Closing Thought–20Feb20

Cotton And The Virus

There is not much Sen. Tom Cotton can say that I would believe as well informed opinion….personally I think he is a media whore that will say stuff and/or make up stuff just to get that face in the news for a day or more…..

His latest conspiracy theory is that the new pandemic inflicting the world was started by the Chinese government lab…..

Sen. Tom Cotton over the weekend again floated a controversial theory about how the coronavirus came to be. On Fox, the Arkansas Republican suggested the outbreak is linked to a Chinese biochemical lab in the city of Wuhan. “We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there,” said Cotton, “but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says, and China right now is not giving evidence on that question at all.” The problem? As both the Washington Post and the New York Timespoint out, scientists have rejected the idea that the Chinese government is somehow responsible for the outbreak as a conspiracy theory with zero evidence to support it.

“There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” a Rutgers chemical biologist tells the Post. “The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.” And the World Health Organization has called such claims part of an “infodemic” of faulty information. Cotton previously suggested the idea earlier this month, earning a rebuke from the Chinese ambassador to the US, who said that such “rumors” will only create panic. Later Sunday, Cotton issued a series of tweets clarifying that he thinks the idea is only one of a number of “hypotheses” that warrant investigation. He added that the idea of a “deliberate release” is “very unlikely,” though he said it can’t yet be ruled out. The Times notes that another China critic, Steve Bannon, also has been a prominent purveyor of the theory.

If it were anyone else I might pay closer attention to this theory……Cotton is a media whore that does not let facts in the way of his run to the news cameras…….or his chest thumping antics.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is Justice For Sale?

I have always believed that American politics is for sale and this year’s election is proving my point. Through all those years I believed that American justice was safe from the cash of millionaires…..I was so very wrong……

President Trump issued a pardon Tuesday to Michael Milken, the disgraced former junk bond king who later became a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist, in a mass clemency to 11 convicted felons that marked a dramatic expansion of the president’s intervention in judicial matters since his Senate impeachment acquittal.

Nearly all of those granted clemency had strong advocates who were the president’s close friends, including his personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, and even Eddie Gallagher, the former Navy SEAL who was charged with war crimes — all were named in the White House official statement.

The list of all those wealthy d/bags that Trump has pardoned….

Let’s begin with the trial of the year 2008…the sell of a US Senate seat……

Rod Blagojevich is going home. President Trump on Tuesday commuted the sentence of the former Illinois governor, reports ABC News. Blagojevich has been imprisoned since 2012 after being convicted on corruption charges. Among other things, he famously tried to sell the vacant Senate seat of Barack Obama after Obama won the 2008 presidential election. Also Tuesday, Trump pardoned former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik and, earlier, he pardoned former NFL owner Edward Debartolo Jr. Coverage:

  • Blagojevich was serving a 14-year sentence and expected to get out in 2024 with good behavior. Instead, the AP reports that he is expected to walk out of prison on Tuesday.
  • Trump spoke briefly to reporters after the news, saying he didn’t know Blagojevich well (he noted Blagojevich’s appearance on Celebrity Apprentice) and characterizing his 8 years behind bars as a “long time,” per ABC. He also called Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence “ridiculous.” Trump had previously floated the idea of commuting the sentence.
  • Talking Points Memo notes Trump also cited Blagojevich’s kids: “They’re growing older, they’re going to high school now, and they rarely get to see their father outside of an orange uniform.”
  • The New York Times reports that members of the GOP told Trump not to do it, “arguing that Mr. Blagojevich’s crime epitomizes the corruption that Mr. Trump had said he wanted to tackle as president.”
  • To that end, this from the conservative site Twitchy: “Is that how you ‘drain the swamp’? By letting people in the swamp out of it?” And the conservative Washington Examiner calls the commutation “very swampy,” arguing Blagojevich does not deserve it and that the president’s move “doesn’t simply fuel the swamp. It floods it with gallons of festering water and a banqueting invitation to the mosquito corruption clique.”
  • But Media Matters argues the commutation shows the influence Fox News has over Trump, calling the conservative hosts “sympathetic” to Blagojevich’s cause. The site notes that among Trump’s remarks Tuesday was this one: “I watched his wife on television,” which it pegs as a “clear reference” to her at least seven appearances on Fox News.
  • As for Kerik, the New York Post reports that he was actually released from prison in 2013 after serving three years of a four-year sentence. He previously pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to those vetting him for the position of Homeland Security director after George W. Bush nominated him.
  • CNBC reports via the White House that Trump “granted some form of executive clemency” to 11 people on Tuesday. Another one making headlines was former “junk bond king” Michael Milken, whom Trump pardoned, Reuters reports. Since serving two years behind bars on securities violations charges, he has started a nonprofit that funds research on cancer, financial markets, and a wide range of other issues.
  • The rest of those 11: Pardons were given to entrepreneur Ariel Friedler, former contractor Paul Pogue, former US government procurement officer David Safavian, and Angela Stanton, who was implicated in a stolen vehicle ring. Commutations were given to three women, two who were convicted on drug charges and one on healthcare fraud charges.

