I’m asking potential roommates one very important Trump-related question

I’m looking for a roommate because my landlord (who is great BTW) is raising the rent on my small free-standing bungalow. I could eat the increase myself. But it would mean much less money I have per month to save money.

Looking for a housemate after living by myself for 8 years is turning out to be far more stressful than I thought it would be.

When I looked for roommates in my 20s it was like: Can they pay the rent and do they seem not crazy? Those were pretty much the only criteria. It made for some disastrous roommates, but mostly it worked out because in your 20s you’re not home much. In your 20s an apartment always seemed like more of a home base than a home.

Now I have a home.

I’m older, I have a dog, and I’m most likely bringing a total stranger into my house because my circle of friends and acquaintances doesn’t really include people who are often (if ever) looking for a place to live with another adult with whom they are not related.

At first I was only using Roommates.com because I like the fact that you could, if you wanted, only choose from people who are verified by one or more methods: Facebook account, Apple account, email verified, phone number verified and, finally, verified by some form of government ID.

The more ways a person verifies him/herself, the less chance they’re some sort of scam artist; always the initial form of screening when looking for a roommate online.

I tried sticking with people who have three out of the five verifications, but you might be surprised how many people, including tech savvy young people, can’t be bothered to verify their identity even in these cursory ways. My matches on roommates.com were paltry and few.

So, I expanded my search to Craigslist.

Yes, this opened me up to an entire world of weirdos.

I decided quickly I needed some way to at least try to weed out creeps, night owls, the chronically angry, and other anti-social types.

So I researched different roommate questionnaires used mostly by colleges and professional schools for dormitories. I came up with my own 24-question Google Forms questionnaire.

Most of the questions are like the one shown immediately below, which tries to access compatibility issues around hours.

Twenty-two of the questions are like that. Multiple-choice or Likert scale questions that try to tease out how compatible (or not) I would be with a person. (One question is asking a person’s name so I know to whom the answers belong. )

Most people are pretty good about answering all of the questions. If they refuse to answer them at all, that’s a sign of something bad on its own, right?

Then I added the question below.

I debated myself about this question.

I live in a deep red state and because human beings are tribal and the primary tribal identification in this part of the country is Republicanism, I might miss some genuinely good roommate candidates who reflexively believe in the norms of their tribe, but might be perfectly normal otherwise. They might think the 2020 election was stolen, but would still pay their rent and bills on-time, and be courteous and affable living companions. (Don’t laugh. It could happen.)

But what I’m finding is this: That question about Trump on its own might not tell me all that I need to know about potential roommate. But coupled with their answers on the other 22 compatibility questions, it means a great deal.

If a person’s answers about, say, the hours they keep and how much they party, put them on shaky ground as roommate material, AND they say the election was stolen? Those things together disqualify them.

What if a person gives me “perfect” answers on the 22 compatiblity questions and then indicates they believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump?

Then it would all come down to how the person seemed in a face-to-face meeting.

In any case, I am finding the roommate questionnaire is allowing me to disqualify people outright whom I might have otherwise wasted time meeting.

Trump plays QAnon theme song at rally, as followers then give the QAnon salute

This is crazy scary.

I get the impression that most people I know are vaguely aware that QAnon is a cult, but that they are also not aware of just how dangerous it really is.

Former President Donald J. Trump appeared to more fully embrace QAnon on Saturday, playing a song at a political rally in Ohio that prompted attendees to respond with a salute in reference to the cult-like conspiracy theory’s theme song.

While speaking in Youngstown in support of J.D. Vance, whom he has endorsed as Ohio’s Republican nominee for the Senate, Mr. Trump delivered a dark address about the decline of America over music that was all but identical to a song called “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.”

As Mr. Trump spoke, scores of people in the crowd raised fingers in the air in an apparent reference to the “1” in what they thought was the song’s title. It was the first time in the memory of some Trump aides that such a display had occurred at one of his rallies.

I’m waiting for someone from the mainstream media to both-sides this with reporting that Democrats played Dixie Chicks at a Biden event.

Trump supporters give the salute of the QAnon cult at Trump’s Sept. 17, 2022 rally.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Ron DeSantis tricking innocent women and children into flying to Massachusetts

I’ve been going over again and again in my mind the incident involving the (mostly) Venezuelan migrants who were tricked into boarding two planes from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard.

This is from a statement read to reporters by Rachael Self, a Boston immigration attorney who is now on the island representing the migrants:

They were told there was a ‘surprise present’ for them and that there would be jobs and housing waiting for them when they arrived. This was obviously a sadistic lie. Not only did those responsible for this stunt know that there was no housing and no employment awaiting the migrants, they also very intentionally chose not to call ahead to any single office authority on Martha’s Vineyard so that even the most basic needs arrangement could be made. Ensuring that no help awaiting the migrants at all was the entire point.

