Saturday, October 21, 2017

Last Call For Trump's America

When the man in the Oval Office demands retribution against those who question authority, his cultists respond with brutal efficiency, even in blue strongholds like Massachusetts.

Last week, Kato Mele’s 23-year-old daughter said some things on Facebook that many people found appalling. She wrote that the White Rose Coffeehouse in Lynn, which her mother owns and where she worked, would never host a “coffee with a cop” event, klatches designed to build goodwill between police and the community.

“I will not be part of the false rhetoric that cops are just misunderstood good guys,” Mele’s daughter wrote, among other things. “They uphold an unjust system and murder without consequence.” 

For this opinion, the family business was targeted and destroyed.

The chief of police in Lynn responded beautifully.

“This is a non-story,” Michael Mageary told Lynn’s Daily Item on Sunday. “This young lady has the right to say whatever she wants and we respect that. We will continue to do our job every day. My sense is that most officers will avoid the establishment, but that is their choice.”

But by then, it was already too late. A mob had descended within hours of the Facebook post, whipped up by a website that specializes in (and makes money from) marshaling drooling goons for mass attacks, mostly on victims who express left-of-center views.

They got into the cafe’s Facebook page, leaving hundreds of bad reviews to drive its five-star rating down. Mele’s daughter received rape threats. On Monday, the cafe was slammed with abusive callers, saying horrific things: They hoped Mele and her daughter are ruined, that they never work again, that her daughter drowns. An especially charming bunch of them, parroting a line from the hateful website that played on “coffee with a cop,” said they wanted to have coffee with a c-word.

“These are people targeting us for the stupid opinion of a 23-year-old,” Mele said. “If I had social media when I was 23, I don’t know what I would have done. We’re all dumb at 23.”

Mele was sitting in her empty cafe Thursday morning. In the year since it opened, the White Rose had become a community hub — a place for locals to come get coffee or a beer, to see art or listen to music. She’d hosted events to raise money for victims displaced by a big fire in town; for RAW, a youth art program; to give school supplies to kids whose parents couldn’t afford them.

“We have done whatever we can,” she said. “We have no televisions here. We wanted it to be a place where people could just sit and talk to anybody.”

Now Mele is shutting it all down, and with it her dream. After she survived cancer, she sold her house and liquidated her retirement fund to start the White Rose, and despite its place in the community, this first year had been a financial struggle. The cafe was running week-to-week before this happened. On Monday, the cafe was mostly deserted. Many of the people who came in were friends, offering condolences and dropping $10 or $20 into the tip jar. She couldn’t survive more than a few days like that — especially without her daughter’s help. Worse, she no longer wants to.

“What I have here is a family business that has no family,” she said. “Maybe I could weather this. But this used to be a place of joy for me, and I don’t see a way that I will ever feel that way again.

The opinion that police shouldn't murder people is so unacceptable in America in 2017 that this is the result: internet Brownshirts burn a business to the ground and harass a family out of their livelihood in the space of a week.

Whenever you hear somebody complaining about "Social Justice Warriors" and "liberal intolerance", remember the story of the Mele family.  I've been personally targeted before for my opinions on this blog, and I've paid a price for those opinions in the past, but never like this.  The threat to do to me what was done to the Mele family has been made on several occasions, and so far I'm still here.

And yet these are the same assholes who will tell you every day, at length, on multiple media platforms, that they are being silenced every day of their lives.

A Gold Star Performance In Lying

Above all, Donald Trump lies whenever he feels it can benefit him, and because nobody on the right will hold him accountable, it always benefits him to lie about whatever he feels like lying about. Case in point: the entire Trump White House, from Trump to Chief of Staff John Kelly to spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders to various staffers are now fully invested in the lies Trump told this week about Gold Star families, and now they have to continue those lies in order to cover for Trump.

In the hours after President Donald Trump said on an Oct. 17 radio broadcast that he had contacted nearly every family that had lost a military servicemember this year, the White House was hustling to learn from the Pentagon the identities and contact information for those families, according to an internal Defense Department email.

The email exchange, which has not been previously reported, shows that senior White House aides were aware on the day the president made the statement that it was not accurate — but that they should try to make it accurate as soon as possible, given the gathering controversy.

Not only had the president not contacted virtually all the families of military personnel killed this year, the White House did not even have an up-to-date list of those who had been killed.
The exchange between the White House and the Defense secretary’s office occurred about 5 p.m. on Oct. 17. The White House asked the Pentagon for information about surviving family members of all servicemembers killed after Trump’s inauguration so that the president could be sure to contact all of them.

Capt. Hallock Mohler, the executive secretary to Defense Secretary James Mattis, provided the White House with information in the 5 p.m. email about how each servicemember had died and the identity of his or her survivors, including phone numbers.

The email’s subject line was, “Condolence Letters Since 20 January 2017.”

