Stains on the CV

Dec 26th, 2020 12:11 pm | By

We at least have some hope that the people who worked for Trump won’t be able to land the usual hotshot jobs.

Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state under President George W Bush, is now director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, which also gave safe harbour to Trump alumni Jim Mattis and HR McMaster.

White House press secretaries can prosper in the media or corporate world. Jay Carney, who was Barack Obama’s spokesman from 2011 to 2014, is a senior vice-president and head of public relations for Amazon. His successor, Josh Earnest, who had a spell as an NBC News and MSNBC analyst, is now senior vice-president and chief communications officer at United Airlines.

But Kayleigh McEnany, who currently occupies the podium, may find such work harder to come by.

Since she stood up there and brazenly lied to us week after week, yes she probably will. Wacko right-wing outlets might hire her, but ones that care at all about a reputation for honesty won’t.

There are some possible refuges in Washington. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative thinktank that has hosted speeches by Trump officials and endorsers, and the Federalist Society, hugely influential in the president’s appointment of more than 200 conservative judges, could look favourably on those who stayed loyal to the bitter end.

Possibly, but I think even they prefer people with decent reputations.



Two every hour

Dec 26th, 2020 11:35 am | By

Los Angeles is being hammered the way New York was last spring.

LA county has faced an onslaught of terrifying Covid developments in recent days, including a surge in deaths, dire shortages of hospital resources, and fears that doctors will have to make agonizing choices to ration care.

Heading into the darkest holiday season some have ever endured, there were grim reminders across the LA region that the virus is spreading uncontrolled. The city’s mayor briefed the public while in quarantine after his daughter became infected. Hospitals were setting up triage tents. Residents waited in line for hours for Covid tests at Dodger stadium. The region recently ordered more body bags.

Outbreaks were afflicting grocery stores, restaurants, stores, shopping malls, Amazon warehouses, manufacturing plants, government buildings, police and fire departments, jails and prisons and film sets.

Officials in LA county estimated that one in 95 residents were currently infectious, and that two residents were dying of Covid every hour. More than 6,000 Covid patients are in the hospital, and intensive care units (ICU) are filled to capacity.

And it’s getting worse, not better.

LA is now reporting an average of more than 14,700 cases each day, a 78% increase from two weeks ago, according to LA Times data. Seven hundred people are hospitalized daily; in October there were fewer than 150 daily hospitalizations. By January, officials say it could be 1,400 admissions each day. More than 9,000 people have died.

With shortages of beds and staff growing, hospitals are starting to have previously unthinkable discussions about how they may ration care if there are too many patients. It could mean a decline in the quality of care for all people facing emergencies, and an increase in deaths.

LA’s affordable housing crisis, which forces many to live in crowded conditions, also makes the region vulnerable to spread, said Bibbins-Domingo. Her research found that early lockdowns did not protect Latinos or people without high school degrees, probably because they were forced to work.

Who could ever have guessed that severe wealth inequality could create conditions that would spread a deadly new virus? Who could possibly have imagined that crowded expensive housing and low wages and minimal or no healthcare would be fertile ground for a pandemic?



Precisely at the time

Dec 26th, 2020 9:55 am | By

And justify the ways of God to men…

Ah yes, very excellent integration of science and faith. What a kind and careful and scientifically alert god it is, to wait to inflict a new virus on us until…um…there were plenty of ICUs to handle the cases? No. There were enough hospitals everywhere in the world to handle the cases? No. There were responsible governments everywhere in the world that knew how to protect their people from a new virus? No. People had become reasonable? No. No, apparently this god waited until it knew a vaccine would take a year to develop and many more months to distribute. REASON TO BELIEVE.

Unless of course you then ask yourself why unleash a new virus at all. Unless you wonder what the point is, when there are already plenty of causes of death and they operate quite well, with especially brutal efficiency in the poorer countries, and when death does the job 100% of the time anyway.

And unless you wonder how the nice man knows that this is how the timing and motivation went. I, for one, wonder how he knows the god didn’t time this for when the US and UK and Brazil have reckless clueless fools in charge, and for when the poorer countries can’t afford the infrastructure to provide hospitals and doctors and ventilators and medicines, and an infinite number of other specifics of that kind.



It was the patriotism

Dec 25th, 2020 5:34 pm | By

Hey about that whole pardons thing.

