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Posts Tagged ‘BLOOMBERG NEWS’

YOUR FRIENDS AS YOUR WORST ENEMIES: PART THREE (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on May 26, 2023 at 12:10 am

Two suggestions for interviewees with a dark secret to hide:     

First: Don’t give interviews to journalists you like. (Or, in the case of Fox News, pseudo-journalists.) 

Second: Don’t give interviews at 4 A.M. 

Why?

Because you’re less likely to be on guard with a friendly journalist—and thus reveal truths you will later regret spilling.

And because at 4 A.M. you’re likely so tired or keyed up you make the same mistake.

Part One of this series spotlighted such a slip-up by Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield, CA) on September 30, 2015.

In just 51 words, McCarthy revealed that the House Select Committee on Benghazi was not a legitimate investigative body. Its real purpose was to sabotage the expected Presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

In doing so, McCarthy unintentionally sabotaged his own chances of becoming Speaker of the House when the then-Speaker, John Boehner, retired 

Part Two of this series showed how Donald Trump made a similar mistake on September 21, 2022. 

Appearing on the Right’s favorite television network, Fox News, Trump thoroughly embarrassed himself.

He was facing investigation for illegally removing classified government documents when he left the White House on January 20, 2021, and storing them at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Once again, Trump asserted he had done nothing wrong: “If you’re the President of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you’re sending it.”

Not only was this blatantly untrue, it was so outlandish that late-night talk show hosts had a comedic field day with it.

And still Republican politicians refuse to learn.

Latest case in point: House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY).

Rep. James Comer (long cropped).jpg

James Comer

Comer made the same mistake as McCarthy and Trump—letting the public in on an embarrassing secret—with an added twist. He did so at 4 A.M. on May 22.

Speaking—you guessed it—on Fox News, Comer unintentionally admitted weaponizing his investigative committee to aid Donald Trump’s Presidential ambitions.

Fox News host Ashley Strohmier threw out a comforting softball question: “We have talked to you about this on the show, about how the media can just not ignore this any longer. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, it says, ‘Millions Flowed to Biden Family Members. Don’t Pretend It Doesn’t Matter.’

Ashley Strohmier - In case you're stuck at home (which I know most of you are) and want to see where I am.. turn on Fox News! I'll see y'all every hour

Ashley Strohmier

“So do you think that because of your investigation, that is what’s moved this needle with the media?”

Comer, whose committee has been relentlessly investigating Hunter Biden, the son of President Joseph Biden, leaped to answer:

“Absolutely. There’s no question. You look at the polling, and right now Donald Trump is seven points ahead of Joe Biden and trending upward, Joe Biden’s trending downward.

“And I believe that the media is looking around, scratching their head, and they’re realizing that the American people are keeping up with our investigation.” 

His claim that Trump has a seven-point edge over Biden stems from an ABC News/Washington Post survey in early May. But other surveys show Biden leading, and polling generally indicates a tight race between Biden and Trump.

In fact, there is little evidence that House GOP investigations of Biden’s family are having a negative effect on Biden’s political standing. Biden’s approval rating remains low, but surveys show little indication that the Comer-led investigations have had a major effect one way or another.

On May 10, Republicans claimed that President Biden’s family members received millions in suspicious money transfers before Biden became president.

But despite promises of a bombshell revelation, the new evidence Republicans displayed did not directly implicate Biden. 

Comer said that bank records obtained through subpoenas showed that the President’s son Hunter Biden, his brother James Biden and his son Beau’s widow, Hallie Biden, received payments totaling more than $10 million from foreign sources, including from individuals aligned with the Chinese Communist Party. 

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi at lunch hosted by the US Vice President, Mr. Joe Biden and the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, in Washington DC on September 30, 2014 (1) (cropped).jpg

Hunter Biden

Comer didn’t say that the President himself received any payments or that he performed an official act in exchange for his family members receiving the money. 

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD.), the committee’s top Democrat, said Comer had failed to provide evidence substantiating his claims of wrongdoing by Biden.

“He continues to bombard the public with innuendo, misrepresentations, and outright lies, recycling baseless claims from stories that were debunked years ago,” said Raskin.

Even before Republicans won control of the House on November 8, 2022, they openly admitted their upcoming investigations would target political opponents and influence public opinion for the 2024 elections 

On August 10, 2022, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): “So, all these things need to be investigated just so you have the truth, plus that will help frame up the 2024 race, when I hope and I think President Trump is going to run again and we need to make sure that he wins.” 

And on October 26, James Comer said: “There are a lot of factors that are going to prevent Joe Biden from running. His age, the results of the midterm elections in two weeks. But also his son. Look, this Biden family investigation’s only going to ramp up in a Republican majority.” 

Not since the notorious reign of Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy have Congressional Republicans been so open about their all-consuming drive for all-encompassing power.

YOUR FRIENDS AS YOUR WORST ENEMIES: PART TWO (OF THREE)

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on May 25, 2023 at 12:10 am

Donald Trump—before, during and after his Presidency—has always preferred “journalists” who toss him softball questions and repeatedly pay homage to him.   

Such a “journalist” is Sean Hannity, host of the Fox Network’s Sean Hannity Show.

On September 21, 2022, Hannity—who had “interviewed” Trump on many other occasions—did so again.

From the outset, he made his intentions clear: To exonerate Trump—who is now facing multiple civil and criminal investigations—from all accusations.     

