Tuesday, July 7, 2020

How Bizarre Is This: The AMLO and Trump Meet Up At The White House

Courtesy Proceso

I'm going to be adding on more reports throughout the day when I can; Mike is coming home, he should be here in the afternoon, so I'm slightly busy.

But here is this for starters...and perhaps all we need :

 ~ From Proceso

AMLO y Trump: Cumbre de Cuates
por, Denise Dresser

(AMLO & Trump: The Summit of Pals - or maybe even best buds !)

AMLO y Trump: cumbre de cuates

"Like two presidents with much in common, alone against the world, unmoved by reality, linked by their temperaments and their style of governing.

The American using the Mexican, and the Mexican allowing himself to be used by the elective affinities they share, the styles they use, the way of doing politics they promote. Both are the product of broken democracies and unequal societies, of disillusioned citizens and dysfunctional institutions. Both came to power riding on the wave of rancor that they continue to exploit. And out of that foundational understanding they have forged an unusual relationship. So, now that Trump is seeking re-election, López Obrador is poised to help him. 

AMLO goes to Washington because his friend asks him to. It does not matter that the occupant of the Oval Office has vilified, humiliated, persecuted, deported, or imprisoned thousands of compatriots. It does not matter that he has forced the Mexican government to negotiate a new free trade agreement on his knees, with unusual concessions and counterproductive locks.

From the start of his Presidency, López Obrador made the decision to appease Trump instead of fighting with him. He has been silent about his rampant racism and intolerant anti-Mexicanism. It has silenced what many other heads of state have denounced. He is willing to take his picture next to an internationally repudiated leader, because he needs him electorally. Trump will brag about what he forced Mexico to do, and AMLO will allow him to get away with it. It will sacrifice dignity for the sake of maintaining civility. You will be patted on the back or perhaps verbal lunges, but it is the game you agreed to play, the risk you are willing to take. 

Despite warnings from diplomats who advise him, despite criticism from the Mexican community in the United States that supported him. AMLO, obstinate as never, obstinate as always. Disregarding voices as sensible and experienced as that of former Foreign Minister Bernardo Sepúlveda, who in an open letter questions an unjustified trip, an unnecessary gamble. Because there is no reason that merits the visit right now, right in the middle of the electoral campaign in the United States. Trump has demanded that his counterpart go precisely for that. For him to pose at his side, to show him as a faithful ally despite the blows and the wall built. So that he smiles with the compliments and the pronouncements on how well he behaves.

Just a few years ago, López Obrador wrote a book about Trump's racism and now he seems to be willing to ignore it. Because with the Mexican economy on the brink, the T-MEC appears as the only lifeguard. Because with the contraction of GDP estimated between 7-10% by 2020, free trade has become the only rescue plan that Mexico has.

López Obrador will board a commercial flight, risk his health, will have to undergo the coronavirus test to be able to live with Trump. But for a few days at least, you will be able to leave behind the awkward signs about the pandemic and unemployment and the parity of the peso and the systemic crisis. It will seek to focus attention on how the new treaty will attract investment, promote growth, ensure prosperity. It will seek to reverse the perception that its government is hostile to private and foreign investment, although reality contradicts it. It will embrace an openly neoliberal trade agreement, even if in Mexico it does not want to recognize it.

And it will ignore those who insist that inserting itself into the US electoral situation is a wrong strategy for many reasons. The latest New York Times poll puts Biden ahead of Trump and by more than 10 points. More importantly, it leads it in the bundle of states that are crucial to winning the Electoral College. Even if Biden lost, the Democratic Party is likely to keep its majority in the House of Representatives and win seats in the Senate.

From a position of powerful opposition, the Democrats will charge AMLO for the support he gave his adversary; the unnecessary trip that the Mexican president could have postponed with a variety of pretexts, beginning with the pandemic.

The planned trip smacks of improvisation, surrender, a desperate effort to change the conversation. A real state visit would have involved speaking before Congress, meeting with Biden and leaders of the Democratic Party, starting a dialogue with representatives of Mexican communities abroad, incorporating Justin Trudeau, since the T-MEC is a trilateral treaty.

But it doesn't seem like that will happen. It will be a meeting of friends to talk about how much they love each other and how well they like each other. They will underline the respect they have, the collaboration they have established, the agreements they have reached, the fans that Mexico received and thanked.

At any moment, Trump being Trump, he could insult his friend, as he usually does with anyone if it is politically convenient for him. That's what AMLO risks, but it doesn't seem to worry him. Just as the migrant caravans that the National Guard stopped, the Mexican children that the American immigration authority jailed, the multiple times that Trump derogatively referred to the people of Mexico and insulted him have not lost their sleep.

Smiling, buoyant and exultant from the White House, AMLO will send a message and it should hurt us: the president extends his hand to those who hate Mexico so much that they build a wall day after day. And that is not a sign of friendship, but quite the opposite."

For Mucho Mucho Mas...go here:

Denise Dresser


I'm just wondering if Trump will remain true to his sadistic and white trash character by serving pre-ordered "Taco Bell" fare at the big dinner blowout.  Naturally, the food will be gross and served cold while he insults the Mexican envoy to their faces. They say Bolsonaro won't be making an appearance - oh right, he has the virus.

take care y'all !


Monday, July 6, 2020

Hola - I'm Not Really Back Full Swing - This Is A Mike Update & Two Reports From Informed Comment

Mike is still in the Hospital - and we are not even sure if they will release him today, so this has turned into a major disaster (5 days so far in Hospital).  What we were originally told was that he would be home after 2-3 days max and able to drive within 7 days after the surgery.

So,  it didn't quite work out that way.  There was more damage than the MRI indicated, but that is not uncommon.  The Neuro-Spinal surgery itself went into four + hours. They put in two titanium rods and  nine screws, pure ouch.  He is on six medications: Dilandia, Percocet, Valium, Toradol, Ibuprophen & Lidocaine patches over the would.  He was in extreme pain and is very very slowly coming out of it.  They are taking good care of him, it's a swank Hospital (However, if we didn't have insurance forget about it, never never never could have afforded this at all ).  He can shower, the nurses make him get up and walk - today he walked the hall by himself but I think he did that on his own and shouldn't have (that's how he is); the food is great, he has a private room, everything is provided and he's been watching CNN.

