Discuss: Moments of Political Madness


Lynna is your curator. I don’t think this thread will run dry for a long time.

politicalmadness

Comments

  1. says

    Lindsey Graham endorsed Jeb Bush for president. Link

    Marco Rubio is running a campaign ad in which he claims that President Obama is trying to take away Americans’ guns. One of the debate moderators asked Rubio how he could defend that claim. Rubio answered: “I am convinced that if this president could confiscate every gun in America, he would. I am convinced that this president, if he could get rid of the Second Amendment, he would.”

    Okay, so that’s a Rubio fantasy then. Good to know.

    Also from the debate, we learned that the Republican candidates have decided to characterize President Obama as a child:

    [Christie said] This guy is a petulant child. That’s what he is.”

    [Ted Cruz said] “Donald is right that China is running over President Obama like he is a child.”

    Those comments follow Rush Limbaugh’s lead in characterizing Obama as “the little black man-child,” or as “a little boy” that women voters “want to protect.”

    I’m not sure why the Republican presidential candidates did not refer to Hillary Clinton as a petulant little girl, or something similar. They mentioned her 34 times. Is Clinton too formidable to be infantilized by the Republicans?

    President Obama seems dignified and mature to me. I can’t figure out where this “like a child” shit comes from.

  2. says

    More Republican debate analysis from Steve Benen.

    […] For all of his inexperience in politics, we’re occasionally reminded that Trump, the GOP frontrunner, can show excellent political instincts. He buried Ted Cruz on “New York values” by using 9/11 as a cudgel; he turned Nikki Haley’s “anger” rhetoric into a positive; and Trump benefited when his most competitive rivals started tearing each other apart. […]

    Pressed early on to defend his eligibility, Cruz skillfully discredited the “birther” line of attack, getting the better of Trump. Towards the end of the debate, the Texan also got the better of Marco Rubio by tying him to the Gang of Eight bill and debunking the notion that ISIS’s existence justifies Rubio’s immigration flip-flop. Were it not for his “New York values” clumsiness, Cruz would have been the night’s biggest winner. […]

    On multiple occasions, Rubio repeated talking points, word for word, late in the debate that he’d already used earlier in the debate. At another point, he said, “This president, this president is more interested in funding – less interested in funding the military, than he is in funding planned – he’s more interested in funding Planned Parenthood than he is in funding the military.” Want to try that again? Talking about immigration, Rubio started complaining about Edward Snowden, suggesting there was an error in the senator’s programming. […]

    Jeb Bush had a few decent lines but still appears out of his depth; Christie lied repeatedly and shamelessly; John Kasich seems to slowly be accepting the fact that he won’t be president; and Ben Carson is still Ben Carson.

    So where does that leave us? Exactly where the Republican establishment doesn’t want to be: waking up to the realization that the debate didn’t change the dynamic of this race at all. GOP insiders continue to hope, with varying degrees of desperation, that Trump and Cruz will embarrass themselves in one of these debate and implode soon after. The exact opposite is happening.

    I cross posted the above text to the “Did you watch…” thread.

  3. says

    Here is your daily update on the Bundy-led militia fiasco in Oregon.

    The doofuses built a road. Yep. They bulldozed a new road between buildings, damaging the wildlife refuge’s ecosystem in the process. Link.

    The Bundy group has been meeting with “constitutional sheriffs” from surrounding states and counties, including Sheriff Glenn Palmer who is a well-known figure in rightwing extremist circles. The organization to which these Sheriffs belong is Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). It was a CSPOA member, Richard Mack, who backed up Cliven Bundy in Nevada.

    “Blue tarp man” LaVoy Finicum drove about twenty hours from the Oregon refuge to a meeting in Cedar City Utah (a town that is 95% mormon) to meet with Sheriff Mark O. Gower, another CSPOA member. Rightwing sheriffs are coming to Bundy’s aid. This is not a promising scenario. Also, why is Finicum free to drive all over the western states without being arrested?

  4. says

    As I’m sure we all noticed, seven men stood on the main stage during the GOP debate, no women. The male candidates did not talk about abortion, contraception, LGBT equality, equal pay, family leave or child care. They skipped over the topic of education like it wasn’t really important.

  5. says

    Here is some more weirdness related to the Birther issue that Donald Trump keeps pushing against Ted Cruz, (while saying that it is not him, Trump, doing this, but a lot of other people). Well, at least now there really are other people jumping on the Birther bandwagon, as I’m sure Trump expected.

    An 85-year-old Houston lawyer filed suit Thursday asking a federal court in Texas to rule on whether Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) is eligible to be President. It appears to be the first lawsuit challenging the Canadian-born Cruz’s eligibility on the grounds that he does not meet the Constitution’s “natural born citizen” requirement. But if Cruz-opponents were looking for the ideal test case to trip up his candidacy, this may not be it.

    Newton B. Schwartz, Sr., who is leaning toward supporting Bernie Sanders for president, filed the lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment in the U.S. District Court in Southern District of Texas, as reported by Bloomberg News.

    The lawsuit cites recent analysis by Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe — as well as concerns raised by C-SPAN callers and by Donald Trump — that Cruz is not natural born. The rambling 28-page complaint brings all sorts of seemingly unrelated issues, including the Texas abortion case the Supreme Court will hear in March, the case it recently heard on public unions’ fee structures and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for a Constitutional Convention. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cruz-lawsuit-birth-challenge

  6. says

    President Obama has taken what I think is a good step to address environmental concerns related to the coal industry. He has placed a temporary hold on all new leases for mining coal on public lands.

    The Obama administration announced Friday that it is stopping most new coal leasing on America’s public lands as it moves to modernize and reform the federal coal leasing program, which has not been updated in more than 30 years.

    “Given serious concerns raised about the federal coal program, we’re taking the prudent step to hit pause on approving significant new leases so that decisions about those leases can benefit from the recommendations that come out of the review,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Friday.

    The plan includes three measures to address these issues and update the federal coal program to account for taxpayer interests and environmental challenges. The Interior Department […] put a temporary pause on new coal leasing (which will not apply to existing leases) […]

    “A complete assessment of the federal coal program is overdue,” said Dan Bucks, former director of the Montana Department of Revenue. “There are a host of energy, environmental, social, fiscal, and managerial issues that need to be addressed. The coal industry, coal workers and communities, and the public deserve answers to the many questions that create uncertainty for this source of energy.” […]

    Think Progress link

  7. says

    Men’s rights activists want access to women-only organizations, and to business networking events that focus on helping women.

    In April 2014, Stephanie Burns’ company, Chic CEO, was gearing up for a networking event at an Italian restaurant in San Diego. Chic CEO hosts online resources for women starting their own businesses, and this spring evening it had teamed up with a local networking group to throw a mixer at Solare Lounge, where women could mingle over cocktails and appetizers while talking business.

    During the event, Rich Allison, Allan Candelore, and Harry Crouch appeared at the restaurant door. They had each paid the $20 admission fee, and they told the hosts they wanted to enter the event. Chic CEO turned them away, saying that “the event was only open to women,” according to the men’s version of events, explained later in a legal complaint. Within two months, the three men had filed a discrimination lawsuit against Burns and her company alleging that the event discriminated against men. They are each members of the nation’s oldest men’s rights group, the National Coalition for Men, and Crouch is the NCFM’s president. […]

    Since 2013, these men have used the law [Unruh Act] to file two lawsuits, and threaten several more, against groups encouraging gender diversity in tech and business, worlds that have been historically dominated by men, with women holding only about 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and making up only about 13 percent of computer engineers for the last 20 years. As the movement for more gender diversity in these fields has gained traction, some men’s rights advocates have questioned the need for such a movement at all. […]

    Mother Jones link

  8. says

    Mother Jones rounded up what they think are the most interesting highlights from the Republican debate. Viewing these highlights is better than watching the whole debate.

    Just for a mixture of fun and pain, here is Ben Carson’s response to a question about whether it was fair to hold Hillary Clinton responsible for Bill Clinton’s “sexual misconduct”:

    You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article, and you go to the comments section—you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names,” Carson said. “Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that. And wherever it came from we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong. And let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us.

    WTF? I guess that’s just Carson being Carson.

  9. says

    Some Republicans are really pissed off at President Obama for … quoting from the bible:

    President Obama can never seem to win with Republicans, who seem to attack him for not talking about the Bible enough and then attack him even harder when he does.

    Take, for example, American Family Radio host Sandy Rios’ interview yesterday with Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., in which Brat expressed his anger that Obama cited Christian teachings when he criticized Republicans for their attempts to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S.

    The president, Brat said, “is using the Christian tradition and trying to bring about compassion by bonking Republicans over the head with the Bible. It’s almost a comedy routine on what compassion and love is. He’s mocking his enemies in order to compel a larger federal state using the tradition of love.”

    He said that the conservative movement “needs to reeducate its people that we own the entire tradition” of Christian love, because liberal professors “have rejected natural law” and religious ideas.

    Link

  10. says

    Fox News hosts are staying classy when it comes to referring to Hillary Clinton’s age:

    [Andrea Tantaros said] You have a Democratic candidate who’s under investigation by the FBI. It’s never happened in history before and they say that it’s no big deal on the left? It’s a huge deal. But Melissa, you hit on it. She’s not a likable candidate and she’s a bad candidate. And she’s always been a really bad candidate. And it’s no — it’s not a coincidence, Harris, people are making the comparison that she’s a thoroughbred horse who can’t get over the line. She’s on her way to the glue factory in a real way. It’s true. It’s true. I didn’t make the horse analysis. It wasn’t me, somebody else did. Just a metaphor. Calm down.

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/15/foxs-tantaros-hillary-clinton-is-like-a-thoroug/208005

    The reference to “under investigation by the FBI” is meant to bring up doubts about Clinton’s handling of her email account. Clinton is not under investigation by the FBI.

  11. says

    This is a followup to comment 437 in the “older comments.”

    State representative Ken Ivory of Utah is making wads of cash by backing the misguided idea that states can take over federal public lands. This is related to our discussions about the Bundy militia takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon.

    State Rep. Ken Ivory was paid $135,000 last year for his work as president of the American Lands Council — a group dedicated to winning state ownership of federal lands — and his wife was paid another $18,000, according to the group’s most recent tax filing. […]

    The filing also shows that the group is growing, bringing in $336,524 in the 2014 tax year, an increase of almost 50 percent over 2013 and nearly as much as it raised in the prior two years combined. […]

    The group’s latest IRS filing, submitted last November, was obtained by the Center for Western Priorities, a Colorado-based environmental advocacy group, which said it was “astounding” that Ivory was paid nearly half of the money the group raised.

    “I think this document shows that Representative Ivory is making money, and a lot of it, as is his wife,” said Jessica Goad, advocacy director for the center. “The lands-seizure issue has become something of a pot of gold for the Ivory family.” […]

    Goad said Ivory has also used his position as a state legislator and a member of the Utah Commission on Stewardship of Public Lands to commission a taxpayer-funded legal analysis and public-relations contract that helps further the work of the American Lands Council that pays his salary. […]

    In September, the Utah attorney general’s office declined to pursue charges against Ivory after investigating a complaint contending that he and the American Lands Council were defrauding counties out of taxpayer money by promising them a lands-transfer scheme that is unconstitutional.

