Tuesday, August 14, 2018

America's Coddled Neo-Nazis Would Not Enjoy Being Treated Like Their Comrades In Luxembourg

Luxembourg Neo-Nazis Being Treated Poorly - video link

Here in the United States we have a President who once confessed that he found at least some neo-nazis to be good people. But in Luxembourg, where memories of the consequences of allowing such  persons to run wild in the streets are deep and abiding, they quickly get the crap kicked out of them by the police and are then hauled off to jail.

It is important to remember that thousands of American World War II war dead are buried in Luxembourg, along with General George S. Patton. It is good to see that the ultimate sacrifice they made is still honored in this small European country.

Here in the United States the story is unfortunately different. Of course, not all Americans are soft on rioting neo-nazis. And some are not afraid to take matters into their own hands, either. The Blues Brothers being an especially good example. Check out the following video.

Video link here

Next election you might want to consider casting a vote for Jake and Elwood Blues.

Mod: Speaking of violent American neo-nazis, apparently they too have enjoyed some very special overseas help.

GOP lawmaker: FBI has evidence Russian bots were fanning flames before Charlottesville violence (CNN link): Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, who represents Charlottesville, Virginia, said Monday that FBI officials told him and other members of Congress that Russian actors were attempting to sow discord around the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year before the event took place.

Garrett revealed the information publicly for the first time in an interview on CNN over the weekend and clarified separately that the activity took place before the rally.

"It was before. Via bots, the internet, and social media," Garrett said. "I'm frustrated because either both Republicans and Democrats do not understand what the Russians are actually doing, or they don't want to tell the truth about it, or both."

Garrett's recollection of the meeting with FBI officials was confirmed by fellow Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican who was sitting next to him during the briefing. Griffith recalls "jumping out of his chair" when he heard the news. Garrett asked if the information was classified, and FBI officials told him it was not.

Mod: Why Congressman Garrett chose to do nothing with that information remains an unanswered mystery.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Can It Be The "Yes On UUT" (2016) Campaign Never Filed Their Paperwork With The FPPC Or City Hall?

I guess it is time I filed a complaint with the FPPC. This has been going on for a while. It certainly does appear that 2016's "Yes On UUT" campaign did not follow state election law and file any required financial disclosures with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

This is something that could personally cost each of them a considerable amount of money in fines, along with having to endure an investigation into some of the more questionable aspects of their campaign. Like who exactly ran it.

I have to be on the level here, I don't really want to file an FPPC complaint. There is no joy in this. We are talking about an election more than two years old now, and I rather expect that no-one actually cares all that much. On the other hand somebody has got to do it, and if I don't who will?

This all began with the following reader comment posted to an article called "City Council Meeting: Of Course They Want A Parcel Tax - Did You Ever Really Believe They Didn't?" that ran on July 11 (link).

How can I answer that one if the 2016 Yes On UUT campaign never filed their financial disclosure documents with Sacramento? Here is a post from last month on this issue. Link here.

There is much more in that spirit to be found in that article, and you can read all of it by clicking on the link provided above.

Since that time I have emailed - and called - City Hall often, and the only consistent theme throughout this exchange is that nobody knows where the legally required "Yes On UUT" filing information might be. City Hall doesn't have it. The city contacted the FPPC, and they don't have it, either.

City Manager Gabe Engeland has been in contact with the Yes On UUT campaign's purported head, Ed Garcia, and frankly I believe he has been getting a runaround. Here is the most recent series of emails exchanged with Gabe.

I know, there is not much information in these emails, but Gabe did try. Also it is not his job to chase down campaign law scofflaws. That job belongs to the FPPC. I can't in good conscience bother him about this any more.

So I am going there. The e-mail goes out today. I'd like to know who exactly donated to and paid for what was obviously a very expensive tax increase campaign effort. This is information that by law belongs to the public. It needs to come out.

And I believe there are at least a handful of people out there who would agree with me. Including that July 11 commenter.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Real Wages are in Decline, While Corporate Profits Soar, After the GOP Tax Cuts

Mod: One of the big effects claimed for the GOP tax bill was increased wealth for all of those folks who get up in the morning and go to work in order to get a paycheck. That is not happening, apparently. Anyone surprised?