Still, it will be a long recovery - up to three weeks. Prognosis: unsure yet.

So, if you want to call him, send me a message & I'll give you the number.

Meanwhile, it is also a disaster here: internet server went out I was without the computer, phone or TV (except all we watch is the news and some movies), Paris is losing her mind over these cats and disturbed that her Daddy isn't home ,I'm still blind as a bat and one knee is not working real good,  I'm just starting to open emails, Paris has pee-peed on everything, so I had to spray the blankets with the Miracle stuff and have been washing like crazy, but now there's no water. who knows how long that will last? Oh, did I mention the floors? The good news is that Mike picked up the mail from the P.O. last Monday & I received a ton of BLM pins, gave some to William and now I don't have to worry about putting the old BLM sticker on the old volvo and taking a chance of being shot if I drive up to the states.  If you want some pins, let me know. The big jazzer is that Zeta and special others sort of answered my question as to why AMLO is meeting up with the Orange Menace?  ASAP I will run that, outstanding....oops, I mean the way she writes, I can't criticize the authorities here, remember?  Still, outofsight !

Finally was able to catch a bit of Trump's  ghastly July the Fourth event thinking you know, he's going to be sorry for fucking around with the Black Hills and the Native Americans - something, some kind of voodoo shit or spell we could never understand is going to hit him when he least expects it (really) and finally was able to open this email: 


 ~ From Informed Comment: (Link contains video)

Baghdad Bob On the Potomac, Trump's Hoaxes, From "Disappearing" Covid-19 To Climate To Russiagate 
by, Juan Cole

"Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Authoritarian regimes breed lies like rotting meat breeds maggots, and as Trump marches the United States into an imperial presidency beyond accountability, his rate of lying has become astronomical. If I just read ten a day, it would take me five and a half years just to read all 20,000 of the lies Trump has told since his election.

There was a time when the Washington press corps got a kick out of the magnificent falsehoods flung into the ether by kooky but also scary regimes in Pyongyang and Baghdad. The spokesman for the Arab Socialist Baath Party of Iraq, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, was dubbed “Baghdad Bob” and “Comical Ali” for his whoppers. During the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, he kept maintaining that US forces had been thrown back out of the country, were depressed and committing suicide en mass, and had been utterly defeated. When an enterprising US commander sniffed out that the defense of Baghdad had collapsed, he took his armored convoy on a little tour of Baghdad, and his vehicles were visible above Baghdad Bob’s shoulder as he was confidently describing the utter defeat and expulsion of the Americans. The juxtaposition of his tall tales and the plain evidence for the eye to see of US military presence in the Iraqi capital produced howls of laughter.

Today the shoe is on the other foot, and we have “Washington Bob” and “Comical Donnie.” But it is the same phenomenon, the assertion of political will against the plain facts.

Unrealistic policies can be funny, but they can also lead to massive tragedy. Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong in the late 1950s insisted that China could rapidly industrialize even without heavy equipment. He pushed so many peasants off the land into makeshift, backyard workshops on communes that China faced a famine when not enough crops were brought in. Some twenty million Chinese died in the “Great Leap Forward.”

That story is not very funny. Neither is the story of Donald Trump. 

Trump wishes away stubborn facts that he finds inconvenient. He castigated the climate emergency as a “Chinese hoax.” It isn’t even clear why he thought China is behind it, since they are still the largest per country producer of carbon dioxide emissions (half of their electricity is still from coal). The current Chinese Communist politburo, however, does believe in science and has no doubt of the disasters facing China if they don’t green their economy. They’ve learned some things from Mao’s mistake, though perhaps they would not put it quite that way.

On Wednesday, Trump called the allegations that Russian military intelligence (GRU) offered bounties on US troops to criminals and terrorists in Afghanistan . . . you guessed it . . . “ a hoax.” This time the culprit was the Democrats and the New York Times.

The most dangerous denialism of all is Trump’s insouciance in the face of the novel coronavirus. Back last winter he called it a hoax and said it would just go away.

Nancy Pelosi gets the award for the bon mot of the day. She said if Trump wants to see a hoax he should look in the mirror.  

He didn’t repeat the hoax charge Wednesday and Thursday, but he did continue his magical thinking, according to the Chris Megerian at the LA Times:

“we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus,” he said, and “at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear.” He added, “I hope.”

On Thursday he admitted to a group of businessmen, We haven’t totally succeeded yet. We will soon. We haven’t killed all of the virus yet.”

“We will soon?”  

The Reuters headline on Thursday was “U.S. coronavirus cases hit new global record, rising over 55,000 in single day.” Deaths remain stubbornly in the range of 500 to 1000 nationwide (they haven’t skyrocketed the way cases have because deaths are concentrated in the elderly, whereas the bulk of new cases are young. But the deaths are not declining, either).

Does that sound to you like “going away”?

Trump has decided to spread around the virus if necessary to kickstart the economy, and just to accept all the illness, long term health consequences, and death that may ensue. Trump is a capitalist to the core, and capital doesn’t know what to do with a pandemic. Mostly you can’t make money off of it, and in fact mitigating it would interfere with making money.

All you can do is wish it away.

Which is how Baghdad Bob felt about the US Army, and how Mao Zedong felt about agricultural poverty.  

Then, a lot of people died."



 ~ From Informed Comment:

 ...via Tom's Dispatch with video; long, but well worth your time, super-fantastic:

Trump at Mt. Rushmore And Other Rogues' Galleries In An America In Ruins
by, Lawrence Weschler

"The news that President Trump is planning to stage a “massive fireworks display” before a sizeable crowd on Independence Day eve at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial (notwithstanding the prospect of both wildfires in the tinder-dry surroundings and the further spread of Covid-19) has left me mulling over once again the possible creation of another such epic-scale monument. Maybe it could even be incised into a nearby ridge in the same Black Hills area of South Dakota as the original, if the Lakota Sioux could be convinced to allow it, which they certainly didn’t the first time around.