    Investigators interviewed several county commissioners who said they had not been victims of fraud.

    The audit concluded that Ivory had not violated Utah’s lobbyist registration law because lawmakers are not required to register as lobbyists. […]

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/3420443-155/utah-lawmaker-got-a-hefty-pay

  12. blf says

    (Not too surprisingly, the original version of this seems to have triggered the naughty language / spam filter, so here is a slightly redacted version…)
    Dr Bent “Pyramid” Carcass made some goofy claims about “internet comments” in last night’s thugs’s wanking & warmongermostest session, and as usual, he’s got a problem, Ben Carson says internet comments are bad? He should read the Bible’s insults (The Grauniad’s edits are {curly braces}):

    The Republican candidate feels online abuse betrays ‘our Judeo-Christian roots’ but religious figures from King Saul to Martin Luther could dish it with the best
    […]
    “You go to the internet, you start reading an article, you go to the comments section, you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each other all manner of names,” the retired neurosurgeon said.

    “Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that.”

    Not so minor digression — “our Judeo-Christian roots” — say what, kemosabe?

    One biblical scholar, however, disagreed.

    “Comments in news articles don’t even aspire to the beauty of some of those insults in antiquity,” Dave Barnhart, pastor and founder of Saint Junia United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, told the Guardian on Friday.

    “There’s some delicious insults in the Bible. And to say that’s not part of Judeo-Christian roots is just to ignore history.

    “Because these guys were preachers and they were authors and poets, they can spin an insult that is just really mind-blowing. Martin Luther was one of the best smack talkers in history.”

    […] Luther’s cutting insults live on as internet memes. Barnhart’s personal favourite, he said, was Luther’s description of the pope as: “a fart-ass and enemy of God”.

    In Matthew 23, Barnhart pointed out, even Jesus himself calls people fools and hypocrites.

    Fool was a pretty harsh slander, and Proverbs 26:4 says: “Do not argue with fools according to their folly, or you will be a fool yourself.”

    “Which is the Hebrew Bible version of ‘don’t feel the trolls.’ […]” said Barnhart.

    […]

    One classic biblical insult is to be found in 1 Samuel 20:30, when King Saul shouts to his son Jonathan: “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?”

    “If you were to translate it {son of a perverse and rebellious woman} in modern language, it would be S[—] {son […] bitch},” said Barnhart. “Really vile language.”

    The “shame of your mother’s nakedness” part, Barnhart said, “would probably be equivalent to today’s “mothe[—]ker”.

    There’s more. In the New Testament, Galatians 5:12, Paul, writing about his theological opponents who were pushing for circumcision, writes: “I wish the people who are bothering you would castrate themselves.”

    “He’s basically saying, ‘I hope the knife slips,’” Barnhart said.

    Nor is it only Christians who throw insults around: the Hebrew bible includes the great line: “Fools return to their folly, like a dog returning to its vomit.”

    Yes, The Grauniad really can and did publish mothe[—]ker and so on (even if I can’t use them here! –blf) — as Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury) once said, “Are you allowed to say ‘piss off’ in British newspapers? Writing for the Guardian must be fun.”

    […]
    Plus, Barnhart said, rabbis have a great tradition in arguing with each other.

    […] “To say that Christians have this elevated rhetoric, or Judeos have better language skills, is simply to ignore history and current events.”

    In fact, Barnhart said Carson’s claim in the debate that “we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong, and let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us” was almost anti-Christian in its attitude.

    “To claim all virtue for the Judeo-Christians and to lay the blame on progressives or liberals is just bunk,” he said. “That’s the kind of thing that is divisive and disrespectful. Trying to claim a moral high ground is baloney and insincere and it’s historically ignorant.

    A few selected comments:

    ● “In American political discourse the real turning point was when Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house. He created and circulated a ‘lexicon’ of terms that he encouraged his fellow congressmen to use to describe their opponents. Words like, ‘pitiful’, ‘disgusting’,and ‘ignorant’ were the milder ways he described fellow congressmen who disagreed with him. […] The harm has been immeasurable and there’s no end in sight.”

    ● “How dare that religious farthead accuse us of calling other people names! The audacity.”

    ● “Even judging only by last night’s debate Carson is quite simply batshit insane. […]”

    ● In reply to“Ben Carson will soon be a distant memory”: “He can get a job in Trump’s construction business, in the granary division”.

  13. blf says

    (Oh bloodly fecking hell! I cannot seem to convince the filter to let me post the original’s excerpts, so here is a severely abbreviated excerpt…)
    Dr Bent “Pyramid” Carcass made some goofy claims about “internet comments” in last night’s thugs’s wanking & warmongermostest session, and as usual, he’s got a problem, Ben Carson says internet comments are bad? He should read the Bible’s insults (The Grauniad’s edits are {curly braces}):

    The Republican candidate feels online abuse betrays ‘our Judeo-Christian roots’ but religious figures from King Saul to Martin Luther could dish it with the best
    […]
    “You go to the internet, you start reading an article, you go to the comments section, you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each other all manner of names,” the retired neurosurgeon said.

    “Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that.”

    Not so minor digression — “our Judeo-Christian roots” — say what, kemosabe?

    One biblical scholar, however, disagreed.

    “Comments in news articles don’t even aspire to the beauty of some of those insults in antiquity,” Dave Barnhart, pastor and founder of Saint Junia United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, told the Guardian on Friday.

    “There’s some delicious insults in the Bible. And to say that’s not part of Judeo-Christian roots is just to ignore history.

    “Because these guys were preachers and they were authors and poets, they can spin an insult that is just really mind-blowing. Martin Luther was one of the best smack talkers in history.”

    […] Luther’s cutting insults live on as internet memes. Barnhart’s personal favourite, he said, was Luther’s description of the pope as: “a fart-ass and enemy of God”.

    In Matthew 23, Barnhart pointed out, even Jesus himself calls people fools and hypocrites.

    Fool was a pretty harsh slander, and Proverbs 26:4 says: “Do not argue with fools according to their folly, or you will be a fool yourself.”

    “Which is the Hebrew Bible version of ‘don’t feel the trolls.’ […]” said Barnhart.

    (At this point I must cut the excerpt in an attempt to get it past the filter…)

    […]
    Plus, Barnhart said, rabbis have a great tradition in arguing with each other.

    […] “To say that Christians have this elevated rhetoric, or Judeos have better language skills, is simply to ignore history and current events.”

    In fact, Barnhart said Carson’s claim in the debate that “we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong, and let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us” was almost anti-Christian in its attitude.

    “To claim all virtue for the Judeo-Christians and to lay the blame on progressives or liberals is just bunk,” he said. “That’s the kind of thing that is divisive and disrespectful. Trying to claim a moral high ground is baloney and insincere and it’s historically ignorant.

    A few selected comments:

    ● “In American political discourse the real turning point was when Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house. He created and circulated a ‘lexicon’ of terms that he encouraged his fellow congressmen to use to describe their opponents. Words like, ‘pitiful’, ‘disgusting’,and ‘ignorant’ were the milder ways he described fellow congressmen who disagreed with him. […] The harm has been immeasurable and there’s no end in sight.”

    ● “How dare that religious farthead accuse us of calling other people names! The audacity.”

    ● “Even judging only by last night’s debate Carson is quite simply batshit insane. […]”

    ● In reply to“Ben Carson will soon be a distant memory”: “He can get a job in Trump’s construction business, in the granary division”.

  14. says

    Bad news from Russia:

    In a bid to defend what they deem traditional values, lawmakers in Russia next week will consider the country’s most aggressive anti-gay legislation in recent memory: a ban on public displays of affection among gays that could punish couples for kissing or even holding hands on the street with a fine or a two-week jail sentence.

    The bill, which is slated for discussion in Russia’s parliament next Friday, would be the latest salvo against “nontraditional sexual relations,” which President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials have singled out as a corrupting influence on Russian morals and a symbol of the West’s permissiveness. […]

    The new legislation [allows] a fine of up to 5,000 rubles, or $65, for the “public expression of nontraditional sexual relations, resulting in the public demonstration of one’s own distorted sexual preferences in public places.” If the act takes place in a school or other place where children congregate, the punishment may include 15 days in jail. […]

    Washington Post link

  15. says

    Well, finally. One of the militia men occupying the wildlife refuge in Oregon has been arrested.

    Although the militia men and women occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge have been given a free pass to come and go as they please, law enforcement are drawing the line at them driving stolen federally-owned vehicles into the local Safeway for supplies. […]

    […] Oregon State Police arrested Kenneth Medenbach, 62, of Crescent, Oregon, at the Safeway in Burns, Oregon. He was arrested on probable cause for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

    Law enforcement officers recovered two vehicles stolen from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had previously reported the vehicles stolen to the Harney County Sheriff’s Office. […]

    Both vehicles were branded with new stickers that read “Harney County Resource Center” to cover the U.S. Fish and Wildlife logos. That’s the new name the militia are insisting be used for the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. […]

    Whether it belongs to the FBI or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Bundy’s militia is making good on their promise to take down surveillance equipment […]

    Link

    No word yet on why two trucks were covered, but only one man was arrested.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Both vehicles were branded with new stickers that read “Harney County Resource Center” to cover the U.S. Fish and Wildlife logos.

    Hmm, sounds like these folks are too stupid to understand VIN numbers as proof of ownership…*cues theme music to the Twilight Zone*

  17. says

    Rachel Maddow presented an excellent version of what we would call “the company they keep,” showing radically anti-gay pastors hosting Republican candidates for president. They’re doing it again.

    This is a follow up of sorts to previous comments that provided details of the close relationship between Republicans, white supremacists, religious fanatics, far-right anti-abortionists, rightwing gun lobbyists, etc. And Birthers. And male supremacy activists.

  18. says

    Removing Confederate monuments in New Orleans is not going well.

    […] H&O Investments, the company that was hired to remove the monuments says it wants no part of the deal anymore; they’ve been receiving death threats.

    Roy Maughan, a lawyer for the company, sent a letter earlier this week to the City of New Orleans saying they could not work on the project because they have received death threats and other nasty messages via phone and thru social media. Maughan also says that some local businesses have also threatened to stop doing business with them if they go through with the project. […]

    Link

  19. says

    We still don’t know all the details, but this looks like another diplomatic success for the Obama administration, and another sign that communication with Iran is slowly improving.

    Iran has released four imprisoned U.S. citizens, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, as part of a swap, the office of Tehran’s prosecutor announced Saturday, according to Iranian news media.

    The other released prisoners include Amir Hekmat, a former U.S. Marine, and Saeed Abedni, a pastor, and a fourth unnamed American. All four are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens. Rezaian has been held since 2014.

    According to Iran’s Fars News Agency, the four were ordered released in exchange for six Iranian-Americans held in the United States on sanctions-related charges. […]

    Washington Post link

  20. blf says

    No word yet on why two trucks were covered, but only one man was arrested.

