Comments

  1. Rich Woods says

    Ah, that image. Such a representative sample of humanity that everyone can find someone to vote for, where everyone can find a candidate who has closely lived their life and experienced what they have experienced. Who understands them. Who knows what it is to be them, and can be trusted to implement policies which will help not just them but the majority of their fellow citizens, without fear or favour.

    Some of the candidates even have the courage to wear red ties, which here in the UK would be interpreted as the sign of an unrepentant Communist. Some may even sport the vaguest hint of a beard, and we all know to what depravities that leads…

  2. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @Rich Woods #1

    Some of the candidates even have the courage to wear red ties, which here in the UK would be interpreted as the sign of an unrepentant Communist.

    In the US the concern is lapel pin patriotism. At the second debate, three of the candidates actually committed the thoughtcrime of not wearing one at all.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    Rich Woods @1:

    Some of the candidates even have the courage to wear red ties, which here in the UK would be interpreted as the sign of an unrepentant Communist.

    In Canada, blue is Tory, red is Liberal. There’s a dying breed of decent Conservatives labelled “Red Tories”. Maggie T would’ve called them “wets”, I suppose.

  4. willym says

    I’d like to recommend Chris Mooney’s book, The Republican Brain – The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality. The conservative mind is a curious place; this book references myriad studies and essays on conservative and liberal thinking processes and contrasts the differences and compares the results of such thinking.
    While the tea bag wing, the far religious right and the “angry old white men” of the Republican Party seems to be driving the clown car now, these opinions have been present since FDR’s administration and before. The R’s have been trying to destroy Social Security, have fought Medicare with a scorched-earth approach, and in general have used every questionable tactic in their dirty tricks books to scuttle public programs which actually help people.
    This book will help to understand this kind of conservative thinking, and may even provide some readers with a way to
    effectively oppose such ideas.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Trump’s rise in the polls after the premiere GOP debatebacle, is curious. Maybe the conservs are waking up and grasping at someone who is pretty much their ilk, yet says the most ludicrous nonsense, as a camouflage of leaving the party without doing so. While the libs call Trump “a clown” to mock him, the conservs are embracing it as the perfect disguise and running with it.
    I expect the Trump to bite them in the ‘where ever’, eventually. When remains to be seen. Salut.

  6. PatrickG says

    Watching this travesty was enough for me, thanks. At least our giant group enriched a local bar.

  7. HidariMak says

    @Rich Woods #1

    Ah, that image. Such a representative sample of humanity that everyone can find someone to vote for, where everyone can find a candidate who has closely lived their life and experienced what they have experienced.

    Exactly. With today’s economy, who doesn’t have $75 just lying around, collecting dust, when it can so easily go towards a plastic bowl specifically for guacamole?

  8. John says

    My hope is that the rise of Trump could be that the paranoid base of the GOP has finally come full circle. If every thing out there “the world at large” hates your Jesus eventually even your own self proclaimed proponents must be part of the war on x-mas. I’m waiting for one of them to proclaim Trump the anti-Christ / abortion MD… then the party starts!

  9. robro says

    Men in suits always look silly to me.

    Some of the candidates even have the courage to wear red ties, which here in the UK would be interpreted as the sign of an unrepentant Communist.

    When I see a red tie, I think preacher. They used to be very popular among Southern Baptist preachers.

    Some may even sport the vaguest hint of a beard…

    That would be Carson, of course, and it’s hardly a hint. It’s OK for him because, you know, it’s a black thing. If he were to win the nomination and election (and Jesus didn’t immediately return), it would be the first time since Taft left office in 1913 that a president sported facial hair. Taft’s stash had actual handle bars.

    Someone’s suit doesn’t fit well. I think it’s Ted Cruz.

    Rubio looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja ready to attack something, and then have pizza.

    Christie should probably wear a lighter color.

    Did someone try to Trump Ron Paul’s hair?

    Interesting how Fox put Trump and Bush side-by-side in the middle of the stage. These placements are no accident. Trump had to be there because he’s the acknowledge leader (spit, gag, cough). I have a feeling that Fox put Bush there because Rupie wants Bush, which might also explain Megyn Kelly’s uncharacteristic aggressiveness toward Trump and some others.

    I’m glad we’re discussing their appearances. It seems fitting. We should go on about how elegant and chic they look in their blue suits. We could go on about their positions but that’s just crazy talk.

  10. John says

    @robro

    How many of them had to purge there wardrobes of all that over priced Trump attire? I bet more than one to avoid Trumps complement of dress.

  11. screechymonkey says

    robro@11

    interesting how Fox put Trump and Bush side-by-side in the middle of the stage. These placements are no accident. Trump had to be there because he’s the acknowledge leader (spit, gag, cough). I have a feeling that Fox put Bush there because Rupie wants Bush, which might also explain Megyn Kelly’s uncharacteristic aggressiveness toward Trump and some others.

    They were placed according to standing in the polls. Trump in the center as #1, flanked by JEB! and Walker (2,3), then Huckabee/Carson (4, 5), Cruz/Rubio (6, 7), and Paul/Christie (8, 9), with Kasich (10) left over on the end.

    Certainly the questioning reflected Fox’s desire to knock Trump out of the race, though.

  12. Kengi says

    I think this counts as “political madness”.

    The NYPD union wants to highlight how their cops aren’t being allowed to arrest all the people they want to arrest committing crimes in the city, so are having their officers and family members take pictures of these “crimes” to post and shame the officials who have made them restrict policing.

    And what is the first crime they want to highlight? Being homeless!

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33872595

    What kind of monster thinks being homeless is a crime? That needs a police force to arrest the perpetrators?

    I understand being arrested for being homeless is nothing new, but I always kind of assumed it was something officials did and tried to hide. I didn’t realize American police think arresting people for being homeless is something they should be proud of, and should actively campaign to do on social media.

  13. otrame says

    @9.

    I can get that bowl down at my local H. E. B. (big Texas grocery chain) for about $3. In a selection of colors.

  14. Tethys says

    My first thought about that photo was ” We are the Borg. Prepare to be assimilated”. I’m sure the TV powers that be issued apparel color guidelines to the candidates. The photo of the other contenders is almost interchangeable, except for Carly Fiorinas bright pink suit.

  15. bayes says

    Jonathan Haidt has interesting things to say about the conservative mind and viewpoint. I enjoyed his The Righteous Mind. Haidt postulates a number of morality dimensions and places both liberals and conservatives along them, to illustrate how they differ.

    Something someone pointed out to me once encapsulates a lot of conservative thought and behavior, and it’s that conservatives believe implicitly in karma, although they would never call it that. One must never disturb the inherent, implacable justice working in the universe. The poor are in that sorry state due to their own lack of ambition. Criminals deserve maximum punishment, if possible accompanied by humiliation. Giving people things reduces their willingness to work. Anyone who rattles a saber at you should be cut to pieces. People with money have it because they deserve it. And abortion is awful not because it kills an unborn person (as they so often maintain) but because it encourages penalty-free sex. Conservatives hate, more than anything else, the get-out-of-jail-free card. It’s why they are all staunch religiosi.

    This isn’t Haidt’s more nuanced view, but it’s a handy shorthand way to comprehend why they sound and think alike. Authority is to be respected, and even revered. Tradition should trump progress. The universe should not be challenged. The result is a homogeneous array of like-minded droids that truly believe they are on a mission to restore balance to the universe.

  16. says

    Australia: Our PM, Abbot, wants the Adani super mine to go forward despite environment concerns, that they lied about it creating 10,000 jobs, that the hundreds of thousands of Indians we were going to supply power to wont be getting any and the price of coal has made the enterprise unsustainable.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/07/tony-abbotts-defence-of-the-carmichael-coalmine-is-passionate-but-baseless

    Adding insult to injury yesterday he pushed the members of his party to agree not to vote their conscience on same sex marriage legislation.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-33864342

  17. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @ HolyPinkUnicorn #3

    In the US the concern is lapel pin patriotism. At the second debate, three of the candidates actually committed the thoughtcrime of not wearing one at all.

    What? The Republican second debates? Republicans went out in public without their little enameled flag pin?

    Well, fuck me sideways.

  18. speedwell says

    Kengi #14: Here’s what I finally figured out the difference between a rational human and a person lost to conservatism was:

    Human: “Oh, look, there’s a person who doesn’t have a home. Let’s find them a home.”
    Conservative: “What? No, no, we can’t do that. Anything but that. Only people who already have homes deserve to have homes.”

  19. says

    Welcome, one and all.

    I enjoyed the fashion discussion up-thread. I’m reminded of all the wailing from the rightwing when President Obama wore a tan suit. So many doofuses complained that it wasn’t presidential, that the suit showed the weakness of the USA, etc., that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made a statement: “The President stands squarely behind the decision he made yesterday to wear his summer suit.”

    Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) was flabbergasted by the President’s clothing choice.

    King said Friday that Obama’s summer wear combined with his decision to open the news conference talking about the labor statistics, not terrorism, sends a flaky message.

    “He looked like he was going to a party in the Hamptons, then he talked about the economy,” King said. “I’m no fashion expert, but it shows the lack of seriousness.

    “The whole world is watching,” King said.

    NY Daily News link

    Well that was fun. I’ll make an effort to post more serious comments — maybe something about good looking Donald Trump is. “When I was attacked viciously by those women, of course, it’s very hard for them to attack me on looks, because I’m so good looking.”

    Trump’s statement about his looks is serious in one way, it shows the startling tendency he has to indulge in self-deception. Delusional — Yooouuughly delusional.

  20. Doug Little says

    HidariMak @9.

    That must be Jeb’s attempt to appeal to the Latino’s. Maybe they can use them as shovels when they finally get around to building that wall.

  21. says

    In Republican economic voodoo news, we have Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, and presidential candidate, presenting a perfect picture of corporate welfare.

    Walker is infamous for undercutting public education, and anyone who is not in the top 1% of Wisconsin. Some of the money he swiped from programs that provide a public good is going to build the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks a new stadium.

    […] In fairness, this isn’t a situation in which Walker simply signed a massive check and handed it over to the Bucks’ owners. The price tag will be spread out over several years, and some of the money will include the sale of public land.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that the far-right governor, who claims to be a fiscal conservative and who’s repeatedly slashed public investments in niceties such as education, made a significant financial commitment on behalf of taxpayers. All told, Wisconsin residents will pony up between $400 million and $450 million for this new venue. […]

    Sports team indulges in blackmail (we’ll leave if you don’t come before us bearing new stadiums); politicians cave and give them tax breaks, land, and wads of cash.

    Not a fiscally conservative move, though Walker and his ilk always spin the corporate welfare as if it were a fiscally conservative move.

    The economic upside for new sports venues is wildly exaggerated.

    John Oliver discusses the “massive amounts of public money on privately-owned stadiums. Cities issue tax-exempt municipal bonds that — wait, don’t fall asleep!” Oliver nails it in this video.

    Meanwhile, what are politicians from the Democratic Party recommending? They propose an end to ““the issuance of tax-free government bonds for professional sports facilities.” President Obama, the basketball-playing leader of the free world, is backing this legislative end to the madness of having taxpayers waste millions on sport complexes.

  22. says

    The international nuclear agreement with Iran … okay, that’s über serious. Tops suit color choices, and even ties.

    A scary group of rightwing politicians is trying to scuttle the deal. Mike Huckabee (he’s between Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz in the photo accompanying this thread) said, “The Iran nuclear deal is marching the Israelis to the door of the oven.” Earlier, Huckabee had released an ad that featured a child being blown up by nukes, and he also nuked characters from “The Lion King.”

    I’ll let Huckabee’s hyperbole, and his singular failure to offer a credible alternative to the Iran deal, stand for all of the Hitler-infected blather flooding from rightwing sources.

    Luckily, the rightwing is paddling upstream against what is also a flood of support from more serious (i.e., fact-based) sources:

    – 36 retired generals and admirals signed an open letter supporting the Iran deal yesterday. They urged Congress to support “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” The signatures on that letter represented retired generals and flag officers from every branch of the military, including the rightwing-leaning Air Force.

    – 29 top scientists sent a similar endorsement. The letter was signed by Nobel laureates, manufacturers of arms, and former White House science advisors.

    – The two letters above follow endorsements from dozens of former national security officials, and from 100 former ambassadors.

    Informative links:
    Washington Post
    NY Times

    Our problem here is not really a lack of support for the Iran deal. The problem is an entire subset of Republicans who reject legitimate arguments, do not respect advice from intellectual authorities, and do not accept the guidance of impartial experts.

  23. says

    President Obama’s Letter to the Editor about voting rights.

    I’m pleased to see voting rights becoming a major issue in the presidential campaign. What could be more fundamental?

    The letter is difficult to excerpt or summarize. I suggest reading the original. It’s not long. Here’s an excerpt anyway:

    […] The Voting Rights Act put an end to literacy tests and other forms of discrimination, helping to close the gap between our promise that all of us are created equal and our long history of denying some of us the right to vote. The impact was immediate, and profound — the percentage of African-Americans registered to vote skyrocketed in the years after the Voting Rights Act was passed.

    […] from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress. […]

    Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. Above all, we must exercise our right as citizens to vote, for the truth is that too often we disenfranchise ourselves.

  24. Rich Woods says

    @Lynna #27:

    The economic upside for new sports venues is wildly exaggerated.

    Indeed. Even the home of football itself is in trouble, after being rebuilt at a cost of £798m eight years ago. They thought it would break even by this year.

    Still, from what I recall of the shops nearby, they sell a hell of a lot of fish and chips on match days. At least something goes to the community, though probably not as much as the government contributed to the stadium’s construction.

  25. says

    Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, talked about faith and religion in a way that makes more sense that did the “Jesus Christ saved me with his blood” answers that Republican candidates gave at end of the recent debate.

    Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people.

    Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all His children.

    Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.

    In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

  26. says

    Rich Woods @30, one of the points you made, that the immediate neighborhood benefits, is a good one. The larger region around an active stadium also benefits.

    The impact of a sports venue on small business owners (fish and chips, etc.) can be very good. I think the financing of stadiums is what has to change. Enough money is being made that corporate welfare is not required.

    Also, Scott Walker and his ilk are all too willing to take from poor Peter to pay rich Paul. A scam is being run, and politicians (mostly on the right) are abetting the scam.

  27. Rich Woods says

    @Lynna #28:

    Tops suit color choices, and even ties.

    OK, you’re making me feel guilty about the cultural-differences tie joke now. Sorry!

    The problem is an entire subset of Republicans who reject legitimate arguments, do not respect advice from intellectual authorities, and do not accept the guidance of impartial experts.

    So what might be a plausible way of changing this? What could be the root cause of this attitude? Are these high-profile individuals so entrenched in what they’ve previously said that they fear they cannot backtrack in the slightest degree without their base denouncing them as weaklings, RINOs or as not True Americans? Are they simply playing to the crowd for their own personal ends, cynically trusting that the future won’t hand them a greater resultant problem if they should achieve high office?

    Do they even believe that it doesn’t matter what they say about Iran, because God would never allow the Greatest Nation On Earth to come to harm at the hands of a jumped-up little country on the other side of the planet? After all, it worked with the godless Reds, didn’t it? Look at all the nukes the Soviets had, and not a single one ever used in war.

  28. says

    Rich Woods, I notice that Bruce Springsteen failed to save Wembley Stadium. But I also notice that “operating profits” are down from £13million to £8million.

    Well, I guess that is sad, and is still a problem when £270million is owed, and £12million in interest charges on the debt is being paid (approximately annually?), but that still doesn’t look like a bankruptcy situation to me. It’s likely that management changes can rescue Wembley.

    As someone noted in the comments section: “As usual. Built in an expensive area with no thought of the economics.” So, they built more than they needed. Did you see that John Oliver video in which stadiums with huge aquariums, indoor pools from which you can watch a game, etc. added to the costs?

    There’s also the question of location. Isn’t Wembley in gridlocked London?

    What I always ask is: what politicians benefited? What friends of politicians benefited? What contractors benefited? It’s likely that just building a good stadium was not the priority.

  29. Rich Woods says

    @Lynna #32:

    Also, Scott Walker and his ilk are all too willing to take from poor Peter to pay rich Paul. A scam is being run, and politicians (mostly on the right) are abetting the scam.

    Very true. It’s all part of the right-wing’s primary mission, to concentrate money in the hands of the few. Once a politician has contributed to that, they’re set for a post-politics life of comfy directorships and cushy appointments advising or speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries of their scams. Just look at Tony Blair.

  30. Tom Weiss says

    @27

    Walker is infamous for undercutting public education, and anyone who is not in the top 1% of Wisconsin. Some of the money he swiped from programs that provide a public good is going to build the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks a new stadium.

    Look, I’m with you on the dubious economic value of professional sports arenas, but to suggest that Scott Walker did this all by himself is simply lying. First of all – who’s the mayor of Milwaukee?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Barrett_(politician)

    Who twice ran for Governor of Wisconsin against, and twice lost to, Scott Walker? That would be the same man.

    Who approves of the stadium deal?

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett praised the Assembly vote and said that he and aides have been talking with all of the members of the Common Council, which still needs to approve the city’s financing plan. A hearing is expected at the end of August.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/assembly-today-is-expected-to-pass-arena-deal-b99545942z1-318870361.html

    One other tidbit of information – the vote to approve the stadium was bipartisan:

    The Assembly approved the bill on a bipartisan vote of 52-34, leaving a healthy margin to spare because of absent lawmakers. The measure passed the Senate 21-10 on a bipartisan vote on July 15 and so it now goes to Walker.

    Also – the only people he “swiped” money from in Wisconsin were the public sector teachers’ unions. That fight and this financing deal have nothing to do with each other.

    I used to live in the state and as a general rule I dislike publicly financed stadium deals like this, but in all fairness unless you’re prepared to demonize Tom Barrett and the rest of the Democrats who voted in favor of this deal (which was less generous to the Bucks than it could have been), then you’re a hypocrite for singling out Walker.

  31. says

    Rich Woods, don’t worry about the tie jokes — everything is fair game. It was actually refreshing to look at men’s fashion instead of Hillary Clinton’s pants suits.

    Roger Ailes, Fox News CEO, and close friend of Donald Trump, has been going on and on about the looks and dress of his stable of female reporters for ages. His misogyny played a part in his surrender to Trump following the Megyn Kelly v. Trump contretemps — after Trump made blatantly misogynist comments. Misogyny that includes men commenting on and controlling what females wear and how they look is actually affecting our political discourse.

    […] Sherman relayed an anecdote of Ailes regarding former Fox News reporter Kiran Chetry: “Anchor Bob Sellers remembered Ailes once calling the control booth. ‘I was doing the weekend show with Kiran Chetry. He called up and said, ‘Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!'” […]

    “He had admiration for her legs,” a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, “Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.” […]

    Link

  32. says

    Comment 33:

    […] Are these high-profile individuals so entrenched in what they’ve previously said that they fear they cannot backtrack in the slightest degree without their base denouncing them as weaklings, RINOs or as not True Americans? Are they simply playing to the crowd for their own personal ends, cynically trusting that the future won’t hand them a greater resultant problem if they should achieve high office? […]

    Good questions. I can’t really answer. I don’t have a solution.

    Some actions that would help:
    – Repeal Citizens United ruling. Put the billionaires out of business when it comes to buying politicians.
    – Jon Stewart has retired. Someone else needs to take on Fox News.
    – The cult of celebrity, cults of religion, and Koch-like cults need to be ridiculed and defunded.

  33. Rich Woods says

    @Lynna 34:

    I couldn’t watch the John Oliver video (it’s blocked outside the US, and the plugin I used to use to get round these sort of blocks is in need of an update to keep up). There will be other ways to watch it, when I’ve got time.

    Wembley is in North London, but it’s pretty well served by transport connections. Public transport is easy to use, including for people coming from outside town, but the car park is still huge. It was rebuilt on the site of the beautiful old 1920s stadium, so to some degree London has expanded around it.

    I think the architects are still in the middle of legal disputes with various contractors. The cost came in at something like £200m more than the initial budget. This may be an example of a case where government guarantees would have allowed the project to continue: the actual cost to the taxpayer would only become apparent if several companies went under. The government wouldn’t be able to walk away from such a nationally important project, which makes you wonder exactly how the project’s costs were so badly underestimated.

  34. Rich Woods says

    @Lynna #38:

    – Repeal Citizens United ruling. Put the billionaires out of business when it comes to buying politicians.

    Won’t they just find a more underhand way of getting what they want? After all, they’re used to buying laws so they’d be pretty pissed off if their shiny new toy was taken away from them. The odds of them ever getting caught and doing jail time have to be very low, and they know it.

  35. says

    Yes, I’m getting all kinds of CloudFlare errors. I’m going to duck out for now — too time consuming to deal with the errors. Be back later.

    BTW, I think I’d didn’t make my “repeal Citizens United ruling” point clearly. I should have said that PACS, SuperPACs, and hidden or unlimited spending on political campaigns insulates dunderheaded candidates. They can say all kinds of stupid, ignorant, and wildly inaccurate stuff and still remain viable candidates. We need to remove the money buffer.

  36. says

    Margaret Talbot made some interesting points about Donald Trump’s campaign in The New Yorker. (Bolding is mine.):

    […] Donald Trump is a celebrity demagogue, and, for the moment, anyway, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, because of reality television and Twitter.

    Both forms shaped Trump’s persona: he’s their creature. On his own reality-TV show, “The Apprentice,” and now on the campaign trail, Trump displays the particular personality traits that get amped up, hyped, and rewarded on the crassest of these series: he’s as thin-skinned, tantrum-prone, “outrageous,” and narcissistic as a “Real Housewives” villain. […]

    Trump also does a lot of his posturing on the Internet, where trollish taunts can win you a following, and where women sometimes come in for particular contempt. […]

    Here in America, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, sexism is very much on the wane, but misogyny is not. Sexism—the conviction that women don’t deserve equal pay, political rights, or access to education—can be combatted by argument, by anti-discrimination laws, and by giving women the opportunity to prove their ability. Misogyny is not amenable to such advances […] An example of misogyny is when someone online threatens to rape and mutilate a woman whose opinions that person does not like. Another is when a Presidential candidate says of a female journalist whose questions he finds impertinent, “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her—wherever.”

    […] on one level, Trump’s preening misogyny and gross-out insinuations are something new—a weird product of his own personality and the id-indulging media through which he generally communicates. In their exchange at last week’s debate, Kelly reminded him, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals,’ ” and then asked if that called to mind “the temperament of a man we should elect as President.” It was a legitimate question, but Trump offered no real answer, let alone regret; the problem, he said, was “political correctness.” None of the other nine candidates onstage countered this interpretation. […]

    The Republican Presidential candidates’ debate last week, in Cleveland, provided an opportunity to think about the relationship between this kind of misogyny and the eagerness to stake out a more and more draconian position on abortion. […] it’s hard not to see some sort of misogyny in the unseemly scramble to plant a flag at the very farthest frontier of anti-abortion territory, positively eager to reiterate, as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did, that bans on abortion should include no exception to save the life of a woman. […]

    “The downside of being an American demagogue is that your big head inevitably bangs against a low ceiling. There are only so many voters who will pull the lever for a Maximum Leader type.” […]

    The swollen ego of Trump will harass us for some time. He is spending some of his own billions on his campaign. Must be kind of cushy to ride around in that private plane, descend to make pronouncements that are anti-factual and/or not backed up by policy details, and then to board the plane again to enjoy one’s sycophants chanting praise.

  37. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Growing out of comments by Lynna and then Rich Woods:

    Lynna, 28: The problem is an entire subset of Republicans who reject legitimate arguments, do not respect advice from intellectual authorities, and do not accept the guidance of impartial experts.

    Rich Woods, #33: So what might be a plausible way of changing this?

    Years ago I wouldn’t have suggested this, but given where I believe we are politically with Republicans ability to pass and block legislation at the US federal level and given how long I believe it would take to alter those abilities through any attempt to foster thoughtful change motivated by persuasion, AND given where I believe we are with respect to a point of declining electability at least to statewide offices that include senate seats…

    …I think the quickest, most efficient way to eliminate that harmful subculture is simply to decline to stand in the way of the coming collision between Republicans and the destructive consequences that naturally follow from refusing to listen to people who are trying to help you accomplish your goals solely because
    1. they have attempted to create methodologically sound strategies to reach those goals that
    2. have roots in methodologically sound research into the real world relationships between proposed means and desired ends

    Yes, the calculus is different at the intrastate level, but I’m not even very knowledgeable about the state of Oregon’s politics anymore.

    Also yes, there are consequences for people other than elected officials and party operatives, and declining to ameliorate the crisis now approaching the national Republican party will also have the consequence of not ameliorating some amount of harm to innocents.

    But honestly, if they won’t trust die-hard republicans that share their goals because they had the temerity to find out what works and what doesn’t, how am I going to stave off a Republican implosion?

    Duck and cover, that’s what I’m doing. The republicans will greet the transsexual crip dykes of the world as liberators once the explosions stop; I’m sure of it.

    No, I’m not engaged in motivated reasoning and short-term thinking. Why do you ask?

  38. says

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/cruz-accidentally-gives-away-the-game

    The most glaring problem with the commercial is the contradiction Cruz and his team failed to notice. The ad opens with images of Polio victims while the narrator touts America’s history of helping “heal and care for millions.” It’s a nice, accurate message, except for the fact that fetal-tissue research used “fetal kidney cells to create the first poliovirus vaccines, which are now estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year.”

    In other words, in an ad attacking fetal-tissue research, Cruz highlighted children who were rescued by fetal-tissue research.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/cruz-vows-prosecute-and-defund-planned-parenthood-new-video

    “For a century, Americans have helped heal and care for millions in need. Our values propelled extraordinary innovation. America made the world better,” states a narrator in the 30-second spot. “So how did America become a country that harvests organs from unborn children? And who has the courage to stop it?”

    “Ted Cruz will prosecute and defund Planned Parenthood,” the narrator continues. “Help Cruz restore American values.”

    So, yeah, Ted Cruz is one of the most vehement critics of Planned Parenthood, and he is also one of the most ignorant, and most deceptive in his messaging.

  39. says

    Crip Dyke @44, thanks for those comments. Made me think some more about this.

    There’s one problem with letting Republicans crash and burn while they crash and burn various levels of the economy, social services, infrastructure, etc. That problem is this: whatever happens, Republicans will blame Democrats. Fox News will back the Republicans up, and a new era of spin will ensue.

    Take, for example, Jeb Bush’s latest attempt to blame Hillary Clinton and President Obama for the current mess in Iraq. Jeb refuses to place any blame on W. Link

  40. says

    Republicans and their fucking demons! Holy Crap.
    Republicans and their self-serving award ceremonies. Sheesh.

    It’s hard to forget Arkansas Rep. Justin Harris. He and his wife gave away two girls they’d adopted to a man who went on to rape the six-year-old daughter. The story took on several bizarre twists as reports surfaced that Harris and his wife performed exorcisms on the girls before they gave them away, claiming the three-year-old and six-year-old girls were possessed by demons.

    Disgusting, right? Well, not to the Family Council Action Committee, which is presenting an award to Harris at an event headlined by creepy Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. […]

    Link

    Press releases for the award ceremony include a claim that Representative Justin Harris and another Republican representative “are consistently models of their Christian values in their homes, their communities, and their churches.” Uh-huh. Yeah, well that is sort of true.

    The press release goes on to commend Harris for his work on anti-abortion legislation.

    Here’s more on this creep to whom Ted Cruz is giving an award:

    Representative Harris is the owner and founder of Growing God’s Kingdom Preschool in West Fork and is serving his 3rd term as state representative. He has always been a strong advocate for home schoolers and the unborn. Even when opposed by the liberal media, Representative Harris has always held firm and stood tall in his faith. […]

  41. says

    I think this falls into the category of “the company you keep”: Ted Nugent admires Donald Trump, and he has been defending Trump repeatedly. Nugget’s latest comments read more like a Saturday Night Live Sketch, but apparently Nugget remains a star with the far right wing. Mr. Trump, these are the kind of friends who defend you.

    Ted Nugent says Megyn Kelly broke his heart as only she could “when she went into the status quo world” by asking Donald Trump an “obnoxious, meaningless, nonsensical, biased question” during last week’s Fox News debate, dismissing the cable news star as just someone he likes to watch while sitting naked on his couch and loading his gun.

    I’m a big fan of Donald Trump because I believe in bold, aggressive, unapologetic truth. Period. And I’m not a fan of Megyn Kelly, although I often turn on Fox just to look at her. Sometimes when I’m loading my [gun ammunition] magazines, I like to just look at her. And I usually sit naked on the couch dropping hot brass on my stuff. […]

    I’m afraid the gorgeous, stunning, otherwise professional and tuned-in Megyn Kelly absolutely fell of the cliff of political correctness when she proposed that obnoxious, meaningless, nonsensical, biased question for Donald Trump. […]

    I think she is playing some games, either that or she’s getting bad advice, either that or she’s just getting stupid. Either way, Donald Trump is the good guy, currently Megyn Kelly ain’t.

    Salon link
    Media Matters link

  42. says

    http://www.salon.com/2015/08/12/the_latest_donald_trump_garbage_fire_crudely_insulting_caroline_kennedy_and_bernie_sanders/

    Yeah, Trump just insulted Caroline Kennedy, and then he went after Bernie Sanders because, in Trump’s view, Sanders wasn’t man enough to stand up to female Black Lives Matter protestors.

    I thought that was disgusting. That showed such weakness, the way he was taken away by two young women. That will never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will, but that was a disgrace.

  43. says

    Here’s some good political news: a Democrat just picked up a Republican seat by fighting anti-gay discrimination … and Taylor Bennett won that seat in Georgia, a red state (Mitt Romney carried the state). The Democrat was outspent 2-1, but his opposition to a “religious freedom restoration act” won him a lot of votes and a lot of press coverage.

    Bennett’s win means that, although the Dems are still a minority in the state legislature, Republicans don’t have enough votes to get super-majorities. Republicans will have a hard time doing things like amending the state constitution to enshrine anti-gay legislation.

    Small victory, but important.

  44. says

    Yay for California! This is a progressive move on their part, a move that will ensure that real justice is more likely in cases where police use lethal force. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed the law that will force prosecutions of police to be transparent, to be out in the open. Prosecutors can no longer present their cases in such a way as to lead a grand jury to not indict.

    The bill was authored by a Democrat. It makes a difference at the local or state level when we elect progressive politicians.

    SB 227, authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), makes California the first state to ban the use of grand juries to decide whether law enforcement should face criminal charges in use-of-force cases. The ban, which will go into effect next year, comes after grand juries failed to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, last year, heightening scrutiny of the process.

    Mitchell argues that the grand jury process, during which evidence is presented to a panel of civilians in secret, fosters a lack of trust in the system.

    Link

  45. says

    Ben Carson, the only black guy in the photo that heads this thread, connected Hillary Clinton to Nazi Germany and to eugenics (via Planned Parenthood).

    Carson is polling second, behind Trump, in Iowa polls.

    “You know, I know who [Planned Parenthood founder] Margaret Sanger is, and I know that she believes in eugenics, and that she was not particularly enamored with black people,” Carson said.

    Carson urged viewers to read about Sanger, describing her as “a woman who Hillary Clinton, by the way, says she admires. Look and see what many people in Nazi Germany thought about her.”

  46. says

    You think politics in the USA is weird? Well, yes, it is, but a segment from The Rachel Maddow show tonight ended with an über loopy ad from a candidate for Canadian Parliament. Ari Melber hosted the segment.

    Link. The video is 4:52 long, and it’s really entertaining.

  47. says

    A RedState post claimed that Hillary Clinton proves “even a homely woman can sleep her way into power.” RedState’s editor-in-chief Erick Erickson recently disinvited Donald Trump from the RedState Gathering event for Trump’s sexist attacks on Fox’s Megyn Kelly. […]

    Yes, RedState is a misogynist sinkhole. I don’t know why their editor objected to Donald Trump’s sexist attack on Megyn Kelly. It must have been the veiled reference to menstruation, which is, as we all know, super icky and never to be mentioned lest it summon Satan. (And, no, Mr. Trump, no one believes you were referring to Megyn Kelly having a nose bleed.)

    Media Matters link

  48. says

    Some time ago Grover Norquist introduced to politics in the USA a pernicious idea: pressuring candidates to pledge never to raise taxes for any reason. No new taxes on anyone for any reason.

    Most Republican candidates sign the pledge. Without it, they can’t win, especially in primary elections when the most likely voters are also those most extreme in their views.

    The pledge makes bipartisan legislation almost impossible. It also increases income inequality, and makes it hard to govern at all.

    This stupid pledge is still with us, and Republican candidates are signing it. Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina have all signed. Most of the other candidates are likely to follow suit.

    Jeb Bush is an exception: “I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people. I respect Grover’s political involvement. He has it every right to do it, but I never signed any pledge.”

    The wording of the pledge has more to do with economic/tax policy than just refusing to raise taxes, it requires signees to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes,” and also to find an offset (a cut of an equal amount) if they are going to approve any government spending of any kind.

    You would be hard pressed to find any attitude/pledge more likely to guarantee bad, knee-jerk governance.

  49. says

    Here’s some good governance news:

    The number of people without health insurance has declined by 15.8 million since ObamaCare’s coverage expansion took effect, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Link

    We also got new reports showing that the Affordable Care Act has not undermined job growth. Link

    Opponents have no reason to continue to beat the “Repeal Obamacare” dead horse.

  50. says

    We’ll file this under “U.S. politicians who can’t speak English”: “I think what’s resonating about Donald Trump, I’d like to think, some things is appealing about my candidacy here in Wisconsin.”

    That’s Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, speaking. I think he’s trying to say that he’s like Trump and that that is a good thing.

    Ron Johnson has said lots of stupid and incoherent things before, maybe he’s looking for a catch-all that would justify his incompetence.

  51. says

    Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have made specific suggestions for policy changes that would restore the rights of former inmates who have paid their debt to society.

    Clinton recently mentioned the difficulty that former inmates encounter when seeking jobs and housing. She supports the “Ban the Box” movement which seeks to remove the box on job applications and other documents that former inmates have to check. “[…] you shouldn’t be automatically disqualified,” Clinton said. She added that former felons should have voting rights, a point that Sanders also made.

    A sitting president could “ban the box” for federal contractors and agencies with an executive order, that would be a start.

    In the past, some researchers have made the point that we lock up so many black men that we reduce that voting block. Even when these men are released, they are not allowed to vote.

    Related links:
    Los Angeles Times link
    Salon link
    The Root link
    The Hill link

  52. Rich Woods says

    @Crip Dyke #44:

    Duck and cover, that’s what I’m doing. The republicans will greet the transsexual crip dykes of the world as liberators once the explosions stop; I’m sure of it.

    It is bloody depressing, isn’t it? I can understand the urge to give up in disgust. Trying to tell people that if they vote that way even in the light of past experience, they’ll be fucked over time and again until they have no functioning orifices left, has diminishing returns. Too many people think they’ll be alright, until of course they’re not: “Nooo, I voted to take money away from immigrants, not from my own children!!”

    The problem with letting things melt down is the number of people who are first up against the wall when the revolution doesn’t come.

  53. says

    Ha! Moment of schadenfreude: Donald Trump has often repeated his claim that Mexico will pay to build the bigger border wall that is part of his immigration policy (more of a non-policy, but we’ll let that go). What’s funny is that Donald Trump’s braggadocio is so blatantly off the rails that international leaders have started to call him on it, including Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s spokesman Eduardo Sanchez.

    Trump said:

    “I’ve said they’re going to pay for the wall, and they’re going to pay for the wall.” On an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show, he doubled-down on these remarks, saying that Mexico “will probably just give us the money,” and “not like 98 percent of it, Sean, but 100 percent.”

    Eduardo Sanchez said:

    “Of course it’s false,” he said of Trump’s claim. “It reflects an enormous ignorance of what Mexico represents, and also the irresponsibility of the candidate who’s saying it.”

    “Mexicans in the U.S. work with passion, they do their jobs well,” he added. “His comments reflect an enormous lack of knowledge of the reality in the U.S.”

    Bloomberg link

  54. says

    Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon, presidential candidate and all-around rightwing dunderhead has been a leading voice in the defund-Planned-Parenthood movement. He’s such a vocal critic that he has racked up some big headlines, and some applause from his fellow right-wingers.

    The problem? Carson used tissue from aborted fetuses in his research. Hypocrisy, thy name is Ben Carson.

    Late on Wednesday, an OB/GYN and science writer Jen Gunter revealed on her blog a 1992 study in which Carson and three other colleagues used tissue from the fetal brain and nasal cavity to better understand the development of the chambers (or “ventricles”) of the brain. These tissues “were obtained from two fetuses aborted at the ninth and 17th week of gestation,” the paper says.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/virginiahughes/ben-carson-used-fetal-tissue

    Carson did nothing illegal, and nothing unethical … unless you count railing against the use of fetal tissue for research when he as done exactly that. At least he proved the usefulness of using fetal tissue in research projects.

  55. says

    Rand Paul criticized Donald Trump on the basis of Trump’s past policy positions. So what did Trump do? He criticized Rand Paul’s golf game.

    Rand Paul is doing so poorly in the polls he has to revert to old footage of me discussing positions I no longer hold. As a world-class businessman, who built one of the great companies with some of the most iconic real estate assets in the world, it was my obligation to my family, my company, my employees and myself to maintain a strong relationship with all politicians whether Republican or Democrat. I did that and I did that well. […]

    Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics. […]

    Yes, there’s more to Trump’s rant, but I don’t think we need to read it.
    Washington Post link

  56. Rich Woods says

    “I’ve said they’re going to pay for the wall, and they’re going to pay for the wall.”

    But has he ever said how? Will Mexico volunteer the money? If so, why haven’t they already? Since they’ve not, how is Trump going to persuade them? I doubt it’s going to be through a charm offensive.

    Mexico “will probably just give us the money,”

    Well. That’s a plan.

    Complete knobhead. How does this person still have supporters? No, no, don’t tell me…

  57. Rich Woods says

    Gah, CloudFlare again! Sorry, Lynna, I’m giving up and going to find a film to watch instead. I did watch the John Oliver segment you recommended: thankfully nothing quite so extreme has hit UK shores just yet. But give it time. They say particularly bad ideas take 20 years to cross the Atlantic, don’t they? Happy face…

  58. says

    Rich Woods, I feel your pain. I get an immediate “timed out” window with every comment, and then I get the CloudFlare crap on a second or third try at posting.

    I am giving up for today. There’s more political news, including something about Trump and a cow sculpted out of butter at the Iowa State Fair, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

    Glad you got to watch the John Oliver video. Boy did he nail the decadent excesses and the lies. Here’s the link again in case anyone needs it.

  59. Rich Woods says

    Trump and a cow sculpted out of butter

    I laughed when I read that! And then I got to wondering. And then, well, I thought maybe you weren’t just making a joke. So I googled it.

    Feck.

    Still, at least I now know what happened to Def Leppard. Trump and Iowa State Fair, you’ve stolen my childhood!

  60. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Is Trump running a false flag to help Hilary?
    I don’t think so. Just rephrase it a little to express something I could agree with. IE “Is Trump’s false flag campaign helping Hilary?”
    as in:
    1) is Trump’s campaign a false flag? — Yes
    2) is that helping Hilary’s campaign? — probably, given that Trump is abhorrent, even ant-Hilary’s might consider voting for her out of desperation.
    Trump is so “out there”, I can only say “out there” to avoid descending into rude epithets. His “false flag” strategy is to inflate his ego. He wants to make himself uber-famous by being more offensive than even the worst of the Rethuglicans.

  61. Anri says

    Opponents have no reason to continue to beat the “Repeal Obamacare” dead horse.

    I am beginning to think I finally managed to make a political prediction that actually came true (and am unduly proud of it). I said that once the GOP had wedded the ACA indelibly to Pres. Obama with the name “Obamacare”, they have to make it something negative, regardless of the real world. For their purposes, is simply must be a disaster.
    When that all started up, I thought it was risky for them, betting the farm on the ACA’s failure. I rather suspect that they might very well have secured the ACA as Pres. Obama’s legacy.

    That won’t stop them from claiming it as their own brilliant idea some time down the line, of course, but it will make it more difficult.

    (For the record, I think the ACA is both a massive improvement and a fairly poor solution. Kinda like using a tourniquet on a self-inflicted gunshot wound: way better then bleeding to death, but a damn site worse then just not shooting yourself in the first place.)

  62. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Lynna, OM wrote:
    You think politics in the USA is weird? Well, yes, it is, but a segment from The Rachel Maddow show tonight ended with an über loopy ad from a candidate for Canadian Parliament.
    Is it bad that I kinda want to vote for Wyatt Scott now? Alas, I do not live in his riding.

  63. se habla espol says

    Since the last presidential election, I’ve conjectured that Romney fulfilled the White Horse prophesy by setting up the destruction of the Tea Party, thus preserving the constitution… Maybe, just maybe, the GOTP will wage sufficient war upon itself to do that.

    Maybe I’m late to the party, yet again: The Gruaniad reported yesterday on the hot new pejorative of the week among RWNJs:

    “Cuckservative”: noun, portmanteau of cuckold and conservative, pejorative internet slang. A conservative who is not conservative enough for some other conservatives, with implications of cowardice and sexual impotence and/or deviance.

    The term “cuckservative” caught the eye of puzzled observers this week amid the froth of commentary floating around the race to become the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

    It has been dubbed a sign of a “raging civil war” tearing the Republican party apart, “the GamerGate” of white supremacists, and a meme expressing “a certain kind of contempt”. But the dictionaries have yet to step in, leaving readers to take it apart more or less on their own.

