Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Thoughts And Prayers Fail To Save Anti-Vax Talibangelist


Something something reaping what you sow:

Marcus Lamb, the prominent televangelist who ran the Daystar television network in Colleyville and who promoted anti-vaccine sentiments, has died after getting COVID-19.

Lamb, 64, died Tuesday morning, according to Daystar officials.

"It's with a heavy heart we announce that Marcus Lamb, president and founder of Daystar Television Network, went home to be with the Lord this morning," Daystar posted on Twitter. "The family asks that their privacy be respected as they grieve this difficult loss."

Daystar officials did not say how Lamb died, but his son, Jonathan, said on a Daystar program on Nov. 23 that his father was battling COVID-19.

Jonathan Lamb called his father's bout with COVID-19 "a spiritual attack from the enemy," according to the Religion News Service.

“As much as my parents have gone on here to kind of inform everyone about everything going on to the pandemic and some of the ways to treat COVID — there’s no doubt that the enemy is not happy about that," Jonathan Lamb said. "And he’s doing everything he can to take down my Dad.”

Marcus Lamb launched Daystar in 1997, and the network moved into a 90,000-square-foot center of Texas 121 in Bedford in 2003. The network operates more than 70 television stations across United States, and has also expanded to an international audience in 74 countries.

During the pandemic, Lamb hosted a series of vaccine skeptics on Daystar, including Robert Kennedy Jr., Sherri Tenpenny and Del Bigtree, according to Religion News Service.

Lamb was also an advocate for alternative COVID-19 treatments, and some of his guests on Daystar promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine.

The "enemy" son Jonathan mentions?   Ignorance?  Vaccine skepticism? Malignant Loser cult worship? Religious fanaticism?  

Or.... the debbil!?

Tweets Of The Day

Trash versus trash (Republicans in disarray) --



Progress --



Making sure nothing get done so you can say "Democrats got nothing done" --





Shameful --



Great escape --


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Peter Steiner, @plsteiner)

(Jen Sorensen, gocomics.com)

(John Branch, Houston Chronicle)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Joe Heller, hellertoon.com)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

(Kevin Kallaugher, Baltimore Sun)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Rob Rogers, Counterpoint)

(Roz Chast, The New Yorker)

Giving Tuesday


Today, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is "GivingTuesday."  If you're unfamiliar with this movement, they describe themselves as "an opportunity for people around the world to come together through generosity in all its forms by sharing acts of kindness and giving their voice, time, money, goods, and advocacy to support communities and causes."  Here are some thoughts on participating:

There are hundreds of ways to participate in GivingTuesday. Whether you give your voice, goods, your time, or your money, being generous is a way to fight for the causes you care about and help people in need.

Connect with your local GivingTuesday movement to learn more about how you can give back in your country or U.S. community.

Here are some ideas you might consider:

  • Share kindness with your neighbors.
  • Volunteer virtually or share your talents
  • Give your voice to a cause that matters to you
  • Show gratitude to healthcare workers, service providers, and other essential workers who are making sure we still have the services we rely on, even at risk to their own health.
  • Discover a local fundraiser, community drive or coordinated event to join others in your area or with your same interests in giving back — they need your help. Search for opportunities here.
  • Give to your favorite cause or a fundraiser to help those in need.
  • Talk about giving and generosity using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

Started in 2012, the worldwide campaign raised $2.47 billion last year in the U.S. alone, with 35 million Americans participating in this "global generosity movement."  If you'd like to participate in any way, go to their website (link, above).

Trump Called Aides To Subvert The 2020 Election

More damning, but unsurprising, information is coming out about the Malignant Loser's seditious actions on January 6:

Hours before the deadly attack on the US Capitol this year, Donald Trump made several calls from the White House to top lieutenants at the Willard hotel in Washington and talked about ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win from taking place on 6 January.

The former president first told the lieutenants his vice-president, Mike Pence, was reluctant to go along with the plan to commandeer his largely ceremonial role at the joint session of Congress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the presidency for a second term.

But as Trump relayed to them the situation with Pence, he pressed his lieutenants about how to stop Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January, and delay the certification process to get alternate slates of electors for Trump sent to Congress.

The former president’s remarks came as part of strategy discussions he had from the White House with the lieutenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strategist Steve Bannon – about delaying the certification.

Multiple sources, speaking to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity, described Trump’s involvement in the effort to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

Trump’s remarks reveal a direct line from the White House and the command center at the Willard. The conversations also show Trump’s thoughts appear to be in line with the motivations of the pro-Trump mob that carried out the Capitol attack and halted Biden’s certification, until it was later ratified by Congress.