Wages drop despite economic boom (The Hill link): Wages in the U.S. fell over the past year despite an ongoing economic boom, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

In the past 12 months through July, real average hourly earnings dropped 0.4 percent. That figure takes into account seasonal differences, as well as the effects of rising prices.

An increase in the length of the average workweek was not enough to compensate for the fall, leaving average weekly earnings down 0.1 percent in the same period.

Over the past month alone, real hourly wages were flat, while real weekly earnings dropped 0.2 percent.

The sluggish advance in wages comes amid an economy that, by other measures, is booming. The economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter, and unemployment dipped below 4 percent in July.

The dynamic could prove troublesome for Republicans hoping that a thriving economy will boost them in November's midterm elections.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

GOPalooza: US budget deficit totals $76.9 billion in July

Mod: For as long as I can remember the Republicans have wailed about the consequences of the national debt, and how increased spending is a very bad thing. But now that they have control of both the White House and Congress? Govt. spending and the national debt are exploding at a pace only rarely seen in the past. 

US budget deficit totals $76.9 billion in July (Associated Press link): The federal government racked up a $76.9 billion deficit in July, with increased government spending and tax cuts keeping the country on track to record its biggest annual deficit in years. 

The Treasury Department reported Friday that in the first 10 months of this budget year, the deficit totaled $684 billion, up 20.8 percent from the same period last year. Revenues are up only 1 percent this year, the increase held back by a big drop in corporate tax payments. Spending is up 4.4 percent, reflecting a big boost Congress approved earlier this year for domestic and military programs and the rising costs of financing the debt. 

For the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the administration is now projecting a deficit of $890 billion. That would be up 33.7 percent from last year's deficit of $665.8 billion

The administration's July estimates project that the deficit will top $1 trillion in 2019, climbing to $1.1 trillion that year, and remaining above $1 trillion for three years.

Fabulous. Interest on the national debt was up $50 billion. (only a small percentage of that interest income goes to non-wealthy Americans, so no, we aren't "paying ourselves." )

The headline is kind of understated. The real excitement is in the article itself:

* in the first 10 months of this budget year, the deficit totaled $684 billion, up 20.8 percent from the same period last year.

* a big drop in corporate tax payments (who would have ever thought?)

* For the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the administration is now projecting a deficit of $890 billion. That would be up 33.7 percent from last year's deficit of $665.8 billion.

The administration's July estimates project that the deficit will top $1 trillion in 2019, climbing to $1.1 trillion that year, and remaining above $1 trillion for three years (and then double when the economy crashes.)

The biggest creature in the swamp? Wilbur Ross (Boston Globe link): Few Americans have probably ever heard of Wilbur Ross, the octogenarian former businessman who is now US Commerce secretary.

It’s a shame, because Ross’s record of public corruption and grifting deserves far more attention than it’s received. That more Americans are not aware of his fulsome body of work in this area is yet one more example of how deeply Trump’s public corruption has taken hold in Washington.

Over the last several months, Forbes investigative reporter Dan Alexander has laid out one astounding story after another detailing the depths of Ross’s venality and corruption.

In June, he reported that while in office, Ross had kept financial stakes in companies “co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm tied to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle (and) a Cypriot bank reportedly caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation.”

Forbes also found that Ross lied when he submitted a sworn statement to federal officials promising to divest himself of these key financial holdings. Most amazing of all, Forbes discovered that when news stories first emerged last fall showing Ross’s connection to the Putin-connected shipping firm, he shorted the company’s stock, on the assumption that its price would drop (which it modestly did, earning him a small profit).

In July, Alexander reported that during Ross’s first few months in office, the secretary repeatedly held meetings with companies that had direct connections to his personal financial holdings.

He met with officials in Greece, “while holding an interest in a major Greek bank.” He sat down with Brazilian officials while maintaining “investments in a Brazilian auto parts company.” He broke bread with the heads of “state-controlled funds from Qatar, Japan and Singapore, all of whom had invested money in his private equity firm.”

Then earlier this week, Forbes revealed that Ross is not just a greedy, ethically corrupt liar . . . he’s also a world-class grifter.

According to Forbes, Ross is alleged to have siphoned or stolen more than $120 million from business partners and customers. Forbes recounted accusations against Ross that included “taking handfuls of Sweet ’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself,” and not paying workers who had done work at his house in the Hamptons.