Mohler indicated in the email that he was responding to a request from the president’s staff for information through Ylber Bajraktari, an aide on the National Security Council. The objective was to figure out who among so-called Gold Star families of the fallen Trump had yet to call. Mohler’s email said that the president’s aides “reached out to Ylber looking for the following ASAP from DOD.”

Trump had said in a Fox News Radio interview earlier that day that he had contacted the families of “virtually everybody” in the military who had been killed since he was inaugurated.

“I have called, I believe, everybody — but certainly I’ll use the word virtually everybody,” Trump said.

Since then, the Associated Press contacted 20 families and found that half had not heard from Trump. It is not clear how many of the families that have heard from the president received the calls this week, since the controversy over his contacts with military families erupted. It is not clear when the White House first asked for data on Gold Star families, but it is clear that the answers had not been provided before Tuesday.

The Pentagon email indicates that 21 military personnel had been killed in action during Trump’s tenure, and an additional 44 had been killed by means other than enemy fire, such as ship collisions that took 17 sailors’ lives in the Pacific this summer.

Trump has clearly been active in reaching out to military families who have suffered the ultimate loss, as the AP reports show.

But the White House-Pentagon email scramble Tuesday undermines the veracity of Trump’s statement about his record of contacting all Gold Star families. The internal document also sheds light on how the White House staff, on this and other occasions, has had to go into damage-control mode when the president makes inaccurate statements.

Trump's default is to lie.  Our Village Media is finally learning this, so when they fact check they're no longer surprised to find out that he's not telling the truth.  They still haven't learned to call it lying however.  It's "made inaccurate statements" or "factual errors" still, but that is an improvement over the previous era of calling Trump's outright lies "controversial" or "disputed". 

That's progress at any rate.

Take A Knee To Take A Stand

Trump's clinical narcissism continues to damage the country on a daily basis. By making the NFL anthem protests all about himself (because he makes everything about himself, he can't help it) he's now taking aim at the tenet of freedom of expression, something that Trump can no longer tolerate as he views these protests as personal attacks.  When given the powers of the presidency, Trump will always use them to enforce loyalty and accolade by fiat.

President Trump is urging supporters to sign a petition declaring that they believe in standing for the national anthem — his latest effort to put pressure on the NFL over players who kneel in protest during the anthem.

"The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support," says the petition by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising group.

The petition was also promoted by the Republican National Committee on Twitter and its website. It does not say how many signatures it has garnered so far.

The petition came days after NFL team owners, executives and players met in New York, where they decided that the league would not implement a rule forcing players to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after the meeting that, while players are encouraged to stand for the anthem, there would be no formal rule making it mandatory for them to do so.

Goodell said he understood the concerns of the players — who are seeking to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality — but he hopes the league can bring the total number of protesters down to zero.

The decision came amid a prolonged feud between Trump and the NFL that began last month when he called on football teams to fire players who took a knee. The demonstrations began last year with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been unable to find a new team after leaving the 49ers.

To recap, Donald Trump's reaction to an NFL quarterback who lost his job because he exercised his right to free speech and silently demonstrated against brutal police violence against black bodies in the United States was to:

  • declare the protests offensive to the country and flag,
  • declare the protests disrespectful to veterans,
  • question the patriotism of protesters,
  • take the protests personally as an attack on himself,
  • encourage NFL fans to punish the league until the protests stop,
  • attack the demonstrators personally using social media,
  • demand himself that the demonstrations stop,
  • demand that the employers of the protesters make the protests stop or suffer financial consequences and now in the last 24 hours,
  • have his party create a loyalty pledge for his position on the protests, and
  • fundraise off the controversy he has created.

He has been doing this for several weeks now, and again his pathology over the years is to take protests by people of color as personal insults, to declare these insults as attacks on those who support him, and then encourage his followers to institute collective punishment as revenge.

He especially hates black and Latina women, but also famous black men, like Obama and Kaepernick. I'm a black man and I've accepted that the asshole in the White House hates me because I am black.  But it is exponentially worse for women of color.

Remember that.

Knocked For A Hyperloop

Elon Musk is at it again, this time getting his dig on for the proposed hyperloop route leg between DC and Baltimore.

The first Hyperloop tunnel on the East Coast will be built in Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement in a video posted on Twitter. Electric car pioneer Elon Musk’s Boring Company will start digging a tunnel in the state for an ultra-high-speed connection between Baltimore and Washington that would transport travelers in a matter of minutes.

Get hyped. 🚄
— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) October 19, 2017 

Musk teased the idea on Twitter over the summer, saying he had received verbal government approval to start building the Hyperloop, which Musk ultimately wants to connect New York and D.C.

So the tunnels will be dug at least.  What happens after, well who knows.  Cincinnati has had subway tunnels for decades that were never finished, and I'm betting the same thing will happen here.

I've been calling BS on Hyperloop since 2013, and I still haven't seen anything that makes me think this is anything but the Springfield monorail.
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