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AZProgressive's Journal
AZProgressive's Journal
December 27, 2019

Grand Theft Auto V becomes latest battleground of Hong Kong protests

The online duel began after Hong Kong players discovered that their in-game avatars could dress like protesters, wearing black clothing, gas masks and yellow safety helmets. They shared the discovery last week on LIHKG, a social media platform and discussion forum similar to Reddit that is popular in Hong Kong.


While most video games keep the player busy on a predetermined course of action, open-world games allow greater freedom to explore. And it didn't take long for Hong Kong gamers to begin mimicking the real-life actions of hardcore protesters by throwing petrol bombs, vandalizing train stations and attacking police within the open world of GTA V.

Mainland Chinese gamers were quick to notice, and several of them subsequently took to the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo to call on other players to defeat their Hong Kong rivals.
Using a derogatory term adopted by some police officers to refer to protesters, one Weibo user posted: "Cockroaches expressed their desire to kill GTA and beat us, the war in this game may become more fierce and fierce. Are you ready?"

Other Weibo users responded by posting screenshots of their characters dressed as riot police and wielding guns, with the posts captioned: "Ready!"


December 20, 2019

Trump's Ego Makes Him an Easy Mark

How a Ukrainian oligarch pulled the president’s strings in service of his own agenda.


On Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors announced that Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash paid Parnas $1 million, which would be in addition to the $1.2 million Firtash paid lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova. That might explain why the FBI was looking into the possibility that a foreign influence operation was using Giuliani to make inroads with the White House.

As a reminder, Firtash is an “upper echelon” associate of Russian organized crime with close ties to the Kremlin. He currently lives in Vienna, awaiting extradition to the U.S. on bribery and racketeering charges. This is the guy who was paying Parnas, Toensing, and diGenova, who were then passing some of that cash on to Giuliani.


But according to Betsy Swan and Adam Rawnsley, Firtash also has a personal beef with Joe Biden.

Two Ukrainian gas industry experts say the gas-market reforms pushed by Biden and others in 2014 and 2015 hit Firtash in the wallet, and badly. One knowledgeable outside observer estimated that the 2014 and 2015 gas reforms and legislation cost him hundreds of millions of dollars.

On Dec. 9, 2015, Biden gave a speech to Ukraine’s parliament. He praised the protesters who forced out Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president, he recited Ukrainian poetry, and he called for reforms to Ukraine’s gas market, too.

“The energy sector needs to be competitive, ruled by market principles—not sweetheart deals,” he said, basking in the audience’s repeated applause.


I'm posting in primaries to be on the safe side as my excerpt mentions Joe Biden (in a positive light) but I encourage reading the whole article. It explains what is going on with Giuliani-Ukraine-Trump.

December 20, 2019

Impeachment: What this means, where this leads

Harvard experts ponder some of the toughest questions in play for the presidency, Congress, public


Many presidents have made foreign policy decisions that others found politically disagreeable, even morally objectionable. Isn’t it a president’s prerogative to be able to follow his or her own personal moral compass while in office, even if those decisions break sharply with decades of U.S. policy?

Joseph S. Nye Jr., Ph.D. ’64
Author of “Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump” (2020)
Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Kennedy School

In the role of commander in chief, presidents have a lot of leeway in foreign policy, but it is not unlimited. As Edward Corwin once wrote, the Constitution creates “an invitation to struggle” for control of foreign policy. President Trump had the right to define the American national interest in Ukraine as corruption rather than defense against Russia, but when he withheld, without explanation, funds that Congress had appropriated for the latter cause, Congress had the right to investigate, and Trump did not have the right to obstruct Congress.

President Trump also had the right to ask President [Volodymyr] Zelensky for a favor, but not one for personal gain that involved foreign involvement in our elections (which the Founders warned against). Corruption is the abuse of public power for personal gain, and that high immorality was at issue when Trump invited Zelensky to announce an investigation of a principal likely opponent in the 2020 election.

Are we witnessing a chapter in the slow death of the American democratic experiment?