After all, back in the late 1920s, less than three decades and not 70 miles from the site of the ultimate treachery of the Wounded Knee massacre, that original undertaking to carve the faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt into the side of Mount Rushmore barreled heedlessly along, oblivious to Native American concerns. In the process, it desecrated one of the Sioux’s holiest sites (the stark cliff face the Lakota ironically called the Six Grandfathers) in order to celebrate the leaders of the very nation that had stolen their land and then so savagely repressed them.

Incidentally, did you know — I hadn’t — that the sculptor of the original Rushmore monument, Gutzon Borglum, was an avid member of the Ku Klux Klan? In fact, his first stab at such a gargantuan effort, earlier in the 1920s, had been his proposed Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, featuring the mounted figures of generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, as well as the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, leading their rebel armies.

That vast bas-relief was to grace the very site, half an hour outside Atlanta, where, on a cold Thanksgiving night in 1915, just a few months after the premiere of D.W. Griffith’s movie Birth of a Nation (and shortly after that, the notorious mob-lynching of the falsely convicted Jewish factory superintendent Leo Frank in nearby Marietta), a select group of sheet-hooded men, led by William J. Simmons, founded the second iteration of the Ku Klux Klan. Their ceremony culminated with the burning of a 16-foot cross atop the dome of the mountain, an act commemorated there every Labor Day for the next 50 years with similarly festive cross burnings.

As it happened, Borglum only made it as far as sculpting Lee’s head before the initial version of the project bogged down in financial difficulties and intra-Klan sectarian strife in 1925. A couple of years later, he moved on to the Mount Rushmore project. Several decades later, however, work on a variation of Borglum’s Stone Mountain would be revived by others, long after Mount Rushmore’s completion. Indeed, with work once again well underway toward what would become the largest bas-relief anywhere in the world, a vast state park at the bottom of the mountain was inaugurated on April 14, 1965, the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, and the place would quickly become Georgia’s most visited tourist attraction. But that’s another story, worthy perhaps of an entirely different reckoning.

As for my own fantasized Rushmore 2.0, perhaps the Lakota would be more amenable to this version than they were the first time around, since the project would be aimed at addressing our common future, maybe half a century from now, and represent a graven missive from our own time to our progeny’s, an attempt to account for the botched and blighted world we’ll likely have bequeathed them by then.

 ~ Whose Heads (and Whose Hands) in the Pillory Stockade? 

Rather than gazing off with visionary zeal toward some divinely sanctioned manifest destiny, as in the original, the foursome on my Mount Rushmore 2.0 would be lined up in a pillory stockade, each with his downcast face bracketed by similarly yoked hands. (The encasing yoke-planks would be meticulously carved into that granite cliff as well.) These would be the four men (and yes, of course, they would all be white men) from our era who, perhaps more than any others, could be deemed responsible for the dire endgame into which the world by that time might well have plunged: Four men who had the resources and intelligence to have known better but instead chose to swap out the long-term fate of their grandchildren (and the rest of the human progeny) in relentless pursuit of short-term profit and power.

The way I envision it, the first slot on that mountain would be reserved for media baron Rupert Murdoch who, by way of his News Corp empire, so single-handedly poisoned the well of public discourse with denial and obfuscation, not only in the United States, but in Britain as well as in his native Australia (where he controls 60% of all daily newspaper sales). For that matter, his damage extends globally, thanks to Fox News, the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Sun, the News of the World, and their ilk (and recently, he even chose to solidify his malign record by installing his ideologically matched son Lachlan atop the firm’s line of succession in conspicuous stead of his more circumspect and reportedly reform-minded son James).

The next slot over should surely go to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After all, across a single crucial decade — and how long can scientists and others keep insisting that we only have 10 or 12 years left to avert planetary ecological calamity before those years run out? — he managed to upend virtually every effort of the Obama administration, no matter how deeply inadequate, to deal with the burning of fossil fuels. Then he abetted every anti-ecological, anti-climate-change initiative of the Trump administration, with immediate short-term benefits to his billionaire (often fossil-fueled) donors. Meanwhile, he succeeded in packing the courts with similarly blinkered reactionaries as a way of forestalling future efforts to reverse any of this.

And no, Donald J. Trump wouldn’t even come close to qualifying for the third spot on that cliffside commemorative relief. The candidates, after all, would have to demonstrate enough intellectual bandwidth to grasp, however faintly, the stakes involved, and Trump demonstrably lacks any grasp whatsoever of the future he’s leaving our children and their children. In any case, his hands are way too small. They’d keep slipping out of the stockade’s granite boreholes and, as for his hair, how could any sculptor, no matter how gifted, be expected to reproduce such a mare’s nest? Moreover, merely excluding him from such dubious company should be enough to provoke a veritable tweet storm of umbrage, which could, at least, provide the rest of us with a tad of dark entertainment across these dismal times, even if the project itself never advanced to the chiseling stage.

So what of slot three? On that one, I’m of at least two minds and, in any case, why should I be the only one who gets to decide? Shouldn’t these choices be a matter for public conversation and deliberation? Still, for my money, one-time Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Vice President Dick Cheney would definitely be in the running, given their formative roles in fomenting the sort of dyspeptic politics that made the current Trumpian moment possible.

And don’t forget Bill Clinton either. (No reason not to be bipartisan on such a monument.) Too clever by half in his zeal to be loved by those at the top of the financial pyramid, President Clinton didn’t even begin to rebalance the neoliberal excesses of President Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Given the craven surrender of Gingrich, Cheney, and Clinton to the short-term needs and dictates of financial and technological monopolies at the expense of longer-term environmental initiatives, all three would surely merit consideration.

 ~ The fourth Slot For the Fifth Vote ?