Hannity opened by attacking Trump’s longtime foe, New York Attorney General Letitia James:

“Take a look at New York Attorney General Letitia James. Now, today she filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and three of his children and other entities, claiming that they inflated the value of the Trump Organization. It is nothing short of a very obvious political stunt. It is not a criminal case. It is a civil case….

Sean Hannity 2020.jpg

Sean Hannity

“Now, the attorney general isn’t even trying to hide her efforts to weaponize justice in New York State. Her conduct is deeply unethical at best.”

Then Hannity moved on to other “Trump haters”:

“But she’s not alone, you know, from the Trump haters on Capitol Hill, high-ranking deep state bureaucrats in the DOJ, the FBI. Now we have witnessed, going on many years, the 45th President has been the subject of what is non-stop, never-ending legal scrutiny focused not on a specific crime but on the man himself.”

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Donald Trump

Then he moved on—inevitably—to attacking former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:  

“And, by the way, the President can declassify any of these documents—unlike, for example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she cannot.

“Still, she stored 110 classified documents on unsecured private servers. Hillary Clinton was never forced to endure a federal raid. She was never charged with any crime.”

Hannity then ran a clip of former FBI Director James Comey saying of Clinton: “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But Hannity did not say that Trump, on becoming President, fired Comey for investigating the proven ties between Trump’s Presidential campaign and operatives for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

All of this undoubtedly made Trump feel vindicated and comfortable. Too comfortable, as matters turned out.

When Trump left the White House on January 20, 2021, he illegally took highly-classified government documents to his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.

On August 8, 2022, FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago to recover those documents. Among those retrieved: Eleven sets of classified documents, four of them tagged as “Top Secret” and one as “Top Secret/SCI,” the highest level of classification.

How the Photo of Top Secret Folders at Trump's Home Came About - The New York Times

Documents found at Trump’s residence

Continuing to exonerate Trump, no matter what the offense, Hannity said: “OK. You have said on Truth Social a number of times you did declassify—”

TRUMP: “I did declassify.”

HANNITY: “OK. Is there a process—what was your process to declassify?”

TRUMP: “There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it. You know, there’s—different people say different things, but as I understand there doesn’t have to be.

“If you’re the President of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you’re sending it.”

Not even Trump’s attorneys have dared to make such an argument. Not when they demanded a “Special Master” to comb through the seized documents—allegedly so those that belonged to Trump could be returned to him.

Nor did they make such an assertion when, before Special Master Judge Raymond Dearie, they refused to state the process by which Trump had allegedly declassified the documents.

The media—and Trump’s many enemies—quickly seized upon this mind-blowing claim. Late-night TV hosts in particular milked it for laughs.

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah:  How could Trump “declassify documents with his brain” when he couldn’t even “read documents with his brain?”

“If Trump actually had the power to change things just by thinking about them,” joked Jimmy Kimmel, “Don Jr. would have turned into a Big Mac 30 years ago.”  

Nor did Kimmel pass up the opportunity to stick a barb into Hannity: “His approach was basically, ‘Show me on the doll where the FBI investigated you.’ I mean you have to hand it to Sean. When life gives him felons, he makes felon-ade!”

On a serious level, Trump’s outlandish assertion is liable to hurt his—or his attorneys’—appearances before various state and federal judges. 

More than 500 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern politics, warned that a prince must guard against being taken lightly—and, worse, expose himself to ridicule.

In his book, The Prince, Machiavelli writes: “…He ought….to pay attention to [guilds and classes], mingle with them from time to time, and give them an example of his humanity and munificence, always upholding, however, the majesty of his dignity, which must never be allowed to fail in anything whatever.”

It’s hard to be taken seriously when you claim supernatural powers denied to other, mere mortals. 

YOUR FRIENDS AS YOUR WORST ENEMIES: PART ONE (OF THREE)

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on May 24, 2023 at 12:25 am

It’s a truth well-known to cross-examining attorneys: The best way to obtain the truth is often to “kill your opponents with kindness.”

Witnesses always expect the opposing counsel to immediately start SCREAMING at them. But that only causes the witness to stay alert and say as little as possible.

So the smart attorney comes on as courteous, friendly, even sympathetic.

Image result for Images of justice

A classic example of this: A laborer claimed to have permanently injured his shoulder in a railway accident, leaving him unable to work. He claimed he could no longer raise his arm above a point parallel with his shoulder.

The railway’s attorney asked him a few sympathetic questions about his injuries. And the witness quickly volunteered that he was in constant pain and a near-invalid.

“And, as a result of the accident, how high can you raise your arm?” asked the attorney.

The witness slowly raised his arm parallel with his shoulder.

“Oh, that’s terrible,” said the attorney.

Then: “How high could you get it up before the accident?”

Unthinkingly, the witness extended his arm to its full height above his head—to the laughter of the judge, jury and spectators.

Case dismissed.

In politics, sometimes your best friends turn out to be your worst enemies.

Kevin McCarthy proved this during his September 30, 2015 appearance on Fox News.

McCarthy, the Republican member of the House of Representatives from Bakersfield, California, was undoubtedly feeling relaxed.

After all, he wasn’t being interviewed by such “enemies” of the Right as The New York Times or MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow.

He was being interviewed by Sean Hannity, a Right-wing political commentator whose books included Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda and Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism.

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Sean Hannity

The topic under discussion: Who would be the next Republican Speaker of the House, now that John Boehner had announced his decision to leave not only the Speakership but the House itself in November?

Now Hannity wanted to know what would happen when the next Republican Speaker took office. And McCarthy—who was in the running for the position—was eager to tell him.