    [Meta: preview is not responding, so my tentacles are crossed.]

  64. says

    Rabid rightwing radio host, Bradlee Dean, continues to call for the death of President Obama.

    “If what was happening in this country was happening in a foreign country, the people in this country would have called for military strikes, as well as an all-out manhunt for the dictators that were guilty of the same things Barack Hussein Obama and his criminal administration are guilty of here in America,” Dean said. “Yet, because it is happening here, the people have somehow deceived themselves into believing that what they have allowed is not as bad as what is happening over in Third World countries.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  65. says

    “When in doubt, it must always be the parent’s choice,” Fiorina responded, adding “We must protect religious liberty and someone’s ability to practice their religion.”

    That’s Republican candidate Carly Fiorina talking about vaccination of children.

  66. says

    @72 and @73, I wrote what I imagined was a witty reply to your comments, then the malfunctioning freethoughtblogs server ate the comment, threw up a “timed out” window, and refused to let me go back to the comment page to try again.

    I am really frustrated. se habla espol should cross tentacles for all of us.

  67. says

    Chris Hayes hosted an interesting interview last night. A Republican talked about his fellow Republicans, the GOP in general, and Donald Trump in particular. Bruce Bartlett was a senior policy analyst for George HW Bush, and he’s still a Republican, just an unhappy one.

    “Oh, I love Donald Trump,” Bruce Bartlett said. “Because he exposes everything about the Republican Party that I have frankly come to hate. It is just filled with people who are crazy, and stupid, and have absolutely no idea of what they are taking about. And the candidate no matter how intelligent they may be just constantly have to keep pandering to this lowest common denominator in American politics.”

    The harshness of the comments shocked Chris Hayes. He said it seemed like an elitist generalization. One can be sure there was a journalistic wink wink in Chris Hayes’ push back.
    But Bartlett continued. “I think it is pretty obvious to anyone who follows politics,” Bartlett said. “The problem is to use a term that I don’t like, it’s not politically correct to point out the obvious. And again I think Trump is pointing this out. Among other things, to follow up with your comment, one of the things that we are seeing very clearly this time more than any other year is that issues don’t matter. Policies don’t matter. The only thing that matters is attitude. And Trump has exactly the right ‘chip on your shoulder’ attitude that many many people find extraordinarily attractive that is completely divorced from whatever he is saying about the issues which is precious little.”

    Associated links:
    Daily Kos link
    News Busters link (some rightwing nonsense on this page)
    Another source for the Chris Hayes video

  68. says

    Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American who is also a Republican candidate for President of the USA, was really ticked off by the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana today.

    Rubio’s rant included a plethora of pseudo-facts, including this one: ““the Cuban people have a standard of living well below that of virtually every other nation in the hemisphere.”

    Nope. Not correct. The Human Development Index maintained by the United Nations ranks Cuba above Mexico, above other Caribbean nations, above all Central American countries, and above most South American Countries.

    Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. and about an equal life expectancy. The country also has the lowest HIV rate in the Americas, according to the United Nations, and just this summer became the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mothers to children.

    Think Progress link

    Yes, Cuba is known for its human rights violations, and improvements are needed in other areas, but Rubio’s decision to oppose normalization of US/Cuba relations is not going to turn out well. Rubio did not offer other solutions, just criticism of Secretary Kerry and of President Obama.

    Rubio wants to block Senate confirmation of a U.S. ambassador to Cuba. Waste of Senate time. More living-in-the-past from Republicans.

  69. says

    The Jeb Bush campaign for President lied, blatantly lied about meeting with Black Lives Matter activists. Yes, there was a meeting, but no activists from Black Lives Matter were there.

    There was a meeting, but no activists from the Black Lives Matter movement participated. Instead, Bush met with a local elected official, a GOP lobbyist and a staffer from an anti-poverty organization. […]

    There were three people at the table with Bush. Hooks confirmed that a member of his staff [from the Las Vegas Urban League] was one of them. North Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Goynes-Brown was the second, and she said the third attendee was Sean Fellows, a registered lobbyist for a communications firm who once ran as a Republican candidate for state assembly.

    Huff Po link

    And that’s not all: the Black Lives Matter campaign was not discussed during the meeting. Some people have postulated that Jeb Bush and his staffers can’t tell the difference between representatives from Black Lives Matter and any other group of people that includes at least one African-American.

  70. Rich Woods says

    Jeb Bush refuses to rule out use of torture if he becomes US president

    Jeb Bush has declined to rule out the US resuming the use of torture – with the Republican presidential hopeful saying brutal questioning methods might be justifiable and necessary in some circumstances.

    It’s the ticking bomb scenario all over again. “Go ahead, Jack, it’s OK to shoot him in the kneecap. Just as long as he tells us where the WMD is kept. Kneecapping not worked? Get out the electrodes. Batteries ran out of juice sooner than you expected? Waterboard him. Waterboard him 137 times, because waterboarding is so effective. OK, you’re now six days beyond your 24 hours, but dammit Jack! We need that information for me to feel like I’ve kept the country safe. No, no, take a break. You’ve earned it. Anyway, I need to go out and make a speech about how we’re upholding liberty and decency, and equality for all, and the rule of law. Won’t take me a second.”

  71. Rich Woods says

    From the same article as #81:

    Bush has been walking a careful path, seeking to disassociate himself from some of the unpopular aspects of his brother’s legacy while praising him.

    Dubya to Jeb: “Bro, you’re my wingman. I even feel safe turning up at a courthouse, knowing you’ve got my back.”

  72. says

    Rich Woods, 81 and 82: yeah, I think Jeb will start another war, and he will torture people at “black sites” — all bad. In addition, he doesn’t understand climate change or cyber security. Not fit for the presidency.

    Last night, Rachel Maddow covered the back story of every Democratic candidate, including bravery of Hillary Clinton. Nice coverage of Bernie Sanders and the other candidates as well.
    Link

    There’s some awful misogynistic comments from the time during which Hillary Clinton was First Lady.

    Tonight, Rachel is going to cover the back story of Republican candidates.

  73. says

    We have all kinds of legislation that’s supposed to guide the Securities and Exchange Commission when they police/regulate markets in the USA. But, damnit, the SEC is not doing its job.

    SEC Chair Mary Jo White made the acknowledgement in a response to Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who queried the agency about stock buybacks. Baldwin is one of a growing number of politicians—including presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders—who are citing buybacks as an example of deliberate financial engineering that bolsters concentration of wealth and keeps working-class wages stagnant.
    Stock buybacks are an increasingly common practice in which corporations take profits, and instead of investing in facilities, research and development, or boosting worker wages, buy shares of their own stock on the open market, thereby boosting demand and driving up its price. Companies bought back over half a trillion dollars’ worth of their own shares last year.

    The practice creates short-term rewards for executives who are paid in stock and stock options, and benefit from an increased price. They also make corporate earnings look better by reducing outstanding shares and increasing the commonly reported ratio of earnings-per-share.

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/13/sec-admits-monitoring-stock-buybacks-prevent-market-manipulation/

    I hope both Clinton and Sanders take a hard look at this issue and propose new regulations that would help the SEC to do their job — they claim they lack the tools to properly evaluate the issue. Sounds like a copout to me, but I’ll have to look into this some more.

  74. raven says

    Does anybody else have this problem?

    Test.

    I’ve gotten a lot of timed outs in the last two days.

  75. says

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. I know that Hillary Clinton’s emails are currently the main act in the Republican conspiracy circus, but do Republicans and their propaganda machine, Fox News, have to keep making shit up?

    Fox News spent much of August 13 running with speculation from an anonymous State Department official that aides to Hillary Clinton had “stripped” the classification markings from emails that she received in her private email server, going so far as to state the claim as fact and speculate on who had done the alleged deed. Later that day, the State Department said there was no evidence any stripping of classification markings had occurred.

    Media Matters link

    MEGYN KELLY: Big news in Hillary Clinton email scandal. Just before we came to air tonight, an unnamed State Department official telling Fox News that some of the nation’s most sensitive, top secret information was communicated on Mrs. Clinton’s server. It was highly classified at the time, contradicting one of the key arguments in team Clinton’s defense. Also, another big development, this State Department source suggesting to Fox that a Clinton insider must have been the one to actively strip the classification markings off of the information before sending it, which is a felony, potentially punishable by serious prison time. Judge Andrew Napolitano is our Fox News senior judicial analyst, and Judge, I just want to clear it up for the viewers — so this State Department official is saying, we now know at least one email was top, top, top, top secret, that the State Department doesn’t have the capability to mark a document that way. So it had to come to State from someplace else in the Intelligence Community.

    And there’s a lot more where that came from. The following Fox News dunderheads propagated the false information:
    Brian Kilmeade
    Steve Doocy
    Andrew Napolitano
    Ed Klein, discredited conspiracy theorist
    Peter Doocy
    Karl Rove
    Bill Hemmer
    Bret Baier
    Sandra Smith
    Mike Emanuel

    In other words, Fox News spent the better part of two days reporting pseudo-facts as real facts. They threw everything they had into this smear. Disgusting. Also, repetitious — so repetitious that I got a headache watching this shit and researching the various sources.

  76. says

    I received a reply from PZ regarding our difficulty posting comments:

    We seem to be undergoing some kind of hack attack right now.

  77. says

    Michele Bachmann talks about the Iran deal:

    Bachmann claimed that the unanimous UN Security Council vote to approve the agreement was “the most important national security event of my lifetime” because it fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 that all the nations of the world will unite against Israel, “with the United States leading that charge.” She added that God and “heaven’s armies” will use groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so “prove to the world His power and His strength.” […]

    Bachmann told listeners that they should feel “encouraged” by the fact that they are living in the End Times, explaining that these dark times are actually the best time to be alive since that means the world will soon come to an end.

    Right Wing Watch link

  78. says

    After bogus, deceptively edited videos about Planned Parenthood were released by rightwing minions of the anti-abortion movement, many Republican politicians (and a few Democrats) were all gleefully grabbing this latest opportunity to push for defunding the organization.

    In some states, regulatory legislation is being considered in addition to defunding efforts.

    Investigations into Planned Parenthood are so numerous that I can’t keep track of them, but one thing is clear: the investigations are turning up NO EVIDENCE of wrong-doing on the part of Planned Parenthood. In fact, there’s been such a dearth of negative results that some politicians, including Idaho’s rightwing governor, have refused to open their own investigation. Those investigations do cost taxpayers money after all.

    […] Officials in states including Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota have not been able to turn up any evidence that Planned Parenthood clinics are violating state laws and regulations regarding the collection of fetal tissue donations. Records obtained from other states, like Kansas, reveal that some Planned Parenthood clinics don’t even give their patients the option to donate this tissue.

    “In every state where these investigations have concluded, officials have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing,” Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement released on Friday. “We’ve said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has very high medical standards, and that’s what every one of these investigations has found. This campaign by anti-abortion extremists is nothing less than a fraud.”

    Donating tissue from aborted fetuses has beenlegal for decades. Scientists can use the biological material, which is a rich source of stem cells, todevelop new ways to treatAIDS, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, cancer, and eyesight loss. […]

    Republican lawmakers inArizona,Wisconsin, andCaliforniahave recently taken steps to make it more difficult to donate fetal tissue. The legislation is moving quickly in Wisconsin, though Gov. Scott Walker (R) hasn’t yet indicatedwhether he’ll approve itif it makes its way to his desk.
    State lawmakers have also pressed forward with attempts to strip Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer funding. This week,UtahandArkansasbecame the latest states to end their Medicaid contracts with the organization. […]

    This tactic is also unlikely to be successful for abortion opponents, though. States are not legally permitted from discriminating against qualified Medicaid providers, which hasthwartedsimilar defunding efforts in the past. That’s why the Obama administration has already startingwarning state officials that they shouldn’t end their contracts with Planned Parenthood.

    Think Progress link

  79. says

    Jeb Bush is somewhat confused when it comes to “Common Core” standards for education in the USA … and he wants his base of supporters to be even more confused. The more confusion, the better. Why? He’s afraid he’ll loss votes thanks to a rightwing conspiracy theory that Common Core is the deceptive plan of the Big Bad Federal Wolf Government to take over education.

    […] While speaking at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Friday, […] Bush tried to talk his way around a question about the Common Core Standards Initiative, an education policy initiated by the National Governors Association that tries to bring education standards into alignment nationwide.

    “The term ‘Common Core’ is so darn poisonous, I don’t even know what it means,” Bush said. “[But] I’m for higher standards — state-created, locally implemented — where the federal government has no role in the creation of standards, content or curriculum.”

    The evasive answer appears to be an attempt to sidestep widespread Republican opposition to the policy, which is rooted in the misconception that it amounts to a “federal takeover” of the education system — even though the standards were created by state governors, not the federal government, and developed at the state level. […]

    Bush’s bobbing and weaving over the issue contrasts starkly with Ohio governor and fellow GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, who has been open about his support for Common Core for some time. When pressed about the issue in an interview with Fox News in January, Kasich refused to back down, pointing out that Common Core isn’t the federally-mandated school curriculum that some conservatives make it out to be.

    “The Common Core was written by state education superintendents and local principals,” Kasich said. “In my state of Ohio, we want higher standards for our children, and those standards are set and the curriculum is set by local school boards … Barack Obama doesn’t set it, the state of Ohio doesn’t set it. It is local school boards driving better education, higher standards, created by local school boards.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/08/15/3692060/jeb-bush-decries-policy-he-definitely-supports/

  80. says

    Here’s an interesting comparison of Bernie Sanders to Jeremy Corbyn. Corby is a socialist politician and a member of Britain’s Labour Party. It seems Corbyn is enjoying a surge in popularity.

    And, oh joy, there’s even a note about fashion — not Bernie’s fashion, but Corbyn’s.

    […] Until a few weeks ago, Corbyn was widely viewed as a hopeless anachronism within post-Thatcher British politics, a ‘60s throwback with bad clothes, […](Actually, compared to the fashion-hopeless Sanders, Corbyn cuts quite a stylish figure in a distinctively English ascetic mode.) Now, he may be within days of becoming Labour’s parliamentary leader, and its prospective candidate for prime minister in the 2020 national election.

    Like Sanders, Corbyn has long advocated for a rejection of austerity politics and a return to seemingly outmoded policies of ambitious social spending, government activism and higher taxes on big business and the rich. He has proposed universal childcare and free higher education for all, […]

    Well, nobody’s laughing at the old-time lefty crackpot now. What few saw coming – and this happened with Sanders too – is that those old-school social-democratic ideas only sound outmoded to those who have been around long enough to be relentlessly indoctrinated with the Reagan-Thatcher ideology that the era of Big Government was a dreadful failure and that the true path to prosperity involves endless rounds of tax-cutting and “belt-tightening.” To younger generations raised amid the depressing, pseudo-Calvinist piety of permanent austerity and downward mobility, the revolutionary notion that the government might actually help you get an education, find a job, afford a decent place to live and raise your family — instead of just standing there and scolding — doesn’t sound old or tired in the slightest. […]

  81. says

    opus @96, thanks for the link. That was fun to read, but also, holy shit, alarming.

    Pastor Phillip Guin says the gully, once full of kudzu, snakes and other vermin, had been there since before he arrived at the church. Much of the dirt used as fill was from a recent expansion.

    And now the gully is full of another kind of vermin, including rabidly religious elderly women who are learning the shoot guns.

    Alabama church members taking advantage of lax gun laws. A ministry of guns. They actually called it a “ministry.”

    “We had quite a number of church members, some elderly ladies, for example, and some not so elderly women that had purchased guns, but didn’t know how to use them,” Guin said. […]

    “This is an opportunity for us to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique. […]”

    I see from the article that the local police are thrilled, and are using the range for training exercises. We need more religion in our policing. Not.

    From the photo that accompanies the article, the gun range looks like an ideal place for a flash flood to wash everything away. It also still looks like a nice environment for snakes to me.

  82. says

    What the ever loving …?

    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems desperate to go to war, and he wants Republican Congress critters in the USA to help him.

    Israel is willing to invest quite a lot in putting the military option back on the table. Defense Minister Ya’alon threatened last week in the media that Israel will resume targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. It was strange, because in the past, Israel didn’t make its threats in the media – according to foreign reports, it conducted its assassinations in secret. Ya’alon’s comments were not for Tehran’s ears, however, but for Washington. […] It’s important to Israel to create the impression in Washington that approving the agreement would lead to war.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4690949,00.html

    Netanyahu is probably posturing for political gain, but he also has to be taken seriously. Der Spiegel reported that Defense Minister Ya’alon hinted at Israeli attacks on five Iranian scientists.

    And in 2014, several media outlets reported that President Obama’s administration had exerted pressure to stop targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists.

    So, now we see Netanyahu basically blackmailing the Obama administration with threats to begin targeting killings again if the Iran Nuclear Deal passes.

    In one tiny bit of good news, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) put out a “Strategic Outlook” that did not mention the Iranian nuclear operations as a security threat to Israel. This is an indication that the IDF is no longer backing Netanyahu.

    Unfortunately, we have lots of Republicans in Congress who will gleefully back Netanyahu. Those Republicans would love to see the Iran deal fail, if only to stick it to Obama.

  83. microraptor says

    I guess the big question is: will the Republicans in Congress who think that the Iran deal is a sign of the End Times try to oppose them?

  84. says

    http://doonesbury.washingtonpost.com/strip/archive/2015/8/16

    A Doonesbury comic strip nails the problem with the revised history textbooks that Texas is using. Republican and Tea Party doofuses forced these revisions. It was, more or less, local/state politics that is now affecting education all over the U.S.

    Texas is such a big market for textbooks that publishers tend to make the changes that state requires, and then they sell the same textbooks to most public school systems.

  85. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    In other words, Fox News spent the better part of two days19 years reporting pseudo-facts as real facts.

    FTFY.

    And let me say that I’m glad that the new regime has a dedicated space for Lynna’s reporting.

  86. says

    Thanks, What a Maroon, @102 for the correction. [insert smiley face stuff]

    We have some lovely Moments of Political Madness to report today (with “lovely” meaning “mind-fuckingly awful”).

    First up, Mike Huckabee:

    Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday put his support behind the decision to deny an abortion to a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay who was raped by her step-father, saying the while what happened was a “terrible tragedy,” it is best not to “compound the tragedy by taking another life.”

    The GOP presidential candidate, who has been firmly against abortion no matter the circumstance — including rape, incest or a woman’s life endangerment — touted his consistency in his defense and used a sort of “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument.

    Link

    Another presidential candidate on the Republican side, Marco Rubio, also supports the no-exceptions position. No girl or woman on his watch would be able to get an abortion.

    Scott Walker, the nemesis of education and working people in Wisconsin, and also a Republican presidential hopeful, said he would rather let a mother die than to terminate a life-threatening pregnancy with an abortion.

    Republicans used to support some exceptions to their anti-abortion stance. Now they do not.

  87. says

    Donald Trump and his campaign staff are incapable of issuing really detailed policy statements, but they did come out with what they are calling an “Immigration Plan.” It is six pages long and it marries bombast and unworkable plans.

    The summary sounds okay, sort of: build a wall, enforce laws, ensure jobs, more security, etc. It’s in the details, such as they are, that things get messy:

    – If Mexico refuses to pay for the wall, Trump will increase fees on all temporary visas; and he will increase fees at ports of entry.
    – Trump plans to triple the number of ICE officers
    – Trump plans to deport all undocumented immigrants, all of them, all 11 million or so. In order to “keep families together,” he will also send their U.S. citizen children “home” or “back” with their parents. “They have to go.” “We will work with them.”
    – He will use an executive order to rescind the Dream Act. He will revoke any and all of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
    – Trump wants and end to birthright citizenship, remove that part of the 14th amendment.
    – He will also “win the Latino vote.”

    Related links:
    MSNBC
    MSNBC link with video
    Talking Points Memo

  88. says

    More on the Republican push to revoke the 14th amendment:

    […] despite the fact that birthright citizenship has been part of the Constitution for nearly 150 years, Trump’s proposal enjoys a great deal of support in Republican circles. New Jersey Governor, and Trump’s fellow presidential candidate, Chris Christie (R) recently said that birthright citizenship “may have made sense at some point in our history, but right now, we need to re-look at all that.” Similarly, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), another presidential candidate, said in 2010 that “[w]e’re the only country I know of that allows people to come in illegally have a baby and then that baby becomes a citizen. And I think that should stop also.”

    Think Progress link

    Behind all this is a very old, racist idea, namely that the blood of black and brown immigrants will dilute the extra-special awesomeness of the blood of white folks.

  89. zenlike says

    Lynna, OM

    Another presidential candidate on the Republican side, Marco Rubio, also supports the no-exceptions position. No girl or woman on his watch would be able to get an abortion.

    Small quibble, he might want to achieve this, but on his watch they will still be able to get abortions (current restrictions making it more difficult notwithstanding) since the president has squat to decide on this. In the long term (eg after his watch) this might become the case if he elects SCOTUS judges who share his abhorant worldview, which will probably be the case. As always, it’s the long term which is in play here.

    Scott Walker, the nemesis of education and working people in Wisconsin, and also a Republican presidential hopeful, said he would rather let a mother die than to terminate a life-threatening pregnancy with an abortion.

    Republicans used to support some exceptions to their anti-abortion stance. Now they do not.

    Quite a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge the enormous shift to the right of US politics, but these viewpoints were quite radical not 10 years ago, and now they are mainstream republican. Far what it is worth (not much), I don’t believe someone like Walker actually gives one fuck about abortions, he just knows this is what he needs to say now to get the nomination in the republican party.

  90. says

    Trump said some reasonable stuff:
    – the Iraq war was stupid
    – no, he does not want to cut Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security

    Mostly, Trump said, “I am the best builder in the world,” and similar comments that are supposed to lead you to believe that he can:
    – Improve the miserable record of for-profit colleges by building his own, like Trump University (2005) that was never accredited. It is now “Trump Entrepreneur Initiative,” an entity which has been sued and is till in legal battles (classes were misrepresented).
    – Improve education by cutting the U.S. Department of Education “way, way, way down.”

  91. says

    The GOP promises Trump a Mexican-free life it he just quits the damn race in this hilarious parody:

    In the video embedded below, Funny or Die presents an actor playing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as he pleads with the former reality TV star and real estate mogul to drop out of the race.

    “Please quit,” he begs. “You are making us look crazy. We thought about bribing you to stop, but…you don’t need money.”

    “However,” he goes on, “Republicans have access to all kinds of crazy shit. Tell us what you want.”

    “Priebus” offers to build Trump a replica of the White House in New Jersey where Trump can pretend to be president but still star in “The Apprentice.”

    “You don’t like Mexicans, right?” He then offers Trump a life where he never has to see a single Mexican person, ever.

    Sex with an alien? “Michael Jackson coma drugs?”

    “Tell us what you want!” he rages. “We will give it to you!”

    Video at the link.

  92. says

    zenlike @106, yes, my statement about Marco Rubio’s anti-abortion views was hyperbole. I should be more careful. If he had his way, no one would get an abortion on Macho Rubio’s watch. But even if he were elected president, he would not be able to eliminate legal abortion altogether. Good point, as well, about the Supreme Court Justices. Thanks.

    Patrick Stewart made fun of Fox News and conservatives in general (in addition to other issues) in the first episode of his new show, “Blunt Talk.” Link.

  93. says

    If the GOP cannot come up with a way to bribe Trump to drop out of the presidential race, maybe this will do it-
    White supremacist Craig Cobb wants to name latest all-white enclave after Donald Trump:

    The 63-year-old Cobb bought $10,000 in property last month from a man in Antler, near the Canadian border, in hopes of setting up a church for his racist Creativity Movement and homes for like-minded white supremacists, reported WDAY-TV.

    He planned to rename the town to “Trump Creativity” or “Creativity Trump” to honor the Republican presidential frontrunner — who Cobb deeply admires.

    However, local residents and elected officials do not want Cobb or his associates in the town, so the city outbid him and closed a deal with the property owner — who has tried to return a down payment made by the white nationalist.

    Cobb complained that the property owner was pressured to back out of the original deal, and he said he doesn’t want his money back but he instead wants a deed to the property.

    He denied that he and other church members were “trying to rule over other people,” but he admitted that he hopes to draw enough white supremacists to his enclave to outnumber the town’s voting population — which he estimated to be 20 people.

    Cobb also denied that his community would exclude non-white residents, although he conceded that he might not welcome black people.

    “‘Welcome’ is a strong word,” Cobb said. “We understand that they have a legal right.”

    I think Cobb’s community would have to be NOT welcoming to Mexican-Americans for this to appeal to Trump.

  94. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    White supremacist Craig Cobb wants to name latest all-white enclave after Donald Trump

    He needn’t worry. I’m sure Trump is already planning to rename the GOP “The Trump Party” after he gets the nomination.

  95. says

    Tony @111, that’s kind of amusing in an awful way. At least the white supremacist was temporarily shut down. On the other hand, I am reminded of the John Oliver segment that PZ posted today. No doubt White Supremacist Creationist Church would be tax exempt.

  96. says

    Some of the past “Birther” blather than sprang up during President Obama’s first campaign for office is now blowing back onto Republican candidates. Birthers are saying that Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz may not be eligible for the office of President of the USA.

    The rabid fringe of the rightwing has been nurtured by Republicans, and now it is big enough to bite the hand that fed it. We’ve seen it in the House of Congress, where the fringe has even refused to cooperate with Republican leaders like John Boehner. The fringe has made Mitch McConnell fail several times in the Senate. It’s hard to make Boehner and McConnell look like the moderates in the room, but the rabid rightwing has done so.

    And now they are going after some of the presidential candidates on the basis of their birth certificates.

    […] a column published last week on the conspiracy theory website WND, author Jack Cashill noted that questions had been raised about whether four of the 17 candidates in the GOP field were really “natural born citizens” and therefore eligible to run for President.

    Ted Cruz has already dealt with those questions publicly — the Canadian-born senator from Texas renounced his citizenship with that country last summer in anticipation of a 2016 bid — but Cashill also listed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among those who were suspect.

    He even mentioned that Jindal’s preferring to go by the name Bobby — inspired by “The Brady Bunch” — instead of his given name, Piyush, would make for interesting evidence in a court case focused on his eligibility to run for commander-in-chief. […]

    Cashill: “This subject’s been raised for years. Especially in very strict constitutional tea party circles it’s a very lively topic. And as I expected from my article yesterday, there were many people who attacked me for being unduly lenient in my description of who’s eligible and who’s not. […]”

    “There’s a lot of smart people who are looking at this who aren’t crazy. They just believe in the Constitution. […] I would say every tea party movement in the country, every constitutionalist group in the country will have people who are adamantly opposed to the election of any of these people. This is a really pure stand …” […]

    Oh, yeah, “pure.” That’s not what I would call the Birther arguments.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/rubio-jindal-cruz-santorum-birthers

  97. says

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson had a “legitimate rape” moment when discussing abortion. Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who sometimes reveals remarkable ignorance when it comes to medical issues.

    […] Carson, like Akin before him, tried to argue that such exceptions [rape and incest exceptions that would allow abortions] weren’t really necessary. “I would hope that they would very quickly avail themselves of emergency room,” Carson argued, referring to rape victims. “And in the emergency room, they have the ability to administer, you know, RU-486, other possibilities, before you have a developing fetus.”

    As with Akin, it’s hard even to know where to begin. The biological ignorance on display here is astounding. RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” would not be given to a rape victim in an emergency room. The pill can only work on established pregnancies and is usually administered at abortion clinics. The pill Carson is likely thinking of is emergency contraception, which, as its name would suggest, prevents conception in the first place. Anti-choicers who don’t like the idea of women having post-sex contraception have frequently claimed that emergency contraception works by killing embryos, but in reality, it works by suppressing women’s ovulation so no conception can occur while she has the live sperm in her system. That Carson, who is an actual doctor, would conflate the two is particularly troubling.

    Just as insidious is his implication that a rape victim only deserves our sympathy—or, if you prefer, a rape victim is only legitimate—if she behaves in a certain way after the rape. To earn the right not to bear a child for a rapist by force, you have to pull it together right after the rape and go straight to the emergency room, keeping in mind to avoid Catholic hospitals, even if that means driving for hours out of your way. […]

    Carson is particularly opposed to abortion services for women of color.

    “That 30 percent of abortions occur among black women, whereas their population number is 13 percent, so it’s almost triple the number of abortions rate for African Americans as whites,” Carson told Fox News host Eric Bolling on Thursday night. “It brings up a very important issue and that is do those black lives matter? The number one cause of death for black people is abortion.” […]

    Slate link

    One should note that black women have a higher rate of unwanted pregnancy thanks, in part, to inadequate access to reproductive health care. And that includes contraception services.

  98. says

    Hillary Clinton replies to Jeb Bush’s attempt to blame her and President Obama for the mess in Iraq:

    “The entire picture includes the agreement George W. Bush made with the Maliki government in Iraq that set the end of 2011 as the date to withdraw American troops,” she said. […]

    “So for him to make whatever case he wishes on behalf of his own campaign,” Clinton continued, “there is clearly a very direct line between the agreement George W. Bush signed and the efforts that the Obama administration made, of which I was a part, to persuade the Maliki government to admit continued American support for the Iraqi army.”

    Link

    Jeb Bush is scarily ignorant when it comes to foreign policy. Most of Jebs advisors used to work for George W. Bush.

  99. says

    Most of the Republican candidates are attacking Social Security:

    […] Thus, Jeb Bush says that the retirement age should be pushed back to “68 or 70”. Scott Walker has echoed that position. Marco Rubio wants both to raise the retirement age and to cut benefits for higher-income seniors. Rand Paul wants to raise the retirement age to 70 and means-test benefits. Ted Cruz wants to revive the Bush privatization plan. […]

    Public Policy link

    Paul Krugman on why Republican candidates are attacking Social Security:

    […] And while most Americans love Social Security, the wealthy don’t. Two years ago a pioneering study of the policy preferences of the very wealthy found many contrasts with the views of the general public; as you might expect, the rich are politically different from you and me. But nowhere are they as different as they are on the matter of Social Security. By a very wide margin, ordinary Americans want to see Social Security expanded. But by an even wider margin, Americans in the top 1 percent want to see it cut. […]

    New York Times link

    Republican candidates depend on the top one-tenth percent of wealthy people, namely their donors. Billionaires are über conservative, for the most part.
    http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~jnd260/cab/CAB2012%20-%20Page1.pdf

    Eighty percent of voters in the USA oppose raising the retirement age. And even more telling, the financial doomsday being sold by the Republicans is false.

    […] lifting the payroll cap of $118,500 would resolve Social Security’s funding issues in an instant. […]

    In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party called for “the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that “entitlement reform” is absolutely necessary. Link

  100. says

    Ann Coulter called Trump’s plan to deport all of the undocumented immigrants in the USA, and to rescind part of the 14th Amendment, the “Greatest Political Document Since The Magna Carta.”

    Todd Starnes of Fox News said,

    What I’m about to tell you is politically incorrect, but it needs to be said. There’s a reason why Donald Trump is smoking his Republican competition — he wants to put Americans first, not the illegals. […]

    The illegals are pillaging and plundering our economy. They are raping and murdering our fellow countrymen. They have been given accommodation at the expense of the American taxpayer. […]”

    Rush Limbaugh also supports Trump’s immigration plan. See comment 104 for a summary of Trump’s plan.

  101. says

    This is a follow up to comments 117. That comment presented the views of Republican candidates. Here is Hillary Clinton’s take on Social Security:

    “I’m especially focused on the fact that we need to improve how Social Security works for women,” she wrote in the questionnaire, which was seen by Reuters and confirmed by three union sources.

    “I also want to enhance benefits for our most vulnerable seniors,” she wrote, adding that she will have proposals on retirement security for Americans “in the weeks and months ahead.” […]

    Clinton said this month that she would consider raising the cap on the amount of earnings taxable for Social Security, but has otherwise said little about the program.

    However, her main rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has proposed expanding the program’s benefits.

    http://news.yahoo.com/clinton-points-social-security-changes-afl-cio-questionnaire-050441631–business.html

  102. says

    Senator Martin Heinrich is a Democrat from New Mexico. He is a soft-spoken member of the Senate’s Intelligence and Armed Services committees. Heinrich researches each issue on which he votes, and he is articulate, which seems to be a rarity in the debate over the Iran Nuclear Deal.

    Henrich’s defense of, and explanation of, the Iran deal is exceptionally well-written. I advise reading the entire essay. Albuquerque Journal link

    Excerpt below:

    In the first decade of this century when we were entangled in the War in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear program surged ahead rapidly, adding thousands of centrifuges, building complex nuclear facilities and stockpiling highly enriched uranium.

    In the absence of real negotiations and before the most recent sanctions, Iran built a nuclear infrastructure that went from 164 centrifuges in 2003 to 19,000 centrifuges today and included large quantities of 20 percent enriched uranium that could quickly be enriched to weapons grade material.

    When evaluating the deal we achieved with our allies and partners to prevent Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon, context, data and details like these matter. Perhaps the most critical data point: Without a deal, Iran could acquire enough highly enriched material for a bomb in 60-90 days.

    With a deal, Iran must reduce its stockpile by 98 percent. It must cut its number of centrifuges by two-thirds. And it must allow 24/7 inspections and continuous monitoring of its nuclear infrastructure.

    Further, a mechanism is in place that will allow inspections of sites should we suspect covert action being taken to build a bomb anywhere else in Iran.

    This accord breaks each path to a weaponized nuclear device, including any potential covert effort. We should welcome each of those developments as major steps toward regional and international security. […]

  103. says

    Oh, FFS, Texas conservatives! Do you have to push the rabid religious rightwing further off the cliff? Rhetorical question, because, yes, you have done that.

    A conservative guy named Sten Hotze runs a “Faith, Family, Freedom Tour.” You know from the name that the tour is bad news, but it is even worse news for the LGBT community. That doofus Hotze picked up a satirical essay titled “The Gay Manifesto” and ran with it as truth. The 1987 essay was a satire, a satire Mr. Hotze.

    Political leaders like former House Majority leader Tom Delay joined Hotze in presenting this circus of stupid — all in an effort to fight a civil rights ordinance that will be on the ballot in November (Texas is trying to vote on civil rights, again).

    Hotze postured with swords and bibles:

    […] “Our strongest weapon in the fight,” he said, pulling out a sword from its sheath and brandishing it for the audience, “is the word of God. The word of God is like any two-edged sword.”

    He pointed the sword at the audience. “For thousands of years, men fought with swords,” he said. “Can you imagine that piercing right through the enemy like this? That’s what the word of God does. I’ve decided, I’m not going to fight the homosexuals with sweet words. I’m going to fight them with God’s word.” […]

    [Hotze speaking to Christian homosexuals] “You love Jesus? Have you ever heard this, my friend: ’The wages of sin is death?’” […]

    “What you just saw in the homosexual manifesto underscores the evil nature of this battle. […] You have to put on the full armor of God,” he admonished the audience, swinging his sword again. […] He told the audience that “Satanic cults” were driving the “homosexual movement.”

    Gays “want to make Houston another San Francisco,” and “want to make Texas a clone of California.” The next battle, now that the battle over gay marriage was lost, would be over transgender rights. Bumper stickers that read “No men in women’s bathrooms!” were available in the back of the room. […]

    […] “Has anybody ever heard of the Nazis? Were they wicked? OK. What did we send our boys over to do in World War II? What did our preachers pray that would happen in World War II?” They weren’t praying that the Germans would straighten up and fly right. “They prayed, ‘give our boys victory in battle,’” Hotze said. “Sometimes you have to do that when people are totally opposed to God like that, and wickedness rises up.”

    BTW, at the same meeting Tom Delay told the audience that the judiciary can be overruled by the people. Uh, no.

    http://www.texasobserver.org/conservative-texas-steve-hotze-gay-nazis/

  104. says

    Meanwhile, in good political news for transgender people, the Obama administration hired a transgender woman to fill a senior staff position.

    Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, who formerly served in trans advocacy as policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Racial & Economic Justice Initiative, has been appointed to a senior position in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. She’s set to begin her new role as an outreach and recruitment director in the Presidential Personnel Office on Tuesday.

    The Obama administration has appointed openly transgender people into federal government positions before, but no appointee so far could be considered a White House staffer. […] Another openly trans Obama appointee is Amanda Simpson, who’s currently executive director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives. […]

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/08/18/in-first-white-house-hires-openly-trans-staffer/

    More examples are given in the article of transgender people hired by the Obama Administration.

  105. says

    According to a new CNN poll, Donald Trump is now both the first and the second choice of Republican voters from sea to shining sea.

    Trump said that he wants to bomb the oil fields in Syria and Iraq to take away a source of funding for ISIS. Next, Trump says, he would send in Exxon to rebuild the oil field infrastructure so fast it would make your head spin. Then the oil would be ours.

    Despite such statements, Republicans that were polled by CNN said that Trump is the best candidate to handle ISIS.

    [head meet desk] I think the only part of that with which I agree is the head-spinning part.

    Talking Points Memo link

  106. says

    Gun control news, or rather, anti-gun-control news. This news comes with a side of prejudice against Muslims, and of Confederate flag promotion. It’s a heady mixture.

    George Zimmerman hosted a raffle of a Confederate flag painting in order to raise funds for his defense (lawyers being paid in several recent disputes); and in order to raise funds for Florida Gun Supply, a self-described “Muslim-free” gun store, whose owner is also being sued.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/george-zimmerman-florida-gun-store-muslim-free

  107. says

    Rick Perry is wrong … again.

    […]GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on Tuesday denied the need for state laws that protect women’s right to a fair wage.

    “Women already get equal pay,” Perry told CNN host Alisyn Camerota. “We don’t need symbolic pieces of legislation jumbling up our code.”

    Perry was defending his decision as Texas governor to veto an equal pay law championed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) and state Sen. Wendy Davis (D). The legislation, which passed with broad bipartisan support, would have made it easier for women to file wrongful discrimination claims. […]

    Critics of Perry’s veto point out that this act only provides standing in federal, not state, courts, and that the gender wage gap has endured since its passage. […]

    According to the Texas Tribune, 42 states have passed laws similar to the one vetoed by Perry.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rick-perry-women-equal-pay

  108. says

    The 14th Amendment, and the ways in which conservatives hate this amendment is still in the news. Some journalists are pointing out how misplaced, how stupid, the movement to repeal the 14th Amendment is:

    It’s genuinely difficult to overstate the radicalism necessary to seek a transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was designed to ensure that slavery could never again happen in the United States and is now integral to keeping the United States free of a permanent underclass of immigrant workers. At its core, birthright citizenship gives immigrants a reason to stay and provide lasting contributions to the United States.

    http://prospect.org/article/what-ever-happened-maverick-south-carolina

    Republican candidates that want to repeal or amend the 14th Amendment:

    Lindsay Graham, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie

  109. says

    So, a bunch of armed white supremacists are proposing that they arm black protestors in Ferguson. WTF? The Oath Keepers group has been flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. They should be flagged as also having a very thin skin, as well as a lot, a LOT, of guns.

    The Oath Keepers, the group that helped provoke the heavily armed standoff with federal officials at the Bundy Ranch last year, made some news last week when they showed up in Ferguson, Missouri, wearing body armor and carrying assault weapons. Now, the head of the group’s St. Louis County chapter says he’s angry that his men were “discredited” by the county police chief […] and the Oath Keepers are planning to signal their displeasure by arming 50 black demonstrators with AR-15 assault rifles. […]

    Sam Andrews, the county Oath Keepers leader, says the event will be an iconic event like Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington. […]

    […] the group’s lofty mission statement hides a far-right, anti-government ideology and a strong dose of race-based paranoia. Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, promotes the kind of wild conspiracy theories that have thrived since the election of Barack Obama as president, including the idea that Obama is trying to provoke a race war as an excuse for declaring martial law and discarding the Constitution. […]

    Rhodes gave a speech to the Oath Keepers’ New York chapter in June, in which he “encouraged his group’s members to organize and stock up on food in order to resist the government’s plan to institute martial law after bringing down the country with an economic collapse, a race war, ISIS attacks and unchecked immigration.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  110. says

    Rand Paul wrote a piece for Huff Po in which he pitched his “Students for Rand” initiative.

    Paul claimed to be “socially tolerant” as part of his appeal to students. Really? He is anti-abortion, and he came out against marriage equality. He’s one of the Republicans that wants to defund Planned Parenthood. He co-sponsored a fill to make anti-gay discrimination easier. He claims the USA is going through a “moral crisis,” and that “We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals.”

    Dear students, Rand Paul is not socially tolerant.

  111. says

    Republicans are all hot and bothered over Hillary Clinton’s emails. They might want to take a closer look at their fellow GOP members.

    Gov. Rick Scott has agreed to spend $700,000 in taxpayer money to settle seven public records lawsuits alleging he and several members of his staff violated state law when they created email accounts to shield their communications from state public records laws and then withheld the documents. […]

    The settlement, first obtained by the Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau, is precedent-setting in that it is the first time in state history that a sitting governor and attorney general have been sued successfully for violations of Florida’s public records laws. It is also the third legal defeat in recent months for the governor, and the second time he has agreed to use state dollars to end a lawsuit against him.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article30417807.html

  112. says

    The Republican National Committee (RNC) is still fighting the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, they’re just trying to do so in backdoor and sneaky ways.

    The RNC crafted a resolution that endorses the rabid rightwing position, a resolution that they didn’t announce to the press, nor did they make sure it was reported anywhere. Nevertheless, this very bad idea finally came to light:

    The RNC wants Congress to approve the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). This bill, which the ACLU has called “a Pandora’s Box of taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples and their children,” would prevent the federal government from acting against businesses and non-profits that discriminate against same-sex married couples. This would mean that government workers could refuse to perform their duties, and businesses and organizations — including those that operate with support of taxpayer money — would be free to discriminate. […]

    The RNC resolution specifically references multiple cases when private business owners have faced legal consequences for refusing to serve to same-sex couples in violation of nondiscrimination laws.

