Politics is Stupid

Hoo boy.

The old adage of “He who pays the fiddler get to choose the tune, but he who holds a knife to the fiddler’s throat will write the symphony…” springs to mind.

Apparently Pres Ramaphosa got handed an ultimatum that the ANC NEC must kick out Ace Magashule, or the ANC won’t receive any more funding from Rupert et kie.

We are watching things with interest, to see what will happen next.

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amaBhungane = They say that their name means “dung beetles” in isiZulu, the primary indigenous language of South Africa. They claim they are “digging dung, fertilizing democracy.”

They have unearthed a lovely story involving powerships. Which got censored by Twitter.

Article to Twitter blocking them : https://mybroadband.co.za/news/internet/397193-amabhungane-website-blocked-on-twitter-following-karpowership-story.html

Their story : Powerships: How the multi-billion-rand tender was (legally) rigged - amaBhungane

Somebody political got involved and got Twitter to take the story down as it may be damaging to their political career.

Spread news of this if you want to.

I was really hoping that with the election behind us and being blocked by the major social media platforms, he would gradually fade away from our consciousness and we could forget about him as a force in US politics until he dies in a few years. But that seems not to be the case. This is a lengthy but well-written explanation of the way he continues to warp the formerly conservative party.

Yeah, we’re stuck with the former guy until something major happens to him, be that death, physical health, mental health or criminal charges, because he has an obsessive and vindictive personality.

Trump is doubling-down by trying to flip around the idea of his conspiracy theories about election fraud being “the Big Lie” by saying that the election not being fraudulent is the lie. That’s the tactics of basing a lie on the truth and repeating a lie often enough to make it become the truth. He’s being willingly aided by the Republican party and by people like Mike Lindell, who now claims Trump actually got 80 million votes and reporters simply stopped talking about how many he got because it would help Biden get elected.

By so firmly latching onto one person, Republicans are setting themselves up with a single point of failure. It’s well documented how he can go from “this is the best person for the job” to “they are worthless and a loser” in a short period of time. Getting closer to filing criminal charges against him is picking up steam. Does anyone honestly think once that happens, Republicans won’t start thinking about how to save their own skin? They’re doing it right now because they view him as the way of saving their political career.

But once the tide turns against him, I don’t see those same Republicans sticking by him until the end. I think it will turn out the same as with Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy went from riding high on his own wave of conspiracy theories and fraudulent claims to being disgraced in less than a year. He kept at it afterward until dying two years later, officially from Hepatitis, possibly caused or exacerbated by alcoholism. We now have the negative term “McCarthyism” to describe his tactics. I think “Trumpism” will also become a negative term, just like the Trump name itself has become toxic.

Until it’s no longer in their interests to support him, the Republican party is adhering to his values, which currently appear to be the following:

  1. Are you loyal to Donald Trump?
  2. Will you support, enforce and repeat his claims?
  3. Are you willing to set aside pesky things like honesty and integrity?

The vote to remove Liz Cheney from the House Republican Conference taking just 16 minutes demonstrates that. The official reasons why she had to go varied but it came down to she wasn’t loyal to Trump and wouldn’t lie for him.

It may be time for the Republican party to choose a new name to better match their values. If they won’t commit to The Trump Party because of needing to save their own skin later on, then maybe they could be the Cronyism, Conspiracies and Charlatans Party, or CCCP for short.

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Severe misunderstanding of what happened here.

But anyway, the only people I regularly see talking about Trump are liberals. Well, them and the people saying things like “Sure wish we had cheap gas like under Trump” or “Sure wish we had peace in the Middle East like under Trump” or maybe “Gosh, the Russians weren’t threatening Ukraine when Trump was president” or the ever popular “The Chinese and Koreans didn’t do all that saber rattling under Trump” and “Wow, employment really goes to shit when Trump is gone”. Hey, how about all those kids in cages we don’t talk about any more? And the wall would have been further along if we didn’t stop building it for a few months.

I didn’t like Trump, not many people do. But it’s not loyalty to him that people are vetting for, it’s loyalty to the policies. I’m sure Israel misses the policies, and Ukraine, and Taiwan, and Japan, and India, and apparently France and GB. Meanwhile we get malaise and Carter Pt 2 instead. BTW, has our immigration Czar made it to the border yet?

The Main Stream Media got Trump elected in the first place and without him they lose millions of viewers.
Stop talking about him constantly and hopefully he will fade away.

Meanwhile people who voted for Biden are pissed because he isn’t even doing what he told them he would do. Running mid to far left and presidenting from a wishy washy mid left sort of centrist authoritarian something. But hey, back to muzzling reporters and early lids on the day with quote approval back in place.