“What you’re going to see is a conservative Speaker, that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a strategy to fight and win.

“And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?

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Kevin McCarthy

“But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her [poll] numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

In 51 words, McCarthy revealed that:

  • The House Select Committee on Benghazi was not a legitimate investigative body.
  • Its purpose was not to investigate the 2012 deaths of four American diplomats during a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Its real purpose was to destroy the Presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
  • To accomplish this, its members spent 17 months and wasted more than $4.5 million of American taxpayers’ funds.

On October 8, 2015, Republicans were expected to choose their nominee for Speaker. On that same date, McCarthy announced that he was withdrawing his name from consideration:

“Over the last week it has become clear to me that our Conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader. I have always put this Conference ahead of myself. Therefore I am withdrawing my candidacy for Speaker of the House.”

When reporters asked McCarthy if his revelation was the reason he withdrew, he replied, “Well, that wasn’t helpful.”

But then he quickly replayed the official Republican version: “But this Benghazi committee was only created for one purpose: to find the truth on behalf of the families for the four dead Americans.”

On October 29, 2015, Republicans—holding the majority of House members–elected Paul Ryan, (Wisconsin) the 54th speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Democrats and Republicans were united in their anger that the real reason for the Benghazi “investigation” had been revealed.

Democrats were furious that McCarthy, in an unguarded moment, had revealed that their major Presidential candidate had been the victim of a Republican smear campaign disguised as a legitimate inquiry.

And Republicans were furious that McCarthy, in an unguarded moment, had revealed that the “legitimate inquiry” had been nothing more than a Republican smear campaign.

For McCarthy, the Benghazi Committee had legitimately served the nation—not by uncovering relevant details about a terrorist act but by causing Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers to drop.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan had attacked the leaders of the Soviet Union thusly: “They reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat.”

McCarthy’s comments demonstrated that the Republican Party had adopted the same mindset and tactics as the dictators of the former Soviet Union.

Almost seven years after Kevin McCarthy revealed himself and his party as ruthless hypocrites, Republicans suffered a similar outbreak of truth.

But this time, the stakes were higher—involving Donald J. Trump, the former President of the United States.  

COUNTDOWN TO DOOMSDAY: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 23, 2023 at 12:10 am

President Joseph Biden acts as if he must accept Republican extortion demands or watch the country’s economy collapse. 

But there are legal remedies for punishing such criminal behavior. Biden needs only to direct the Justice Department to apply them.

  • Biden can direct Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate whether actions by Republican Congressmen broke Federal anti-racketeering and/or anti-terrorism laws.
  • Garland, in turn, can order the FBI to conduct that investigation.
  • If the FBI finds sufficient evidence that these laws have been violated, Garland can convene criminal grand juries to indict those violators.

Official portrait of United States Attorney General Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland

Criminally investigating and possibly indicting members of Congress would not violate the separation-of-powers principle. Congressmen have in the past been investigated, indicted and convicted for various criminal offenses. 

Aside from their guilt for extortion, at least 147 Republican Congressional members tried to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 Presidential election to illegally retain Donald Trump in the White House. They can easily be indicted and prosecuted for electoral fraud.

Making the job easier for prosecutors: Former President Donald Trump, still de facto boss of the Republican party, has openly stated his desire to see default happen.

At his infamous May 10 town hall interview with CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins, Trump urged Republicans to default on the United States national debt if President Biden won’t agree to budget cuts.

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Donald Trump

TRUMP: I say to the Republicans out there—Congressmen, Senators—if they don’t give you massive cuts, you’re going to have to do a default. And I don’t believe they’re going to do a default because I think the Democrats will absolutely cave because you don’t want to have that happen.

But it’s better than what we’re doing right now because we’re spending money like drunken sailors. You know the expression? 

COLLINS: You once said that using the—that using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge just could not happen. You—you said that when you were in the Oval Office.

TRUMP: Sure, that’s when I was President.

COLLINS: So why is it different now that you’re out of office?

TRUMP: Because now I’m not President. 

In short: If I’m not President, the country can be destroyed for all I care.

Yet for all of Trump’s professed concern about the national deficit, on August 2, 2019, he signed into law a two-year budget deal that raised spending by $320 billion over existing spending caps set in a 2011 law.

The bill also boosted military and domestic spending, and lifted the debt ceiling, which is the legal limit on the amount of debt the federal government can have. 

The bill threatened to push the budget deficit to more than $1 trillion in 2019 for only the second time since the Great Recession of 2007-2008 and add $1.7 trillion to the federal debt over a decade. 

Besides ordering the Justice Department to indict extortionist Republicans, Biden could stand up to them in another way: By urging his fellow Americans to rally to him in a moment of supreme national danger. 

President John F. Kennedy did just that—successfully—during the most dangerous crisis of his administration.

Addressing the Nation on October 22, 1962, Kennedy shocked his fellow citizens by revealing that the Soviet Union had installed offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba.

John F. Kennedy

Kennedy outlined a series of steps he had taken to end the crisis—most notably, a blockade of Cuba. Then he sought to reassure and inspire his audience:

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.”

President Biden could send that same message to the extortionists of the Republican Party—but he has refused to do so.

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the newly-installed Speaker of the House of Representatives, has told CNN that Republicans would demand spending cuts in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling. Those cuts would come at the expense of the poorest American citizens, as this has been the standard Republican practice.