Funny how it’s always Republicans. Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich was disgusting, but it didn’t open all the doors to criminality the way Ford’s and Bush’s did, let alone the way Trump’s are.

Upon discovering this secret aid, Congress outlawed it, in amendments attached to annual defense appropriations bills and therefore known after their sponsor as the Boland Amendments.

So haha, Reagan wasn’t having that.

North was convicted of obstruction instead; an appeals court threw out the conviction 2-1 because the jury might have been influenced by North’s televised testimony to Congress. Walsh prosecuted former national security adviser John Poindexter for similar offenses next, obtaining a conviction that was thrown out for identical reasons.

Heads they win tails we lose.

Walsh found himself further frustrated by official refusals to acknowledge the existence of contemporaneous notes and claims never even to have received his requests for such notes. He got former defense secretary Caspar Weinberg’s notes only in late 1991, and Bush’s diary in November 1992—after the president had lost his reelection bid. Such delays helped ensure Walsh couldn’t indict Weinberger for obstruction until June 1992. Walsh filed a further charge in October using evidence from Weinberger’s notes showing that Bush knew about the arms-for-hostages portion of the deal. Weinberger’s trial would therefore surely have implicated Bush.

Buuuuut Bush pardoned him.

Bush also pardoned Robert MacFarlane, Elliott Abrams, and three CIA officers for their roles in Iran-Contra. Walsh—a lifelong Republican—said, “In light of President Bush’s own misconduct, we are gravely concerned about his decision to pardon others who lied to Congress and obstructed official investigations.” “The Iran-Contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed with the pardon of Caspar Weinberger,” Walsh noted.

But Bush prettied it up.

When pardoning the Iran-Contra criminals, President Bush said, “the common denominator of their motivation—whether their actions were right or wrong—was patriotism.”

Yeeeahhhh anybody can say that. The Nazis could and did say that. Trump says that constantly (in cruder words, of course). Patriotism excuses nothing.

And what Trump is doing now…you know how that sentence ends.



Time to go

Dec 25th, 2020 4:54 pm | By

Interesting.

Donald Trump’s longtime banker at Deutsche Bank AG will be stepping down from the German lender, with the move coming as the bank looks for ways to cut its relations with the U.S. president.

Cut its relations and maybe get its money back? He’s stiffed them for millions.

Rosemary Vrablic, a managing director and senior banker in the lender’s wealth management division, recently handed in her resignation, which the bank accepted effective as of year-end, Deutsche Bank spokesman Dan Hunter said in an emailed statement.

According to the New York Times, which first reported Vrablic’s resignation, she arranged for the lender to grant hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to Trump’s company.

Well you can see why they’re not begging her to stay.

As of November, Deutsche Bank has about $340 million in loans outstanding to the Trump Organization, currently overseen by his two eldest sons.

All totally normal.



It’s in the framing

Dec 25th, 2020 11:55 am | By

Maya makes an important point about all this.

I’ll just quote the rest (with Twitter shortcuts and formatting removed).

You could argue that the court got it wrong; that it is in the interests of these children to be put on PBs because of psychological benefits (suicide risk argument) or because their future self will have a better life if transition is more visually convincing (outcomes argument).

You could argue this, and show compelling medical evidence (but the Tavistock failed to do this). Then you would weigh those benefits with the risks & negative impacts on those children (to their adult sexual function, and ability to have children bone density & chance of regret etc).

But what you shouldn’t do. What it is absolutely immoral to do is weigh the risks and negative impacts on those children against the interests of “trans people everywhere” or “the LGBT community.”

Oh yes. So you shouldn’t; so it is. It’s that poison word “community” again, that poison word that excuses and encourages and makes virtuous so much filthy oppressive life-narrowing shit.

As a society we must not sacrifice children’s welfare – sterilising them, medicalising them for life and taking away adult sexual function – to satisfy the interests of a community of adults. That would be child abuse.