Which brings me to that fourth slot, one that could well be determined in the next six months and, at least to my mind, is Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’s to lose.

Yes, the current administration botched its response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented financial collapse that resulted, and yes, Trump and his minions have appallingly racist instincts in their treatment of immigration, police violence, systemic discrimination, and the widening chasms of economic inequality. Still, the single most crucial issue in the upcoming November election should surely be the environmental future of our planet and, let’s face it, in that regard the United States remains the decisive battleground in determining all humanity’s collective fate. (And it’s hard to overstate the terminal devastation four more years of Trumpian governance could wreak in this regard.)

Of course, with each passing week, Trump’s defeat in any sort of fairly conducted election seems ever more assured (though no thanks to the issue of climate change, which is still being widely ignored). Still, whether the coming election will, in fact, be fairly conducted, with widespread access to the ballot guaranteed, is fast becoming the defining question of this electoral season.

From President Trump and Mitch McConnell to local operatives in key swing states, the Republicans have made no secret of their determination to shrink suffrage through voter suppression tactics like mass purges of voting lists; arbitrary registration requirements blatantly tilted against people of color and young people generally; flagrant efforts to prevent mail-in balloting (even in the face of a likely autumn upsurge of the Covid-19 pandemic and even if it takes bankrupting the Postal Service in order to do so); the conspicuously uneven distribution of polling places on Election Day, along with the assignment of more breakdown-prone polling machines to key opposition districts; all of that to be supplemented by massive, secretly funded efforts at voter intimidation — and that’s not even to mention complications that might arise in the subsequent counting of the ballots. Most of these gambits will provoke urgent legal challenges  that will undoubtedly quickly wend their way to an already highly politicized Supreme Court. There, Trump and his fellow Republicans can count on at least four stalwart votes (that being in large part why those judges, most recently Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were put there in the first place).

 This, in turn, means that the fate of both the republic and the human future could come down to the jurisprudence of just one man: Chief Justice John Roberts, the fifth vote (and the only one that may matter in the end). In this context, much is made of the chief justice’s supposedly overriding concern for the historical reputation of the institution he presides over, its nonpartisan majesty, and its abiding place in the constitutional firmament. After all, wasn’t he the one who found a way to salvage the Affordable Care Act, secure the employment rights of LGBTQ workers, and forestall both the deportation of the DACA Dreamers and the obliteration of abortion, at least for the time being?

It’s worth noting, however, that the absolute right of states and localities to control access to voting in any way they see fit (without regard to gerrymandering or ongoing racial discrimination) has been a fundamentally unswerving feature of Roberts’s legal philosophy since long before he was on the Supreme Court. After all, from July 1980 through August 1981, he clerked for Justice William Rehnquist, who’d made it his own life’s work to roll back much of the liberal Supreme Court’s jurisprudence of the previous three decades, particularly with regard to voting rights. On leaving that clerkship, Roberts joined the Justice Department’s civil rights division where he served under Kenneth Starr in the newly installed administration of President Ronald Reagan. There, his portfolio was particularly focused on undercutting the 1975 Voting Rights Act, even if to only limited effect, owing to congressional opposition at the time. In 1986, he left government to enter private practice.

But after the November 2000 Florida presidential election debacle (remember those “hanging chads”?), Roberts was one of the first outside lawyers selected by 29-year old Republican campaign adviser Ted Cruz (another onetime Rehnquist clerk) to fashion a legal strategy for a preemptive appeal to the Supreme Court. Thereafter, working behind the scenes on behalf of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, Roberts fashioned a gambit designed to force the suspension of any recount in that state. He would thereby award the narrowest possible electoral college victory to the younger Bush over Democratic candidate Al Gore (who had actually won the national popular vote by more than 500,000 votes).

Roberts’s strategy proved entirely successful — in partial appreciation for which, as one of his first acts, the newly installed president nominated Roberts to a seat on the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals (a nomination that languished for two years until the Republicans secured control of the Senate). Then, in 2005, Bush nominated him to succeed the recently deceased Rehnquist as chief justice of the Supreme Court in which capacity Roberts promptly resumed his lifelong focus on systematically eviscerating most forms of federal electoral supervision.

In 2010, Roberts was the fifth vote in the notorious Citizens United decision that effectively equated money with speech and opened the floodgates to unprecedented private spending in election campaigns, virtually without regulatory oversight. Three years later, he was the fifth vote in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that gutted major provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the crown jewel of the Civil Rights Movement, radically undercutting the federal government’s capacity to address clearly documented discriminatory practices at the state and local level.

At the end of the 2019 term, Roberts provided the fifth vote in a case ensuring that federal courts couldn’t review even the most egregiously partisan gerrymanders by state legislatures. On the eve of the recent Wisconsin primary, his was the fifth vote overturning the ability of that state’s governor, acting at the behest of his health commissioner, to suspend or extend primary voting thanks to the rampaging coronavirus. Roberts and crew thereby sentenced tens of thousands of voters to wait in dangerous lines for hours on end at polling places, especially in urban districts like Milwaukee, where a total of only five polling stations were able to open to service the entire city.

 ~ In the Balance

So, we’ll see. In the wake of the November 3rd election, will yet another set of fifth votes, this time in defense of a slew of Trumpian election outrages, net him that fourth slot on Rushmore 2.0, or might some sudden, otherwise unaccountable about-face on his part spare us the need even to erect such a monument? 

If, however, Roberts does provide those deciding votes for the Republican side, will democracy as we know it even survive a second Trump term, so that anyone might ever again even be allowed to muse over and plan, let alone erect, a Rushmore 2.0 monument? On the other hand, were Roberts to demur, who knows whether achingly conventional Joe Biden will be able to rise to the historic occasion of his own election or might he, in the fullness of time, yet find himself becoming worthy of insertion into the fourth slot in that stockade? 

History will tell: some of us may even live to see it."