Appearing on The PBS Newshour on January 17, Wendy Edelberg of the Hamilton Project, a liberal economic think tank, warned of potential disaster if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling: 

“It’s playing a game with the U.S. economy and people’s lives that I think is irresponsible….I’m very confident that the White House and Democrats in Congress stand ready to negotiate on future tax and spending laws and changes to those laws.

“What I don’t understand is why those negotiations are linked to the debt ceiling. Maybe they’re both about borrowing, and so people have gotten confused. One is about backward-looking obligations based on previous laws, tax and spending laws that were enacted, and one is about future.”

There’s no mystery: By linking the debt ceiling to tax and spending negotiations, Republicans believe they can extort any concessions they want from President Biden.

But this doesn’t have to happen.

Biden can choose to invoke criminal law against criminal extortion. If he does so, he will save the Nation from financial extinction. 

And he will send a message to future Right-wing extortionists: The lives  and fortunes of American citizens may not be held hostage to gain leverage in a political settlement..

COUNTDOWN TO DOOMSDAY: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 22, 2023 at 12:23 am

Once again, Republicans are ruthlessly playing “chicken” with the nation’s financial security. 

During the Presidency of Barack Obama, Republicans threatened to plunge the country into defaulting on its loans to force sharp budget cuts to non-military spending.

Seven years later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised the Republicans’ massive contribution to the national debt under President Donald Trump.

On August 2, 2019, Trump signed into law a two-year budget deal that raised spending by $320 billion over existing spending caps set in a 2011 law—and boosted military and domestic spending.

The bill also lifted the debt ceiling, which is the legal limit on the amount of debt the federal government can have. 

The bill threatened to push the budget deficit to more than $1 trillion in 2019 for only the second time since the Great Recession of 2007-2008 and add $1.7 trillion to the federal debt over a decade. 

By January, 2021, the national debt had risen by almost $7.8 trillion during Trump’s time in office. It amounted to about $23,500 in new federal debt for every person in the country.

But now, with Democrat Joseph Biden as President, Republicans have become “fiscal conservatives.”

Joe Biden presidential portrait.jpg

Joseph Biden

And they are prepared to plunge the United States into financial ruin unless Democrats once again meet their extortion demands.

The debt ceiling is the legal limit for how much debt the United States can take on as a country. Once that limit is hit, the U.S. Treasury can no longer issue bonds to raise funds to pay for everything that the government does. 

In a January 13th letter, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders that the United States is expected to hit the debt limit by June 1—and urged them to raise the debt limit as soon as possible.

“Once the limit is reached, the Treasury will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations.”

Secretary Janet Yellen portrait.jpg

Janet Yellen

Congress last raised the debt ceiling in December 2021 to more than $31.3 trillion. At the time, Democrats controlled both the House and Senate.

But the 2022 mid-term elections gave Republicans control of the House. And Republicans are threatening the nation with defaulting on its loans now that Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is its new Speaker. 

New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks described these Republicans on the January 6, 2023 edition of The PBS Newshour: “These are nihilists. They came here, and they’re quite open about that, especially with their friends, and they say, we just want to burn the place down.

“And so they just want to be negative, be oppositional, and then go on TV and say everyone else has screwed up. And so this is a form of nihilism that is in the Republican Party.” 

Congressional Republicans have:

  • Rejected a new White House offer to essentially freeze domestic spending at FY2023 levels;
  • Demanded work requirements for SNAP recipients that are more rigid than those they originally proposed;
  • Demanded that new immigration provisions be added to the GOP’s recently passed border bill (which Republicans didn’t include in their own debt ceiling bill).

If default occurrs, the results will be disastrous. Payments for some or many federal expenditures could go unpaid for part or all of the impasse. Affected payments and programs would include:

  • Interest on the national debt
  • Social Security
  • FBI
  • Medicare
  • Income tax refunds
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Defense
  • Food safety inspections
  • Border security
  • Air traffic control
  • Medicaid
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Yet President Joe Biden can end that threat via the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. 

Passed by Congress in 1970, as Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1961-1968, its goal was to destroy the Mafia.

Originally, RICO was aimed at the Mafia and other organized crime syndicates.  But in United States v. Turkette, 452 U.S. 576 (1981), the Supreme Court held that RICO applied as well to legitimate enterprises being operated in a criminal manner.

After Turkette,  RICO could also be used against corporations, political protest groups, labor unions and loosely knit-groups of people. 

Georgia asks judge to toss DOJ lawsuit targeting voting law

United States Department of Justice

RICO opens with a series of definitions of “racketeering activity” which can be prosecuted by Justice Department attorneys. Among those crimes: Extortion.

Extortion is defined as “a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion.”

The RICO Act defines “a pattern of racketeering activity” as “at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years…after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity.” 

And if President Biden believes that RICO isn’t sufficient to deal with Republicans’ extortion attempts, he can rely on the USA Patriot Act of 2001, passed in the wake of 9/11. In Section 802, the Act defines domestic terrorism. Among the behavior that is defined as criminal:  

“Activities that…appear to be intended…to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion [and]…occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” 

The remedies for punishing such criminal behavior are now legally in place. President Biden needs only to direct the Justice Department to apply them.

ANN COULTER: TRUMP ISN’T THE FUHRER I THOUGHT HE WAS

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 19, 2023 at 12:16 am

On November 6, 2012, Ann Coulter, the Right-wing activist and propagandist, was devastated by the re-election of President Barack Obama.   

“People are suffering. The country is in disarray,” she whined during an interview.If Mitt Romney [the Republican Presidential nominee] cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than makers and it’s over. There is no hope.”