Choices like these have been made before: people put the perceived interests and cohesion of the Catholic community, the gay community, the Scouting community, the Muslim community or whoever ahead of protecting children from harm (or they said the children ‘consented’)

Yes. Yes times a thousand. People also put the perceived interests and cohesion of the Catholic community and the Muslim community and the Mormon community and the fundamentalist community etc etc etc ahead of protecting women from abuse, oppression, coercion, disappearance, death. It’s a pattern. I hadn’t quite noticed that it’s the same pattern with “the trans community”…although I definitely had noticed the way trans activism uses its annexation to “the LGB community” to browbeat everyone out of all proportion to their numbers. Membership in the LGB commewniteee equals an enormous megaphone.



Congratulations Dharavi

Dec 25th, 2020 11:00 am | By

A bit of good news.

The Times of India:

Dharavi slum colony in Mumbai did not report a single Covid-19 case in the last 24 hours.

This is the first time since April 1, when the first coronavirus case was reported in Dharavi, that Asia’s largest slum has reported no new case in a single day.

According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data, so far Dharavi has reported 3,788 cases of which only 12 are active. 3,464 persons have recovered and been discharged from Covid centres.

That’s a lot of cases in one part of one city.

So far, 312 people have died due to Covid-19 in Dharavi, said the data released by Mumbai civic body.

On April 1, a 56-year-old man from Dharavi’s Baliga Nagar had tested positive creating panic and fear about the spread of the deadly virus in the dense slum pocket. This was the first Covid-19 case in the area.
Officials said that Dharavi had come full circle in its fight against Covid-19. From over a hundred cases a day in May and June, the number of new cases had reduced to single digits over recent months.

And didn’t rocket back up again the way they have in the US and UK.

“There has been a lot of community engagement and cooperation in Dharavi. It is because of that that we have been able to get to this zero-case milestone,” said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, G-North Ward.

“Our simple trace, track, test and treat formula has worked. Despite the dip in positive cases we will continue our rigorous screening and testing drives to ensure that there is no new spike in cases,” she said.

How sensible. We much prefer to throw big parties and show up maskless.



True north

Dec 25th, 2020 6:23 am | By



It didn’t work

Dec 24th, 2020 3:57 pm | By

I see I’m not the only one.

There are a lot more like that. A lot more.



Downhill

Dec 24th, 2020 11:14 am | By

Remember: Pence thinks, and says, that it’s a bad thing that Democrats (or the left more broadly) “want to make poverty comfortable.”

Meanwhile…

Uncomfortable poverty for them, publicly funded flights to Vail for him. Lockdown for them, vacations in Vail for him.



Stripped

Dec 24th, 2020 10:58 am | By

The cops are waiting at the exit.

Come noon on 20 January 2021, Trump and his inner circle will be private citizens again. Devoid of legal immunity, stripped of the air of invincibility, they become fair game for federal and local law enforcement alike. The potential for prison hovers over them like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Cyrus Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, is circling Trump and his business. Eric Trump has testified at a court-ordered deposition conducted by New York’s attorney general. As for federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York, they labeled Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Michael Cohen. The statute of limitations has not expired.

So the Trumps have to worry about New York the state along with New York the city. Federal prosecutors in the Southern District won’t be able to do anything if Trump pardons All The Trumps…unless it turns out that he can’t pardon himself, which many legal experts say he indeed can’t.

Giuliani is also on the list, and it pisses him off. Why? Did he think he had some kind of special dispensation?

Very soon now we’ll be able to stop thinking about Trump.

The justice department and the Federal Election Commission may soon want to talk to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, about his role in the Trump re-election campaign.

Reportedly, Kushner was a driving force in establishing a shell company, American Made Media Consultants, which made shrouded payments to Trump family members and friends. Indeed, Kushner purportedly directed Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, John Pence, the vice-president’s nephew, and the campaign’s chief financial officer to serve on the shell company board.

In the end, AMMC spent nearly half of the campaign’s war chest, with payments going to Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend, and Lara Trump, who is now contemplating a Senate run in North Carolina. Suffice to say, the legality of this opaque arrangement is unclear.

Three House Democrats have requested investigations by the Department of Justice and the FEC. Without a pardon, Jared’s fate will rest in the hands of a Biden DoJ. Said differently, Hunter Biden is not the only person with a troubled road ahead.

It would be funny if Prince Jared managed to annoy Trump enough between now and the last day that the pardon would not arrive.



Ivanka goes slumming

Dec 24th, 2020 10:26 am | By

The princess wants us to know that she really really cares about poor people.

Remember that story her friend from school told about her (cough) lack of interest in poor people?