    Think Progress link

    The “First Amendment Defense Act” has 144 Republican co-sponsors in the House, and it has 36 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Rand Paul (see comment 130 regarding Rand Paul). Other Republican presidential candidates who are co-sponsors include Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz.

    The RNC endorses anti-gay discrimination.

  113. says

    Some facts about the Birthright Citizenship (14th Amendment) arguments being made by Donald Trump and other Republicans (see also, comments 104 and 105):

    […] Trump claims that birthright citizenship must end because it’s the “biggest magnet for illegal immigration”— it attracts illegal immigrants using their “anchor babies” to reap the benefits of U.S. citizenship. In fact, being the undocumented parent of a U.S. citizen bestows no legal right to even be in the country, let alone to a green card or citizenship […] The law requires that to sponsor an undocumented parent for a green card a child must first reach the age of 21. But at that point—more than two decades after arrival—an undocumented parent who entered illegally is not eligible to apply for a green card in the U.S. The parent must leave and apply abroad. And once the parent departs the U.S., another part of the law bans his or her return for 10 years.

    The “magnet” to which Trump refers is an arduous 31-year-long slog to legal status for the undocumented parent […] Trump and others who oppose birthright citizenship have failed to produce any evidence of hordes of pregnant women streaming across the border illegally (or even legally) to give birth. There’s no evidence that this is a widespread phenomenon—for instance, less than 2 percent of Arizona babies were born to nonresident mothers in 2010.

    […] a person born within the jurisdiction of the U.S. is an American citizen, the 14th Amendment forms the cornerstone of American civil rights by ensuring due process and equal protection to all persons.

    […] The Immigration Policy Center argues that “[r]epealing birthright citizenship would create an underclass of unauthorized immigrants who, through no fault of their own, would be forced to live in the margins of U.S. society, would not have access to health care and basic services, would be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and would be at constant risk of deportation.”

    […] the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment has very little to do with immigration; it is fundamentally focused on the preservation of civil rights. Trump’s extremist proposal to end birthright citizenship — whether by elimination or reinterpretation of the Citizenship Clause — comes at the grave cost of abridging civil rights, even hearkening back to the days of Dred Scott, when people were viewed as commodities to be bought and sold. […] Trump would better serve the GOP, and this nation, by proposing serious immigration policy solutions.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/immigration-lawyer-birthright-citizenship

  114. says

    This is a follow up to comment #125:
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/oktaha-oklahoma-muslim-free-gun-shooting

    A man who was part of an armed “patriot” group guarding a gun store in Oktaha, Oklahoma that recently declared itself “Muslim free” accidentally shot himself at the store on Tuesday, according to local reports. […]

    The gun fell out of the holster and discharged, with a bullet hitting the man in the wrist, Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said […]

    “I saw several of those gentlemen out there yesterday,” Pearson [said]. “The way they were holding their weapons, with the fingers on the triggers, you can tell a couple of these gentlemen have no idea about weapons safety. It’s like the Clampetts have come to town.”

    A “Muslim-free” gun shop in Florida made headlines this week after George Zimmerman, the man who shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, said he would raffle off a painting of the Confederate flagto fundraise for the shop.

  115. says

    Trump hemed and hawed, and then he lied when asked about military advisors for his campaign:

    When Donald Trump […] appeared on Meet the Press this past Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked him, “Who do you talk to for military advice right now?” At first, Trump had no direct answer. He replied, “Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great—you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and you have certain people that you like.”

    Todd pressed him: “But is there a go-to for you?” Trump said he had two or three “go-to” advisers. He named John Bolton, one of the most hawkish neoconservatives, and retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, who is a military analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. “Col. Jack Jacobs is a good guy,” Trump said. “And I see him on occasion.”

    There’s just one problem with Trump citing Jacobs as a national security adviser: Jacobs says he has never talked to Trump about military policy.

    “He may have said the first person who came to mind,” Jacobs tells Mother Jones. “I know him. But I’m not a consultant. I’m not certain if he has a national security group of people. I don’t know if he does or if he doesn’t. If he does, I’m not one of them.” […]

    Mother Jones link

  116. says

    Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, speaking on behalf of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., said the reverend would have been “appalled” by the #BlackLivesMatter movement because he recognized that racism was “a sin problem, not a skin problem.” […]

    Salon link

    I’d give Huckabee a Clueless award were it not for the fact that most of his fellow candidates for president are equally clueless.

  117. says

    President Salva Kiir of South Sudan has threatened to kill all journalists reporting in a way that Kiir considers to be “against the country.”

    […] “President Salva Kiir is under immense pressure, both international and local, to sign the peace agreement after a long, protracted process whereupon repeated ceasefire agreements have been dishonored by both warring parties,” Tom Rhodes, the Committee to Protect Journalist’s East Africa Representative, told ThinkProgress. “Local journalists suspect Kiir has targeted the press for its ongoing efforts urging a peaceful solution — among other issues such as exposing government corruption and internal rifts within the ruling party.”

    This year alone has seen the murder of five journalists in South Sudan […]. All five were ambushed and brutally murdered by heavily armed men in the same incident. Other press agencies have been targeted and closed down by local authorities. Kiir’s latest comments could pave the way for more attacks against the country’s press corps. […]

    Think Progress link

  118. says

    In the halls of state government, various legislators are blaming the victims of sexual harassment. The legislators want to require more modest, conservative dress for interns — yeah, that’ll solve the problem. Not.

    Some Missouri state lawmakers have a controversial idea for preventing future sexual harassment cases in the legislature: Imposing a new “modest” dress code for teenage interns.

    […] In July, State Sen. Paul LeVota (D) resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed two interns. And in May, House Speaker John Diehl (R) — perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in the state — stepped down after the Kansas City Star reported that he exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 19-year-old intern.

    […] Critics pointed out that changing interns’ dress codes won’t get at the fundamental issue of lawmakers potentially harassing their staff or colleagues. […]

    Missouri’s legislature isn’t the first to wade into this fight. Last year, Montana lawmakers made national headlines for approving new dress code guidelines that stipulated “leggings are not considered dress pants” and women should be “sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”

    […] Critics say this approach to dress codes reinforces the idea that women’s bodies are inherently tempting to men and that women are responsible for covering themselves up. The implicit message, then, is that it’s women’s job to change their behavior to prevent men from committing sexual crimes.

    “Maybe voters should insist on a special requirement for men applying to be a Missouri lawmaker,” Kansas City Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah wrote on Tuesday. “It could rule out any men who consider themselves to be lascivious, salacious and simply indecent.”[…]

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/08/18/3692835/missouri-dress-code-interns/

  119. says

    Yes, it is possible to be more outrageous than Trump is on immigration issues. One conservative radio host in Iowa is a good example:

    Iowa radio host and influential conservative kingmaker Jan Mickelson unveiled an immigration plan that would make undocumented immigrants who don’t leave the country after an allotted time “property of the state,” asking, “What’s wrong with slavery?” when a caller criticized his plan.

    On the August 17 edition of his radio show, Mickelson announced that he had a plan to drive undocumented immigrants out of Iowa that involved making those who don’t leave “property of the state” who are forced into “compelled labor,” like building a wall on the US-Mexican border.

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/19/ia-radio-host-jan-mickelson-enslave-undocumente/205020

  120. says

    It looks like no one but me is reading and commenting in this thread. If PZ would like to see more active discussions, we may have to move the “Discuss …” threads to the top of the left hand navigation column.

    In political news, we see what looks like Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and his assistant, Eric Rucker, sinking to even lower no-ethical-center depths. Courtney Canfield claims she was fired from her job as a business-filing specialist because she did not attend prayer services which were held in the office:

    “These invitations were distributed during normal business hours and included a ‘prayer guide’ to be utilized at that week’s service. Despite the repeated invitations, Plaintiff never attended such a service,” the lawsuit states. “While Plaintiff was a Methodist, she did not regularly attend church services or otherwise practice any particular religious beliefs in any way.”

    The suit alleges that the assistant secretary of state visited the home of Canfield’s grandmother, who worked for the Kansas Republican Party, in November 2013 and informed her of the plans to terminate Canfield’s employment.

    “Mr. Rucker repeatedly and emphatically indicated a basis for her termination as the fact that ‘She just doesn’t go to church,’ ” the lawsuit alleges. […]

    http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article31536053.html

  121. says

    Lynna, I’m subscribed and reading, I just don’t have anything to say. I agree, these threads should be given more prominence. Thank you for all the hard work you’re doing here.

  122. says

    Some of the Republican candidates for president have named their advisors. Trouble is, the advisors weren’t actually consulted, and/or they disagree with the policies of the candidates.

    Donald Trump named a military advisor who then went public with the news that he hadn’t advised Trump on military matters.

    Now we have Scott Walker naming an education advocate who can’t run away from Scott Walker fast enough.

    […] A former teacher of the year who Walker uses to attack teachers unions has asked him to stop talking about her (he hasn’t stopped), and now she’s not alone.

    At a hate-on-teachers Republican education forum moderated by anti-public education crusader Campbell Brown on Wednesday, candidates were asked to name possible education secretaries, and Walker floated the name of Howard Fuller. Fuller is a civil rights and education activist who agrees with Walker on one small (still problematic) corner of Walker’s education agenda. But it’s safe to say the two have more disagreements than agreements, as Fuller quickly went on Twitter to detail:

    I do not support universal vouchers, I am against voter ID, I support raising minimum wage. I do not support drug testing for people on welfare.

  123. chigau (違う) says

    I’m reading every post.
    The “Discuss” threads already have links on the sidebar, in the box above PZ’s picture.
    Maybe a bigger font?

  124. says

    Anne @141, thanks. I really can’t tell if there is a significant readership of subscribers, or not.

    In other political news related to U.S. presidential candidates, Rick Santorum parsed his own words, and then had comprehension and memory problems.

    Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Thursday insisted that he never compared the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage to the decision that upheld slavery.

    During an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Santorum was asked about the comparison to the Dred Scott ruling and how he would address the court’s decision if elected President.

    “I didn’t compare the recent decision of the court with Dred Scott. Justice Roberts compared the two. I was simply quoting Justice Roberts’ opinion, where he compared — he said the legal basis that undergirded Dred Scott is the same legal basis that is undergirding this decision,” Santorum said in response. “They both had, quote, in his words, ‘no constitutional basis’ for this decision.” […]

    But a review of Santorum’s comments on the matter shows he has compared the same-sex marriage ruling to the Dred Scott decision without mentioning Roberts. […]

    “It is not anymore than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln who in his first inaugural address said it won’t stand. And they went ahead and passed laws in direct contravention to a rogue Supreme Court,” Santorum said. “This is a rogue Supreme Court decision, just like Justice Roberts said. There is no constitutional basis for the Supreme Court’s decision.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rick-santorum-gay-marriage-dred-scott

    more detail at the link

  125. jimb says

    Thanks for the work you do posting these, Lynna.

    I’m reading, and just haven’t anything substantial to post/reply. Except for too-frequent :headdesk: or :facepalm:.

    I just don’t understand the thought processes behind many of the things I’m reading. I feel in a constant state of :boggle:.

  126. says

    The Center for Medical Progress is anything but, as PZ has noted before. We’ve all seen the media and political firestorm prompted by the Center’s deceptively edited videos that are being used to promote a defund-Planned-Parenthood movement.

    In their latest video, the doofuses not only engaged in the usual deceptive editing, they even used photos from other sources. The photos purported to be aborted fetuses, but were actually photos of a stillborn fetus. The source is RH Reality Check reports, and the recycled photo was taken by Alexis Fretz, a woman who was grieving her stillborn son. Fretz noted in a Facebook post that she did not give the Center for Medical Progress permission to use her son’s photo.

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/08/20/3693340/planned-parenthood-video-photos/

    Some states are already cutting Planned Parenthood funding based on these deceptive videos.

  127. says

    Thanks for letting me know, jimb and chigau.

    It’s not news that Donald Trump says lots of stupid and/or ignorant things. It’s only news when he comes up with a new stupid and/or ignorant thing to say. His latest is about the Keystone XL pipeline:

    If I am elected President I will immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline. No impact on environment & lots of jobs for U.S.

    That quote is from Trump’s Twitter feed.

    The pipeline is a 1,179-mile extension of an existing pipeline. It is designed to carry tar sands crude oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast of the USA. Tar sands spills are harder to clean up than other crude oil spills. We don’t have any pipelines that can claim no spills ever. There will be spills.

    Trump sunk about $250,000 of his own money in TransCanada Pipelines, so he has a conflict of interest. The amount of money may be much larger, but we don’t know because he reported the investment in a non-detailed way, and on a form that allowed him to check boxes for “$50,000 or more.” How much more?

    Trump also has stock holdings in several other fossil fuel companies. As usual, he’s just looking to make a deal that will end with more money in his pocket, and damn the environment.

    The number of jobs associated with the Keystone pipeline has been greatly exaggerated. Most of those jobs are fewer in number, and are short-lived (two years, construction phase).

  128. says

    David Barton is a rightwing activist with a big audience, especially for his radio and TV programs. Donald Barton is also a pathological liar.

    As we have noted several times before, David Barton is not about to stop repeating one of his talking points merely because it happens to be demonstrably false, and today he provided more evidence that he simply does not seem to care about the truth of the things that he says.

    […] we have heard Barton repeatedly claim that the Department of Justice under President Obama has not prosecuted a single person for child pornography. This statement is categorically false, as anyone willing to spend one minute searching the database of the FBI website will find dozens and dozens of press releases announcing arrests, prosecutions, and convictions for child pornography.

    But apparently Barton can’t be bothered to get his facts straight and so he continues to repeat this claim, as he did again on his radio program [August 20, 2015] when he stated that “the last I knew, there has not been a single prosecution of child pornography under this administration. There were many under previous administrations; this administration just shut it down.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link

    Barton is an evangelical christian based in Texas. He graduated from Oral Roberts University, and he founded “WallBuilders,” an organization that puts out propaganda denying separation of church and state. In politics, Barton is the former vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas. He is a christian nationalist. He claims to be an expert historian, but he is not. His degree is in Christian Education.

    Mike Huckabee and other Republican candidates have appeared on Barton’s program. Barton was listed in the “25 most influential evangelicals” by Time magazine. Barton acts as a political consultant to the Republican National Committee.

  129. se habla espol says

    Lynna, OM, I’m here, too, as well as at The Speakeasy. I’m also on the lookout for stuff from sources you might not see, even with all your tater eyes ;-‌}: I’ve only found one contribution, so far.

  130. says

    Joe Scarborough is one of the few avowedly conservative hosts on MSNBC news programs — he co-hosts “Morning Joe.” He is often an embarrassment to MSNBC. Marco Rubio loves him, and has praised Scarborough publicly. Here’s Joe’s latest failure:

    MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton’s email server was stored in the bathroom closet of the headquarters of Platte River Networks, the Denver based IT management company Hillary Clinton hired to maintain her private emails. But a spokesperson from Platte River confirmed that the server was stored in a data center in New Jersey and that the company does “not store data in any bathrooms.”

    Scarborough got his bit of pseudo-information from an August 18 article in the Daily Mail. The New York Post repeated the pseudo-information:

    Hillary Clinton’s email servers were maintained by a mom-and-pop outfit — run out of an old bathroom closet in a downtown Denver loft, according to a published report on Tuesday.

    TownHall.com and other untrustworthy media outlets also reported the lie as truth.

    And that’s how pseudo-information is substituted for real information, and is then believed by rightwingers. Expect more pseudo-details to emerge as Republicans do their best to tear down Hillary Clinton.

    Media Matters link

  131. says

    [Waves to se habla espol]

    Jeb Bush has decided to see if he can’t join bottom-feeder Donald Trump on the immigration issue.

    “If there’s fraud or if there’s abuse, if people are bringing, pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement,” Bush said. “That’s the legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies,’ as they’re described, coming into the country.”

    See comments 104, 105, 128, and especially 133 for some clarity on this predilection to see babies as “anchors” and what it all means.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jeb-bush-birthright-citizenship-enforcement-abuse

  132. says

    Trump’s tough talk has a horrible effect on some people:

    The homeless man was lying on the ground, shaking, when police arrived early Wednesday. His face was soaked, apparently with urine, his nose broken, his chest and arms battered.

    Police said two brothers from South Boston ambushed the 58-year-old as he slept outside of a Dorchester MBTA stop, and targeted him because he is Hispanic. One of the brothers said he was inspired in part by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    Trump, told of the alleged assault, said “it would be a shame . . . I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

    Apparently, pissing on a homeless man’s face is a way to express your passionate political convictions.

    The quote is from the Boston Globe, but they require a login and/or they have a pay wall — so no link.

  133. Nightjar says

    Lynna, I am reading here, too! I just don’t really have much time to comment now, so I’m mostly in lurk mode.

  134. says

    Presidential hopeful John Kasich wants to ban teacher’s lounges. Most of the Republican candidates seem to have a gut-level hatred of teachers, but Kasich took this a step further:

    If I were, not president, if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us’.

    The desire to be King of America is also common. Maybe that’s why they keep claiming that President Obama thinks he is King of America?

    Politico link

  135. says

    Okay, with Nightjar and feralboy to add, we have half a dozen readers (sounds better than “six readers”) of this thread. There are probably more lurkers, so let’s just say we have a dozen, (Donald Trump’s audience-counting method is employed).

    Let’s have some international news. Hamas says they captured a dolphin that was spying for the Israelis off the coast of Gaza.

    […] The militant Palestinian political organization said that the spy dolphin was “stripped of its will” and turned into “a murderer,” according to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds.

    […] Al-Quds also said that the dolphin was outfitted with surveillance equipment, as well as a device that made it capable of firing arrows that it said could wound or kill people.

    The report also carried the claim that Israeli settlers in the West Bank settlers have used wild pigs and dogs to attack Palestinian farmers and residents. […]

    Egyptian authorities accused Israel of sending sharks to its beaches to hurt the Egyptian tourist industry a few years ago. Haaretz also noted that an eagle tagged by Israel was caught by Sudan and deemed to be an Israeli spy.

    Hamas’ allegations about the spy dolphin have not been independently verified. While the idea of animal espionage seems like the stuff of sci-fi thrillers not news reports, dolphins, at least, are not incapable of spying. […]

    The U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program is currently training 85 dolphins and 50 sea lions to do everything from locate underwater mines to report on the presence of enemy swimmers […]

    Along with the Ukrainian navy vessels that Russian forces acquired after annexing the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, it received the country’s combat dolphins. […]

    http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/08/20/3693544/spy-dolphins/

  136. says

    When asked whether Trump’s plan was possible, including forcing Mexico to pay for the wall, Palin replied, “Heck yeah, it’s possible!”

    Well, all right then, that’s settled.

    Sarah Palin gave Trumps entire immigration plan a thumbs up during an interview on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News program (Tuesday night).

  137. says

    Donald Trump said some more stupid stuff. He’s said stupid stuff about the “real unemployment rate” before, but now he has come up with new pseudo statistics that add up to an unemployment rate of 42%.

    Where does Trump get this pseudo information (other than from his ass?), and where do other Republican candidates get their delusional rejection of the Obama administration’s low unemployment figures?

    […] simply adding up all the adults out there who lack jobs and calling them unemployed doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, I found myself wondering, where did Trump get this idea? It seems to have originated with David Stockman, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, and in recent years has emerged as a sort of weird, self-styled prophet of doom, beloved by conspiracy theorists, gold bugs, and Rush Limbaugh. In a June blog post railing against the Federal Reserve (a favorite pastime of his), Stockman wrote that the official unemployment rate “as a proxy for full employment does not even make it as primitive grade school economics.” He continued:

    At the present time, there are 210 million adult Americans between the ages of 16 and 68—to take a plausible measure of the potential work force. That amounts to 420 billion potential labor hours, if we accept the convention that all adults are at least theoretically capable of holding a full-time job (2,000 hours/year) and pulling their share of society’s need for production and work effort.

    By contrast, during 2014 only 240 billion hours were actually supplied to the US economy, according to the BLS estimates. Technically, therefore, there were 180 billion unemployed labor hours, meaning that the real unemployment rate was 42.9%, not 5.5%!

    Slate link

    Holy crap.

  138. rq says

    King of America?
    But… but… weren’t… the original colonlialists… fleeing a monarchy? Eh…?
    Not that, you know, the current situation is all that different from yer usual dynastic order, what with the Bushes and all…

  139. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @158:
    I too read that Trumpshit about real unemployment being actually 42%. And how he based it on the Stockmaniac who fudges the numbers by loading the denominator with the number of adults theoretically capable of holding a full-time job ; regardless of whether they are actually seeking employment. He also throws into the numerator people who are temporarily between positions (e.g. resigned April, next one starts November, so technically unemployed June thru October). Trump likes to throw these horrific numbers around without ever giving any proposed remedies, other than, Trump know how to solve it.

    Wilmore (Nightly Show) did a good riff, last night, off Trump’s “anchor baby” gibberfabbling. Noting, in passing, that of ALL illegal immigrants, only 2% were pregnant women at the time of importation. Went without saying, “Is that a big enough problem to repeal the 14th completely?” Is that 2% so burdensome?
    The Rethugs are always telling the indigent to move to charities rather than the guvmint; so I’d like to bounce it back: can’t the guvmint also be a charity to support the needy who are so, through no fault of their own, especially infants that Repubs are so enamoured with producing.

  140. jimb says

    The Rethugs are always telling the indigent to move to charities rather than the guvmint; so I’d like to bounce it back: can’t the guvmint also be a charity to support the needy who are so, through no fault of their own, especially infants that Repubs are so enamoured with producing.

    That would require the Rethugs to display some logical consistency in their positions. I don’t think that will be forthcoming anytime soon.

  141. Tethys says

    I’m reading and lurking. I simply can’t believe that any of these people believe they have a shot at the nomination. Every time Trump opens his mouth, I hear Archie Bunker. It is the nomination process as political farce meets reality TV.

  142. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    I’m here too. I was the first one who held FTB at spoonpoint and demanded you get your own news channel when PZ pulled the plug on the virtual gatherings of unwashed masses that ultimately pissed him off. I would like to comment on your posts, but I’m usually so incredulous and/or outraged that I’m beyond posting anything other than a long sequence of what my wife calls “Canadian Language” (all my rellies are notorious expletive-ites, wife from California). Basically, just here to show you a thumbs up and use the stage-director sign for “We love your work, keep going!”

    tl/dr: YAY LYNNA!

  143. blf says

    One another who has no idea where Lynna got the idea no-one was reading or commenting. Just looking at the comments before that remark, we can see other commentators, and not just an odd hand-full.

    And now for some Paul Krugman on far more dangerous myths, Debt Is Good:

    Rand Paul said something funny the other day. No, really — although of course it wasn’t intentional. On his Twitter account he decried the irresponsibility of American fiscal policy, declaring, “The last time the United States was debt free was 1835.”

    Wags quickly noted that the U.S. economy has, on the whole, done pretty well these past 180 years, suggesting that having the government owe the private sector money might not be all that bad a thing. The British government, by the way, has been in debt for more than three centuries, an era spanning the Industrial Revolution, victory over Napoleon, and more.

    He then goes on to argue that “part of what ails the world economy right now is that governments aren’t deep enough in debt”:

    [I]ssuing debt is a way to pay for useful things, and we should do more of that when the price is right. The United States suffers from obvious deficiencies in roads, rails, water systems and more; meanwhile, the federal government can borrow at historically low interest rates. So this is a very good time to be borrowing and investing in the future, and a very bad time for what has actually happened: an unprecedented decline in public construction spending adjusted for population growth and inflation.

    Beyond that, those very low interest rates are telling us something about what markets want. [… H]aving at least some government debt outstanding helps the economy function better. [… T]he debt of stable, reliable governments provides “safe assets” that help investors manage risks, make transactions easier and avoid a destructive scramble for cash.

    It’s a far more plausible concept than, as an example, Merkel’s insistence on paying reparations to irresponsible banks.

  144. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Rachel Maddow apparently made an interesting comment on Fallon last night, re Trump. [2nd hand, btw] She said she thinks Trump isn’t serious about running for POTUS given the extreme workload. EG “Obama is 40years older than he was 7 years ago, and W went from frat boy to old burned out retiree in his 8 yrs. That Trump might be interested in assuming the title if he could outsource all the work to hirees.”
    Aside from all the satire she’s throwing in that, it seems reasonable that Trump is uninterested in actually acquiring the position. He seems like a blowhard that just makes noise to stay famous (eg he plasters his name in huge bold letters on every building he acquires, and always talks of himself in the 3rd person).
    Unfortunately, I can’t imagine him refusing the position IFFF elected, even it would increase his fame, to be the first POTUS to abdicate pre-inauguration.
    Intersting to have an actual person embody a satirical characterization of the Rethuglican faux-no-it-all <pun> ugh, yes I side with DailyShow Stewart (ret) that Trump is comedy gold. The scary thing is that so many people take him seriously, thinking he’s an actual candidate rather than (hopefully) a mock-candidate [a “mockdidate”?].

  145. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    Count me as another avid reader of this thread.
    ————
    slithey tove @ 168,

    When I look at Trump I see Berlusconi. Another filthy rich non-politician spouting outrageous misogyny, xenophobia, and all-around despicable views. Unfortunately USAian voters are no smarter than Italian voters, and so there’s a very good chance that he’ll get the election. And even more unfortunately, Clinton seems eminently beatable next year. So President Trump of the United States of Trump isn’t as far-fetched as I’d like.

    I guess the best-case scenario is that he loses the nomination, runs as a third-party candidate, and draws some of the lunatic fringe votes away from Bush, thus leading to a Clinton landslide (and ideally a Dem-controlled Congress).

    But even that scenario is depressing.

  146. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 169:
    ahhhh. agreed.

    ever consider USA will become United Trumperica if Trump becomes POTUS, as his first presidential order?
    *shudder*

  147. says

    John Kasich made a few moves that make him look like a moderate, but when asked, “”In Ohio, I know half of the abortion centers closed. Can you do that in the country if I vote for you?” The Republican governor replied, “We’ll do our best.”

    Family quirks? (Sort of a followup to rq’s comment 159 in reference to the Bush dynasty, King of the Country, etc.): Jeb Bush said that if he is elected president, he will be a “decider.”

    Carly Fiorina thinks she can solve problems with a poll done via smart phone:

    […] “How long has [VA] been a problem? Decades. How long have politicians been talking about it? Decades.”

    Fiorina said she would gather 10 or 12 veterans in a room, […] and ask what they want. Fiorina would then vet this plan via telephone poll, asking Americans to “press one for yes on your smartphone, two for no.” […]

  148. says

    Regarding Trump’s claim of 42% unemployment: when he said that, he actually went from 21% unemployment to 42% unemployment within the same paragraph. He was talking quickly, blustering at top speed, so he took the USA from 21% to 42% unemployment in a matter of about two seconds.

    We have a real unemployment rate that’s probably 21%. It’s not 6. It’s not 5.2 and 5.5. Our real unemployment rate — in fact, I saw a chart the other day, our real unemployment — because you have ninety million people that aren’t working. Ninety-three million to be exact. If you start adding it up, our real unemployment rate is 42%.

    Head spinning. Of course, neither rate is correct. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Labor Department have official data that shows a rate of 5.3%.

    [M]any people without jobs are teenagers and retirees…. The Labor Department doesn’t consider these people unemployed for a reason: Your kid brother who is a high school junior and my grandma who just turned 88? They’re not considered unemployed, for a very good and very obvious reason!

    Wall Street Jounal link

  149. says

    The tax plans of Republican candidates vary from wildly stupid (Rand Paul, do away with most government functions) to fiscally irresponsible in more normal ways (Marco Rubio, welfare for the rich). Marco Rubio put out a plan that was authored by Mike Lee of Utah. Mike Lee is a mormon and a Republican Senator, and his mormonism is like a steroid injection into his conservative rightwingism. The result is not pretty.

    According to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, the Rubio/Lee tax proposal “outrageously” favors the “country’s highest-income people.” The CBPP flags “big losers” as the “working-poor people who feed and bathe the elderly, care for preschoolers, clean offices, and perform other essential tasks. The big winners would be the country’s highest-income 400 filers, at a cost of much higher deficits.”

    It’s worth noting that Mike Lee’s tax plan is to the right of, is more radical than, that of his fellow mormon, Mitt Romney. Rubio’s response is to repeat his tale of growing up poor.

    “If I’m our nominee … We will be the party of the bartenders and the maids, of the people that clean our rooms and fix our cars,” Rubio promises. The choice of working-class occupations is hardly an accident – Rubio is describing the occupations held by his parents when they came to the United States. Rubio’s idea of a “party of” is quite literal – he means the party would be identified with the classes of the parents of its candidate rather than, say, its policies. […]

    NY magazine link

    A reference for the comment about mormonism adding to Mike Lee’s fiscal framework:

    […] LDS [Latter Day Saints] beliefs about the nature and purpose of life influence Church members’ attitudes toward wealth. Thus, the concept of wealth has both materialistic and spiritual dimensions: wealth is an accumulation of worldly possessions; it is also an acquisition of knowledge or talents. Since matter and spirit are of the same order, material wealth can become refined and sanctified by the influence of God’s spirit as it is consecrated to his purposes. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to increase in all honorable forms of wealth, knowledge, and obedience, which increase the “wealth” or worth of the human soul and to “lay up…treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20; D&C 18:10;130:19; see Education: Attitudes Toward Education).

    The world and its resources belong to the Creator. Material blessings may be delivered from heaven if the recipient conforms to the Christian ideals of integrity, honesty, and charity. All people are of divine origin and have come to earth to know good and evil and to be tested to see if they will choose the good. By the grace of God and by their diligent labors consistent with divine law, both the earth and mankind can be perfected and glorified. […]

    http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Wealth,_Attitudes_Toward

  150. says

    The US Chamber of Commerce is a big player in politics. The Chamber is entering politics for the 2016 election earlier than usual, as in now.

    The Chamber was stung, stiffed by some Republican nominees it supported in the past, candidates who then went on prevent Chamber-promoted legislation from being passed. The Chamber as always been pro business, and some right-wingers are so rabid that they actually interfere with business.

    For 2016, the Chamber is targeting some of the most rabid doofuses, hoping to defeat them if they are up for reelection, but they are also performing their usual dirty deeds to defeat Democratic Party candidates.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is weighing a major role in Democratic primaries in key congressional races nationally, which could produce weakened nominees who would be more easily defeated by Republicans, according to an internal memo obtained on Thursday by the Associated Press.

    The unorthodox strategy could heighten Democratic upheaval in states like Florida and Pennsylvania where the party is struggling to unite around a nominee as it fights to retake the Senate — and that appears to be precisely the Chamber’s goal.

    I don’t think the Chamber realizes that a Republican majority in the Senate will not benefit them, will not get them to their goals.

    In the primary races, the Chamber will support Democrats who are less likely to win a general election, thus tipping the scales to favor a Republican in the general election. This powerful, bags-of-money organization will support Democrats that it deems easy to beat.

    Last time, the Chamber spent tens of millions of dollars to guarantee a Republican Congress, and it got its business-suited ass handed to it when it came to legislation. Right-wingers voted against the Chamber on issues like the Export-Import Bank, infrastructure projects, and more (debt ceiling crisis they didn’t want, etc.)

    The Chamber has decided to roll the dice and to help elect dunderheaded Republicans again. It’s another “they never learn” situation.

    Columbus Dispatch link

  151. says

    Rightwing politicians are desperate to derail the Iran Nuclear deal. Now they think they have another bullet in the chamber.

    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who is especially good at going off the rails to attack President Obama, said this:

    Allowing Iran to inspect its own nuclear facilities is reckless and illustrates yet again that this deal is little more than a dangerous list of concessions made by the United States…. This revelation should be the last straw for any undecided Members of Congress. […]

    Entrusting Iran to verify itself turns what is a bad deal into a farcical one. And the only ones laughing are the ayatollahs.

    Uh, no. Fuck no.

    The Associated Press published an article containing multiple errors, some of which were subsequently deleted without explanation. Tom Cotton ran with the original AP story, without checking his facts. It is not true that Iran “will be permitted to inspect its own nuclear facilities.”

    One facility is the issue, the Parchin facility, which has been dormant for a long time. The IAEA will monitor the samples that the Iranians take from this facility.

    The bottom line here is that this is all over a mild and widely anticipated compromise on a single set of inspections to a single, long-dormant site. The AP, deliberately or not, has distorted that into something that sounds much worse, but actually isn’t. The whole incident is a fascinating, if disturbing, example of how misleading reporting on technical issues can play into the politics of foreign policy.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/8/20/9182185/ap-iran-inspections-parchin

    Lots of Republican dunderheads have jumped on Tom Cotton’s bandwagon. None of them has acknowledged errors or flaws in their accusations.

  152. says

    Scott Walker totally flubbed a chance to meet with Black Lives Matter activists:

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sidestepped ‘ridiculous’ questions on Friday about whether he would be willing to meet with organizers of the ‘Black lives Matter’ movement, saying he would limit his time in New Hampshire to commenting on ‘things that matter.’

    ‘I’m going to meet with voters. I mean, I’ve said, it’s not just – who knows who that is?’ Walker said of the amorphous civil rights group, following his breakfast speech at a ‘Politics and Eggs’ forum in Manchester, New Hampshire.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3206161/Scott-Walker-says-Black-Lives-Matter-doesn-t-matter-mocks-ridiculous-question-meet-civil-rights-group-s-organizers.html

    Ridiculous enough to make international news.

  153. says

    A Republican in Louisiana comes up with a novel excuse for his name appearing on the client list of the adultery hub, ashley Madison. Josh Duggar wishes he had Jason Dore’s way with words:

    The director of the statewide Republican Party said via text message that an account was created under his name and his former personal credit card billing address in connection with the work of his law firm, Doré Jeansonne. He declined to say who he was using the account for.

    “As the state’s leading opposition research firm, our law office routinely searches public records, online databases and websites of all types to provide clients with comprehensive reports,” Doré said via text message. “Our utilization of this site was for standard opposition research. Unfortunately, it ended up being a waste of money and time.”

    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/08/louisiana_gop_ashley_madison.html

  154. says

    Just what we don’t need, another loophole through which millionaires and billionaires can secretly funnel money to political candidates:

    When the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 to end a ban on corporate spending to influence elections, detractors envisioned an era when huge companies like Wal-Mart Stores or ExxonMobil would dominate politics in pursuit of profits. The reality is proving far different. Most business donations are coming from little-known LLCs [Limited Liability Companies] whose founders and officers often don’t have to be disclosed anywhere. In a few cases, it’s so difficult to identify the source that the donations might as well be anonymous.

    That alarms groups worried about the influence of money in politics. “When we’re talking about these huge contributions, it’s a way to buy corrupting influence without any public accountability at all,” says Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, a Washington nonprofit. Since 2012, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center have filed four complaints with the Federal Election Commission challenging big donations through LLCs. The commission is deadlocked along party lines and has yet to take any action.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-08-21/another-way-to-mask-super-rich-donors

  155. says

    School boards in red states have caused all kinds of problems. Look at the Texas school board’s rewrites of history, science, etc.

    In Missouri, the school board in the town of Perryville added misogyny to its misrule:

    […] Missouri School Board member Mark Gremaud is in big trouble after he told another school board member, “Kathy, you are just a woman, the only thing you know is laying on your back with your legs in the air splayed.”

    […] The school board censured him, by a vote of 4-3, and asked for him to resign, something he has not yet done. Almost equally outrageous is this vote was not unanimous. Board member Jeff Weilbrecht defended Gremaud’s comment by saying “nobody is perfect” and noting Gremaud had filled in as a bus driver when the district needed it. That’s nice, but his offensive and unprovoked comment shows a gross lack of judgement. […]

    Daily Kos link

  156. says

    Some fun and games in politics — kind of a relief after chronicling the exploits of Donald Trump:

    […] Deez Nuts may be an imaginary person, but he’s a real independent candidate for President after a 15-year-old from Iowa filed Nuts’ FEC forms.

    Nuts is currently polling at 8 percent in Minnesota, 9 percent in North Carolina, and 7 percent in his home state of Iowa – giving local news organizations across the country the chance to cover the candidate’s campaign. […]

    A video supercut of news anchors saying “Deez Nuts” can be viewed at the link.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/deez-nuts-donald-trump-2016

  157. says

    #140: I don’t have much control over where the links go. There’s a box called “Profile” on the left sidebar, and I get to fill that with whatever I want, and I’ve put the Discuss links at the top of that. Everything else is defined by FtB, not me.

    I’ve given it a bigger font, but that’s going to have limited impact.

    One thing to keep in mind is that when I go on vacation and stop posting regularly, traffic overall drops precipitously — we’re down to a third of what I usually see this week. It’ll climb back up after this weekend, when I’m back in the saddle again.

  158. says

    Good news: home care workers are now guaranteed minimum wage.

    A federal appeals court has reinstated a rule change that is meant to provide home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections.

    In 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would make changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act so that this workforce, who care for the elderly and disabled in their homes, would be guaranteed the same labor protections as all other workers. But U.S. District Judge Richard Leon issued a decision vacating the change in January, saying the DOL doesn’t have authority to redefine the loophole it was trying to close, known as the companionship exemption.

    The court in Washington ruled Friday that the department does in fact have that authority. “The Department’s decision to extend the FLSA’s protections to those employees is grounded in a reasonable interpretation of the statute and is neither arbitrary nor capricious,” Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote on behalf of the court.

    […] “States would be well advised, and employers would be well advised, to take this decision as final and begin acting,” […]

    This workforce, which is 90 percent female and half people of color, hasn’t been eligible for minimum wage or overtime pay since 1974, when they fell under the companionship exemption given the idea that they merely provided company to their clients. […]

    Nearly 2.5 million people are employed in this line of work, making it one of the largest occupations, and the number of jobs is expected to grow 70 percent by 2020. Even so, demand is expected to outpace supply over the next decade as the country ages, something that could be eased with higher pay and benefits.

    Republican candidates for president would be well advised to take this decision as final, but they are marching in the opposite direction. (See comment #176 for the description of the tax plan proposed by Marco Rubio and Mike Lee.) Other Republicans have hinted that they will expand the legal battle. They don’t want to pay home workers a living wage.

  159. says

    Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley appears to be channeling his inner Elizabeth Warren with his new Social Security plan released Friday. […]

    Social security trustees say the program won’t be able to pay full benefits by 2034. Maintaining its reserves, therefore, either means raising taxes or cutting benefits. Conservatives — including many Republican presidential candidates — have proposed scaling back the program or privatizing it, while some progressives have called for dramatically expanding it.

    O’Malley falls into the latter camp. In his new plan, O’Malley lays out seven ways he would “expand and protect” Social Security benefits for both current and future retirees.

    Among them are “immediate” boosts to monthly benefits for current retirees; increasing benefits for minimum-wage and lower- and middle-income workers; and increasing the minimum benefits people can have. Those proposal come on the heels of a recent AARP survey, which saw 61 percent of adults saying the average monthly payment of $1,332 is too low.

    […] To pay for these expansions, O’Malley’s plan advocates lifting the cap on the payroll tax for workers earning more than $250,000, among other things. That proposal is essentially one that makes rich people pay more taxes — right now, individual income over $117,000 per year is not taxed by Social Security. That idea has a good deal of support among progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for president, and has a similarly progressive social security expansion plan. […]

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/08/21/3693794/omalley-social-security-plan/

  160. says

    In international news, we have yet another religion v. religion fight being fought in Myanmar’s parliament:

    Myanmar’s parliament passed two bills on Thursday that are widely believed to offer further legal cover to the country’s harsh policies toward its Rohingya Muslim population. Proposed by hardline Buddhist nationalists who claim that their traditions are threatened by the country’s Muslims, the bills regulate religious conversion and polygamy.

    […] advocates believe the measures [target] the country’s Rohingya, who are denied citizenship despite the fact that many of them have lived in Myanmar for generations. […]

    “Parliament has not only shown disregard for basic human rights norms, but turned up the heat on Burma’s tense intercommunal relations and potentially put an already fragile transition at risk, with landmark elections right around the corner,” […]

    We have enough anti-tolerance problems without introducing religion into the mix.

    http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/08/21/3693846/myanmar-bills/

  161. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    piling on @191:

    “If you want a policy of open borders, that anybody born here should become a United States citizen, you amend the Constitution. We don’t have to amend the Constitution. It says what we say it says,” Levin argued unconvincingly, given that the text reads “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”

    As in don’t bother reading the Constitution, it says what I say it says
    And FauxNoise is running with that kind of arrogance bluster as actual newsworthy truthtelling, [*shrug*]

  162. says

    Thanks, slithery tove @192.

    More on the birthright citizenship issue, from the Scott Walker corner of crazy. First, Walker was quick to support Trump’s citizenship-ending proposal, a stance on which he doubled down when questioned by a reporter.

    Next, Walker decided he just doesn’t want to talk about it at all:

    I’m not taking a position on it one way or the other,” the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful said. Only after securing America’s borders, he explained, is it appropriate to address the issue of birthright citizenship.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/21/scott-walker-talks-birthright-citizenship.html

    Walker has previously said, “Pass,” on questions he doesn’t like.

    Walker’s poll numbers are dropping, especially among the people who know him best, the voters in Wisconsin.

    Simply refusing to have a policy position may not be a good policy. Flip-flopping and then having no policy position is even worse.