Lawrence Weschler was a staff writer at the New Yorker for 20 years and then the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. He has authored more than 20 books, the latest of which, in collaboration with the artist David Opdyke, is This Land: An Epic Postcard Mural on the Future of a Country in Ecological Peril (due out in September from Monacelli/Phaedon). His website is


Still, there's always the possibility the movie might twist around and end a little bit differently, wouldn't that be something? 

"As I look to the seven winds 
  you could see the clouds rolling across the sky 
 as the day started to rain teardrops of blood across the land 
  lost in their visions of doubt buried in their pain white man had all the say 
 we were left to taciturn as we watched everything burn and the heavens cried on the trail of tears 
trail of blood 

  On some beaten shore we watched the ships come in one by one, 
our land wore thin 
 we could just watch with closed eyes as the promises made 
were just lies
  they said you don't belong here anymore 
 behind their mask, they wore a disguise and the heavens cried on the trail of tears
  tears of sorrow 

  Blood spilled on our sacred ground leaving a unwanted stain 
 where mighty warriors once made a stand 
  we never could walk hand in hand when they lived by so much greed 
 we watched our people fall thousands must bleed
  still all we could do is try and the heavens cried on the trail of tears tears of blood 

  Guided by the spirit of the seven winds we held on to our pride 
 something they could'nt take away 
  as so many children died tears of blood through our darkest years 
 and the heavens cried on the trail of tears trail of sorrow tears of blood
  from Heaven my ancestors still weep."


  ~~~Jack Crow~~~


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

COVID Rages In The USA While Trump Has His Thumb Up His Ass

I couldn't sleep, Mike leaves in another hour courtesy of Yolanda for the surgery at Sharp and he is rattled, I'm nervous.  I can't drive due to the cataracts (can't see anything and told not to drive) which finally will be partially addressed on the 10th with a 3-4 hour appointment up in Otay - the previous appointment for this "preliminary" was cancelled due to COVID.  Won't know how it went until the doctor calls here and the hospital is not allowing any visitors due to the virus.

So, let's talk about the virus - both here and in the USA.  I'll do USA fist and do our region later in the day. 

  ~ From the New York Times:

Corona Virus Live Updates: New Cases In U.S. are  Up 80% in Past 2 Weeks


Excellent interview with Laurie Garrett from Monday's edition:

 ~ From Democracy Now ! :

 Massive Case Of Denial: COVID Surges in US, Tops 10M Globally As Pence Touts "Remarkable Progress"


 ~ From CNN:

Trump Refuses To Lead As Pandemic Worsens and Allies Desert Him On Masks
Analysis by, Stephen Collinson 07/01/20

"Most Presidents would try to stop the United States from barreling toward disaster. But Donald Trump has nothing to say and no answers to mitigate a calamity unfolding on his watch that he seems resolved to ignore.

On the day when the government's top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said he would not be surprised to see the US record 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Trump refused to break his deafening silence.

And the day after his White House described record-breaking new infections that are sweeping the nation as "embers that need to be put out," Trump's campaign claimed credit for the "phenomenal" success of his botched pandemic leadership.

Trump is now pretty much the sole figure in authority in either party -- including his major Republican allies -- who refuse to wear or endorse face masks that are proven to slow the spread of coronavirus but that he has stigmatized as a liberal plot to harm him politically.

"We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday.

But Trump on Tuesday tweeted cryptically "THE LONE WARRIOR!" -- apparently embracing his isolation from even political allies and the scientific approaches that have proven elsewhere to at least slow the spread of the coronavirus in the short term.

Undeterred by the deepening national crisis, Trump is pressing ahead with plans for an early July Fourth celebration at Mount Rushmore that will bracket him symbolically and without irony alongside four of America's most revered Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The social distancing advised by Trump's government will not be enforced.

The White House did hold a briefing on Wednesday, but it appeared to be a premeditated attempt by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to fog the water around another drama rocking Trump -- claims that he did nothing about a Russian military intelligence scheme to put a bounty on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan. McEnany left the briefing room before she could be questioned about the pandemic.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, whose current wide lead in most general election polls can be explained partly by Trump's performance during the pandemic, pounced on the latest grave developments to lambast the President.

Seizing on Trump's remark in April that he was now a "wartime President," Biden adopted a tone of scathing mockery.

"What happened? Now it's almost July, and it seems like our wartime president has surrendered -- waved the white flag and left the battlefield," the Democrat said in a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

In the vacuum left by resolute guidance that only the person in the Oval Office can provide, the coronavirus is quickening its deadly march across the country, with 36 states now seeing rising cases, and at least 16 slowing the reopening plans championed by the President while hospital emergency rooms see increasing admissions that suggest a fast rising death toll could be only days away.

Far from the four Presidents whose images he will survey in North Dakota, Trump's perverse failure to crank up a federal government effort to fight a worsening pandemic over which he has said the US has "prevailed" is beginning to resemble Herbert Hoover's indifference during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 

Refusing to lead  


As the rest of the Western world presses ahead with careful reopening plans after governments suppressed their curves -- and bans American tourists because of the skyrocketing US infection rates -- Trump appears to have made a political calculation that the best approach is to refuse to lead.


Mounting a successful federal government response at this stage would require the capacity to unite the country and to brainstorm innovative solutions, as well as a President who is a master of detail and can unleash the promise of science and empathize with his compatriots at a tragic time.


But Trump's alternative method of presidential leadership has come unstuck. Dividing the country -- between Republican governors itching to open economies and Democrats who worried about a viral resurgence -- has proved disastrous to states that support him. The Trumpian tactic of demonizing opponents, lying about the facts and building an alternative reality in which everything is fine has been exposed by the pandemic.


And for all his claims to be a builder, Trump has failed to construct solutions in his near four years in power.


Many Trump supporters voted for the President in 2016 because they felt betrayed by the status quo and the political establishment. His still healthy ratings from his base suggest that not all voters share the horror of many in Washington at his negligence or even think Trump should be leading a role in fighting the pandemic that almost all of his predecessors would surely have demanded for themselves.