    According to The Grauniad, Oregon militia standoff: man arrested driving stolen government vehicle: “The man police suspected of driving the second government vehicle into town already had gone into the grocery store before police arrived […].” That does not completely clear things up, but suggests possibilities, such as the second driver was not caught red-handed. The militant who was arrested was apparently with, or possibly in, one of the stolen vehicles.

    The arrested militant, Kenneth Medenbach, is apparently known to the authorities, and at the time of his arrest, was apparently “out on bail […] awaiting trial for a seven-month residential occupation of government land between May and November 2015.” The Grauniad continues:

    Medenbach was tried and convicted of the same crime in 1996. […]

    […] At a detention hearing, the government said that Medenbach had tried to protect his campsite with “50 to 100 pounds of the explosive ammonium sulfate, a pellet gun, and what appeared to be a hand grenade with trip wires.”

    Convicted and given a six-month suspended sentence, Medenbach appealed the case to the federal ninth circuit court, where he argued that federal ownership of unappropriated public lands was unconstitutional. He also filed a civil suit to demand that federal judges no longer swear an oath of affirmation under the constitution […].

    Grade A Prime Kook. With guns. And bombs.
    And not the only kook amongst the militantsterrorists:

    Harney County judge Steve Grasty said he was grateful that officials have made an arrest. “At some point, criminal actions become so blatant that they just can’t be ignored,” he said. […]

    […]

    Corey Lequieu, [… an] occupier who is still at the refuge, said he was reluctant to believe the reports of his fellow militiaman’s arrest. “It may not even be true. I’m hoping it’s not true,” he said. “I’m very leery about their press releases and press conferences. That sheriff has lied before.”

  21. says

    Jeb Bush provides details concerning his news sources:

    I only get my news from Fox & Friends, so that’s all I get. All I’m saying is that she’s [Hillary Clinton] under investigation by the FBI. Just pause and think about that. That’s not, that’s a pretty uncommon thing for a presidential candidate. And each and every week it just seems like there’s more information. Now there’s, according to Fox again there’s expanded investigation on the connection with the Clinton Foundation. This is a serious deal. So I’m, look, I want to win. I think the Republicans need to win. We need to unify. Hillary Clinton would be an unmitigated disaster for ideological purposes. But she also has this legal problem that would really undermine our country.

    Media Matters link

    The facts do not agree with you, Jeb! The FBI is investigating the handling of Clinton’s email but is NOT investigating Clinton herself. Fox News has claimed for some time, and continues to claim, that Clinton herself is being investigated. Carly Fiorina proffered the same lie in the most recent Republican debate.

    More explanation of the facts:

    […] The FBI is running a wide reaching investigation into whether the private email servers that were installed by Hillary Clinton and her predecessors Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were more secure than the official email server at the State Department. This requires examining the servers in question, which is why all three Secretaries of State were asked to provide their servers for testing. Thus far only Clinton has obliged. If any charges were to be filed, they would be against hackers. In such case Clinton would be classified as the victim of a crime. In other words, the FBI is running an investigation on her behalf, not an investigation into her. […]

    […]the FBI confirmed to the New York Times back in August that Hillary Clinton “is not a target of the investigation.” […]

    Daily News Bin Link

    […] Actually, Clinton is not under FBI investigation. The inquiry to which Bush refers revolves around the private email server Clinton used while serving as secretary of state. And it is not a criminal investigation. […]

    Politifact link

  22. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Another news report said Medenbach was arrested by Oregon State Police, who appear to be a new player in the siege.

    Kenneth Medenbach, 62, of Crescent was arrested by Oregon State Police at a grocery store in Burns for investigation of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. It was unclear if he has a lawyer. Medenbach is already facing charges in U.S. District Court in Medford after authorities said he illegally camped on federal land between May and November last year, according to federal court records.

    Seems to have some problems with concept of ownership. And the county sheriff can’t be blamed.

  23. says

    Kim Davis attended the SOTU address, and afterward she issued a critique. She lambasted President Obama for ignoring the “mashed down” Christians, and blaming Obama for doing some of the mashing.

    […] Davis did have some words of praise for the president, telling Calvi, “I did agree with one remark that he made about how we have to stand strong, help those that are less fortunate, and I think that is the basis of the Christian faith is the brotherly love, you know?”

    But she was less impressed with Obama’s reference to marriage equality. “He had made the statement that everybody was free to marry who they love, and, of course, that’s the stand that I stood again,” she said. “And it’s not, for me, it never was a gay or a lesbian issue. It’s about standing up for the word of the God and as God had defined marriage from the very beginning as between one man and one woman, and that’s what I stood for.”

    When Calvi asked Davis about the president’s caution against anti-Muslim bigotry and prejudice, Davis responded that he should have instead talked about Christians like her who “are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally” by his policies.

    “One of the things that he focused on was that we should not discriminate against Muslims or persecute them, but he never once said anything about the people of the Christian faith who are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally, with his agenda,” she said.

    Right Wing Watch link

    In other news, confirmed by Nerd @18, the people arrested (or not arrested, but involved) in the takeover of federal facilities in Oregon seem to have a history of, as Nerd says, having “problems with the concept of ownership.” That group of militiamen brought with them anti-government conspiracy theories, white supremacist leanings, misconceptions about land management, and a really outlandish sense of entitlement.

    The militiamen and their hangers-on are particularly good at anointing themselves to imaginary high offices within an alternative universe.
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/01/15/3739909/oregon-standoff-malheur-grand-jury-explainer/

  24. says

    Republicans have pushed for privatization of prisons, schools, monitoring parolees, and everything else under the sun. The results are almost universally horrible, ranging from no cost savings to a dangerous lack of services (increased deaths and injuries in prisons, for example).

    So what do Republicans want to do about this? They want to privatize some more stuff, including the air traffic control system in the USA. The Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization will be up for a vote at the end of March.

    Republicans point out that the FAA has been slow to upgrade to NextGen, a satellite-based control system. I wonder why. Could it be because in 2013 the Republicans forced a sequester, a budget deal that disrupted upgrades, safety oversight and lots of other stuff as well?

    Republican modus operandi: cut funds until shit hits the fan, and then complain about shit hitting the fan.

    http://signforgood.com/airtrafficcontrol/

    https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2015/05/05/112406/4-essential-questions-about-air-traffic-control-privatization/

  25. says

    This is a followup to comment 420 and comment 496 in the “older comments.”

    President Obama has signed a Michigan emergency declaration submitted by Gov. Rick Snyder to give federal aid to Flint during the water crisis.

    The signing on Saturday authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster efforts. […]

    With the signing, FEMA can “identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”

    According to a release from The White House, “this emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.”

    Obama has also offered other Federal agency capabilities to help the recovery but do not require an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act.

    WXYZ link

    Some people have suggested that Governor Snyder and other Michigan officials should be arrested for poisoning everyone in Flint.

  26. says

    Bernie Sanders weighed in on the water quality problems in Flint:

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders urged Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to step down in light of his state’s ongoing and fatal water crisis that has sickened thousands of residents and left more than 30,000 Flint, Michigan households with undrinkable tap water.

    “There are no excuses. The governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint’s water. He did nothing. As a result, hundreds of children were poisoned. Thousands may have been exposed to potential brain damage from lead. Gov. Snyder should resign,” Sanders said in a statement Saturday. […]

    Think Progress link

  27. says

    Pat Bagley, cartoonist for the Salt Lake Tribune created a great cartoon that addresses the water quality problem in Flint. It also manages to include the policy decisions Republicans used to guide them to this disaster. Excellent cartoon. The cartoon is called “Trickle Down Religion.”

  28. says

    Some sanctions against Iran have been lifted. President Obama signed an executive order lifting some of the sanctions. This is going to present another opportunity for right-wingers to foam at the mouth.

    International sanctions on Iran have been lifted after its compliance with obligations under its nuclear agreement with world powers was certified.

    The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the sanctions were lifted in accordance with the deal “as Iran has fulfilled its commitment”.

    The international nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said its inspectors had verified that Iran had taken the required steps

    BBC link.

    New York Times explanation.

  29. blf says

    mashed down, literally
    Good heavens. That sounds messy.

    Shepherd’s pie for lions.
    Actually, the xians should be ground up and potatoes mashed, but the ancient Romans didn’t know the potato and so improvised. The lions have not complained, except when the xians were too fatty or there weren’t enough, it which case things do then get a bit messy.

  30. blf says

    The terrorists in Oregon are becoming ever moar deluded, Oregon militia’s behavior increasingly brazen as public property destroyed:

    Occupiers of Malheur refuge apparently testing officials’ patience: ‘They’re really trying to get a rise out of somebody,’ says local tribal leader

    The militiamen [sic] occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon have adopted increasingly bold and risky tactics in their protest against the federal government, raising questions about how long law enforcement officials can allow the standoff to continue.

    [… L]eaders of the militia [sic] appear to be testing the patience of the local sheriff’s department and the FBI by brazenly commandeering and in some cases destroying public property while escalating their anti-government rhetoric.

    Community leaders and government officials in Oregon and beyond say they fear there could be major damage at the refuge and elevated safety risks for employees and local residents if the militia continues to stand its ground, seemingly emboldened by the continuing lack of consequences.

    “For these people to go in and just be destructive, they’re really trying to get a rise out of somebody,” said Charlotte Rodrique, chairwoman of the local Paiute Indian tribe, who has argued that Native Americans have much more of a claim to the public land in question than the out-of-state militiamen running the takeover.

    “They really want a confrontation.”

    On Friday evening, Rodrique said she was horrified to learn that the [terrorists] had paved a road through part of the wildlife sanctuary. That move came days after occupiers destroyed part of a US Fish and Wildlife Service fence, to allow cattle to freely graze on public lands the federal government controls.

    Militiamen have also removed cameras at the refuge they claim the FBI was using for “surveillance”. LaVoy Finicum, [one of the occupying kooks], showed up to a Saturday morning press conference carrying a basket filled with black cameras.

    “Do you not get tired of the mass surveillance in this country?” Finicum told reporters. “This, in my opinion, is unreasonable search.”

    Whilst there are legitimate concerns about overuse and unnecessary monitoring cameras, that is not one of them. That is just conflating different issues.

    Oh, and by the way, according to some commentators, some or all of those cameras were used by the power company to monitor for line faults.

    He added: “I want to call out the FBI and their harassment of neighborhood families.”

    Um, Mr kook, the locals are not complaining about the FBI per se. They are complaining about you.

    [The kook also whined about] Harney County officials for denying the militia access to a community building in Burns, where the occupiers want to present their plans to local residents. […]

    [… T]he Burns Pauite Indian tribe and federal government officials said they were worried about possible damage to cultural resources, artifacts, sensitive records and local wildlife habitats.

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service strongly condemned the occupiers for building the new road.

    “It’s deplorable,” spokesman Jason Holm said in an email. “I’m not sure what part of the {occupiers’} interpretation of the constitution promotes the destruction and desecration of culturally significant Native American sites{…} This is disgusting, ghoulish behavior.”