It’s not about the policies.

There’s no interpretation of reality where this makes sense. Liz Cheney’s voting record supported Trump not quite 93% of the time. Elise Stefanik’s career support is 77%.

Your position only makes sense if you are ignoring what everyone involved says. It’s simply a cult of personality. The GOP did not even have a policy platform in 2020; it was simply more of whatever Trump said.

There’s no conservative party to speak of right now in the US. I have plenty of criticisms of the other party and my natural sympathies are with conservatism (with caveats), but I gave up on the GOP when they decided to nominate a patently unqualified scoundrel in 2016. Nothing that has happened since makes me think I’ll ever go back. We need a good opposition party and we don’t have one.

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And that just goes to show that it’s not just the democrats that ignore reality and say “The other guy is bad therefore everything is his fault”.
I’m on the other side of the world and even I know that most of that is either misleading or outright wrong.

But they aren’t. Other than me being simplistic none of what I said is wrong. Some may be a matter of opinion. Biden has made policy choices that lead to these results.

Unlike some I don’t blame the pipeline stuff on Biden. We’ve all known for at least four presidents that our infrastructure defense is weak. But the response from the White House was to yell at potential profiteers more than the actual attackers. So even that response is pretty weak.

So far all I am hearing is that we will print A few more trillion in debt to dig our way out of a problem that several states have already solved. But hey, Illinois has to cover its pension gap that Covid caused 20 years ago.

Okay, talking about gas prices (seeing as how you mentioned the pipeline).
That’s a mixture of misleading and false.
Prices in America now are still lower than in 2018 and 2019. Prices dropped over the course of Covid because there was a greatly reduced demand. Now that demand is increasing again, the price is going up. That is nothing to do with the policies of anyone at all. See here

How about unemployment?
US unemployment claims drop to 473,000, a new pandemic low
It doesn’t look like it has turned to shit to me.
I haven’t confirmed it, but I have seen a claim that the last 3 months under Trump resulted in 150K jobs gained, the first 3 months under Biden resulted in 1.3M jobs gained. Again, that doesn’t look like it has turned to shit to me.

Like Sig, I’m no Biden fanboy and have plenty of criticisms there (children in cages being one), but at least take your blinkers off and make accurate criticisms if you are going to voice concerns.

So many people are blaming Biden for rising gas prices. As if one man can control the price of a globally traded commodity. It’s as @MikeP said. Demand went way down during the pandemic. Now it’s picking up again.

No new gas and oil exploration and restrictions. Presidential intent will change prices. But I’ll retract this one as he simply made it so the market was willing to head that way. Both Biden and Obama ran and operated on the basis of going green by raising prices of hydrocarbons. Its a feature, not a bug.

Latest jobs report was expected to be close to a million, it was 270k. New claims are just one measure. Maybe its the more important one.

Thank you Franklin County for having a wonderful, easy to use system for paying property taxes online that won’t even load, let alone work.

As opposed to all of the other systems in Franklin County that work so well? :face_with_monocle:

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Not only does the tax paying link not work, the -entire site- for the company that runs it also down AND they’re not answering phone calls on that subject. Work through their menu and notices, the call finally rings through and it is instantly disconnected.

Real professional of them. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Under other circumstances, that would be an effective way of dealing with him. Got a troll or a vandal on a wiki? Don’t make a fuss about what they’re doing, clean up the mess and block them if you can. Got a kid that’s throwing a temper tantrum or engaging in attention-seeking behavior? I’ll let parents offer better advice, but you won’t solve the problem by giving in.

In Trump’s case, he’s actively working to make sure people remember him. However, it’s not working and he seems to be jonesing to get back into the spotlight. Or, at the very least, he is going to be remembered, but not anywhere close to favorably.

One analysis showed that since January when the riot took place at the Capitol and he was blocked from social media, the amount of traffic relating to what he is saying and doing dropped by 95%. Another said that since April 2020, it dropped 99%.

He was supposed to create a “major news outlet” to rival Facebook and Twitter, but what he came up with had broken functionality from the get-go, didn’t offer a place to “speak freely and safely” because they didn’t even have commenting turned on so it was all one-way from Trump, and what he was posting wasn’t compelling and instead came across as whiny, deceptive and rather pathetic. It also took Trump a while to realize he could type more than 140 characters in a message.

First, he said that his blog wasn’t what he promised before. Then when he shut it down last week, it was because it was “just auxiliary to the broader efforts”. But it was also because he didn’t like people mocking it and because people weren’t paying enough attention to him. Trump, who built his campaign using social media, now can’t live without it and Facebook extended the suspension on his account until 2023, which hampers fundraising capabilities until after the 2022 midterm elections.