Mod: More about this swamper at the link.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Space Force: Space Cadets Need a Logo & You Can Help!

Mod: Earthlings, as with those MAGA hats, the Trump/Pence PAC is already working very hard to monetize the Space Force. "As a way to celebrate President Trump’s announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear." Also Made in China, I'm sure. 

Trump’s PAC wants to know which Space Force logo you like best (The Verge link): This morning, Vice President Pence detailed the administration’s plans to create a Space Force, and now the Trump PAC wants to know which logo to use for the new branch of the military. The Trump Make America Great Again Committee emailed supporters today asking them to vote on six different Space Force logos. The plan is to create a “new line of gear” based on one of the designs.

All six are stylized like the traditional mission patches that accompany most space launches. One of them seems to be the NASA logo but red and yellow. Another proclaims “Mars Awaits,” though the Space Force really has nothing to do with Mars. Instead, it’s about reorganizing the way the military procures satellites and trains personnel.

Space Force has quickly become a major part of the Trump brand, and it looks like it will have its own line of merchandise akin to the Make America Great Again hats. Graphic designers have already thought about what the organization’s branding could look like. It’s a peppy way to commemorate a new bureaucratic reshuffling of the Defense Department. These badges seem more like merch than an official logo for a new branch of the military. We’ll have to keep waiting for that.

Mod: If you go to The Verge site there is a link that will allow you to vote on the six approved logos described above. However, there are also some logos floating around the Internet that are strictly unofficial, and I thought I'd share some with you here.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sierra Madre's City Govt. Still Has Not Disclosed The Actual Reasons For Its Water Rate Increases

"Sure Bart, I'll tell them it's my fault."
As the following unfortunate article in the Mountain Views News clearly demonstrates, Sierra Madre's government agency has yet to disclose to the public exactly how the city's water department financially, and virtually, fell apart. Both in its money management procedures and in regards to its bizarrely neglected water infrastructure. Which, for the fourth water rate increase in a row, is about to be "tackled." It is always about to be tackled, and has been for years.

The most bizarre part of this story is John Capoccia's claim that he is somehow responsible for much of this by not raising water rates enough the last time. Or maybe it was the time before, or the one previous to that. It's hard to keep track.

I suppose in a kind of goofy way this could be seen as taking some responsibility for things, but why would John want to throw himself under the bus for something that happened way before his time on the City Council?

Perhaps an adequate rate hike in the past would have been politically feasible had Capoccia given the ratepayers the entire story? Rather than providing cover to those actually responsible for the dire financial and physical condition of the water enterprise?

Sure the pipes are bad. Quite obviously so. But don't you think that those who are now being forced to pay more for water to fix them should also be told why that is, and who was actually responsible?

Once again the opportunity to clear the air on the responsibility question, and why exactly they did it, has been suppressed. Instead the following convoluted and ultimately uninformative story, which is now being peddled in the city's taxpayer funded weekly adjudicated newspaper as well, was given to those who will now have to cough up the cash.

Should anyone on the City Council ever care to inform the residents of Sierra Madre about why they have once again been manipulated into paying more for water without being given the actual reasons, here is a good place to start.

On its 2003 series water bonds, from the years the 2004 up to this moment in time, the City of Sierra Madre paid only the interest on the principle amount of $6,750,000. The total amount paid in these interest only payments comes to $5,306,979. Money that could have gone to perform necessary maintenance on the city's water system, but was instead sent to banks in New York for no apparent reason outside of the inability of those who took out this bond to make adequate payments.

Basically that $5 million was flushed down Sierra Madre's at-risk sewers.

So why was this done, and who was responsible? Don't you think you have a right to know? Don't you also have a right to know why you haven't been told by those whose responsibility it is to do so?


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Has Sierra Madre Now Created Potemkin Preservation?

Apparently we are now looking at something new in Sierra Madre. It can be called Potemkin Preservation if you like. I'll try and explain why you might want to use the term. Here is the way the Henry A. Darling house looked in its original state.

Just below is the ersatz version that is now nearing completion at 126 E. Mira Monte. Kind of an Army tank green and drab looking pile when compared to the far more colorful and differentiated original, even in its final sun baked state. Probably because most of the features that distinguished the original house left for the landfills of Los Angeles County long ago when nobody was looking.