    And in a follow-up to concerns about computer access discussed previously, The Grauniad continues:

    [… T]he fish and wildlife service had received reports that the occupiers were accessing federal records at the refuge, raising concerns about a possibly dangerous data breach. [Mr Holm] said the government was now contracting with a data protection and credit monitoring service to safeguard refuge employees whose personal data may have been compromised.

    Yes, that is quite sensible. If I recall correctly, an individual who is apparently fairly computer-knowledgeable joined with the occupying terrorists recently, reinforcing the concerns about possible breaches and data compromises: It’s no longer a bunch of (presumably not very computer-literate) kooks, there is also now at least one computer-literate occupying terrorist.

    Rodrique said that when refuge officials undertake projects that disrupt the land, they consult the tribe’s leaders and archaeologists to ensure that there is no damage to burial sites or potential artifacts.

    “There is so much history in that area,” she said. “We’ve gotten to a point where everyone is cooperating and working together to preserve archaeological historical sites.”

    Claps! Good for the F&WS, First Nations and other locals, et al.

    If the militiamen damage or steal tribal artifacts or confidential documents related to Native American history, Rodrique said, she hoped federal officials would prosecute the men to the fullest extent of the law.

    Asked about the tribe’s concerns, Finicum said Native Americans should be working with the militia.

    “We’re here for the natives,” he said. “The federal government has been their biggest oppressor.”

    Earth to Mr kook, Earth to Mr kook, please take a Reality Pill™ — your delusions are showing.

    Some of the comments:

    ● “[… I]t only took me a quick google search on ‘SCADA circuit Oregon electric’ to find that this is a power line outage system used by the power company to locate fine [sic] faults. Not exactly secret big brother tactics […].”
    Another commentator agrees: “Quite possibly those are SCADA cameras owned by the electricity grid operator used to monitor for hot spots in the nearby electricity grid substation.”

    ● “The poor darlings. All that provocation, and the FBI still won’t give them the outcome they crave.
      “These clowns style themselves as a ‘militia’ purely so that they come under the Second Amendment. In fact, they are ersatz anarchists, but without the self-discipline, the political awareness or the intellect of the real thing.
      “What we need now is an FBI cadre comprising African Americans, Muslims and Native Americans to arrest and prosecute these small-dick imbeciles, just to show them how it feels.”

    ● “Why aren’t they wearing their black shirts?”

    ● “They must be running short of dildos, glitter, and nail polish.”

    ● “They are typical libertarians, selfish two year olds throwing a tantrum to get attention. Whats next, holding their breath until they turn blue neck?”

    ● “If these gun toting idiots love the freedom granted by their much toted constitution then why aren’t they overseas defending the USA instead of pathetically taking over a visitors centre in Nowhere Ville? […]”
    In reply: “Kenneth Medenback, the guy arrested for taking the government vehicle claims that he’s a Iraq veteran. Turns out that’s a lie.”

  31. blf says

    Canada unleashes its attack moose, Bearded UK tourists caught up in Vancouver ‘terror scare’:

    Trio from Manchester [UK], who were in Canada for eye surgery, believe police considered them suspicious because of their facial hair

    Three men from Manchester caught up in a potential terror investigation inanada have claimed Vancouver police racially profiled them because they had beards.

    CCTV pictures of the trio in a Vancouver shopping mall were leaked to Canadian media last week after they were seen taking “suspicious” photographs.

    Vancouver police on Thursday appealed for information about the “suspicious incident”, which they said involved three “Middle Eastern-looking men” who were spotted inside the Pacific Centre mall allegedly photographing the entrances and exits.

    Yet the suspects turned out to be Mancunian tourists, two with poor sight — visiting Vancouver for eye surgery. Police later accepted they were taking so many photographs so they could zoom in close when they get home.

    “These guys can’t even see! And you expect them to be pulling off something big,” said Mohammed Sharaz, a Briton of Pakistani origin. He said he was visiting Vancouver with his 14-year-old son, Salahuddin Sharaz, and friend, Mohammed Kareem, both of whom suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that eventually causes blindness.

    Sharaz told CBC: “I bought my son a little phone he brought with him just to take pictures of anything he can remember, take it back home and show his family and his friends.”

    Of Kareem he said: “My friend, when he looks at anything head-on, he doesn’t see like me and you do. So he’ll take a picture or a movie and then later on when he gets back he zooms into it and he watches stuff. He takes pictures of anything and everything.”

    The two are being treated at the Wellspring Clinic for Holistic Medicine by Dr Weidong Yu, CBC reported.

    I have no idea if that is a woo-woor “clinic” / “doctor” or a serious medial clinic and doctor. Apologies, I am also pressed for time, and cannot investigate… –blf

    “Because of this terrorist issue, {people say} ‘they got a beard’, that’s why they think we’re terrorists,” Kareem told CBC. “But not everyone is the same, which we need to say. We are not Middle-Eastern, we are Britons.”

    Vancouver police had put out an appeal for “Middle Eastern-looking men”, saying that while they had no evidence the men had committed a crime in the mall, they would like to speak to them about what they were doing.

    After the men came forward, police said no action would be taken. “All three men were cooperative with investigators and they had a very logical explanation regarding their behaviour. The investigation has conclusively determined that their actions were completely innocent,” the force said on its website. […]

    Kudos to the police for not doubling-down (unlike, say, a certain gang of goons in Texas who insisted a reassembled clock was a bomb). The gentlemen seem to be of the same opinion, concerned mostly that the leaked images will remain available on the Internet, rather than by the police’s actions (excepting the inexcusable leak of the video):

    […]
    Despite being cleared of any wrongdoing, the men were worried that the CCTV pictures would live forever on the internet. But Sharaz told CBC he does not blame the police for how they handled the situation. “I think the police, the job they did was perfectly fine,’ he said. “There’s a lot of evil that goes on in the world and if they just ignored it and something serious was to happen{…} A human life is not worth nothing, any human life is worth something.”

  32. says

    Sometimes Bernie Sanders supporters do not even wait around for Bernie to show up. They just get the ball rolling by themselves.

    Bernie’s first campaign office opened in Ohio… without the campaign.

    A group of forward-thinking activists and die hard Bernie Sanders supporters began planning and raising funds in November. They reached out to local legislators and community leaders, formed a steering committee, secured a location and made all the necessary arrangments to have the location open 50 hours per week.

    On January 9th, all their hard work paid off as 200 people showed up to witness the Office Grand Opening. Senator Micheal Skindell and, native Clevelander, Senator and Bernie Sanders Spokesperson Nina Turner gave the keynote remarks.

    “While they may have more money” Turner preached to the crowd, from the front step of the office, “We have more people… and that means we have the power!” […]

    Link

  33. says

    There are tight races within the Democratic run for president in two states, New Hampshire and Iowa. But on a national basis, Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead. If Bernie Sanders wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton’s lead may shrink. We’ll see.

    Meanwhile, the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses is tonight at 9 pm Eastern time.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a 25 point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a national poll released Sunday.

    Clinton had the support of 59 percent of Democratic primary voters, Sanders had 34 percent and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’ Malley had 2, according to the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

    The candidates will square off for a debate Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

    The survey was conducted Jan. 9-13 among 400 Democratic primary voters. The margin of error was plus-minus 4.9 percentage points.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/polltracker/poll-clinton-takes-lead

    At least I won’t have to watch two debates tonight. On the Democratic side there is no kiddie table debate, just the main stage with three candidates.

  34. says

    Donald Trump sees Ted Cruz’s poll numbers rising, so, in characteristic Trump fashion, Cruz is now experiencing a rain of personal attacks:

    […] “I don’t think Ted Cruz has a great chance, to be honest with you,” Trump said. “Look, the truth is, he’s a nasty guy. He was so nice to me. I mean, I knew it. I was watching. I kept saying, ‘Come on Ted. Let’s go, OK.’ But he’s a nasty guy.” […]

    “Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him,” Trump said. “Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him. He’s a very –- he’s got an edge that’s not good. You can’t make deals with people like that and it’s not a good thing.

    It’s not a good thing for the country. Very nasty guy.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-cruz-nasty-guy

  35. says

    Marco Rubio is one of many conservatives who added guns to their Christmas shopping list:

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said […] that he purchased a gun on Christmas Eve to defend his family if ISIS — or any other attackers — were to visit his home. […]

    “I’m a strong supporter of the second amendment. I have a right to protect my family if someone were to come after us,” Rubio said. “In fact, if ISIS were to visit us, or our communities, at any moment, the last line of defense between ISIS and my family is the ability that I have to protect my family from them, or from a criminal, or anyone else who seeks to do us harm. Millions of Americans feel that way.”

    Link

  36. says

    We have word that the prisoners released by Iran have now landed safely in Switzerland. This diplomatic success was described by the Obama administration as having been in the works for about 14 months. The effort was kept secret to make sure it did not derail the nuclear deal.

    You will remember that after the nuclear deal had been outlined and agreed upon, rightwing media excoriated President Obama for making the release of Iranian-Americans from prison part of the deal. Obama gave a speech in which he showed contempt for media sources that described him as “content” to leave the prisoners in jail.

    Now that we see the prisoners released, are some rightwing media sources and Republican presidential candidates celebrating? Hell no.

    […] Donald Trump, campaigning in New Hampshire, said that the prisoners should have been released years ago […]

    “Doesn’t sound too good. Doesn’t sound too good,” the Republican frontrunner said. “[…] — and I’m happy they’re coming back — but I will tell you it’s a disgrace that they’ve been there for so long. It’s a disgrace, remember that. A total disgrace.”

    Trump did not specify by what means the prisoners should have been made to return prior to now.

    The real estate mogul also expressed dismay at the implementation of the nuclear deal next week. “They’re getting seven people, so essentially they get $150 billion plus seven, and we get four,” he said, glossing over the fact that the United States is not paying Iran $150 billion, but releasing $150 billion in frozen Iranian assets. […]

    Think Progress link.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says the deal that freed four prisoners held in Iran makes America less safe because it emboldens its enemies to seize captives.

    “It reflects a pattern we’ve seen in the Obama administration over and over again of negotiating with terorrists and making deals and trades that endanger U.S. safety and security,” the Republican presidential hopeful said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    With the seven prisoners the U.S. released and 14 more it agreed not to prosecute, “that’s 21 terrorists helping Iran develop nuclear weapons that they intend to use to murder us,” Cruz said. “The result of this — every bad actor on earth has been told, ‘Go capture Americans.’ If you want to get terrorists out of jail, capture an American … President Obama is in the let’s-make-a-deal business. That’s a really dangerous precedent.” […]

    Asked about his pledge to unleash military fury against any country that captures American military personnel, Cruz said he would have done so even though the10 sailors seized last week by Iran were rather quickly released.

    Politico link.

  37. says

    blf@29, one of the especially bizarre and disturbing things about that story is that it happened in Vancouver. There are estimated to be more than 250 thousand Indian and Pakistani Canadians living in the Greater Vancouver area. Seeing a dark skinned person with a beard isn’t going to be rare there.