So far, Trump was supposed to be back in office on March 4. Then it was sometime in April because a self-proclaimed prophet said God would “do something” to the Biden administration. Yes, that was about as specific as that got. Even horoscopes do a better job of being specific than that guy.

Now, it’s he will be “reinstated” in August because that’s when the audits will be done in Arizona, Georgia and other states that will find the voter fraud to overturn the election. When this happens, Joe Biden will simply be told to vacate the White House and Biden will pack up and go. Mike Lindell says it, Sidney Powell says it and Trump’s saying it. Whether Trump actually believes it or not is irrelevant as long as his followers believe it.

Just one teeny tiny little problem. There’s nothing in the American legal system that even comes close to a “if you find voter fraud, the entire election is invalidated and the previous person in office gets to go back in” situation. You’d have indictments, an impeachment drive and a constitutional crisis first.

But there’s an even bigger problem that everyone who’s convinced Trump will magically become president again has either missed or they’re deliberately ignoring it.

Ready?

Trump was not elected in 2016. Oh, it may look like he was elected, but he has never been a President of the United States of America.

Why is that?

Well, because there’s those who believe that when Franklin D. Roosevelt took the U.S. off the gold standard in 1933, that turned the country into a corporation due to how it was phrased. And when you combine that with the inauguration date of FDR’s second term being changed away from March 4 and the 14th Amendment that gave slaves citizenship and equal “protection of the laws” for all Americans, every inauguration starting in 1933 has been invalid.

So that means FDR’s second through fourth terms are out, and Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden weren’t president. The LBJ and Ford presidencies are canceled, too, because they were the vice presidential candidate when JFK and Nixon were sworn in on the wrong date.

If there is something somewhere in the U.S. Constitution and Amendments that somehow does support giving Trump or any other former president a “get back in the White House free” card, they’ll have to find it in the Constitution and the first thirteen Amendments because according to those same believers, the 14th and all subsequent Amendments are invalid.

Anyone want to take a bet that when September comes around and Trump’s not back in office, that the true believers won’t find yet another conspiracy to latch onto to explain why it didn’t happen? I mean, it’s a sure bet. Trump will be back in office real soon now, just you wait and see. The Donald says it and his word is better than gold. Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, all the Republicans that support The Donald and The Donald himself wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

Do I have any takers?

I’ll put this in a separate message later on, but in terms of “the downfall of The Donald”, I think we can mark May 18, 2021 as the official start of his downfall because that’s the date The Trump Organization was informed the civil investigation was now including a criminal investigation.

Trump getting trumped by his own actions…

Okay, wow. This throws up a massive amount of red flags.

In Arizona, the ballots in the 2020 election are being audited by Cyber Ninjas, a company that normally does online security work and has no previous experience with conducting an election audit. How they were selected to do the audit isn’t exactly clear and it sounds like they weren’t even amongst the companies contacted to find one that would.

At least one employee of the company has dabbled in conspiracy theories, so there is already an issue with not being able to conduct an impartial investigation. The chief executive of the company, Doug Logan, and the Arizona Senate’s audit liaison, Ken Bennett, said Logan’s own opinions don’t matter and “people should trust in the integrity of the audit process he’s overseeing”.

On that, I agree. There’s situations where I haven’t agreed with something and have set aside my personal feelings or opinions in order to make a logical and impartial decision about it.

I don’t think that’s happening in this case.

The audit has been described as a conclusion in search of evidence to support it. Logan himself said, “I’m tired of hearing people say there was no fraud. It happened, it’s real, and people better get wise fast.” A person who has been friends with him for 15 years said that previously there had no conversations involving politics, but when Logan brought up the election, Logan said, “There’s definitely something there.” When asked what it was, Logan replied, “It’ll come.”

Logan also has stated he recognizes “President Biden’s results were certified and accepted in accordance with the Constitution.” But he’s still conducting the audit to restore “integrity and trust into our election system”. So that sounds like his audit is to disprove fraud, even though in the days just after the election, Logan got in contact with Ron Watkins, who is either the “Q” of QAnon or one of the people that was most responsible for spreading those conspiracy theories.

On June 3, Overstock founder Patrick Byrne released a trailer for a film about the Arizona audit that claims the election was stolen from Trump, it included an anonymous speaker credited as “ANON, Application Security Analyst”. After it was pointed out the person sounded exactly like Logan, the trailer was re-released with the voice digitally altered. The video has since been removed for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.

