self-inflicted

Incompetence (Paging Mr. Trump)

#PutiTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Carter Page in Moscow, Russia, 12 July 2016.  (Photo: Reuters)

There are days when the primary argument against the idea we really are witnessing this debacle is, really, it just seems impossible that anyone could possibly be so bad at this. It seems even more impossible that the Trump administration should be inflicting so many wounds against itself. To wit, the lede from Reuters seems, by comparison, nearly harmless:

President Donald Trump sought to insert himself into congressional investigations on Russia on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to hear from one of his former advisers, Carter Page, to counter testimony by directors of the FBI and CIA.

Well, okay, we are discussing Carter Page, which is never quite as harmless as it ought to seem.

For instance, the lede and some detail from Roll Call:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Democrats of resisting testimony from Carter Page, his former campaign adviser, because he “blows away” allegations they have made.

In two tweets, the president went on to say that this alleged change of heart by Democratic members comes because they have concluded Page “blows away their … case against him.”

Trump, referring to the FBI director he fired and the Obama administration’s last CIA director, wrote that his former adviser “wants to clear his name by showing “the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan…”

A’ight, so, are we ready for the tricky part? Is there always a tricky part? Never mind.

(more…)

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A Quote Worth Paying Attention To (Blame a Black Man Mix)

VIII. Adjustment.

“Given the current outrage from black communities around police violence against black citizens, police fabrications take on additional seriousness. Glad to see Sherry Hall is going to be charged. One would hope other cops will pay attention to her fate.”

Denise Oliver Velez

And this is what that means:

Officer Sherry Hall, of Jackson, Georgia, faces four charges alleging she shot herself and then blamed the incident on a nonexistent black man. (Detail of frame from CBS46, 2016.)An officer shot. A bullet stopped by body armor. A 10-day chase for an unidentified shooter.

A newly hired Jackson police officer told a compelling story about what happened late the night of Sept. 13. After only three months on the job, Sherry Hall found herself immersed in a high-profile shooting, pitting a white officer against a black man. At least, that was her account of what happened.

But she made the whole thing up, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On Friday, Hall was charged with four felonies, including evidence tampering and giving false statements to investigators.

After her account began to unravel over the past two weeks, investigators were left with little to conclude other than she shot herself, but officials stopped short of saying so Friday.

(Atlanta Journal Constitution)

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Image note: Right ― Officer Sherry Hall, of Jackson, Georgia, faces four charges alleging she shot herself and then blamed the incident on a nonexistent black man. (Detail of frame from CBS46, via Daily Kos.)

“GBI: Cop lied about being shot by black man”. Atlanta Journal Constitution. 23 September 2016.

Oliver Velez, Denize. “White Georgia police officer will be arrested for claiming a black man shot her”. Daily Kos. 24 September 2016.

About as Bad an Idea as You Might Think

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during his first campaign rally in Michigan at Eastern Michigan University 15 February 2016 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

So …

Less than a week before its official launch on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders’ new political group is working its way through an internal war that led to the departure of digital director Kenneth Pennington and at least four others from a team of 15, and the return of presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver as the group’s new president.

(Dovere and Debenedetti)

… the thing is that I ought to have been thrilled by Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. He announced the day before my forty-second birthday; what a gift, right? Until the Bern scorched the landscape, most people thought of me as something of a leftist. It’s a little hard to tell anyone what to think of that notion at present, but I am and remain a cynical revolutionary, and thus the decision to wait, to see what Bernie brought before jumping on the bandwagon, feels more than simply justified.

(more…)

The Kansas Way (Brownback Note Downbeat Mix)

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) speaks, in undated, uncredited photo.

“In the next three years I think we’ll have maybe the worst teacher shortage in the country―I think most of that is self-inflicted.”

Tim Hallacy

In November we learned that “Kansas will face a $279 million budget shortfall by July”; by April the crisis began taking shape as some school districts faced an early ending to the school year under such financial pressures as reality brought to bear. And all of this really is intentional; the economic hypothesis is validated, in the eyes of its creator, Arthur Laffer, because people will vote for it. The shortfall, of course, was unexpectedly larger than estimates tailored to make the destruction of Kansas government palatable had suggested, but even faced with this grim reality, Kansas voters re-elected Gov. Sam Brownback (R), asking for more of the same.

Rebecca Klein of Huffington Post explains how residents of the Sunflower State are now getting their wish:

Kansas school superintendent Alan Cunningham has been involved with hiring teachers for the past 35 years. In that time, he has never had a harder time filling positions than this year.