Is justice for sale?

Yes it is!

Out of the blue President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned or commuted the sentences of eleven people. One of those who received a full pardon from the president is Paul Pogue, the founder of a large Texas construction company.

Pogue pleaded guilty to underpaying his taxes over a three-year period by $473,000. The White House published a long list of the charitable giving Pogue has made to support Trump’s decision to issue the pardon.

Family of One of the Felons President Pardoned Donated Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to Trump Campaign: Report

Money has it privileges and one of those is that they can commit crimes and walk……

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2020 Nevada Dem Debate

Just days before the Nevada caucus and the Dem candidates meet for the 9th time and this time Bloomberg will have to answer questions….. There is a lot to get to so without any delay……I begin…….

I will admit that this debate had it all….applause….boos….attack and parry… other words all had a good night with the exception of Bloomberg….he took the hits well but at times he looked bored and fed up….not a good look for him.

But let’s look at the action……

Michael Bloomberg was on a Democratic presidential debate stage for the first time Wednesday night and he became a major target in the Las Vegas debate from the opening minutes onward—more so than frontrunner Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg also took part in the first debate since the New Hampshire primary. Nevada holds its Democratic caucuses on Saturday. Highlights:

  • Sanders quickly brought up Bloomberg’s record as New York City mayor, arguing that defeating President Trump will require “the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States” and Bloomberg’s record on issues like stop-and-frisk will make that impossible, the Washington Post reports. Bloomberg countered that Sanders’ support of policies like Medicare for All would make it impossible for him to beat Trump.
  • Warren also went on the attack against Bloomberg, saying: “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against. A billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.” She added: “Democrats take a huge risk if we substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
  • Buttigieg tried to portray himself as more electable than either Sanders or Bloomberg. He called them “polarizing” and said Democrats “shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another who wants to buy this party out.” “Let’s put forward someone who is actually a Democrat,” he said. Sanders responded that “maybe it’s time for the working class of this country to have a little bit of power in Washington rather than your billionaire campaign contributors.”
  • Sanders distanced himself from some of his supporters’ online attacks on critics including Nevada union leaders, the Guardian reports. “If there are a few people who make ugly remarks, who attack trade union leaders, I disown those people—they are not part of my campaign,” he said.
  • Warren, asked about her plan for Medicare for All, derided the policies of Buttigieg and Klobuchar, saying Buttigieg’s policy was more of a Powerpoint presentation than a plan and Klobuchar’s is a “Post-It note.” Klobuchar observed that Post-It notes were invented in her home state, Minnesota, NBC reports. Buttigieg said he was “more of a Microsoft Word guy.”
  • Bloomberg defended the intent behind the stop-and-frisk policy, saying it was to stop murders. “I’ve apologized. I’ve asked for forgiveness,” he said. “We stopped too many people.” Warren noted the harm the policy had caused to minority communities and told him: “You need a different apology.”
  • Sanders, asked about releasing detailed health records after his heart attack, noted that fellow 78-year-old Bloomberg has also had heart surgery, the Post reports. “I think the one area maybe that Mayor Bloomberg and I share is, you have two stents as well,” he said . “25 years ago,” Bloomberg responded.
  • Warren used the transparency issue to go after Bloomberg again, telling him he should release women who had complained about sexual harassment in his company from nondisclosure agreements, Politico reports. “They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it,” he said.
  • Buttigieg criticized Klobuchar for forgetting the name of Mexico’s president during a recent town hall meeting.”Are you trying to say that I’m dumb? Are you mocking me?” she asked him. Warren interjected to defend Klobuchar during the heated exchange, CBS reports.
  • The second half of the debate began with a discussion of climate change. “If we don’t elect a president who actually believes in climate science now, we will never meet any of the other scientific or policy deadline—and we need to,” Buttigieg said.
  • Sanders focused on Bloomberg when asked about his remark that billionaires “shouldn’t exist.” “We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth and income,” Sanders said. “Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That’s wrong. That’s immoral.” Bloomberg said he was giving his money away “to make the country better.” “Mr. Bloomberg, it wasn’t you who made all that money, maybe it was your workers as well,” Sanders told him.
  • Sanders said America is already a socialist country—but only for the rich. “I believe in democratic socialism for working people, not billionaires,” he told Bloomberg, saying it was a “cheap shot” for the former mayor to compare democratic socialism to communism.
  • Warren implied that some of her rivals had conflicts of interest, ABC reports. “Amy and Joe’s hearts are in the right place, but we can’t be so eager to be liked by Mitch McConnell that we forget how to fight the Republicans,” she said. “Mayor Buttigieg has been taking money from big donors and changing his positions. So it makes it unclear what it is he stands for other than his own.”
  • Buttigieg and Klobuchar clashed again when the debate turned to immigration and he targeted her voting record in the Senate. “You’ve memorized a bunch of talking points and a bunch of things,” she told him before listing immigration reforms she has worked on in Congress, the Guardian reports
  • Addressing fears of a brokered convention in July, every candidate except Bloomberg said they believed the candidate who got the most delegates should win the nomination, even if they failed to reach the 1,991 necessary to clinch it.
  • Most candidates focused on unity in their closing statement. “What I want everyone out there watching to remember is that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us and that we need a candidate that can bring people with her,” said Klobuchar. Biden’s closing statement was briefly interrupted by protesters.

