprovoked (and we can’t always tell from these videos), then yes, it was uncalled for. Technically the milkshake is assault, too, but I’m sorry: I remain firmly in the camp that whoever throws a milkshake on a Nazi apologist is a hero.
Because that’s what Andy Ngo is. He’s not a journalist. He’s a propagandist, a liar, and a shill for fascist white nationalist organizations. And, as we now know, he’s more than just a propagandist: Andy Ngo Captured On Video With Patriot Prayer As They Reportedly Plan Attack On Antifa.
That word “reportedly” is overly cautious. The video includes clear audio and they are discussing an attack they are about to make, Andy participates in the discussion, and laughs. A lot.
And there have been some consequences: Andy Ngo, Who Became a Right-Wing Star, Leaves Quillette After Incriminating Video Appears. Even the far-right so-called news site Quillette couldn’t justify keeping him on as an editor. Note, though, that they aren’t firing him because he’s an active participate in alt-right violence, they are firing him because they can no longer deny it.
The knowledge that he doesn’t just report from a particular bias but he actually lies in his reporting isn’t new. Last year at what was essentially a Black Lives Matter March in Portland, an older man in the car appeared to intentionally drive into the crowd, striking one protestor and send him rolling down the street. The crowd closed in on the car and yelled at the driver. Which was understandable. Video of the incident was edited to cut out the first part of the incident, to make it appear that an innocent man was being harassed by the crowd. And it was that lie which got Ngo a guest spot on Tucker Carson’s show (where for whatever reason he spoke with a fake British accent. Ngo (who is a Vietnamese-American) was born in Portland, Oregon. He grew up in Portland and attended a private evangelical high school in Portland. He’s not British.
You can read a lot more about his previous lies and grifting attempts here: Portland’s Andy Ngo Is the Most Dangerous Grifter in America: Though he poses as a journalist, the purpose of his platform is to sow harassment and violence against his targets on the Left — and the mainstream media have fallen for it.
The thing that really gets me about this series of event is why someone like Ngo — Vietnamese-American, out gay man, self-described as rejecting all religions — is defending, propagandizing for, and collaborating with white nationalist who subscribe to a radical form of christianist authoritarianism. I have the same question about the notorious Milo Yiannopoulos. Have neither of these guys heard of the Night of Long Knives in early Nazi Germany?
The Night of Long Knives was an operation ordered by Hitler in 1934 to murder members of his own government, certain military leaders, and political enemies. Some of the murders were to settle old scores, some were to eliminate possible rivals, but a whole lot of the killing was aimed at the all the openly and semi-openly gay members of the SA (“Storm Battalion”) including the openly homosexual leader of the SA, Ernst Röhm. Part of what convinced Hitler to go ahead with the operation was when, on a state visit to Italy, Mussolini told him that tolerating all those homosexuals was making his government look bad to their allies. After Röhm and many, many others were killed, Hitler appointed a new head to the SA and gave him a specific mission to root out “homosexuality, debauchery, drunkenness, and high living.”
Let’s not forget that in the first years of the Nazi concentration camps, most of the prisoners were originally arrested on charges of sodomy and the like (whether trumped up or true).
Folks like Ngo are allowed to hang out with white nationalist groups like Patriot Prayer because they are considered useful pets. It’s a variant of the tired old argument, “I can’t be a bigot! Some of my best friends are gay/asian/black/etc!”
If groups like Patriot Prayer get their way, eventually it’s not just going to be people who come to the border locked up in overcrowded camps with inadequate food and medical treatment. And people like Ngo and Milo and the like are going to find themselves rounded up with the rest of us. They think they are immune because they have been such loyal pets. But like the fable of the scorpion and the frog—which tells us it is in the nature of scorpions to sting anyone, even those who help them—it is in the nature of neo-nazis to attack queers, people of color, and so forth.
There have already been so many stories about mass shooters, would-be mass shooters, and related domestic terrorists that they’re going to overwhelm the Friday Five. So I’m going to post them now with a bit of commentary.
Here’s the data on white supremacist terrorism the Trump administration has been ‘unable or unwilling’ to give to Congress. “Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement.”