And the President is not directly to blame for the young Americans who continue to flock to bars or beaches or those who refuse to obey social distancing rules or to wear the masks in behaviors that could make the business or reopening economies safer and more sustainable.


But Trump's refusal even to set an example and to explain the gravity of the situation, coupled with his habit of prioritizing his own political prospects and interests over the national interest, has left much of the rest of the country in the lurch.


A former senior administration official who spoke to CNN's Jim Acosta Tuesday was referring to the President's frustration with intelligence briefings in connection with the latest Russia drama, their comment held lessons for his role in the pandemic as well.


"He's typically frustrated with intelligence because it shows a problem but doesn't provide an answer," the former official said.


As several past presidents have noted, the only problems that reach the Oval Office desk are those that others have failed to solve.



Scary statistics but it could get worse


 Days of scary statistics are telling a devastating story that cannot be disguised by Team Trump's spin. The US represents just 4% of the world's population but has a quarter of all coronavirus cases. On average, more than 1,000 Americans die every day from the disease. Some 126,000 have already succumbed. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to die from it, in figures that reflect the racial disparities currently driving another national crisis.


It is a measure of the odd limbo caused by lockdowns that the human toll that these figures represent -- as well as the severe economic blight caused by a pandemic that Trump denied for months, mismanaged, politicized and then ignored again -- is hidden from many Americans.


As bad as the latest statistics may be, Fauci raised the horrific prospect that things are going to get worse, a dispiriting prospect in a country already seared by months of social distancing and lockdowns.


"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned," Fauci told a Senate committee on Tuesday.


Fauci expressed dismay over people congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and inadequate attention being paid to federal guidelines on reopening that the President has declined to enforce.


"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," he said.


As Trump shows no willingness to shift course and set a national example or lead a federal response to the virus, other medical experts are expressing fears that the coming July Fourth holiday could spark a similar spike in infections as appears to have been triggered by Memorial Day at the end of May.


"The virus is spreading rapidly. The time to act is now," said Houston Methodist Hospital President and CEO Marc Boom. Texas as a whole, which is seeing a rapidly rising curve, reported a record 6,975 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday.


Another state that is an epicenter of the coronavirus' prolonged surge is Florida, which put up more than 6,000 new cases on Tuesday. But Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, continued to minimize the situation, making the case that it was good news that younger people -- who have traditionally been less severely affected by Covid-19, were a higher proportional slice of those who tested positive than was the case in the past.


"We're not going back, closing things," DeSantis said. "



"Well, I ride on a mail train, baby, can't buy a thrill Well, I been up all night leanin' on the windowsill Well, if I die on top of the hill And if I don't make it, you know my baby will...."

 Ya'll take care, will follow up later on in the day. Damn, I knew that fuck Trump would kill us all.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The United States of America Is Skating On Thin and Melting Ice - Tamara Pearson On Mexicali - Juan Cole on Afghanistan & US Troops

I'm back...but don't know for how long. It has been hectic around here preparing for Mike's surgery and his staying home afterwards for up to three weeks. I've managed to be able to briefly check out the news, which you all know by now, has not been fact, it has been downright scary.

Always a fave to bring us somewhat up to date:

Obviously Too Many Big Macs Binges - let's just call him "'ole bubble butt' !!!

 ~ From CNN:

As The Pandemic Rages, Trump Indulges His Obsessions
Analysis  by, Stephen Collinson

"With the pandemic exploding and setting record infection rates, President Donald Trump spent the weekend on his own often divisive obsessions, piling up new evidence for detractors who say he's not fit for office.

The President largely ignored the implications of the disastrous US government response to the worst public health crisis in 100 years, even though it emerged late on Friday in CNN reporting that the White House is taking vigorous efforts to protect him from infection at rallies that contravene social distancing and masking guidelines, and that put even his own supporters at risk of getting sick.

Trump did, however, find time to defend a statue of former President Andrew Jackson, who retired to his slave plantation in 1837, and to retweet a video in which a supporter chanted "white power."

Trump denied reports that he was briefed that Russia offered a bounty for the killings of US and UK soldiers by the Taliban -- but didn't say how he would respond and stand up for American troops if the story was true.

 And Trump, who lambasted his predecessor Barack Obama for his less prolific golf hobby, made two trips to his Virginia course, despite boasting that he canceled a weekend trip to his New Jersey resort to make sure "law and order is enforced" in Washington, DC.

Trump's weekend represented yet another sign that he has moved on from a pandemic, which has killed more than 125,000 Americans and threatens to claim tens of thousands more, that he initially ignored, then mismanaged and politicized and has now has grown tired of talking about as his reelection fight looms.

His negligence came despite his Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar delivering an alarming warning on CNN that appeared to contradict Vice President Mike Pence's claim of "truly remarkable progress" in the battle against coronavirus and false statements that the US had "flattened the curve."

"This is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control," Azar told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." But like other members of the administration, Azar insisted that the story of the pandemic is one of great success, in terms of making hospital beds, protective equipment and testing more available than they were two months ago.

Since Pence spoke on Friday, the United States racked up record numbers of new coronavirus infections, with more than 40,000 on Friday and more than 42,000 on Saturday. States like Florida, Texas and Arizona, which embraced Trump's demands for a swift economic opening and failed to satisfy the administration's own benchmarks to do so safely, are discovering that the virus is rampant.

New cases are now rising in 36 states, are steady in 12 and are going down in just two, suggesting that the pandemic is close to raging out of control -- even as some US counterparts, like the European Union and Asian countries have been far more successful in reducing the virus.

Pence denies early opening caused resurgence

The Vice President traveled to Texas on Sunday and appeared alongside Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and appeared to make a significant shift -- calling on Americans to wear masks if they cannot observe social distancing guidelines -- a step that Trump, who refuses to wear a mask and says that those who do are trying to hurt him politically, refuses to take.

