Thursday, August 20, 2020

Last Call For Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

We're now to the point in 2020's campaign hell where Donald Trump is openly glad to have the support of a dangerous domestic terrorist cult and its followers.

President Trump gave a major boost to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, saying Wednesday he appreciated the support of its followers and asking whether it would be “a bad thing” if he were “saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals.”
Facing his toughest line of questions about QAnon, a group the FBI has flagged as a potential domestic terrorist threat, Trump claimed not to know anything about the group other than their affection for him.

“I don’t know much about the movement; I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” Trump said during a White House press briefing. “I heard these are people that love our country.”

“QAnon believes you are secretly saving the world from this cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Are you behind that?” a reporter pressed.

“I haven’t heard that. Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” Trump responded. “If I can help save the world from problems, I am willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there. And we are actually, we’re saving the world.”

Though followers of the fringe extremist group, which believes Trump is quietly leading a revolution against the “deep state,” have been heralding Trump for years, there is now concern that it’s seeping into the mainstream as candidates who espouse their views are now running — and winning primaries — in a bid for Congress.

The Biden campaign, in a statement, quickly criticized Trump for seeking “to legitimize a conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a domestic terrorism threat. Our country needs leadership that will bring us together more than ever to form a more perfect union. We have to win this battle for the soul of our nation.”

Trump’s comments on QAnon came a day after he embraced the candidacy of Laura Loomer, a self-described Islamaphobe who won the GOP nomination in a Florida primary for a House seat.

The GOP is now straight up the party of racist violence, and they will use the excuse of "saving the children" to almost certainly commit violence against Democratic politicians and the people who voted for them.

Biden and Harris should take note.  Trump's "okay with racism" voters aren't just going to go away in November.

Convention Connection, Day 3

Barack Obama and Kamala Harris took center stage at the Democratic National Convention day 3, with a message of warning from Joe Biden's running mate, and some brutally hard truths from Trump's predecessor. Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren also made it clear that the Democrats cannot fix anything without getting rid of Donald Trump and the GOP enablers who made him possible.

It was a night steeped in history -- a celebration of diversity where the nation's first Black president set the stage for the first Black woman and first Asian American to appear on a presidential ticket.

The third night of the Democratic National Convention, though, was really about the urgency of the present moment -- and not letting the party's feelings now fade. It was an acknowledgment that, for all the self-congratulatory tributes and gauzy messaging a convention makes possible, Democrats' visions of the future matter almost not at all if they don't defeat President Donald Trump.

That has become the true theme of this convention -- a theme that has grown, if virtually, as the week has gone on and the Democrats' bigger stars have spoken.

"Donald Trump's failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods," Sen. Kamala Harris said, in accepting the spot on former Vice President Joe Biden's ticket. "We're at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone."

Former President Barack Obama used a backdrop featuring a copy of the Constitution in Philadelphia to argue that democracy itself is at stake if his successor wins a second term – as stark a warning as any member of the presidents' club has ever issued about the current occupant of the Oval Office.

"Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't," the former president said, in a measured tone that belied how stunning his actual words were. "The consequences of that failure are severe."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- who lost to Trump four years ago despite winning the popular vote -- warned that Trump could "sneak or steal his way to victory." She said the nation won't get a third chance if it elects Trump twice.

"Remember back in 2016 when Trump asked, 'What do you have to lose?' Well, now we know: our health, our jobs, even our lives," Clinton said.

Said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also laid the nation's COVID-19 toll at the president's feet: "This crisis is on Donald Trump and the Republicans who enabled him."

Republicans are howling at these attacks, none more so than Trump himself, who had yet another Twitter meltdown online last night in response to the thousand cuts he obviously bled from.  Trump hates criticism, and he loathes Barack Obama, but to have intelligent, unafraid women line up to slag him last night was more than he could handle.

But it was Barack Obama who unloaded on the man who succeeded him in a devastating, unprecedented and long-overdue broadside on Trump's massive record of abject failure.

I'm in Philadelphia, where our Constitution was drafted and signed. It wasn't a perfect document. It allowed for the inhumanity of slavery and failed to guarantee women -- and even men who didn't own property -- the right to participate in the political process. But embedded in this document was a North Star that would guide future generations; a system of representative government -- a democracy -- through which we could better realize our highest ideals. Through civil war and bitter struggles, we improved this Constitution to include the voices of those who'd once been left out. And gradually, we made this country more just, more equal, and more free. 
The one Constitutional office elected by all of the people is the presidency. So at minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us -- regardless of what we look like, how we worship, who we love, how much money we have -- or who we voted for. 
But we should also expect a president to be the custodian of this democracy. We should expect that regardless of ego, ambition, or political beliefs, the president will preserve, protect, and defend the freedoms and ideals that so many Americans marched for and went to jail for; fought for and died for. 
I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. 
But he never did. For close to four years now, he's shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves. 
Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't. And the consequences of that failure are severe. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before. 
Now, I know that in times as polarized as these, most of you have already made up your mind. But maybe you're still not sure which candidate you'll vote for -- or whether you'll vote at all. Maybe you're tired of the direction we're headed, but you can't see a better path yet, or you just don't know enough about the person who wants to lead us there. 
So let me tell you about my friend Joe Biden.

