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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 80,085

Journal Archives

'This Crap Means More to Him Than My Life': When QAnon Invades American Homes


For months, Emily has been married to a ghost. The trouble began last summer, when her husband Peter, the man who once showered her with affection and doted on their kids, started to spend all of his free time online, watching videos and reading message boards. He skipped the family activities they had once enjoyed, like watching football and playing outdoor sports. The couple, she recalled, stopped laughing together; everything suddenly turned serious with him. The pandemic had forced Peter to work from home, but it didn’t feel like he was there.

Before long, there were further turns. Peter started saying things that bordered on “bigoted and xenophobic,” Emily told me. Most shocking to her, Peter made her feel like an enemy for disagreeing with him. When she pushed back on his new strange ideas, like Tom Hanks being a pedophile, he answered her with disdain and treated her as if she were stupid.

“I was told that I buried my head in the sand and couldn’t see the ‘real’ problems,” said Emily, who shared her story under the condition of anonymity because she fears Peter’s retaliation and feels disloyal for speaking up. (Emily and Peter are not their real names.) Sometimes he undermined her this way in front of their kids.

Emily knew her husband was wrapped up in something called “QAnon.” She had heard the term before—Peter, prior to his conversion, had once dismissed it as “nuts”—but she didn’t fully grasp what QAnon was until early October, when she watched a few of the videos Peter kept talking about. That was when she learned that her husband had been consumed by a complex and false conspiracy theory that accuses “deep state elites” of running a secret pedophile ring. By then, it was too late to pull him out.

That month, Emily read an article online about “QAnonCasualties”—a Reddit forum for people like her, whose loved ones had also been drawn in by the bogus conspiracy theory. Suddenly, she didn’t feel so alone. For the next four days she watched the forum closely until she gathered the courage to post about her husband. “It’s exhausting loving someone and watching them get sucked into this cycle you can’t break,” she wrote.

President Biden is about to leave for Michigan to visit Pfizer COVID vaccine plant.

11:55 AM

Official Schedule
The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
South Lawn In-Town Pool Coverage

12:15 PM

Official Schedule
The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Kalamazoo, Michigan
Joint Base Andrews Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

1:45 PM

Official Schedule
The President arrives in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport, MI Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

2:25 PM

Official Schedule
The President tours Pfizer manufacturing site and meets with workers who are producing the COVID-19 vaccine
Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing Site, Kalamazoo, MI Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

3:10 PM

Official Schedule
The President delivers remarks at Pfizer manufacturing site
Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing Site, Kalamazoo, MI Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

3:50 PM

Official Schedule
The President departs Kalamazoo, Michigan en route Washington, DC
Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport, MI Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

5:20 PM

Official Schedule
The President arrives at Joint Base Andrews
Joint Base Andrews Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

5:40 PM

Official Schedule
The President arrives at the White House
South Lawn In-Town Pool Coverage

Opinion: Mainstream Republicans have tolerated extremism for years. Can they finally control it?

Washington Post

The Republican Party has lost control of the forces it has long encouraged. An early moment of reckoning took place in the 1980s, according to David Frum’s prescient book “Dead Right.” As conservatives saw it, they had finally taken charge for the first time since FDR’s reign in the 1930s. Now they could repeal the New Deal and the Great Society. As they quickly realized, however, the public was utterly opposed to doing so. Ever since then, Republicans have gotten comfortable lying to their voters.

Over time, the party was taken over by the increasingly frustrated mob. Consider the difference between the government shutdowns of the mid-1990s and of 2013. The former were centrally planned and directed by the House Republican leader, Newt Gingrich (Ga.). The latter was demanded by the tea party, and though House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) acquiesced, he was eventually pushed out of office by those same radicals.

In 2016, the Republican Party could not come together to defeat and purge Trump. The party hierarchy had lost its clout. Besides, other presidential hopefuls such as Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) wanted to court Trump’s base, not alienate it. A few leaders, such as Mitt Romney, condemned Trump, but it was all too little, too late.

