Trump fires inspector general who passed whistleblower complaint on to Congress

Late on Friday night, Donald Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, whom he chose for the post in 2017. The inspector general’s position is supposed to be to act as a kind of ombudsman and guardian to ensure that the government agency that they monitor is being true to its mission. Atkinson, a 15-year veteran of the justice department, was the person who received the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s extortion phone call to the Ukrainian president and thought it merited being passed on to Congress. All this was standard procedure.
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Zoom bombing: Another example of why we cannot have nice things

The use of Zoom videoconferencing technology has exploded now that people have to stay at home but still need to communicate with people as part of their work or to stay connected with friends and family. Educational institutions especially have begun to use Zoom extensively to teach online. But along with that new popularity, Zoom has also become the target of hackers who are exploiting its security flaws and taken up the practice now being called ‘Zoom bombing’.
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Why the mainstream media hates Sanders though he is the leader we need right now

Election year politics has taken a back seat to the coronavirus news but Donald Trump of course sees everything in terms of how it will affect his re-election chances. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has been active in pushing for more relief for ordinary people and not so much for big corporations. But as is often the case, in order to help the former, Republicans demand the latter and so compromises have been made.

Nathan J. Robinson writes that Bernie Sanders is the kind of leader the country needs right now at this time of crisis, not Joe Biden and definitely not Trump. While Biden has largely been quiet and when not has been wishy-washy and issuing platitudes, Sanders has been vigorously arguing for what needs to be done.
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The US is badly losing the coronavirus propaganda war to China

Both China and the US stumbled badly in their initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic. But the Chinese government seems to have brought things under control and is now carrying out a propaganda blitz to make people forget their early denial and ignoring of the scale of the problem and is now trying to show the world that they are the ones to turn to for expertise and help in dealing with the pandemic.

Yet now that the situation in China appears to have stabilized, the country is positioning itself at the head of the global response to Covid-19, adopting a unique leadership position that may alter global power relations, despite the biggest shock to its industrial output and economy in recent history and its coverup in Wuhan at the beginning of the crisis.

Western Europe and the U.S. are struggling under the weight of the crisis, with cases rising exponentially every day and higher death rates in Italy than anywhere else. China’s private and public sectors are filling in gaps in equipment where other states are failing, although the spread of the disease is such that demand for those materials might quickly outpace China’s supply. The government and Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire and co-founder of the Alibaba Group, have already sent doctors and medical supplies to France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, and the United States. Chinese citizens living abroad are flying home in large numbers to avoid catastrophic health failures elsewhere. In Massachusetts, a Chinese woman tried and failed to be tested three times for Covid-19 before flying back home to be tested and treated.

“The Chinese government has been trying to project Chinese state power beyond its borders and establish China as a global leader, not dissimilar to what the U.S. government has been doing for the better part of a century, and the distribution of medical aid is part of this mission,” said Dr. Yangyang Cheng, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University who writes the science and China column for SupChina.

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‘Orwellian’ does not even begin to describe it

This video clip montage show how Fox News personalities suddenly switched from asserting that the coronavirus pandemic was a hoax to suddenly proclaiming its seriousness. What caused the change? Notice that the abrupt message reversal started after Trump’s address to the nation on March 11, after he must have realized that this crisis could not be combated by his usual bluster and lying and where he suddenly switched from proclaiming the pandemic to be a hoax to saying that it was a serious crisis. All these lemmings unquestioningly reversed course and followed him.

The next debate and primaries

This coming Sunday the 15th there will be a debate between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden starting at 8:00 pm Eastern time and it will be a good occasion to compare where the two candidates stand on key issues, especially now that chronic interrupter Pete Buttigieg has bowed out and we will be able to hear what each person says. Unfortunately, the debate will be hosted and moderated by CNN which has not covered itself with glory so far in its political coverage, so we can expect the questions to be inane and slanted in a way that disparages Sanders, just like the last time the network moderated a debate.

Then the following Tuesday the 17th there will be four primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio for a total of 577 delegates. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won all four of them suggesting that this will be difficult terrain for Sanders before the subsequent primaries where he has a better chance.

Birds of a feather …

Guess who has come out in support of Chris Matthews, who resigned from his MSNBC show Hardball following many allegations of inappropriate behavior towards women, not to mention his highly inflammatory and offensive Nazi analogies against Bernie Sanders?

Yes, it is that champion of free speech and critic of political correctness, Bill Maher. The way he minimizes Matthews’s conduct is typical of such apologists.
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Great moments in mathematics

Michael Bloomberg spent $500 million on his campaign. The US population is 327 million. How much does that work out to per person? Brian Williams and his guest on MSNBC seem to be working with pundit math rather than the mathematics that ordinary people use.

What is astonishing is that this was not an off-the-cuff mistake that anyone can make, though one would have thought that the figure was so outlandish that it would have given them pause before saying it on air. This had been thought of before the broadcast aired, as can be seen by the fact that they had prepared a graphic of it. So the many people involved in putting these shows on also did not notice the glaring error.