  163. says

    […] Campaign Zero just launched a very detailed website advocating criminal justice reforms in 10 different areas—ranging from marijuana law to stop-and-frisk profiling to the prosecution of police-involved shootings to the distribution of body cameras—that would address the central concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement. […]

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/08/21/black_lives_matter_coalition_police_brutality_policy_proposals_campaign.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/21/protesters-unveil-police-policy-proposals

  164. Al Dente says

    Lynna,

    I too am reading.

    After reading your comments about Trump, Bush, Walker, Cruz et al, I am definitely considering supporting Deez Nuts with a contribution.

  165. says

    Some LGBT activists are not letting Republican presidential candidates get away with vague answers when it comes to equal rights.

    Actress Ellen Page caught Sen. Ted Cruz off guard at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, pressing the presidential candidate about LGBT rights as he grilled pork chops.

    In video posted online by ABC News, Page, clad in a hat and sunglasses, asks Cruz about LGBT discrimination and rights.

    “What about the question about LGBT people being fired for being gay-trans?” Page asked the Republican.

    “What we’re seeing right now, we’re seeing Bible-believing Christians being persecuted for living according to their faith,” Cruz said.

    The candidate tried to shut down the impromptu interview by saying he didn’t want to have a “back-and-forth debate,” but the “Juno” star soldiered on. […]

    Video at the link, but the video is not high quality.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ted-cruz-ellen-page-iowa-state-fair

    More transcript text here:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/ellen-page-ted-cruz-gay-rights-iowa-state-fair-2015-8

  166. says

    PZ @197, thanks. I like the larger font in the lefthand navigation column.

    In more birthright citizenship news, some rightwing religious leaders have come with a novel approach: accept only immigrants who are christians.

    Herb Titus, the Christian Reconstructionist attorney […], weighed in yesterday on the debate raging in the GOP about birthright citizenship, claiming […] that the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is part of an unbiblical attack on America’s God-ordained borders and on God Himself. He also called for the U.S. to restrict immigration from countries without a “Christian-principled culture.” […]

    Titus [said] that the problem with America’s citizenship laws isn’t just birthright citizenship but people coming in and setting up “cultural enclaves” and forgetting that America was founded on “the law of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

    “[…] we’ve become a kind of multicultural society that’s based on I don’t know what, since we don’t know what the principles are that undergird this nation anymore. We’ve forgotten the law of nature and nature’s God and the very foundational principles in the Declaration of Independence, and that’s what unites us,” he said.

    He added that his view was rooted in the Bible: “The boundaries that are set for the United States of America are essential for determining whether America can be a nation. This is why when God led the people of Israel out through Moses into the Promised Land, they established themselves as a nation with boundaries. And if you don’t have boundaries, you don’t have a nation.”

    Right Wing Watch link

    Titus went on to decry the “modern-day Tower of Babel,” and to insist that the U.S. has an obligation to God to maintain our borders. The integrity of the border is, in Titus’s view, essential to the integrity of American Christians.

    Al Dente @196, you are not alone in your support for Deez Nuts.

  167. says

    This is a followup to comments 139 and 173.

    On Jan Mickelson’s rightwing radio show, Ted Cruz not only defended the use of the term “anchor babies,” but he also held forth on the “atheist Taliban.” I think he means us.

    “There is an assault on faith and an assault on religious liberty that we see across this country and it has never been as bad as it is right now,” he said, claiming that “radical atheists and liberals” are “driving any acknowledgment of God out of the public square.”

    “There are these zealots — as you put it, the atheist Taliban — that seek to tear down any acknowledgment of God in the public square, and it’s contrary to our Constitution, it’s contrary to who we are as a people.”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  168. says

    Call me optimistic, but I think Republicans are going to have to give up on their defund-Planned-Parenthood campaign. (For earlier comments on Planned Parenthood, see 46, 55, 64, 93, 130, and 146.)

    Five states have conducted investigations prompted by those deceptive videos, and all five have found that Planned Parenthood didn’t break any laws. Georgia, South Dakota, Indiana, Massachusetts, and now, Pennsylvania, have all concluded their investigations (waste of taxpayer’s money).

    Pennsylvania has found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood in the state after a review, according to a letter from the state health department.

    That decision makes it the fifth state to announce that they have found no wrongdoing by the organization in the wake of controversial undercover videos showing officials discussing the price of fetal tissue for medical research. Planned Parenthood says the officials are discussing compensation for expenses, which is legal, and not profit.

    The organization also says it only has fetal tissue donation programs in two states, California and Washington.

    Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is considering filing a lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion, anti-progress rightwing organization that produced and edited the bogus videos.

  169. says

    What the hell is up with this big push from right-wingers to prove that Black Lives Matter activists are not black? It’s weird.

    Right-wing media has been abuzz over the past few weeks with rumors that Black Lives Matter activist and writer Shaun King is not actually black. Breitbart and other more mainstream outlets like the Daily Beast compared King to Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane NAACP leader whose parents revealed she was white earlier this year. The harassment escalated so much that King finally published an emotional personal account Thursday evening, explaining that his biological father is an unknown black man who had an affair with his mother.

    Some of the same bloggers have apparently also “investigated” the parentage of Wesley Lowery, a biracial Washington Post reporter who covers the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The harassment of King recalls a long American tradition of telling multiracial people what their identities can and cannot contain. The notorious “one drop rule” […] was central to maintaining a white supremacist hierarchy in the South well into the 20th century. Many people who could get away with it “passed” as white so as to enjoy the privileges of segregated services closed off to black people.

    […] multiracial people are still met with efforts to categorize them in one race — especially if they have any black heritage. “By the time I reached middle school, I fully identified myself not even as biracial, but just as black,” King [said]. “Every friend I had was black, my girlfriends were black, I was seen as black, treated as black, and endured constant overt racism as a young black teenager. Never have I once identified myself as white. Not on forms, not for convenience or privilege, and not for fun and games, have I ever identified myself as white.” […]

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/08/21/3693786/shaun-king-multiracial-identity/

  170. says

    This is a followup to comment 137.

    We didn’t have to wait long for the threats uttered by the South Sudanese President to have disastrous effects. A journalist has been killed.

    South Sudanese journalist Peter Moi was killed by unidentified gunmen Wednesday evening just days after an ominous threat was issued by President Salva Kiir against the nation’s press corps.

    Moi, an employee for The New Nation newspaper, was shot twice through the back close to the paper’s offices. “Colleagues say it appeared to be a targeted attack, as the attackers did not take Moi’s money or cell phone,” VOA reported.[…]

    http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/08/21/3694100/journalist-killed-days-after-president/

  171. says

    This might be a sign that Martin O’Malley’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for president is making some headway: the NRA noticed O’Malley and condemned him.

    The National Rifle Association says that O’Malley is a friend to criminals.

    […] The NRA’s feature [claims O’Malley] poses a threat to Second Amendment rights and [accuses] him of taking the side of criminals in Maryland […] violent crime fell significantly during [O’Malley’s] tenure as governor.

    Angered by O’Malley’s strong support for a package of gun safety laws enacted in Maryland in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the NRA claims O’Malley “imposed the most draconian new gun bans anywhere in the country” […]

    […] NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox suggests O’Malley becoming president could trigger “a fight for the survival of Second Amendment freedom as we know it.” […]

    Despite the gun group’s suggestion O’Malley is jeopardizing the Second Amendment, as the article itself notes, the package of Maryland gun safety laws was upheld by a federal court. […]

    Media Matters link

  172. says

    This is a followup to comment #202.

    Unfortunately, CNN and some other news outlets picked up the bogus Shaun-King-is-white story and gave it significant air time.

    […] Breitbart’s “scoop” about King came from Vicki Pate, a blogger who runs a truly startling website called “Re-NewsIt!” The site is the kind of typo-ridden bile factory that would normally be dismissed without a second glance. Its sole aim appears to be to “expose the truth” about the nefarious charlatans at the heart of the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as to smear any black victims of crime.

    [snipped some examples of Vicki Pate’s awful output]

    Pate has also been obsessively trying to take Shaun King down for some time, and suddenly it seemed that she’d struck gold in the form of a birth certificate that listed both of King’s parents as white.

    […] Breitbart happily dove in, highlighting her efforts on its much larger platform and driving the King story to the top of the news agenda. That’s perhaps to be expected when Milo Yiannopoulos, the reporter who wrote the King story, is a man whose past gems include “16 Movements Less Ridiculous Than Black Lives Matter” and “Donald Trump Would Be the Real First Black President.” […]

    Let’s be very clear about why Breitbart decided this was a worthy story to pursue. It’s the same reason that Fox News was so reluctant to call Charleston shooter Dylann Roof a racist. Some people in America find the idea that there is such a thing as white supremacy–or that white people are in any way to blame for the racism in our society–so terrifying that they would rather concoct a huge racial conspiracy theory wherein ghoulish black activists run roughshod over a cowed white populace. To Breitbart, the Shaun Kings of the world are the ones with all the power, exploiting a weak and politically correct society for their own personal gain. […]

    Salon link

  173. Menyambal - torched by an angel says

    I just got to congratulate a co-worker on her upcoming nuptials. I said that I had met her fiancée, where she worked, and that I wished them both the best. I hadn’t spoken to the co-worker much, before, as I am a temp, and she seemed a bit startled to be getting good wishes. She even said that it meant a lot to her.

    This is in Missouri, where the recent Supreme Court decision was needed. It was the first wedding of people that I knew (I am not very social), so it meant a lot to me, too. It now seems madness that that couple were not allowed to marry, and sad that some folks still oppose them.

  174. says

    Yesterday, Donald Trump gave a campaign speech in Alabama. He made a big deal at the beginning of the speech about the size of the venue and the size of the crowd. His team had moved the event to a football stadium to accommodate the crowd … however, the crowd filled less than half of the 44,000-seat stadium. A generous estimate would put the crowd at 20,000. Yooouuuuge crowd in Trump’s mind. Still a big crowd …. but ….

    Bernie Sanders recently attracted crowds exceeding 30,000 for two days in a row, two separate events. Is Bernie more yooouuuugge than the Donald?

    In other interesting developments, some people in the Trump crowd shouted “White Power!” Not too surprised to find white supremacists as part of the Trump base.

    Before Trump arrived, some neb-confederate activists passed out racist literature.

    There were people carrying signs that said, “Thank you, Lord Jesus, for President Trump.”

    Trump repeated his new line about the bible; his favorite book is the Bible, his second favorite is “The Art of the Deal.”

    Policy statements included:
    “Women’s health issues. We’re gonna fix it.”
    “Oreos. Oreos. I love Oreos, but I’ll never eat them again.”
    “I was—hopefully still am—really smart.”
    “I swear to you I will never ever ride a bicycle.”

  175. says

    In his speech yesterday, The Donald made a statement that is easily proven incorrect: he said the U.S. is the only country “stupid enough” to have a birthright citizenship policy.

    […] But the United States is not alone in conferring automatic citizenship: it is among about 33 countries that provides jus soli, or right of the soil, the Latin term for granting automatic citizenship to anyone born in a territory or country, including children of undocumented immigrants. In North America, Canada also provides automatic citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants, the immigration-restrictionist organization Center for Immigration Studies noted in 2010. Numerous South American countries also grant unconditional birthright citizenship for babies born in their countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.

    A growing number of Republican presidential candidates have also openly questioned whether to deny citizenship benefits to children of immigrant parents. […] Ben Carson opposes birthright citizenship, but the 14th Amendment granted full citizenship to former slaves and their descendants, which would have impacted some of Carson’s maternal ancestors. […]

    One big issue with a repeal of the 14th Amendment is that it would make America’s undocumented population much bigger. A 2010 Migration Policy Institute study found that eliminating citizenship for every child with at least one undocumented parent would swell the undocumented population from its current 11 million population to 24 million by 2050

    Link

  176. says

    It looks like Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, Right to Rise, send out a flier with a photoshopped image of Jeb’s head and one of his hands on a black man’s body. They forgot to hide the left hand of the black man — so there it is on Jeb’s hip.
    Link

  177. says

    Gilbert, Arizona is heavily salted with mormons and evangelical christians. The area is really conservative and saddled with a school board that does stupid stuff.

    An Arizona school district made students place stickers, which promote childbirth and adoption over abortion, inside their high school biology textbook.

    Photo of the obnoxious sticker, which also promotes abstinence as the best birth control, at the link:
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/arizona-gilbert-school-district-abortion-sticker

    The Gilbert Public School District supports the state of Arizona’s strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption over elective abortion. The District is also in support of promoting abstinence as the most effective way to eliminate the potential for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. If you have questions concerning sexual intercourse, contraceptives, pregnancy, adoption, or abortion, we encourage you to speak with your parents

  178. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    I hear that automobile manufacturers are going to do away with the back of car cams and just install a republican in each car since the only thing GOP are good at is looking backwards.

  179. says

    Donald Trump plans to scare the bejeezus out of the Pope.

    […] CNN’s Chris Cuomo presented Trump with a hypothetical situation during an interview Wednesday. What if, Cuomo said, Trump met the pope, and — through a translator — the pope expressed a belief that capitalism can be “a real avenue to greed, it can be really toxic and corrupt.” How would Trump respond, Cuomo asked.

    “I’d say ISIS wants to get you,” Trump said. “You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.”

    “He talks to you about capitalism, you scare the pope?” Cuomo asked.

    “I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing,” Trump said. “The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is — you know, if you look at what’s going on — they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”

    Washington Post link

  180. says

    Part of the video of Trump’s speech in Alabama picked up the “White Power!” slogan being shouted out from the audience. This is not something that foes of Trump made up, it’s for real.

    Scroll down for the video.
    Slate link

  181. says

    This sounds like more of the white-power attitude — it’s a record of a conversation with a Trump supporter:

    Mobile resident Jim Sherota, clutching a vaporizer in one hand and wearing a t-shirt of conservative musician Ted Nugent, took it one step further.

    “The way I see it they ought to make it a vacation spot,” Sherota said. “OK, you want to come to the border, $25 for a permit, you can shoot all the people you want that cross illegally.”

    He later clarified that his remarks were “in jest.”

    http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/08/he_came_to_mobile_to_put_on_a.html

  182. says

    More quotes from Trump supporters:

    “All he’s doing is saying what a lot of Americans are afraid to say,” Ward said. “Third world countries are running over us left and right and the reason they’re getting away with it is because Obama doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it.”

    “It’s not right that they are just coming in free will and having babies and they stay here. It’s not right.”

    “Obama You Are Fired.”

    “Basically, anybody who has any kind of a social issue as far as Michael Brown shooting, Trayvon Martin and all that, he comes on and speaks about it, he talks about it, he lets the criminal community know that he’s on their side. However, when another kid dies, when it’s not a black child, it’s crickets. Nothing at all.”

  183. says

    This is a followup to comment #152.

    The two men who beat up a Latino homeless man, then pissed on the man, and then claimed they were inspired by Donald Trump — those guys may have been living illegally in public housing.

    The Mexican man they beat up had been living in the USA since 1980.
    Slate link

  184. says

    Lynna, I was rather amazed by this quote from a Trump supporter (from this piece on Raw Story covering the same ground).

    Speaking with the Washington Post, Cheryl Burns — who was visiting from California — told reporters she left behind a devastated state and that Trump is telling the truth about undocumented workers ravaging the country.

    “There is no more California,” Burns said. “It’s now international, lawless territory. Everything is up for grabs. Illegal aliens are murdering people there. People are being raped. Trump isn’t lying about anything — the rest of the country just hasn’t found out yet.”

    Really? Because I’ve lived in So Cal pretty much my entire life, and if we’ve turned into some kind of international lawless Mad Max thingy, I think I might’ve noticed.

  185. says

    Anne @218, you can certainly tell what kind of mind set is attracted to Trump. If one or two undocumented immigrants rape and beat a woman, of course that is cause to condemn all undocumented immigrants. Not.

    Donald Trump has repeated this story, and one similar story, so often that it now seems like thousands of undocumented immigrants are raping and murdering people.

    It does look like authorities messed up big time in not detaining and/or deporting Victor Aurelian Martinez and Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez properly. Nevertheless, it’s not a sign that we should make a blanket judgement of immigrants.

    […] immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are not associated with higher rates of crime. […]

    Link

    Meanwhile, rightwing “news” sources like Breitbart repeatedly report statistics like these:

    […] illegal immigrants represented 16.8 percent of drug trafficking cases, 20.0 percent of kidnapping/hostage taking, 74.1 percent of drug possession, 12.3 percent of money laundering, and 12.0 percent of murder convictions. […]

    The Breitbart crap is debunked in several places. Here’s one:
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/07/immigration-and-crime

    Breitbart and others claim that if you only look at “illegal immigrants” you will find a much higher rate of crime. The Economist (link above) discusses some of the issues that are being ignored when right-wingers make that claim, and the big problem that crops up when one tries to verify the rightwing stats.

  186. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    Re 218/219 – You can always trust in phobic xenophobe cracker batshittery to bust through the lowest envelope of insane hyperbole. I have lived in OC since 97 and can safely say I would trust my Latino friends and aquantances with my life. You couldn’t even trust the spoiled precious “real” housewives, Newport Yacht Club Teabaggers, and newly permitted concealed gun carriers with a bag of rocks and an already dead chicken. They’ve cloistered themselves in their not-so ivory towers for so long they can’t perceive that THEY are the dangerous assholes, not some impoverished family just up from Baja.

  187. says

    McC2lhu, we moved to the OC in ’95 (really, it’s been that long?). We live in the northerly part of the county, so things are a bit more mixed up here. Still, my experiences with some (not all) of the people here sounds similar.

  188. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    @221, Anne, lady, cats, crankiness: At least you’re further removed from the snowblinded (from the whiteness) & privileged set. The seacoast housewives run ambivalent to crassly ignorant of the plight of anyone not in their “Fascist Island” shopping circle (you know where I’m talkin’ ’bout). The Yachters mostly run type A captains of jerkery and industry who would shank their mother for an extra nickel on the corporate bottom line.

    These type of voting blocs put in place the kind of greedy, self centered dirtbags who can’t conceive of their own overall safety being expanded by improving the socioeconomic status of poor and minority people by not fucking blocking every social program, subsidized training and infrastructure improvement program to give lower and middle class people jobs. As long as their buddies get their tax decrease so they can stuff their Cayman accounts. The ones from this group who claim to be so all about Jesus are the worst kind of hypocrites. Utterly oblivious to “I am my brother’s keeper” and “What you do to the least you also do to me”.

    Now those who have just newly received their concealed carry licenses guarantee yet more instances of phobic white people blustering their way into trouble, then ‘feeling threatened’ when someone questions what the fuck their problem is. Without this kind of gun asshole, Trayvon would likely have been questioned by cops and driven home, the texter at the theater would have been escorted out by management (rather than dead, with his wife bleeding also), and the teen at the 7-11 with the loud music would have wondered what bug was up the butt of that old Elric-toned codger who thinks that convenience store parking lots are his private property. Instead they’re all dead. But boy those phobic white people sure didn’t mind waltzing into the situation sane people would have handled without bloodshed, as long as they’re carrying that concealed weapon, because, you know…”Colerds r so dangerus!”.

    I’m Nordic/Slavic and these cranium2anus stuffers make ME hate white people. Certainly at least the uber-weiss of Das County. I never formerly encountered this level of greedy, frightened, superstitious crackery, and I’m from FREAKIN’ ALBERTA!!!

    True fact: Many people don’t realize the name of Orange County didn’t come about from fruit, but from a racist asshat.
    Anyhoo, if I rant any further I’m likely to rend a garment.

    & Lynna @212: How are today’s entire GOP like Rich Little? They think that one cheezy impression of a republican criminal constitutes an entire career arc.

  189. blf says

    I was largely raised and educated in California, in several locations ranging from approximately the Mexican border, Smog Hades (LA), Big Oil Baronetcy (south end of the central valley), and Beserkly-by-the-Sea (Santa Cruz). Whilst I left multiple decades ago, and have not been back for over a decade, I nonetheless simply do not recognise the “Cheryl Burns” rubbish quoted in @218, albeit that person does sound similar to one of my relatives, who was spouting similar gibberish before the moon landings, with roughly the same John Birch-er overtones and broadly directed at the same set of people she “thought” different from her.

    B.t.w., is it just me, or does teh trum-prat remind anyone else of the John Birch-ers, albeit replacing their “commie” war/fear-mongering with “moolsin” war- and/or “illegal [sic] immigrant” fear-mongering?

  190. blf says

    In addition to bush III’s mysteriously very dark-toned left hand (see @209), there is the exceptionally odd “shadow” on his right hand, which defies all known optics and looks for all the world like another mysteriously dark-toned hand beneath it.

    Plus the wonderfully clewless title, “Why Jeb?”
    Why, indeed…

    (I look forward to the forthcoming series of joke manipulated photographs showing bush III at a series of improbable locations (he’s apparently never been to Cedar Rapids), unusual optics, unlikely features (the Eye of Sauron, perhaps?), and creative titles (“Release the Jeb!”, or should that be “Release the Sméagol!”?).)

  191. Saad says

    Ben Carson wants to use drone strikes on caves near the U.S. border

    Ben Carson says he wouldn’t use drones to kill undocumented immigrants — but he’d order strikes on the caves used to transport people across the United States’ southern border.

    “There are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities — that could be one of them,” Carson told CNN’s Jim Acosta Sunday on “State of the Union.”

    He suggested last week that he would consider using drones along the border — but said Sunday that he only meant they could be used to watch porous portions of the border, and to shut down “the caves that are utilized to hide people” by smugglers.

    “Drones can help with the surveillance. In no way did I suggest that drones be used to kill people,” Carson said.

  192. blf says

    Ted Cruz talks scripture and presidential crusade at Koch brothers-funded event:

    The Texas senator and Republican presidential campaigner Ted Cruz on Saturday told a Koch brothers-sponsored gathering he would have a busy agenda on his first day in the White House.

    Speaking to activists at the annual summit of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in Columbus, Ohio, Cruz said if elected he would rescind “every single illegal and unconstitutional executive order” signed by President Barack Obama, begin investigating the women’s health organisation Planned Parenthood, “rip to shreds” the Iranian nuclear deal and order all federal agencies to end the religious persecution of Christians.

    […]

    Among Cruz’s jokes [sic?] was a remark that he would like to see the Internal Revenue Service discontinued and its 90,000 employees used to guard the US-Mexico border.

    The “sic?” is because I am unconvinced that was really a “joke”. Cruzay is bugfeck nuts (an accurate description of all those in the thug’s Kandidate Klown Kar, as far as I know), and it’s not implausible he “thinks” that is a useful or realistic idea. Plus, it attacks at least two groups not very popular (probably) with both his controllers and supplicants: The IRS, and so-called “illegal immigrants”.

    There were apparently a fair number of trum-prat loonies present. Perhaps the most frightening quote in the article is from one of those trum-prat cultists:

    Among a group of young Tennesseans, Trump garnered mixed reactions […] “I’d rather us be a financial empire than an empire of war,” [Thomas Parham] said. “That way we can take over country after country, territory after territory, without firing a single shot.”

    Ok, Mr Parham, a point for not wanting to invade and kill people, but you are still not even wrong.

  193. blf says

    I hear that automobile manufacturers are going to do away with the back of car cams and just install a republican in each car since the only thing GOP are good at is looking backwards.

    Though rose-tinted Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses: Everything behind you looks perfect until there is the least hint of danger or unpleasantness, then you can’t see anything (and so have no reason to worry or do anything) until the imperfection is gone.

    (With apologies to both Garry Trudeau and Douglas Adams.)

  194. says

    This is a followup of sorts to blf’s comment 223 in which the eerie resemblance of current Republican candidates to John Birchers of the past was noted. Going even further back, you will find racism and sometimes pro-christians-only prejudices at the core of anti-immigrant political debates.

    A lot of people are starting to notice the similarities to historical anti-immigrant movements, and some have commented on the the anti-immigrant fuckery showing up in other countries now.

    […] The crass political manipulation of prejudice to whip up a frenzy in the breasts of malcontent bigots who want walls built, and undocumented immigrants and their citizen children expelled, is a dangerous and slippery slope—failing to push back will make us worse than our Caribbean neighbor, the Dominican Republic, which in violation of both law and sanity, and fueled by racism, is now repealing birthright citizenship for many black Dominicans.

    Racism as a feature in the objections to birthright citizenship isn’t new and plentiful examples can be found in U.S. history—look at the debate that took place in first session of the 39th Congress, around the Citizenship Clause. […]

    Congressional Globe, 1st Session, 39th Congress, pt. 1, p. 498. The debate on the Civil Rights Act contained the following exchange:

    Mr. Cowan: “I will ask whether it will not have the effect of naturalizing the children of Chinese and Gypsies born in this country?”

    Mr. Trumbull: “Undoubtedly.”

    Mr. Trumbull: “I should like to inquire of my friend from Pennsylvania, if the children of Chinese now born in this country are not citizens?”

    Mr. Cowan: “I think not.”

    Mr. Trumbull: “I understand that under the naturalization laws the children who are born here of parents who have not been naturalized are citizens. This is the law, as I understand it, at the present time. Is not the child born in this country of German parents a citizen? I am afraid we have got very few citizens in some of the counties of good old Pennsylvania if the children born of German parents are not citizens.”

    Mr. Cowan: “The honorable Senator assumes that which is not the fact. The children of German parents are citizens; but Germans are not Chinese; Germans are not Australians, nor Hottentots, nor anything of the kind. That is the fallacy of his argument.”

    Mr. Trumbull: “If the Senator from Pennsylvania will show me in the law any distinction made between the children of German parents and the children of Asiatic parents, I may be able to appreciate the point which he makes; but the law makes no such distinction; and the child of an Asiatic is just as much of a citizen as the child of a European.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/23/1413138/-Right-wing-attacks-on-birthright-citizenship-have-a-long-and-sordid-history?showAll=yes

    At the link, there’s a lot more information, including the exclusion of Native Americans in the 14th Amendment; the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (many did not have full citizenship rights until 1948); the use of Native American exclusions to deprive Mexican Americans of citizenship rights in 1848 in the territory affected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; the Chinese Exclusion, etc. It just goes on and on.

    The results are still be felt today, even in populations like the Mexican Americans affected in 1848. Many of those families lost their land and well as their citizenship rights. They were reduced to poverty.

  195. says

    Now that Trump trumpeted his lie about the USA being the only country stupid enough to offer birthright citizenship, lots of right-wingers who are too lazy to do any research are repeating the lie:

    […] Many anti-immigration activists have claimed that the United States is outdated in providing birthright citizenship. Glenn Beck of Fox News and Bob Dane of FAIR have claimed, respectively, that the U.S. is “the only country in the world” or at least the only “western country” where birthright guarantees citizenship. Neither is true: the U.S. is among 33 other countries—including Canada—that practice jus soli (grant birthright citizenship).

    Hispanic Vista link

    And so the misinformation metastasizes.

  196. blf says

    Republicans think if your data is encrypted, the terrorists win (as a number of the comments point out, it’s not just thugs pushing this nonsense, but (far too many) politicians and goons (“police”); And not limited to USArseholierthanthouistan, the UK, as an example, is also pushing this shite):

    At a campaign stop earlier this week Jeb Bush said: “If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst.”

    There are so many things wrong with that statement it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, he seems to either be attacking, or just doesn’t understand, that the entire internet — and much of the economy really — is based around strong encryption. Every time he logs onto his email, uses online banking or wants to check his medical records online, there is some form of encryption that is protecting his data from criminals. So the fact that technology companies are “creating” encryption protects all of us.

    He was likely talking about end-to-end encryption [… of the content so that] only the two people talking to each other can ever see them.

    A recent opinion piece in the New York Times by several highly-placed goons (FBI, someone in Britain, and a third I don’t recall now) made clear “They” are also targeting storage (e.g., whole-disc) encryption. The letters section has been filled with replies taking apart their “arguments”, outright lies, and deceptions / misunderstandings.

    While opponents claim this is “helping terrorists,” even the most pro-government former intelligence officials readily admit there are still plenty of ways to track criminals who use encryption, and by attempting to outlaw it we put billions of completely innocent people at a much higher risk of having their personal information stolen by foreign governments or criminals.

    It is worth reminding that “criminals” includes rogue elements inside “The” government, the companies providing the various services, and so on, in addition to the outside attacker. In some of the discussions I’ve seen, this point is sometimes overlooked, yet the “Insider Attack” is one of the most difficult to detect or defend against.

    Unfortunately, Bush’s comments seem to be part of a pattern with the 2016 presidential candidates, none of whom seem to understand the basic precepts of technology, and the critical role encryption plays in all of our cybersecurity.

    Republican candidate Carly Fiorina […] sounded even more out of touch at the second-tier Republican debate a couple weeks ago when she lamented that companies need to “tear down cyberwalls” when asked about […] end-to-end encryption.

    Putting aside the fact that “cyberwalls” are not a thing, it’s quite disturbing that candidates are so willing to undermine the backbone of the internet so off-handedly. Fiorina, […] a failure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard ten years ago, showed off her (lack of) technical knowledge.

    (Disclosure: My day-to-day job is closely related-to strong encryption, both of communications (including, but not limited to, end-to-end) and storage (including, but not limited to, whole-media), for protection against theft and sabotage, and (to a perhaps lessor extent) against invalid and denial-of-valid access).)

  197. blf says

    Following-up to @228, there’s an interesting history of at Birthright citizenship: a history of futile conservative attempts to repeal law. One quibble, it doesn’t seem to mention the plight of the First Nations peoples.

    At the end, however, it does make the quite valid point this is mostly sturm und drang, and nothing particularly serious (that is, likely to happen):

    One potential benefit to these politicians of endorsing a repeal of birthright citizenship is that it carries a simple message, and yet would be near-impossible to implement.

    “It’s pretty clear you would have to amend the constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship,” [said Elizabeth] Wydra [chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center]. “That is very difficult to do. It’s not something a president could change on his own.” Indeed, the last amendment to the constitution was ratified in 1992.

    I myself am affected by this nonsense, albeit in a reverse-ish sense. I was indisputably born to USAian citizens, but also indisputably in a foreign country. The county I was born in, at that time, had brithright citizenship (not sure what the current situation is); As a result, I am a dual-national, carry both passports, and, in fact, am a “natural-born” USAian citizen. It’s in safekeeping so I can’t check the exact title, but I have a document issued by the State Department shortly after my birth entitled something like Certificate of Natural-Born US Citizen Born Aboard.

    However, some of the anti-birthright nutters would deny I am a USAian citizen (let’s not even get into that “natural born” thing) simply because my mother was not resident in the USA at the time. For example, from the article: “[In 1991] former California representative Elton Gallegly introduced HR 3605, a bill declaring that only children born in the US to mothers who are legal residents shall be given citizenship.” Taking that at face value, and assuming it passed and was enacted, and then passed constitutional muster (precedent says it wouldn’t), I wouldn’t be considered a USA citizen(especially if born afterwards).

    And these nutters think I am supposed to take them seriously? Seriously? Geesh!

  198. Al Dente says

    Lynna, OM @228

    Birthright citizenship was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1898 in their decision United States v. Wong Kim Ark (169 U.S. 649). Wong Kim Ark was born in San Francisco of Chinese national parents in 1873 and in 1896 made a visit to China. On his return he was denied reentry into the US. He sued and the case went to the SCOTUS. Justice Gray, writing for the majority, argued among other things that the 14th Amendment said all persons born in the US were automatically American citizens regardless of the citizenship of their parents. He also noted in British common law that all persons born in Britain or British territories were automatically British citizens, from a case decided by the Lord Chancellor in 1608. This common law mandate was made applicable in the US by an 1804 SCOTUS case with the pleasant name of The Charming Betsy (2 Cranch 64). Chief Justice Marshall said that all persons born in the United States before, during or after the Revolution were American citizens unless they specifically repudiated their citizenship.

    Justice Gray’s opinion can be read here.

  199. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Excuse me, I apologize for being reiterative. I’ll just leave this here to get it out of my keyboard.
    Why are so many against 14th amendment, “natural born” citizenship, without thinking though all the possible implications, that without the 14th, the only citizens would be the Native Americans who have a long ancestry of residence. ooops maybe they’ll amend it to “only people born in the country to legal visitors … , or the children of such citizens”, thus disqualifying the indigenous.
    Do they really want to invalidate that big statue we got there in our eastern harbor (give us your poor …)?
    yeah, I agree we don’t want to welcome in criminals to sanctuary from prosecution, yet it is pointless to deny immigration to the vast majority of valid immigrants to exclude the few criminals. Me thinks Trump has a little problem with risk-assessment and is thus luring everyone with such issues to ~whahdeveh~.

  200. says

    Scott Walker says some stupid stuff:

    Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told a group of voters in New Hampshire Friday that radical Islamic terrorists are at war with America — including even the “handful” of “reasonable, moderate” followers of Islam, according to the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper.

    Walker told voters on the campaign stop that, “it’s a war against even the handful of reasonable, moderate followers of Islam who don’t share the radical beliefs that these radical Islamic terrorists have,” according to the publication. […]

    Scott Walker says what he thinks, and then the peons on his campaign staff have to walk it back:

    […] his spokeswoman AshLee Strong said, “The governor knows that the majority of ISIS’s victims are Muslims.”

    “Muslims who want to live in peace – the majority of Muslims – are the first target of radical Islamic terrorists,” she said, according to the newspaper.

    Okay, but dear AshLee Strong, your statements clash, strongly, with those of the candidate you support.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/scott-walker-islam-followers

  201. says

    Lindsey Graham said some stupid stuff and doubled down on his plan to start multiple wars if he is elected president. Graham may be trying to top Scott Walker when it comes to anti-Muslimism.

    Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said that the lesson of three Americans stopping a Moroccan man on a train in France meant that “the whole world is a battlefield. Radical Islam is everywhere.” […]

    “[…] what I would do as president is I would hit them in Syria. If this war goes on much longer in Syria, it’s going to be a perfect platform to hit us here at home. […]”

    […] Graham quickly pivoted to his long-running strategy of pushing America to pursue wars on multiple fronts. “[…] The whole world is a battlefield. Radical islam is everywhere. It’s not about Iraq or Afghanistan. I hope we will recognize that the battlefield is the entire world, […]”

    “Radical Islam is the enemy of mankind, our nation,” he concluded.

    Link

  202. blf says

    The louder facist, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been expelled from the french nazi party, France’s National Front party expels founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. If this seems like déjà vu — wasn’t he expelled earlier this year? — it is, he successfully challenged that previous expulsion in court.

    This is arguably quite bad news, since it means his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who is also quite nasty but not as vocal, has a clear(er) field in which to spread her and her father’s (ex-)party’s nastiness. Their styles are different, but not the hate, bile, and odiousness. She doesn’t say (publicly) all the stupid things her father does and so, some say, almost sounds plausible. That’s part of what the feud is about, his tendency to disrupt her misinformation with reminders of what is really meant. I presume he will continue to do so, but now she can argue that he isn’t speaking for the french nazis.

    However, Marine’s niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who was(? still is?) the leader of the french nazi youth, I mean Le Pen Youth, is said to be even more vicious and nasty than either: Marion Maréchal-Le Pen: the young face of France’s far right: “Even more rightwing and socially conservative than her aunt Marine, Maréchal-Le Pen’s ferocity has shocked rivals and won her legions of admirers”. The younger kook doesn’t shoot herself in the foot like her grandführer does and so might not be seriously feuding with her aunt, but the old bogeyman has recently endorsed his granddaughter…

    (That article claims the younger kook now heads the french nazis in, or very nearby, the area where I live in France. She has never visited the village where I live, as far as I know, but her aunt, Marine certainly has.)

  203. says

    This is a followup to comment 148.

    Here’s some background on the pseudo-historian, David Barton, the guy that shapes a lot of political policy on the right, and who has also had a big effect on the most popular homeschooling curriculum in the USA.

    […] He embraces the whole range of political views advocated by Reconstructionists from the right-to-life and creationism to more narrowly held positions on issues such as the history of slavery and opposition to the Federal Reserve System. […]

    […] his parents started a house church with Pentecostal leanings. By 1974 the church had moved into facilities that now also house the Christian school they started in 1981, as well as Barton’s organization, Wallbuilders. […] God led him to his first book by showing him the connection between the Supreme Court decisions on prayer and Bible reading and “plummeting” academic achievement scores and “soaring” student crime and immorality. […]

    A self-styled historian with no real academic credentials, Barton went on to build an extensive collection of primary source documents from America’s founding era and write several “Christian American history” books that argue that the founding fathers intended America to be a Christian nation and that argue for a Christian reading of the Constitution they wrote. […]

    Despite being roundly rejected by scholars, Barton claims to be a “recognized authority in American history and the role of religion in public life.” […] He has been appointed by the State Boards of Education in states such as California and Texas to help write the American history and government standards for students in those states. […]

    By 2011 Barton could boast that Republican primary presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann consulted him. […] Mike Huckabee infamously said that “every American should be forced to listen to Barton at gunpoint.” Barton […] jumps, at lightning speed, from one piece of data to another, interpreted through his “biblical” framework […]

    Criticism from scholars (whether Christian or not) is dismissed as liberal, socialist, and even pagan. Discredited in the larger culture, Barton remains influential in the conservative Christian subculture. […]

    Many look at the US Constitution and see little mention of religion and wonder how conservative Christians can insist that it is a template for a Christian nation. But Barton is careful to speak, instead, of our “original national founding documents.” […]

    While the “limited government” enshrined in the Constitution protects basic rights given by God and precludes government from doing anything not within the purview of its biblical mandate, it also, according to Barton, prohibits abortion. […]

    “The role of the government is not to exercise mercy, but to exercise justice. It is improper for government to take care of the poor. That is up to us, as individuals.” […]

    Link

  204. blf says

    Here is that completely ridiculous opinion piece in the New York Times, written by four goons (not three, as I had recalled, and none from the FBI, as I had also recalled), When Phone Encryption Blocks Justice. The goon authors are “Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is the Manhattan district attorney. François Molins is the Paris chief prosecutor. Adrian Leppard is the commissioner of the City of London Police. Javier Zaragoza is the chief prosecutor of the High Court of Spain.”

    They are specifically arguing against strong full-disc encryption, but as one example of misleading claims, totally fail to mention the primary driving force behind the trend: So that if/when the computer/phone/tablet is stolen, the thief (or whoever it is sold to) cannot access / retrieve what’s stored, which is very very likely to include personal informations and may result in “identify theft” (I am aware of claims that “identify theft” is not as common as some may believe (I have no idea)).

    Instead, these lying goons claims full-disc encryption is all about “mak[ing] devices generally more secure from cybercrime”. (Without, of course, defining what they mean by “cybercrime”.) The examples given of what are, presumably, “cybercrimes”, include interception of communications and “use of malware”. They are correct in saying full-disc encryption has bugger-all to do with either of those examples — no-one who understands the words “communication” and “storage” would think that it does (barring a total misunderstanding the contents of the communications).

    They also, as I noted earlier, fail to address the problem of a corrupt “Insider”, and all but assert that by magic there won’t be any problems if the device is not encrypted (or only weakly-encrypted), or there is a “master key”. (The master key idea is utter bollocks for numerous additional reasons.)

    As I noted earlier, the letters (at least in the dead-paper editions (I haven’t looked on-line)) has been ripping these fecking lying dipshites multiple new ones. And these eejits are some of the top goons in their respective countries!

  205. says

    I’ve been watching the new HBO series, “Show Me a Hero,” and the spotlight that show has placed on “hyper-segregation,” specifically, housing discrimination, is educational and alarming.

    Not that much has changed in Yonkers, NY, so this show which is set in the Yonkers of 25 years ago, still applies today.

    […] White people, by and large, are not very good at sharing physical space or power or many other kinds of social dynamics with significant numbers of people of color. It’s been documented time and time again. […]

    Salon link

    http://www.hbo.com/show-me-a-hero

    This show, and the issues it highlights, is rooted in politics. This is politics at the local level, city council level, local politics that is affected by national politics/culture.

  206. says

    A good summary, excerpted from the Salon link in #239, that gives you an overview of the politics of racism that “Show Me a Hero” exposes:

    […] This is all predicated upon a 40-year history of American government at the federal, state and local level using public money to purposefully hyper-segregate our society. Poor people didn’t end up all packed into housing projects in one square mile of Yonkers by accident. It was a plan. It was a plan in Chicago, in Baltimore, in Dallas and everywhere that took federal housing money since the 1930s.

    The records, the history of it is in plain sight. I have nothing but contempt for anybody who says that [the racial integration of Yonkers] was social engineering by this judge. Really? You want to parse it that way? What bullshit. The social engineering begins in the 1930s, with FHA mortgages and with the first public housing monies in the New Deal. Republicans and Democrats are both complicit.

    The idea that the social engineering starts at the moment that somebody might want to restore somebody to their full civil rights, 40 years into the rigged game. And that’s when you object? Sorry, that’s racist to begin your argument there.

  207. says

    Donald Trump said a few things that almost make sense, and then he failed to follow up with some much-needed detail:

    […] Trump said his plan to make hedge fund managers pay more tax was part of his effort to “save the middle class” by lowering their tax rates. “I want to lower the rates for the middle class. The middle class is the one. They’re getting absolutely destroyed. This country, it won’t have a middle class very soon.”