For those readers that wanted to see fireworks then you probably would not be disappointed….

Elizabeth Warren. Warren, who savaged Bloomberg from her opening answer onward, could hardly have had a better debate, analysts say. “Warren needs a miracle to save her campaign, and while strong debate performances haven’t always translated into good polling in the past, Wednesday night was still one hell of a start,” writes Zack Beauchamp at Vox. “Warren dominated the stage, delivering striking answers in one of the best performances I’ve seen from a presidential candidate—not just in this cycle, but ever.” In one of the most talked-about exchanges, she urged Bloomberg to release women who had complained about sexual harassment at his company from their nondisclosure agreements.

Michael Bloomberg. This was the billionaire’s first time on a debate stage since a 2009 mayoral debate in New York City, and he seemed ill-prepared for the onslaught on issues like the stop-and-frisk policy. “The first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor,” writes Chris Cillizza at CNN. “Warren dunked on him repeatedly. Sanders slammed him. Biden bashed him. It was like watching a pro wrestling match where everyone decided to gang up on a single wrestler in the ring—and that wrestler was totally and completely caught off-guard.”

Bernie Sanders. Sanders went into the debate the undisputed frontrunner and emerged largely unscathed, with his rivals preferring to focus on Bloomberg. He had a few weak moments, including when he was asked about releasing detailed medical records, “but there was no singular moment that would seem to upend his current positive trajectory, both in Nevada and nationally,” Shane Goldmacher and Reid Epstein write at the New York Times. “Even if Mr. Sanders did not deliver his most forceful performance, that might be enough.”

Joe Biden. While Biden had some strong moments, he was widely seen as an also-ran. “If there was a bystander on the debate stage Tuesday night, it was Biden,” Aaron Blake writes at the Washington Post. “There was nothing there to suggest he might rescue his struggling campaign.”

Pete Buttigieg. The other former mayor on stage is behind in the polls in the next two states to vote, and his debate performance is unlikely to help him regain momentum. “A stand-out night would have helped, and he didn’t get one. He did not have any obvious gaffe, either,” writes Niall Stanage at the Hill. “Buttigieg, on Wednesday, was OK. And that probably isn’t good enough.”

Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar, who repeatedly clashed with Buttigieg, got mixed reviews for a debate performance seen as below her usual high standard. “Klobuchar’s streak of successful debates came to an end tonight,” says Christopher Cadelago at Politico. “She’ll need a big finish this weekend to keep herself in the game.”

I do not think that this debate changed many minds on who to vote……I heard NOTHING but the status quo from any candidate with the exception of Bernie.

The one thing I noticed in the debate and the pundits that analyzed the night… is wealthy people telling working people what they want……and yet they cannot explain the popularity of Bernie….

All in all great fun for the old professor in me……

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!


I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is Biden Electable?

College of Political Knowledge

#5 in series

For months on months the media has been trying to make Biden the front runner in the Dem column…..they have used his closeness to Obama, his “old boy” persona, and his electability as his best weapon to win the nomination… much as they try Biden just keeps shooting his own foot and sliding in the polls.

Two votes are in Iowa and New Hampshire and Biden is NOT in the running so far…… what happened to electability?

My thoughts on this phenom that the media has made up…..