The January 6 select committee may have already interviewed some or all of the "multiple sources" who were obviously witnesses to the calls.  Let justice prevail for once.

BONUS:  The way the Malignant Loser was also working the Justice Department amounted to criminal sedition, sez



(Photo: Getty Images)

Trump And His Relationship With The CIA


Former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson writes in a new book, "Getting To Know The President," his account of Presidential briefings and interactions about the malignant former guy. The CIA released Chapter 9 (pdf), which discusses Trump's term in office, and Helgerson's opening paragraph foreshadows what was to come:

"Briefing Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, president-elect, and president during his first few weeks in office presented the Intelligence Community (IC) with greater challenges than it had faced since the Central Intelligence Agency attempted to provide similar support to President-elect Richard Nixon 48 years before. Trump was unique among the dozen presidents who took office since President Harry Truman began the briefing process in 1952 in that he had never served in the military or any branch of government. As a result, he had no experience handling classified information or working with military, diplomatic, or intelligence programs and operations. Trump had traveled abroad but, by his own account, did not often read. Like Nixon, he doubted the competence of intelligence professionals and felt no need for regular intelligence support. Trump declared that he intended to shake up the executive branch, publicly criticized the outgoing directors of national intelligence and the CIA, and disparaged the substantive work and integrity of the intelligence agencies. From the outset, it was clear that the IC was in for a difficult time." (our emphasis)

Aside from Trump's overt hostility to the intelligence community, which he expressed at a summit with Putin in Helsinki in 2018, the CIA and other intelligence agencies must have had grave suspicions about his sycophantic relationship with the Russian thug autocrat, and what leverage Putin had over him.

Helgerson reports that a disinterested Trump received only sporadic Presidential Daily Briefings during the latter part of his term in office, and received none at all after the January 6 insurrection / coup attempt that he inspired and engineered. That the intelligence community considered Trump a clear national security risk almost from the start comes through clearly in this chapter. Long read, but fascinating.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Deterrent Or Accelerant: Taiwan's Sub Project

Tensions between China and Taiwan and its allies have been mounting in recent months over Taiwan's assertion of independence and China's insistence that Taiwan is part of one China. In addition, China's increasingly bellicose claims to territories occupied by its neighbors (e.g., Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam) is fueling counteractions (e.g., the Quad pact involving Japan, the U.S., India and Australia).

Now, Reuters reports that Taiwan has initiated a secretive project to build eight submarines in Taiwan by 2025 with the aid of the arms industries in several countries:

".... as China under President Xi Jinping steps up its military intimidation of Taiwan, an array of foreign submarine-technology vendors, with the approval of their governments, are aiding a secretive program to build subs in Taiwan. Taipei has stealthily sourced technology, components and talent from at least seven nations to help it build an underwater fleet with the potential to exact a heavy toll on any Chinese attack, a Reuters investigation has found.

Taipei’s chief foreign weapons supplier, the United States, has provided key technology, including combat-system components and sonars. But assistance is coming from far beyond America. 

Defense companies from the United Kingdom, which like America operates a fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile and attack submarines, have provided crucial support." (our emphasis)

While the project began in 2017, it's only recently that the essential participation of foreign companies has been disclosed.

In response, China demanded that the foreign governments supporting the project should cease their activities and "stop supporting the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces." Taiwan has tried to avoid involving foreign governments directly by approaching companies and ordering equipment and services, who then get export agreements to provide the equipment piecemeal. That certainly won't stop China from reprisals against countries themselves, as they have already done with Germany for German companies providing key equipment to the project.

China clearly sees this as an exacerbation of tensions by a rebellious Taiwanese government, and may choose to escalate not only its rhetoric but its economic and military response. That's the last thing that's needed in that volatile region.  But there are times you just have to stand up to a bully.

(Image: Japan Times)

Quote Of The Day


"MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Cruz told the attorney general you should be prosecuted

"DR. FAUCI: Yeah. I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?

"MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that this is about making you a scapegoat to deflect--

"DR. FAUCI: Of course-

"MARGARET BRENNAN: --From President Trump?

"DR. FAUCI: Of course, you have to be asleep not to figure that one out.

"MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there are a lot of Republican senators taking aim at this. I mean--

"DR. FAUCI: That's OK, I'm just going to do my job and I'm going to be saving lives and they're going to be lying." -- Exchange between "Face the Nation" anchor Margaret Brennan and Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday (our emphasis).  Love to see Dr. Fauci not taking any shit from the likes of Cancun Cruz and AquaBuddha Rand Paul.