If you try to contact Cyber Ninjas either by phone or through the website, just about every contact point goes to Logan. I think at this point, the entire company consists of about five people. The mailing address for the company is a rented mailbox in a UPS Store in Florida, and the business address registered with Florida’s Secretary of State was sold in December and is empty.

All of that it sketchy, and what’s been going on with the audit that’s publicly available hasn’t been much better. Example: if there’s bamboo fibers in the paper of the ballots, bamboo comes from China and that means China interfered in the election.

But as the advertisements on TV say, “But wait! There’s more!”

Cyber Ninjas is receiving more funding to conduct the audit than allocated by the Arizona government. What other people and companies are contributing to the higher amount? No one will say.

Cyber Ninjas subcontracted CyFIR to examine ballots. The CEO of CyFIR is Ben Cotton, who is also the CEO of CyFIR parent company Cyber Technologies. Both companies are based in Virginia, but both list that an address located outside of Bigfork, Montana on documents.

CyFIR has been allowed to take copies of the election data to a lab for a forensic analysis. Arizona audit official Ken Bennett has no information about where the lab is. Through the efforts of a reporter for the Arizona Republic, the lab has turned out to be located on property owned by Cotton on the address outside of Bigfork. Which also happens to be Cotton’s home address.

Who drove the data 1300 miles from Arizona to Montana? Ben Cotton.

The reporter visited the property but could not go onto it due to a no trespassing sign. It’s a wooded 155 acre property with a dirt road leading to it from the highway. By sending a drone up to take photos, it was shown to have a house, a cabin, a barn and maybe some trailers, and no people that could be seen.

So this “secure powerful laboratory” as it’s been described is at a person’s private residence, with nothing to stop anyone from going onto the property other than the no trespassing sign. Is there security on the doors to whichever building the data is in than standard door locks?

We don’t know that, either, because the observers that would normally be part of an audit, Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise, aren’t present at this analysis. It’s being conducted in secret, likely by one person and likely with no one to corroborate or fact-check the results.

CyFIR’s website lists three other people on its executive team, but no info on how many other employees the company has. They’re probably at the Virginia office anyway. Cotton’s Twitter account was deleted sometime after April 24, 2020 since that’s the last version Google has cached but the CyFIR account is still active, though. The LinkedIn profile has been deleted.

All of this does sound like a conclusion in search of evidence to support it. The deadline to finish keeps getting pushed back. Sound familiar? It’s a bit like the conspiracy theories that keep getting redefined when the previous version doesn’t come true.

But let’s say that Logan’s team and/or the CyFIR “team” review the data and no matter how much they want their conclusion to be true, they just can’t say it is. They have to announce that the results of the election are accurate. If that happens, how fast will one or both of the companies be attacked as incompetent, part of the deep state, part of the left-wing conspiracy against Trump, or any other way that can discredit them? How fast will Trump himself turn on them and lead those attacks?

And what if the the announcements by the two companies don’t match? What if CyFIR says “it’s accurate” but Cyber Ninjas says “it’s wrong”? Or vice versa? What happens then? Answer: the ones that want the election overturned will find a new company to conduct a new audit to search for evidence to support the conclusion.

By the way, has anyone noticed that the audit is currently only going on in one of the few states that might have an effect on whether it sides with Trump? I guess there wasn’t any voter fraud in the rest of the other 47 or so states. Funny that, innit?

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Get ready, folks. Trump’s gonna be president again on July 4th, even though that’s a Sunday when official government business would not normally be conducted. Or it’s sometime in August. Or it’s sometime later this year. Or it hasn’t happened yet because “it’s on God’s time”. There’s conflicting prophecies and promises and pronouncements about when that will be, including that it will happen because Biden is demon-possessed. If it doesn’t happen, the militia will overthrow the government.

Trump hinted yet again last week he might run for president again, ahead of his first public rally since January, with the implication he’d announce it at the rally. He didn’t. In honor of that achievement, here’s another political cartoon. The last panel isn’t exaggerated.

I wish we could do word wrapping around pictures. Below it is something that actually is new. Well, a little old, but new to me.

Have you ever been right about something that you thought you knew all the reasons why you were right, but later on, you learn something new that shows you not only were you right, but there were more reasons you weren’t aware of why you were? I’m not talking about some truth you’ve uncovered that everyone missed and proves your crackpot idea or conspiracy is right. But rather, a well thought-out idea with logic behind it where you can say, “Here’s my opinion and why.”