"Wearing a mask is just a good idea and it will, we know, from experience, will slow the spread of the coronavirus," Pence said.

The vice president's comments, however painstakingly he tried to avoid putting Trump in a difficult position, will hike political pressure on the President to publicly call on Americans to cover their faces and to model a face mask himself. That political heat had intensified that morning when Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, effectively called on Trump to show leadership on the issue.

"If wearing masks is important, and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do," the Tennessee Republican said on CNN's "Inside Politics."

Apart from his remarks on masks, Pence heaped praise on the "leadership" of Trump and everyone involved in a misfiring government effort and made a new attempt to argue that the state openings had nothing to do with a rise in infections.

"About two weeks ago, something changed," Pence said, seeking to portray the Texas reopening plan before that date as a massive success.

Medical experts, however, say that states experiencing a spike in infections are now paying the price for a lax opening.

"If I were to give a grade for all of us, except maybe from a few states like, New York, Washington state, New Jersey, I would say we are getting mostly an 'F', right at the moment, going from the first part of May until we reopened until now," Dr. Michael Saag, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN on Sunday.

 A new Russia storm
Reports that Moscow's GRU military intelligence agency put a bounty on US and UK troops in Afghanistan whipped up a new Russia storm for the White House.

The New York Times first cited unnamed officials as saying that Trump and Pence were briefed about the affair but had so far taken no action.

A US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN's Barbara Starr on Sunday that the US received intelligence several months ago that the GRU reached out to militias linked to the Taliban and offered money to target US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The official said it was not clear how verified the intelligence was or who exactly the Russian representatives approached.

The Washington Post reported Sunday night that the bounties are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several American troops, citing US intelligence gathered from military interrogations. A European Intelligence official told CNN's Nick Paton Walsh on Saturday that the incentives offered by the Russians had, in their assessment, led to Coalition casualties.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that "everybody has been denying it & there have not been many attacks on us," but the President, who has consistently undermined efforts by his own administration to get tough on Russia, did not vow to defend American troops come what may or to get to the bottom of the report.

If the plot is genuine and Trump knew about it but did not act, he could be considered negligent in his duty to defend Americans and there would be new questions about his strange deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

If he was not informed, his entire national security process will be exposed.

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, publicizing a book deeply critical of the President, said Sunday Trump's defense of himself exemplified his unfitness for office.

"The fact that the President feels compelled to tweet about the news story here shows that what his fundamental focus is, is not the security of our forces, but whether he looks like he wasn't paying attention. So he's saying, 'well nobody told me therefore you can't blame me,'" Bolton said on "State of the Union."

Trump retweets 'white power' chant


  The President had his own definition of leadership on his mind for much of the weekend.

In one shocking moment, he thanked "great people" in a Florida retirement community for their support, retweeting a video showing a man in a golf court emblazoned with "Trump" banners chanting "white power."

Trump later deleted the retweet with one of his spokesmen, Judd Deere, insisting that he "did not hear the one statement made on the video." Earlier, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican senator, said that the video was offensive and "indefensible."

Bolton told CNN's "Jake Tapper" that "not paying attention" would be typical of Trump. But it was only the latest occasion that the President has retweeted an item that tore at the nation's racial divides. Normal minimum standards of presidential conduct might suggest a commander-in-chief would check content before tweeting it to millions of supporters.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted about an attempt to take down the statue of Jackson in Lafayette Park across from the White House last week, after signing an executive order that appeared merely to require his government to enforce the law protecting federally-owned monuments, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for desecration. But Trump claimed credit anyway for stopping attacks on icons of Civil War generals and figures from America's history who have links to slavery or racial records newly exposed by a national reckoning after the death of George Floyd in police custody.

"Since imposing a very powerful 10 year prison sentence on those that Vandalize Monuments, Statues etc., with many people being arrested all over our Country, the Vandalism has completely stopped. Thank you!" Trump tweeted on Sunday.

By ignoring the pandemic but spending his time defending monuments and base names honoring Confederate generals, the President is actively using darker moments of America's history to try to stir up a culture war furor to solidify his political support as he lags behind Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden.

His use of the word "heritage" invokes the suggestion that a traditional, White American culture is under siege from non-White protesters and radicals. He appears to be making a bet that such tactics, assurances that the coronavirus fight is over when it's not, and an assault on Biden's mental capacity will carry him over the line to reelection.

 The President's constant rebellion against his own government's advice on the pandemic -- for instance, the wearing of masks -- is part of the same approach designed to appeal to voters who long ago soured on what they see as liberal, elite values and the establishment's version of truth.
Biden on Sunday laid into the President in a tweet.

"Today the President shared a video of people shouting 'white power' and said they were 'great.' Just like he did after Charlottesville," Biden wrote.
"We're in a battle for the soul of the nation — and the President has picked a side. But make no mistake: it's a battle we will win."


You've probably all read about the removal of the "social distancing" tape at the Tulsa Trump rally; here it is with video.


 BTW, I have a question: why is AMLO even considering a visit to the White House and the Fat Blob Trump this upcoming month? anyone ? anyone ?  I don't think it has anything to do with the conditions in Mexicali.

Do You ? I am notorious for not covering Mexicali, however if you read Zeta/La Jornada you can keep up on some of the particulars. The only thing I think Ms. Pearson left out is that Mexicali was ranked third in the world  for toxic pollution created by the Maqs a few years back, then ranked last January as thee most polluted municipality in all of Mexico beating out Mexico City.  Despite bi-national think tanks the pollution is still horribly out of control.  Does she actually live down here, because wow, that was ballsy...damn.


Here's another analysis for you, link includes videos:

 ~ From CNN:
