Saturday, January 25, 2020

Space Farce:The Next Degeneration

I hate everything.

I hate this so much it physically hurts.

Getting Sick Of It All

The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread across mainland China with cases popping up all over the world, and the State Department is pulling all diplomatic personnel from the city of 11 million as the consulate there is closed and staff are being evacuated.

The US government is arranging a charter flight to evacuate diplomats from the Chinese city that has become ground zero for a new deadly strain of coronavirus, a US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN Saturday. 
The United States has a contract with a transporter to evacuate diplomats from the US consulate in Wuhan, China. The consulate is closed and all US diplomats are "under ordered departure," the official said. 
Details of the flight plan are still being finalized and the source said "a lot depends on what the Chinese authorities will allow us to do," adding that Beijing has been "very cooperative." 
The State Department and White House have not yet responded to CNN's request for comment on the matter. 
The Wall Street Journal first reported the planned evacuation. 
According to the Journal, the US consulate in Wuhan is reaching out to the Americans it is aware of in the country to offer them a spot on the flight. 
The flight, which seats about 230 people, will include diplomats from the US consulate in Wuhan, as well as Americans and their families, the Journal reported. The person told the newspaper that any available seats might be offered to non-US citizens and diplomats of other nations. 
The flight will have medical personnel aboard to treat anyone with the virus and make sure it is contained, according to the Journal. 
Passengers will be asked to foot the bill for the flight, which is expected to cost much more than a commercial flight from China to the US, the Journal reported. 
The newspaper reported that the United States also plans to temporarily close its consulate in Wuhan. 
It is unknown where the plane plans to fly to in the US, the Journal noted.
Roughly 1,000 American citizens are believed to be in Wuhan, according to the Journal.

Evacuating a consulate is not a sign that this coronavirus is under control.  Evacuating several hundred potentially infected individuals to the US is an even worse response to it.  State is completely pulling out of Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, and is advising Americans to avoid the province entirely.

That more than anything else makes me think this virus is far worse than originally thought.  Modern outbreak theory suggests this is closing the burning barn door after the horses are long gone anyway.

World's been overdue for a pandemic anyway.  SARS was the distant relative of this current virus, 18 years ago it killed hundreds.with a nearly 10% fatality rate.  If this thing is as bad or worse and it escapes containment, it's going to be bad.

Having said that, yearly flu seasons regularly kill tens of thousands worldwide.  Get that flu vaccine.

Last Call For Press The Meat, Con't

The Trump regime continues to treat the (non-FOX News, non Breitbart state-run) media as mortal foes, and Village just scratches its head, shrugs, and declares it an act for the benefit of Trump's base, because gosh they know that Trump's people are really nice once you get to know them.  Surely Trump doesn't mean he'd have the government go after me, they say.  

And then NPR All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly gets called into Mike Pompeo's office like he's the Vice-Principal and screams and curses at her.

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got into it with an NPR host over her questions about Ukraine.

On Saturday, he issued a statement responding to the flap that exemplifies gaslighting.

To recap what happened Friday: NPR reported that after an interview on Iran that ended with questions about Ukraine — at which point Pompeo grew testy — the secretary unleashed a lengthy, vulgar tirade against the journalist who interviewed him, “All Things Considered” host Mary Louise Kelly.

Kelly, remarkably, said that Pompeo asked her after the interview, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” and asked her to find the country on a blank map, apparently suggesting she didn’t even know. She said she did, and Pompeo concluded the scene by saying, “People will hear about this.”
In Saturday morning’s statement, Pompeo claimed Kelly had told him they were off the record at the time, which NPR denies.

“It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency,” Pompeo said. “This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.”

The most remarkable portion of Pompeo’s statement, though, came at the end.

“It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine," Pompeo said in it.

The implication is unmistakable: Kelly couldn’t correctly identify the location of Ukraine on the map, and she instead pointed to Bangladesh.

Here’s why there is absolutely no way that happened.

First, Bangladesh is more than 3,000 miles away from Ukraine. It is east of India. Ukraine is in Eastern Europe; Bangladesh is in South Asia. Ukraine is in a border war with Russia; Bangladesh does not border Russia and isn’t even close to it. Ukraine is a large country; Bangladesh is comparatively small. It’s difficult to believe basically any journalist who was asked to locate Ukraine would point to Bangladesh, no matter how inexperienced.

And second, even if there was one, there is no way it would be Kelly. Kelly isn’t just a host of “All Things Considered,” she is also a former national security reporter who has traveled overseas extensively in her reporting. She also literally has a master’s degree — in European studies — from Cambridge University in England, which is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Mary Louise Kelly is as close to an honest-to-God expert on European foreign policy as the Village has.  To think she would confuse Bangladesh with Ukraine is laughable, and yet this is Pompeo gaslighting a woman journalist in front of the world.