For a living President to say this about the person currently in the Oval Office just doesn't happen.  It is as much of an indictment of the imperfect American system that allowed Trump to gain and remain in this office as it is of Trump himself, and that is staggering.

Kudos, then, to former President Barack Obama to say what needed to be said.

Vote like your country depends on it. Because as 44 made clear, it does.

A Shot In The Arm In The Dark

A reminder that if we do discover an effective vaccine for COVID-19, remember that state legislatures are stuffed with anti-science, anti-vaccine idiots who are definitely going to try to block anyone from being able to get it, and that they will have the support of a growing number of Americans who won't accept it. Ohio is a perfect example of the coming disaster that awaits us in 2021.

During an April video conference of one of Ohio’s prominent anti-vaccine political groups, members expressed their worries about what the legislative response to a looming COVID-19 vaccine might look like.

However, they took solace in a powerful ally.

The chairman of the Ohio House Health committee, Rep. Scott Lipps, R-Franklin, told members he would be happy to fight for Health Freedom Ohio, but he’ll need backup.

“I need help with members of the health committee, because we’re going to face a couple huge bills that are gonna matter,” he said.

“We’re gonna face a couple bills that this group does not like. And I have to have energy to stop this vaccine shit that’s coming.”

A month prior, House Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Butler, second in the caucus ranks, joined on HFO’s monthly call.

He praised the members for their work advancing “medical freedom,” a term generally referring to abolishing or weakening requirements that students or employees receive vaccines for various diseases.

“There has been a lot of progress,” he said. “I’ve been around a long time, almost 10 years now. From when I started to now, there are a whole lot more legislators who believe in medical freedom. It’s thanks to groups like this one that that’s happening.”

Vaccines offer protections not just to the person who takes them, but to those around them. If enough people in a population are vaccinated, everyone — including people who are immunosuppressed from things like AIDS or chemotherapy and cannot take vaccines — faces lower risk of infection.

Senator Peggy Lehner has noticed the growth of anti-vaccine attitudes in the legislature, often under the term “medical freedom.”

The individualistic worldview of medicine, she said, is part of the reason the U.S. has failed to control COVID-19.

“Medical freedom may bring about the death of others,” she said. “I don’t know that that could be called freedom. It doesn’t strike me as a very pro-life position.”

If the Food and Drug Administration does authorize one or several COVID-19 vaccine candidates (purportedly as early as year’s end), the Ohio legislature could have some questions to answer: Who gets the vaccine first? How do they get it? Who pays for it? Who, if anyone, must get it?

Dorit Reiss, a law professor at the University of California Hastings who specializes in vaccine law, says states could have a handful of these kinds of questions to answer. However, a more hostile legislature could stymie vaccine distribution efforts.

“The states could definitely step in to make it harder to get vaccinated,” she said.

Freedom to die and kill others. Hell, we can't even get a majority of Americans to wear masks in public in most states. A vaccine is going to be a nightmare, and I guarantee you there will be legislation passed in several states that will make vaccines all but useless in fighting COVID-19 and future pandemic waves.

And let's not forget the coming violence being telegraphed in states that make vaccines mandatory.

A veteran and business owner living in Shasta County, California is completely fed up with the authoritarian Covid lockdown orders so he gave a stern warning to the Board of Supervisors....

Carlos Zapata warned the masked officials in the Board of Supervisors chamber that a revolution is brewing....

“Right now we’re being peaceful and you better be happy we’re good citizens, that we’re peaceful citizens but it’s not gonna be peaceful much longer — and this isn’t a threat — I’m not a criminal, I’ve never been a criminal but I’m telling you real good citizens are going to turn into real concerned and revolutionary citizens real soon. And nobody else is gonna say that. I’m probably the only person that has the balls to say what I’m saying right now.”

“We’re building and we’re organizing and we’ll work with law enforcement or without law enforcement but you won’t stop us when the time comes because our families are starving!” he said.

“This is a warning for what’s coming because it’s not going to be peaceful for much longer! It’s gonna get real!” Zapata said adding he went to war for this country and he’s ready to fight for this country even if it’s against its own citizens.

The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will only be the beginning of the massive amount of work ahead of all of us to survive as a country.


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