Friday, January 31, 2020
Right wing troll Will Witt (right) tries to lure a university student in, by inducing him to babble bollocks to be used on a Prager U Reich wing podcast
I've often been curious about why the Right gets off so much on trolling and engendering "snowflakes" on the left. Though as Bill Maher and I have observed there are just as many on the Right, e.g.
WHO Are The Real "Snow Flakes"? Conservos, Of Cour...
But a January 5th (p. 1A, 6A) Denver Post exploration left no doubt the Reich wingers find it abundantly useful to elicit reactions from unwary dupes - especially on college campuses. Evidently, this has become a specialty of a "PragerU" troll named Will Witt - who enjoys roping dopes into fake news interviews to fuel content for the loopy, eponymous website. As noted in the Post piece (p. 6A):
"The goal of the people behind all this - Dennis Prager, the conservative talk show host and impresario of this (Prager U) digital empire, and the venture's billionaire funders- seems simple: more Will Witts in the world. More pride in U.S. history, more religion (especially in the Judaeo-Christian mold), and more young people laughing at people on the left."
In other words, these trolls and goofballs want to lure more "young people" - presumably Millennials and Generation Z - into mocking the side which will do the most (if we ever get the 'pukes out of the Senate) to lower their student debt, make way for more affordable housing as well as affordable health care options.
The "star" of this roving clown show is Witt himself, who we learn (ibid.):
"Was raised in a relatively liberal home by his mother "
Which makes us wonder if he got dropped on his head or was fed strychnine-laced milk as an infant. Anyway, "by the time he arrived at the University of Colorado he was leaning conservative- but found his zeal for the culture war on campus." His ideological fire was lit when in one class students were told they'd get extra credit by going to a political protest. However his lecturer informed him that going to a Milo Yiannopoulis event wouldn't count.
That isolated him, and pissed him off so the next thing is he found like- minded renegades while watching YouTube videos from Prager U. He suspected the first one he watched hooked him, which "railed against feminism" but can't be sure. According to Witt:
"I stopped going to class pretty much all the time".
And as you might suspect he became the classical college dropout (think Scott Walker). But he found his niche with Prager U, delivering 5 minute videos for those with the attention span of a somnolent slug and moderately low IQs, featuring topics such as: "Why Socialism Never Works" (Well, uh, it did in launching Social Security), "Fossil Fuels- The Greenest Energy", "Where Are The Moderate Muslims?".
From the Prager U jokesters and con artists we learn (ibid.):
"Youtube is a way to circumvent brick and mortar classrooms - and parents- and appeal to Generation Z".
Why? Because Prager sees young people as "too indoctrinated by left wing views." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization to which I've belonged for 25 years:
"Prager U's five minute videos have become an indispensable propaganda device for the Right."
And it certainly helps to get hilarious takes on issues from immigration, to race, to gender from the likes of Witt. I mean give the clown credit. He has a knack for disarming too many viewers into believing it's just funny stuff. NO biggie.
For example, Witt's shtick is to approach students on campus like the one shown at the top and smile then ask "Do you have five minutes?" Once the kid agrees it's game on. It's sealed when Witt says he has a question for them and they agree to answer. The Witt fires away, e.g. "How many genders are there?" Before turning and staring deadpan at the camera. If the dupe says "Three" or any other number besides two, look for Witt to dispatch it to Prager U- there to get yucks on the Prager U website.
Whence does PragerU's power come from? Mainly from the humorous interviews which lance and jab at political correctness, but also "carefully avoidng the news cycle and Donald Trump. According to one media specialist, Chris Chavez, doctoral program director of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication:
"That is part of its power." Also:
"Taking old arguments about the threat of immigration, and feminism - for example- and wrapping them in common sense."
In other words, plain old sophistry.
A more precise assessment if offered by Lawrence Rosenthal, Chairman of the Berkeley Center for Right Wing Studies: "It sits at this border between going off a cliff into conspiracy thinking and extreme prejudice in the name of anti-political correctness."
The best remedy for clowns like Witt and sites like Prager U? Critical thinking and mastering actual political thought and reasoning - as opposed to the 5 minute 'microbytes for morons' sort.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Why Would Pro-Trump Evangelical Christians Send A Campaign Letter- And Survey - To An Atheist (Like Me)?