Tweets Of The Day


Our broken, puerile media (cont.) --




Alright alright alright --



Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), two- faced vaccination hypocrite --



"Pro- life" priest politicizes pulpit with anti- vax sermon --




 All white meat --




Today's Tomorrow Cartoon: The Rittenhouse Precedent

 (click to enlarge)

Now that "self-defense" is the new shield for right-wing, self-appointed vigilantes, expect a rash of violence as the 2022 and 2024 elections approach (not to mention personal grievances and domestic disputes).

Consider supporting Tom Tomorrow's efforts by going here.

Monday Reading

As always, please go to the links for the full articles/ op eds.

E.J. Dionne, Jr., goes once more into the breach:  Reform the filibuster and pass voting rights!

There are two big reasons why senators should vote to reform the filibuster, no matter their past views. The first is institutional: What started out as an unusual practice to extend debate has become a routine method for blocking the will of the majority. To put it starkly: Abuse of the filibuster is wrecking the Senate. [snip]

But the core reason the filibuster must be reformed is the moral imperative of passing bills to defend democracy. It confronts multiple challenges: to the right to vote; the right to have votes counted without political interference; and the right of voters to select their representatives — and not have politicians do it by drawing wildly partisan district boundaries.

Should Democrats, including President Biden, allow these things to happen by claiming that the filibuster renders them powerless, they will be guilty of a more profound hypocrisy.

If it fails to act, the party that won power in 2020 as the bulwark of democracy and civil rights will be saying that these commitments matter less than fealty to an outdated, dysfunctional practice that has been altered repeatedly in pursuit of far less noble goals.

To what extent is membership in the Cult of the Malignant Loser reinforced by conservative media?  Duh, a lot:

A large 53% of Republican voters who get their news from the conservative media say supporting Trump is very important to being a Republican. It's just 21% among those who get their media from other television or digital sources.
Another way to gauge this is by examining those who argue that backing Trump is not at all important to their Republican identity. It can be argued that these are some of the most ardent anti-Trump Republicans.
Just 8% of Republican voters who prefer conservative media think it's not important at all to support Trump. Among those who prefer to get their news from other sources, it's 35%.
The anti-Trump resistance within the GOP is low no matter where you go, but it's far lower among those who like conservative media.
Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential primary, any Republican looking to beat Trump (assuming he runs) will likely need to dominate among those who don't prefer conservative media. It probably won't be enough to win. This lane is likely a minority of Republicans (20% to 40% under the most generous definition). Without it, though, any challenge to Trump will have a very hard time succeeding. 
The new COVID variant "Omicron" has people all over the world rightly concerned.  The Washington Post looks at these questions and what we know at this point:

Finally, a trip over to Infidel 753's link round-up is highly recommended for inquiring minds (all of you, of course).  He's got another award- winning collection of links to posts from around the Internet that are bound to engage you.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Across The Universe (Cont.)


(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ESA, November 22, 2021This star- and galaxy-studded image was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), using data that were collected for scientific purposes. The object of interest was a galaxy that is visible in the bottom right corner of the image, named SGAS 0033+02. What makes this particular galaxy interesting is a little unusual — it appears not just once in this image, but three times. The thrice-visible galaxy is a little difficult to spot: it appears once as a curved arc and twice more as small round dots around the star.

SGAS 0033+02’s multiple appearances in the same image are not the result of an error, but instead are due to a remarkable phenomenon known as gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing occurs when the light from a very distant galaxy — such as SGAS 0033+02 — is curved (or ‘lensed’) by the gravity of a massive celestial object that lies in the foreground, between the distant galaxy and the Earth. SGAS 0033+02 was discovered by its namesake, the Sloan Giant Arcs Survey (SGAS), which aimed to identify highly magnified galaxies that were gravitationally lensed by foreground galaxy clusters. SGAS 0033+02 is of special interest because of its highly unusual proximity in the sky to a very bright star. The star is useful, because it can be used to calibrate and correct observations of the lensed SGAS 0033+02.

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA, E. Wuyts


Pic Of The Day: The Shambles

(click to enlarge) 

A street named The Shambles in York, England is reputed to be the best-preserved medieval street in England, if not Europe. According to the York history home page:

"The Shambles’ is sometimes used as a general term for the maze of twisting, narrow lanes which make York so charming.  At its heart is the lane actually called the Shambles, arguably the best preserved medieval street in the world.  It was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror in 1086.  Many of the buildings on the street today date back to the late fourteenth and fifteenth century (around 1350-1475).

The Shambles was a street of butchers’ shops and houses, many complete with a slaughterhouse at the back of the premises, ensuring a ready supply of fresh meat.  The meat was hung up outside the shops and laid out for sale on what are now the shop window-bottoms.  It is still possible to see some of the original butcher’s meat-hooks attached to the shop fronts."