However, what is more interesting here is just how large this house has become in the back. Think of it as Potemkin Preservation. Apparently if you fake the facade of a house and make it similar in appearance to what it was before being demolished, you can add as much in the back as you can get the City Council to allow. Masked mansionization, if you will.

Notice the additional structure added to the back to the right. Looks almost like a second house has been tacked on. Hard to get a clear picture because of the tree that is hanging over that additional portion of the joint, but I think you get the idea.

Here is a portion of that addition.

Here is a shot of the rather beefy left hand side, as you are facing south. But the real additional square footage hidden behind the Potemkin facade is clearly to the right.

In case you are not up on the term "Potemkin Village," here is the something from a website called Architecture Daily (link).

According to Russian legend, "Potemkin Villages"—entirely fake urban conurbations made to appear real—can be traced to it's namesake, Field Marshall Aleksandrovich Potemkin. In 1787, this soldier faced an unusual request: Catherine the Great demanded the construction of swathes of artificial settlements along her route to the Crimea in order to disguise, or veil, the run-down face of the region.

Here is the picture that accompanied the article.

I think it is an idea that has now been adopted in Sierra Madre. The Empress would be proud. Appearance over substance in a small town now giving way to the demands of the real estate market and the large amounts of money to be made.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How Do You Know They're Going To Raise Taxes In Arcadia? City Hall Has Formed A "Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee"

Ah yes, "The Process." Like Arcadia doesn't already know how much they owe, or how much more in tax money they need. Such a tiresome old phony baloney show of an act.

Rather than just tell the truth about the city's immense debt, or how things got as bad as they have, instead we get the "Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee." People specially selected to come to a conclusion the city really wants, but lacks the honesty and courage to say themselves. You need to pay more taxes.

The Arcadia Weekly has an article up on their website about this predictable and hardly novel nonsense. The sales pitch from City Manager Lazzaretto is particularly cloying, and not exactly honest since never dares to say why Arcadia is so deeply in the red. Even though he clearly knows the reason why this is. Here is a brief, though bitter, taste.

Arcadia Convenes Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee (Arcadia Weekly link): The Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee recently held its first meeting to review the City’s long-term financial forecast and to begin its import work to provide recommendations to the City Council regarding the City’s financial future. The committee is composed of five long-time Arcadia residents with backgrounds in financial management and planning and is tasked with making recommendations to preserve Arcadia’s excellent city services, including cost-containment measures, opportunities for efficiency, and potential sources of locally-controlled funding.

“People live in Arcadia because we offer a higher quality of life and better local services than other surrounding cities,” said City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto. “Unfortunately, with the rising cost of services it’s no secret that we face some tough decisions ahead. The city convened the Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee to provide independent oversight and make thoughtful recommendations on how to preserve our high quality of life.”

You get all of that? The always composed Dominic Lazzaretto is talking out of his vastly overcompensated golden keister about city finances. And why shouldn't he want to do so? He stands to benefit personally from any increase in taxes to the residents of Arcadia. Dominic is singing for his supper.

Or, more likely, the posh six figure CalPERS pension he plans to start living off in the not too distant future. Money that he could start collecting in less than a decade.

Chances are Dominic has already picked out his Winnebago.

Let's save the "Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee" a lot of time and effort and get straight to the point. This is about Arcadia's massive CalPERS debt. Do you want to see a very big number? According to a Stanford University website called the California Pension Tracker, as of 2015 Arcadia owes CalPERS well over $613,000,000 million taxpayer dollars.

OK. So now you can send the advisory committee home. Give them a cookie, a handsome certificate, a pat on their stalwart heads from the Mayor, and call an Uber and forward them to their last known address.

Here is a chart that Stanford University website has provided for you. Link here.

Do you know what would be fun? Put Roger Chandler, Bulldozer Bob and Sho Tay in front of the people of Arcadia and have them explain how they managed to put the city so deeply into dutch with CalPERS. All of that benefits money they shoveled to the likes of the cop union in exchange for campaign political endorsements has obviously added up.

If the people of Arcadia are going to be asked to fork over more money, shouldn't they at least get a little truth in exchange? Well, there it is.