And the reason Pompeo did this is extremely simple: he's testing the Village to see how far they are willing to go to protect one of their own when the consequences of doing so will be an even further reduction in access to the White House, while at the same time turning to Trump's base and saying "Geez, look at how stupid these reporters are.  They're all dumb liars, and I'm the Secretary of State. Who are you going to believe?

Indeed, the response from the right-wing noise machine is that Kelly broke an agreement to be off the record with Pompeo's tirade, and that the long-time NPR host should immediately be fired.

NPR is fully defending Kelly as they should, but the damage has already been done.  The only news conservative Republicans trust are literally Rush and Hannity on AM radio, and FOX and Breitbart.

The more moderate segments of each party show less divide in trust, more so on the right

Impeachment Reached, Con't

As House Democrats concluded their three days of opening statements Friday night,  Republicans will get their turn starting on Saturday morning and then again on Monday.  Trump wants the trial over as soon as possible, but he also doesn't want to look like there's no defense in his corner, either.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham gave away the rest of the game on TV.

Lindsey Graham vehemently opposes calling in the Bidens as witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — but he’s signaling to the president and conservatives that there are other ways to probe Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Over the past day, the South Carolina Republican has stepped up his calls for an outside investigator to examine Hunter Biden’s role on the board at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. And in turn, he’s made clear he does not believe the Senate should open the door on witnesses, a messy debate that could extend the Senate trial for weeks and call in everyone from the Bidens to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

“To my Democratic friends, I stood with you when you called for an outside entity to look into President Trump. I’m asking you to allow somebody outside of politics to look at what happened with the Bidens,” Graham said Friday in a break of the impeachment proceedings. “The best thing to do is end this trial with no witnesses and have Congress do oversight regarding what happened in the Ukraine in a professional way, and I would prefer outside counsel.”

Trump has repeatedly mused about wanting more witnesses in his trial, including this week — talk that Graham is seeking to tamp down. Graham has repeatedly said he will not support subpoenas for Hunter or Joe Biden in the Senate trial.

What Graham is proposing would essentially mimic what Trump asked Ukraine to do, only on domestic soil: Announce an investigation into Joe Biden as he runs for the nomination to defeat the president. Graham said the reason he didn’t want to look into the Bidens before the heat of the election because he “hadn’t really been following it” in previous year.

“I like Joe Biden. No I don’t think he’s corrupt. But I think he has to answer for how he allowed his son and the country to get in this spot,” Graham said. “I love Joe Biden. I don’t want to do this.”

It’s a clear indication to the president and his allies that he empathizes with them over targeting the Bidens for what he calls a “clear conflict of interest” when former Vice President Joe Biden presided over anti-corruption efforts while his son was on the board of Burisma.

Trump’s attempt to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens is at the heart of the impeachment case against the president. The two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — directly relate to Trump’s alleged attempt to press for a probe into his political rivals in exchange for millions in withheld military aid and a coveted White House visit for Ukrainian officials.

There is no evidence that Joe Biden did anything improper to get his son on the board. Biden urged Ukraine to fire its lead anti-corruption prosecutor, but at the time probes into Burisma had stalled.

Nonetheless, Graham is undeterred.

“I supported [Robert] Mueller looking into all things Trump because I think the country needed someone outside politics to resolve the allegations against the president,” Graham told reporters on Friday afternoon. “Nobody has done an investigation anywhere near the Mueller investigation against the Bidens. And I think they should. And when this is over, the Congress will do it if we can’t have an outside entity. I think it’s very important to find out what happened

A special counsel investigation of Joe Biden announced say, just after Trump is acquitted by the Senate GOP late next week in order to sink Biden in Iowa just days later is certainly an option, and it's got to be a tempting one.

I don't know if they have the balls to do it, but then again James Comey destroyed the Clinton campaign eight weeks before the election with But Her Emails™ so why wouldn't they sandbag Biden like this?  After all, we know they've been setting this up for months now.

A Trump acquittal and it's open season on Joe and everyone knows it.

Meanwhile, the plan for the trial itself is to have it over by January 31, I've been saying that for a while now, and the reason is so Trump can take victory laps next month, during his State of he Union speech and during his Super Bowl pregame interview with Sean Hannity.

In fact, that entire week will be Trump basking in the brimstone glow of his "acquittal" and then the long-awaited vengeance against the Democrats begins.
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