The Clintons and their ilk have bankrupted the Dem Party and now they are pushing that lie again….electability…..

Klein is the sort of pundit who likes to drape his political prescriptions in empirical social science data, thereby adding the appearance of legitimacy to what are neoliberal Democratic talking points. He warns primary voters that “Democrats can’t win running the kinds of campaigns and deploying the kinds of tactics that succeed for Republicans. They can move to the left…but they can’t abandon the center or, given the geography of American politics, the center-right, and still hold power.”

Klein draws on statistics describing the demographic foundations of Democratic and Republican Party support, claiming that Democrats must appeal to Americans of many different backgrounds. Democrats are “more diverse,” drawing support from “a coalition of liberal whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and mixed-race voters,” in addition to “liberal and nonwhite Christians, Jews, Muslims, New Agers, agnostics, Buddhists, and so on…winning the Democratic primary means winning liberal whites in New Hampshire and traditionalist blacks in South Carolina. It means talking to Irish Catholics in Boston and atheists in San Francisco.” In contrast, Klein points out that the Republican Party is primarily comprised of white voters, with “three-quarters of Republicans identify[ing] as conservative, while only half of Democrats call themselves liberals.”

The Myth of the “Electable” Democrat: Neoliberal Bankruptcy, 2020 Edition

Back to Joe Biden……

Joe Biden announced that he was running for president in April 2019 and soon led the Democrats’ crowded field by 25 points. His position in the Obama administration gave him instant access to top party donors and campaign operatives. He was endorsed by high-profile New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein before he even entered the race. His name recognition was as universal as possible, and his pitch to voters—he’s Uncle Joe, the hotheaded but trustworthy ol’ rascal who’s just as comfortable negotiating in Congress as he is bullshitting with the boys down at the union hall—was already locked in.

With 75 percent of precincts reporting on Tuesday in New Hampshire, Biden was in fifth place with 8.3 percent of the vote. In Iowa, he placed fourth. He now trails a socialist in national polls and is quickly being caught by a small-city ex-mayor who barely clears the age requirement and a guy who endorsed George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s reelection at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

As writer Jedediah Purdy noted, Biden’s campaign was always about confidence: the confidence that he would be an “electable” candidate because everyone else had confidence in him too. But his campaign rallies failed to generate the enthusiasm or attendance that his rivals’ did, his debate performances ranged from adequate to totally incoherent, and he didn’t even raise that much money. There’s not much for him to fall back on now that the confidence in his collective appeal is beginning to collapse.

Once again the media has given the public a bullshit story to follow….that of electability…..and Joe Biden is this candidate…..but keep a couple of things in mind…..

Al Gore (centrist) – lost, John Kerry (centrist) – lost,  Hillary Clinton (centrist) – lost…… While also a centrist, Barack Obama campaigned as a progressive and won handily in 2008.

So if you think a centrist is the answer in 2020 then I believe you may have smoked too many joints and drank too much magic mushroom tea the MSM has fed you.

Just Thought!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

State Department Weakness

Is there anyone that does not believe that we have a problem with cybersecurity?

God, I hope not….but in this world to stupid…we just might.

Our foreign policy is run out of the Department of State and the latest report is not glowing form their cybersecurity…..

The latest publication in a long line of reports drawing attention to the U.S. State Department’s failure to secure its information technology-dependent systems from cyberattacks reflects a general mismanagement of resources.

“Notwithstanding the expenditure of substantial resources by the Department,” reads a report State’s Office of the Inspector General released Wednesday, “the OIG continues to identify significant issues that put its information at risk.”

The report follows a Jan. 14 letter Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking what steps he’s taken to address the shortcomings detailed in previous IG reports. Warner put the letter in the context of a “long history of information breaches” at State and recent tensions with Iran.

But that is not a surprise for the SecState Pompeo is considered one of the worse we have ever had to hold the position…..

How does a man like this happen? In a strange way, Pompeo is like the entire 2016 election poured into a single human skin-suit. He combines all of the calculation and misplaced ambition of Hillary Clinton with the vulgarity and dishonesty of Donald Trump. If you took DNA samples from Clinton and Trump and sent them to the lab on Isla Nublar, Pompeo is what you’d get.

Except that in one crucial aspect, Pompeo is worse.

Mike Pompeo Is The Worst

I do not agree much with the Bulwark readers but on this I have to say….well said!

The longer Pompeo stays the longer our foreign policy will suffer and the longer it will take to return our nation to the forefront of human activity.

I can understand why State is losing senior people at an alarming rate.

I Read, I  Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”