President Trump’s staggering record of uncharged crimes

As of November 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 56 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015. That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.

Putin could not tolerate a free, democratic, & prosperous Ukraine because then the Russians would want it. By showing weakness in our Ukraine policies, we encouraged Putin to invade it. John McCain got it

Respirator masks (tight fitting) lower risk of infection by 83%. Other masks are not as effective.

Effectiveness of Face Mask or Respirator Use in Indoor Public Settings for Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infection — California, February–December 2021 Weekly / February 11, 2022 / 71(6);212–216

On February 4, 2022, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release.

Kristin L. Andrejko1,2,*; Jake M. Pry, PhD2,*; Jennifer F. Myers, MPH2; Nozomi Fukui2; Jennifer L. DeGuzman, MPH2; John Openshaw, MD2; James P. Watt, MD2; Joseph A. Lewnard, PhD1,3,4; Seema Jain, MD2; California COVID-19 Case-Control Study Team (View author affiliations)

“Consistent use of a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (adjusted odds ratio = 0.44). Use of respirators with higher filtration capacity was associated with the most protection, compared with no mask use.”

Why China Sucks (according to Thomas Friedman in the NYTimes)

In the grand tradition of Russia rejecting the West because it threatens the greatness of Russia, China will screw the world (and eventually themselves) to show how wonderful they are. In his article in the NYTimes, Thomas Friedman describes four ways they have been and are continuing to do this:

“Xi’s election to an unprecedented third term on a platform emphasizing Marxism and ideology over markets and pragmatism “shows me that the opening up of the Chinese economy is not going to continue. … We have to assume that China is setting itself apart from other countries and will build a countermodel to the liberal, market-oriented model of the West.”

“[In the] aftermath of Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the Chinese Communist Party leadership sought to dampen the democratic aspirations of China’s youth with a fire hose of hyper-nationalism.”

“a much more aggressive Chinese foreign policy that is trying to assert dominance across the whole South China Sea, frightening China’s key neighbors, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India and Taiwan.”

“Instead of importing effective Western-made vaccines to keep the pandemic at bay, China is relying on a “zero Covid” policy that uses lockdowns of whole cities as well as all the new tools of a surveillance state: drones, facial recognition, ubiquitous closed-circuit television cameras, cellphone tracking and even tracking of restaurant patrons, who must present a QR code to be scanned and recorded. It feels like a Xi strategy for preventing both Covid and freedom from breaking out.”

Without even mentioning the million or so Xighurs being forcibly reeducated by China, the article concludes:

What Xi fails to grasp is that all of the most advanced technologies of the 21st century — like semiconductors and mRNA vaccines — require big, complex global supply chains, because no country can be the best at each one of their increasingly sophisticated components. But such supply chains require a huge amount of collaboration and trust among partners, and that is exactly what Xi has squandered in the last decade.

when one-sixth of humanity makes a wrong turn in our still very connected world — China, for instance, still holds almost $1 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt — everyone will feel their pain.

A great quote from the book “Trump: The Divider in Chief” (by Susan Glasser and Peter Baker)

This quote from the book was read during a Skullduggery podcast:

He [Trump] didn’t know anything about anything. He did not know Puerto Rico was part of the US. He did know if Columbia was in North or South America. Thought Finland was part of Russia. Mixed up the Baltics w/the Balkans. Was confused about how WWI started. Did not understand the basics of America’s vast nuclear arsenal. Did not grasp the concept of the US gov’s separation of powers. Did not understand how courts worked. “How do I declare war” he asked at one point to the alarm of his staff who realized that he was unaware that the constitution proscribes that role for congress.”

After reading this, one of the podcast’s hosts, Michael Isikoff observed,

It’s just staggering a guy who is essential an ignoramus was running the country for 4 years.

Remember, every time you get a spam phone call, it’s because of the intentional lack of planning & regulation during the rollout of Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology. Yay Republican deregulation!!

VOIP developed Internet style, ie., as a raft of competing, fastest to market protocols with no central planning, coordination, or regulation. It made phone service cheaper, but the constant spam calls (using spoofed caller Ids) killed the usefulness of that service. For me, 99% of the phone calls I receive on my home (landline) phone are spam, using fake caller numbers & names permitted by VOIP. Yay deregulation!

Here are the sea of overlapping standards from the Voice over IP Wikipedia page:

A variety of functions are needed to implement VoIP communication. Some protocols perform multiple functions, while others perform only a few and must be used in concert. These functions include:

  • Network and transport – Creating reliable transmission over unreliable protocols, which may involve acknowledging receipt of data and retransmitting data that wasn’t received.
  • Session management – Creating and managing a session (sometimes glossed as simply a “call”), which is a connection between two or more peers that provides a context for further communication.
  • Signaling – Performing registration (advertising one’s presence and contact information) and discovery (locating someone and obtaining their contact information), dialing (including reporting call progress), negotiating capabilities, and call control (such as hold, mute, transfer/forwarding, dialing DTMF keys during a call [e.g. to interact with an automated attendant or IVR], etc.).
  • Media description – Determining what type of media to send (audio, video, etc.), how to encode/decode it, and how to send/receive it (IP addresses, ports, etc.).
  • Media – Transferring the actual media in the call, such as audio, video, text messages, files, etc.
  • Quality of service – Providing out-of-band content or feedback about the media such as synchronization, statistics, etc.
  • Security – Implementing access control, verifying the identity of other participants (computers or people), and encrypting data to protect the privacy and integrity of the media contents and/or the control messages.

VoIP protocols include:

I got two spam phone calls while writing this post. Thanks Republicans. At least I’m not burdened with onerous regulation <sarcasm>

Brutalist tribe politics

From a comment by Andrew G Bjelland in the Washington Post

MAGA-Fascist-Republicans like DeSantis know the psychological orientation of those who constitute a significant portion of their base. They act accordingly. They establish their own brutalist creds.

Social psychologists estimate that as high as 30% of a given population are of an authoritarian psychological disposition—a disposition that prizes tribal unity and is intolerant of cultural diversity and ethical complexity. People with this psychological predisposition are often cognitively and emotionally incapable of dealing with rapidly evolving circumstances. They are highly uncomfortable within a pluralistic and democratic society. 

Such individuals are inclined to follow a leader who projects an image of strength and energy; who identifies and targets the enemies of the tribe; who presents simplistic “solutions” in response to the complex problems of the day; and who sets tribal boundaries whereby the “outsiders” are readily identified, rejected and even violently persecuted.

The projection of strength and energy is often the psychological defense mechanism employed by narcissistic and insecure bully-boys.

DeSantis is effectively establishing his own brutalist creds. Is it any wonder that Trump, brutalisms past master, is increasingly irate?

Voting blue is the sole option for those who oppose authoritarianism and who value one-person-one-vote democracy