  38. blf says

    Blithering eejit blithers, Marco Rubio: Americans need guns to protect themselves from Isis:

    Senator tells Iowans: ‘If, God forbid, Isis pays a visit to you{…} the last thing between them and our families may be the ability to protect ourselves with guns

    Vowing to defend the second amendment, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio suggested to a packed audience in Iowa that guns might be the only tools at their disposal to protect themselves against the Islamic State.

    Speaking before a crowd of roughly 600 on Saturday evening in Sioux Center, a city in western Iowa, Rubio issued a stern warning that Barack Obama and his administration were conspiring to confiscate guns.

    No Senator eejit. Abolition of gun ownership is not on the table. It’s not even in the house. What the President is trying to do is what Congress — the group of incompetent corrupt (mostly-)lawyers you are a part of — has persistently and (mostly-)consistently failed to do: Address the routine (approximately one-a-day) mass murders. Had you and the other fecking crooked lawyers that comprise the cesspit know as Congress done your jobs, there would not nearly as many slaughtered, Of course, that would mean you and your lawyer buddies would not get so much in fees, so with your kleptomineset, it all makes “sense”.

    […]
    “My attorney general is not going to be someone that comes to my office to conspire about how to take away your guns,” Rubio said. “My attorney general is going to be someone that defends your second amendment right to protect your family, your homes, your business and your property.

    “Because, if God forbid Isis pays a visit to you, to our community, the last thing standing between them and our families may be the ability to protect ourselves with our guns. And there’s no way we’re going to take that away from the American people, not when I’m president.”

    For feck’s sake! If daesh were to invade the States, that’s a job for the military. Not a bunch of scared civilians with peashooters.

    Rubio [“who holds an A rating from the National Rifle Association” in other words, a confirmed pratzi –blf] has been especially vocal about gun rights in the wake of Obama’s executive action to expand background checks, a move taken by the president earlier this month in the face of congressional inaction. The Florida senator has already pledged to overturn Obama’s executive orders on his first day in office, should he be elected to the White House this year.

    […]

    Obama has never put forward a proposal that would actually remove firearms from the possession of law-abiding citizens. At an 8 January forum on guns hosted by CNN, Obama dismissed as conspiracies claims that he was out to grab anyone’s guns.

    “I’m only going to be here for another year. When would I have started on this enterprise?” he said, while adding that his advocacy for stricter gun laws was not inconsistent with his support of the second amendment.

    Some of the saner comments:

    ● “Well he was almost right — Iowa was top of the ISIS hit list but they decided instead on Idaho to corner the potato market.”

    ● “And I wondered why a stooge like trump is leading.”

    ● “Oh yeah, little baby faced Rubio, had you only been at the Christmas party in San Bernadino with your gun, you could have saved people from being massacred by AKs spreading rapid fire bullets. Now don’t be afraid anymore when one of those terrorists is hiding in your closet or under your bed. Always prepared, right dear?”

    ● “Rubio is doubling down on stupid. The only threat to Americans is Americans with guns.”

    ● “This has got to be the stupidest shit I’ve read in a long time.”

    ● “Judging by the current political climate, I might need a gun to protect myself from our politicians and their minions in the future.”

    ● “I don’t suppose he mentioned in passing that there is more chance of being shot by a cop in the US than by a terrorist?”

    ● “As an african american, the very last thing I am worried about is ISIS coming to my home.”

    ● “What a childish, miopic [sic] goon. Fuck off please.”

    ● “[…] He’s barking mad. More GOP shoveling fear and paranoia down the gullets of their gibbering, cowardly supporters. […]”

    ● “I didn’t realize that Rubio was that dumb. He drank the Kool-Aid, spiked it, and had another glass.”

    ● “If America has anything to fear; it is candidates like Mr Rubio.”

    ● “And communists! Don’t forget them!”
    In reply: “What about Fascists? Oh wait — they’re OK as long as they vote Republican.”

    ● “So Obama is closing loopholes in background checks, and Rubio is lying (about confiscation, which isn’t on the table) as well as fear-mongering (about utter improbabilities). Obviously, Dems are interested in gun safety, whereas Republicans just want to maintain a status quo in which 30,000+ gun deaths and 80,000+ gun injuries occur every single year. Republicans like Rubio are in the pocket of the gun industry, serving its bottom line, not the common good. […]”

    ● “What the American people really need are good, living-wage jobs. The Republicans just don’t get it.”

    ● “The GOP have alienated gays, blacks, latinos, the NFL, POWS, women, and a few other demographics. They desperately need to hang onto the NRA, criminals and nutjobs with AR15s. Under Rubio the GOP will be renamed Grand Old Panderers.”

    ● “[…] Stop lobbying for stricter background checks such as mental health issues on people wishing to purchase a fire arm and instead lobby for stricter background checks such as mental health issues on people running for presidential office.
      “Once the latter is in place the former will naturally follow.”

    ● “Damn, that Muslim sitting in the Oval Office is trying to take our guns away. I knew it, just knew it. Let me look for some confirmation here — excuse me while I search the internet and browse through some newspapers. Yeah, hear it is. No that ain’t it. Damn it, that tricky slicky fella hides his tracks well; nothing in here but stories about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally unhinged, and and and, well, groups like ISIS. Oh, and here’s a few stories about how Rubio is tripping over his own size five feet again.”

    ● “Americans need guns to protect themselves from not only the ISIS, but also the Palestinians, Nazis, Rwandans, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Syrians, the Communists, Iranians, Mexicans, Cubans, collection agencies, cops, mall shooters, school shooters, muggers, lawn care people, UPS drivers, neighbors, zombies, Halloween candy monsters, Easter Egg hunters, cousins, siblings and even parents. Come on!
      “Without guns how can anyone sleep? And just a pistol would do? Look at the enormity of the problem. Every American struggles to sleep with so many monsters around. One needs a special type of gun for every type of enemy. No one can be trusted.
      “[…] Take the ISIS and the Taliban head on — Outnumber the guns that they have by packing every American (legal citizens only) with multiple assault weapons and tanks. Every household must have mortars and at least one Howitzer gun. It is the tradition since the days of the great McCoys. Long live the USA!”

    ● “He’s Marco Rubio ladies & gentlemen, and he’d suck walrus balls live on global TV if he thought it would get him some votes. Of course it would be pay-per-view.”

  39. blf says

    There is apparently at least one non-While fruitcake amongst the terrorists in Oregon, and he is now being wheeled out in a desperate attempt to stop looking stoopid, Black Oregon militiaman: Black Lives Matter can learn from occupiers:

    Brandon Dowd encourages more people to visit refuge and get schooled on constitutional rights — and insists he’s among a handful of non-white members

    Brandon Dowd wants Black Lives Matter activists to travel to rural Harney County in Oregon, to learn about the US constitution.

    One of several dozen protesters [sic] holding their ground at the armed occupation of the Malheur national wildlife refuge, Dowd […] stands out in the armed militia [sic] of white men who say they are fighting the government over federal regulations of public lands.

    [… He] is the only African American and only person of color the Guardian has seen at the refuge since the occupation began two weeks ago — though he and others insist a small handful of non-white militia members are present.

    As commentators from across the country continue to lament law enforcement’s passive approach to the occupation of government buildings — arguing that if the protesters were black or Muslim, the response would have been swift and violent — Dowd said he wished people would stop criticizing the protests and instead visit the compound.

    “I would encourage more black people to come here to get educated,” Dowd said, standing at the front entrance to the refuge on Saturday. “They could learn a lot being here and talking to these constitutional lawyers.”

    I laughed out loud… What “constitutional lawyers”? Whilst I may be mistaken, I’m not aware of any such person supporting either the occupation, the actions of the occupying terrorists, or most(? any of?) the legal “theory” as far as anyone has been able to understand what these eejits are “arguing”.

    […]
    Dowd said he was both deeply distrustful of the US Bureau of Land Management and fascinated by the idea of forming a so-called “common law grand jury” of local residents that could operate outside the court system and hold corrupt government officials accountable. It’s a concept that the Bundy militia has recently embraced and that critics have mocked, as anti-government extremism taken to an absurd level.

    [… Dowd] said that he does not view the occupation as violent and that he would like to see Black Lives Matter activists research the “grand jury” model as a way to address their grievances.

    “Go to the sheriff in your county, and if he is corrupt, then you need to raise a grand jury on your own and outline the documentation of the wrongdoing,” he said. “This is what this is about — finding a better way of doing things.”

    No Mr fruitcake, what you and the other eejits are doing is attempting to destroy civil society. As others have pointed out, these terrorists seem to have a poor understanding of “ownership”, “commons”, and “rule of law” — and have an awkward problem when their usual “solution”, the local sheriff, thinks you are nutters. Hence, I presume, this “common law grand jury” bullshite, which I don’t recall ever hearing before: The sheriff is not on your side? Then find her/him corrupt! And then, well, something… Yeah, that’s sensible — not.

  40. dianne says

    The only threat to Americans is Americans with guns.

    I disagree. While Americans with guns are clearly a threat to Americans, they are not the only threat or even the worst threat. Frankly, the most serious threat to US-Americans is US-Americans with money. The Gini coefficient has increased in the 2000s with the income for US-Americans except for the top 10% having a flat income with no increase in that time (therefore a decrease in pay after inflation.) That’s the most serious danger to the country because desperate people try desperate things and, well, Trump.

  41. blf says

    dianne@38, That comment was made by some commentator in response to a story about one of the thugs (Rubio) saying USAians needed guns because of a possible daesh invasion. Taken in that context, about why anyone would need a gun, the real threat — not Rubio’s fantasy — is the large number of guns in the USA, which is what I read the commentator as driving at.

    In the wider context, I would suggest the “largest” threat is not inequality between people in the States (which is perhaps threat number 2), but environmental devastation (and especially AGW). Heavily related, the USA consumes a massively disproportionate amount of the planet’s resources: So in a sense, the largest threat is inequality, but between essentially everyone in the States and much of the rest of the planet.

  42. says

    For those of you who did not watch the Democratic debate last night, here are a few excerpts from Ken Thomas’s summary (Thomas is a journalist for the Associated Press):

    In their final debate before the Iowa caucuses, the gloves came off between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. […]

    Clinton sought an advantage over the Vermont senator on curbing gun violence. Sanders, meanwhile, twice assailed the former secretary of state for accepting big money in speaking fees from Wall Street, drawing some boos as he did so.

    Health care emerged as a major dividing line, placing the future of President Barack Obama’s health care law in the spotlight. Just two hours before the debate, Sanders released a proposal that would create a “Medicare for all” health care system funded by higher taxes on middle class families and the wealthy. Clinton warned that reopening the health care debate would put Obama’s health care law at risk.

    […] former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tried to enter into the conversation with mixed results. […]

    “You’ve received $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year,” Sanders said pointedly [to Clinton]. […]

    In some respects, the debate crystallized one of the main differences between Sanders and Clinton: passion versus practicality.

    […] Sanders offered a rousing case for a massive expansion of government: a universal health care system paid for with higher taxes, free college tuition and a generous system of paid family leave for workers. But he faced questions over how he would pay for it all.