"The American Evangelical Church isn't so weak that it needs Trump's version of secular salvation...Yet the church is acting as if it needs Trump to protect it. That's not courageous. It's repulsive. And so long as this fear continues, expect the church's witness to degrade further. In seeking protection from its perceived enemies the church has lost its way" - David French, 'The Evangelical Republic Of Fear', TIME, July 8, p. 16)
I've often wondered about events that seem contrary to reason and expectation, at least in my frame of political reference. For example, the NRA sending me a contest entry to win a gun collection sweepstakes, e.g.
Seriously? NRA Tries To Get Me To Join With Guns "...
But not even that compares with the recent campaign letter on the "2020 Project" I received from evangelical extremist Ralph Reed, an introductory segment of which is shown below:
I remain unsure exactly why Reed believes I am an evangelical - but kind of relish the irony of him sending this campaign missive to an Atheist - or a member of the "radical anti-Christian left" (in his misbegotten view). Readers may recall that it was none other than Ralph Reed who admitted back in June, 2018 that he believed Trump - the orange maggot traitor - to be some heaven- sent entity and also to have admitted seeing the irony in that, i.e.
"God must have quite a sense of humor to have brought evangelicals and Donald Trump together. Sometimes the most unlikely people become our staunchest defenders and he certainly has!" - Ralph Reed, quoted in a June, 2018 article in the NY Times.
We now know Reed and others of his ilk (e.g. Tony Perkins) are among Trump’s staunchest defenders. They are uniquely brazen to the extent they can justify any means to favored ends. The Pussy Grabber's evangelical Christian supporters, for example, are willing not merely to excuse Trump’s adultery and deceit but also to embrace them. The more vulgar he is, the more he fulfills his supposedly divine mission. I mean you have dozens of weaklings giving him "mulligans" in golf, but the sheer scale of this evangelical adulation boggles the min.
Think about it! To be awarded honors and obeisance in spades for serial morality transgressions- and by a bunch who profess to be holier than any other sect in the US of A. They "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ", but don't you dare say a word against the pussy- grabbin' Dotard!
Some may question whether these miscreants like Ralph Reed are as 'all in' with Trump as they appear. But one need only scan some of the vicious reaction to the Christianity Today anti-Trump editorial to behold the proof. That hyper -psychotic assault demonstrates that any break with this partisan alignment will be instantly denounced as heresy.
Worse, one only read some of the letters from evangelicals in the mainstream corporate press to see the extent of their brain-jacking. For example this bit from a William A. Hoppel (WSJ, Jan. 15, p. A16), referencing why evangelicals are totally committed to Trump:
"Evangelicals dislike his brash behavior but are equally turned off by the hatred the left has for him and its ridicule of evangelicals' concerns and beliefs. We have doubts about President Trump's Christianity, but that judgment belongs to the Lord."
"Christianity Today erred, not in pointing out President Trump's unchristian behavior, but in calling for his removal from office which might well be construed as questioning God's providence."
Seriously? Questioning God's providence? So when we call for the removal from office of a self-proclaimed pussy grabber, grifter, traitor and shakedown artist we are calling into question the divine will? No, folks, you cannot make this stuff up. You saw the "argument" here first.
Another cretin (Thomas Bell) in the same letters section of the op-ed for the date actually claims that we secular Americans "seem to long for a humanist version of a theocracy that replaces God with the a flawless leader."
Actually, mate, we'd just settle for a President who commands a degree of respect, doesn't tweet putdowns at fellow citizens 5 hours a day, refuses to collaborate with hostile foreign powers, doesn't betray his oath of office with bribery- extortion and doesn't grab pussies! "Theocracy"? No way! Just a regular, normal but respectful American president who does his damned job while commanding the respect of other nations and our own citizens.
But the above merely shows the extent of rationalization that the typical evangelicals (Ok, at least the ones willing to commit to paper) will go to defend and enable Trump.
Thus a bozo like Ralph Reed can afford the luxury of being confident his flock will largely fall in line- no matter how many crimes Trump commits. Reed's letter, as odious as it may be, nonetheless reveals the plan of attack for this segment of the Trumpist army. That is, their intent to "register 5 million new Christian voters in battleground states in 2020." Ok, they misfired on me, so now they are aspiring to register successfully 4,999,999. That still may be enough to hand the Electoral College to Dotard again, despite any Dem candidate winning the popular vote. This means we have to get out every last voter on our side we can.
Indeed, on page 3 of his missive Reed brags:
"The reason the polls keep getting it wrong is the pollsters are not picking up on what 'FAITH & FREEDOM' is doing all year long under the radar with our 'ground game'".
Then asserting their strategy is double everything they did in 2016 - i.e. "double their 12,000 field staff, double their volunteers who "knocked on 1,256,778 doors"
In his letter Reed also identified the "16 key states" that will be targeted: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada.