U.S. political parties have become dangerously weak. Once, they picked the presidential candidates to present to the public. Now, primary voters — often more radical than party leaders — have usurped that key function. Once, the parties firmly controlled campaign funds. Today, thanks to various Supreme Court rulings, outside groups have much more cash and influence than they used to.

So the odds are against the Republican Party disciplining its most radical elements. Some hope that electoral losses might force those actions. But remember that while 2020 was a bad year for Trump, it wasn’t such a bad year for other Republicans. The party narrowly lost control of Congress, but it did well in state houses across the country, sometimes with the help of voter suppression and gerrymandering.

Trump Hotel Employees Reveal What It Was Really Like Catering to the Right Wing Elite


Everyone knew Table 72 belonged to the President. The round booth in the middle of the Trump Hotel’s mezzanine was impossible to miss. It didn’t matter how many Congress members were clamoring for a reservation at the steakhouse or whether some tourist tried to slip a manager some cash (which they definitely did). No one sat at Trump’s table except the President, his children, and, occasionally, an approved member of his inner circle like Rudy Giuliani or Mike Pence.

In practical terms, the restaurant wanted to avoid the horror of turning away the leader of the free world if he happened to show up on a whim. But the seat also developed a kind of mystique. Sure, it may now be a relic in an underperforming venue. But for those four epic years, it was a carefully curated prop in the Trump Show.

And when the star appeared, you had to stick to the script. A “Standard Operating Procedure” document, recently obtained by Washingtonian, outlined step by step exactly what to do and what to say anytime Trump dined at BLT Prime, the hotel restaurant.

As soon as Trump was seated, the server had to “discreetly present” a mini bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. (This applied long before Covid, mind you.) Next, cue dialogue: “Good (time of day) Mr. President. Would you like your Diet Coke with or without ice?” the server was instructed to recite. A polished tray with chilled bottles and highball glasses was already prepared for either response. Directions for pouring the soda were detailed in a process no fewer than seven steps long—and illustrated with four photo exhibits. The beverage had to be opened in front of the germophobe commander in chief, “never beforehand.” The server was to hold a longneck-bottle opener by the lower third of the handle in one hand and the Diet Coke, also by the lower third, in the other. Once poured, the drink had to be placed at the President’s right-hand side. “Repeat until POTUS departs.”

We wouldn't have had President Trump without Rush Limbaugh

Washington Post

There is a lot of discussion in political circles now about the nature of “Trumpism” and whether it can survive former president Donald Trump’s downfall. Is the movement based merely on loyalty to the Master of Mar-a-Lago, or does it connote a dedication to a broader set of policies, such as barring immigration, raising tariffs and cutting taxes? If it’s the former, that suggests the movement is entirely tied to Trump’s fortunes. If the latter, then it can be carried on by whoever emerges as the dominant voice in the Republican Party post-Trump — assuming that Trump ever cedes the stage.

My view is that Trumpism does constitute a cult of personality, along with a commitment to a few policies. It’s impossible to imagine a pro-immigration Trumpist, for example. But more than any of that, Trumpism is all about the attitude. It’s not about rational argumentation about policies. And it’s definitely not about compromising to solve problems or reaching across the aisle. That’s for “cucks” and “snowflakes.”

No, Trumpism is all about “owning the libs.” It’s about claiming that Democrats are socialists who are going to destroy the country — to turn it into Venezuela! It’s about making fact-free accusations against Democrats (Hunter Biden’s laptop! Dominion voting machines!) while excusing any Republican failures. It’s about attacking the media and the elites and blaming them for everything you dislike — even for power failures in a deep-red state such as Texas. It’s about thinly veiled, or not so veiled, racism, nativism and sexism. It’s about spreading lies and cuckoo conspiracy theories.