    “A little bit more in taxes, do away with private health insurance premiums,” Sanders explained. “It’s a pretty good deal.”

    Clinton said her policies were superior and the American people would know how her plan would be implemented and paid for.

    “I’m the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class,” she said. “I want to raise incomes, not taxes, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that the wealthy pay for debt free tuition, for child care, for paid family leave.” […]

    Clinton charged Sanders with reversing his position on a 2005 bill that granted gun manufactures immunity from lawsuits. She listed a series of provisions that she said the senator, who represents rural communities in Vermont, had supported in line with the NRA. […]

    She [Clinton] repeatedly defended the Affordable Care Act and said Sanders’ approach would reopen a debate that might come back to haunt Democrats. “I do not to want see the Republicans repeal it, and I don’t to want see us start over again with a contentious debate,” she said. […]

    Low in the polls, the former Maryland governor [O’Malley] barely qualified to appear on the debate stage and, at times, struggled to get a word in as Sanders and Clinton jousted on the issues.

    As the debate’s moderator headed into the first commercial break, O’Malley asked, “Just 10 seconds?” to no avail. Later on, when a question was posed to Clinton, he asked, to laughter, “Can I get 30 seconds, too?”

    It was tough for O’Malley to stand out. When the conversation shifted to fiscal responsibility, O’Malley said his time in Maryland made him the only person on stage to balance a budget. Sanders – an ex-mayor of Burlington, Vermont – quickly interjected, “I was mayor for 8 years, I did that as well.”

    Link

  43. says

    Donald Trump spoke at Liberty University this morning. That’s the university where students are free to skip a speech by Trump only if they pay a $10 fine. The “university” promotes evangelical christian nonsense.

    Trump pandered wildly to christians in general, playing to his audience.

    “We’re going to protect Christianity,” Trump told the audience. “I can say that, I don’t have to be politically correct.”

    […] repeated campaign promise that the phrase “Merry Christmas” will become repopularized if he moves into the Oval Office. While promoting his book “The Art of the Deal,” he made sure to note that “the Bible blows it away. There’s nothing like the Bible.” […]

    The GOP candidate received a warm welcome at the evangelical university, where he was introduced by president Jerry Falwell, Jr. as “one of the greatest visionaries of all time.” During the address, a male audience member yelled out, “You make us proud to be American!” […]

    Falwell recounted how his father once hung a banner at the university that read “Politically incorrect since 1971,” a theme Trump returned to at several times during his address. […]

    The GOP frontrunner has taken flak throughout the race for what critics see as a newfound, politically motivated interest in discussing religion. For weeks in the fall, he refused to disclose his favorite Bible verse, and he described his religious identity at an Iowa campaign event in January by saying, “I am an evangelical. I’m a Christian. I’m a Presbyterian.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-liberty-university

  44. says

    Ted Cruz said some stupid stuff about John F. Kennedy:

    […] “JFK campaigned on tax cuts, limiting government and standing up and defeating Soviet communists,” he told a New Hampshire audience. “JFK would be a Republican today. He stood for religious liberty, and he would be tarred and feathered by the modern Democratic Party.” […]

    Cruz’s vision of limited government is derived from a radical interpretation of the 10th Amendment that deems much of what the federal government does unconstitutional, including programs like Medicaid. […] Kennedy proposed significant federal programs including “federal aid to education, medical care for the elderly, urban mass transit, a Department of Urban Affairs, and regional development in Appalachia.”

    Cruz has vowed to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Cruz backs a balanced budget constitutional amendment, Kennedy rejected the idea of a balanced budget as outdated and misleading “mythology.”

    Cruz is correct that Kennedy proposed tax cuts — but his 1963 proposal was to cut the top tax individual rates from 91 percent to 65 percent and to bring the corporate rate to 47 percent. Today, Cruz calls much lower rates as too high, vowing to create a flat tax so “No longer will American businesses face the highest top tax rate, 35 percent, in the developed world.”

    The hawkish Cruz also gets Kennedy’s approach to foreign policy wrong. While Kennedy was a strong critic of Communism, he tried diplomacy with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev first. […] Cruz, on the other hand, has denounced U.S. negotiations with Iran and, even when they have been fruitful […]

    Think Progress link

  45. says

    Good. Such a book should have never been offered to teachers in the first place.

    The Scholastic Corporation, an American publishing company that specializes in books for children and teachers, will pull a newly released controversial children’s picture book about George Washington following outcry that the book depicts happy slaves […]

    “[W]ithout more historical background on the evils of slavery than this book for younger children can provide, the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn,” the company wrote in part.

    “We do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation of information to younger children, despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor, and illustrator.” […]

    Think Progress link.

  46. says

    Another anti-Muslim hate crime:

    […] Mujibur Rahman told police that he was walking his 9-year-old niece home from school when two men came up behind him and punched him multiple times in the head while yelling “ISIS! ISIS!” The 43-year-old fell to the ground, where the suspects continued kicking him.

    New York 1 reported that Rahman, who is from Bangladesh, was wearing traditional South Asian clothing when he was attacked. He was released from Jacobi Medical Center on Saturday night, according to The New York Times. The attackers have not yet been located.

    Though his niece was unharmed during the attack, Rahman told New York 1 that she is now afraid to go outside.

    “She could not sleep at night,” he said. “She said she didn’t want to go back to school anymore. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nyc-muslim-hate-crime-isis

  47. says

    Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A lot of Republicans tweeted appreciation for MLK. Many of those same Republicans supported the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act. Most of them are also fighting against a bill that would restore the Voting Rights Act.

    The new bipartisan legislation to restore key provisions currently has support from only 14 Republicans in the House of Representatives.

    Here’s the official tweet from @House GOP: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Honoring the life & legacy of #MLK.

    Here are fifty Republicans who tweeted support for MLK, but who are not supporting restoration of the Voting Rights bill:
    Paul Ryan
    Kevin McCarthy
    Justin Amash
    Gus Bilirakis
    Mike Bishop
    Diane Black
    Marsha Blackburn
    Mike Bost
    Ken Buck
    Curt Clawson
    Mike Coffman
    Barbara Comstock
    Ryan Costello
    Rick Crawford
    Ander Crenshaw
    Mario Diaz-Balart
    Renee Ellmers
    Tom Emmer
    Blake Farenthold
    Bill Flores
    Trent Franks
    Louie Gohmert
    Garret Graves
    Tom Graves
    Cresent Hardy
    Will Hurd
    Bill Johnson
    David Jolly
    Steve King
    Adam Kinzinger
    Barry Loudermilk
    Mia Love
    Martha McSally
    Mark Meadows
    Patrick Meehan
    Alex Mooney
    Tim Murphy
    Pete Olson
    Dave Reichert
    Jim Renacci
    Todd Rokita
    Austin Scott
    Elise Stefanik
    Tim Walberg
    Mimi Walters
    Bruce Westerman
    Steve Womack
    David Young
    Lee Zeldin

    Many of these doofuses included with their tweets a photo of themselves with one or more black people.

    Our whole campaign in Alabama has been centered around the right to vote. In focusing the attention of the nation and the world today on the flagrant denial of the right to vote, we are exposing the very origin, the root cause, of racial segregation in the Southland. —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1965

  48. says

    Rachel Maddow covered the history of Iran holding American hostages, and how the Republicans have been twisting this history into an unrecognizable mess that bears no resemblance to the facts. No, Ronald Reagan did not negotiate nor cause the release of hostages in Iran on the first day he was sworn into office. (1979 to 1980 time frame.)

    So far, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Chris Christie have all proffered similar versions of twisted history. Ronald Reagan is deliberately misremembered on the right. This pseudo-history approach has consequences: all of the Republican presidential candidates have a whacko, John-Wayne-ish approach to U.S./Iran relations. Marco Rubio is the prime example.

    Cross posted from the “deep down all Republicans are cowards” thread.

  49. says

    This is a followup to comment 47.

    Here is an example of the comments about Donald Trump that were made during the debate in the British parliament:

    This is about buffoonery, and ultimately buffoonery must not be met with the blunt instrument of a ban, but with the classic British response of ridicule.

    Trump was also called “an idiot” (three times), a “demagogue,” and “a fool.”

    One MP described Trump as a “wazzock,” but I don’t know what that means.

  50. says

    This is a followup to comment 41.

    While he was at Liberty University, Trump inadvertently proved (yet again) that he does not attend church often and that he really knows next to nothing about the bible.

    Trump sought to show his religious knowledge and his support of the Christian faith. He told the crowd that a Trump administration would seek to “protect Christianity” and bring back “Merry Christmas.”

    But he bungled an attempt at a deeper show of knowledge, saying that he asked Falwell and “some of the folks here because I hear this is a major theme right here. But two Corinthians, right? Two Corinthians 3:17. That’s the whole ballgame.” The conventional way of citing scripture would be “second Corinthians.”

    If you watch the video, you can even hear a little laughter from the audience when Trump bungled the “Two Corinthians” part of his speech. Some students in the audience sent out Yik Yak tweets mocking Trump: “Two Corinthians walk into a bar …” etc.

    Trump even used the word “damn” when describing Apple needing to build their “damn computers and things” in America – a line he’s used at many rallies before, but never at an evangelical place of education.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/trump-tests-evangelical-message-liberty-university

    During that same speech, Trump dedicated his great poll numbers and packed audiences at his rallies to Martin Luther King. That was his only mention of MLK day.

  51. says

    More proof that Republicans fear Hillary Clinton: they are trying to help Bernie Sanders.
    Bloomberg link.

    Republican operatives are having a strange crush on Bernie Sanders.

    During Sunday night’s Democratic debate, the Republican National Committee made the unusual move of sending no fewer than four real-time e-mails to reporters defending the self-described democratic socialist from attacks by Hillary Clinton or echoing his message against her. Based on their content, one could be forgiven for thinking the RNC communiques came from the Sanders campaign. […]

  52. says

    Rick Santorum said some stupid stuff about deporting undocumented immigrants:

    Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) considers deporting Latino undocumented immigrants to be a “blessing” to Latin America because skilled immigrants could “save” their native countries, the Des Moines Register reported.

    During a town hall meeting in Gladbrook, IA this week, Santorum recounted a conversation he had with a school teacher who told him the majority of her students were immigrant children and asked what he would do with those families.

    “My response is, ‘Great. Do you realize what a blessing they will be to their country when they go back?’” Santorum said, according to the publication. He explained that undocumented immigrants with American work skills could thrive back in Latin American countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

    “You are talking about folks who are going to be the leaders of their countries,” Santorum added. “I think that the best thing that we can do to stem the tide of illegal immigration is to have them go home and save their countries.” […]

    Think Progress link

  53. says

    Ted Cruz is staying true to his offend-almost-everyone tactic of keeping company with the worst elements of U.S. culture. In this “the company they keep” instance, we see Cruz joining forces with the anti-feminist group Eagle Forum.

    As an added rightwing yuck factor, Eagle Forum is so dominant in mormon communities that the group was featured on several episodes of HBO’s “Big Love” series. In the background, we have some Moments of Mormon Madness here.