Daniel Ziblatt
Co-author of “How Democracies Die” (2018)
Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Harvard University

The impeachment process has shown that President Trump’s instinct for the abuse of power is dangerous and reminiscent of autocrats’ in other places and times. But American democracy is not yet dying. Instead, it has been stricken by a debilitating disease that has made it increasingly frail since at least the 1990s: a polarizing illiberal right-wing radicalism. The system’s antibodies — the courts, journalists, and voters — are fighting back. And the election of 2020 may prove to be a miracle drug.

But at the end of the day, democracy’s fate hinges neither on impeachment nor on elections alone, but instead on whether the Republican Party responds over time by recommitting itself to the rule of law and basic democratic norms. We sometimes forget this simple fact: To survive, democracy requires at least two democratic political parties. We currently only have one. If this doesn’t change, our growing democratic disorder risks mutating into an even more extreme form.


December 19, 2019

The Senate will hold an impeachment trial, but what it will look like remains disputed and uncertain

As President Trump prepares to stand trial in the Senate next month — proceedings that were triggered with his impeachment by the House on Wednesday — senators are hurtling toward an acquittal that is all but assured but with much uncertainty about how the chamber will arrive there.

For now, there is no clarity on how long a trial will last or even when it will begin. It is almost certain that there will not be a bipartisan agreement on witnesses. With very limited exceptions, senators are taking their cues from their party leaders, with Senate Republicans increasingly coordinating with the White House on a trial strategy that they insist will be fairer than what the House afforded Trump. Adding to the uncertainty: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) late Wednesday left open the possibility the House may not immediately send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, saying she wants to know more about how the trial will proceed.

What is certain is that the bipartisan bonhomie that at least helped launch President Bill Clinton’s Senate trial two decades ago is gone. The chamber is already locked in a bitter struggle over how the proceedings for Trump will be conducted, as the two sides trade accusations of impartiality and a rush to judgment.

Even before the two men have spoken privately, the bad blood between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has spilled into the open, with the pair trading barbs in dueling floor speeches and media interviews rather than negotiating one on one.


December 15, 2019

The Useless Confessions of a Former Infowars Staffer

American Muslims already knew it was all made up.

I’m an American Muslim who’s lived his entire life in the New York area, and the only times I’ve heard anything about the so-called Islamberg—a rural community of Muslims in upstate New York—is when someone demands I answer for its existence. The unusual hamlet has a unique history and has operated on private property for more than 36 years, but it has, in recent years, become the target of lazy conspiracies that it’s a “no-go zone” governed by sharia, or maybe even a training camp for terrorists.

American sharia zones don’t exist, it should go without saying. (I once visited one identified by Fox News. It was, you’ll be shocked to learn, something much more boring.) The Muslims living in Islamberg have been described by local law enforcement as friendly. “I would say that the amount of crime that is associated there at the land is less than it is anywhere else,” James Barnes, of the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, told CBS News in 2015. At that point, he had maintained a relationship with the residents of Islamberg for more than 12 years.

America’s right-wing media, however, has been grooming its followers to believe that Islamberg is a terrorist compound secretly planning attacks on American soil. Fox News: “Islamberg: A Terror Compound in New York… or Misunderstood Neighbors?” Breitbart, in a headline that aggregated a debunked claim from another Islamophobic blog: “Jihadi Cult Associate Arrested in NY With Firearms Stockpile.” That same smear, which was rigorously disputed by local law enforcement, was repeatedly aired unchallenged on Fox News. All of these headlines are still online and surely still read and shared today. If all you read is right-wing news, you’d really have no reason to doubt that Islamberg is a Trojan horse for foreign terrorists. It’s a perfect boogeyman, and the persistent coverage has become a common, banal evil that it’s easy for me to drown it out, given all the other threats American Muslims face.

People still believe the Muslims next door are out to kill them. What does Owens’ lament do for them, and for us?
What’s less common is a henchman in these operations confessing in the New York Times, as happened last week. In a long-winded first-person piece that reads both like a confession and an extended attempt at atonement, one of the people who helped demonize Islamberg admitted to fabricating stories. In the Times Magazine, Josh Owens, who worked as a video editor at Infowars, detailed how the site invented conspiracies about Muslims. The site regularly reports on nonexistent sharia zones in America, Islamberg chief among them. Posts include headlines like “Drone Investigates Islamic Training Center,” “The Rumors Are True: Shariah Law Is Here!,” and “Infowars Reporters Stalked by Terrorism Task Force.”