For all our sake, the Democrats had better have their own ground games geared up for all these states - where I imagine this election will either be won or lost. Whether we still have a Republic in January 2021 or an authoritarian Theocracy.
by Jaime O'Neill | January 20, 2020 - 7:35am | permalink
It might seem strange for you to be getting a short note from a guy who thinks you must have been a pretty good dude, but who doesn't believe that you were divine. Given that, this is just another desperate human being crazy enough to write letters to dead people. But Jesus, if you're listening, you've got to do something about these people who are taking you name in vain, profaning it more blasphemously than has heretofore seemed quite possible.
For instance, a lot of people who claim to be believers in you are now under the impression that Donald Trump is Jesus 2.0 in spite of the fact that the man doesn't seem at all like you, not in style, nor in substance. Maybe they think you were a failed prototype and that your all-knowing and all-powerful celestial dad just screwed up last time, and that Trump is the result of what the Big Guy in the Sky learned from his mistakes with you.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Above - Palm civets seized in China's Anhul province earlier this month. Consuming such wild game - likely infected (by bats) with the virus, is plausibly how this latest coronavirus outbreak began. (From WSJ, p. A17, Jan. 28th.)
Thanks to my psychologist post-doc niece Shayle for sending me the following article ('The Chinese Coronoavirus Is Not The Zombie Apocalypse') from Psychology Today, by Robert Bartholomew, regarding the erupting coronavirus hysteria:
"I am not downplaying the seriousness of the new Coronavirus that has been spreading around the world. People are dying and every death is a tragedy, but it is not the end of civilization as we know it, contrary to some media outlets which risk causing undue alarm and panic. The headlines are ominous: “Wuhan is Ground Zero for Deadly Coronavirus.” “Situation in China is Grave.” One paper carried an image of a Wuhan medic breaking down in tears. Another showing a pile of corpses was fake.
The Daily Mail quoted a researcher as saying, “'This time I am scared,' an expert who helped tackle SARS warns.” Another scientist reportedly simulated a similar epidemic that he projected would kill 65 million people. What the headline didn’t say is that it was a worst-case scenario for a virus deadlier than SARS and easier to catch than the flu, an extremely unlikely scenario. "
The last is especially critical to grasp. As with the case of the lethal 1918 Spanish flu, e.g.
100 Years Later: A Look At The Deadliest Pandemic...
The key aspect is to know the parameters, particularly the so-called R0, ("R nought") or reproduction number, which conveys the ease of transmissibility, or the infection rate per person. This is currently pegged by the World Health Organization at between 1.4 and 2.5. In other words, each person infected can infect from 1.4 to 2.5 other people. By comparison the value for SARS (a variant of coronavirus) was 5.5. and for the Spanish flu, 1.8.
Watching a video from an Alt News site called "AMTV" showed me how the right wingers are behind the sowing of a lot of hysteria on this illness- as they have been with the Q-Anon conspiracy bull. Certainly when I see and hear the host on Youtube put his hands out in scare quotes and blab: "This will be eye opening for a lot of you because it plays into not just 'climate change' but also people like Bill Gates who are pro-vaccination and stand to profit in the billions and billions."
All of which is humping unproductive irrationality and hysteria. What then are we really dealing with? Is it almost like the "Black death" or the Spanish flu as many of these crackpots claim? People need to chill out, take a deep breath and start to process facts as opposed to concocted fictions and fake news from suspect sites. Heck, even Holman Jenkins Jr. was correct when he wrote in his WSJ column today ('The Cure For The Chinese Flu', p. A13):
"Americans likely face a bigger risk from fear of the disease than the disease itself."
Proving once again that even a 'broken' ideological 'clock' is right at least twice a day.
Does Jenkins have a point? Sure, and so does Mr. Bartholomew. The current range of R0 for this disease is nowhere near even the SARS value (5.5.), or approaching the fictional R0, for the disease featured in the 2011 movie 'Contagion' ( R0 > 4.0). Hence, the recent blaring headline in The New York Post, e.g.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
"The idea that the Democrats, not Mr. Trump’s campaign staffers, conspired with foreign operatives is more than “conspiracy theory.” It is a fascist ploy to turn lies into truth. This is why I said recently that Mr. Trump’s crime is so much worse than abuse of power. It’s treason." - John Stoehr, ('When Does Ordinary Republican Partisanship Become Treason' , The Baltimore Sun)
Barely hours before former national security adviser John Bolton released blockbuster contents on Trump's quid pro quo vis -a -vis the Ukraine (in his soon to be published book) the orange maggot traitor tweeted this about Adam Schiff Sunday:
"Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price yet for what he has done to our country!"