They were provided with a cartoonishly simple map of Martha’s Vineyard and the United States. … And instructions to change their address with USCIS [United States Customs and Immigration Service] when they relocated. This is especially troubling as anyone with even the most basic understanding of immigration proceedings knows that USCIS was not the agency with whom the migrants would have to record their addresses. And has nothing to do wtih their cases in any way. It is clear that this was an intentional attempt to ensure that the migrants were removed in absentia when they failed to change their address with the proper agency.

This was a purposeful derailment to prevent people from complying with federal immigration policies. This is problematic because the state [of Florida] should not be interfering with federal immigration policy. Before they boarded the planes, the migrants were processed by agents of the Dept. of Homeland Security who listed falsified address on the migrants’ paperwork. Agents apparently chose random homeless shelters across the country, from Washington to Florida, ot list the migrants’ addresses, even when told by the migrants that they had no address in the U.S.

According to the paperwork provided to them, the migrants are required to check-in with the ICE office closest to the fake addresses chosen for them by DHS, or be permanently removed from the United States. With some required to check-in as early as [the Monday after they arrive on the island].

That last part bears repeating and clarification.

DHS agents put on the migrants’ paperwork random names of out-of-state homeless shelters sometimes thousands of miles away from an island in Massachusetts. Thereby making it impossible for any of them to perform the required check-in at the address DHS agents listed on their paperwork, ensuring that they would be eligible to be deported for not following the laws those DHS agents made it impossible for the migrants to follow.

I’m not as shocked as some others that this was done. After all, we know that much of federal law enforcement is riddled with MAGA types who likely believe in the white supremacist “replacement theory” that immigrants are moving to America en masse with the primary purpose of replacing white Christians as the dominant population.

Once you’ve changed migrants, in the minds of racist yahoos with badges, into what essentially amounts to enemy combatants in a war against Caucasians, the fact that you’re abusing mothers with children is the least of your concerns.

But, Ron DeSantis, man. In some important ways he is far scarier than Trump.

The Orange Menace of Mar-A-Lago is a man for whom education was a wasted effort. Trump is too stupid to fully understand the implications of what he’s doing because Trump is incapable of thinking forward to consequences that do not affect him directly.

DeSantis went to Yale undergrad and Harvard Law School. He’s smart enough to realize the ominous forces he’s unleashing in this country, and he not only doesn’t care, he’s obviously thinking of new inhumane ways to appeal to the worst elements in the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, see this article, “DeSantis gets standing ovation from GOP voters after flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.”

I really thought we’d have flying cars and something resembling an advanced civilization by now.

The migrants in Martha’s Vineyard.

Even in Massachusetts, Republican moderation is dying

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), the organization for LGBTQ Republicans and their straight GOP allies.

The group has been around since the 1970s when it was formed to fight the Briggs Initiative in California, which would have barred gay men and lesbians from being teachers.

That referendum was defeated by the voters, thanks in large part to the fact that Republican then-Governor Ronald Reagan came out publicly against it.

It is thought that LCR did much work behind the scenes to rally opposition to Briggs among Republicans. It had to be behind the scenes because, at the time, public support for homosexuality was thought to be risky even for Democrats. For Republicans it was almost unheard of.

After the Briggs defeat, I think even a lot of LGBTQ Democrats had high hopes for LCR, which pushed the notion of being “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

At that time there were far greater numbers of what one might call “reasonable Republicans” who thought that the loonies of the religious Right, including former Miss America Anita Bryant, were embarrassments who were pulling the GOP away from its primary purpose of making sure corporations had as much power as was politically possible,

Of course, things did not turn out as hoped for, at least in terms of the people who ran LCR in the late ’80s and early ’90s when I first started writing about them in Boston. Back then, LCR dreamed of pulling the GOP to the center on social issues. By all means, be as right-wing as you want to be on corporatism. But, at the very least, don’t waste valuable party time on the culture wars.

I’ve been thinking about all of this because a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the GOP gubernatorial primary in Massachusetts, where a pro-Trump election denier was running against a more traditional pro-business Republican.

If there is any state in the union where Republicans could feel free to throw off the shackles of Trumpism and elect sane Republicans, it would be Massachusetts.

Everyone who thought that was wrong. Even in Massachusetts, Republican voters chose Geoff Diehl, the crazy Trump candidate.

In one sense, it is good because, while the statewide electorate in the Bay State will elect Republicans to the governorship — Bill Weld, Mitt Romney, Charlie Baker — they are not likely to choose a Trump crazy over Democrat Maura Healey.

In another sense, it is a very bad sign because in Massachusetts, arguably the home of the “reasonable” Republican, political moderation is on life support.

Mass. GOP primary winner Geoff Diehl will face Democrat Maura Healey.

QAnon-believing father kills wife, family dog; shoots and wounds daughter

Another murder tied to QAnon beliefs.