But don't expect to hear any of that from City Hall. They think its their own personal money, and would be offended if you asked.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Trump's family is at war and he is throwing Don Jr. under the bus to save his own ass

Mod: Bits and pieces picked up from around the Internet.

Subtext of his morning Tweet about the Trump Tower meeting: Don Jr. is guilty and I didn't know anything about it.

In other words: Lock up my son, not me - I mean I am so innocent that when Jr. later told me, I wasn't even aware he did anything illegal. This follows family division, seen as disloyalty, in the past few days when Ivanka Trump contradicted 45 on immigration and the media, and Melania Trump took a different position on LeBron James.

The whole family all knows that the old guy is sick in the head. They undermine his delusions and now he is mad at them all. As he is with the rest of the world.

Here Trump admits that they did it, even though they've lied about it in the past. His only concern is that he doesn't want to appear to be "worried" about it. Or have anyone think that he was responsible. Here, take my son.

His adding that "it's not a crime" doesn't legalize the activity.

Finally - the President tells a partial truth. This contradicts the original statement released by the White House - which Donald himself helped compose - that the meeting was about 'adoptions'. The walls are closing in on Donald Trump and his traitorous progeny.

Here is how Ted Lieu puts it:

It would appear that the President of the United States has just admitted that an impeachable offense has been committed. Or at least his son did it, and without his knowledge.

Junior just got thrown under the bus by his panicking papa. Father of the year.

The only question left is "Did Trump know about the meeting beforehand?"

My money says he knew.

Mod: More on this theme.

Trump and His Attorney Change Story on Trump Tower Meeting (Daily Beast link): Both President Trump and his lawyer’s version of events surrounding the highly scrutinized 2016 Trump Tower meeting took a drastic change on Sunday.

The meeting between Trump’s top aides and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, which has reportedly been at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was initially presented by Trump’s team as an innocuous discussion on adoptions of Russian children.

In a statement explaining the motives of the meeting later reported to have been dictated by Trump himself, Donald Trump Jr. said the purpose of the gathering was to discuss “a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago.”

On Sunday, however, the president admitted for the first time, on Twitter of all places, that the meeting was held to “get information on an opponent.” Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, also backtracked on his earlier statements regarding the meeting.

In an interview on ABC News’ This Week, Sekulow said his initial claim that the president was not involved in penning Trump Jr.’s statement on the meeting was wrong.

“I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement ... Over time facts develop,” he said.

A historic Trump tell-all (Axios link): The President of the United States admitted, on the record, that he misled the American people about the infamous Russia meeting in Trump Tower.

The big picture: It’s one of the most striking public reversals in modern presidential history, even though he made a similar point before, and even though it was done casually via an early morning tweet. It involves Russia, Air Force One, a presidential son, shady operatives, allegations of collusion and a federal probe — all in one.

Trump tweeted: "Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!"

This is the same president who dictated a statement to the media saying the meeting was about primarily about the adoption of Russian children, not campaign dirt offered by shady Russians with connections to Putin.

Why it matters: It’s a striking acknowledgment about a central moment in an international debate over international collusion — and a central moment being scrubbed for illegalities by special counsel Bob Mueller.

Mod: The case is pretty much made. And Donald Trump himself confirmed it. All that is left now is for government prosecutors to roll out the case and set up the perp walk.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

We Are Q - "Q"uidiots,"Q"uislings or Just Plain Nuts?

Some citizens expressing their concern about the lack of civility in politics.
Mod: The far right just keeps cranking out the lunatics. QAnon is the latest batch to emerge from the dark corners of America. And where is it they go to act out on their insanity? Trump rallies, of course. A place for coming out parties all their own.

We are Q’: A deranged conspiracy cult leaps from the Internet to the crowd at Trump’s ‘MAGA’ tour (Washington Post link) On Tuesday evening, the dark recesses of the Internet lit up with talk of politics.

“Tampa rally, live coverage,” wrote “Dan,” posting a link to President Trump’s Tampa speech in a thread on 8chan, an anonymous image board also known as Infinitechan or Infinitychan, which might be best described as the unglued twin of better-known 4chan, a message board already untethered from reality.