This beautiful, evocative photograph of The Shambles was taken by David Oxtaby for the 2021 Historic Photographer of the Year Award, and placed among the finalists. 

The Freaks Are Feasting On Each Other

Eventually, delusion, paranoia and brain worms just take over what little there is in the MAGA/ low- IQAnon / fascist mind, conspiracies beget conspiracies, and uncivil "civil wars" are waged.  Let's feast on their fighting:

On Saturday night, pro-Trump lawyer and QAnon booster Lin Wood released a recording of what purports to be a phone call between Wood and Flynn on Telegram. The audio’s publication comes amid a right-wing civil war pitting Wood against one-time allies like Flynn and other figures involved in the 2020 attempt to overturn the election.

In the call, Wood complains to Flynn that his QAnon supporters had attacked Wood online. But Flynn attempts to disown QAnon, claiming it’s a “disinformation campaign” created by the CIA.

“I think it’s a disinformation campaign,” Flynn said on the call. “I think it’s a disinformation campaign that the CIA created. That’s what I believe. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what I think it is. I think it’s a disinformation campaign.”

Later in the recording, Flynn called QAnon “total nonsense.”

“I find it total nonsense,” Flynn said. “And I think it’s a disinformation campaign created by the left.”  [snip]

Wood’s publication of the audio comes as part of a growing feud between Wood and Flynn and other figures active in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The fight kicked off last week when recently acquitted Kenosha shooting defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, a former Wood client, accused Wood in a Fox News interview of deliberately keeping him in jail to raise money off of his case.

Suddenly under attack by Rittenhouse, Wood grew publicly furious that allies like Flynn and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell weren’t strenuously defending him. The ensuing clash has consumed QAnon and other far-right communities over the past week, while Wood grows increasingly hostile, even claiming at one point that a plane he was set to take a flight on was sabotaged in an attempt to kill him.

At roughly the same time, loyal MAGAt Steve Cortes was fired from uber- right- wing Newsmax:

Former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes is out at Newsmax and will host his last primetime broadcast for the right-wing cable channel early next week, if not sooner, five sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast.

Tensions between Cortes and the MAGA cable network had long been simmering, sources suggested, but it was the Trump loyalist’s vehement disagreement—which he wasn’t shy about publicly voicing—with Newsmax’s company-wide vaccine rules that was the final straw. [snip]

“I will not comply w/ any organization’s attempt to enforce Biden’s capricious & unscientific Medical Apartheid mandate,” he blared in one tweet. “I will not be forced into the injection, nor will I disclose my vaccination status. No one should be pressured to choose between medical privacy & their job.

Cortes publicly bashing his employer’s decision may have been the final straw, but insiders said the former Trump campaign strategist and ex-CNN contributor has long conflicted with Newsmax.

“It’s been ongoing for a while,” one current Newsmax staffer told The Daily Beast, adding that Cortes is “a constant risk” due to his penchant for making controversial and inflammatory comments.

“He’s on a delay. Can’t trust him,” the staffer further noted, claiming Cortes’ nightly program utilizes a broadcast delay to give the network an opportunity to censor potentially inappropriate content.  (our emphasis)

Then there's the split among low- IQAnon adherents as to whether John F. Kennedy, Jr., is still alive and ready to join the Malignant Loser in his quest to regain the presidency:

The theory is strange even by the standards of QAnon – which claims Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are involved in a secret cannibalistic cult which Donald Trump is secretly battling, a theory expounded in cryptic internet messages by a mysterious prophet-like figure known as Q. And while only a fraction appear to believe the JFK Jr angle, experts say it is still damaging to their relationships and their grasp on reality.

Will Sommer, author of the upcoming book Trust the Plan: The Rise of QAnon and the Conspiracy That Reshaped America and a longtime observer of the conspiracy theory, estimates that about 20 per cent of Q followers believe in JFK Jr’s re-emergence, but that those who do, “100 per cent believe”.

“QAnon itself is obviously pretty dangerous. It’s hard to say whether the people who believe the JFK Jr [conspiracy] are more dangerous than the QAnon people who don’t,” he told The Independent.

To settle things, our modest proposal is that everyone adhering to these "theories" and half- baked "beliefs" -- anti- vaxxers, low -IQAnon, Stop the Steal- ers, etc. -- need to engage in hand- to- hand combat, with appropriate medieval weaponry, with no quarter given!  Last person standing will get the handsome hat pictured above.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Christopher Weyant, Boston Globe)

(Lee Judge, comicskingdom.com)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Shannon Wheeler, The New Yorker)

(Will McPhail, @WillMcPhail)