It’s about employing insults and personal derision as political weapons. And it’s about doing all of that with enough heavy-handed humor and hyperbole that you can always tell those who are offended: “What’s the matter? Can’t you take a joke?”

This is a style of politics perfected by Trump but invented by Rush Limbaugh, the pioneering radio talk-show host who died on Wednesday. Limbaugh was one of the most important political figures of the past 30 years — arguably the most important — because of how he transformed the conservative movement and the Republican Party for the worse.

Laurie Garrett: Trump Is Guilty of Pandemicide

Foreign Policy

At long last, we see glimmers of hope. The COVID-19 epidemic in the United States has fallen below the numbers of daily new cases tallied on the eve of the presidential election, the point at which this viral nightmare soared. Using the New York Times’ coronavirus data tracker, on Nov. 1, 2020, there were 74,195 new cases counted in the country; by Feb. 16, new case reports came in at 64,376.

But in between those dates, a national horror unfolded, peaking on Jan. 8 with 300,619 new cases reported in just 24 hours. This staggering wave, one full year into the pandemic, was completely unnecessary for the world’s richest country. Achieving any sense of closure will require holding Donald Trump accountable for the failure.

There is vast evidence of Trump’s negligence during the pandemic’s third wave. Had I been a member of the House of Representatives during the body’s impeachment deliberations, I would have added to Trump’s indictment the crime of pandemicide, naming him as responsible for most of the COVID-19 deaths that transpired while he, the nation’s leader, was preoccupied with damning Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump’s failure to, as he vowed in his oath of office, “faithfully execute the office of president of the United States” promulgated a scale of lives lost exceeding anything experienced in the country since the Civil War, 160 years ago.

I do not accuse Trump of pandemicide in reference to mistakes made by his administration between January 2020—when it generally ignored the outbreak in Wuhan, China—and the summer surge of cases and deaths across the United States. I do not charge pandemicide over Trump’s Feb. 26, 2020, dismissal of the COVID-19 threat as miniscule, claiming, “The level that we’ve had in our country is very low, and those people are getting better, or we think that in almost all cases they’re better or getting. We have a total of 15.” Nor do I charge pandemicide over his repeated insistence that COVID-19 cures were available in the forms of hydroxychloroquine, bleach, ultraviolet light, convalescent plasma therapy, the Regeneron cocktail, oleander extract, or simply warm weather.

(Laurie is a personal friend)

Trump has broken his silence...

He did interviews today with Fox, Newsmax and OAN and has reverted to “we was robbed!” claim

Japan's ruling party invites women to 'look not talk' at key meetings

Source: BBC

Days after Japan's Olympics chief was forced to resign over sexist comments, the ruling party has decided to invite women to attend key meetings - as long as they do not speak.

The Liberal Democratic Party proposed allowing five female lawmakers to observe its all-male board meetings.

They cannot talk during the meeting - only submit opinions afterwards.

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee chief had sparked a firestorm by saying women talked too much in meetings.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56095215

90-year-old Seattle woman walks 6 miles through snow to get Covid vaccination

NBC News

SEATTLE — A rare winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on Seattle couldn’t keep a 90-year-old woman from her first appointment for the coronavirus vaccine.

Fran Goldman walked six miles round trip to get her shot, The Seattle Times reports.

“I have been calling to get an appointment anywhere, every morning, every afternoon and often I’ve been online at night,” Goldman said.

She finally secured a slot for Sunday morning, but Friday and Saturday a strong winter storm moved through the region, turning the city's normally rainy streets into a winter scene of snowdrifts.

Goldman dressed in fleece pants and a short-sleeved shirt so that the nurse could get to her arm easily. Over that, she layered a fleece zip-up, then a down coat, then a rain jacket.

She then put on snow boots, took out her walking sticks and ventured onto the snowy streets.

For those freezing in Texas....

This time next week it'll be...

63 in Dallas
65 in Austin
66 in Houston
67 in San Antonio
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