    In criticizing the tax that hedge fund managers pay, Trump was referring to what is known as the “carried interest loophole.” […] “provision in the tax code which allows private equity and hedge fund managers pay taxes at the capital gains rate instead of the ordinary income rate.” Trump, however, failed to specify how he would reform the tax code and change that provision. […]

    [and here’s a Trump flip-flop] He had pledged to finance his own campaign, saying other candidates were beholden to their top donors. On Sunday he said he would accept donations, but only if there are “no strings attached.” And how does he know donors often want something in return for their money? Because it’s how he operated in the past when he wasn’t involved in politics. “Look, I know the people that want something. I’ve been doing this all my life. I’ve been a very big contributor to many, many people on all sides for many, many years,” Trump said. “I don’t want lobbyists. I don’t want special interests.” […]

    Slate link

    I’m looking at Trump’s excuse for accepting donations to his campaign and it makes me wonder if even the Trumpster is feeling a money pinch. He lost some business opportunities lately, thanks to his characterization of Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” and he always has exaggerated his wealth and downplayed his financial failures.

    blf @238: The “top goons” from several countries showing their ignorance when it comes to the issue of encryption alarms me. Those goons will push for legislation that does more harm than good.

  208. says

    This is a follow up to comment #95.

    Jeremy Corbyn is getting kudos from some economists for his anti-austerity policies. This is great. Corbyn is looking more and more like an electable candidate for Britain’s Labour party.

    More than 40 leading economists, including a former adviser to the Bank of England, have made public their support for Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, dismissing claims that they are extreme, […]

    […] with just under three weeks until Ed Miliband’s replacement is announced, Corbyn’s credibility receives a welcome endorsement as 41 economists make public a letter defending his positions.

    In the letter to which David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is a signatory, the economists write: “The accusation is widely made that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have moved to the extreme left on economic policy. But this is not supported by the candidate’s statements or policies. His opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF. He aims to boost growth and prosperity.”

    Corbyn remains the frontrunner to be Labour leader […]

    The Guardian link

  209. says

    Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Rick Perry are beginning to look like the candidates who will most likely drop out of the race for presidents.

    In other news that has drawn my attention, politics is playing a big role in fighting forest fires in the western USA. I’m currently stuck in my stuffy house, with the windows closed, thanks to the smoke from forest fires. It’s a health hazard for me, and not a life-threatening situation like it is for others who live closer to the disaster areas.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article30095910.html

    It’s all about money and climate change. To solve budgeting problems, Republicans in the House of Congress want to allow emergency funding, but only if they can also allow more timber cutting and fewer regulations. They are blaming environmentalists for the current situation. Short sighted and ignorant.

  210. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    Speaking of wildfires, I found this photo amusing.

    Yep, with lower taxes and less government he’d now be free from the chains of home ownership.

  211. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    Re. 235: He’s not entitely wrong, at least in one aspect. The Iraq region’s power vacuum was entirely manufactured by the US cowboy administration’s lies and greed. The German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, who incredibly was allowed to follow Daesh fighters for 10 days, reported they gleefully looked forward to executing millions of people. Swaths of people are being executed, tortured and enslaved by Daesh, history and art obliterated and its defenders mutilated. Surely the US has a moral obligation to do much more than it has, especially considering what the Kurds are doing now on their own after being let down in all sorts of ways by Americans already. The Kurds have been remarkably cooperative (although for their own safety, they have to be) considering the CIA yanked the rug out from under them when they planned their own insurrection against Saddam Hussein. This country has war fatigue, but a large part of it is self-inflicted and now it stands idle while others pay the cost in the most horrifying ways. As insane as it is to describe a scenario, hundreds of thousands of people were far safer under a brutal Hussein dictatorship.

  212. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 238

    Is it the the best we can hope that the business community would be against restrictions on encryption? Seems like this thing has to be fought again and again, so that we won’t be back in the bad old days in the 1990s and key escrow/weak encryption in Netscape.

    At least the U.S. restrictions on the export of encryption technologies enabled some information security companies here in Finland (SSH) and other places with liberal encryption laws to compete with American giants some time.

  213. says

    opus @245, thanks for that link. Excellent questions. And the writer knows his stuff.

    I have covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years — including breaking the story that in 1990, when he claimed to be worth $3 billion but could not pay interest on loans coming due, his bankers put his net worth at minus $295 million. And so I have closely watched what Trump does and what government documents reveal about his conduct.

    Yes, Trump does exaggerate his net worth. I think his change of heart about accepting donations for his campaign also indicates a cash flow problem.

    Another excerpt from the article:

    7. Trump Tower was built by S&A Concrete, whose owners were “Fat” Tony Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, head of the Gambinos, another well-known crime family.

    If you did not know of their ownership, what does that tell voters about your management skills? […]

    9. In demolishing the Bonwit Teller building to make way for Trump Tower, you had no labor troubles, even though only about 15 unionists worked at the site alongside 150 Polish men, most of whom entered the country illegally, lacked hard hats, and slept on the site. […]

    10. A federal judge later found you conspired to cheat both the Polish workers, who were paid less than $5 an hour cash with no benefits, and the union health and welfare fund. You testified that you did not notice the Polish workers, whom the judge noted were easy to spot because they were the only ones on the work site without hard hats.

    What should voters make of your failure or inability to notice 150 men demolishing a multi-story building without hard hats? […]

    17. Your first major deal was converting the decrepit Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central Station into a Grand Hyatt. Mayor Abe Beame, a close ally of your father Fred, gave you the first-ever property tax abatement on a New York City hotel, worth at least $400 million over 40 years.

    Since you boast that you are a self-made billionaire, how do you rationalize soliciting and accepting $400 million of welfare from the taxpayers? […]

    Ah, yes, corporate welfare Trump style, and immigration Trump style.

    Repeat of National Memo link

  214. says

    Rand Paul just bought himself an election in Kentucky:

    It wasn’t unanimous, but Kentucky Republicans voted Saturday to hold a presidential preference caucus next year, helping U.S. Sen. Rand Paul get around a state law prohibiting a candidate from appearing on the same ballot twice.

    But the approval of a caucus is conditional on whether Paul has transferred $250,000 to an account controlled by the Republican Party of Kentucky before Sept. 18. If the money is not there, the party will automatically revert to a primary.

    Kentucky Herald link

    If Rand Paul wasn’t given the special caucus option, his name would have appeared twice on the primary ballot, once as a senate candidate and once as a presidential candidate. That’s against Kentucky’s election rule. I’m sort of surprised that his Republican cohorts provided a way for Paul to run for the senate and the presidency at the same time — but then he is paying for it. He has to pay $250,000 up front and another $250,000 later.

  215. says

    Ted Cruz has decided to double down on his version of the war on women:

    More than 100,000 pastors received e-mail invitations over the weekend to participate in conference calls with Cruz […] in which they will learn details of the plan to mobilize churchgoers in every congressional district beginning Aug. 30. The requests were sent on the heels of the Texas Republican’s “Rally for Religious Liberty,” which drew 2,500 people to a Des Moines ballroom Friday. […]

    On the campaign trail, Cruz has urged people to watch the controversial Planned Parenthood videos and has repeatedly attacked the Supreme Court, where he once served as a law clerk. In an op-ed in USA Today on Thursday, Cruz wrote that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) shouldn’t schedule or allow any legislation to be heard that would give federal money to Planned Parenthood. […]

    At his religious liberty-themed rally in Des Moines on Friday night, Cruz cast himself as the only choice for evangelical voters. There is a “war on faith,” he said, as he quoted scripture and paced the stage like a televangelist; evangelical voters will “stay home no longer.” […]

    Cruz’s Iowa campaign chairman, Matt Schultz, suggested that Cruz was divinely chosen to lead.

    I think Cruz sees the evangelical christian voting block as his only chance to win the Republican nomination.

    Washington Post link

  216. blf says

    Ice Swimmer@247 asks “Is it the the best we can hope that the business community would be against restrictions on encryption?”

    Shouldn’t think so, albeit that community, which is extremely large and (too-)powerful, are, in this instance, useful allies. For example, that community includes pretty much the entire “financial” industry (banking & credit cards being two quite obvious examples) and also the entire on-line commerce at all levels (retail, wholesale, specialist, p0rn, …). In principle it also includes most of the telecommunication industries, albeit that community has a dubious record of extralegal co-operation.

    And “the business community” is not the only ones up-in-arms. An important example is the heavyweight security/encryption specialists who succeeded in killing the Clipper chip (remember that disaster?) have weighted in again on the current stupidity. Those are people such as Matt Blaze, Peter G. Neumann, and Bruce Schneier, who know their stuff. (Admittedly, what finally killed the Clipper stone-dead was the discovery of a design flaw — by Matt Blaze — that meant it was basically useless for its intended purpose, but that didn’t happen until Clipper was already out for the count.) The EFF, as another example, is also pushing back.

    Another historical thing from the Clipper fiasco was that proposal is the reason we have such things as PGP and a variety of other strong, and free (as in beer) encryption tools. The intention was to provide better, stronger, encryption at lower cost, without any deliberate backdoors. (For that matter, I think the EFF was formed originally because of the Clipper proposal.)

    For those who don’t know, the Clipper chip was an early-1990s chip designed by the NSA which used a then-secret encryption algorithm (Skipjack), and had a deliberate, intentional, backdoor. The claim was that the backdoor could only be opened by court order, but that (especially the technical and conceptual details) is what the before-mentioned heavyweights throughly rubbished.

    Clipper, and the “only export weak encryption” example mentioned, are not the only examples of this déjà vu. Another example, which I don’t know the history of, is that, for a time, here in France, you were not allowed to use encryption (all all?). Encryption was strictly(?) for “the government”. That nonsense was abolished some time ago, and — guessing — one result is the part of the industry I work in, where France is a major center and strong backdoor-less encryption is absolutely critical.

    (Oh bloody hell, for some reason Preview isn’t working. Again. Hope this isn’t too messed-up…)

  217. blf says

    Well, except for an obvious emphasis feck-up, that seems Ok…

    (And now Preview works. Geesh…)

  218. says

    High-speed trading fueled by computer algorithms may be part of the cause for the rather dramatic downturn on the stock exchange yesterday and today.

    […] Milliseconds after the opening trade, buy and sell orders began zapping across the market’s servers with alarming speed. The trades were obviously unusual. They came in small batches of 100 shares that involved nearly 150 different financial products, including many stocks that normally don’t see anywhere near as much activity. Within three minutes, the trade volume had more than doubled from the previous week’s average.

    Soon complex computer programs deployed by financial firms swooped in. They bought undervalued stocks as the unusual sales drove their prices down and sold overvalued ones as the purchases drove their prices up. The algorithms were making a killing […]

    Within minutes, a wave of urgent email alerts deluged top officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission. On Wall Street, NYSE officials scrambled to isolate the source of the bizarre trades. Meanwhile, across the Hudson River, in the Jersey City offices of a midsize financial firm called Knight Capital, panic was setting in. A program that was supposed to have been deactivated had instead gone rogue, blasting out trade orders that were costing Knight nearly $10 million per minute. And no one knew how to shut it down. At this rate, the firm would be insolvent within an hour. Knight’s horrified employees spent an agonizing 45 minutes digging through eight sets of trading and routing software before they found the runaway code and neutralized it. […]

    [In the past four years] new technologies have changed Wall Street beyond recognition. […] today’s markets are wilder, less transparent, and, most importantly, faster than ever before. Stock exchanges can now execute trades in less than a half a millionth of a second—more than a million times faster than the human mind can make a decision. Financial firms deploy sophisticated algorithms to battle for fractions of a cent. […]

    This rapid churn has reduced the average holding period of a stock: Half a century ago it was eight years; today it is around five days. Most experts agree that high-speed trading algorithms are now responsible for more than half of US trading. […] the nation’s watchdogs remain behind the curve, unable to effectively monitor, much less regulate, today’s markets. […]

    Mother Jones link

    Oh, look! Someone is spending money on infrastructure, (not that it will do you, dear reader, any good):

    Every extra foot of fiber-optic cable adds about 1.5 nanoseconds of delay; each additional mile adds 8 microseconds. That’s why companies like Spread have linked financial centers to each other by the shortest routes possible. Spread’s Alpha facility is one of more than a dozen similar centers arrayed along the path of its 825-mile-long, $300 million fiber-optic cable between Wall Street and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Spread reportedly charges traders as much as $300,000 a month to use its network. Exchanges like the NYSE charge thousands of dollars per month to firms that want to place their servers as close to the exchanges as possible in order to boost transaction speeds. Industry experts estimate that high-speed traders spent well over $2 billion on infrastructure in 2010 alone.

    I really wish Elizabeth Warren could spur some regulatory action on this difficult high-speed trading issue.

    […] Congress and the nation’s financial watchdogs have done more hand-wringing than regulating. In classic Washington fashion, when a Senate subcommittee held a hearing in late September on the “rules of the road” for algorithmic trading, the only consensus to emerge was that more hearings were needed.

  219. blf says

    I should point out that, in @251, when I said (parapharsing) “the business community can be useful allies”, I was specifically talking about the fight for strong, backdoor-less, encryption. On other, somewhat related issues, such as privacy, that community is mostly not-helpful. I was reminded of this by a Grauniad interview with the UN’s new special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci, Digital surveillance ‘worse than Orwell’ says new UN privacy chief:

    […]
    Appointed after concern about surveillance and privacy following the Edward Snowden revelations, Cannataci agreed that his notion of a new universal law on surveillance could embarrass those who may not sign up to it.

    “Some people may not want to buy into it,” he acknowledged. “But you know, if one takes the attitude that some countries will not play ball, then, for example, the chemical weapons agreement would never have come about.”

    […]

    The appointment of a UN special rapporteur on privacy is seen as hugely important because it elevates the right to privacy in the digital age to that of other human rights. As the first person in the job, the investigator will be able to set the standard for the digital right to privacy, deciding how far to push governments that want to conduct surveillance for security reasons, and corporations who mine us for our personal data.

    Cannataci’s mandate is extensive. He is empowered to:

     ● Systematically review government policies and laws on interception of digital communications and collection of personal data.
     ● Identify actions that intrude on privacy without compelling justification.
     ● Assist governments in developing best practices to bring global surveillance under the rule of law.
     ● Further articulate private sector responsibilities to respect human rights.
     ● Help ensure national procedures and laws are consistent with international human rights obligations.

    Although Cannataci admits his job is a complex one that is not going to be solved with a magic bullet, he says he is far from starting from scratch and believes there are at least four main areas — including a universal law on surveillance, tackling the business models of the big tech corporations, defining privacy and raising awareness among the public.
    […]

  220. says

    Speaking of Trump’s financial situation, and of his decision to accept donations, it is somehow fitting that he just nabbed a big donor who is also an ex-con, and a close relative.

    […] [Trump] was visiting with the in-laws of his daughter Ivanka, Charles and Seryl Kushner, parents to Trump’s son-in-law Jared. […] The Kushners were hosting an intimate meet-and-greet on Trump’s behalf at their seaside estate on the New Jersey shore weeks after injecting $100,000 into Trump’s Make America Great Again super PAC.

    […] Donald Trump has been fond of reminding supporters, voters, the press – anyone who will listen, really – that he is rich. […] “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich,” Trump said in June. […] Last week at the Iowa State Fair he mocked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for being a “puppet” to his donors. “He raises $100 million, so what does $100 million mean? $100 million means he’s doing favors for so many people, it means lobbyists, it means special interests, it means donors,” Trump said. […]

    While we probably can’t blame Donald Trump for attending a political event hosted by his daughter’s parents-in-law or accepting an unsolicited donation from the same, the name Charles Kushner might ring a bell.

    […] Kushner’s business is real estate. Like Trump, Kushner has long been a political donor to campaigns in the New York metro area. […] In return, [one] had rewarded Kushner with a nomination to chair the board of directors of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the powerful bi-state transportation and real estate infrastructure agency now at the center of the Bridgegate scandal.

    Kushner was on track to become the agency’s chairman […] when his candidacy was derailed by intra-family lawsuits alleging that Charles had made many of those Kushner-tied donations by improperly using business funds without the permission of his partners […] the Kushners’ top accountant filed a whistleblower suit in federal court alleging that Charles had fired him after learning that he had provided evidence of the campaign donations to Murray. Moreover, the suit’s allegations went well beyond mere donations; the accountant charged that Charles had used his family’s company money to do things like buy out an insurance firm briefly owned by Gov. McGreevey’s chief of staff, the sale of which earned that official more than $350,000.

    […] Kushner agreed to pay a $508,900 fine to the Federal Election Commission […] to settle claims about those political donations. […]

    Charles Kushner was indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and interstate promotion of prostitution (!) for trying to derail a federal investigation […] It turned out that Charles was concerned about his sister’s cooperation with Christie’s grand jury and decided to blackmail her into silence by hiring a prostitute to seduce her husband. In a Bridgewater, N.J. motel room of the Red Bull Inn (not kidding) equipped with a hidden video camera Charles secretly recorded his brother-in-law in flagrante. Charles then sent the tape to his sister, threatening to make it public unless she stopped cooperating with the feds. […]

    The sister talked. Her husband talked. The prostitute talked. Game over. […]

    Although he was sentenced to two years in federal prison, Charles Kushner won admission to an addiction treatment program that shortened his sentence. […]

    Kushner is now supporting Trump, the guy who is pushing Chris Christie out of the Republican race. Trump does not seem to care about the ex-con backgrounds of his donors.

    Link

  221. blf says

    I must admit I have no recollection of this situation, but this is appalling, Mauritania accused of ‘parody of justice’ as jailing of anti-slavery activists upheld:

    Former presidential candidate Biram Ould Abeid vows to continue slavery fight from his cell after Mauritanian court ratifies sentence against trio of activists

    A Mauritanian court has upheld a two-year prison sentence against three anti-slavery activists who were arrested during a protest against bondage in the west African nation.

    Biram Ould Abeid, runner-up in the 2014 presidential elections and head of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement […], was jailed in January alongside two other activists.

    […]

    The three activists were arrested in November 2014 while protesting against slavery and were found guilty of “belonging to an illegal organisation, leading an unauthorised rally, and violence against the police”.

    […]

    “The intensification of the crackdown on anti-slavery activists in Mauritania has no legal justification in a country which, ironically, just this month adopted a law indicating slavery is a crime against humanity,” said Alioune Tine, west Africa director for Amnesty International.

    Slavery is deeply entrenched in Mauritania, with slave status often passed on from generation to generation, according to the Australia-based Walk Free Movement, which estimated in its 2014 global slavery index that there were 156,000 slaves in Mauritania — about 4% of the population.

    There are no figures available from the Mauritanian authorities. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said earlier this year that slavery no longer exists in the country, only what he calls “the last vestiges” of an old practice.

    The country was the last in the world to abolish slavery, in 1981. Since 2007, slavery has been officially designated a crime. However, activists have accused the government of failing to implement the laws.

    […]

    Ould Abeid said stronger action was needed from Mauritania’s foreign partners to end slavery in the country: “I refuse to throw in the towel. I refuse to be silenced. I refuse to abandon … those whose lives have been ruined by slavery.”

    According to Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge, quoting the Global Slavery Index:

    [S]lavery of adults and children in Mauritania “primarily takes the form of chattel slavery” (i.e. the slaves and their descendants “are the full property of their masters”). Slaves “may be bought and sold, rented out and given away as gifts.” […] Women slaves “are subject to sexual assault by their masters”. [… Slaves] usually sleep and eat in the same quarters as the animals of their owning families. Slaves are “not restrained by chains” but by “economic” and “psychological” factors. They are denied education in secular fields that provide job skills, and taught that “questioning slavery is tantamount to questioning Islam”.

    Also, apparently, “laws […] place the burden of proof on the slave, require that a victim file a complaint before an investigation is launched, and that human rights organisations may not file a case on behalf of a victim, despite the fact that most slaves are illiterate.”

  222. says

    blf @256, Yikes! Horrible laws, horrible situation.

    This sounds bad. Cheney is going to interfere with the Iran Nuclear deal:

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney plans to give a speech in September about the Iran nuclear deal to the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

    Cheney is set to give the speech Sept. 8, just more than a week before Congress votes on the deal Sept. 17 […]

    In good news, Hillary Clinton proposed an expansion of AmeriCorps. This is just one part of her plan to make college affordable:

    As part of Hillary Clinton’s college affordability plan, or New College Compact, she announced she will expand the number of AmeriCorps members to 250,000 on Thursday. There are currently a little over 75,000 AmeriCorps members, and the number hasn’t increased for years.

    For members who finish two years of full-time AmeriCorps service and complete a year of public service, they will be able to receive more than $23,000 through the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award compared to the current maximum award of $11,550. The awards would also be made tax-free.

    […] Clinton’s plan will make it much easier for college students to participate in AmeriCorps.

    “AmeriCorps has always been intended as a way to offset the cost of college and its certainly not operating at scale and the fact that the education award is taxable has made it not as valuable as it might be so I think the Clinton plan addressing these challenges in a really important way,” Sagawa said. [Sagawa is a senior visiting fellow at the Center for American Progress] […]

    Think Progress link

  223. says

    If Trump calls you a “disgusting little weak pathetic baby” you must be doing something right.

    Appearing on Fox News over the weekend, Donald Trump admitted to being completely ignorant about the Black Lives Matter movement. “I know nothing about it,” the billionaire real estate developer said.

    Of course, his lack of knowledge didn’t prevent him from harshly criticizing the effort. Trump said that he’s “seeing lot of bad stuff about it right now.” He said Martin O’Malley, a contender for the Democratic nomination, was a “disgusting little weak pathetic baby” for apologizing to Black Lives Matter activists earlier this year. […]

    In response to the demonstrations in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Trump said that “our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are happily and openly destroying Baltimore.” […]

    Link

  224. says

    Carly Fiorina decided to blame liberals for the drought in California.

    […] Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, Fiorina doubled down on her theory that left-leaning politicians caused the drought by failing to properly regulate California’s water supply.

    When prompted by host Chuck Todd to acknowledge the role of climate change in the drought, she quickly deflected, responding: “You know what else has made it worse? Politicians. Liberal politicians who stood up for forty years, as the population of California doubled, and said you cannot build a new reservoir, and you cannot build a water conveyance system.” […]

    California Gov. Jerry Brown [responds] to Fiorina’s criticism. “I’ve never heard of such utter ignorance,” Brown said […] “Building a dam won’t do a damn thing about fires or climate change or the absence of moisture in ground and vegetation of California.”

    “I think these people, if they want to run for president, had better do eighth grade science before they make any more utterances.” […]

    I think that’s a great idea, Governor Brown. Let’s require all of the Republican candidates to take eighth grade science.

    Also rebutting Carly Fiorina, Andrew Fahlund, deputy director of the California Water Foundation:

    “Thinking that building more reservoirs will get you out of a drought is like assuming that opening more checking accounts when you’ve lost your income will help you pay your bills,” […]

    Link

  225. says

    This comment includes some background on Trump, examples of his appeal to white supremacists, and a discussion of the Trumpian method of appealing to doofuses [emphasis added]:

    […]“I play to people’s fantasies,” he writes in “The Art of the Deal,” his 1987 memoir. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.”

    Trump’s campaign announcement was mocked and condemned—and utterly successful. His favorability among Republicans leaped from sixteen per cent to fifty-seven per cent, a greater spike than that of any other candidate’s début. […]

    [A reporter in Texas asked], “What do you say to the people on the radio this morning who called you a racist?”

    “Well, you know, we just landed, and there were a lot of people at the airport, and they were all waving American flags, and they were all in favor of Trump and what I’m doing.” He shrugged—an epic, arms-splayed shrug.

    “They were chanting against you.”

    “No, they were chanting for me.” […]

    On the way back to the airport, Trump stopped at the Paseo Real Reception Hall, where his supporters had assembled a small rally; guests were vetted at the door to keep out protesters. I sat beside a Latino family and asked the father what had attracted him to the event. He said that a friend involved in the border patrol had called him and asked him “to take up the spaces.” He’d brought five relatives. I asked what he thought of Trump’s politics. He paused and said, “I like his hotels.” […]

    Trump’s fans project onto him a vast range of imaginings—about toughness, business acumen, honesty—from a continuum that ranges from economic and libertarian conservatives to the far-right fringe. […]

    When the Trump storm broke this summer, it touched off smaller tempests that stirred up American politics in ways that were easy to miss from afar. At the time, I happened to be reporting on extremist white-rights groups, and observed at first hand their reactions to his candidacy. Trump was advancing a dire portrait of immigration that partly overlapped with their own. On June 28th, twelve days after Trump’s announcement, the Daily Stormer, America’s most popular neo-Nazi news site, endorsed him for President: “Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: it’s time to deport these people.” The Daily Stormer urged white men to “vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests.”

    In the past, “white nationalists,” as they call themselves, had described Trump as a “Jew-lover,” […]. Richard Spencer is a self-described “identitarian” who lives in Whitefish, Montana, and promotes “white racial consciousness.” […] He is the president and director of the National Policy Institute, a think tank, co-founded by William Regnery, a member of the conservative publishing family, that is “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States and around the world.”

    The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Spencer “a suit-and-tie version of the white supremacists of old.” […] “Trump, on a gut level, kind of senses that this is about demographics, ultimately. We’re moving into a new America.” Spencer said, “I don’t think Trump is a white nationalist,” but he did believe that Trump reflected “an unconscious vision that white people have—that their grandchildren might be a hated minority in their own country. I think that scares us. […] I think that, to a great degree, explains the Trump phenomenon. I think he is the one person who can tap into it.” […]

    Matthew Heimbach, who is twenty-four, and a prominent white-nationalist activist in Cincinnati, told me that Trump has energized disaffected young men like him. “He is bringing people back out of their slumber,” he said.[…]

    Trump’s admirers hear in his words multiple appeals. Michael Hill heads the Alabama-based League of the South, a secessionist group that envisions an independent Southern republic with an “Anglo-Celtic” leadership. […] He told me, “If academia is not for me, because of who I am—a white Southern male, Christian, straight, whatever—then I’m going to find something that is. I’m going to fight this battle for my people.” […]

    [White supremacists occupy] a parallel universe in which white Americans face imminent demise, the South is preparing to depart the United States, and Donald Trump is going to be President.[…]

    When Obama was elected in 2008, Stormfront, the leading white-supremacist Web forum, crashed from heavy traffic. […] Trump’s language landed just as American hate groups were more energized than at any time in years. […]

    In a study published in 2011, Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Samuel Sommers, a professor of psychology at Tufts, found that more than half of white Americans believe that whites have replaced blacks as “the primary victims of discrimination” today, even though, as Norton and Sommers write, “by nearly any metric—from employment to police treatment, loan rates to education—statistics continue to indicate drastically poorer outcomes for Black than White Americans.” […]

    All the men [at a meeting of white supremacists] wanted to roll back anti-discrimination laws in order to restore restrictive covenants and allow them to carve out all-white enclaves. […]

    The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington-based organization that seeks to reduce immigration (it is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), hailed Trump’s plan as the “American Workers’ Bill of Rights.” […]

    “I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win,” [Trump] wrote, in “The Art of the Deal.” “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.” […]

    Trump has bequeathed a concoction of celebrity, wealth, and alienation that is more potent than any we’ve seen before. If, as the Republican establishment hopes, the stargazers eventually defect, Trump will be left with the hardest core—the portion of the electorate that is drifting deeper into unreality, with no reconciliation in sight.

    I know this comment is one big wall-of-text, but it’s worth it for the depth of the discussion. The article by Evan Osnos is worth reading in its entirety.

  226. says

    Well, it looks like North Korea won’t be waging war on South Korea after all … at least not right away.

    The two sides agreed to a compromise. Pyongyang expressed regret for a land mine attack that injured two South Korean soldiers. Seoul agreed to turn off the loudspeakers it had been using to broadcast, among other things, pop (K-pop) music into North Korea.

    Propaganda was also broadcast:

    “Kim Jong Un’s incompetent regime is trying to deceive the world with its lame lies,” a kind-sounding woman would say in a slow, deliberate voice emanating from one of the banks of 48 speakers set up along the South Korean side of the military demarcation line. The messages can travel about 12 miles at night and about half that during the day, well into North Korean territory.

    North Korea also agreed to resume the meetings in had previously allowed between divided families.

  227. says

    Meet another member of Donald Trump’s white supremacist base: Craig Cobb is a self-described white supremacist.

    Cobb wants to establish an all-white enclave in North Dakota, a town he’ll call “Trump Creativity” or “Creativity Trump”. He first attempted to take over the town of Leith, North Dakota, and failing there, he has moved on to Antler, North Dakota.

    Cobb, a hate crimes fugitive from Canada who is currently on probation for brandishing a gun at Leith residents in 2013, joins a number of other individuals with known white supremacist leanings who’ve expressed their adoration for Trump.

    Trump needs to build a wall between Canada and the USA, a wall with a beautiful, yuge door that automatically rejects white supremacists. /sarcasm Actually, we have plenty of white supremacists already, we don’t need the Canadian dunderheads.

    Grand Forks Herald link

    Cobb’s backup plan is to import a bunch of Trump supporters to outvote the citizens of Antler — that would be about 20+ people.

  228. says

    In case you want to know the real reason for the dip in the stock market: Pat Robertson says it is God’s punishment.

    Politico link

    According to Robertson, God is punishing the Obama administration for funding Planned Parenthood.

  229. Al Dente says

    Lynna, OM @263

    Considering that Robertson blamed the 2010 Haitian earthquake on a pact between Haitian rebels and Satan in 1803, then if God caused the latest dip in the Dow it’s probably for the Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton duel in 1804.

  230. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    The teaching of world languages in elementary schools has been declining precipitously in the US. The bright spot in this rather dismal picture has been the growth of immersion programs. There are many different models for immersion programs, and at least three different (though not mutually exclusive) goals: to preserve heritage languages, to ease the transition to English for English language learners, and to promote language learning for native speakers of English. The desired outcome is students who are not just bilingual but also biliterate in academic language and bicultural. Kids who go through these programs successfully know a lot more than just verb conjugations or how to ask where the bathroom is.

    To its credit, the Houston Independent School District opened up an immersion school in Mandarin in 2012, and to the city’s credit, it seems that that school was both popular and uncontroversial. Further plans are in the works for immersion schools in Hindi and French.

    However, the most recent immersion school to open in Houston has drawn protests that may bring back some not so fond memories of school protests in the ’60s.

    Protests marred the first day of class for about 132 kindergarten and pre-K students at the Houston Independent School District’s new Arabic Immersion Magnet School.

    Shortly before 8 am, almost 30 adults spread along the fenced perimeter of the Heights-area school, waving American and Israeli flags while touting protest signs.

    “Everything I ever cared to know about Islam was taught to me by Muslims on 9-11-2001,” one sign said. But officials said most students were inside the building once protesters assembled.

    This is the first semester of operation for the Arabic Immersion Magnet School, one of the first of its kind in the country, where students study half of each day in Arabic and half in English. It follows other HISD immersion school projects, which HISD hopes to expand.

    The protesters tapped into their inner Borgs:

    On Monday morning, protesters didn’t take issue with the other immersion schools or with independent Arabic language classes, but said the school was anti-American, and that immigrants should be “assimilated.”

    However claims that the school catered mostly to Arabic-speaking immigrant families are false, said Principal Kate Adams.

    “We represent the diversity of Houston,” Adams said, noting that roughly-equal parts African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians make up the vast majority of the school’s student body.

    I could go into the benefits of bilingualism, or the need for learning languages in an increasingly interconnected world, or hell, even national security reasons, but really the racism speaks for itself.

    Source.

  231. says

    A sex scandal involving rightwing Republican politicians is nearing resolution.

    […] as sex scandals go, this one’s a doozy. Two right-wing state representatives [legislators in Michigan], Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, had an extra-marital affair, which would itself be noteworthy since Courser and Gamrat are “among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of ‘traditional marriage’ in the state legislature.”

    But as the Detroit News reported in early August, the real trouble came when these two allegedly “used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship.”

    Todd Courser is accused of pressing an aide to leak a rumor – making it seem as if it had come from one of his enemies – telling state GOP activists that Courser had been “caught behind a Lansing nightclub” having sex with a man.

    The scheme, apparently, was based on the idea that the leak of a bogus claim would become a distraction for a while, but once it was discredited, it would be harder to then accuse Courser of his actual extra-marital affair. […]

    But when his aide didn’t want to participate in the scheme, the staffer was demoted and soon after fired without explanation.

    […]. The Detroit News added that the two Tea Party lawmakers “often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage.” […]

    Both have vowed not to resign. Expulsion would require a two-thirds vote in the Republican-led chamber.

    Link

  232. says

    The stock market rose dramatically this morning. Yesterday the stock market dropped dramatically. (See comments 253 and 263.)

    Yesterday, Chris Christie blamed the stock market drop on President Obama:

    Shortly after Wall Street witnessed a dramatic drop in stocks Monday, Gov. Chris Christie — a Republican presidential candidate — told a New Hampshire restaurant filled with voters they should place the blame on President Obama’s reliance borrowing money from China. […]

    Christie responded by blasting Obama, saying the Democratic president borrowed “lots and lots of money from the Chinese” to bolster America’s economy. […] “Because we’ve been irresponsible as a government,” Christie added. “This president has been irresponsible as a president. And yes, this Congress has been irresponsible. … We better start being fiscally responsible.”

    New Jersey, nj.com, link

    I wonder if he will blame today’s rise in the market on President Obama.

  233. says

    Jeb Bush said something stupid:

    I for one don’t think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though, and that’s the difference. Because they’re not actually doing women’s health issues. They’re involved in something way different than that.

    YouTube link to excerpt from speech.

    So, according to presidential wannabe, Jeb Bush, these are not women’s health issues:
    – 4.4 million STD tests or treatments by Planned Parenthood
    – 2.1 million contraception services by Planned Parenthood
    – almost half a million Pap smears by Planned Parenthood
    – half a million breast exams
    etc.

  234. says

    Despite the debunking of the deceptively edited videos (see comment 93), Republican politicians are still determined to go after Planned Parenthood. Here’s an update on those plans:

    […] even if Congress could broker a deal on Planned Parenthood, anything that cuts its government funding would likely be vetoed by President Barack Obama.

    Instead, House GOP leaders would rather use’s Congress’ broad investigative powers to build an overwhelming case against the group, which they believe would allow them to hammer Planned Parenthood for months and put Democrats under enormous pressure to turn against the women’s health organization.

    […] Jordan [Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) Freedom Caucus], in an interview, said an investigation is important, but the leadership must cut off the women’s health group’s money in any spending bill that comes up this fall. He wants to shift the money to community health clinics. And conservatives seem unafraid to shut down the government to achieve their objective […].

    “I think we should stand firm and not fund Planned Parenthood, plain and simple,” Jordan said in an interview Monday. “If Barack Obama and Harry Reid think it’s more important that, Planned Parenthood, after what we know about them, gets taxpayer money, they think that’s more important than funding our troops, that’s a sad commentary on Obama and Reid.”

    Politico link

  235. says

    This is a tweet from Donald Trump.

    Get rid of gun free zones. Gun-free zones an easy target for killers

    Trump hotels and golf courses are gun-free zones. None of them allow firearms on the premises. Even concealed-carry permit holders cannot bring their firearms into a Trump hotel or onto a Trump golf course.

    Republican conventions, NRA events, Republican Town Hall events, etc. are all places where guns are not allowed. Attendees to gun shows may not bring loaded weapons into the venues.

  236. says

    A Trump supporter explains her reason for supporting him:

    “We know his goal is to make America great again,” a woman said. “It’s on his hat. And we see it every time it’s on TV. Everything that he’s doing, there’s no doubt why he’s doing it: it’s to make America great again.”

    [head meet desk]
    The quote above comes from a focus group of Trump supporters.

    In other news, Bobby Jindal said some stupid stuff:

    At a campaign stop in Pella, Iowa, yesterday Gov. Bobby Jindal took a question from an audience member who asked if President Obama and Hillary Clinton realize that if they “sign off our sovereignty to have the United Nations rule whether we have weapons or not” by signing the U.N Arms Trade Treaty that it “will cause a civil war.”

    Rather than pushing back against the questioner’s unfounded claims and dire warning about the treaty, Jindal promises the audience that “I’m not for giving one ounce of America’s sovereignty to the United Nations or any other international body, period” and boasted of having received an award from the NRA, which has been aggressively pushing the conspiracy theory that the U.N. treaty will lead to private gun confiscation in the U.S. […]

    Jindal then played directly to the questioner’s fears: “If they don’t want law-abiding citizens to have guns, they should change the Constitution, they should stop trying to take away or give away our rights. But you know, they just don’t trust us. Let’s be honest. They don’t want us to have First or Second or 10th Amendment rights. The left doesn’t think we’re smart enough to live our own lives.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  237. says

    Ted Cruz said some stupid stuff:

    […] After absurdly asserting that Christian business owners should not have to provide services to a gay couple any more than a Muslim imam should be forced to conduct a Jewish wedding, Cruz blamed it all on “liberal fascists” who hate freedom and American values.

    “What we’re seeing now,” he said, “is this liberal fascism and intolerance where their object is to persecute, to punish, to fine any Bible-following Christian or believer that believes in the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And that is profoundly inconsistent with who we are as Americans.” […]

    “There are some activists who, frankly, manifest a hatred and intolerance for Christians, who are persecuting Christians,” Cruz said. “That is unfortunate. As I said, I think we should love everybody.” […]

    Link

    In other Cruz news, he has been cozying up to Donald Trump. The plan is for the Trump campaign to eventually implode, after which Cruz will pick up his supporters. Ditto for Rand Paul supporters.

  238. says

    This is a followup to comment 270:

    A flack for the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA) used the Jim Crow-era term “poll tax” to describe a new Seattle ordinance that imposes a tax on the sale of guns and ammunition to fund research on gun violence, which the NRA has challenged in a lawsuit.

    On August 10, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a new tax on firearm and ammunition sales. Beginning in January, firearms will be subject to a $25 tax, while most types of ammunition will be taxed at 5 cents per round. Seattle has embraced a research-based approach to preventing gun violence and already has a “hospital-based intervention program for gun violence victims.” Revenue from the new tax will fund additional research. Seattle City Council data shows that in 2014, Seattle taxpayers paid $12 million to cover the direct medical costs of gunshot wounds. […]

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Naturally, the National Rifle Association is livid, and they are in a lawsuit-filing mood.

    Link

  239. says

    Megyn Kelly is back at Fox News after a brief vacation. So, of course, Donald Trump has resumed his flood of harassment via Twitter:

    I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!

    The bimbo back in town. I hope not for long.

    She has come back looking like Nancy Grace.

    A surprising result is that Trump’s buddy, Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, has finally had enough.

    Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise. I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults. Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that has made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry.

    Link

  240. says

    This story has an underlying anti-voter-rights aspect.

    The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said budget cuts will result in closing driver’s license offices across the state.

    The agency said the cut will be in phases, with 33 offices closed during the first wave.

    In January 2016, a further 12 offices will close. By March, all but four offices in the entire state will shut their doors. […]

    Alabama local media link

    In 2011, Alabama passed a voter-ID law that requires a photo ID. They’ve just made securing that photo ID much more difficult, especially for low-income and poor people.

  241. blf says

    This should really, probably, be in the new RoW thread (Discuss: World Politics) since it affects the entire planet, but as the main named players are all USAian, I’ll put it here: Barack Obama singles out Koch brothers over fossil fuel lobbying:

    US president says conservative politicians and businesspeople are ‘standing in the way of the future’ by opposing his clean energy measures
    […]
    “I’m getting resistance from some fossil fuel interests who want to protect the outdated status quo. When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests or conservative thinktanks or the Koch brothers, pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” he [Obama] said.
    […]
    “That’s not the American way, that’s not progress, that’s not innovation. That’s trying to protect the old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future,” Obama continued.

    He accused such opponents “who tout themselves as champions of the free market” and “go crazy” at any talk of the government providing healthcare for people without insurance of trying to “choke off consumer choice”, as the [eighth National Clean Energy Summit] audience applauded.

    He predicted his opponents would only get louder as the clean energy industry continued to grow and win new customers. But he insisted they were going in the wrong direction. “It’s about the past versus the future. And America believes in the future,” he said.

  242. says

    Lindsey Graham says some stuff that is not stupid:

    “Twenty-five percent of our party that probably thinks Obama was born in Kenya or wants to believe that. There’s 25 percent of our party wants him to be a Muslim because they hate him so much,” Graham said. “So, there’s a dark side of politics that Mr. Trump is appealing to.” […]

    He also said Trump’s plan to get rid of birthright citizenship was constitutionally unsound.

    “He’s shallow. He’s ill-prepared to be commander in chief,” Graham said. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about in terms of how our laws work. He says the worst things possible about immigrants and women. And he’s a complete idiot about Mideast policy.”[…]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/lindsey-graham-donald-trump-dark-side-gop

  243. says

    This is a followup to comment 274. Donald Trump cannot, apparently, let Roger Ailes have the last word:

    “I totally disagree with the FOX statement. I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves. ” Trump said.

    Trump said that what’s more important are his high poll numbers.

    “More importantly, I am very pleased to see the latest polls from Public Policy Polling showing me at a strong number one with 35% in New Hampshire, the Monmouth University poll showing me, again at number one, with 30% in South Carolina and the latest national poll from Gravis where I am again the clear front runner with 40%. It was also just announced that I won the prestigious corn kernel poll at the Iowa State Fair by a landslide,” he added. “I will be in Iowa tonight with my speech being live on CNN and other networks. My sole focus in running for the Presidency is to Make America Great Again!”

  244. blf says

    Why does the only black presidential candidate insist the US is post-racial?:

    Black people in America still face structural barriers to success and equality. Ben Carson should know this

    It’s not racist, or even controversial, to point out that black people in the US face systemic hardships and prejudices, from increased poverty rates to higher police brutality. But as that observation, notably via the Black Lives Matter movement, has begun to attain broader attention and more influence, the only serious black candidate for president seems determined to push the discussion out of the spotlight.