    […]The endorsers advertised by Cruz’s campaign notably do not include Eagle Forum’s founder, Phyllis Schlafly, who has not explicitly endorsed any candidate but has called Donald Trump the “last hope for America.” […]

    The best-known Eagle Forum activist on the latest list of Cruz endorsers is Cathie Adams, a former chairwoman of the Texas GOP and longtime leader of the state’s Eagle Forum chapter, who has a record of extremism that will make her fit right in with her fellow Cruz endorsers.

    Adams led a group of Texas Republicans in inserting language supporting “ex-gay” therapy into the state party’s platform in 2014, later saying that homosexuality “is NOT NORMAL behavior” and that the state must support “those individuals who choose to seek a way out of sexual perversion.” […]

    “Texas’ laws should be aligned with nature and nature’s God, thus protecting children from the unnatural and unhealthy lifestyles of homosexuality and bisexuality,” she wrote to members of Texas Eagle Forum in 2003. When pro-choice protesters filled the Texas capitol in 2013, she called them “feminazis” and “stinky stalking feminists.”

    Adams share’s Eagle Forum’s nativist priorities, defending abstinence-only education by blaming teen pregnancy rates on Mexican immigrants with inferior “morals,” opposing the Children’s Health Insurance Program because it might benefit “illegal aliens,” and warning that the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill would lead to the biblical Mark of the Beast through biometric scanning and bring about the End Times. […]

    Adams has also been an enthusiastic promoter of conspiracy theories about president Obama, doing her part to promote the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory and the fear that Obama might stay in office past his second term, and suggesting that Obama’s Christian faith is not real.

    Right Wing Watch link

    I do wonder why anti-feminists think that feminists stink.

    Eagle Forum leaders in 19 states signed on to support Cruz. The leader in Utah is Gayle Ruzicka, a woman known for combining conservative politics with mormonism. Salt Lake Tribune link.

    Orlean Koehle, a chapter president for Eagle Forum, is also a mormon. Reference link. She and her Eagle Forum group sued schools in Santa Rosa over “pro-gay” policies.

    Many of the mormon women still active in Eagle Forum joined during the 1976 anti-ERA campaign that mormon male leaders promoted. The LDS church issued an official directive asking ten mormon women from every ward (congregation) to attend pro-ERA conferences in order to derail feminist goals. They did. Reference link.

  54. says

    Oh, FFS. Kim Davis’s lawyer has compared her to Martin Luther King Jr.

    Dr. King was a highly principled man and firmly held to his convictions until his untimely death.

    Today, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis stands as an example to all of us as a person of conviction who was jailed for her principled resistance to an unjust law. Yet, the Lord has restored her in ways she couldn’t have imagined!

    While no one wants conflict, we have no choice but to resist an unjust law, particularly one that will force us to participate in acts that directly conflict with the Natural and Revealed Law. […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

  55. says

    Hillary Clinton added another big endorsement to her growing list of endorsements. Today, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

    […] Out on the campaign trail, we’ve seen Secretary Clinton fight back against Republicans threatening to block our progress – and revoke, repeal and overturn the gains made during President Obama’s two terms. Just as she has fought for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state […]

    In a statement, Clinton said she was “honored” to receive HRC’s support, adding that “our work is far from over.”

    “Too many LGBT Americans still face discrimination—in employment, in housing, in education, in health care—because of who they are or who they love,” Clinton said. “And the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher. The Republican candidates for president have not only hurled hateful, insulting rhetoric about the LGBT community—they’ve made it clear that if elected, they will roll back the rights that so many have fought for.” […]

    Link

  56. says

    Bernie Sanders spoke before an energetic crowd on MLK day.

    Thousands of people packed into an auditorium here [Birmingham, Alabama] on Monday night for a Martin Luther King Day rally held by Senator Bernie Sanders that at times felt like a boisterous football game.

    […] The Vermont senator’s hourlong speech focused on the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and on how his presidency would continue Dr. King’s legacy by fighting various forms of discrimination and inequality.

    “It is absolutely imperative that we see his life not as a museum piece, something simply to be looked at, to be studied, to be appreciated, to be kept on a shelf,” Mr. Sanders said of Dr. King. “To truly honor the life of Dr. King, we must fight to carry out his radical and bold vision for America. And his vision was of a nation in which we not only end all forms of institutional racism, and bigotry, but a nation in which all of us, black, and white, and Latino, Asian-American, Native American, all of us, come to together to create a country which provides economic, social and environmental justice for all.” […]

    NY Times link.

  57. says

    Oh, good. Despite the efforts of rightwing activists and Republican presidential candidates, Michael Bay’s propaganda movie about the 2012 Benghazi attack is not doing well. In fact, “13 Hours” posted figures that put the movie into the category of “worst opening” for a Bay movie in a decade.

    Ted Cruz tried to advertise the movie: “Tomorrow morning, a new movie will debut about the incredible bravery of the men fighting for their lives in Benghazi and the politicians that abandoned them.”

    Donald Trump rented out an entire movie theater in Iowa to show the movie. He gave out free tickets

    Hollywood Reporter noted that the movie earned about $19.6 million on its opening weekend (compared to $107 million for “American Sniper” last year), and that “13 Hours” is on track to lose money. Yay! Money being thrown away on propaganda.

    Conservative news outlets also hyped Bay’s propaganda film. To no avail.

    As bad reviews go, you can’t beat having the former CIA chief in Benghazi say that “13 Hours” is “largely a work of fiction.”

    […] According to the officer in charge of the CIA’s Benghazi base that night, the scene in the movie is entirely untrue.

    “There never was a stand-down order,” said the base chief known as Bob, speaking publicly for the first time. “At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.” […]

    Bob agreed to talk on the condition that his last name not be used because even though he has retired, his cover has not been lifted. “I thought I would regret it if I didn’t,” he said about finally speaking out. “So much of this information has been wrong.” […]

    No one will mistake this movie for a documentary,” CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said. “It’s a distortion of the events and people who served in Benghazi that night. It’s shameful that, in order to highlight the heroism of some, those responsible for the movie felt the need to denigrate the courage of other Americans who served in harm’s way.”

    Washington Post link

    I love a rightwing propaganda flop.

  58. says

    A big issue related to immigration is going to be heard by the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court will hear a major immigration case this term challenging President Obama’s executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported.

    The justices’ announcement Tuesday provides the Obama administration’s greatest shot at getting the 2014 executive measures on track before the president leaves office. Oral arguments for the case are set for this spring with a final decision ultimately coming by the end of the court’s term in June.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/supreme-court-takes-major-immigration-case

    The back story and some analysis from Steve Benen.

  59. says

    Conservatives who want to kill Obamacare never give up. They proffered another case to the Supreme Court, but once again, the court sided with the Obama administration.

    The US Supreme Court now has twice heard major challenges to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and twice it […] upheld the law. […] Today, the court refused even to hear the latest challenge to the law, a sign that the justices are perhaps ready to move on.

    The case, Sissel v. HHS, involves an artist and National Guard reservist who, like other anti-ACA plaintiffs, really doesn’t want to buy health insurance. Represented by the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, Sissel “prefers to devote his resources to building up his art business rather than buying health insurance,” according to his petition for certiorari.

    Unfortunately for Sissel, that’s no longer an option thanks to Obamacare, which now requires him to get some health insurance or pay a fine to the federal government. So in 2010, he sued the US Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that the law should be invalidated because the fine he’s subject to is actually a tax, and that tax was created by the US Senate and not the House, as required by the Constitution’s Origination Clause.

    Sissel’s challenge is backed by none other than GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who filed an amicus brief in the case with fellow Republican Sens. John Cornyn (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah) […]

    […] lower courts have firmly rejected Sissel’s arguments, stating that the ACA was not a revenue-raising bill under the definition of the Origination Clause, largely because its primary purpose was to extend health insurance coverage to lots of Americans, not to raise taxes. Besides, the DC Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit said the tax provision did originate in the House. The Senate merely amended it, something it does all the time without controversy.

    […] As Constitutional Accountability Center Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra noted in a press release Tuesday, “It is hardly surprising that the Court has refused to hear this case […] The Court upheld the ACA for the second time just last June, with Chief Justice Roberts picking up a sixth vote to send a clear signal that he’s had enough of what has become a blatant ideological crusade. […]”

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/01/supreme-court-rejects-obamacare-challenge

  60. blf says

    One MP described Trump as a “wazzock,” but I don’t know what that means.

    The Grauniad has an entire article about it, Wazzock: the perfect insult to throw at Donald Trump:

    The northern put down, which enjoyed popularity in the 90s, made an appearance in parliament this week with regards to the Republican hopeful. But what are the term’s origins, and what does it really mean?

    Donald Trump will be familiar with most abuse but the latest — “wazzock” — might leave him flummoxed. Northern [British] slang for a stupid or annoying chump, wazzock had its moment in the corridors of power on Monday, when Conservative MP Victoria Atkins [… said]: “If he met one or two of my constituents in one of the many excellent pubs in my constituency, then they may well tell him he is a wazzock for dealing with this issue in this way.”

    […] As Alex Games writes in Balderdash & Piffle: “No one is going to take someone to court for calling them a ‘wazzock’: it’s not a high-octane term of abuse.”

    Games thinks its appeal lies in its “northern bluntness” and its mix of familiar sounds. “The ‘wazz’ contrasts ironically with the swiftness of ‘whizz’, and the ending ‘-ock’ reminds us of other words like pillock.” While “pillock” has ancient origins — a contraction of pillicock, which was used in the 16th century and came from a Scandinavian word for penis — wazzock’s etymology is unknown, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which places its origins in the 1980s. […]

    […] According to [radio presenter Mike] Harding, it takes its name from the habit of medieval kings to “take a crap on a shovel”. The royal turd would be “wazzed” out of the window and the wazzock was the tool for performing this operation.

    […]

    Is wazzock a good way to describe Trump? “There are no words foul enough,” says Harding.

  61. says

    Donald Trump wants Apple to “start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries.”

    Items in the “Donald J. Trump “Signature Collection” are made in China. When they are not made in Mexico.
    Link

  62. blf says

    Too bad we can’t wazz Trump out the window like the royal turds.

    Send him to Praha, where they have a habit of defenestrating wazzocks. The main square (Charles Square) actually has multiple plaques commemorating where the town council and others landed after being chucked out of the town hall.

  63. microraptor says

    Lynna @59:

    Is Bay actually trying to bring Hillary down, or is he just trying to make his Transformers movies better looking by comparison?

  64. says

    blf @65, good plan. Do we need to start a petition?

    microraptor @66, good questions. Hard to tell. He must think he is going to bring Hillary down, as do his gullible fans, Trump and Cruz.

    In other news, Donald Trump was endorsed by John Wayne’s daughter, Alissa Wayne. Thanks to the photos accompanying this announcement, we now know what Trump looks like when he puckers up to cheek-kiss a woman.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-john-wayne-daughter-2016-1

    Seems like a good fit. In a 1971 Playboy interview, John Wayne said:

    I believe in white supremacy, until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people … I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from [the Native Americans] … Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.