Schiff, appearing on 'Meet the Press' Sunday correctly interpreted this as a threat. Of course, given Trump consistently projects his own vile attributes onto others (mainly critics, Dems) his tweet must be reversed to read i.e.
"I, Donald Trump am a CORRUPT POLITICIAN (and TRAITOR!) and am a very sick man. I have also not yet paid the price for what I have done and am doing to this country!"
But will this human vermin pay? As the Senate trial winds on, in the midst of the criminal resident bragging openly about obstruction, e.g.
There is more than ample evidence to hold this swine to account, and even hang him as the traitor he is, especially after Bolton's revelations, namely that Trump wanted to continue freezing nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine until it helped to investigate the Bidens.
This directly contradicts what the Traitor's defense team has been arguing, i.e. that "there is no connection between security assistance and investigations." They peddled this bunkum yesterday along with the Kremlin -generated codswallop (by Trump stooge Pam Bondi) that Ukraine was the real culprit in 2016, in conjunction with Burisma & the Bidens. Then there was the addle-pated Alan Dershowitz again repeating the canard that impeachment required an actual violation of a federal criminal statute. (Never mind none were even written at the time the Founders inserted the impeachment clause).
But now, with John Bolton's material ("like a grenade exploding" according to one pundit) Trump and his team of liars...errr, lawyers, are boxed into a corner. (Trump of course denies he told Bolton anything about withholding aid, but we already know this orange Orang lies like he breathes.) At the very least, Bolton's ms. confirms all we've seen and heard from earlier House inquiry witnesses, like Fiona Hill and Gordon Sondland. That means the decision of whether to allow Bolton as a witness puts the Repuke Senators on trial along with the traitor. Got nothing to hide? Then demand Bolton appear as a witness!
If they refuse to allow Bolton to appear as a witness - at least - far less remove their criminal traitor Overlord, then yes, they are also traitors. They can be nothing less. Especially in the guise of Trump's derelict lawyers now accusing Democrats of "trying to overturn the 2016 election" - echoing the orange pestilence himself.
Of course, today's WSJ editorial ('John Bolton's Report', p. A16) insists the Bolton revelation being a "bombshell" is mere "media hype." Also, if Trump did do it there's still no impeachable offense given "Ukraine never opened an investigation and the U.S. aid was delivered on time." Failing to grasp, as usual, that an attempted crime is still a crime. If Mr. X attempts to embezzle $1m from his company then changes his mind midway through, he's still committed a crime and can be locked up for years. So the WSJ's "arguments" - like those of Trump's stooge lawyers- amount to balderdash and bare bollocks.
Here's the bottom line: If their guy has nothing to hide, and they themselves want the full evidence they've been claiming the House Dems didn't provide- they have no choice other than to call Bolton to testify. If they do not, they are in the same cover up, stone wall and obstruction mode as their master.
One must then ask, if these Trump cultists punt, if the 'Grand Old Party' has transitioned from hyper -partisanship to treason. A recent Baltimore Sun article ('When Does Ordinary Republican Partisanship Become Treason' by John Stoehr), argues this has been done, e.g.
Let's go through Stoehr's essay and assess how close he is to the truth in his assertion. He writes:
"It bears repeating: Donald Trump was not only press-ganging Volodymyr Zelensky in an illegal scheme for partisan gain. He was rewriting the history of 2016 in order to wound enemies (Democrats) and help friends (Vladimir Putin) — as well as to give Kremlin operatives room to strike again. It is in no way overstating the case to say the president of the United States is the head of an international conspiracy to defraud the American people. "
There should be no issue on this, period. We have the evidence, the documents and Trump himself threatening and even bragging about his alliance with Putin in a criminal conspiracy.
If anyone is into valid conspiracies (like the one behind the JFK assassination) this is indeed the one to accept because it is closest to the truth of all the ones out there right now. We know the Trump team had more than 100 meetings - that we know of - with Russians, including GRU intelligence agents. Specifically in "Trump and His Associates Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russians Before the Inauguration," The NY Times tracked down "more than 100 in-person meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails and private messages on Twitter," all made by "at least 17 campaign officials and advisers [who] had contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries."
Robert Mueller not only defined a conspiracy in the case of an indictment filed against 12 GRU agents in 2018, but made it public, E.g.
[Read the indictment here.]