December 12, 2019

Great Twitter thread on Johnson's impeachment


Everyone's talking about impeachment and Clinton & Johnson as the only presidents ever impeached. But most people don't know WHY Johnson was impeached.

So let me tell you the story about how not impeaching a racist president is a BIG reason why white supremacy lingers in America
First of all, until Donald Trump is technically impeached, we should include Richard Nixon in the conversation. Everything going on with Trump also happened to Nixon. He went through an impeachment inquiry. There were impeachment hearings. He had articles of impeachment drafted.
Nixon just quit first

(See? There's always hope)

But the story of Johnson starts during the War for White Supremacy,
or the War of White Traitors
or the First Race War
or World War Wypipo
or the War for White Tears
or the War of Lazy Whites
(I can do this for days)
Anyway, after the White People Won't Be Civil War, and after Abraham Lincoln was killed, Andrew Johnson became president.

Now, Andrew Johnson was racist AF.
But that's kinda why he was vice president.

Lincoln chose Johnson because he was a white redneck from Tenn.
After Tennessee seceded, Johnson was one of the Southern Senators who stayed in office instead of riding out with the Confederacy.

In an attempt to keep the US together, Lincoln, a Republican, selected Johnson, a Southern Democrat as VP
It didn't work. (I don't know if you knew this, but racists rarely listen to logic).

So after Lincoln was killed, a Southern redneck ascended to the presidency.
Johnson was also dumb.

Seriously, he might be the only president dumber than Trump.

After he became president, he went around the country holding political rallies where he just talked about himself and vilified his opponents. In one speech, he referenced himself 200 times
He even called his opponents "traitors" and called for them to be hanged.

This disastrous "Swing Around The Circle" tour was one of the major reasons Republicans were wiped out in the 1866 elections.

Does any of this sound familiar?
Now you have to remember that after the Civil War, the Confederate States of White Supremacy just didn't automatically become states again. They had to do certain things to be readmitted. Two of these were of some consequence:
1. They had to ratify the 14th Amendment
2. They had to allow the military to occupy their state.

The reason for this was simple:

I don't know if you knew this, but White people in the South were kinda racist back then. Only the military could stop them from massacring blacks
The LAST thing racist Democrats wanted was to see black people on the come-up. Andrew Johnson was racist, so he sided with them.

So... remember that part I said about Johnson calling his opponents "traitors" and saying they should be hanged?
Well, those weren't just political rivals, those were people who believed that black people should have rights.

Remember, back then, black people LITERALLY were not considered citizens. The group of people who wanted to grant them rights called the "Radical Republicans"
But these Republicans were considered CRAZY. Not only did they want black people to become citizens, they thought they should have some unthinkable bullshit called "equal protection under the law!"

Crazy, right?
But after the 1866 midterms, there were a lot of these crazy liberal motherfuckers elected to Congress! (Sound Familiar?)

I know this is gonna sound too on-the nose, but there were four particularly liberal "radicals" in the "squad" that Johnson hated:
The first was Charles Sumner. Sumner used to ROAST these racist white "states rights' conservatives. It got so bad that a white racist Southerner almost Sumner to death with a cane ON THE SENATE FLOOR for fighting for black rights.
Well... Kinda.

Sumner also called the man's cousin a "pimp for slavery."

James Hinds was also one of the squad. He was only in Congress for four months though. He became the first member of Congress to be assassinated when the KKK killed him for advocating for civil rights.
John Creswell: Here's a fun fact, John Creswell left Congress to become Postmaster General. He infuriated whites because HE started hiring black people to work as postal workers. He appointed the first black postmaster, postal inspector, mailman and black female postmaster
He is NOT why you get your mail on CP time.

Last but not least is Thaddeus Stevens.He was gathering support for a seriously radical plan:

Called the "Evil Genius of the Republicans," Stevens believed formerly enslaved, not-yet citizens should be compensated for their labor.
And he had a plan to do it.

He wanted to take every Southern plantation over 200 acres and divide it up amongst the formerly slaves. Now, there was already a Freedmens Bureau that gave newly freed blacks food, clothing, jobs and sometimes transportation
But Steven's plan would give them ownership in America. It only amounted to 5 percent of the plantations in the South. Because many freedmen already had mules, the amount of land in Steven's plan was workable:

40 acres.
Johnson wanted to go easy on the Confederate States. He wanted to let them do whatever they want, including killing black people (Remember, the KKK was founded in the state he represented)
He issued executive orders offering amnesty to Confederates and pardons for war crimes.
But only for white people.

Johnson HATED this "squad" for offering civil rights. That's why he thought they should be hanged. To Johnson's dismay, the requirements for the Confederate States to re-join the Union still passed through Congress.
States would be required to:

1. Ratify the 14th Amendment and subject themselves to military rule.
2. Allow black people to vote.
3. Agree to military occupation.
Then Congress passed a Civil Rights Act.

And then they passed a bill extending the Freedmen's Bureau

Then they passed another one.

Johnson vetoed every single one of these bills.
Remember, Johnson's stupid, racist rallies and the 1866 midterm elections put a veto-proof majority of "radicals" in Congress, so they overrode Johnson's vetoes.

But Johnson had an ace up his sleeve.
He was commander-in-chief.

Now back then, there was a position called the Secretary of War who was in charge of the Army. Johnson's Sec. of War was Edwin Stanton, who was appointed by Lincoln.

He was a Radical Republican, too.
Stanton thought Johnson was too lenient on the white supremacist traitors and he had a GOOD REASON to hate Johnson:

All over the South, emboldened by Johnson's ignoring white supremacist traitors, racists started murdering black people
It started with police brutality:

In Memphis, in 1866, black soldiers were sending messages to Stanton that the white police officers were treating them poorly, arresting them for nothing.

Essentially they were being racially profiled.
Police would also gp to gatherings of black soldiers and arrest any black woman at the party for prostitution.

But Stanton couldn't DO anything because Johnson wouldn't let him. Then on May 1st, a fight between cops and soldiers resulted in mob violence.
They burned every black home in the city and killed everyone who didn't flee.

The Tennessee Attorney General came with his own mob and encouraged them to kill and burn more people.

Johnson didn't do ANYTHING.

Finally one of Stanton's generals declared martial law.
The same thing happened a month later in New Orleans.

For the first time, black people would be allowed to vote. But when New Orleans had their constitutional convention (Remember, they were going to ratify the 14th Amendment) police, Confederates & KKK started killing blacks
The official count was 238 black people killed but no one really knows how many it was. We definitely know it was more than that because TWO HUNDRED of those names were black Union soldiers.

Johnson did nothing.
States all over the South started passing "Black Codes" stripping blacks of their rights.

Johnson did nothing.

So, when the new Congress passed the new laws, Stanton RODE OUT!

The army basically went to war with the KKK.

Seriously, that's what happened.
In NC, Arkansas, Tenn. SC, Louisiana and Mississippi there were battles between white supremacists and the Army that were bloodier than any battle in the Civil War.

Racists actually overthrew the gov't (I've done a thread about it already)
Now Thad and his boys knew Johnson was dumb, an oligarch and a racist, so they passed the Tenure Act, a law that required congressional approval before firing the Secretary of War.

Instead, Johnson SUSPENDED Stanton and put his own Sec of War in place: Lorenzo Thomas
I know, I know... But back then there were quite a few white Lorenzos

Lorenzo HATED Stanton. See, Stanton and Lorenzo had a falling out back in the day and, just for pettiness' sake, Stanton gave Lorenzo a terrible job for a General:

Lorenzo was put in charge of black troops.
So when Johnson violated the Tenure Act by appointing Lorenzo, Stanton barricaded himself in office and had Lorenzo arrested.

Thad 'nem drew up impeachment articles QUICK:

One of my favorite quotes is from William Kelly, one of the dudes who founded the Republican Party:

December 5, 2019

London Mayor says Trump appears to care only about white America

London (CNN)The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric gives the impression the US President cares only about white Americans.

Speaking to CNN's The Brief, Khan, a long-time critic of the President, said he felt "the long shadow of Donald Trump's agenda" in the UK.

"The concern that we have is ... when President Trump talks about America First -- does he really mean white America first?" he said.

"That's a big concern for many of us."

The British politician said the US President's actions "on many, many occasions ... gives us the impression that all he cares about is white America."


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