Second suspect wanted for stolen AR-15, tactical vest from Macon co. school turns himself in. So, the tactical vest and assault rifle were on school grounds in the first place because of the repeated idiotic “a good guy with a gun” arguments. (If you don’t understand why it is idiotic: first, can you shoot a bullet out of the air with a gun? No, you cannot. Second, responsible gun owners will all tell you that you never shoot into an area where you might hit innocent people. Which is why for most mass shootings where there were licensed conceal-carry people there, no one could safely take a shot at the shooter. And in a significant number of the few cases where a “good guy with a gun” tried to take out the shooter, bystanders got hit, instead.)
‘I’m the Shooter’: El Paso Suspect Confessed to Targeting Mexicans, Police Say. See, no “alleged” about it. It was racially motivated.
Trump Cultist Arrested For Death Threat Against AOC. He’s a convicted felon who is forbidden from owning guns… but he had a bunch and ammo to go with them.
An armed man who caused panic at a Walmart in Missouri said it was a ‘social experiment,’ police say. Doing something to cause a public alarm is, itself, a crime in most states, including his. Even in open carry states, waving a gun around in a threatening manner is a crime. I hope he get serious jail time.
A Vegas Man Was Arrested For Plotting A White Supremacist Attack On An LGBTQ Bar And Synagogue – Conor Climo told FBI agents he hated blacks, Jewish people, and members of the LGBTQ community, and was planning attacks that involved explosives or snipers. Such a fine person [/sarcasm]
Don’t just take my word for it: After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role in Inspiring Mass Shootings.
Op-Ed: Why do Trump’s supporters deny the racism that seems so evident to Democrats?. Short version: most of them are the kind of racists who insist they don’t have a racist bone in their bodies…
Democrats will control the House. And that means that there will finally be some Congressional hearings into the corruption and worse that the Executive branch has been committing under Cadet Bonespur. There isn’t much we can do about the destruction of the Judicial branch that is being perpetrated during the next two years, but the thing those of us who care about equal rights and, oh, the future of the planet have to focus on is that we finally have a way to put some brakes on the fascist uprising. It’s a long term fight. We lost big two years ago. We call ourselves the Resistance because the bad guys have already taken over. This is an important step in the fight to take back the country, but we lost in 2016.
There was a bunch of other good news last night. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Key West elected Teri Johnston, Florida’s first openly lesbian mayor
- New York elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress
- Colorado elected Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor in the US
- Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim woman (alongside Rashida Tlaib) elected to Congress
- Massachusetts elected Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to Congress in Massachusetts
- Kansas elected Sharice Davids, an openly gay ex-MMA fighter and one of the first Native American women (alongside Deb Haaland) elected to Congress
- Michigan elected Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American (and first Muslim woman, alongside Ilhan Omar) elected to Congress
- Kentucky elected Nima Kulkarni, the first Indian-American elected to Kentucky House of Representatives
- New Mexico elected Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women (alongside Sharice Davids) elected to Congress
- Flemington, New Jersey elected Betsy Driver, the first openly intersex mayor of a city in the U.S.
- Indiana election J.D. Ford the first openly gay Indiana state legislature, defeating a long-time Republican incumbent in the process
- Kansas elected pro-gay-rights legislator Laura Kelly over pro-Trump and pro-voter suppression Republican
- Florida passed a constitutional amendment granting voting rights to about 1 million felons who have served their time
- Louisiana passed a constitutional amendment repealing a white supremacist policy regarding jury convictions
- Massachusetts voters soundly rejected a measure to strip away non-discrimination protections from transgender people
And election night isn’t the ending. Alexandra Erin put it very well on twitter earlier this week:
Let me be ridiculously clear about something: I am not counting on the Democrats, as a national organization, to fix anything.
Our country is on fire. We need them, but they are not the firefighters. We are.
They’re the water.
We are the firefighters. We can’t check out. This midterm wasn’t a fire and forget situation. We have to stay engaged. We have to call our congresspeople and demand that they stick to the guns, that they oppose Trump on everything. This is just one battle in the long war to take our country back. We can do it, but we have to keep fighting!