In the most scathing passage, Ohrstrom claimed that in their mid-20s she recommended to her friend the book Empire Falls, a Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Richard Russo about working-class characters in a small town in Maine.

“‘Ly, why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?’ I remember Ivanka saying,” she wrote. “‘What part of you thinks I would be interested in this?’”

Not that it isn’t obvious without the story. Her “business” was selling expensive tat, her “work” for Daddy’s business involved marketing expensive real estate, her presentation of self is entirely Disney Princess. She probably jingles when she walks.



Look beyond the numbers

Dec 24th, 2020 9:08 am | By

The latest gotcha – ooooooh Obama pardoned lots more.

The issue isn’t quantity – although lots of a bad thing is worse than a little, so quantity is part of the issue in that sense. But in the rest of the senses it isn’t.

What a Maroon directed us to Politifact from last February.

The latest round of clemency grants from President Donald Trump sparked new criticism that he was abusing his expansive pardon powers by skirting the normal review process and favoring white-collar criminals who were prominent and well-connected.

But two days after the Feb. 18 announcements, a Facebook post implied that it was Barack Obama, not Trump, who had abused the largely unchecked pardon power.

The post said:

“Pardons — Obama: 1,927, Trump: 26. And Trump is abusing that power?” 

The raw numbers are not the only variable.

In his eight years in office, Obama issued 1,927 clemency actions. The vast majority of them — nearly 90% — were sentence commutations granted to ordinary individuals, based on a policy of criminal justice reform in drug cases, and specific recommendations from the U.S. Justice Department. Trump has acted outside the Justice Department process in granting clemency to a few well-known white-collar offenders.

It’s not a secret that criminal justice reform in drug cases is desperately needed. It’s not much more of a secret that Trump has zero interest in that kind of reform, and if you asked him about it he would shout that the sentences should be longer and harsher and imposed on more of Them.

It’s also not a secret that the US imprisons more people per capita than any other country on the planet. More than China, more than Russia, more than anyone. That’s not a proud statistic.

The prison system in the South functioned as a replacement for slavery for decades after Reconstruction was defeated by resurgent white supremacists (supremacist in the most literal sense). Prisoners did the work that slaves had done, in the cotton fields and the pine woods that yielded profitable turpentine. They did the work and they didn’t benefit from owners’ preference to keep them alive to protect the owners’ investment – they died like flies.

So, yes, Obama had good reasons to use the power of the pardon generously. Trump has different reasons, which are not so good.

“Obama acted in each case pursuant to a report and recommendation from the Justice Department, which came to him through an orderly and regular process that gave everyone a fair chance of success,” said Margaret Love, a lawyer specializing in executive clemency who was a Justice Department pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997. “By contrast, Trump has almost totally ignored the established DOJ process, and acted pursuant to informal and unofficial recommendations from friends, celebrities, media personalities, business colleagues, etc.”

The Trump White House has noted the achievements and the prominent supporters of people whom Trump granted clemency.

In announcing Trump’s 11 most recent actions, the White House cited the election of Edward DeBartolo Jr. to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an NFL team owner and his charitable contributions; called Michael Milken one of America’s greatest financiers and noted his philanthropic work; and praised former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for tutoring and mentoring fellow prisoners. 

DeBartolo, whose family controls the San Franscisco 49ers, was convicted in 1998 and sentenced to probation for failing to report a felony regarding an extortion attempt. Milken pleaded guilty to securities violations in 1989 and served two years in prison in the early 1990s. Both were pardoned.

Blagojevich received a commutation after spending eight years in prison for a scheme to sell an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat Obama vacated in 2008.

To sum up: saying “Obama pardoned MORE” as a gotcha is disgusting.



Pardon pardon pardon

Dec 23rd, 2020 5:15 pm | By

In today’s round of disgusting pardons

President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening announced 26 new pardons, including ones for longtime ally Roger Stone, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s father, Charles.

The pardons extend Trump’s streak of wielding his clemency powers for criminals who are loyalists, well-connected or adjacent to his family. While all presidents issue controversial pardons at the end of their terms, Trump appears to be moving at a faster pace than his predecessors, demonstrating little inhibition at rewarding his friends and allies using one of the most unrestricted powers of his office.