Police in Michigan say a man opened fire on his family, killing his wife and injuring one of his daughters. His other daughter says he was spiraling out of control before the shootings, blaming it on QAnon.

Rebecca Lanis, 21, says her grandmother called her Sunday morning, asking if she was at the hospital. At a friend’s sleepover and unaware of the tragedy that had just unfolded at her home, she found that a strange question.

But she soon learned that early that morning, her father, 52-year-old Igor Lanis, had shot and killed her 56-year-old mother and critically injured her 25-year-old sister, Rachel Lanis.

The sheriff’s department says Igor Lanis also killed the family dog.

“It was like I was in a movie or nightmare or something. How could this happen to me?” Rebecca Lanis said. “I had a really close bond with my mom, and I just can’t believe that she’s not here.”

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says when officers responded to the family’s home in Walled Lake, Igor Lanis opened fire on them. A Walled Lake police officer and an Oakland County deputy returned fire, killing the man.

She says her father started getting more agitated at normal things and often found a way to bring up conspiracy theories about vaccines, 5G and electromagnetic fields. He turned to extremism – like QAnon, a political conspiracy theory centered around baseless claims that Trump was fighting enemies within a so-called “deep state” and a sex-trafficking ring run by Satanic cannibals.

Rebecca Lanis says her family’s tragedy is a warning for people to pay attention to their loved ones who may need help.

“I think that people need to focus more on radicalization, QAnon. If they have relatives with guns who are like this, you need to get them help, and they need to get checked into a mental institution, even if you think they’re not dangerous,” she said.

These are the people Fox News and Tucker Carlson are radicalizing.

How a Trump-loving cop undermined the Seth Rich murder investigation

In case you are not familiar with the murder of Seth Rich, let Wikipedia fill you in on the details:

The murder of Seth Rich occurred on July 10, 2016, at 4:20 a.m. in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Rich died about an hour and a half after being shot twice in the back. The perpetrators were never apprehended; police suspected he had been the victim of an attempted robbery.

The 27-year-old Rich was an employee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and his murder spawned several right-wing conspiracy theories, including the false claim, contradicted by the law enforcement branches that investigated the murder, that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016. It was also contradicted by the July 2018 indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents for hacking the e-mail accounts and networks of Democratic Party officials and by the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Fact-checking websites like PolitiFact, Snopes, and FactCheck.org stated that the theories were false and unfounded. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post wrote that the promotion of these conspiracy theories was an example of fake news

Rich’s family denounced the conspiracy theorists and said that those individuals were exploiting their son’s death for political gain, and their spokesperson called the conspiracy theorists “disgusting sociopaths”. They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News after the network promoted the conspiracy theory, and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used. The investigator stated that he had no evidence to back up the claims which Fox News attributed to him. Fox News issued a retraction, but did not apologize or publicly explain what went wrong. In response, the Rich family sued Fox News in March 2018 for having engaged in “extreme and outrageous conduct” by fabricating the story defaming their son and thereby intentionally inflicting emotional distress on them. Fox News reached a seven-figure settlement with the Rich family in October 2020.

Fast forward to the present and this story in Rolling Stone:

It was the headline that made federal prosecutor Deborah Sines sit up straight in her chair.

For nearly a year, she’d been investigating the murder of 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. During that time, she had watched as viral conspiracy theories and fantastical speculation about Rich had spread beyond anyone’s imagination, overshadowing the facts about Rich’s life and death. The theories had spun so out of control that they’d interfered with Sines’ own investigation, forcing her to run down bizarre tips and rule them out. But she had never imagined what she now saw before her eyes: A pro-Trump blogger and vocal Rich conspiracist had published the name of the closest thing she had to a witness in the case.

Until that moment, the witness’s identity wasn’t public. That was by intent. Sines knew how dangerous it could be for a potential murder witness to have their identity revealed. A decade earlier she had prosecuted a notorious D.C. serial murderer who specifically targeted people in his neighborhood who had cooperated with the police and U.S. attorney’s office. Now her quasi-witness in the Rich murder had been outed, which sent the rampant speculation and conspiracy theorizing about Seth Rich into overdrive.

What Sines would later discover is that the person who leaked the name of the only witness to Rich’s murder was a Trump-loving MAGA cop in DC who owned gyms and was a sucker for conspiracy theories. Note that Julian Assange also played a big part in this, and not a flattering part.

You can read the rest of the fascinating Rolling Stone story here.

Seth Rich.

Why is a rogue’s gallery of MAGA Republicans reportedly supporting a federal marriage equality bill?

The fact that there is a piece of pro-gay legislation that is allegedly attracting the support of Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) makes me suspicious.

Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, said he expects there will be enough support from his party to pass a marriage equality bill this month.

Democrats have not yet attracted the 10 Republican senators they need to pass the bill in the evenly divided chamber, but negotiators are making progress, Tillis said.