    Ben Carson, a Republican candidate for president, is stumping with language that underplays the need to talk about race in this country, decrying “purveyors of hatred who take every single incident between people of two races and try to make a race war out of it” at the first Republican debate.

    This sort of language presupposes that the likes of black activists interrupting Bernie Sanders makes them troublemakers who can’t see beyond race. That is, in this logic, it makes Black Lives Matters members racist.

    […]

    [B]lack people in America face structural barriers to achievement that begin with crowded and underfunded schools followed by a pay gap between them and their white peers regardless of the educational level they attain. When a black man minimizes this to endear him to his target base, it just makes it harder for everyone else who doesn’t have the luxury of denying pervasive truths. Carson places an unfair distance not just between himself and potential voters but between disadvantaged communities and the voting process. Why go out and vote when politicians use your community as an example of what’s “wrong” with America?

    The last sentence also hits at another possible reason Dr Carson, who is not stupid even though he says stupid things, is pushing this nonsense: USAian blacks have a historical tendency, as a group, to vote for (in the thug’s eyes) the “wrong” party. That is, not the thugs. So discourage those not prevented from voting (by criminal records, disenfranchising laws and ID (e.g.) requirements, and other tricks) from voting.

  245. says

    More blathering from the religious rightwing about the supposedly god-given purpose of the USA:

    […] “Our purpose as a nation,” he said, “is to advance and expand the Kingdom of God. That is the calling that is on the United States … And we have, up to this point in history, we have abundantly fulfilled that mission. The United States has invested more financial resources and sent more personnel carrying the message of the Gospel to more darkened corners of the world than any other place on the planet. And that is our calling and that is what illegal immigration is threatening.”

    Okay. Well, let’s ignore the fact that if immigrants are right here in Bryan Fischer’s backyard, they will be easier for him to preach to — or more in danger of him preaching to them, depending on your point of view.

    The other scary bit is true, christians in the U.S. do invest inordinate amounts of financial resources to harass people in other countries. Anti-gay propaganda in Uganda, for example. Anything that slows this harassment down has got to be a good thing.

    […] “We are one people with a common purpose, that has to do with the things of God, with expanding the reach of God, expanding the impact that God’s kingdom and the Gospel has on the world. Well, you can’t do that if you’re fractured, if you’re divided over race, if you’re divided because you have people living illegally who don’t even belong here, have no intention of assimilating, no intention of entering into that larger purpose for your nation. They’re not going to be an asset to that; they’re going to be a detraction to that. They’re going to diminish the capacity of the country to do that.”

    Link

    I see that Fischer snuck in a reason to ignore women’s rights, ignore gay rights and ignore Black Lives Matter activists, etc. because we have more important things to do. We all need to have one common purpose, spreading christianity. Plus, there’s a big fuck-you to immigrants via Bryan Fischer’s muddled logic. Bleh.

  246. blf says

    This isn’t “political”, but it is about a USAlien abomination, which is approximately the same thing: Just Mayo is just not mayo: FDA says eggless mayonnaise must change name:

    Hampton Creek Foods’ vegan sandwich spread, which is made without eggs and packaged with ‘misleading’ labels, violates condiment’s ‘standard of identity’

    Hampton Creek Foods Inc, a California healthy food startup, can no longer refer to its vegan sandwich spread Just Mayo as mayonnaise because it doesn’t contain eggs, the US Food and Drug Administration has said.

    “According to the standard of identity for mayonnaise, egg is a required ingredient,” the FDA wrote in a warning letter to the company, which detailed how Just Mayo and Just Mayo Sriracha products have violated regulations.

    The products also contain ingredients, such as modified food starch, which do not technically belong in mayonnaise, the FDA said.

    […]

    Apart from purporting “to be the standardized food mayonnaise due to the misleading name and imagery used on the label”, Hampton Creek claims Just Mayo products are cholesterol-free, and its label implies that the product is heart-healthy. The FDA said there is too much fat in the products to qualify for these health claims.

    (Actually, I now suspect I am confusing this stuff which something else and older. This stuff is fairly new, whilst the “abomination” I vaguely recall is much much older…)

  247. blf says

    Unfortunately, this is a video on The Grauniad’s site — which means, at least for me, it is unwatchable (that site does not video-stream in any watchable manner (to me) in France) — so I’ve no real idea of the content. But it sounds intriguing, Gold King mine spill threatens crops of Navajo Nation farmers  — video:

    In August, the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally unleashed 3m gallons of contaminated wastewater while inspecting the idled Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado. In Shiprock, New Mexico, Earl and Cheryle Yazzie, members of the Navajo Nation, explain how the spill affected the lives of farmers in their community.

    There is a Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge entry on this on-going incident.

  248. says

    blf @283, That’s a good video. It includes shots of Navajo farmers tending their land, and talking about the impact of the spill from the mine.

    It always seems like Native Americans are the last group to get some respect when it comes to environmental issues. ABC News covered the story. The Navajo Nation will also find it difficult to get compensation for their losses.

    One of the largest communities of Navajo farmers along the San Juan River has voted to keep irrigation canals closed for at least a year following a spill of toxic sludge at a Colorado gold mine.

    The unanimous vote by more than 100 farmers in Shiprock, New Mexico, was heart-wrenching and guarantees the loss of many crops, Shiprock Chapter President Duane “Chili” Yazzie said Monday.

    But he said farmers don’t want to risk contaminating the soil for future generations.[…]

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Navajo Nation EPA have said the water is safe for irrigation, based on surface water testing. […] The Navajo Nation has been hesitant to lift restrictions on using the river water, mostly over concerns about contaminants being stirred up and washed down the river. The Navajo Nation EPA expects to have test results from soil samples later this week. […]

    “I am furious that the U.S. EPA has placed the Navajo Nation into this position,” Begaye [Tribal President Russell Begaye] said in a news release. “Our farms will not last much longer without water, and our resources are depleting.” […]

    The EPA stopped providing agricultural water Friday on the Navajo Nation in an agreement with Begaye. EPA spokesman David Gray said Monday the EPA is evaluating other ways of delivering water to the tribe.

    Farmers in Shiprock had rejected water tanks from an EPA contractor after tribal officials complained that one appeared to have oil residue. The EPA said over the weekend that it is looking into the complaint and would work with the tribe to remove 13 tanks from the reservation. […]

    The EPA is providing hay to ranchers along the river, while the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has set up water tanks for livestock, officials said. […]

    In Shiprock, a constant line of vehicles waits to fill huge containers with water. Yazzie said he spent the weekend watering about 500 of his own plants but estimates that other families have thousands that have been wilting.

    “We’re going to struggle to save what we can and what we lose, we’ll expect somebody to provide compensation,” Yazzie said.

    The Navajo Times also covered the story. Notice that the lack of trust the Navajo Nation has for Federal Government agencies shows up in this coverage.

  249. says

    More white supremacist support is pouring in for Donald Trump.

    For previously posted details of Trump’s white supremacist supporters, see comments 111 (from Tony), 112 (from What a Maroon), 207, 260, and 262 (same story as covered in Tony’s post 111).

    David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and self-described “racial realist,” says Donald Trump is the best Republican candidate for president because he “understands the real sentiment of America.”

    BuzzFeed News link

    Category of “endorsements you don’t want?”

  250. says

    Part of me wonders what Trump thinks of all these bigots supporting him. But then I remember that they only support him because he made openly racist comments in the first place, so I don’t wonder any more.

  251. says

    Jamelle Bouie of Slate took a close look at Scott Walker, at why he looks good on paper (to conservatives), but his campaign for president is imploding.

    […] He doesn’t just govern a blue state—a win in its own right—he’s transformed it, making Wisconsin a vanguard for conservative causes, from right-to-work laws and public education cuts, to voter ID and strict limits on abortion. […] He’s not a firebrand and he doesn’t alienate ordinary Americans. Instead, he looks and sounds like a middle manager; an ordinary, almost boring guy who just wants to save you money.

    […] when it comes to issues and answering voters, the Wisconsin governor has been awkward, clumsy, and flat-footed. Yes, he has money and yes, he has an organization. But that doesn’t make up for skill, or a lack thereof. […]

    Trump has him shook. On birthright citizenship, the Wisconsin governor has had three different answers. At the Iowa State Fair, he told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that he wanted to curb the practice. “To me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country. And I’ve been very clear, I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws, no matter how people come here we’re going to enforce the laws in this country,” he said. The following Friday he told CNBC that he wouldn’t take a stance on the issue. And this past Sunday, he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he doesn’t want to repeal or alter the provision at all. […]t he just doesn’t know what to say. […]

    Scott Walker also doesn’t know what to say about abortion and other cultural issues. He consistently sidesteps questions with a meaningless word salad. People are starting to notice.

  252. says

    There are a lot of things wrong with the ways in which lobbyists affect legislation in the USA, but we might have to give a Boneheaded Moves prize to Lockheed Martin. The company used government funds to lobby government officials.

    Defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin has agreed to pay a fine to settle charges that the company illegally lobbied for a major government contract using federal funds. Lockheed targeted members of Congress and the Obama administration from 2009 to 2014, using money that had been allocated for research in a previous federal contract.

    This is not the first time the contractor has used tax dollars to lobby for additional income. The Energy Department investigation that exposed these lobbying habits suggested Lockheed “felt empowered [to lobby this way] because it had improperly directed federal funds to similar activities in the past.” […]

    Link

    The company paid a fine that is minuscule when compared to their profits. And there were no criminal prosecutions.

  253. says

    Tony @286, I think Trump already told us what he thinks of his supporters, (including the ones that beat up a homeless Latino man and then pissed on the man’s face), he told us his supporters are “passionate.”

    Trump answered a question about racist comments by citing his poll numbers.

  254. says

    Trump answered a question about a Univision poll showing that 75% of Latinos are not going to vote for him by saying that he is suing Univision for $500 million, and that Univision is very worried about it.

    In the same press conference Trump said that some of the gang members in Baltimore and in Ferguson are illegal immigrants. Link

    “You know, a lot of the gangs that you see — this doesn’t hopefully pertain to you guys so much — when you look at Baltimore, when you look at Chicago, and Ferguson a lot of these areas,” Trump said on FM Talk 1065AM on Thursday. “You know, a lot of these gang members are illegal immigrants. They’re gonna be gone. We’re gonna get them out so fast, out of this country. So fast.”

  255. says

    Good news. Planned Parenthood has filed suit against Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

    Without a court injunction, more than 5,200 Planned Parenthood patients who rely on Medicaid for health care would have to find care elsewhere, the organization says.

    “We’re in court today to protect over 5,200 people’s access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and basic health care in Louisiana,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “Many of these folks would have nowhere else to turn for health care.”

    Richards slammed Jindal for attempting to cut Planned Parenthood funding “to score political points,” charging that the governor’s moves are putting women’s health at risk.

    Jindal’s plan was to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/planned-parenthood-sues-over-bobby-jindals-medicaid-move/

  256. Saad says

    (Cross-post from racism thread)

    Ben Ferguson: Hispanics don’t under English

    “If you like Univision and Jorge Ramos and illegal immigrants in this country, you’re not looking at any Republican candidate, so I’m not worried,” Ferguson said.

    He continued with the line that became contentious on social media, “And to be real honest, if you’re watching Jorge Ramos, the chances you even understand the words coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth tonight — I highly doubt you’re going to know what he was saying anyway.”

  257. McC2lhu is rarer than fish with knees. says

    You never really know about eels until you see them on a documentary. The endless parade of contemptible ignorant conservajerks in this country wouldn’t even be on my radar unless I read sites like this. So tally yet another eel lurking under the proverbial national reef ledge. It’s moments like this that I momentarily wish I was back on Twitter just to read all the lovely Spanish words that Ben Ferguson is getting stuffed in his eely-inbox. I’d like to see the end tally for things along the lines of ‘cabeza de mierda’ (probably horrible spanish grammar on my part, but I got stuck with French in school, which I also spectacularly suck at).

  258. says

    Marco Rubio doubled down on his anti-Planned-Parenthood, anti-science policy.

    Rubio agreed, when asked by an interviewer, that fetal-tissue research is wrong, and that the scientific research itself is “wrong and immoral.” Rubio added that the scientific research is a “byproduct of the death of an unborn child.”

    Republicans certainly have changed. When this research was authorized by Congress decades ago, the vote was 93 to 4 in favor (in the Senate).

    CNBC link

  259. says

    Cross posted from the World Politics page:

    Taking a look at the Iran Nuclear deal from the European point of view:

    Given the sound, fury and millions of dollars swirling around the debate in Washington over the Iranian nuclear deal, the silence in Europe is striking. It’s particularly noticeable in Britain, France and Germany, which were among the seven countries that signed the deal on July 14.

    Here in France, which took the toughest stance during the last years of negotiation, the matter is settled, according to Camille Grand, director of the Strategic Research Foundation in Paris and an expert on nuclear nonproliferation.

    Camile Grand also said, “In Europe, you don’t have a constituency against the deal. In France, I can’t think of a single politician or member of the expert community who has spoken against it, including some of us who were critical during the negotiations.”

    When questioned about the quality of deal, Camille Grand said he was “surprised by the depth and the quality of the deal, the hawks are satisfied, and the doves don’t have an argument.”

    Who opposes the deal? Some, not all, of the officials in Israel; Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate; and Iranian hardliners.

    Republican politicians in the USA are extremely radical, even more radical than their conservative counterparts on the international stage.

    NY Times link

  260. says

    This is a followup to comment 290, and to Saad’s comment @292.

    Donald Trump was bested by Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos yesterday (Tuesday night). Trump’s “go back to Univision” line will be remembered by Latinos. Ramos is a star at Univision, a guy who had been trying to get an interview with Trump for some time.

    Trump often refuses to talk to reporters/anchors with whom he disagrees. He dislikes the Des Moines Register newspaper so much that he banned their reporters from his press conference on Tuesday night. He actually had Ramos ejected at one point, and then later let him back in.

    During a press conference in Iowa on Tuesday night, Donald Trump ejected Univision anchor Jorge Ramos after the journalist began asking the real estate mogul about his plan to deport undocumented immigrants from the U.S. without first being called on by Trump.

    As Ramos confronted Trump, he told the journalist that he had not been called upon and repeatedly told Ramos to sit down, according to video captured by CNN.

    “Go back to Univision,” Trump told Ramos.

    A security officer then proceeded to escort Ramos out of the press conference.

    Trump quickly defended Ramos’ ejection, claiming that he had nothing to do with the move.

    “I didn’t escort him out. You’ll have to talk to security, whoever security escorted him,” Trump said. “He just stands up and starts screaming, so maybe he’s at fault also.” […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jorge-ramos-donald-trump-kicked-out

    Watch the video. It is fascinating. You can see Trump summon his “body man” (body guard) to oust Ramos. Clearly, Trump did have something to do with it. You can also see Trump getting flustered.

  261. says

    Donald Trump lied about the encounter with Ramos in two ways: he said he had nothing to do with escorting Ramos out, but he did. You can see him order his bodyguard to eject Ramos. He also now claims that Ramos was “ranting and screaming when I kicked him out.”

    No. Ramos was not ranting and screaming. He was trying to get Trump to answer questions about the immigration plan Trump released earlier. Trump tried to evade one of the questions by asking Ramos if he knew how much money the Univision lawsuit filed by Trump entailed. Just disgusting.

    At least two other journalists asked Trump about having Ramos removed, and that was when Trump seemed to realize he had gone overboard. He let Ramos back into the press conference.

    Now, the morning after, Trump is back in full on attack mode, blaming Ramos entirely, and denigrating Ramos.

    Ramos did stand up, with the audience mike that staff had given him, and he started asking questions before Trump called on him. Trump claims he would have called on him anyway, but I doubt that. Ramos may have thought that the mike was permission, who knows. Anyway, Trump is handling questions from Univision reporters very badly.

  262. says

    Rightwing media is, predictably, attacking Jorge Ramos. Ramos is pushing back, as are a few other journalists:

    Many people in the media establishment have responded by attacking Ramos for not showing appropriate respect for Trump. On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough said that Ramos — who has been a dominant figure in the media for decades — was “looking for his 15 minutes of fame” and “staged” the altercation with Trump’s body guards. […]

    It’s a telling detail that rightwing media doesn’t know how respected Ramos is as an anchor, nor how big the Ramos audience is.
    http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/16/media/jorge-ramos-time/index.html

    […] While the stature of network anchormen like CBS’ Scott Pelley has shrunk in recent election cycles, that of Univision’s Jorge Ramos has soared to the point where I don’t think there is a TV journalist who has more influence with candidates today. […]

    Baltimore Sun link

    Mika Brzezinski then accused Ramos of “pretending to be bullied and pretending to be thrown out of a room.” “No reporter I know would go to a press conference and deliver a speech,” Joe Scarborough added. Brzenzinski also lamented that Ramos made the room “awkward and uncomfortable with other reporters.”

    There was no pretense. Watch the video.

    On CNN, Chris Cuomo told Ramos: “It’s his press conference. He runs the rules. You jumped the queue.” Ramos noted that in virtually every press conference reporters ask questions without being called on.

    Cuomo also said that Ramos was biased because he has said publicly that he didn’t believe humans could be “illegal.” Cuomo proceeded to refer to undocumented immigrants as “illegals” throughout the interview.

    In the Washington Post, Ramos was belittled as a “conflict junkie.” […]

    “This is very important for the Hispanic community and this is personal. We’re talking about destroying the lives of millions of people if his plan goes ahead. Instead of waiting — and you never wait for it — I decided to come to Iowa and ask him the questions that he didn’t want to answer,” Ramos explained on CNN.

    Ramos said that reporters “have to take a stand when it comes to racism… as a reporter I don’t have to sit down because Donald Trump tells me to sit down.”

    The decision to criticize Ramos for not showing appropriate respect is revealing. Trump has described Mexican immigrants, a group that includes Ramos, as “rapists.” When Ramos sent him a hand-written note with his cell phone number requesting an interview, Trump responded by publishing his number on the internet.

    Think Progress link

    OMG, the reporter tries to arrange for an interview, and then Trump publishes the reporter’s cell phone number? Childish.

  263. says

    blf @298, thanks for that link. It’s an interesting article. I’ll post excerpts [emphasis added]:

    […] Trump claims to be a free-trader while calling for steep new taxes on imports from China and Mexico. […]

    The most prominent piece of Trump’s economic plan, lately, is the call for a new tariff on Chinese imports – he has mentioned the figure 25% – and an extrication of some kind by the US from its trade relationship with China. The unspecified extrication would be in retaliation for what Trump characterizes as manipulation by China of its currency to keep Chinese products cheap in relation to supposedly competing American goods.

    The whole thing is nonsense, said Charles Calomiris, a professor at Columbia Business School […]

    […] he’s not telling the truth, either because he’s not capable of understanding it, or because it’s just not convenient to his message to complicate things with facts. I’m not sure which it is.”

    Calomiris has written that Trump’s analysis that China is keeping its currency weak to boost exports is flawed, because “until very recently, China’s currency, the yuan, has been appreciating, not depreciating. From 1995 through 2014, China’s exchange rate appreciated by 26%”. […]

    China is the third-largest consumer of goods produced in the United States and the leading exporter of goods to the United States, ahead of Canada. Mexico is the second-largest importer from the US and third-largest exporter to the US. […]

    The threat of a trade war from new double-digit tariffs imposed by the United States could rearrange the global economy, with graver implications for the price of US goods than any move by China’s central bank. […]

    Trump has said that he would slap a 35% tax on automobiles produced at a Ford plant in Mexico, in retaliation for what he has characterized as a kind of economic treason on the part of the auto manufacturer for heading south of the border.

    The underlying premise is that the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals have contributed to job losses in the United States by inviting US companies to build products elsewhere, or by opening the door to US markets too widely for foreign manufacturers.

    […] Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, wrote this month[:] “The truth is that while a small fraction of American manufacturing jobs migrated overseas over the past few decades, a far greater fraction of manufacturing jobs simply disappeared and are not coming back, […] ”

    Additional confusion arises about Trump’s potential economic stewardship from his seeming characterization of foreign purchases of US bonds as “theft”. Such purchases allow the United States to raise money. The global market for US bonds is a backbone of the US and international economy. […]

    Over the past year, China has decreased its holdings of US bonds from a high of $1.65tn to the current $1.27tn. Yet to hear Trump tell it, China has been keeping up steady bond purchases as a form of wily double-cross. […]

  264. says

    What would happen if we actually ended birthright citizenship, as Trump suggests? For starters, we would create a tidal wave of newly stateless children. And, from other countries, we see examples of what the results might be:

    […] Around the world—in countries such as Estonia, Burma, Thailand, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, and many others—some 10 million people are stateless, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    They lack citizenship in the country where they were born, and they have nowhere to go where they can receive legal status. Stateless individuals cannot participate in any political process anywhere. They’re often subject to arbitrary detention. They have limited access to health care and education.

    They are especially vulnerable to crime and have little legal recourse if they are victimized. They have no economic rights and few job prospects. In extreme cases, as with the Rohingya Muslims of Burma and the Hill Tribe population of Thailand, they’re exposed to increased rates of human trafficking. […]

    Mother Jones link

  265. says

    Ann Coulter introduced Donald Trump in Dubuque, Iowa (the place where Trump had Univision anchor Jorge Ramos ejected from a press conference). Coulter said a lot of stupid stuff:

    […] Ann Coulter said she has “felt like she’s dreaming” ever “since Donald Trump announced that he’s running for president” because now the media is covering her criticisms of U.S. immigration policy. […]

    “I love the idea of the ‘Great Wall of Trump,’” she said. “I want to have a two-drink minimum, make it a big worldwide tourist attraction and every day live drone shows when anyone tries to cross the border.” […]

    Coulter offered a biblical analogy to explain Trump’s rise: “Now I think it’s like Joseph in the Bible. He had to be sold into slavery, imprisoned, betrayed so that eventually he could save the Jews. Maybe Mitt Romney had to lose and maybe we had to give Republicans one more chance in 2014 and maybe Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had to betray us once again to pave the way for President Donald Trump. God hasn’t given up on America yet.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  266. says

    Simon Maloy of Salon summarized the contretemps between Trump and Ramos really well:

    […] When Ramos came back and was given the opportunity to ask about Trump’s immigration plan, Trump offered his usual mix of bluster and evasiveness. On revoking the citizenship of children of immigrants, Trump said “great legal scholars” agree with him. Asked how he’d deport every single undocumented immigrant, Trump offered that he’d “do it in a very humane fashion.” He didn’t even pretend to provide a coherent rationale for all the horrible things he wants to do to immigrants and their families. If you’re upset by Ramos’ tactics or offended that he wasn’t respectful enough towards Trump, you’re very much missing the larger picture.

  267. says

    Trump expounds on Fox News:

    I think they cover me terribly. Fox News? I think they cover me terribly and I’m winning by double digits on every poll. So I don’t know. Maybe it matters, maybe it doesn’t. I don’t think I get good treatment from Fox. […]

    I think they give me very bad treatment. I think Fox treats me terribly. And a lot of the people that like me think they treat me terribly. But I don’t think — I mean, what – you think I was asked nice easy questions? The other guys are saying, “What are you going to do about jobs?” Another one saying, “Do you love God?” Another one says something else. I get these questions like, what’s going on here? And, yet, I won in every single poll of the debate, I won. I won from Drudge. I won in Time magazine. I won all the — everybody thought I won the debate. But I certainly had the worst questions, the most unfair questions. And, you know, I like Fox. I like it, but, no, I think they treat me very poorly.

  268. blf says

    It’s not just Trump: Latinos should boycott the Republican party en masse:

    Donald Trump’s treatment of Univision’s Jorge Ramos is just the latest reason why Latino voters should unite to bring the party to its knees

    There is nothing courageous about a political party standing big to undocumented people, arguably the most vulnerable and exploited people in America. There is nothing strong about separating families or outright head-hunting undocumented individuals, as Donald Trump and Ben Carson have advocated as part of their official platforms. There is nothing noble about energizing a Republican base with anti-immigrant slurs like ‘anchor babies’ and ‘illegals’. And so there’s no other choice for us Latinos: we must boycott the Republican party en masse.

    If this suggestion sounds extreme, it might be because that’s how far right the Republican conversation has gone. On Tuesday night, Trump had his security physically remove Jorge Ramos, a celebrated Univision newsman largely considered the Walter Cronkite of the Spanish-speaking world, from his press conference in Iowa. Trump repeatedly tried to dodge Ramos’ questions, telling him to “sit down” before shouting at him: “Go back to Univision.” Trump then nodded to a security guard off to his left and Ramos was removed shortly thereafter.

    As the #blacklivesmatter movement has shown, it is still a radical idea in America today for a black or brown person to maintain their own dignity in a climate where many would rather have them deported, incarcerated, or killed. For many Latinos — a group whose primary voting concern isn’t even about undocumented immigration — these attacks feel very personal.

    When I hear Ben Carson openly advocate for the use of drone strikes on human beings at the US-Mexico border, I hear a man saying that he’d rather bomb my family (who hails from Texas) than shake our hands. When I hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican Party candidate, speak about a border fence, I hear a man saying he wishes I didn’t exist at all in this American fabric.

    This is the scary part: those ideas are the exact racist, xenophobic things Republican supporters, and the candidates themselves, are explicitly saying at rallies across the country. At Donald Trump’s rally in Alabama this past Friday, supporters yelled openly about “white power” as Trump spoke out against undocumented immigrants. Trump supporter Jim Sherotta later told reporters at AL.com that he would like to create a vacation spot on the US-Mexico border that would charge a $25 permit and reward $50 for every confirmed kill.

    Even more worrisome is the way the vocabulary of this rhetoric is coded, as Los Angeles Times journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has noted extensively. “Illegal” and “Mexican” have come to be used interchangeably by both Republican supporters and the candidates themselves. This should set off alarm bells in the minds of Latino voters and Americans everywhere. The Republican Party is not designed to include people like us. And it’s quickly becoming a promoter of and platform for white supremacist, hate group rhetoric.

    […]

    Indeed. From a slightly different perspective, in my own case, the thugs are saying I am not a USAian citizen because I wasn’t born in the hallowed mythological grounds of the USA(stolen from the First Nations, but somehow that seems to be “Ok”, or “doesn’t matter”, or “necessary”, or “not-relevant”, or…).

  269. says

    Cross posted from the “If you aren’t an advocate for the truth …” thread.

    Both Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow showed segments that also covered what happened after Jorge Ramos was ejected from the Trump press conference. Some hateful, ignorant man told Ramos, “Get out of my country!” To which, Ramos replied, “I am an American citizen too.”

    Maddow also covered the way that Trump mocks Asians as well as Latinos. The 6:59 video covers the history of Latino and Asian voting blocs as well as the current situation. The latter part of the video covers the contretemps with Jorge Ramos, including what happened to him after he was escorted out of the room.

  270. says

    Ted Cruz evaded questions about birthright citizenship, and he did it in a slimy way:

    “What would President Cruz do? Do American citizen children of two illegal immigrants, who are born here, the children, get deported under a President Cruz?” Kelly asked. Donald Trump, she said, “has answered that question explicitly.”

    “Megyn, I get that that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz said. “That’s also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08/megyn-kelly-ted-cruz-immigration-question-121756.html

  271. says

    Let’s get ourselves up to date on the non-scandal of Hillary Clinton’s email.

    The transmission of now-classified information across Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email is consistent with a State Department culture in which diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

    Clinton’s use of a home server makes her case unique and has become an issue in her front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it’s not clear whether the security breach would have been any less had she used department email.

    AP link

    Here’s what Clinton had to say yesterday:

    I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why. I get it. So here’s what I want the American people to know: My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. I should’ve used two emails: one personal, one for work.

    I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible, which is why I turned over 55,000 pages, why I’ve turned over my server, why I’ve agreed to — in fact, been asking to — and have finally gotten a date to testify before a congressional committee in October.

    The practice of sending emails through unclassified channels was ordinary in the Bush/Cheney State Department. Leslie McAdoo, a lawyer who specializes in security clearance disputes and in classified information dispersal, sail that classified information appearing in regular email is “very common, actually.”

    Clinton never sent any classified material via her regular email, nor did she receive any email marked classified. Some of her email traffic is being considered for classified status later, after the fact, after Clinton left the office of Secretary of State.

    One could make the case that an investigation of the Bush/Cheney administration would turn up actual breaches of security through email use.

    As some reporters have pointed out, Clinton’s private email server wasn’t hacked, while government servers were hacked. None of these facts add up to the conclusion that it is a good idea for government officials to use private email servers, but the problem is really not Hillary Clinton, it is instead a ramshackle construction of technologically incompetent and make-do arrangements on the part of our federal government.

  272. says

    Just for fun.

    Lots of people have filed the necessary paperwork to run for president:

    Deez Nuts now faces competition from Dis Pussy, Butt Stuff, Dat Ass, Dem Balls, Tyrone Longdick, Doge Wow, Cranky Pants, ‘Murican Cookies, Beast Mode, Tom Brady Sketch, Mr. Ronald Reagan’s Ghost, Captain Crunch, Queen Elsa Ice, Elsa is Bae, Jeffrey Dahmer, Joe Biden from Wilmington, and Joe Biden from Trap Queen Avenue. Unfortunately for all these new candidates, there is no guarantee that their attempt to ride Deez Nuts’ coattails will be successful; he’s already chosen his VP pick — Kentucky cat Limberbutt McCubbins.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/deez-nuts-sparks-2016-fake-candidate-epidemic.html

  273. blf says

    Trump-ward, Christian Soldiers?:

    Let me get this straight. If I want the admiration and blessings of the most flamboyant, judgmental Christians in America, I should marry three times, do a queasy-making amount of sexual boasting, verbally degrade women, talk trash about pretty much everyone else while I’m at it, encourage gamblers to hemorrhage their savings in casinos bearing my name and crow incessantly about how much money I’ve amassed?

    Seems to work for Donald Trump.

    […]

    He just about runs the table on the seven deadly sins. He personifies greed, embodies pride, radiates lust. Wrath is covered by his anti-immigrant, anti-“losers” rants, and if we interpret gluttony to include big buildings and not just Big Macs, he’s a glutton through and through. That leaves envy and sloth. I’m betting that he harbors plenty of the former, though I’ll concede that he exhibits none of the latter.

    […]

    [T]here’s no sense in the fact that many of the people who most frequently espouse the Christian spirit then proceed to vilify immigrants, demonize minorities and line up behind a candidate who’s a one-man master class in such misanthropy.

    From Trump’s Twitter account gushes an endless stream of un-Christian rudeness, and he was at it again on Monday night, retweeting someone else’s denigration of Kelly as a “bimbo.” Shouldn’t he be turning the other cheek?

    […]

    As for Trump, I must not be watching the same campaign that his evangelical fans are, because I don’t see someone interested in serving God. I see someone interested in being God.

  274. blf says

    Donald Trump wants to deport 11 million migrants: is that even possible?:

    Removing all the [USA]’s undocumented migrants is easier said than done but the wartime forced relocation of 110,000 Japanese Americans offers some clues
    […]
    Trump’s proposed roundup and mass deportation of the nation’s undocumented immigrants represents a substantial logistical challenge.

    If history is a guide, the effort would consume significant budgetary and law enforcement resources, could precipitate a national social crisis and might expose the country to reparations claims for decades to come.

    The last large-scale roundup of US residents by the federal government, the internment of people of Japanese descent during the second world war, ultimately encompassed only about 110,000 arrestees, most of whom originally lived in a few major cities on the west coast. They were moved into camps in western states — not across an international border.

    There are 100 times that number of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data, and the migrants are not regionally clustered — they live everywhere.

    Making his challenge even more difficult, Trump has said he would not break up families through forced deportation, instead sending legal US residents outside the country along with undocumented family members […]

    Trump has not said how he would handle cases in which the legal US residents in question preferred to stay put. In such cases, presumably, the families would be broken up after all, because while Trump is famous for saying “you’re fired!”, no president has the power to tell a US citizen: “You’re deported!”

    […]

    Big numbers, regional dispersion and civil rights intrusions are not the only challenges that would face President Trump. There is also a problem of the national will. Unlike in the spring of 1942, in the shadow of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there has been no galvanizing event to swing public support behind drastic action against an entire group of residents, in the form of mass arrest and background checks.

    As with many issues in US law enforcement, additionally, there would be daunting jurisdictional challenges to overcome. Rogue metropolitan areas that currently serve as “sanctuary cities” — places where immigration status is often overlooked — would have to be brought in line by the federal government. […]

    The effort would face profound budgetary and infrastructure challenges. […]

    […]

    The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed into law by Ronald Reagan, no spendthrift, offered a formal presidential apology and $20,000 to every survivor of the internment with contemporary legal status in the United States. That’s about $40,000 in current dollars. Ultimately about 80,000 payouts were made for a grand total of $1.6bn.

    “No monetary payments can ever fully compensate loyal Japanese Americans for one of the darkest incidents in American constitutional history,” President George HW Bush said upon signing follow-up legislation to enlarge the reparations fund. “We must do everything possible to ensure that such a grave wrong is never repeated.”

  275. says

    According to Trump, it is not his fault that racists are flocking to his campaign, or at least it is irrelevant that they are racists:

    When asked how he felt about people like Duke backing him, Trump responded by saying that “everyone” likes him.

    “People like me across the board. Everybody likes me,” Trump said, citing the poll from Public Policy Polling released Tuesday.

    Note that, once again, Donald Trump thinks that high poll numbers equal virtue. Doesn’t matter how you get there. See comment 285 for the endorsement from David Duke.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-david-duke-bloomberg-politics-interview-taxes

  276. says

    A county clerk in Kentucky is still refusing to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, despite the fact that her case has been adjudicated in the courts.

    Kim Davis may not “decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court.”

    William Smith Jr. and James Yates strode Thursday morning into their county clerk’s office for their third attempt to get a marriage license. The office of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis once again denied them, despite an order from a federal appeals court issued hours earlier that upheld a judge’s directive to issue the licenses.

    That woman is certainly holding on to her despicable attitude.

    AP link

  277. says

    Oh, good. This is good news. The bigoted, anti-voting-rights Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, has been slapped down by the courts again.

    […] Judge Franklin Theis [found flaws in] Kobach’s scheme to separate voters authorized to vote in federal elections from those who could vote in both federal and state.

    […] Kobach had set up guidelines by which voters who filled out the federal form could only vote in federal races; it would be a crime for them to vote in state level races. In order to fill out the Kansas form, birth certificates, passport, or other documents would be required while the federal form requires a sworn statement.

    Daily Kos link. The article includes a photo of Kobach with Ted Nugent.

    “None of the ad hoc procedures employed by the Secretary of State authorize or justify such treatment of a Federal Form registrant,” Theis’ ruling said. “Nor, just because Kansas has declined to provide a separate ballot containing federal candidates only, should a voter registered by the Federal Form be subjected to the threat of prosecution based on a ballot procedure not authorized by the legislature in order to exercise his or her most fundamental franchise.”

    The Wichita Eagle link

    Hillary Clinton criticized Kobach’s attempts to disenfranchise Kansas voters, so Kobach tweeted that Clinton was “getting her pantsuit in a twist over nothing.” Clinton’s proposal that she laid out in June was that all Americans automatically be registered to vote on the day that they turn 18.

  278. blf says

    Walmart to stop selling AR-15 rifles due to ‘decreased demand’:

    Retailer says decision was made because of lack of demand from customers, not because of political pressure in the wake of shootings where AR-15 was used

    Walmart will no longer stock AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons […]

    […] They will replace the rifles […] with shotguns and other hunting [sic] weapons.

    Nothing (in the article) on how they plan to dispose of the machine guns (Yes, I know they aren’t technically machine guns…).

  279. says

    Gerrymandering voting districts is a ploy often used to make sure some voter’s rights are respected while other voters are effectively neutered. Some dunderheads in Missouri took gerrymandering too far … and, hilariously, they got caught.

    Self-interested business owners successfully petitioned the Columbia, Missouri, city council to create a local Community Improvement District, which would have the authority to impose a half-cent sales tax increase with voter approval. However, the district lines were drawn in a manner that attempted to avoid containing any eligible voters, meaning that property-owners themselves would get to decide on the sales tax increase as a way to avoid further property taxes to pay for improvements.

    Unfortunately for them, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. It soon became known that a single voter, University of Missouri student Jen Henderson, was registered to vote in the new CID. That means that she alone will get to decide whether or not to approve the sales tax increase. […]

    Henderson is not pleased with how manipulative this process has been. She was even asked to de-register so that the vote would revert to property owners. While Henderson hasn’t publicly stated which way she plans to vote, she sounded skeptical of the proposed sales tax increase and rightfully pointed out how it is regressive in nature while the benefits accrue mainly to incumbent businesses.

    In a delicious twist of irony, if Henderson votes against the sales tax increase or the vote is called off entirely, the only way for the CID to pay off its debts will be to levy further taxes on property, which is exactly what these businesses were trying to avoid. Most of the time gerrymandering is successful and unfair, but instances like this show it can sometimes backfire spectacularly.

    Link

  280. says

    blf @319, “due to decreased demand” eh? Does this mean that every person in the USA who wanted an AR-15 now has one, mostly thanks to Walmart?

    I saw coverage of the shooting of the reporter and cameraman in Virginia that said the father of Alison is going to dedicate his life to stricter gun controls. ABC News link

  281. blf says

    Hillary Clinton likens GOP candidates to terrorists for ‘extreme’ views on women:

    The Democratic candidate received sharp criticism from Republicans for calling policies on abortion and women’s health ‘dead wrong for 21st century America’

    Hillary Clinton on Thursday compared her Republican opponents to terrorist organizations when it comes to their views on women, telling an audience her potential rivals were pushing outdated policies.

    “Now extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world,” the Democratic presidential frontrunner said.

    “But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out of date and out of touch policies,” she added at a rally in Cleveland. “They are dead wrong for 21st-century America.”

    Clinton did not mention any specific terrorist or militant groups, such as the Islamic State, which has held women as sex slaves in Iraq and Syria.

    Republicans swiftly accused her of directly equating the Republican presidential field with terrorists.

    No thugs, she didn’t. She should have, but didn’t.

    Clinton […] said she took it “a little personal when they go after women”, pointing to Republican efforts to cut access to women’s health centers and opposition to abortion rights.

    She specifically cited Senator Marco Rubio, saying he “brags about wanting to deny victims of rape and incest access to healthcare and abortion”, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s opposition to funding for Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit abortion provider.

    Clinton also turned her attention to home state governor John Kasich of Ohio, telling supporters he had banned state funding for some rape crisis centers because they sometimes referred women to other health facilities that provide abortion services.

  282. blf says

    This seems encouraging, at least as a start and despite a severe limitation, California lawmakers pass Fair Pay Act in win for equal pay protections:

    Bipartisan bill sails through as state assembly votes 66–2 in favor of law that will require employers prove specifics when paying men and women different wages

    California lawmakers have passed a fair pay act, aiming to end the wage gaps that exist between men and women for the same jobs across the state.

    The legislation passed by the state assembly on Thursday by a vote of 66 to 2. It will require employers to prove specific skill sets or seniority when paying men and women differently and is meant as a tool for women to use to sue in circumstances where they don’t get equal pay. It also adds protections for women who speak up and discuss pay scales with their colleagues.

    […]

    The California senate passed bill SB 358 unanimously in May. It will now go back to the senate for concurrence, a formality, and Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the legislation into law.

    […]

    Despite the intentions of the law criticism from groups such as the Anita Borg Institute in Palo Alto and Equal Rights Advocates, is that the bill does not require employers to share salary information with women to allow them to compare salaries with men in the same office. Even when asked, employers aren’t required by the law to divulge that data.

    “Being able to get that data would be a more significant step than just being able to ask,” Telle Whitney, CEO of the Palo Alto-based Anita Borg Institute that supports women in technology, told the San Jose Mercury News. “I think this is a baby step.”

    […]

    “There are very few women who actually know how much they make compared to men doing similar work,” [Jennifer Reisch, Legal Director at Equal Rights Advocates,] said.

    However, I suspect a lot of fudging. I do not know what the situation is now, but back when I was living and working in California, there was a law(? (probably federal)) to the effect that if you wanted to sponsor an employee from overseas, you first had to “prove” you could not hire a suitable person in USAlienstani. The commonly-used way around that was to draw up the list of requirements and whatnot for the position so “tightly” that it would be highly improbable any person in the States would precisely meet them. Advertise the position in non-obvious manner, for the shortest time possible, and reject any applications which did not meet all the requirements (even for trivial differences), possibly doing a few show interviews just for the look of the thing. The lack of any suitable applications / candidates, despite the “extensive” efforts made, would then be used as “proof” that the person you had already decided on should get the necessary visa / whatever.

    It was very much a scam (and for all I know, it is still happening), and I would not be too surprised if a broadly analogous scam is devised to avoid changing pay rates. Exactly what form the scam(s?) will take I obviously don’t know, but presume the ability to withhold comparative information will play an important part. And note that equivalent(?) “skill sets” are apparently part of what has to be proven (not sure by who), which seems open to rather similar abuse: Draw up the skill set needed for such-and-such a level of pay so “tightly” that it is improbable any two employees would both… etc etc etc…

  283. says

    Not a big surprise: an analysis of the deceptively-edited videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts for profit reveals that the videos are not only deceptively edited, but that transcriptions by the anti-abortion group of the uncut videos were also deceptive.

    A comparison of transcripts done by an objective transcription service showed “substantive omissions” were made by the Center for Medical Progress propagandists.

    “A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” said the analysis of a private research company. […]

    The analysis was by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research and corporate intelligence company […]

    The reviewers looked at both shorter, edited videos that are about eight minutes to 15 minutes long and what Mr. Daleiden said were full-length recordings, some more than two hours long, that he released simultaneously.