Appears to be? He either is or isn’t. It’s a matter of fact, not speculation. He’s already pardoned a lot more than normal, hasn’t he? And he has 27 days left.

Also make that “no inhibition,” not “little.”



A wave of new claims

Dec 23rd, 2020 3:51 pm | By

Business advice: don’t insure the Catholic church. Really, don’t do that.

The Catholic Church’s private insurer spent more than $58 million paying out the victims of sexual abuse last year and the company is being forced to raise fresh capital and liquidate investments to cover a future compensation bill worth at least another $238 million.

Not profitable.

Catholic Church Insurance (CCI) has posted nearly a $250 million loss as it struggles to meet a wave of new claims in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

More business advice: don’t invest in their stock.

CCI, which insures Catholic parishes, religious institutions, welfare groups, aged care facilities and schools across Australia for incidents of property damage, loss and injury, has also covered compensation and legal costs for sexual abuse committed in many church organisations since 1969.

Whoops.

The ballooning current and anticipated costs mean CCI is moving to liquidate investments, to raise capital to meet what it now expects to be at least $238 million in future sexual abuse payouts.

It also stopped paying dividends and distributions to the Catholic organisations that are shareholders in the non-profit, cutting off an important source of income for some of these entities.

Among its shareholders are the Australian Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church, archdioceses of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and the Jesuits, Marists, De La Salle Brothers and Sisters of Mercy.

It was a good racket for a long time but now that all the sexual abuse of children is out in the open…the money is going far far away.

And for the clincher? Most of that money isn’t going to the victims at all, but to…oh you know where it’s going.

The Age and the Herald have previously revealed that only 28 per cent of the $34.27 million the church spent on compensation under the Melbourne Response scheme from 1996 to 2014 went to victims, with the rest spent on legal fees and administrative expenses.

Ave Maria.



He wants his life back

Dec 23rd, 2020 3:18 pm | By

Trump has been casually ruining the lives of people who administer elections. One guy is suing.

An election systems worker driven into hiding by death threats has filed a defamation lawsuit against “President” Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its lawyers and some conservative media figures and outlets.

Eric Coomer, security director at the Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems, said he wants his life back after being named in false charges as a key actor in “rigging” the election for President-elect Joe Biden. There has been no evidence that the election was rigged.

His lawsuit, filed Tuesday in district court in Denver County, Colorado, names the Trump campaign, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, the website Gateway Pundit, Colorado conservative activist Joseph Oltmann, and conservative media Newsmax and One America News Network.

Dominion is fighting back too.

Dominion, which provided vote-counting equipment to several states, has denied accusations that it switched Trump votes in Biden’s favor, and no evidence has emerged to back those charges up.Dominion and another voting technology company, Smartmatic, have begun to fight back against being named in baseless conspiracy theories. After legal threats were made, Fox News Channel and Newsmax in recent days have aired retractions of some claims made on their networks.

“Ok ok ok we lied, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus.”

Coomer told The Associated Press earlier this month that right-wing websites posted his photo, home address and details about his family. Death threats began almost immediately.

Just standing operating procedure, right?



More or less normal

Dec 23rd, 2020 3:01 pm | By

The Ego-Pardons:

Every president’s pardon list contains some self-serving or controversial picks—think of Clinton’s pardon for Marc Rich, or Barack Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence to time served.

But every other president in American history has chosen some worthy recipients of executive clemency as well, some reformed souls whose cases sang out for pardons. That’s because every other American president has been a more or less normal human being. And normal human beings have some concept of justice.

I don’t think that’s true about the more or less normal human being, actually. Nixon wasn’t normal. Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t all that normal. Lincoln wasn’t. Coolidge wasn’t. Andrew Johnson wasn’t. Kennedy wasn’t. Most are, probably, but there are definitely some outliers.

But Trump, of course, is in a class by himself. There’s not all that normal and then there’s stark staring psychopathic.

Trump is incapable of comprehending abstract virtues like justice. A glance at the list of his pardons so far just screams ME, ME, ME. There’s Arpaio, whose rabid followers Trump aimed to please, and billionaire Conrad Black, convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice, who is a voluble Trump supporter. Dinesh D’Souza and Bernard Kerik also pass the shameless toady test.