Mitt Romney

So, naturally, Coulter and her fellow Rightists felt dejected.   

But by 2016, Coulter no longer felt dismayed. She felt rejuvenated—for she had found her perfect Presidential candidate: Donald Trump.

Appearing on the Right-wing radio program, “The Eric Metaxes Show,” she said: “It is like the fall of Rome but, thank God, and I am not using the Lord’s name in vain, I mean that absolutely literally, thank God for raising up Donald Trump and giving us a chance to save the country.

“What is the point of talking about abortion or anything else unless you get Donald Trump in to build the wall, deport illegals, end this ‘anchor baby’ nonsense, stop importing 100,000 Muslims a year, in addition to two million Third Worlders per year. It’s madness what this country has been doing.” 

Donald Trump

Coulter not only spoke on Trump’s behalf—she sang his praises in a 2016 book: In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!

According to its dust jacket: “[Ann Coulter] argues that a bull in the china shop is exactly what we need to make America great again.

“In this powerful book, Coulter explains why conservatives, moderates, and even disgruntled Democrats should set aside their doubts and embrace Trump:

“He’s putting America first in our trade deals and alliances, rather than pandering to our allies and enemies.

“He’s abandoned the GOP’s decades-long commitment to a bellicose foreign policy, at a time when the entire country is sick of unnecessary wars.” 

Buy In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! Book Online at Low Prices in India | In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

 

To Coulter’s delight, Trump defeated Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on November 9, 2016.

But by May, 2017, four months after Trump had taken office as President, Ann Coulter was ready to abandon him. Her chief complaint: He hadn’t built the wall along the United States-Mexican border he had promised to erect.

“We want the ruthless businessman we were promised,” she told the Right-wing website, The Daily Caller.

I guess we have to try to push him to keep his promises. But this isn’t North Korea, and if he doesn’t keep his promises I’m out.

“This is why we voted for him. I think everyone who voted for him knew his personality was grotesque, it was the issues.” 

And, on March 28, 2018, she had more choice words for him: “I knew he was a shallow, lazy ignoramus, and I didn’t care.  

“I’d been waiting 30 years for someone to say all these things,” she added, referring to his promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

On April, 1, she—by her own account—had a shouting match with Trump in the Oval Office. 

Ann Coulter (Gage Skidmore photo)

On the Right-wing “Howie Carr Show,” she claimed to have told him: “You’re not doing what you promised to do. Where’s the end of NAFTA? Where’s the wall? Where are the deportations? What are you doing talking about the DREAMers?”  

Coulter (doing a Trump impersonation) claimed that Trump said: “I appointed Gorsuch.” 

“And I said that doesn’t count. Jeb, exclamation point, would have done that. Rubio would have done that. How is your Presidency different than from Rubio would have done?”

“He’s failing right now,” Coulter told Carr. “The presidency isn’t over yet, he can still come back and do it. But people who voted for him shouldn’t be cheering for him every time he betrays them and this is a total betrayal for him to sign that [government appropriations] bill. It’s a total betrayal for him not to build the wall. And to pretend like it isn’t—yeah he can come back.

“And as I told The New York Times, if he does I’ll start a committee to put him on Mount Rushmore, if he builds that wall. But, right now, if you want to make a bet I don’t think we’re getting the wall.”

But Trump didn’t build that wall. And Coulter is still furious with him.

In an April 4, 2023 column, she wrote: “The left’s sole objective is to make Trump the Republicans’ 2024 presidential nominee. He’s already lost three election cycles for the GOP—why not make it four?” 

Polls show Trump’s popularity surged following a series of lawsuits—both civil and criminal—that were filed against him.

Coulter is backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—who has polled significantly better than Trump among crucial independent voters—for President in 2024.

“Against DeSantis’ smarts and energy, the Democrats would be running President Senile Dementia [Joe Biden] and a vice president whose sole credentials are that she is black and a woman,” Coulter wrote.

“They [Democrats] had only one hope: Get Trump the nomination.”

In short: She backed a monster to wreak destruction on those she hated. And now she’s upset with him because he didn’t act monstrously enough.

She’s hoping her next pick will live up to her monstrous fantasies.

VERMIN IN PARADISE: PART FOUR (END)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary, Uncategorized on May 18, 2023 at 12:11 am

The latest wrinkle in San Francisco’s “be kind to Untermenschen (the German word for “subhumans”) campaign is the creation of “Navigation Centers.”         

These are essentially holding pens for Unters—short for Untemschen”until they can be “navigated” to permanent housing. 

But housing is in short supply in San Francisco, and there is no telling how long many of these drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill and/or bums will stay in them. Or what harm they will wreak on the neighborhoods warehousing them.

Since 2015, eight Navigation Centers have been opened throughout San Francisco; six are in operation.

Among the “amenities” they provide:

  • Meals
  • Privacy
  • Space for pets
  • Space separate from sleeping areas
  • Laundry
  • Access to benefits
  • Wi-Fi

Hundreds—if not thousands—of their occupants are meth or heroin addicts. Such people will commit virtually any crime to support their habit. And their crimes of choice are burglary and robbery. 

Little Falls Police Warning Public After Suspected Heroin Overdoses - YouTube

Thus, pouring large numbers of them into San Francisco neighborhoods via “Navigation Centers” guarantees that countless decent citizens will become targets for desperate criminals.

In fact, when they’re not swallowing alcohol or injecting, swallowing or sniffing drugs, many of San Francisco’s “homeless” spend a lot of their time ripping off retail stores.

Walgreens drug stores have proven a particular target for these DDMBs—Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bumsthe four groups that make up 90% of the “homeless” population.

“I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted,” a regular customer, Sebastian Luke, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved. They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”

Walgreens 2020 primary logo.svg

“Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average,” Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso told the Chronicle in October, 2021. 

“During this time to help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.” 

“Why are the shelves empty?” a customer asked a clerk at a Walgreens store.

“Go ask the people in the alleys, they have it all,” replied the clerk.

As a result, Walgreens has closed 11 stores in San Francisco

One store in the San Francisco area reportedly lost $1,000 a day to theft. 

CVS Pharmacy has instructed its employees to not intervene because the thieves so often attack them.

Many shoplifters then sell their stolen goods on the street—often near the store where they stole them.

Under California law, theft under $950 is considered a misdemeanor, but many prosecutors prefer to free those charged rather than holding them in jail.

The maximum sentence they could get: Six months. 

Shoplifting at Exchange costs military in many ways | Flickr

Low-income and disabled seniors who depend on these disappearing drug stores for prescriptions are especially at risk. 

“Navigation Centers” boast that they ban drug-abuse or drug-dealing on their own premises. But they allow DDMBs to come and go at will. Which means they are free to engage in drug-abuse and/or drug-dealing in the neighborhoods where these centers exist. 

At a public hearing in January, 2020, San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin touted the importance of Navigation Centers—including the one that would soon be established at Post and Hyde Streets.

When a local resident asked, “Is one of these centers located where you live?” Peskin replied: “No.”

In short: The city’s elite make sure their homes are far removed from the plague they so easily inflict on San Francisco residents.

Huge areas of the city are covered in feces, urine, trash and used hypodermic needles. Hospitals overflow with patients that have fallen ill due to the contamination.

The city budgeted $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2021-22 on DDMBs. Dividing that amount by about 7,754 DDMBs provides the figure of about $128,925 per DDMB per year.  

And what is the legacy of allowing San Francisco to become a Roach Motel for undesirables? 

  • Sidewalks are littered with tents, sleeping bags, human feces and urine, used hypodermic needles and empty cans or bottles of alcoholic beverages.
  • Elevators in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system are often unusable because “homeless” people urinate and/or defecate in them.
  • Restaurants have been forced to close because they’ve become havens for DDMBs. A Burger King at Civic Center Plaza recently suffered this fate. So did a McDonald’s in the Haight Ashbury district. 
  • Tourists—and residents—are daily forced to sit next to filth-encrusted men and women who reek of urine and/or feces in restaurants and movie theaters, as well as on buses.
  • The city has lost several major conventions through its reputation for coddling Untermenschen at the expense of tourists.
  • Oracle has moved its annual OpenWorld conference to Las Vegas for at least three years.
  • And cloud-computing VMware canceled its contract with the Moscone Center for its 2023 conference.
  • As a result tourism is down about 16% from 2019, when a record 26.2 million people visited the city.
  • When tourism dollars disappear, so will San Francisco as a vital city.

It is a recipe for guaranteed disaster.

VERMIN IN PARADISE: PART THREE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on May 17, 2023 at 12:10 am

If you are a firefighter, police officer, paramedic or schoolteacher, and want to live in San Francisco, forget it.       

According to Rent Cafe, which provides apartment listings directly from top property managers: “The average [monthly] rent for an apartment in San Francisco is $2,879.” And “the average size for a San Francisco apartment is 739 square feet.”

Patent 523 Apartments for Rent in Seattle, WA | Essex

But there’s hope for you yet—if you’re a Druggie, Drunk, Mental or Bum (DDMBs). 

Why? 

Because the Mayor of San Francisco—currently London Breed—and Board of Supervisors have deliberately created an Untermenschen-friendly program that actually encourages such people to move to the city.

“Untermenschen,” in German, means “subhuman.”

The short version of this is “Unters.”

A major part of this lies in placing these “guests” in hotels throughout the city. These range from the relatively low-budget Motel 6 to the luxurious Mark Hopkins.

“Guests” receive personal grooming, sanitary and cleaning supplies, three delivered meals, and laundry service for clothes and linens. 

The hotels were pressured into accepting the Unters, but they also wanted to recover monies lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is paying $200 per night per room, totaling $6,000 a monthnearly double the cost of a private one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco

But there is a big catch for the hotels: When the “homeless” are placed in subsidized housing, their mental illness, irresponsible addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and/or generally sloth-like habits usually trash those premises.

San Francisco is secretly placing DDMBs—Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bumsamong the tourists who check into these hotels. It does so by designating them as “emergency front-line workers.”

For most people, this means doctors, nurses and similar professionals.

It doesn’t mean DDMBs, if not outright criminals

The city has invoked emergency-disaster law to keep this information secret. Officials refuse to notify the public about the dangers within their midst. The list of hotels is withheld from the press and reporters are forbidden to enter the properties. 

City and hotel workers are required to sign nondisclosure agreements that forbid them to reveal the dangers they and their legitimate guests are exposed to. Doing so is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

Despite this, the truth has been leaking out. Security guards stand outside hotel entrances, alerting anyone who sees them that all is not well. Crime, vagrancy and drug usage/dealing have also increased around the hotels.

In one hotel, Unters receive needle kits and are advised to call the front desk before shooting up. Drug-related deaths have occurred. Containers for safely disposing of needles are placed on every floor. Even so, used syringes are often left where non-addicts can be infected by them.

“There are parties, drug overdoses, deaths, assaults on people, sexual harassment. It’s pandemonium,” City Journal writer Erica Sandberg reported. “This is very bad and it needs to be stopped.

“What they [hotel employees] told about the situation inside goes beyond any scope. They are not just terrified, they are traumatized by what they see. According to their stories, in hotels they found mattresses with feces, blood, hospital bandages on the floor. What people see is so terrible that they go out and say, ‘I don’t want to go back there.'”

City officials provide far more than free room and board to DDMBs

The Department of Public Health (DPH) runs the COVID-19 Alternative Housing Program. And it works in two stages:

Stage 1: Move the “homeless” into the city’s hotels—at city expense.

Stage 2: Provide them with not only free food and shelter but free alcohol, cannabis, and cigarettes. 

According to a May 11, 2020 story in City Journal.org:

“The program’s primary purpose is to keep homeless people, the majority of whom are addicts, out of harm’s way during the pandemic. By getting their substance of choice delivered, the thinking goes, the guests may be more apt to remain in their government-funded rooms.

“Another purpose of the program is to protect the public against the spread of coronavirus. The city doesn’t want homeless people who should be staying in their rooms roaming the neighborhood in search of the substances, potentially infecting others.”   

But the agency doesn’t require that its addict “guests” remain quarantined. It merely asks that they do so.San Francisco Department of Public Health - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding

After news about these deliveries leaked on social media, DPH claimed that “rumors that guests of San Francisco’s alternative housing program are receiving taxpayer-funded deliveries of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco are false.”

Except that the reports weren’t false.

The program is funded by private philanthropists.  Nevertheless:

  • DPH administers and oversees the program.
  • It’s staffed by city workers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and security personnel.
  • The department manages, stores and distributes the substances.
  • Employee time is involved.

Thus, the program is financed by taxpayers, even if an outside group provides some of the funding. 

The latest wrinkle in San Francisco’s “be kind to Untermenschen campaign is the creation of “Navigation Centers.” These are essentially holding pens for Untersuntil they can be “navigated” to permanent housing. 

VERMIN IN PARADISE: PART TWO (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on May 16, 2023 at 12:10 am

On November 3, 2021, National Public Radio’s website carried the following headline: “San Francisco’s new rapid response teams race to save lives as ODs dramatically rise.”    

From the story:

“‘Fentanyl is a game-changer,’ Dr. Hillary Kunins, the city’s director of behavioral and mental health services, says of the opioid that’s 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. ‘It requires a new way of thinking and resourcing.’ It also, she says, ‘requires people to learn to work across disciplines and sometimes across organizations.'”

And what is the ultimate result of repeatedly saving drug-abusers from their own self-destructive behavior?  

In his 2021 bestseller, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, author Michael Shellenberger provides the answer. 

San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities: Shellenberger, Michael: 9780063093621: Amazon.com: Books

According to its dust jacket:

“Progressives claimed they knew how to solve homelessness, inequality, and crime. But in cities they control, progressives made those problems worse.

“Michael Shellenberger has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for thirty years. During that time, he advocated for the decriminalization of drugs, affordable housing, and alternatives to jail and prison.

“But as homeless encampments spread, and overdose deaths skyrocketed, Shellenberger decided to take a closer look at the problem. What he discovered shocked him. The problems had grown worse not despite but because of progressive policies.”

In a June 1, 2022 interview with The Spectator World, Shellenberger blamed liberal ideology for this epidemic:

“The first thing is that they don’t enforce laws. They don’t enforce laws against people that they consider victims, which includes addicts and the mentally ill. And if you don’t enforce laws it turns out people don’t follow them and you don’t have functioning civilization.

Michael Shellenberger.jpg

Michael Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

“The second is that they have pursued a radical de-incarceration, de-policing and decriminalization agenda, which has removed penalties for many laws, including shoplifting $950 worth of goods, or possessing three grams of fentanyl and meth, enough to produce paranoid psychosis. And they’ve pursued a so-called housing first anti-shelter policy.

“So they’ve defunded the shelters. The governor himself has established that housing should be a right. That anybody who comes to San Francisco or Los Angeles should have their own apartment unit in those cities. That is the state policy. It is so ridiculous. It is shocking to even say that that is what the policy is, but that is what it is.

“What we need is pretty straightforward. We need to enforce laws. We need a shelter-first housing-earned policy and you need statewide psychiatric and addiction care like they have in every civilized country.

“We’re reviving people from overdose six, nine, twelve times and then sending them right back onto the streets to smoke more fentanyl. It’s bonkers.

“Fifty percent to 75 percent of all fires put out by the San Francisco and Los Angeles fire departments are in homeless encampments. My own research, and the research of others, shows that most of these are arson fires, people just getting back at each other.”

And how did the city’s mayor, London Breed, respond to the closing of Whole Foods Market?  With a public statement that was pure boilerplate: 

“Public safety is Mayor Breed’s top priority and vital to the City’s work around restoring our economy and making our residents and workers feel safe. 

“Over the last several months, the San Francisco Police Department and the Mayor’s Office have been working collaboratively with Whole Foods’ leadership to address public safety issues at their 8th and Market location.

“We will continue to engage with them about the future use of the site. The Police will continue aggressively enforcing against open-air drug dealing, maximizing police response to urgent calls for assistance, partnering with retailers to address theft in their stores, and enforcing new street vending regulations to disrupt the sale of stolen goods.”

In short: Blah-blah-blah.

Nowhere in that statement is there any mention that from 2020 to July, 2022, San Francisco had a District Attorney—Chesa Boudin—who saw criminals as victims and sought any reason to excuse them for their crimes. 

Nor is there any mention that the current D.A.—Brooke Jenkins—remains stymied by the realities that, under California law: 

  • Theft under $950 is considered a misdemeanor.
  • As a result, many prosecutors prefer to free those charged rather than holding them in jail.
  • The maximum sentence offenders can get is six months. 

Also left unsaid:

  • Firefighters, police officers and schoolteachers are unable to afford the extortionate rents charged by San Francisco landlords. But city officials have thrown out the welcome mat for DDMBs—Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bums
  • Many DDMBs refuse to enter the city’s available shelters. Some claim these places are dangerous—understandably so, since they’re peopled with drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill and outright bums. 
  • Another reason why many of these shelters go unused: They don’t allow their “guests” to drink up or drug up.

The latest wrinkle in San Francisco’s “be kind to Untermenschen campaign is the creation of “Navigation Centers.” These are essentially holding pens for DDMBsuntil they can be “navigated” to permanent housing.

This is a triumph of misleading language over reality, since there is little available housing in San Francisco to “navigate” them to.

VERMIN IN PARADISE: PART ONE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on May 15, 2023 at 12:19 am

“My son Don was beaten by two men with a steel pipe last night on Laguna Street and Lombard Street,” read a Nextdoor post by Joan Carmignani, the mother of the former San Francisco Fire Commissioner, Don Carmignani.

She thanked the neighbors who stopped the fight and called 911: “If they were not there my son would be dead! He is in the hospital with a skull fracture, broken jaw and many cuts.”

Camignani was attacked around 7:20 p.m. on April 5 in the upscale San Francisco Marina District. 

Five days later, on April 10, one of the largest supermarkets in Downtown San Francisco—the Whole Foods Market at Eighth and Market streets—announced it would shut down at the close of business that day.

Whole Foods Market 201x logo.svg

The store, operated by Amazon, had been operating slightly more than a year.  

White these two incidents might seem to be unrelated, they actually shared a common link: Both were victims of San Francisco’s notorious toleration of DDMBs—Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bums.  

The Politically Correct name for these people is “homeless.” The accurate name for them is summed up in a German word: “Untermenschen”“subhumans.”

“Right now, one of my dear friends is in the hospital because last night in the Marina he was attacked by a homeless person with a metal pipe,” San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose District 2 covers the Marina, said in a city meeting.

Stefani explained that Don Carmignani’s mother had called the police because homeless people were doing drugs outside her door and wouldn’t leave. When no police responded, her son came to talk to the men outside her door and was assaulted.

“It was two guys smoking meth or crack in front of his mother’s house, like blocking the entrance, and she’s in her late 70s,” said Ali Jamalian, a friend of Carmignani’s. 

SF Supervisor Catherine Stefani.jpg

Catherine Stefani

Ironically, drugs have played a major role in Carmignani’s life: “He’s a very well-known local cannabis entrepreneur. He’s always been a pro-cannabis landlord and a fighter for the cause,” Jamalian said.

Stefani blamed the lack of police for the assault: “We’re 55 officers short in the Northern Station. That’s a real thing. This isn’t fear-mongering. I’ve been here 21 years, and this didn’t use to happen. I believe this is a direct result of the fact that we do not have enough officers on our street.”

Given the Politically Correct climate of San Francisco, it was almost guaranteed to happen—as was the closing of the Whole Foods store at Market and Eighth.

At its opening, on March 10, 2022, the store operated from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. By October, it opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m.

“It’s to better serve our customers, and it’s more or less because of the area and security issues,” said the store’s manager. “There’s just high theft and people being hostile.”

In November, the store enforced new rules for customers after syringes and pipes were found in the restroom. The bathroom was now open only to customers who showed security guards a receipt. Customers were then given a QR code for entry.

It was no coincidence that the bathrooms were often used by drug-abusers—the store was close to the Tenderloin Center, a safe drug-use site. 

Crack cocaine 

Argv0, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikipedia Commons 

Another reason for the change in bathroom policy: Thieves would fill up suitcases with merchandise before going into the restroom.

And who is ultimately responsible for such outrages as the assault on a former San Francisco Fire Commissioner and the closing of a major downtown supermarket? 

San Francisco’s topmost officials—the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, District Attorney and chief of the San Francisco Police Department. Together, they have formed an “Untermenschen”-friendly alliance.

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted a massive loss in foot traffic in downtown San Francisco as employees fled high rises to work remotely from home. Many small businesses—especially restaurants—shuttered.

Compounding this disaster has been an increasing influx of DDMBs—Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bums. Sidewalks are littered with tents, used hypodermic syringes and needles, empty beer cans and wine bottles, human feces and pools of urine.

The local and national press have predicted a “doom loop” facing San Francisco, as the city’s tourism rate sharply declines and City Hall officials currently project a nearly $800 million deficit in San Francisco’s budget.

But this has not prevented these same officials from calling for increased efforts to comfort those very parasites who threaten not only their own lives but those of law-abiding San Franciscans and the city’s tourism industry. 

On November 3, 2021, National Public Radio’s website carried the following headline: “San Francisco’s new rapid response teams race to save lives as ODs dramatically rise.”

From the story:

“Faced with a stunning rise in drug overdose deaths the last few years, the vast majority tied to fentanyl, San Francisco has launched mobile teams made up of paramedics and nurses.

“The new Street Overdose Response Teams (SORT), a collaboration between the city’s health and fire departments, aim to deliver a broad range of support and care directly following an overdose.”

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