The US is More Alone Than Ever, Just at the Moment The World Needs Its Leadership 
Analysis by, Nic Robertson


Waiting on Foreign Policy for their take,however here's the boss:

 ~ From Informed Comment:

Trump Likely Did Throw US Troops in Afghanistan Under The Bus, But Why Would The Russians Have Targeted Them?
by, Juan Cole
"Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Charlie Savage; Eric Schmitt and Michael Schwirtz at the New York Times broke the blockbuster story on Friday that GRU 29155, a violent unit of Russian military intelligence accused of poisoning a double agent in Britain in 2018, had offered militants and criminals a bounty if they killed coalition forces (US, British and other NATO troops) in Afghanistan. Only 4 US personnel have been killed in Afghanistan this year, all before a February agreement with the Taliban, but in 2019 some 20 were killed.
Moreover, the NYT said its sources in US intelligence alleged that Trump was briefed on this intelligence in March and that a menu of options was presented to him, from lodging a diplomatic complaint to specific sanctions (presumably in GRU commanders).
The intelligence was gleaned by the US military and the CIA from interrogations of captured criminals and militants in Afghanistan. There were indications that some bounties had been paid, which means that the GRU had US troops killed.
Nick Paton Walsh, Veronica Stracqualursi and Radina Gigova CNN report that Director of National Security John Ratcliffe, a strong Trump supporter who is a political appointee rather than an intelligence professional, denied the report that Trump was briefed on the GRU instigation.
I’ll say right away that I don’t find Ratcliffe’s denial plausible. If the intelligence were gathered, it would have been briefed to the president.
Both Russia and the Taliban are denying the story.
In Washington, a leak like this makes you ask questions. Who leaked the information and why? Then, US intelligence has had major failures, such as the supposed biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq in 2003, and you wonder how solid this information tortured out of criminals and militants is.
Also, in intelligence work there is always a problem of false flag tradecraft. Anyone could pretend to be GRU as a cover for such an operation. It worries me that the intelligence seems to be from the ground up, rather than the result of a penetration of the GRU itself.
Another question is why the GRU would have done this.
 You could see a program to increase US troop casualties as an attempt to demoralize Washington and speed the US departure from Afghanistan. 
The problems with that theory are many. First, there isn’t a need to give Trump a reason to leave. Trump has long wanted to withdraw all US troops from that country. He believes that the white working class resents spending blood and treasure there after all these years. He thinks he can run on getting out of Afghanistan as an accomplishment. High US government officials are trying to convince Trump to leave at least 1,500 US troops in country to gather intelligence. He seems to want zero troops there.
Second, it isn’t clear that Russia wants the US out of Afghanistan. In fact, when President Obama was preparing to pull out early in his second term, Russian president Vladimir Putin pleaded with him not to do it.
Things could have changed, since the US pushed back against the Russian annexation of Crimea and since Russia came to be at loggerheads with fundamentalist US proxies in Syria and Libya.
But the place to start would be with what Russian observers actually say about Afghanistan. And I fear that almost no one in the newspapers of record will ask this question. So let me take a stab at it here:
Russian analysts and media are deeply afraid of the Taliban and of the small ISIL cells in Afghanistan.
BBC Monitoring for May 15 said that on 7 May, Aleksey Bychkov, a Russian political scientist, warned on Sputnik’s Uzbek service that ISIL, having been defeated in the Middle East, could well head to Central Asia. He saw Tajikistan as especially vulnerable, given the “Islamization” of its population in recent years. He urged Uzbekistan to reinforce its border against Tajikistan.
BBC Monitoring for May 20 reported that the Kyrgyz Sputnik service carried an analysis by pundit Aleksandr Khrolenko warning that Trump’s peace plan with the Taliban was foredoomed to failure and that a wave of fundamentalist Muslim terrorism could wash over nearby or neighboring Central Asian countries from there, such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. A cross-country regional “Islamic emirate” might try to establish itself in the region he said. He seems to have been making an analogy to the ISIL emirate in Iraq and Syria.
BBC Monitoring for May 21 reported that Tass was carrying the news that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had broken up a heroin smuggling ring based in Afghanistan, seizing 48 kgs of product. Putin is desperately afraid that Afghan heroin will turn Russian youth into zombies and sap national strength. It was one of the reasons he had wanted Obama to stay in Afghanistan, to block the drug trade.
On June 15, BBC Monitoring reported that Sputnik’s Uzbek service warned that the US-Taliban peace deal had failed and that the failure would create a crisis in the region. It spoke of a “farcical fraternization” of the US military with the Taliban. It expected that radical fighters would come out of Afghanistan into the Central Asian republics. In contrast, Russia had contributed mightily to Central Asian security, it said. In preparation for the coming meltdown of security, Russia, it said, is lending aid to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to reinforce their border security. It urged, in light of the instability in Afghanistan, that Uzbekistan and the others come into a closer relationship with the Russian-lead Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).
Given the Russian line on the dangers of a flimsy US-Taliban peace deal that would leave Afghanistan and Central Asia (Russia’s soft underbelly) vulnerable to renewed Muslim fundamentalist militancy, you might argue that if the GRU did want US troops killed by criminals and terrorists, it was to get American officials’ backs up and change their minds about leaving the country precipitously.
The problem is that not enough troops were killed to produce that or any other reaction. Most Americans barely know we are fighting a war in Afghanistan.
Some have suggested that the move was just a petty lower-level GRU tit-for-tat for the US killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria. But then why not target US troops in Syria, who are small in number and quite vulnerable? Seems like a long way to go around, and not a good way to send a message.
So I have to say that the entire scenario is baffling. The most plausible thing in the story is that Trump would have been told that the Russians had harmed US troops, and that Trump should have ignored it and gone on pursuing his creepy friendship with Vladimir Putin.
And, yes, you could imagine US military and intelligence analysts seeing that happen and being so frustrated that they risked their careers and possibly their freedom in order to blow the whistle."
UPDATEY/EDIT :  Here's the latest from Foreign Policy:

Ole Bubble Butt Has A Lot of Splainin' To Do or...Maybe  The Lincoln Project Will Be Able to Increase Their Membership Roll Call...and yes Politico, after this for sure, they will easily be able to sway voters. Don't get me wrong bros, even if we are able to dump the fat toad, the USA will still be in a world of shit. 

Republicans Demand Trump Answer on Alleged Russian Bounties
by, Robbie Gamer, Jack Detsche & Amy MacKinnon
I'll try to get back with the stats, no son buenos. Go here for the works:

Democracy Now!
Stay Safe ya'll.