Mueller also - if you read part one of his report- made it clear Trump was involved in this conspiracy. As Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe elegantly summed up earlier this year ('Last Word' with Lawrence O'Donnell):
"What we have here is a situation where the Mueller report shows without any doubt that a hostile foreign power attacked the United States in this (2016) election. That Donald Trump welcomed that attack, benefited from it and then - the last couple of years - tried to cover it up every possible way. "
Text messages, phone records, foreign intercepts, emails - other documentation of the meetings, e.g. of Carter Page- point to clear conspiracy with the Russkies to alter the 2016 election.
Even more explicit is the take from Mimi Rocah, former federal prosecutor, appearing January 25th last year on 'All In':
"There's just so many facts in this indictment about the coordination of the Trump campaign with Wikileaks, through Roger Stone. Remember that GRU indictment - if you go back to that- one of the objects of the conspiracy is not just hacking but hacking and disseminating. You can't look at them alone, you have to go back to everything we know, the Trump Tower meeting, the calling out by Trump to Russia (to grab Hillary's emails)...there's just so many other things."
A de facto conspiracy by any other name. Then there are Traitor Trump's own words to hang him, e.g.
"I will tell you this, Russia if you're listening, I hope that you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. You will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens."
The very next day the Russkies hacked the DNC - and the traitor 'Pukes have the nerve to try to lay the 2016 election interference on the Ukraine. Worse, to invoke the Ukraine- Crowdstrike- Burisma nonsense to try to deflect attention and get Trump acquitted.
"It has remained to be seen how far the Republican Party is willing to go in defense of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy. But now, as the impeachment process enters a new and dangerous phase, we are seeing new GOP behavior, though we have witnessed plenty of hints. One reporter wrote recently that Republicans decided the best way to defend the president is to embrace “the claim" of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. Let’s be clear.
There was no Ukrainian interference. That’s according to the special counsel’s report, which cited one and a half dozen national security agencies. That’s according to the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report. That’s according to every career official in the State Department who testified under oath last month.The idea that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the U.S. originated in the Kremlin."
Indeed, this specious - already debunked narrative - claiming it was Ukrainians who meddled in the 2016 election instead of the Russians- was totally refuted by Dr. Fiona Hill in her House Impeachment hearings appearance, e.g.
Fiona Hill Schools Russian-Bought Reepos To Disda...
In her own words, from my Nov. 22nd post:
"This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Further, an intel report released the next day (and issued to the Republicans as well ) noted the Ukraine - CrowdStrike BS was being peddled by Putin and the Russians to frame Ukraine. But the Reptiles have continued to invoke it because they are traitors first and sowers of propaganda and lies second. Fifth columnists who consistently place party and obeisance to Trump, over country. Recall also Traitor Trump's lies at the time, issued in a tweet, e.g.
"The F.B.I. went in, and they told them, ‘Get out of here, we’re not giving it to you,’ They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it is called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. I still want to see that server.”
Hell, even Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocey (two of the FOX 'n Friends trio) had their mouths agape. Kilmeade - once he caught his breath - even had the sense to ask the Traitor- in -chief for his sources. All he could do was bark 50 more minutes of lies.
Mr. Stoehr again:
"The idea that the Democrats, not Mr. Trump’s campaign staffers, conspired with foreign operatives is more than “conspiracy theory.” It is a fascist ploy to turn lies into truth. This is why I said recently that Mr. Trump’s crime is so much worse than abuse of power. It’s treason. And the Republicans, like lemmings, are heading for a cliff. "
Indeed, these rats are headed over a cliff, and with a huge grenade (the Bolton disclosures) in their sorry paws as well. Set to blow up just as they vote to acquit Herr Hitler Jr. And as I noted earlier it was the Trump team that had more than 100 meetings with GRU agents. It is the Reepo-Trump alliance who are the traitors and attempting to overthrow the nation's founding principles and Constitution and replace them with a hostile, alien authoritarian fascist stamp. Once more we learn from Mr. Stoehr:
"It’s quite another thing, however, to know what you’re doing is wrong and do it anyway. The Republicans can’t not know. First, because intelligence officials briefed Senate Republicans, telling them explicitly the Ukraine-attacked-us story is pure Putin disinformation. Second, because Fiona Hill, a former member of the White House National Security Council, and a Russia authority, was clear about what House Republicans were already doing. She said:
“In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests. I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia — attacked us in 2016.”
Again, repeating what I wrote earlier in regard to Dr. Hill's House testimony. And now the coup de grace: