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And the Beat Goes On

 

Exhibit One: The Revenge of YadaYada

The Museum; compiled from various sources:

In December Texas Attorney General Paxton filed a lawsuit before the Supreme Court claiming that the election had been stolen.  It was joined by 17 other State Attorneys Generals and over One Hundred Republican Congressmen.  In the months following, he has publicly maintained his claim.  The filing and his public claims have given support to belief in the Election was “stolen”.  In a July 15th response to four Grievances before the Texas Bar, however, facing disbarment, Paxton walked back from his claim.  Instead, he stated that he had hoped to develop the evidence during trial. The clear implication is that he does not have any “evidence”.
 
Phillip Bump, at the Washington Post, “The con is winding down”:

… Lindell, who has claimed for months and months that he had definitive proof that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by China, pledged to release that information at a “cyber symposium” that is underway in South Dakota. According to Lindell, someone captured Internet traffic in the days after the election that shows how votes were shifted away from Donald Trump and to President Biden. Instead of simply presenting this evidence to the public, he withheld it, offering $5 million to anyone who can prove that the information isn’t legitimate.

Rob Graham, a technologist and author, went to the summit to evaluate what Lindell claims to have. During a “breakout session,” he and others were provided with access to what Lindell’s team claims to have obtained. Graham shared what they were given — a collection of files that consists of 1) a list of computer Internet protocol addresses and 2) gibberish like that above. Well, technically they were given rich-text format files, some of which were inexplicably converted to hexadecimal encoding. Graham, an expert on Internet data, described the provided material as “a bunch of confusing stuff they can’t explain,” and said that those running the symposium pledged to hand over the “real” information Tuesday night or Wednesday.

But what if you’re not trying to prove it? What if you’re trying to make some cash and you stumbled onto a big, juicy mark? What if there were a millionaire desperate to prove something, a millionaire who’s not exactly an Internet savant but one willing to hand over loads of cash for data you made up — as some of the data previously released by Lindell pretty obviously was? For a while, you’re skating, cashing checks and sending along reports on occasion. Eventually, though, you get closer and closer to the point at which you need to actually turn over your work.

This is how all cons end. Things stretch and stretch and stretch until: snap. So instead of presenting your data, you encode it and obfuscate it and promise that there’s actually something there, but wait, hmm, that is weird, let me see what’s happening. Instead you say things like that there was a medical emergency that slowed things down and just ask everyone to stick with you for a moment. It’s just buying time — like Trump calling senators on Jan. 6 — hoping that if another hour or so passes, you can somehow regain control…

The Museum: And how familiar does all this sound regarding the now much delayed Arizona “Audit”? Isn’t it strange that every time someone is going to actually audit the “audit” there is another delay? We hope they all recover from the outbreak of Covid they are currently experiencing and look forward to their “findings”.
 
Ed White @AP, August 25, 2021

DETROIT (AP) — Nine lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump face financial penalties and other sanctions after a judge Wednesday said they had abused the court system with a lawsuit that challenged Michigan's election results in favor of Joe Biden. U.S. District Judge Linda Parker said the lawsuit last fall was a sham intended to deceive the court and the public, just a few days after Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the state was certified. “Despite the haze of confusion, commotion and chaos counsel intentionally attempted to create by filing this lawsuit, one thing is perfectly clear: Plaintiffs’ attorneys have scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way,” Parker said in the opening of a scathing 110-page opinion.

Exhibit Two: Foreign Affairs

@Rschooley notes on August 17, 2021

Somehow the people who warned for 20 years that Afghanistan would ultimately end like this aren't as in demand as experts as those who started and sustained it.
 
Adam L Silverman, August 18, 2021

The agreement negotiated by Ambassador Khalilzad, the Special Representative for Afghan Reconstruction working under the direction of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the direct orders of then President Trump makes the Treaty of Versailles look like strategic genius.

The abject surrender is in part one and sections 2 and 3 of part 3. Part 2, which is the Taliban’s responsibilities as a result of the agreement, are not enforceable by the US once the US and its Coalition allies complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan and because of what the US agreed to in part 1: to never again threaten to use force, use force, or interfere in any way in Afghanistan.

What did the US agree to:

1. Release of Taliban prisoners,
2. Lifting of all sanctions,
3. Complete withdrawal from Afghanistan,
4. To never again threaten to use force, use force, or interfere in any way in Afghanistan
5. To seek positive relations with the Taliban
6. To establish economic reconciliation with the new post occupation Islamic government of Afghanistan
 
Keith Boykin on August 12, 2021, looks to the past:

“However difficult this vote may be…Let's just pause, just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control.” - Rep. Barbara Lee in 2001. She was the only member of Congress to vote against the war in Afghanistan
 
Alissa J Rubin/NY Times:
 
Did the War in Afghanistan Have to Happen?

In 2001, when the Taliban were weak and ready to surrender, the U.S. passed on a deal. Nearly 20 years later, the Taliban hold all the cards.

It was in the waning days of November 2001 that Taliban leaders began to reach out to Hamid Karzai, who would soon become the interim president of Afghanistan: They wanted to make a deal. “The Taliban were completely defeated, they had no demands, except amnesty,” recalled Barnett Rubin, who worked with the United Nations’ political team in Afghanistan at the time. Messengers shuttled back and forth between Mr. Karzai and the headquarters of the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, in Kandahar. Mr. Karzai envisioned a Taliban surrender that would keep the militants from playing any significant role in the country’s future. But Washington, confident that the Taliban would be wiped out forever, was in no mood for a deal.

Museum: However, this is 20/20 hindsight. At the time Washington’s confidence was probably justified. The problem came not with the initial mission in Afghanistan, to take it out as a base for terrorism, the problem was mission creep. Bush had the political capital to get us out in 2006, Obama had the political capital in 2011 after he got bin Laden. Instead, we chose nation building. We chose poorly.
 
As Tom Tomorrow points out voicing his “Right Wing Commentator”

“The Taliban oppose vaccines, abortion, feminism, gay rights, and probably critical race theory. I don’t know why we are even fighting them. They seem like my kind of people.”
 
Exhibit Three: Dead Right

Nina Golgowski writing about the late Nashville Talk Radio Host Phil Valentine

Back in December, he tweeted that people should do a “risk assessment” on whether they should get vaccinated.

“I have a very low risk of A) Getting COVID and B) dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” he posted.

Museum: He was absolutely right; the chance of getting covid isn’t that great, and the chance of dying from it quite a bit smaller. What he forgot in his risk assessment is that the chance of the vaccine harming him was vastly smaller than his chance of getting covid, and the vaccine would make his chance of getting covid much less, the breakthrough cases we hear about, and on top of that it would make his chance of dying from covid even less, probably about the same chance of the vaccine harming him.

Further Museum note: As of this date approximately 17% of the population in Tennessee has caught Covid. This is not really a “low risk” at this point (and it keeps going up obviously).

At the Exit: Another follow up

Denitsa Tsekova, on Yahoo , August 27, 2021

As more workers sue states for opting out of the federal unemployment programs prematurely, more studies show that the cancellation of those benefits haven’t led to job gains. 
 
 
Unkwil

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Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from misguided souls who disagree.