The legislative push to codify same-sex marriages comes after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the high court reconsider the decision establishing a marriage right. Polling shows adult Americans strongly favor marriage equality, potentially giving Democrats a wedge issue if Republicans block the measure.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine are leading the talks, which now center on an amendment addressing religious liberties. Tillis said he and some of his GOP colleagues are generally supportive of what’s currently being discussed.

“We’ve made progress with the drafting,” he added. “I think we’ve addressed a lot of the religious freedom questions that some had and we think we’re going to move it this month.”

Asked if he thinks there would be at least 10 Republican supporters, Tillis responded, “yes.”

But Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, one of the few Republicans who have endorsed the bill, expressed caution. “I don’t know yet,” he said Tuesday evening. “We have a meeting tomorrow with some of us to talk about it, but it’s still uncertain.”

I’ll wait to see what’s in the “religious liberty” part of this to see what Democrats are giving away in exchange for the support of such a weird collection of MAGA Republicans.

Or perhaps the Republicans all have LGB or T loved ones.

But something is definitely up behind the scenes to account for these strange bedfellows.

Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), left, and Susan Collins (R-ME) are spear-heading an effort to codify same-sex marriage rights into law before the Supreme Court has a chance to overturn its previous key gay rights decisions.

Trump keeps playing right into the hands of the Department of Justice

It’s a question that untold numbers of us have asked ourselves: How has Donald Trump gotten away with being so crooked for so long?

That question has been batted about ad infinitum.

But those days seem to have come to an end, with federal law enforcement finally using Trump well-known stupidity and lazy habits against him, as David A. Graham at The Atlantic recounts in this interesting article:

As the great American philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Omar Little each expressed in their own ways, if you go after the king, you can’t make a mistake.

The Department of Justice now finds itself in just such a can’t-miss scenario in its legal battle with Donald Trump over documents he took with him to Mar-a-Lago. Given the delicate political calculation, any error could strengthen the former president, weaken the rule of law, and imperil the Constitution. But so far, the federal government has been a step ahead of Trump at every turn.

The latest demonstration came in a filing late last night, in which prosecutors dramatically swept away the most recent excuses from Trump and his allies, who have insisted that the former president cooperated with the government and acted in good faith. The filing provides evidence that Trump and his team not only didn’t hand over all classified materials, but actively sought to conceal them by misleading the FBI. And a striking photograph, showing cover sheets with bold red block letters reading top secret // sci, preempts any claim that Trump might simply not have realized the documents were classified.

This has been the pattern of the story of Trump’s mishandling of presidential records from the start. In January, the National Archives and Records Administration retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago. By February, NARA had already told DOJ about classified documents, according to a letter from the agency’s head to Representative Carolyn Maloney. Although a lawyer for Trump requested that NARA not disclose the contents of the boxes to the FBI, government lawyers were already a step ahead, pointing out that “there are important national security interests in the FBI and others in the Intelligence Community getting access to these materials … Some include the highest levels of classification, including Special Access Program (SAP) materials.”

Trump is a moron, and he’s mostly now only able to hire lawyers who are also morons or near-morons. The days of him being able to sleaze and bluster his way out of legal messes is (hopefully) drawing to a close.

One of several in a rotating list of Trumpland excuses for having top secret documents is that he didn’t know they were top secret. So the DOJ shared photos of what they found during the raid of Mar-A-Lago so that everyone could see that nobody could miss that these were restricted documents, since they were clearly and ostentatiously labeled as such.

GOP Sen. Rick Scott is trashing Mitch McConnell

My Thursday has been so-so until I read this story about Sens. Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell having a pissing match.

The Senate’s Republican campaign chief on Thursday appeared to escalate an ugly quarrel with the party’s longtime leader in the chamber, Senator Mitch McConnell, in the latest sign of the G.O.P.’s eroding confidence about winning back the majority in November.

Without naming Mr. McConnell, Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, lashed out in a blistering opinion piece in The Washington Examiner at Republicans he said were “trash-talking” the party’s candidates, an apparent reference to comments last month in which Mr. McConnell said that “candidate quality” could harm the G.O.P.’s chances of retaking the Senate. Mr. Scott called such remarks “treasonous” and said those who make them should “pipe down.”

“Unfortunately, many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates,” Mr. Scott wrote. “It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause.”

Woo-hoo! GOP in-fighting is fun!

McConnell did more than make a pact with the Devil. He’s been the Devil’s butler, as he aided and encouraged his party’s wild swing to the extreme right because it served his purposes of packing the Supreme Court, and obstructing Democratic agendas.

Now it’s come back to bite him in the ass, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And if it serves to keep the Senate in Democratic hands, all the better.

And, because we should never pass up the opportunity to point this out again: Rick Scott was the leader of the company with the largest Medicare fraud case in history.