I decided not to make this news the topic of my Weekend Update because I couldn’t find any confirmation of those triumphant announcements. Only one of the news sites I checked even mentioned the fact that, technically, the group could miss their appointment, they could even call and cancel, but if they arrived at the office at 4:59pm with thousands of signed petitions, the state would have to accept them and begin the process of verifying signatures. And some of the folks involved in the push for the initiative have played fast and loose with the rules before.
Anyway, I finally did find confirmation: Election Rarity: No Initiatives Qualify For November Statewide Ballot In Washington. So they didn’t show up at 4:59 with petitions. No one did, even though about 30 different initiatives were filed this time. There’s more good news besides the fact that for a second year in a row the anti-trans people were unable to get enough signatures to even turn them in and attempt to qualify. I’ll come back to that.
As late as Thursday morning, the anti-trans folks were sending out money-beg emails to their supporters in which they claimed they had more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but they still needed to fundraise because those evil queers and their nefarious allies were preparing to challenge the signatures. I just want to clarify that we were prepared to do more than challenge signatures. Evidence had already come forward that some of the signature gatherers were circulating two versions of the petitions that didn’t conform to the law: they didn’t have the official approved ballot title on the top (instead having a misleading one), and others didn’t contain the full text of the law on the back. Those of us following this case knew that, and the organization leading the Decline to Sign campaign (and preparing to run a No on I-1552 campaign if it made the ballot), had lawyers standing at the ready to raise that issue, among others. Signatures on petitions that don’t meet the legal criteria aren’t supposed to be counted, right?
Anyway, they didn’t have enough signatures, and so decided not to turn them in: WASHINGTON STATE: Haters Fail To Submit Signatures To Place Transgender Rights Repeal On Ballot and Transgender bathroom rule won’t be on fall ballot; group seeking rollback fails to get enough signatures. So that’s good news, for now. This is the second time this has happened. They claim to have collected more signatures this year than last. Because they were prompter to get filed and so forth this year, they had more time to collect the signatures. This time around a lot more Republican politicians and former politicians came out urger voters not to sign, though some waited until awfully late to do so.
But the other bit of good news is that none of the other initiatives filed on other topics turned in signatures, either. Some of them were quite worrisome. I’m very happy that perennial anti-tax, anti-gay, anti-well-anything-decent initiative filer Tim Eyman had a bunch of his usual garbage filed as of January and he was fundraising as usual right up until March, when the state Attorney General filed a lawsuit against him and one of his paid signature gathering groups for campaign finance violations including money laundering and Eyman diverting a lot of funds for his personal use: AG sues Tim Eyman for $2M, says he profited from campaigns. Suddenly, all of his fundraising efforts shifted to begging supporters for money to pay his legal fees: Eyman cries for contributions to counter AG’s ‘stunning witch hunt’.
The guy’s full-time job for a couple of decades has been running these shitty initiatives. He’s been having fewer and fewer successes as time has gone by, and previous disclosures have found a shrinking pool of people willing to donate. The bulk of the money coming into the campaigns and into his so-called political action committee has been coming from a single anti-tax crank millionaire for a while, now. And given the lies, distortions, and evasions he has engaged in over the years in the campaigns, it’s really a wonder he wasn’t charged with something sooner.
In the midst of so much anxiety-inducing news around the world, we need to remember to take the victories that we do get. Even if they’re only in the smaller battles just now.
Even NPR can’t get it right.
This morning I heard the NPR reporter say, “But when Apple pays no taxes, Congress can’t ignore it.”
Apple paid 7 billion in U.S. federal taxes last year. Yes, they are holding more than $70 billion in foreign earnings outside the U.S., and aren’t currently paying federal taxes on that. However…
General Electric is currently holding more the $100 billion in foreign earnings outside the U.S. The last year that G.E.’s taxes were reported to the public, 2010, they paid just under 1 billion in U.S. taxes. Which is a lot more than they paid in 2009, because in 2009 they exploited U.S. tax law to get the government to refund more money than they put in. (Apple paid about 5 billion in U.S. taxes that year that G.E. paid less than zero).
Exxon paid about 3 billion last year, and according to the Wall Street Journal is holding more of its foreign earnings off shore than Apple (though less than G.E.).
I haven’t been able to find all the numbers for Google, but Bloomberg reports that Googles holds most of its billions in foreign profits in an Irish subsidiary, just like Apple.
So who’s not paying?