    A transcription service was hired to transcribe the videos, without being told that Planned Parenthood was the client, to compare with transcripts publicized by the anti-abortion group. That comparison, the analysis said, showed “substantive omissions” from the group’s version. Mr. Simpson was assisted in the analysis by several others including a video forensics expert, Grant Fredericks, and a television producer, Scott Goldie.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/28/us/abortion-planned-parenthood-videos.html

    In addition to the deceptive editing and the inaccurate transcripts, the analysis also showed that even the long, supposedly uncut versions of the videos had been altered, manipulated. By now, you would think that all of the rightwing politicians hyping this anti-Planned-Parenthood crap would be feeling manipulated by the Center for Medical Progress.

    How much manipulation was done to the supposedly unaltered versions of the videos?
    – 30 minutes of video is cut from each one of the longer videos
    – the bogus transcript released by CMP omits as many as 4,000 words

  284. says

    Oh, FFS. Rightwing pseudo-intellectual Dinesh D’Souza said some really, really stupid stuff.

    The following quotes are excerpts from D’Souza’s Twitter feed [all caps nonsense is in the original tweets]:

    When a black gay guy goes nuts and kills white people, is it safe to call it a DOUBLE hate crime?

    Let’s hope that Obama expresses sympathy for the white victims of #VirginiaShooting & not the gay black shooter.

    Please, Obama, don’t tell us the poor #VirginiaShooter didn’t get his “fair share” of reporting assignments.

    DEPT OF SINGLE STANDARDS: Hey after the #VirginiaShooting is it time to take down those rainbow flags we see all over the place?

    Vile.

  285. says

    blf @323, like you, I would be wary when it comes to application and enforcement of this new equal-pay law. Expect all kinds of “fudging” as you put it.

    In other news, just like Dinesh D’Souza, the rightwing online powerhouse Breitbart has taken a “race murder” and a homophobic stance toward the shooting in Virginia.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/breitbart-virginia-shooting

    Breitbart calls the rainbow flag a “Hate-Flag” and the site posted a lot of other execrable “news” — I’m not going to repeat any more of their headlines or text. It is just too sickening.

  286. says

    Bobby Jindal said some stupid stuff. He doesn’t want anyone to make their coverage of the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina about climate change. Why not?

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jindal-letter-obama-katrina-climate-change

    An excerpt from Jindal’s letter to President Obama:

    While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianians.

    I would ask you to respect this important time of remembrance by not inserting the divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism.

    Furthermore, the people of Louisiana have already agreed upon a pragmatic and bipartisan approach to preventing and mitigating the damage of future weather systems.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jindal-letter-obama-katrina-climate-change

  287. blf says

    Um, no. Just no. Racist online groups demand sympathy after Virginia TV shooting:

    Race hate groups have begun to use Wednesday’s killings to say America’s problem with racial violence is black-on-white and not the other way around
    […]
    “There have been a whole series of these kinds of crimes that are picked up by white supremacists and converted into racial hate crimes,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The claims are complete and utter hogwash — yesterday you could at least pick out something — there was a tiny hint of racial motivation. But in other cases, there was nothing.”

    The grieving parents of Kathryn Steinle, a young white woman who was allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco, were regularly promoted by conservative commentators as they demanded a phone call from Barack Obama apologizing for the killing.

    What has Mr Obama got to do with this apparent murder? Geesh…

    By contrast, [Alison] Parker’s father’s call for stricter gun control laws on CNN and Fox News Thursday morning has been dismissed by many in those circles. Commentators and Republican presidential candidates took to new media and old to quell calls for harsher firearms regulation: “It’s not about the guns. It’s about mental instability,” said Trump. […]

    Instead, commentators and commenters […] have said for months that any violent crimes committed by black people indicate that the America’s problem with racial violence is black-on-white and not the other way around.

    […]

    Potok said that the rhetoric around these crimes has become more vitriolic since Dylann Roof’s killing spree. “Charleston really did ignite a kind of ideological battle,” Potok said. “It wasn’t just horror at the murders of these nine people; the attack on the Confederate battle flag made these people cry and moan and describe themselves as the victims of cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

  288. says

    blf, that emphasis on black-on-white crime has deep roots. Lots of white supremacists and other online sites are chock full of that shit. They all sound more or less like Dinesh D’Souza. (Comment 325.)

    In other news, lawmakers in Alaska, (Republican doofuses, of course), are trying to deny health care to low-income people. They purport to have an economic reason, a smaller government reason, for doing this. Meanwhile, the bill for their lawyerly assholiness will be sent to the taxpayers. $450,000 in public money.

    Low income people in Alaska are on the verge of getting health care. So, in a story that’s become so familiar that it’s practically a cliché, Republican elected officials filed a lawsuit on Monday trying to prevent this expanded access to health care from happening.

    As a bonus, they’re sending the bill for this lawsuit to the state’s taxpayers.

    Last month, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) announced that he would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act despite opposition from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. […] the Alaska Legislative Council, a Republican-controlled legislative committee that can bring suits in state court, agreed to spend up to $450,000 in public money on a legal team including Republican superlawyer Paul Clement. […]

    If past is prologue, it is likely that the total bill for this legal team will exceed $450,000. […] the American people paid Clement’s legal team $2.3 million to unsuccessfully defend the proposition that same-sex couples are not entitled to the same federal marriage rights as opposite-sex couples. […]

    It’s a semantic game that, until this point, had very little practical impact — does a mandatory program become optional if its mandatory nature is only backed by a very weak sanction? […] (the Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional for Congress to “penalize States that choose not to participate in” the Medicaid expansion “by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.”)

    In Alaska, however, this semantic distinction could literally have deadly consequences. An estimated 42,000 Alaskans will be eligible for health coverage under the Medicaid expansion. If Clement prevails, they will lose that eligibility.

    Think Progress link.

    Native Americans will be especially hard hit if the Republicans in Alaska have their way.

    One thing is guaranteed, Alaskan taxpayers will be required to shower Paul Clement with cash.

  289. blf says

    ACLU sues to block sweeping Nevada education funding program:

    Three civil liberties groups say the program, Education Savings Accounts, violates the state constitution by releasing public funds to religious schools

    A Nevada education funding program that’s considered the nation’s broadest school choice initiative has attracted its first legal challenge, with three civil liberties groups saying it violates the state constitution by releasing public funds to religious schools.

    The American Civil Liberties Union, its Nevada affiliate and Americans United for Separation of Church and State said they filed a lawsuit Thursday in Nevada district court in Clark County. They’re asking the courts to block implementation of the state’s sweeping new program, which allows parents to claim the majority of their child’s per-pupil state education funds and use it toward private schooling or other qualifying education expenses.

    […]

    “Parents have a right to send their children to religious schools, but they are not entitled to do so at taxpayers’ expense,” ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story said in a statement. “The voucher program violates the Nevada Constitution’s robust protections against the use of public funds for religious education.”

    […]

    The civil liberties groups say the program will use taxpayer dollars – more than $5,000 per child each year — for religious indoctrination at private schools that can discriminate in admissions and employment. […]

    […]

    Democrats have decried the program as legally dubious and raised concerns about whether it helps wealthier families who can already afford private school at the expense of public schools serving the poor.

    Democrats resisted implementation efforts as recently as last week, voting against $116,000 in IT spending that would start development of a website and the program’s payment processing system. Lawmakers questioned why the proposed IT vendor had a revoked Nevada business license, why the office didn’t use an open bidding process and whether the vendor could pull off the ambitious project.

  290. says

    Yes, we do need more regulation of hedge funds. Here’s just one example of the evil tactics in which hedge funds engage:

    […] hedge funds are profiting off of struggling families in Baltimore by buying up debts as small as $250, charging high interest rates, and taking their homes when they fail to pay.

    A report just released by the research and advocacy group HedgeClippers documents how the Wall Street hedge fund Fortress Investment Group and the Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital bought up hundreds of these small liens this year — on everything from an unpaid water bills to delinquent property taxes — and could take property worth tens of millions of dollars if the families can’t pay.

    Once the hedge funds buy up these small debts, they reap an 18 percent interest, according to the Baltimore-based research group The Abell Foundation. More fees pile up after four months, and if the families can’t pay, they lose their homes. An analysis of those impacted in 2014 found the families had been living in their homes an average of 21 years. Half were elderly, more than a third were disabled, and the majority were African American.

    Well that will keep those uppity African Americans who have been successful enough to own a home from passing that wealth on to their children. Keep them in poverty for generations. /sarcasm

    […] the city continues to have one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, and the impact has been most severe in communities of color. Baltimore now has the ironic problem of both a growing homeless population and a growing stock of vacant and often dilapidated homes. […] the vast majority of the money extracted from residents by these hard policies go to the hedge funds and other investors, not the city. […]

    Clinton, a beneficiary of the hedge fund’s generosity, recently said in a speech about Baltimore’s woes: […] “Our legal system can be and all too often is stacked against those who have the least power, who are the most vulnerable.”

    <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/08/27/3695753/how-hedge-funds-are-exploiting-baltimores-poorest-residents/&quot;
    Damn straight, Hillary. Maybe you should take Trump's advice in this situation. Take the money from the big donors and then refuse to support legislation the donors push.

  291. says

    blf @331, the Nevada education funding program sounds like a religious scam. Yet another way to funnel public funds to schools that indoctrinate children in some form of religion.

    In other religious scam news, every time Donald Trump trumpets his love for the Bible, it just comes off as a lie. Doesn’t ring true. Somebody finally asked The Donald to name one or two of his favorite Bible verses. Ha. For your amusement:

    “Well, I wouldn’t want to get into it,” Trump replied. “Because that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal. So I don’t want to get into it.”

    Halperin pressed, again asking if he would name a favorite verse or two.

    “No, I don’t want to do that,” Trump said.

    Another reporter asked the billionaire if he is an “Old Testament guy or New Testament.”

    “Probably equal. I think it’s just incredible, the whole Bible is incredible,” Trump said.

  292. says

    Fox News is still pushing debunked myths about Clinton’s email server. Here are some myths that Fox News served up today:

    CLAIM: Jay Sekulow: The FBI “Grabbed Control Of The Server.” On the August 27 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, the American Center for Law and Justices’ Jay Sekulow and host Gregg Jarrett discussed Clinton’s recent comments about her emails. Using the opportunity to push debunked talking points about her private use of emails in order to assert that Clinton may have committed “criminal negligence,” Sekulow claimed that the FBI had “grabbed control of the server.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 8/27/15]

    CLAIM: Sekulow: Clinton’s Server Was Stored “In The Bathroom” Of A Colorado Company. Later in the segment, Sekulow claimed that Clinton’s server was stored “in the bathroom” of a Colorado IT company hired by the former secretary of state to maintain her private emails. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 8/27/15]

    CLAIM: Sekulow: Investigators Have Found “Hundreds Of Classified Emails” On Clinton’s Server. Sekulow also said, “The inspector general, of course, in just their short analysis of just some of those emails, have found hundreds of classified emails.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 8/27/15]

    CLAIM: Sekulow: Clinton’s Lawyer Lacked Security Clearance To Handle Emails. Sekulow said that Clinton “handed over the thumb drive of the emails to her lawyer who did not have security clearance.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 8/27/15]

    No, you dunderheads. Get your facts straight, and stop relying on the debunked myths.
    – FACT: Clinton Voluntarily Handed Over Email Server To The FBI
    – FACT: Clinton’s Server Was Not Kept In A Bathroom Closet
    – FACT: Emails Were Flagged For Review And May Not Contain Classified Information
    – FACT: Clinton’s Lawyer Has “Top Secret” Security Clearance

    More detail at the link:
    Media Matters link

  293. says

    Onion headline: “Female Trump Supporters Just Feel More Comfortable With GOP Candidate Who’s Openly Horrible to Them.”

    “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” Trump said that in a 1991 Esquire interview

    “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.” Trump wrote that in his 1997 book “The Art of the Comeback.”

    A gallup poll taken after the first debate and after Trump’s war-of-words with Megyn Kelly, showed his support among Republican women went up a notch, from 29% to 30%.

    [head meet desk]

  294. Nick Gotts says

    I think it’s just incredible, the whole Bible is incredible,” Trump said. – Lynna, OM@334

    Incredible? Talking snakes and donkeys, a tower that would have reached heaven only God knocked it down, a universal flood, a 40-year journey to get from Egypt to Palestine, a census requiring everyone to return to their ancestral home, a man walking on water, raising the dead, being raised from ther dead himself – yup, for once I think Trump nailed it!

  295. says

    Senator Marco Rubio wants to be President, and from that seat of power he wants to push a tax plan that eliminates taxes on estates, capital gains and dividends. Give to the rich and depend on trickle-down economics to take care of the poor — that’s his plan. Sheesh.
    CNBC link to interview video.

  296. says

    “I hereby affirm that I generally believe in and intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election.”

    That’s the loyalty oath that Republican candidates are required to sign in order to be placed on the primary ballot by the GOP in South Carolina. Looks like wiggle room for Trumpish candidates to me.

    Some states, like Virginia and North Carolina, are considering instituting stricter loyalty oaths, oaths that would require the candidate to swear he/she would not run as a third party candidate. Running scared thanks to Trump’s “leverage” (or blackmail), I’d say.

  297. blf says

    Walker and Rubio roll out foreign policy with tough talk on Isis and China:

    Walker scheduled to say ‘the retreat is over’ in confronting Isis as Rubio pens an op-ed preaching military, economic and moral superiority as the path to peace

    The Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker says the US under his leadership would aggressively confront “evil” and “radical Islamic terrorism”.

    “Evil” is not a thing, so confronting it is rather easy, if you like to watch Klowns Klimbing out of the Kar and running about the place to the sounds of Yakety Sax. On the other hand, he could mean terminating the oil industry’s subsidies, but somehow I doubt it.

    “I have been tested like no other candidate in this race,” he said. He has cited his record of standing up to unions and winning three statewide elections in four years, including one recall election in a very competitive state.

    As a governor, Walker does not have any active role in American foreign policy or have security clearance to get briefings from military leaders or US intelligence operations. Walker has no military service record. He has conducted foreign trade missions as governor, including a 2013 trip to China where he met with President Xi Jinping.

    Walker called earlier this week for Obama to cancel Xi’s upcoming state visit to the United States. Walker says the US should punish China for alleged currency manipulation and human rights abuses.

    Asked earlier this week how a Walker administration would resolve disagreements with the Chinese government without face-to-face meetings, the governor offered no specifics.

    In other words, Faux & Kochroache Bros., Unlimited haven’t told him what to say or do.

  298. says

    This is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, so we’re seeing lots of historical coverage of the storm, stories about progress toward recovery, and coverage of President Obama’s visit to New Orleans, etc.

    For the most part, we’re not seeing in-depth coverage of one side of the corruption that contributed to the damages and that ripped people off during the recovery. A report from American Bridge Project is an exception. It nails the Koch brothers.

    The report looks at:

    The Kochs’ destruction of the wetlands that compounded Katrina’s harmful effects.

    The federal class-action lawsuit against Koch Pipeline Co.

    Charges that Koch subsidiaries including Flint Hills and Georgia-Pacific used Katrina’s aftermath as an opportunity to expand profits.

    The Koch brothers’ opposition to and lobbying efforts against the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in 2014.

    The Koch brothers played a major role in destroying one million acres of marshlands, and in damaging millions more. The damaged marshlands are still in the process of dying.

    The Koch brothers worked to drive longtime residents out of flood-prone areas through their influence with insurers. They made flood insurance unaffordable. They opposed legislation to reform the flood insurance industry.

  299. blf says

    Climate change legislation approaches pivotal showdown with oil industry:

    California Democrats’ push to curb emissions and promote clean energy would alter how the state does business and change the way residents live

    With only a few days left in the current session of the California legislature, an aggressive political and public relations fight between the oil industry and top lawmakers over climate change legislation is moving into a final round.

    At stake is the passage of far-reaching environmental bills that would fundamentally alter the way the state does business and deals with planet-warming pollution — but would likely also change the way everyday Californians travel, live and consume.

    The proposed laws represent a Democratic push to curb emissions and promote clean energy that specifically targets “mobile” pollution from cars and other gas-burning vehicles.

    Petroleum companies are warning that the lack of specific plans in the policies could lead to gas rationing, surcharges on minivans and trucks, and even government-imposed fines on driving habits, monitored via a vehicle’s onboard computer — big brother in the passenger seat.

    Democratic leaders are calling these warnings “doomsday scenarios” that won’t happen.

    One of the two main bills, SB 350, calls for a 50% reduction in petroleum use by vehicles by 2030, the equivalent of removing 36m cars and trucks from the road.

    It also calls for 50% of the state’s electricity supply to be derived from renewable resources by that date, and 50% better energy efficiency in buildings through retrofits and upgrades.

    The other bill is a cap-and-trade measure.

    Teh Dump Dead Dinosaurs in Da air nutters are apparently whining that because SB 350 does not say precisely how to accomplish the above, the UN’s Black Helicopters will, well, do something. Bomb the state with peas, probably.

  300. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I just encountered this headline, at The Slot (sorrrrry, no linky from me):

    Sarah Palin Pretends to Consider Being Donald Trump’s Vice President

    Needless to say, I am not surprised, nor appalled. *mic drop*

  301. says

    blf @342, the Republican doomsday predictions are just so … predictable.

    In other news, Ben Carson said some stupid stuff:

    […] At a campaign event on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock, the candidate took a shot at leaders who “are always trying to stir up trouble” by driving “wedges” between people.

    “They tell you that there’s a war on women,” he said. “There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.” […]

    First of all, what the fuck? Secondly, a war on what is inside women is a war on women.

    Ben Carson went on to say more stupid stuff:

    […] “If I was trying to destroy this nation and I was in charge, let me tell you what I would do,” he opined. “I would drive wedges between the people. I would have a war on women and race wars and income wars and age wars and religious wars.”

    “I would be inviting people in here from other countries, I would be putting them on benefits, I’d be giving them free phones,” Carson continued. “I would be trying to get people involved in every social program that I possibly could so that I could destabilize the financial structure of the country. I would be trying to weaken the military and demoralize the military while our enemies were growing stronger and strong all over the world.” […]

    Raw Story link
    Ben Carson is running second in many polls, behind Trump.

  302. says

    slithey tove @343, Sarah Palin is perfect for Donald Trump.

    In other news, Donald Trump attracts more supporters that are racist and bonkers, but racist and bonkers in ways that are different from his white supremacist supporters. Yes, it’s the Sharia Law conspiracy group. [emphasis added]

    A think tank founded by a notorious anti-Muslim activist is planning to co-sponsor an upcoming rally against the Iran deal headlined by Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump.

    […]Tea Party Patriots, the Center for Security Policy and the far-right Zionist Organization of America were expected to sponsor the rally, which is scheduled for Sept. 9 on Capitol Hill, according to The Washington Post.

    The Center for Security Policy is an anti-Muslim think tank founded by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, who often speaks about the threat of creeping Sharia law and has accused Republican and Democratic officials alike of being Muslim Brotherhood plants in the U.S. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/frank-gaffney-cruz-trump-iran-rally

  303. says

    As you all know by now, Donald Trump has referred to “the best legal minds,” or “top legal scholars,” or “very good lawyers” to back up his claim that birthright citizenship is not what the 14th Amendment intended to establish. Who are these top legal scholars?

    […] Enter John Eastman and Lino Graglia, two conservative constitutional scholars offering the Republican candidates a third option: an alternative history of the 14th Amendment. In their telling, the amendment was never intended to grant citizenship to the children of undocumented people. In other words, Trump and those who agree with him are not calling to repeal the 14th Amendment. They are calling to restore it. […]

    A central tenet of Eastman and Graglia’s case hinges on the language of the 14th Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” The common understanding of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was that it was a narrow carve-out for the children of diplomats, enemy combatants on US soil, and American Indian tribes. But according to Eastman, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means that in addition to being born in the United States, a child must have at least one parent who owes allegiance to the US government by being a permanent legal resident­.

    To back up this claim, Eastman and Graglia point to the congressional record in the 1860s, when the 14th Amendment was debated, particularly the discussion of whether members of Indian tribes were included. (Congress gave American Indians birthright citizenship by statute in 1924.) But that ignores what many legal scholars believe is a clear record indicating the opposite. For instance, when one senator asked during the writing of the Citizenship Clause whether “it will not have the effect of naturalizing the children of the Chinese and Gypsies born in this country,” the response from a supporter of the clause was, “Undoubtedly.” […]

    Ted Cruz is neck deep in the Trump sewer and he also backs those “serious legal scholars,” although in 2011 he said those arguments were “not very good.” Now Cruz is on board to end birthright citizenship based on those same not-very-good arguments.

    And … it gets worse. House Republicans invited Eastman and Graglia to testify in April. The two made quite an impression on the doofuses in the House of Congress.

    In April, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security held its first hearing in 10 years on birthright citizenship, where Eastman and Graglia explained their interpretation of the 14th Amendment. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), declared that the question of whether the crafters of the amendment intended to include the children of unauthorized immigrants is “far from settled,” and that “in any event, we must still determine if it is the right policy for America today.”

    Mother Jones link

  304. blf says

    I cannot recall right now what I was reading at the time, but it finally “pinged” on me who teh trump-prat reminds me of, even more so than the john brich-ers: lyndon larouche. Both were supposedly leftish in earlier days, both then became far-right fanatics with many absurd beliefs (often(?) self- and/or mutually-contradictory), both have oblivious supplicants, both are considered jokes who couldn’t see reality with a telescope, both lie persistently but the lies are not self-/mutally-consistent, both are bigots with multiple xenophobias, and on and on…

  305. says

    Let’s take a closer look at Graglia and Eastman, the two “top legal scholars” that Republicans are using to make the argument that the USA should put an end to birthright citizenship.

    Eastman is also the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). You remember NOM, that virulent bastion of no-same-sex-marriage-ever! NOM equates homosexuality with “barbarism.”

    Gaglia opposes affirmative action and busing programs. In 1997, he said black and Hispanic students “are not academically competitive with whites.”

    Doofuses unite behind a thin veil of legal chicanery, thinking that their racist attitudes are hidden.

  306. says

    Regarding Ben Carson-
    I find his views on abortion to have an extra layer of odiousness. He treats women as non-entities. To him, abortion is a thing that other people (men) do to women. Abortion is not a procedure that women seek to have for reasons of their own. They aren’t agents who are making decisions about their bodies. It’s like they’re nothing more than walking incubators going about their day and WHAMMO! an abortion drops from the sky and hits them. The fact that he refuses to see the agency of women who choose to have abortions is just disgustingly misogynistic IMO.

  307. says

    Writing in The Washington Post, David Ignatius makes a case for the fact that the brouhaha over Hillary Clinton’s emails is overblown.

    Does Hillary Clinton have a serious legal problem because she may have transmitted classified information on her private e-mail server? After talking with a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers, I think this “scandal” is overstated. Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it’s not something a prosecutor would take to court.

    “It’s common” that people end up using unclassified systems to transmit classified information, said Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel who’s now a partner at Arnold & Porter, where he often represents defendants suspected of misusing classified information. […]

    “It’s common knowledge that the classified communications system is impossible and isn’t used,” said one former high-level Justice Department official. Several former prosecutors said flatly that such sloppy, unauthorized practices, although technically violations of law, wouldn’t normally lead to criminal cases. […]

    experts say, there’s no legal difference whether Clinton and her aides passed sensitive information using her private server or the official “state.gov” account that many now argue should have been used. Neither system is authorized for transmitting classified information. Second, prosecution of such violations is extremely rare. Lax security procedures are taken seriously, but they’re generally seen as administrative matters. […]

  308. says

    Here’s yet another explanation for Trump’s high poll numbers, and for his popularity with the ragged edge of rightwing bonkerdom.

    Unlike cable news, conservative talk radio speaks directly to the disaffected conservative base fueling Trump’s rise. Rush Limbaugh’s is still the most-listened-to talk radio program in the country, pulling in 13 and a quarter million weekly listeners, […]

    (Limbaugh himself has estimated it in the past at 20 million). […] Sean Hannity in second, with 12.5 million. Mark Levin ties with Glenn Beck […] for fourth, with 7 million. Savage has more than 5 million […]

    And if you’re someone who listens to a lot of talk radio, you can go from Ingraham to Limbaugh to Hannity or Savage to Levin in a day and hear nary a word of displeasure with Trump. […]

    Though many hosts have avoided a formal endorsement, they’ve heaped praise on the candidate and signaled to their listeners that Trump is their guy.

    BuzzFeed link

  309. says

    Ah, Texas. Thank you for always providing us with fresh examples of the criminality and venality of your rightwing officials. This time it is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who has been booked for his crimes.

    […] Encouraging public employees to disobey a binding Supreme Court decision [to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples] isn’t really what attorneys general are supposed to do. But it turns out Ken Paxton is no ordinary attorney general.[…]

    Paxton was indicted on felony security fraud charges. According to the indictment, Paxton told friends to buy shares in Servergy, pitching it as a groovy company he was psyched to invest in. But as it turns out, Paxton wasn’t acting out of the goodness of his heart: He was allegedly making secret commissions on the transactions he secured. (Paxton had already admitted to acting as a securities broker without registering with the state, paying a $1,000 fine for the misdeed.) […]

    In the middle of all this, Paxton is still contending with those pesky gays. On July 7, a federal judge ordered the Texas Department of State Health Services to modify the death certificate of a James Stone-Hoskins, a gay man who was married in New Mexico but died in Texas pre-Obergefell. The certificate, the judge held, should list Stone-Hoskins as married—since he was—and name his surviving spouse. But Paxton directed the department to disobey the court order and continue to consider Stone-Hoskins unmarried. […]

    Link

    The booking photo of Ken Paxton sneering/smiling is classic.

  310. says

    Ann Coulter said some more stupid stuff.

    […] Coulter told Conway [Simon Conway, radio host] that she understands “why the Democratic Party wants to transform America into a third-world hellhole” through immigration reform, because Latinos “have been trained to memorize the symbol of the Democratic Party and will go and bloc vote for the Democrats,” but that she was baffled by “why the Republicans are going along with it.”

    The answer, she said, was because of pressure from all their big corporate donors who do not care about America” or “American culture.” But thankfully, she said, “Trump is exposing them all.”

    “We finally have someone who genuinely loves America and is not beholden to the donors,” she said. “He will be beholden to no one but regular Americans when he, well I hope, when he becomes president.”

    Right Wing Watch link

    Might be just me, but Coulter seems to be revealing a more disordered mind than she has before. She’s has always been off-the-reality-track, but that bit about training Latinos to recognize the symbol of the Democratic Party, is just way off. Then there’s the reality-based problem: undocumented immigrants can’t vote.

  311. says

    Ted Cruz is pandering to the evangelical rightwing harder than ever, and he is now acting on his own pandering propaganda.

    […] Cruz has really stepped up his efforts to become the Religious Right’s candidate of choice in the GOP primary, even partnering with radical Christian nationalist David Lane for a conference call earlier this week seeking to mobilize right-wing pastors to pressure Congress to shut down the government, if necessary, in the effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

    Cruz is continuing this effort by sending out an email today via David Barton’s WallBuilders network urging pastors to use their sermons this weekend to preach against Planned Parenthood and even providing a link to a sample sermon for them to use.

    Provided by Lane’s American Renewal Project, the sermon warns that God will harshly judge America for the sin of legal abortion and explicitly calls upon those in the congregation to contact their representatives in Congress to demand an end to any funding for Planned Parenthood […]

    Link

    The mind boggling sermon is reproduced at the link. It should come with a neuron-frying warning. Here’s an excerpt:

    Proverbs provides clear insight into God’s character. He has a personal hatred for seven things. God judges them to be so odious that they are an abomination to Him. His character will never allow His hatred of an abomination to evolve into a toleration of it. His children should be resolved to reflect His character, not to redefine it. […]

    Recent videos exposing [sic] the gruesome practice of Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of the organs of babies from their mother’s womb. Exposing evil to the light of day has brought waves of sorrow to millions of tenderhearted people. […] Repentance requires a stopping point and a turning point. Without both there is no Spiritual Awakening on a personal or a national level.

    There must be a point in which the accumulative error of an evil decision thrust upon the nation by secularist jurists stops. […]

  312. says

    Donald Trump has joined the fight to end the “War on Christmas.”

    “They don’t want to use the word Christmas anymore at department stores,” he said. “There’s always lawsuits and unfortunately a lot of those lawsuits are won by the other side. I will assault that. I will go so strongly against so many of the things, when they take away the word ‘Christmas.’ I go out of my way to use the word ‘Christmas.’ Some people say to me, some people do this very professionally, ‘Oh don’t mention the word Christmas.’ I said, ‘Like Hell I’m not going to mention it.’ I mention Christmas before I even start speaking. There’s a great assault on Christianity in so many ways.”

    Then Trump moved on to the actual persecution of Christians under ISIS, before then falsely claiming that the U.S. refuses to accept Christian refugees. […]

    Link

  313. says

    Oh, joy. Sarah Palin is going to interview Donald Trump tonight:

    WTH, LAMESTREAM MEDIA! STAY OUT OF MY BIBLE

    WTH? Lamestream media asks GOP personal, spiritual “gotchas” that they’d NEVER ask Hillary, or they’d feed the question to her and/or liberal cohorts before they asked it on-air (we know how these things work, lapdog media… the public’s on to you), so good on Trump for screwing with the reporter. By the way, even with my reading scripture everyday I wouldn’t want to answer the guy’s question either… it’s none of his business; it IS personal; what the heck does it have to do with serving as commander-in-chief; and these reporters trying to trip up conservatives can go pound sand until they ask the same things of their favored liberal pals.

    I’ll cover this in my interview with Donald Trump and other candidates tonight on the One America News Network show “On Point.” The more the media does this, the more they empower America to reject them and their bias as voters run to the anti-status quo candidates daring to Go Rogue.

    https://www.facebook.com/OneAmericaNewsNetwork

  314. blf says

    Digging into big coal’s climate connections:

    The bankruptcy filings of a Virginia coal firm have shone a rare light on a murky web of corporate attacks on climate science.

    Have you heard about the group that has abused open records laws to harass climate scientists across the United States? The organization behind North Carolina’s ban on using sea level science to inform coastal planning? The institution attacking renewable energy targets?

    These are all activities of the innocuous-sounding Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal). Now, thanks to a scoop by Lee Fang at The Intercept, we now know where some of their money comes from.

    It’s the coal industry.

    [… T]he bankruptcy filings of Alpha Natural Resources, a large Virginia-based coal company, provide a rare window into the list of political and advocacy organizations the company has funded. E&E Legal (formerly known as the American Tradition Institute) is one of them. Other recipients include the Heartland Institute, which compared climate scientists to the Unabomber, the American Legislative Exchange Council and numerous others.

    […] Fang zeroes in on attorney Chris Horner, who is connected to E&E Legal and a number of other organizations that have sought to undermine public understanding of climate science. According to the filing, Alpha provided money not only to groups with ties to Horner, but also to Horner personally.

    One of the tactics embraced by Alpha-funded groups, individuals, and politicians is the harassment of scientists. In 2010, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli used an obscure health care fraud law to subpoena emails, draft research papers, handwritten notes and other documents from the University of Virginia related to the work of climate scientist Michael Mann. Even some climate sceptics described this move as a witch hunt. [… T]he Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruling that Cuccinelli had overstepped his authority.

    When it became clear that Cuccinelli was losing in court, E&E Legal requested the exact same documents, word for word, under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. When the university resisted, this case also went to the Virginia Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the university could prevent the disclosure of documents that would harm the research process.

    E&E Legal has since filed open records requests with universities in Arizona […], Texas and Illinois. Yet while they lose repeatedly, in one way they are successful: they confuse the public debate, and force universities and scientists to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves. […]

  315. says

    blff @360, the harassment of scientists is deplorable. Glad to see the details of this harassment covered. Ken Cuccinelli is unethical.

    In other news, Evan Osnos has written about Donald Trump again. Osnos is the guy who wrote the most thorough article about Trump’s white supremacist supporters. Now Osnos is covering Trump’s obsession with Asians. Excerpt below:

    […] Trump’s fear of Asians taking advantage of Americans, though not as well known as his suspicion of Mexican criminals, has a long history.

    In 1987, he ran an ad in three newspapers, calling for “a little backbone” in U.S. foreign policy. “For decades,” it said, “Japan and other nations have been taking advantage of the United States.… Let’s not let our great country be laughed at anymore.”

    An aide at the time, John R. O’Donnell, later wrote that the ad was “tailored to blue-collar resentments over the trade deficit and to rally Middle America against the machinations, real or supposed, of our foreign allies.”

    In 2012, Trump updated his view of Asians with a comment about his belief that climate change is a hoax. He tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

    Trump’s range as a performer is often described as vaudevillian, and that description should be applied to his world view as well. He often appears to be reënacting conversations about other countries that took place a century or two ago.

    When he talks about Mexico “sending people that have lots of problems,” including drugs, crime, and “rapists,” he echoes Francis Walker, the administrator of the 1870 and 1880 censuses, who described new arrivals as “beaten men from beaten races, representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence.” Or Senator Pat McCarran, the Nevada Democrat, who told his colleagues in 1953 that they must be wary of “hardcore, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies.” McCarran warned, “Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission, and those gates are cracking under the strain.” The quota system that he favored remained in place until 1965. […]

  316. Saad says

    I’m getting a mild headache trying to wrap my head around this woman’s thinking.

    Kentucky’s Rowan County clerk and resilient bigot Kim Davis wants the Supreme Court itself to give her permission to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Two months after it legalized gay marriage nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked by a Kentucky county clerk for permission to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons. The Supreme Court says the constitution guarantees gay people have the right to marry, but Davis contends the First Amendment guarantees her the right of religious freedom.

    She stopped issuing all marriage licenses the day after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide in June.

    Two gay couples and two straight couples sued Davis, arguing she must fulfill her duties as an elected official. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the licenses and an appeals court upheld that decision. Davis’ lawyers said they petitioned the Supreme Court on Friday to delay that decision until her appeal is finished, a process that could take months.

    Her attorneys with the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel wrote in their appeal to the court that Davis is seeking “asylum for her conscience.”

    [. . .]

    Davis has said she will not resign her $80,000-a-year job and will never issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court denies her request.

    “If a (same-sex marriage) license is issued with Davis’ name, authorization and approval, no one can unring that bell,” she wrote the court. “That searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience.”

    Her attorney, Jonathan D. Christman, wrote that forcing her to issue licenses is akin to forcing a person who objects to war into the battlefield, or forcing a person against capital punishment to carry out an execution.

    LOL @ her attorney’s analogy. Bigots + attempt at analogies = guaranteed comedy.

  317. opus says

    I have been wondering for a while if the Republican party will disintegrate over this election cycle. Here is a piece supporting that view, from one of the leading right-wingers:

    http://www.redstate.com/2015/08/28/republican-party-r-i-p-1854-2016/?

    “The repeated betrayals of Republican leaders have led to the rise of Donald Trump. The petulance of the party’s congressional leaders who have spent more energy fighting conservative attempts to hold them to their word than fighting Barack Obama now have to fight to wrest control from Trump. Trump, at least presently, is immune from establishment attacks because the party leaders have lost all their credibility. A party that will not stand up to stop tax payer funds going to an organization that pulls whole children out of freezers to sell as scrap is not a party with the moral clarity to tell Donald Trump he is fired.”

    Of course Erickson is still spreading the right’s organic fertilizer. He talks about ‘unedited’ tapes of Planned Parenthood and the Republican failure to use constitutional powers to stop Obamacare, as if the dozens of votes to repeal it didn’t exist.

  318. blf says

    The Grauniad’s report on the putridnimwit–trum-prat “interview”, Sarah Palin showers Donald Trump with adoration in ‘interview of the year’:

    Palin overwhelmed the Republican frontrunner, who has considered her for his team, with praise: ‘Everything about Donald Trump’s campaign is … avant garde’

    It sounded like a match made in Tea Party heaven and did not disappoint. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump teamed up for a celestial voyage to the solar system where Trump is beloved, Trump is right, and Trump will win.

    Palin, moonlighting as a guest host on the One America News Network, promised their encounter on Friday night would be the “interview of the year”. In a strange way it was compelling.

    Nothing substantial happened but here was Trump subject to gushing adoration, a heroic leader invited to share his wisdom and courage, leaving him unchallenged — and unmoored. The fantasies took flight.

    “I’ve said it since the day he made the sacrifice to hit the campaign trail: voters crave the anti-status quo politician,” said Palin […] in her introduction, seated alone in a studio that could have been the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

    The Grauniad is just warming up. You ain’t read snarky yet…

    “They want results. They need someone to fire all the politically correct police. This is a movement.” It was a movement so radical, so inspiring, it moved Palin to speak French. “Everything about Donald Trump’s campaign is (…) avant garde.”

    […]

    Trump appeared via video feed from New York, a plush shopping mall in the background, with his daughter Ivanka’s store over his shoulder in some nifty product placement.
    [Advertisement on The Grauniad‘s site]

    How perfectly-placed can you place an ad…?

    How is the US economy affecting the less fortunate, asked Palin, because: “I know that’s where your heart is (…) in this working class.”

    The billionaire famous for firing people nodded.

    […]

    That day’s headlines complicated things: the Commerce Department revised economic growth in the second quarter to a robust annual clip of 3.7% and the Labor Department reported another drop in weekly unemployment claims.

    Palin was not fooled.

    “I don’t think we’re getting the true state of the economy out of the White House,” she said. “So thanks for setting that straight.”

    “Yeah,” said Trump. “The White House is not truthful.”

    […]

    Palin asked about misrepresentation by “idiots in the press” and his showdown this week with the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who was briefly expelled from a press conference for challenging Trump over his vow to deport 11 million undocumented people.

    “You schooled that radical activist and it was the right thing to do because I don’t think he’s going to pull that again,” said Palin, apparently unaware of Ramos’s rottweiler tendency. “Where do you get your guts for that kind of necessary confrontation?”

    Trump seemed so abashed by such sycophancy he paused […]

    Ramos, said Trump, recovering, was a screaming, ranting raver. And for once the media sided with virtue, he said.

    “The press were pretty good to me on that,” he said. “They agreed with what I did.”

    Plenty did not, in fact, agree with the treatment of the Latino Walter Cronkite. But Palin moved on to the journalists who quizzed Trump about his favourite Bible verse, calling it “gotcha” journalism designed to catch conservatives off guard.

    “I love the Bible,” said the real-estate mogul. “My first favourite book by far is the Bible.” His favourite verse was a personal matter which he preferred to keep to himself, however.

    […]

    One America News Network: a love fest boldly going where no network has gone before. The faithful were doubtless transported. Those marooned on Earth could only gape.

    Some of comments continue the snark. An example:

    Trump will be great for the economy. Trump will be great for women. We all know he cherishes women. He will great for Hispanics and is sure to get their vote. He says they have great spirit -the handful that aren’t rapists, gangsters or thugs. He will build the greatest wall, greater than the Great Wall of China. And above all, he has great (Presidential) hair. Simply put, he will make America great again.

    Another:

    Yes! The GOP ‘Dream Team’! If they form a Trump/Palin ticket for 2016, I’m changing my registration to Republican so I can vote for them in the Primary election…

    Then I’ll vote for Bernie Sanders!

    A reply: “If they form a Trump/Palin ticket for 2016… That should move the doomsday clock at least 30 seconds closer to midnight.”
    (The doomsday clock is currently at 3 minutes to midnight.)

    (There are also comments from the deluded, which I will not excerpt to save the electrons the trauma of being misused, abused, and wasted (not to mention my forehead, desk, keyboard, remaining neutrons, and dislike of the pea)…)

  319. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    an organization that pulls whole children out of freezers to sell as scrap would be horrific, IFF one actually existed in reality as opposed to your fevered nightmares.

  320. blf says

    Oh for feck’s sake, West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror (my boldfacing):

    US military academy official William Bradford argues that attacks on scholars’ home offices and media outlets — along with Islamic holy sites — are legitimate

    An assistant professor in the law department of the US Military Academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants.

    In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

    Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” — all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

    […]

    Bradford’s article, “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column”, appeared in the most recent issue of the National Security Law Journal, a student-run publication at the George Mason School of Law. Bradford clarifies that the term means “treason of the professors”, itself an allusion to a famous attack on French intellectuals from the 1920s.

    […]

    The National Security Law Journal’s editor-in-chief has called the article’s publication a “mistake” and an “egregious breach of professional decorum”.

    “We cannot ‘unpublish’ it, of course, but we can and do acknowledge that the article was not presentable for publication when we published it, and that we therefore repudiate it with sincere apologies to our readers,” the editor-in-chief, Rick Myers, wrote on the journal’s website.

    […]

    Bradford derisively quotes Barack Obama, who has prosecuted a globalized war against al-Qaida and now the Islamic State, discussing “co-existence and cooperation” with the Islamic world in his 2009 Cairo speech.

    The West Point faculty member urges the US to wage “total war” on “Islamism”, using “conventional and nuclear force[…]”, in order to “leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated”. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”.

    At this point I am too sick to read the article any further. Here we have an exceptionally extreme nutter advocating nuclear war against people different from him simply because he “thinks” they are different from him.

    (The elucidated parts in the above excerpts refer to, among other things, a history of this fascist USApproved Military “Professor” misrepresenting his credentials, and West Point trying to dissociate itself from the National Security Law Journal article.)

  321. blf says

    New Mexico attorney general charges secretary of state with embezzlement:

     ● Democrat Hector Balderas takes action against Republican Dianna Duran
     ● Secretary of state accused of funneling campaign funds into personal accounts

    New Mexico’s Democratic attorney general on Friday charged Republican secretary of state Dianna Duran with embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations, further widening a rift between the two over enforcement of the state’s laws governing campaigns.