Last week, I asked a question about whether anyone could recall a product that was specifically made so that it would fail. It would be available for a limited time, it would never be offered again and they were planning on abandoning it after that. It would not succeed in any way at all. There were several suggestions, but not really what I was looking for.

The purpose of that question is related to learning I was even more right than I thought. Let me run through it for you.

On the evening of January 6, I summed up Donald Trump’s approach to the presidency in 2020 as this: “In his mind, his only job is to keep his job, but not to actually do his job.”

On March 15th, I said, “He hints he might run for president again in 2024 but doesn’t actually say he will. That way, he can keep taking in donations from people who think they’re supporting a political candidate. When he walks away and those donors say, ‘But, but, but… What about the 2024 race?’, he can say, ‘I didn’t say I was running for president again, did I? You just assumed I was.’”

In that same message, I said that with all the money he’s lost over the years, combined with the loans he had coming up, several of which he personally guaranteed, that could have been the real reason why he chose to run for president. He could use being president to bail his businesses out.

So how was I even more right than I knew back then? Donald Trump’s goal in running for president in 2016 was he would not win. I’ll repeat that. He deliberately did not want to win the election.

Surprised? I was. Here’s where I learned that.

The October 2019 issue of The Atlantic has an article called “The Heir” that talks about the Trump family going back to when grandfather Friedrich Trump ran a brothel out of a restaurant in the Yukon in 1899, and then about the three generations after that.

The section section of the article is set late in the evening of the 2016 election when the results are coming in. Don Jr. and Eric handle the congratulatory messages while Ivanka is at her father’s side, keeping his attention on the good news.

Near midnight, they realized they had won. Problem. No one had written a victory speech “because Trump wasn’t supposed to win—at least not electorally.” (I’m interpreting that as meaning he wanted the popular vote and nothing further.) “He was supposed to go down in a spectacular blaze of made-for-TV martyrdom that all of them could capitalize on. Ivanka had a book coming out. Don and Eric were working on a line of patriotically themed budget hotels. And preliminary talks were under way to launch a Trump-branded TV network that would turn disgruntled voters into viewers.”

The campaign regroups and starts writing the victory speech. Ivanka rejects the first one because it had the tone of “We won; f*** you.” The next one was “a laundry list of thank yous interspersed with patriotic platitudes” and was “notable only for its un-Trumpian restraint.” The speech was “bland and forgettable, but the hall-of-fame oratory wasn’t the goal. The remarks were a placeholder, a chance for the family to work out their next move.” We all know what those next moves turned out to be.

There’s a lot more in the article that’s interesting and worth reading, but that’s the key part. Donald Trump did not want to win the 2016 election because he was going to use everything he got as part of the campaign for his own businesses and that of his children. That means the following:

  1. Trump’s entire 2016 campaign to become president was based on a lie. He didn’t want to be president.
  2. The campaign promise of MAGA was never going to happen because Donald Trump would not be in the White House. He was not planning on making America great again from that office.
  3. Everyone that voted for him wasn’t voting for a political candidate. They were voting for someone pretending to be a political candidate and on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, was going to turn around and go back to being a businessman.
  4. Everyone that voted for him because they believed in MAGA were instead unknowingly voting to help him rebuild his own businesses. What they really were voting for was MTBGA, Make Trump’s Brand Great Again. Or, the way he would say it, MMBGA, Make My Brand Great Again.

I think this also could explain the picture of him on the military base, the one where he may have been trying to project an image of “I’m serious and you don’t want to mess with me”, but instead came off like he was grumpy and didn’t want to have his picture taken that day. I don’t remember exactly when I first saw it, but if it was early in 2017, then that picture could just as easily have been of a man who was now stuck in a job he didn’t want.

I also think this explains some of the early articles you may have read that described him as not being interested in what was going on. He was being subjected to details and minutia, the mundane items and tedium that comes with being a president for the United States of America. It wasn’t what he wanted. Sure, he worked to get as many perks out of the position as he could, but back then, he had plans to go back to being a businessman. He didn’t want to be president and he was forced to be it by the very people that he encouraged to make it happen.

As they say, Donald, “Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.”

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I thought the idea that he never expected or particularly wanted to win in 2016 was conventional wisdom. Nothing that happened in the first few months suggested they had planned to actually put together a functioning executive before they were suddenly faced with that task.

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I have to say, the Portland mayor is an idiot.

No, it’s not a pandemic. The violence has not spread around the globe (that’s what a pandemic is - global).
I think you’d be pretty hard pushed to even say it’s an epidemic (spread rapidly to a large population).

This is stupid bandwagon jumping at its worst and doesn’t help with the actual pandemic at all.

Moron!