The thread invited “Requests to Q,” an anonymous user claiming to be a government agent with top security clearance, waging war against the so-called deep state in service to the 45th president. “Q” feeds disciples, or “bakers,” scraps of intelligence, or “bread crumbs,” that they scramble to bake into an understanding of the “storm” — the community’s term, drawn from Trump’s cryptic reference last year to “the calm before the storm” — for the president’s final conquest over elites, globalists and deep-state saboteurs.

What Tuesday’s rally in Tampa made apparent is that devotees of these falsehoods — some of which are specific to faith in the president, others garden-variety nonsense with racist and anti-Semitic undertones — don’t just exist in the far reaches of the Web.

Believers in “QAnon,” as the conspiracy theory is known, were front and center at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, where Trump came to stump for Republican candidates. As the president spoke, a sign rose from the audience. “We are Q,” it read. Another poster displayed text arranged in a “Q” pattern: “Where we go one we go all.”

The symbol appeared on clothing, too. A man and a woman wore matching white T-shirts with the YouTube logo encircled in a blue “Q.” The video-sharing website came under criticism this week for unwittingly becoming a platform for baseless claims, first promoted on Twitter and Reddit by QAnon believers, that certain Hollywood celebrities are pedophiles. A search for the name of one of those celebrities on Monday returned videos purporting to show his victims sharing their stories.

Maybe they're angry because they didn't get paid?
The prominence of the “Q” symbol turned parts of the audience into a tableau of delusion and paranoia — and offered evidence that QAnon, an outgrowth of the #Pizzagate conspiracy theory that led a gunman to open fire in a D.C. restaurant last year, has leaped from Internet message boards to the president’s “Make America Great Again” tour through America.

Pray Trump mentions Q!” one user wrote on 8chan. He didn’t need to. As hazy corners of the Internet buzzed about the president’s speech, his appearance became a real-life show of force for the community that has mostly operated behind the veil of anonymity on subreddits.

Trump himself has at times been a purveyor of conspiracy theories, most notably in refusing for years to back down from his false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He also asserted without evidence that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower, peddled the debunked idea that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote and associated the father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with the assassin who shot John F. Kennedy.

But viewing their message boards, it’s clear that QAnon crosses a new frontier. In the black hole of conspiracy in which “Q” has plunged its followers, Trump only feigned collusion to create a pretense for the hiring of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is actually working as a “white hat,” or hero, to expose the Democrats. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros are planning a coup — and traffic children in their spare time. J.P. Morgan, the American financier, sank the Titanic.

Nuts have a Leader
In the world in which QAnon believers live, Trump’s detractors, such as Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, wear ankle monitors that track their whereabouts. Press reports are dismissed as “Operation Mockingbird,” the name given to the alleged midcentury infiltration of the American media by the CIA. The Illuminati looms large in QAnon, as do the Rothschilds, a wealthy Jewish family vilified by the conspiracy theorists as the leaders of a satanic cult. Among the world leaders wise to satanic influences, the theory holds, is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

QAnon flirts with eschatology, fascist philosophy and the filmmaking of Francis Ford Coppola. Adherents believe a “Great Awakening” will precede the final storm foretold by Trump. Once they make sense of the information drip-fed to them by “Q,” they will usher in a Christian revival presaging total victory.

The implication is that resolving the clues left by “Q” would not just explain Trump’s planned countercoup. It would also explain the whole universe.

When “Q” is absent for long stretches of time, followers take note.

“Please tell me where to go,” one wrote last month. “I feel lost without Q.”

Mod: The rest of the article is available at the link.

Are white people ready to bail on democracy? These researchers say the danger is real (Salon link): Donald Trump's combination of racism and authoritarianism, made repeatedly clear through his words and deeds, has not been disqualifying for his voters and most Republicans. Indeed it is central to his appeal and has lured tens of millions of Americans into his movement.

In an increasingly diverse and cosmopolitan America, this combination is like a dagger pointed at the heart of the country’s democracy. Whether our republic can survive changing racial demographics and white racial paranoia, and how much Donald Trump’s racist and authoritarian movement is really a deviation from America’s historic norms, is very much in question.

It seems clear that white identity politics has helped the Republican Party maintain control over its voters and that a large number of white Americans value the privilege conferred on them by skin color more than they value democracy.

Mod: Hit the link for the rest.