What about Alice Marie Johnson, who received a life sentence for a first-time drug offense (and a handful of others whose cases she highlighted)? Yes, that was straight up justice. And it would deserve approbation except for one thing that slides it into the tabloid category: Trump issued the pardons after high-profile lobbying by Kim Kardashian West.

And we can be quite sure he would not have done so at the behest of some do-gooding bleeding-heart prison reform advocate. It’s a Kardashian or nothing, with him.

The only time Trump expands his self-regard to others is, revealingly, when it comes to police and war criminals—a pattern he continued this week. He sees them not as distortions of honor but as “strong” and virtuous. Inevitably, he complains that they are “very badly treated.” He misses the irony.

His only disinterested altruism is directed at mass murderers.



Guest post: The power to pardon

Dec 23rd, 2020 12:15 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on Law and order.

Even if you got rid of the pardon power, there are still a host of ways that a sitting president can effectively immunize his supporters and lackeys from federal criminal consequences. He can simply order his Attorney General to order the U.S. Attorneys not to bring any such charges or to dismiss ones that have been brought. This is essentially what Trump first attempted with Flynn — of course, being Trump he arguably botched it by waiting until Flynn had already pled guilty, so Judge Sullivan was at least entertaining the possibility that the dismissal might not be legally effective. In fact, the “unitary executive” theorists would say that Trump can just order it directly without going through the AG. And of course, even if the AG balks, the president can fire the AG and find a new (acting) AG who will do it — as Nixon did in the Saturday Night Massacre.

A pardon at least has the virtue of being a clear public act that has to be explicitly documented, while more subtle means of thwarting prosecutions can be done without a paper trail. And abolishing pardons would also be throwing out some babies with the bathwater, as there really are situations where pardons and commutations are good things.

Nor do I think you can solve it by strictly forbidding the president to ever give orders to prosecutors or fire them. You can’t have unelected prosecutors running around answerable to nobody — what if some Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney refuses to resign in January and starts filing charges against Biden and Hillary and Dominion based on every dumb Kraken/QAnon/etc. conspiracy theory?

I’m not one of those people who thinks the U.S. Constitution is a work of eternal genius that cannot be improved upon — quite the opposite. It’s kind of amazing it’s held up this long as well as it has, and there’s a reason that countries forming new constitutions don’t look to it as a model very much any more. But on this issue, I think that someone should have the power to pardon, and I think that if Congress has abandoned its duty to rein in a president’s abuses of power, and the voters have abandoned their duty to punish GOP Senators who abandoned that duty, then there’s a more fundamental problem at work.

tl;dr version: Kent Brockman of The Simpsons was right. “Democracy simply doesn’t work.”



Reigniting the hatred and resentment

Dec 23rd, 2020 12:11 pm | By

Trump’s pardon of the Blackwater murderers is not universally popular.

The UN Human Rights Office warned that the pardons would serve to embolden others to commit similar crimes.

The father of a nine-year boy who died said Mr Trump “broke my life again”.

It was an example of following that awful slogan “Do it to them before they do it to you.”

The story told to me by eyewitnesses followed a familiar pattern: in the heavy traffic a frightened and inexperienced driver ignored warnings to stop, and carried on towards a convoy of American officials protected by Blackwater agents.

Several witnesses insisted that the contractors had panicked and opened fire indiscriminately. Among those who died was a nine-year-old boy who was sitting in the back of his father’s car and was hit in the head.

Again and again during the war in Iraq I witnessed lesser versions of the Nisoor Square incident, when American soldiers and contractors assumed they were being fired on, and retaliated in devastating and often uncontrolled fashion.

But Nisoor Square had a particularly powerful effect on Iraqi opinion which persists to this day.

By pardoning the four men involved, President Trump has reignited the hatred and resentment caused by the incident.

Trump feeds on hatred and resentment. It’s what gives him life.



Permission to bully

Dec 23rd, 2020 10:53 am | By

It’s dear “Sophie-Grace” again, philosopher and trans laydee. Remember the bright blue strappy shoes?

What “special gifts” do trans people have?

While you’re researching that, I’ll point out that Sophie-Grace formerly Timothy is marginalizing and demonizing JK Rowling, who is actually a woman as opposed to notionally one, so more vulnerable to violence than Sophie-Grace is. I get increasingly tired of men claiming to be marginalized and demonized and tragically vulnerable while in the very act of Doing It To Her.