    Attorney general Hector Balderas’ office filed the 64-count complaint late on Friday in state district court in Santa Fe. […]

    In addition to the numerous felony and misdemeanour embezzlement and money laundering charges, Duran also faces counts of tampering with public records, conspiracy and violating the state’s Governmental Conduct Act.

    Duran is apparently the first thug to hold the position in decades. However, the agency(?) Duran now heads was quite renown for corruption / scandals. I am therefore more-than-the-usual-extremely suspicious of both politicianslawyers, and would not be too surprised if this is really a fight over whether the thugs or the dummies get to retain the bribes.

  322. says

    blf @367, many thanks for excerpting that coverage of Palin interviewing Trump. Vaudeville. Sheesh. The Guardian is right to point and laugh. Leaders of other countries will also, unfortunately, be pointing and laughing. It’s an embarrassment.

    I think The Guardian could have aimed even more snark at the Trumpian answer to the “gotcha” questions about the bible.

    […] “You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal.” Asked to cite a verse from the Bible he simply likes, the Republican responded, “No, I don’t want to do that.”

    When John Heilemann asked if he preferred the Old Testament or the New Testament, Trump responded, in all seriousness, “Uh, probably [long pause] equal. I think it’s just an incredible, the whole Bible is an incredible, I joke, very much so, they always hold up The Art of the Deal, I say it’s my second favorite book of all time. But, uh, I just think the Bible is just something very special.”

    Watching the video, it’s hard not to get the impression that Trump almost certainly hasn’t read the Bible; he probably doesn’t have a favorite verse; and the GOP White House hopeful has no idea what the differences are between the Old and New Testaments.

    I’ve seen some suggestions this week that the questions might have been inappropriate, since it’s arguably unfair to press candidates for public office on personal matters of faith. But in this case, Trump has personally boasted, several times, about his great affection for the Bible. Given his posturing, there’s nothing wrong with an interviewer probing the details of an issue the candidate himself has repeatedly emphasized. […]

    It’s hard to know whether anyone will take such rhetoric seriously, but voters should expect to hear more of it — the Trump campaign announced this week that he’s arranged a September meeting with a group of evangelical leaders “to hear the heart of America’s Christian leaders and learn what they feel are the most critical issues facing our nation today.” […]

    The quote above is from Steve Benen’s take on The Maddow Blog.

  323. says

    Blatant disregard for the separation of church and state in Arkansas:

    Legislators in Arkansas voted earlier this year to erect the Ten Commandments at the state capitol in Little Rock. […] other faiths shouldn’t assume they’ll get the same treatment.

    Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, offered to give the state a statue of Lord Hanuman, a popular Hindu deity often described as a monkey god. The group would have covered all of the costs to create, transport and erect the statue.

    […] State officials were quick to deny the request. […]

    Although the Ten Commandments are found in the Old Testament, their public display at the seat of government is almost always championed these days by fundamentalist Christians. Their goal seems to be to imply that U.S. law has religious underpinnings. […]

    It also runs afoul of the First Amendment.[…] The court ruled [in previous cases] that the displays had the effect of endorsing religion.

    So, government officials can display the Ten Commandments – if they’re willing to allow other types of markers and symbols in the area. […]

    Obviously Americans United would prefer that there be no sectarian symbols and religious codes on government property. But if legislators insist on allowing them, they need to acknowledge diversity and not extend special treatment to the Ten Commandments because they believe (incorrectly) that it is the font of all U.S. law.

    In this particular case, it would be helpful for the people of Arkansas to learn that there are more religions and philosophies out there […]

    Link

  324. says

    The Republican war on women extends to their efforts to cut social security:

    In national politics, the war on women isn’t always about denying women the right to choose to end a pregnancy or to have health insurance pay for contraception. […]

    So is Social Security another front in the politicians’ affronts to the lives of American women? “Absolutely,” says Nancy Altman, co-founder of the advocacy organization Social Security Works and co-author of a book with the same name. “Attacks on the program are attacks on everyone, but they are especially attacks on women.” […]

    From the time an American can first claim eligibility at age 62, the majority of those receiving a Social Security check in retirement are female—56 percent to start off, to be specific. But because women outlive men, that discrepancy grows only larger with time. By age 85, about two-thirds of the recipients are women.

    Moreover, women—who earn less than men and take more pauses from the workforce (due in part to their assumption of caretaking duties for everyone from children to elderly relatives)—are more dependent on Social Security for their economic well-being in their final years than their male peers are. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 30 percent of women 65 or older rely on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income. Men? Only 23 percent are so reliant. And women’s checks are smaller, too. The average retired female worker receives more than $300 less a month from Social Security than a male one.

    Democratic Party candidates for president recognize this part of the Republican war on women. O’Malley proposed that we give work credits for caregiving. Hillary Clinton said that she is looking into the issue. She wants to strengthen and expand Social Security, as does Bernie Sanders.

    Republicans are all about keeping women, especially elderly women, living below the poverty line.

    Related links:
    Slate, the excerpt above is from the Slate article, which also notes that the wealthiest Americans are the least likely to support Social Security.

    National Women’s Law Center

    Social Security website, benefits paid by type of beneficiary.

  325. Pteryxx says

    Speaking of blatant disregard for separation of church and state: Ted Cruz instructs thousands of pastors to violate federal law by reading Sunday sermon he wrote

    According to Ring of Fire, the Cruz sermon was sent to thousands of pastors urging them to read it during Sunday’s services despite the fact that it against the law for churches to engage in political speech.

    Calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, Cruz writes, “When an individual or a nation stiff arms the character of God and embraces an abomination as the law of the land, it ends in disaster. When rebellious people disregard the compass of the most powerful, it is a very short step to dismembering the bodies of the most vulnerable. Like other nations, America has taken that step. It is time for a turnaround.”

    That’s tomorrow. I fully expect to see some local bible belt churches change their signs.

  326. says

    Yet another way in which Republicans are working hard to screw poor people: they plan take away or increase the cost of their healthcare. Yes, they have voted more than 40 times to repeal Obamacare, but beyond that, they have come up with plans to replace Obamacare, and those plans all screw poor and low-income people.

    Republicans have also nurtured court battles designed to weaken Obamacare, and now they have come up with a new one.

    […] Last November, House Republicans filed a lawsuit arguing that the White House had broken the law by giving insurance companies money that Congress hadn’t authorized.

    The problem for the lawsuit was that Congress has to prove it suffered damage from the White House’s actions. As Andrew Prokop wrote, “The vast majority of lawsuits brought by members of Congress against the president on policy issues have been dismissed for lack of standing.”

    But as David Savage reports for the Los Angeles Times, a Supreme Court decision this spring could strengthen these legislators’ arguments:

    In late June, the high court gave the House lawsuit an apparent boost when it ruled the Arizona Legislature had standing to sue in federal court to defend its power to draw election districts. Although the Arizona lawmakers lost their case, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the Legislature could sue because it was an “institutional plaintiff asserting an institutional injury.”

    That is exactly what House Republicans claim in their lawsuit. They say they are defending their institutional authority to appropriate money.

    The Obamacare lawsuit is still a far ways from the Supreme Court. It’s currently sitting with the federal district court in Washington, DC, which Savage expects to decide soon whether it will dismiss the case. And even if that court finds that Congress has standing, it would still need to rule on the merits of the case — whether the Obama administration has broken any laws.

    But if it does, the decision would have sweeping implications, significantly reshape the relationship between the executive and legislature — and strike a significant blow to the exact type of people Obamacare was meant to help. […]

    The Vox article goes on to explain the Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies.

  327. says

    Pteryxx @374, thanks for that note. The point that Cruz is encouraging church pastors to promote political campaigns/issues from the pulpit is bad news.

    In more Republican religious news, Trump’s big push to lay claims to church attendance and to heaps o’ love for the Bible hit a snag. The church he claims to attend says Trump is “not an active member.”

    Marble Collegiate Church, a church in Manhattan which Trump has claimed he attends, told CNN that Trump is “not an active member.” […]

    [Trump] also said he was “Presbyterian Protestant.” The denomination of Marble Collegiate Church is a Reformed Church in America […]

    “Donald Trump has had a longstanding history with Marble Collegiate Church, where his parents were for years active members and one of his children was baptized. However, as he indicates, he is a Presbyterian, and is not an active member of Marble,” the church’s statement to CNN said.

  328. says

    More bad news—Republicans finding more ways to restrict reproductive health care for women:

    […] The current campaign against Planned Parenthood relies not only on the deceptively edited videos purporting to show wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood staff, but also on the dubious claim that women’s access to health care will not suffer because women can get health care at other clinics. In this mix are not only federally funded community health clinics, but also religiously affiliated networks of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and medical clinics whose business model is to intercept women seeking information about abortion and provide them with misleading or one-sided information intended to talk them out of it. Many of those clinics, purporting to “replace” the care that women receive from Planned Parenthood, do not provide contraception.

    Earlier this month, the conservative National Catholic Register asked, “Can National Pro-Life Health Centers Become the Cure for Planned Parenthood?” It was a reprise of an article from last year in which anti-choice activist Abby Johnson explained that upgrading crisis pregnancy centers into medical clinics was a strategic way to hurt Planned Parenthood by taking away some of the business it does in providing testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings. […]

    Among the groups that […] are “working heroically to replace Planned Parenthood” are Obria Medical Clinics and the Guiding Star project. Obria Medical Clinics offer what the National Catholic Register calls “comprehensive medical care,” but that depends on your definition of “comprehensive.” The article states, “The affiliate agreement stipulates no contraception or abortion referral or things of that nature will be allowed.” […]

    Link

    Yes, that’s right, the anti-Planned-Parenthood movement is also sneakily trying to make it much more difficult for women to access contraception. Anti-contraception propaganda has always been around, but lately it has been significantly ramped up.

  329. says

    This is a followup to comment 377:

    Some of these anti-contraception doofuses even have the gall to label their plans “New Feminism.”

    […] Guiding Star’s website explains that “New Feminism” discards the bad idea of “old feminism” that men and women are “interchangeable”— and replaces it by “viewing femininity through a lens of hope and joy.” They are working to establish “a nationwide family of Guiding Star Centers” that they say will “provide support for natural means of family planning, fertility care, childbirth, breastfeeding, and family life.” One thing Guiding Star clinics will not do is provide women with contraception, because Guiding Star believes that contraception and abortion “interrupt natural, healthy, biological processes and are not in the best interest of women and their families.” -[…]

    http://theguidingstarproject.com/faq-3/#newfeminism

  330. says

    Another followup to comment 377:

    Heartbeat International has a video online specifically saying that if Planned Parenthood is defunded, women can get care through “life-affirming” centers and clinics. […] Heartbeat International’s position on contraception goes well beyond opposition to methods that it believes act as abortifacients […]

    “Heartbeat International does not promote birth control (devices or medications) for family planning, population control, or health issues, including disease prevention.”

    Among the standards that clinics are required to adhere to in order to join the 1,100+ affiliates of the evangelical Care Net is this one:

    “The pregnancy center does not recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives. (Married women seeking contraceptive information should be urged to seek counsel, along with their husbands, from their pastor and/or physician.)”

    That makes it clear that one goal of those creating and funding these clinics is restricting women’s sexual autonomy. […] Adds Abby Johnson, a board member of the Guiding Star Project, “One of the really important things about pro-life medical centers is they can help women change their behavior.”

  331. says

    Bill Maher interviewed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Maher nailed Santorum fairly well on the issue of climate change.
    Link
    Scroll down for video.

    […] On the subject of anthropogenic climate change, for example, Santorum quoted a study in which 57 percent of 1,800 scientists allegedly claimed that human activity isn’t responsible for fundamentally altering the world’s weather patterns.

    “I don’t know what ass you’re pulling that out of,” a bemused Maher replied. “But that is not — you know that is not true.”

    “I’ll send you the survery!” Santorum replied. He then proceeded to “debunk” the claim that 97 percent of scientists believe in anthropogenic climate change, saying that that number was “pulled out of thin air,” and that not even 97 scientists responded to the survey from which that conclusion was drawn. Because, of course, it didn’t occur to Santorum that sequentially claiming that a statistic was invented and following it with a complaint about the sample size used to derive is a good way to win an argument. […]

  332. says

    Chris Christie thinks we should handle immigrants like FedEx packages. We can put Christies stupid comments in the “out-trump Trump” category.

    Chris Christie, speaking at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Saturday, compared legal immigrants to FedEx packages, arguing they should be tracked continuously by the government. Christie even promised to bring in FedEx founder Fred Smith to set up the system.

    “At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane. Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them,” Christie said. […]

    Christie previously supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. When he started running for President, he reversed his position. His remarks today appear to be an effort to further toughen up his rhetoric on the issue.

    Think Progress link

  333. says

    Europeans are obsessed with Donald Trump

    […] On Thursday, France’s Libération newspaper devoted its entire front page to a photo of a snarling Donald, with an inch-high headline that read: “Donald Trump — The American Nightmare.”

    The Continent has its share of outrageous personalities on the political right of center: Britain’s Nigel Farage, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, France’s family Le Pen. But Trump fits many perceived European stereotypes of America: excess, vulgarity, ignorance, superficiality, love of wealth, to name a few.

    “Trump represents the America that we love to hate,” said Marie-Cécile Naves […] “He is our negative mirror image, a man we see as brutal, who worships money and lacks culture — someone who lets us feel a bit superior about being European.” […]

    In France, editorialist Alexandre Vatimbella called him a “provocative clown” whose brand of populism was dangerous for democracy, while Germany’s newspapers have reached a consensus around the label “Großmaul,” or loudmouth. […]

    One source of irate fascination is Trump’s bombastic, frequently insulting verbal style. While European politicians are not immune to controversial outbursts […] few compare with the ad hominem vehemence of Trump […]

    The left-leaning Tageszeitung newspaper described him as the “incarnation of the ugly American,” […]

  334. says

    Hillary Clinton responds to the Trump plan to deport more than 11 million people:

    Well, I’m glad you asked me that, because I know that there are some on the other side who are seriously advocating to deport 11, 12 million people who are working here.

    I find it the height of irony that a party, which espouses small government, would want to unleash a massive law enforcement effort – including, perhaps, National Guard and others – to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up, put them – I don’t know – in buses, boxcars, in order to take them across our border.

    I just find that – not only absurd, but appalling.

    And that’s why I support comprehensive immigration reform – I have for years. I supported it when I was in the Senate; I support it very strongly now. And it was a deep disappointment to me that when there was a bipartisan agreement voted on by the Senate to do just what we needed – a comprehensive immigration reform that included a – an earned path to citizenship – that the House would not even give it a vote.

    So I will – I will oppose, in every way I can, what I consider to be nothing but a political stunt; and will also raise questions, as I’m doing today, about what the realities of that kind of claim actually are.

  335. says

    When we see crowds of people supporting Donald Trump’s plan to deport all undocumented immigrants (and their children), are we really seeing a boisterous minority of Republicans and Tea Partiers?

    In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in May, a solid majority (72%) of Americans – including 80% of Democrats, 76% of independents and 56% of Republicans – say undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in this country legally if they meet certain requirements. […]
    Moreover, in a 2013 survey, 76% of Republicans said that deporting all immigrants in the U.S. illegally was “unrealistic.”

    The political divide on birthright citizenship is a little closer to even on the Republican/rightwing side:

    […] a majority of Americans (57%) in February 2011 said that the Constitution should remain as it is, allowing any child born in the U.S. full citizenship; 39% favored changing the Constitution to bar birthright citizenship.

    At that time, the idea of ending birthright citizenship drew broad opposition among Hispanics (73%), young people (73% of those under 30) and Democrats (66%). However, Republicans were divided: 49% wanted to leave the Constitution as it is, while 47% favored a constitutional amendment to bar birthright citizenship.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/08/24/what-americans-want-to-do-about-illegal-immigration/

  336. says

    Tea party and Trump supporters can’t accept people like Jorge Ramos and Barack Obama as Americans

    […] In their extensively researched book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, Vanessa Williamson and Theda Skocpol found that tea party members expressed a significant degree of racial animus, and that their positions on various policies followed. Tea party rhetoric defines Latinos and African-Americans as being outside the national community. Supporters expressed profound resentment over what they saw as government redistributing the wealth of “hard-working” (read: white) Americans to “undeserving” (read: black and brown people) takers. […]

    […] Fiscal conservatism is often said to be the top grassroots Tea Party priority, but Williamson and I did not find this to be true.

    The Tea Party movement is an outlet for mobilizing and expressing racialized grievances which have been symbolically magnified by the election of the nation’s first black president….The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values….Conservatives who were more racially resentful were substantially more likely to claim Tea Party movement membership.

    […] This isn’t just one guy, one video, and one insult. It provides another window into the soul of right-wing America, an entity so full of hate that almost any little scratch brings the bile right up and out of its mouth. You can see the hate on that Trump supporter’s face [the guy who told Jorge Ramos to “Get out of my country!”, and you can hear it in his voice. That hate fuels the tea party, and it fuels support for Donald Trump. […] That hate may not motivate every single participant in those two movements, but their successes would be impossible without it.

    Scroll down at the link to see a photo of an alarming compilation of racist signs from Tea Party rallies. The Colbert Report put the compilation together.

  337. says

    Here’s an amusing video, a compilation of Trump saying “China” over and over again, 234 times to be exact. Editors at Talking Points Memo put the compilation together, and never repeated a clip. These are all separate instances of Trump’s “China” boogeyman obsession.

  338. says

    Bobby Jindal says stupid stuff:

    […] “I think we need to insist that folks who come here come here legally, learn English, adopt our values, roll up our sleeves and get to work.” […]

    Link

  339. says

    Officials in Russia just canceled the one and only film festival that celebrates films by members of the LGBT community:

    […] Moscow Premiere, the charitable festival that hosted free screenings of controversial-in-Russia features, has been canceled.

    Moscow’s culture committee pulled funding from the festival, claiming the “difficult economic situation” made it impossible to support. In a letter the festival organizers received Tuesday — just weeks before the festival’s slated Sept. 2 premiere — the government informed the festival that Moscow Premiere would be canceled […]”

    Moscow Premiere was entering its 13th year. […]

    This cancellation falls right in line with the toxic climate for LGBT rights in Russia, coming just two years after the passage of a federal anti-LGBT law that banned “the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors.” Those found in violation of the law can be fined or, in some cases, imprisoned. […]

    Link

  340. blf says

    On the “proposed” wall between Teh USAlienstan and Harperville: A lot like the E.German “anti-facist wall”, you need to do something to stop people from leaving.

    And the proposed wall between Teh USAlienstan and most of the the rest of the Americas is to prevent flooding when the Rio Grande overflows ‘cuz, y’all knows, there ain’t no such fing as “gloil warming”.

    The existing wall between the thugs and reality is working so well these other walls must, MUST!, also work. QED (that’s a furrin saying meaning “we is korrect!”).

  341. says

    blf @390, yeah that same thought occurred to me. How else is Scott Walker going to keep all of those disgruntled Wisconsinites from sneaking across the border into Canada? Walker is ruining Wisconsin for a lot of the residents. They’d better emigrate now before he builds the wall.

    In other news, Martha Raddatz (a journalist who is also a lackey for most militaristic industries and politicians) is feeling the Bern:

    […] Martha Raddatz was on a mission. On the day where new poll numbers were released that showed Bernie Sanders credibly catching on in Iowa, it was evident that he has to be taken even more seriously. It is not enough for other candidates and political operatives to disparage Bernie Sanders. It is time that ‘journalists’ under the direction of the military industrial complex get involved.

    […] Her attempt with her leading questions was to be confrontational. Bernie Sanders kept his composure and answered them all effectively. He explained that his votes against both Iraq wars were correct.

    Most countries in the world were united against Iraq each time and as such Iraq would have eventually succumbed to the pressure. That would have saved hundreds of thousands of human lives and trillions of dollars that could have otherwise been invested in the nation’s education and infrastructure. The country’s monies would have been distributed across the nation instead of to the few who profit from the military industrial complex.

    Bernie’s answers were too correct. Raddatz had to attempt the condescending attack that implies Sanders was a weak pacifist dove. “Can you imagine Iran or Russia signing some sort of agreement in the future given your record on your reluctance to use force,” Martha Raddatz asked. “Because there is always that threat of force. But they may look at you and say ‘Bernie Sanders wouldn’t do anything about this’.”

    The sly smirk on Bernie Sanders face as he got the gist of the question was evident. He understood exactly what was going on. […] His answer was simple. “I think they would be making a very very big mistake,” Sanders responded. “I believe the United States should have the strongest military in the world. We should be working with other countries in coalition. And when people threaten the United States, or threaten our allies, or commit genocide, the United States with other countries should be prepared to act militarily.” […]

    Link

  342. says

    About 20 million women fall under the purview of the Hyde Amendment, which was first passed in 1976, and which has been reauthorized every year since then. More restrictions were added to the Hyde Amendment in the 1980s. ACLU link

    The Hyde Amendment restricts the use of federal funds to provide abortion services. Its effects are broader than you might think. It restricts access to abortion for dependents of federal employees and of military service members. Women in federal prisons and immigration detention centers do not have access to abortions. Peace Corps volunteers, women covered by Medicare and the Children’s Healthcare Insurance program — no abortion coverage for them either.

    Some women in the House of Congress introduced a bill to correct this situation: H.R. 2972, “Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2015. The representatives who wrote the bill are Barbara Lee (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Diana Delete (CO).

    The Hyde Amendment affects poor and low-income women the most. Forced birth negatively affects the lives of poor or low-income mothers and their children. Anti-abortion politicians should think of the children … and they should think about all the money they’ll have to spend supporting those children who may be born into poverty.

    But the doofuses never think about the facts. As the guy whose name is on the bill said in 1977, “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the Medicaid bill.”

    Thurgood Marshall dissented when the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment: “The Hyde Amendment is designed to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion.”

    The USA has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the world. Link

  343. says

    From my previous comment: “The USA has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the world.” I meant to write, “The USA has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world.”

    The USA ranks 34th among developed nations on the well-being of children.

  344. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Christie is asking Fedex for ideas of how to track ferrinners like fedex packages. So feds can know instantly, and precisely, where every ferrinner is in the country. So that just tuck int some out-of-the-way hole-in-de-wall and stay here furevah sucking down all the welfare, we rain down on all the taxpayin poor people who were legally born here by legal residents, etc, etc. etc.
    while some of that was wild exaggeration of his motivation; the first sentence, above, about him asking Fedex about how to track people like fedex packages, is the actual political madness bit.

    I could see this as possible and going in unintended directions. EG, slap an RFID chip on everyone entering through the Immigration line at every airport. Making the chip irremovable can get very ‘violating bodily integrity’ etc.
    Nevermind the expense of tracking so many chips and installing trackers everywhere and the computers to monitor those tracking stations,
    and so on and on and on.
    Christie is just trying to match The Donald’s bloviations by equally dehumanizing mere visitors to the USA as packages (of criminals, and moochers, etc.)…

  345. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The tallest peak in North America is now called Denali, thanks to Obama. Let the political correctness ravings begin.

  346. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 395:
    Obummer’s playin the PC game: denying the greatness of McKinley by stripping his great name off the mountain he put there in the McKinley state of Alaska…

    ummm, does that qualify?
    *ugh* “over the top”, “out in left field”, etc

  347. Saad says

    Nerd, #395

    Bigot eyes are already welling up.

    Obama’s move to strip the mountain of its name honoring former President William McKinley drew loud condemnations from Ohio lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs, who said he planned to work with his colleagues to see what they could do to stop it.

    “This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans, and I will be working with the House Committee on Natural Resources to determine what can be done to prevent this action,” Gibbs said.

    House Speaker John Boehner said he was deeply disappointed in the decision to rename the mountain.

  348. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I enjoyed The Daily Show reporting of the McKinley potential outrage, focused on the McKinley Historical Society of Ohio. Even the docent there, agreed that “while not The Greatest, he was ~okay~”.
    <snark:> I guess that’s why they want a mountain named after him to be way out in Seward’s Folly.</snark>
    I would just tell them to name a mountain in Ohio after their revered President. *oh wait…(Ohio is FLAT)*

    House Speaker John Boehner said he was deeply disappointed in the decision to rename the mountain.

    why am I not surprised????

  349. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    from Facebook, a comment re Denali affirmation:

    Buck Sexton
    Obama is officially renaming Mt. McKinley- the tallest mountain in American- as Mt. Denali. [wrong. that’s “Denali”; without the “Mt” bit]
    He is doing this to honor the Athabascan people- whom [sic] 99% of Americans have never heard of.
    This is classic Obama. McKinley was an American President, born in Ohio, who fought in the Civil War, and as Commander in Chief, won the Spanish-American War, and who was assassinated while in office- but yea, who cares about any of that, right?
    Obama would much rather seize any opportunity to look progressive and P.C. with a pandering gesture to the “native” peoples of interior Alaska on his way to go up there and blather on with his nonsense climate change fear mongering.

    [embolding added — slithey tove]

    I know it is wrong to cross-post, and attempt to refute someone in a different blog than the original posting. I’ll rage here anyway. I’d rather rage here (behind his back), rather than get ensconced in some “online debate” with this Facebookbigot.
    whom 99% have never heard of. = the reason to disrespect them and disregard the name they’ve called that mountain for thousands of years???
    and of course: nonsense climate change fear mongering. Mr. Non-Climatologist says.
    once again: to respect Pres. McKinley, why put his name on a mountain way out in Alaska where 99.999% of Americans will never see it????

  350. blf says

    The Grauniad’s snark is cranking, With so many Republicans vying for the wingnut vote, it was only a matter of time before one solved immigration:

    Chris Christie’s plan to track immigrants like FedEx parcels is the kind of magical, once-in-a-lifetime diamond bullet of an idea that makes everyone kick themselves for not having thought of it earlier

    Given the generally dismal state of leadership contests in [the UK], it’s no wonder that I’ve been secretly coveting America’s hunt for a Republican presidential candidate. On the surface, it should be so much worse than anything [the limeys] had to endure — they have an entire army of candidates and their contest is approximately 1,000 years long — and yet it’s been teaching us all so much. Barely a day goes by without one hugely significant problem or another being solved forever by the Republicans. This week: immigration.

    It’s refreshing to see America tackle immigration with such relish. While everyone in the EU is preoccupied with pinging the blame around so that none of the blood ends up on anybody’s hands, the Republican candidates are heroically throwing up solution after solution.

    This is all thanks to Donald Trump, obviously. Ever since the cloud-headed blowhard suggested the immediate ejection of 11 million people from within America’s borders as a means to stem immigration, his rivals have all been busting a gut to think of something equally spectacular. One of them, Scott Walker, wants to build a wall along the Canadian border; partly to stop terrorists from entering from the north, but mainly because his one goal in life is to brick up Niagara Falls in order to retrieve a Game Boy Advance that he accidentally dropped off Terrapin Point in 2003. […]

    However, there are so many candidates vying for office that the infinite monkey/typewriter principle has kicked in, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie has struck gold. His plan to track immigrants like FedEx parcels is the kind of magical, once-in-a-lifetime diamond bullet of an idea that makes everyone kick themselves for not having thought of it earlier. He wants to round up the immigrants, inject them with microchips so that the government can see exactly where they are at any given moment in time — or better yet, tattoo barcodes across their foreheads — and then hunt them down the moment their visa expires.

    Oh sure, it might sound like the sort of desperately inhumane plan that’s cooked up as part of a harebrained 3am bid to steal the wingnut vote away from Trump, but that’s the beauty of it. You need to treat immigrants as unwanted commodities, you see, because if you even for a second regarded them as actual human beings, the unstoppable sadness of the situation would crush you and crush you and keep crushing your heart deep inside your chest until nothing was left and you spent the rest of your days weeping uselessly into your floppy fists at the sheer unconquerable cruelty of it all.

    […]

    I do have one slight issue with Chris Christie’s plan, and that’s the use of FedEx. If Christie is serious about using FedEx technology to track immigrants — and he is, because he keeps namechecking the company over and over again like a reality show star writing promotional tweets for moisturiser — then clearly some kinks have to be ironed out. For example, if my experiences with FedEx are anything to go by, the future for the world’s immigrants will mainly involve them being kept at a regional depot in Basingstoke for three weeks before turning up at my house unannounced one evening while I’m eating my tea.

    One of the comments corrected this: “Not quite. They’d be delivered to your neighbour’s house one evening while you’re eating your tea, and the card would be pushed through the letterbox of your other neighbour’s house.”

    The columnist (Stuart Heritage) then suggests a series of snarky “improvements” on the idea, ending with this suggestion:

    [… W]e could get Amazon drones to track the immigrants. Whenever a visa expires, a drone could hurtle out of the sky and knock the immigrant into one of Google’s driverless cars, which would then drive them to the airport while streaming a Spotify playlist made up of songs that contain the phrase “go home” in their titles. This, really, would be the ideal situation. We’d barely even have to look at the immigrants, let alone think about their lives or how monstrously we were treating them. Chris Christie, you’re a trailblazer.

  351. blf says

    I have a vague memory of something along these lines being seriously suggested before, Required gun insurance would put two powerful lobbies at odds. We’d benefit:

    [… This is] how we as Americans should finally fight back against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the other pro-gun lobbies keeping our country armed to the teeth and unwilling to hear any sense regarding gun safety laws, even as gun violence in the US remains disproportionately high: we must find something big, ugly and ruthless enough to take on the NRA.

    […]

    I believe the insurance industry may be our only hope.

    Let everyone in this country keep their guns, but force them to insure those guns. It seems so obvious when you think about it. We insure our cars, our houses, our boats and bodies, even our plane tickets and rental cars. And some of those policies are legally mandated. We should absolutely require gun owners to pay against the indemnity they might incur when their gun does what it is statistically most likely to do — kills or injures them, or someone else.

    Unlike all of the other things that we insure — cars, major electronics or art collections — guns only do one thing. They kill. They are lumps of metal that fire hot fragments of lead at lethal velocities in order to crack bone, explode soft tissues and end life.

    Gun violence costs the US an estimated $229bn every year. […]

    It’s time to make bull-headed gun owners pay for their treasured toys’ potential to kill. […]

  352. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    continuing the Christie nonsensical:
    Rather than treating immigrants as FedEx pkgs, how about rather as household pets? IE pets have RFID chips implanted in their flesh, so why not immigrants? Why not everyone? Embed SSID#, so even Driver’s License can be instantly verified by the LEO using the ubiquitous Internetz. I think it would be really kewl to just wave my wrist over the Checkout at the zoopermarkit and the WalMartz. Rather than that pesky piece of plastic I gots to carry with me everywheres. And that other piece of plastic; to wave at LEOs to prove I passed their test, to drive without violating those pesky safetyfirst laws.Save me the worry of tracking that pesky leathery thing to hold those bits of plastic and that paper stuff we sometimes still use to pay for stuff. (So easy to misplace that wallet thingy)
    uhhhh (leave the “unintended consequences” discussion, over there, leave then unintended. thankx)

  353. says

    blf @400, I love that level of snark. And the final amendment to the plan makes use of a lot of new technology. What’s not to like.

    As for the “Denali” name change, I like that too. I used to live in Alaska. A lot of us called the mountain “Denali” anyway.

    In other news, Trump said some stupid stuff … again. That man has an irony deficiency.

    Sharpening his pitch to what he calls “the silent majority,” Donald Trump presented himself Saturday as the “law and order” candidate in the 2016 presidential race, pledging to “get rid” of gangs and give more power to police officers.

    Speaking to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies for more than an hour, in the heart of a Southern city where student sit-ins helped launch the 1960s-era civil rights movement, the Republican complained that cops are afraid to be tough in the face of more scrutiny over their tactics.

    Washington Post link

    I view this latest spew of stupidity as Trump following up on his previous comment that the worst of the gang members in Baltimore and Ferguson were illegal immigrants.

    Trump is repeatedly harking back to Richard Nixon, sometimes repeating word for word a Nixon speech from 1968. Nixon delivered his “Silent Majority” speech to an electorate made up of about 80% white voters, and those voters lacked college degrees for the most part. So there’s your historical context. Trump needs a time machine to whisk him back to a time when he would have been relevant.

  354. says

    In reference to the “Denali” and “Mount McKinley” brouhaha, McKinley never climbed Denali. Another point, President Obama is responding the a state’s wishes. Alaskans have been pushing to change the name, so this should be an opportunity for Republicans to praise Obama for bowing to state/local rights.

    In other news, Republican Representative Pete Sessions said some stupid stuff that connected gun violence to diversity. Say what?

    On the Chris Salcedo Show last week, the radio host asked Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) to weigh in on the horrific shooting on live TV of two journalists in Virginia. After acknowledging that widespread gun violence is a daily occurrence in the United States, Sessions zeroed in on what he viewed as the real cause.

    “It has a lot to do with distrust of people. Chris, I have been in lots of societies, we could say like Japan, where they have a homogeneous society, where people are more alike,” Sessions said. He went on to discuss “this thought process that we have to have diversity in America.”

    Oh FFS. So, if we were all like Jeff Sessions nobody in the U.S. would shoot anybody? Diversity breeds mistrust? Sessions is one of those doofuses that makes one despair. These are the guys that run for office in the U.S.?

  355. says

    This is a followup to comment 404, in which we see Jeff Sessions, a congress critter from Texas, saying stupid stuff. He said some more stupid stuff, this time about anti-discrimination laws and the Boy Scouts.

    The Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to allow gay troop leaders is the result of anti-discrimination laws that were “designed” to take down the organization, according to one Republican member of Congress.

    […] Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) said he disagreed with the Boy Scouts’ decision last month to end its strict ban on gay and lesbian adults. Under the new policy, troops sponsored by churches and religious organizations can still prohibit gay and lesbian volunteers if they want to, but are no longer required to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Sessions, who noted that he himself is an Eagle Scout and is “deeply involved” with the organization, said the organization’s decision was prompted by “outside factors” that are “trying to literally ruin the Boy Scouts of America over something they don’t understand,” presumably referring to LGBT advocacy groups.

    Sessions also implied that anti-discrimination laws were designed specifically to upend the organization. […]

    […] the Boy Scouts’ policy shift came amid decisions by numerous sponsors to end their funding to the organization over the discriminatory policy. […] There don’t appear to be any issues with the change so far. […]

    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) recently said the national organization would be “better off” without gay leaders, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) said the organization’s ban had “protected children.” […]

    Link

  356. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 404 Sessions(R):
    so let’s just go the DMV way and have gov demand every gun owner, when applying for a gun hold license, be required to show he holds gun-liability insurance? We demand even the least dangerous things to have insurance, so why not guns as well? Don’t the gun owners want the insurance to protect their assets from confiscation after some random accident where the gun performed “unintentionally”?
    I think we need MetLife to talk with NRA for a bit.

  357. says

    Oh, FFS. Some Fox News anchors are now pushing for the Black Lives Matter movement to be classified as a hate group.

    Faux News has even rounded up an African American writer, Kevin Jackson, to parrot the rightwing swill:

    […] “Kevin, why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group?” Hasselbeck asked Jackson during the segment. “How much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?”

    “Well they should do it, but unfortunately it’s being financed by the leftists,” Jackson said in response. “Ironically it’s people that have nothing, really no concern at all about black lives.” […]

    Let’s label Fox News a hate group.

  358. says

    As I pointed out in comment 404, President Obama was assenting to the State of Alaska’s wishes when changing “Mt. McKinley” to “Denali.”

    Predictably, dunderheads from the rightwing don’t see it that way (as others noted up-thread). I’m just adding one more dunderheaded comment to our collection:

    He thinks he is a dictator and he can change the law. The law is it’s Mt. McKinley and he can’t change a law by a flick of the pen. […] You want to go around the country and start changing the names of these places because it is politically expedient?

    That’s former Representative Ralph Regula of Ohio speaking.

  359. blf says

    On the Japan & guns example@404, Japan has some of the strictest gun control laws in the “developed” world.

    On the Japan & trust/distrust@404, Japan is often said to be intolerant of non-consensus or non-conformity, and is sometimes claimed to be alarmingly xenophobic. Assuming the eejit isn’t babbling completely incoherently, and that there is some truth to claims of intolerance and xenophobia, then the eejit may be confusing “trust” for “obedience” or similar — which would seem to fit the authoritarian mind-set (which I assume the eejit is suffering from).

    Our Japanese friends can correct or clarify the above hand-waving. One published example is Japan’s own report on Fukushima, which is reported as “[blaming] blames Japanese culture for the fundamental causes of the disaster.”

  360. says

    Screwing poor people, always a tradition honored by U.S. legislators. This time, we’re looking at the way in which corporate lobbyists convinced congress critters and senate schemers to screw low-income people with … paperwork.

    […] Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 2016 federal agency funding bill that came with instructions to the Internal Revenue Service to vastly expand the paperwork for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    This buried provision adds a layer of red tape for which the tax-preparation company H&R Block has lobbied heavily for more than a year, […] taxpayers who are unable to navigate the complicated new forms will face two costly alternatives: Pay a tax preparer to parse the forms, or give up the EITC, a crucial tax break for low-income families.

    In 2013, more than 27 million working families and individuals received the EITC. It gives households making less than a certain annual income (ranging from $39,000 to $53,300) a bigger tax refund, based on a formula that takes into account marital status and number of children. Numerous studies have shown that the EITC reduces poverty, improves health and incomes, and diverts people out of social welfare programs.

    [snipped text explaining that H&R Block appealed to rightwing conspiracy theories about tax fraud perpetrated by poor people]

    […] The Senate bill [also] adds paperwork to the Child Tax Credit; the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which reduces taxes owed for tuition-paying college students; and the Premium Tax Credit, which helps families pay for health insurance. […]

    H&R Block has used the threat of fraud for years in arguing for a more complex tax filing system. […] a 2014 IRS study found that EITC claims filed from 2006 to 2008 by paid preparers were more likely to result in overpayments than self-filed claims.

    […] underreporting of business income cost $122 billion in 2006 (the latest year for which data are available) and is the single largest component of uncollected taxes.

    Mother Jones link

  361. says

    Yet more debunking of a favorite rightwing argument slamming Hilary Clinton over her use of private email and a private server:

    […] the former U.S. attorney who oversaw the prosecution of retired Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified state secrets debunked the false comparison by conservative media of Hillary Clinton’s email use to Petraeus’ actions, explaining that the “comparison has no merit” because “Petraeus knowingly engaged in unlawful conduct” and “Clinton is not being investigation for knowingly sending or receiving classified materials improperly.” […]

    Link

    Fox News pushes the Petraeus comparison repeatedly, as does Donald Trump.

    What she did is far worse than what General Petraeus did and he’s gone down in disgrace. What he did is not as bad as what Hillary Clinton did, and it’s similar. But it’s not as bad. I mean, she got rid of her server, he never did anything like that.

    Link

  362. says

    Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz teamed up to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. Dick and his daughter said a bunch of predictable and stupid stuff about the Iran nuclear deal, including:

    I doubt very much that the diplomacy will be effective if there’s not the prospect that, if diplomacy fails, that we will, in fact, resort to military force.

    The Cheney team expounded on “American exceptionalism,” on how good it would be if all present-day politicians were more Reaganesque, on how the Iran deal is just like the 1938 Munich Pact (obligatory shout out to Hitler), and on how the Obama administration is not negotiating from a position of strength. Etc. fucking etc.
    Wall Street Journal link

  363. says

    At the MTV Music Awards, Kanye West announced that he is going to run for president of the USA:

    As you probably could’ve guessed in this moment, I’ve decided in 2020 to run for president.

    Kanye also announced that he had smoked something before coming on stage. His campaign is off to a good, if very early start.
    Link

  364. says

    More bullpucky from rightwing media about Denali:

    Brietbart senior editor-at-large Ben Shapiro suggested Monday that President Obama’s decision to revert Mt. McKinley to its Alaska Native name was because he “decided against his second choice, Mt. Trayvon.”

    Why did Obama choose to change the name now? Presumably because Obama has now solved all the world’s problems, and decided against his second choice, Mt. Trayvon. But more seriously, Obama likely opposes the legacy of President McKinley, given that McKinley led America to victory in the Spanish-American War and rejected inflation by sticking with the gold standard. By the end of McKinley’s tenure, the United States had taken military control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and annexed Hawaii.

    The gold standard? Really? Shades of Glenn Beck.

    Not linking to Breitbart on purpose.

  365. blf says

    Teh USApproved Military “Professor” who, in @369, called for nuclear strikes on Islamic sites, and for people who are not anti-Muslim to be treated as “enemy combatants”, has resigned, West Point law professor who called for attacks on ‘Islamic holy sites’ resigns:

    William C Bradford departs institution that hired him in August following report on his call for scholars to be treated as ‘enemy combatants’

    A law professor who published an inflammatory article urging attacks on law professors and “Islamic holy sites” and who has been dogged by accusations of misrepresenting his academic and military credentials has resigned from the US Military Academy at West Point, the Guardian has confirmed.

    Although West Point hired William C Bradford on 1 August, a spokesman said the prestigious undergraduate institution where the US army educates its future officers parted ways with the controversial academic on Sunday, the day after the Guardian published an article highlighting Bradford’s proposals to treat US scholars as “enemy combatants”.

    […]

    The West Point resignation marks the most recent academic departure for the controversial Bradford, following a decade’s worth of apparent exaggeration of his service record and academic career.

    It remains unclear how thoroughly West Point vetted Bradford before hiring him.

    Bradford recently published an academic article titled, in translation, “The Treason of the Professors”. The lengthy paper, which has been repudiated by its journal editor as a “mistake”