The slow disillusionment with Trump continues

While Trump seems to have a lock on the Republican party establishment, we should not assume that his support among the Republican base is also rock solid. There are of course die-hard people who will never desert him, as there are in any cult, but others will peel away with time as they slowly come to realize that he is a paper tiger who talks big but cannot deliver.

The case of one Proud Boys leader illustrates this phenomenon.

Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean lashed out at President Donald Trump, accusing him of misleading his supporters and then deserting them despite their unwavering loyalty.

“We are now and always have been on our own. So glad he was able to pardon a bunch of degenerates as his last move and s— on us on the way out,” Nordean said in an expletive-laden message about the former president. “F— you trump you left us on [t]he battle field bloody and alone.”

“I’ve followed this guy for 4 years and given everything and lost it all. Yes he woke us up, but he led us to believe some great justice was upon us…and it never happened,” Nordean wrote on Jan. 20, after Proud Boys members were charged, “now I’ve got some of my good friends and myself facing jail time cuz we followed this guys lead and never questioned it.”

Expect to see more such cases.

The pro-Israel propaganda machine is beginning to sputter

Nowhere is the propaganda system in the US on full display than when it covers the way that Israel treats the Palestinians. There is a full-throated attempt to minimize the war crimes of Israel and maximize the threats posed by Hamas.

As an example, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, their analyst Domenico Montenaro said that the US has been viewed as a ‘neutral third party’ in the conflict until Tump moved more in in favor of Israel. The idea that the US has been a neutral party is laughable on its face, a delusion that exists only in the minds of establishment journalists who are afraid of running afoul of the Israel lobby in the US that is swift to attack those who step outside the bounds of allowed discourse. The reality is that the US has for decades been joined at the hip to Israel, providing support and cover for its apartheid and ethnic-cleansing policies.
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The US political and media establishment lies in defense of Israel

Chris Hedges writes that pretty much everything that emanates from Washington and Tel Aviv and the mainstream media about the situation in Gaza is a lie, with only a few reports and analyses presenting anything remotely close to the truth.

Nearly all the words and phrases used by the Democrats, Republicans and the talking heads on the media to describe the unrest inside Israel and the heaviest Israeli assault against the Palestinians since the 2014 attacks on Gaza, which lasted 51 days and killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children, are a lie. Israel, by employing its military machine against an occupied population that does not have mechanized units, an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, not to mention a U.S. commitment to provide a $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over the next decade, is not exercising “the right to defend itself.” It is carrying out mass murder. It is a war crime. 
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The brutality of chain gangs

Even though I am aware of the utterly barbaric way that prisoners are treated in the US incarceration system, I keep coming across new things that can still shock me. Take this account by Winfred Rembert who was born in 1945 and died this past May, about his experience in a chain gang, where the prisoners do very hard labor in public areas, often alongside roads.

As a teen-ager, he got involved in the civil-rights movement and was arrested in the aftermath of a demonstration. He later broke out of jail, survived a near-lynching, and spent seven years in prison, where he was forced to labor on chain gangs.

He was released in 1974 and took up painting, depicting in stark ways his memories of the horrors he endured. Here he describes one example.
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Caitlyn Jenner is not ready for prime time

There is currently a recall election for the governor of California and according to the way the system works, there are two things to vote on on the same ballot: Whether to recall the current incumbent Gavin Newsom and, if that vote garners 50% + 1 of the vote, then who should replace him among all the people vying for the position. As I have written before, this is a strange system in that in a highly contested race, it is possible for the incumbent to be voted out by getting just shy of the 50% mark and be replaced by someone with a much smaller fraction of the vote.
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We are truly a barbaric nation

The evidence for the above claim lies is in the way we treat people for even minor offenses.

An inmate who spent 22 years in solitary confinement in an Illinois prison after being arrested for stealing a hat and a dollar bill is campaigning for legislation to end a practice that he says drove him to self-mutilation and a suicide attempt.

Anthony Gay said he was “tortured for decades” by his isolation for up to 24 hours a day in a cold, tiny cell he likened to a dungeon, and was denied access to necessary mental health care.

Gay was first arrested for robbery in 1994 for his involvement in a street fight, in which he stole a hat and $1 from another participant. A subsequent probation violation put him back in jail, and a violent altercation with another inmate landed him in solitary confinement.

From there, Gay said, things snowballed. He was resentenced to seven years for the original robbery charge and reacted badly to the solitary confinement, resulting in more time alone.

“I would cut on myself, I would act out, throw urine, liquids,” he said. “They would extend my time and things of that sort instead of allowing me to see mental health [professionals] and taking it as a health concern.”

That, he said, led to the “psychological torture” of 24-hour solo incarceration, with occasional breaks of no more than one hour.

“It’s dark and it’s cold as a dungeon, psychologically anyway,” he said. “The light is dim in the room, it just seemed like the walls are caving in.”

Who can blame someone for acting out and becoming suicidal when they are tortured like this? It would drive anyone insane.

The latest flareup in the Middle East

Once again, we have a flare up in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. As of yesterday, 65 Palestinians, including 16 children have been killed, and at least 365 people have been wounded, while six Israelis have been killed.

And once again we have the US reacting in predictable ways, with most of the political establishment repeating the myth of Israel being the plucky little underdog facing a huge sea of enemies, the David battling the Goliath of Arabs, when in reality it is Israel, possessing one of the most powerful military machines in the world, that is not only the Goliath that arrogantly throws it weight around but is backed up by an even bigger Goliath in the US, that supplies it with massive amounts of military and other aid and protects it diplomatically. Biden has repeated the ritualistic statement of unwavering support for whatever the hell Israel does, couched in the language that it has the ‘right to defend itself’, coupled with the usual call for all sides to end the violence, which ranks right up there on the scale of uselessness with the calls for ‘thoughts and prayers’ after every mass shooting in the US.
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How stupid can some people get?

Unless you are a small child or flying for the first time, airplane flights are a drag. No one takes airplane rides for the fun of it. The whole business of going to the airport way ahead of departure time, going through security, and sitting in a cramped seat for hours, has eliminated any pleasure that the experience may have originally had, at least for me. You do it because you must.

Any person who has ever had their flight canceled at the last minute knows that it causes a real disruption in one’s plans, even if it was just a vacation trip. So it baffles me when people who had planned to travel by air do things that they must know will get them kicked off the plane.
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