Qualified applicants for job openings in elementary schools or physical education “used to be a dime a dozen,” Cunningham said. Now Cunningham’s school district, Dodge City School District, is starting the school year with teachers in those positions who are not fully certified.

“We’ve had to go to substitute teachers,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham’s predicament is one superintendents throughout his state are facing. In Kansas, where teacher pay is low and schools are underfunded, hundreds of teaching positions throughout the state are still vacant just a few weeks before the start of the school year.

“This is the first year we’ve experienced a shortage as significantly as we are this year,” said Cunningham, referring specifically to his district. “We’ve had to combine some classrooms where we weren’t able to find a teacher and made class sizes significantly higher than we’d like them to be.”

Considering the conditions facing educators in Kansas, it is not an unlikely spot for a teacher shortage. Teachers in Kansas have some of the lowest average pay in the country. In 2014, the legislature voted to cut back on job protections for teachers that gave them certain due process rights if they faced dismissal. In June 2015, a three-judge district court panel said that the state’s school funding system is unconstitutional, in a ruling that was soon kicked up to the state Supreme Court. As a result of this funding system and pervasive tax cuts throughout the state that led to extreme revenue losses, several districts throughout the state had to end the 2014-2015 school year early because they did not have the money to stay open.

Capitalizing on the unrest among teachers, one school district in the neighboring state of Missouri even put up billboards in Kansas attempting to recruit dissatisfied teachers. Amid all this, an aging workforce has led to an increase in teacher retirements.

As one educator, Superintendent Tim Hallacy of Silver Lake Schools, explained, “In the next three years I think we’ll have maybe the worst teacher shortage in the country―I think most of that is self-inflicted.”

It is also by design.

This is the Kansas way.

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Associated Press. “Kansas faces $279 million budget shortfall by summer”. KSN. 10 November 2014.

Klein, Rebecca. “Kansas Underfunded Education And Cut Tenure. Now It Can’t Find Enough Teachers To Fill Classrooms.” The Huffington Post. 31 July 2015.

Election Day

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building.

You can beat them by a mile in America. You’ll be laughing all the while, in America. They don’t care how you do it in America; just do it with style and a smile.

So cover your eyes, and cover your heart, and pray for the ones you’re tearing apart.

Floater

We might, of course, encourage people to vote their consciences, but given what passes for conscience these days that might be a bad idea. That is to say, conscience is supposed to be about somethng more than immediate personal satisfaction.

Iowa, for instance. Watch for the returns from Iowa; you’ll likely have reason to laugh, albeit perhaps bitterly, about the proposition of conscience in Iowa.

Certes, we can hope for better than what the polling suggests in the Hawkeye State. And nothing would make us happier at This Is than to be proven wrong.

One of the curses of leftism is that it is more often tragic than anything else when our fretful prognostications are demonstrated true.

Rob Wynia of Floater makes the point well enough, as we’ve reached a point at which uninformed voters might actually be a threat to societal stability. But this really is supposed to be some sort of democracy, so, yeah, vote.

But it would also be nice if more voters actually took time to comprehend what they’re voting on. And, hey, you hear that? Yes, you can get extraordinary praise for simply doing your job.

Still, though, today is Election Day, and the vote is not only your right, but also your civic duty. Please do not treat that duty lightly; otherwise you might find yourself in a position like Iowa, where the question is so much about what letter goes in the parenthetical note after a candidate’s name that Iowans are on the verge of humiliating themselves.

See Dick vote. Don’t be like Iowa.

Something Having Nothing To Do With Responsible Gun Ownership

Daniel Tepfer, bad pun and all:

Turns out a local man, who claimed he was the victim of a shooting by a Bridgeport gang, actually made poor choice of having a loaded gun in his waistband while out bicycling.

But Wendell Docteur’s poor choice has turned out to be a prescription for jail time.

On Thursday, the 22-year-old Docteur, of Hollister Street, was charged with making a false statement, unlawful discharge of a firearm and failure to report a lost firearm.

The moral of the story seems pretty obvious:

Police said Docteur told them he had been out riding his bicycle on California Street when he was confronted by a half dozen men, dressed all in black with hooded sweatshirts covering their faces.

He said the men demanded his money and then shot him. As they fled they yelled, “North End, North End,” which Docteur told police he took to mean they were a gang from the North End of Bridgeport ….

… Despite insisting he was shot at, police said they could only find a bullet exit hole from his pants.

When they confronted Docteur with this discrepancy, they said he admitted he had accidentally shot himself while riding.

Although Docteur has a pistol permit, police said he couldn’t account for the handgun he had shot himself with.

Between the notions of a black dude in a hooded sweatshirt and anyone with a gun, it seems pretty clear whose presence requires prejudicial caution.