  65. says

    Oh, you subtle, subtle Republicans who are anti-sex … what are we going to do with you?

    Washington state Rep. Mary Dye (R) asked a group of teenagers visiting her office in Olympia for a Teen Lobbying Day if they were virgins […]

    The students, who were accompanied by a Planned Parenthood representative, were advocating for expanded insurance coverage for birth control […].

    The Planned Parenthood representative, Rachel Todd, told the students they didn’t have to answer Dye’s question.

    […] Dye herself later issued an apology.

    “In hindsight, a few of the thoughts I shared, while well-intended, may have come across as more motherly than what they would expect from their state representative,” Dye said […] “If anything I said offended them or made them feel uncomfortable, I apologize.”

    One student, Alex Rubino, told the newspaper the comments were “kind of insane.” […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/mary-dye-teens-virginity

  66. blf says

    The terrorists in Oregon are trying, again, to recruit locals, Oregon militia [sic] recruiting ranchers to stop paying government grazing fees:

    Ammon Bundy and key standoff leaders left the Malheur national wildlife refuge to persuade ranchers to violate their US Bureau of Land Management contracts

    The militiamen [sic] occupying federal lands in Oregon say they are recruiting ranchers to stop paying government grazing fees as protest leaders freely come and go from the compound to spread their message.

    On Monday night, Ammon Bundy and other key militia leaders left the Malheur national wildlife refuge to meet with ranchers in nearby Crane to detail their strategy and persuade them to take a stand against the federal government.

    “This is going to be across the country,” militia spokesman LaVoy Finicum [the kook who seems to enslave children –blf] said on Tuesday morning. “This is just the beginning.”

    […]

    Finicum said the militia plans to meet on Thursday with community members in Grant County, Oregon, roughly 100 miles north of the wildlife refuge. “This isn’t just an occupation,” he said. “This is a movement.”

    Although militia leaders previously said last week that they would soon announce announce how they plan to end the occupation, they have still offered no details on a timeline for their departure. Instead, they have declared that they will stand their ground until they are sure the lands will not return to the control of the federal government. [In other words, the terrorists do not intend to leave alive. –blf]

    […]

    On Tuesday, environmental activists across Oregon are staging rallies to protest the militia, and local residents in Harney County continue to demand that Bundy and his followers leave the refuge. […]

    Some comments:

    ● “They are delusional, entitled, seditionist domestic terrorists.”

    ● “[… T]he US taxpayer will have to make up the loss that the state loses in rent? Do they think of anything else but how they make more profit for their business?
      “Expect your local taxes to increase or lose a bit more of the infrastructure.”

    ● “[…] Why do ranchers think they can graze their animals for nothing on land that they don’t own?”

  67. blf says

    Oh for feck’s sake, BBC journalist stopped from flying to US over UK-Iranian nationality:

    Rana Rahimpour caught by new legislation that means dual citizens of some countries, including Iran, can no longer use visa waiver programme

    A BBC journalist has been stopped boarding a plane from London to the US because of her dual British-Iranian nationality.

    Rana Rahimpour, a presenter at the BBC’s Persian service based in London, was stopped at Heathrow airport on Tuesday before catching a flight to New Jersey. US authorities told her she could no longer fly to the US under the visa waiver programme because of her Iranian citizenship.

    It is an embarrassing episode for the US authorities that highlights the consequences of new legislation passed by the US Congress which means some dual nationals who could previously visit the US for 90 days without a visa must now obtain one. The measure punishes all Iranian dual nationals regardless of their affiliation to the Iranian government as well as British people or other European citizens who have travelled to Iran in the past five years.

    “Three days after lifting Iran sanctions, US denied Esta/visa waivers for me and another two British citizens {because} we have Iranian nationality too,” Rahimpour tweeted after being stopped.

    She told the Guardian she was “devastated” because she was planning to see her brother after a year and half and was to attend a surprise birthday party. Rahimpour […] posted a photo of herself sobbing next to her two-year-old daughter, writing: “My fully British daughter can’t attend her American cousin’s birthday {because} her mum was born in Iran.”

    […]

    Rahimpour’s case is particularly important. Iran has been hostile toward the BBC Persian service staff, harassing them directly or mistreating their family members living in Iran. Because of her work at the Persian service, Rahimpour has not been able to visit Iran for more than seven years.

    She said she felt unwelcome in the US after being prevented from travelling. […] “My cousins who were travelling with me and faced similar problems have left Iran 20 years ago, […] they are paying the price for the politics of a country that they have nothing to do with.”

    […]

    The legislation has also angered many Iranian-Americans, including Dr Firouz Naderi who has served America for 35 years, climbing the ranks at Nasa, landing spacecraft on Mars and meeting Michelle Obama at the White House. He told the Guardian recently that he now feels he is being treated as a second-class citizen in the country he calls home.

    As the article points out (I redacted most of this from the above excerpt), the requirement that anyone who visited Iran in the last five years also needs a visa will hit a lot of people, e.g., tourists from Europe.

    I have no idea why this change, but it smells to me like the thugs trying to derail the nuclear deal: It’s recent, it’s only(?) Iran, it makes no sense, it’s from Congress (so the “makes no sense” point is, admittedly, a tautology), and it seems calculated to annoy / damage Iran whilst ignoring everything it causes / everyone else it annoys (or: “cut off your own nose ‘cuz it scares others”).

  68. blf says

     
    Multiple trigger warnings!
     
     
    Islamic State holding estimated 3,500 slaves in Iraq, says UN:

    Report says group committing abuses that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide

    Islamic State militants have enslaved an estimated 3,500 people in Iraq, primarily women and children from the Yazidi community, a UN report says.

    The report says the terror group has committed atrocities in Iraq that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

    “This report lays bare the enduring suffering of civilians in Iraq and starkly illustrates what Iraqi refugees are attempting to escape when they flee to Europe and other regions,” said the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein. […]

    […]

    Isis’s campaign has essentially ended centuries of coexistence in northern Iraq, largely emptying Nineveh of its Christian population, which has chosen exile over slaughter or life under the Islamic State regime. The group has also destroyed countless artefacts and historical sites in the province, including treasures from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires and the Mosul museum.

    The UN report details specific incidents of sexual violence and enslavement, including:

    ● A Yazidi woman who was shot after trying to escape from her captors. Her body was left on the side of the road.
    ● 42 Yazidi who women were sent to Deir ez-Zor in Syria […] and sold as sex slaves for between $500 and $2,000 (£350-£1,400).
    ● 19 women who were killed in Mosul for refusing to have sex with fighters.
    ● A Qur’an memorisation contest in which the top three winners would receive sex slaves as prizes.

    It was unclear whether the UN had attempted to verify these specific incidents or the numbers of slaves said to be held by Isis, or whether it had simply relayed claims by local notables and Yazidi and Kurdish leaders.

    [… The report] tallies the staggering toll on civilians over the past two years, documenting 18,802 deaths, the wounding of more than 36,000 people and the displacement of 3.2 million inside the country, including more than a million children of school age.

    Killings by shooting, beheading, bulldozing and burning alive are detailed, as well as cases of people being thrown off the top of buildings.

    It says the UN has information about the murder of child soldiers and has verified reports suggesting 800 to 900 children in Mosul have been abducted for military and religious training.

    In one incident, the UN documents the apparent murder of 18 boys under 18 by Isis after they deserted the frontlines in Anbar. […]

  69. says

    “Politician turned reality show star endorses reality show star turned politician.” Ari Melber posted that on his Twitter account because, (earthshaking moment), Sarah Palin has endorsed Donald Trump for president. Or, rather, she will this evening.

    Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will endorse Donald Trump Tuesday, NBC News has confirmed. […]

    Palin, who has reemerged on the political scene recently as the primary approaches, has long positioned herself as the anti-establishment candidate. Palin’s endorsement of Trump is a blow to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who is also trying to appeal to voters angry and the traditional ranks of the Republican Party.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/sarah-palin-endorse-donald-trump

    You would think that a Palin endorsement would be the kiss of death. I wonder if she’s angling for another Vice Presidential run?

  70. says

    Yes, that’s right, Republicans continue to try to repeal Obamacare without offering an alternative.

    [Paul Krugman said,] “Lucy just snatched the football away, again. Republicans assured us that this year they really would, seriously, roll out their alternative to Obamacare. Or, maybe, not.”

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/16/tina-and-the-aca/

    Partial Timeline of Events:

    July 2009: Representative Roy Blunt states that he is helping to write the GOP’s alternative to the Affordable Care Act. “I guarantee you we will provide you with a bill.”

    July 2009, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (right-winger from Virginian) told reporters that a Republican replacement for “Obamacare” was “weeks away.”

    Six and half years go by.

    April 2014: Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-California) tells us that the plan is almost complete, but will be delayed “at least a month.”

    2015 (not sure of the month): Then-House Speaker John Boehner said on Fox News, “There will be an alternative, and you’re going to get to see it.”

    December 2015: Paul Ryan said that finishing the Republican healthcare plan was “urgent.”

    January 2016, Krugman notes the latest failure of the GOP to present an alternative to Obamacare.

    Yeah, the Republicans are going to continue to associate Obamacare with Evil while they do not come up with an alternative health care plan.

  71. says

    The Sarah Palin Endorsement Show!

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/1/19/1471927/-Sarah-Palin-endorses-Donald-Trump-in-fabulous-reality-television-politics-mashup

    There will be more later. For now, everyone is “proud.”

    “I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Ms. Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.

    Her support is the highest-profile backing for a Republican contender so far.

    “I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement,” Mr. Trump said in a statement trumpeting Mrs. Palin’s decision. “She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support.”

  72. microraptor says

    BLF @69:

    “[…] Why do ranchers think they can graze their animals for nothing on land that they don’t own?”

    Because it’s public land. And to these people, “public land” means that you should be able to come in and graze, mine, or log the land whenever you want without paying anything, and everyone else can fuck themselves because you’re more deserving of it than they are.

  73. microraptor says

    Amendment: and those other guys are probably soy latte drinking dirty hippy liberal socialists who don’t have real jobs anyway, so you ought to do whatever they hate just to spite them anyway.

  74. Saad says

    Trump:

    [Palin] is a friend, and a high-quality person

    Who talks like that?!

    “A high-quality person”… WTF

  75. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Bundy Militant Terrorists held a series of meetings to drum up support. Mostly they heard “go home, we like it as it is now”.

    Some of the several hundred community members spoke to Bundy directly. One woman thanked him for raising awareness around issues of public lands, but told him it’s time to go home to his family.
    “Ammon, you need to go home to your family; thank you,” said local resident Jennifer Williams. “I’ve heard so many things I didn’t know before. Now I’m aware.”
    Other speakers were less congenial and at times angry and emotional in comments directed at the armed group as well as at local government officials and federal government, in part for not doing more to end the occupation.

    The total arrests are now up to two:

    He said police have arrested two men affiliated with the group and included a new report that Duane Kirkland of Hamilton, Montana, was stopped and arrested Thursday on a felon in possession of a firearm charge. Police arrested Kenneth Medenbach, of La Pine, in Burns Friday for unauthorized use of a vehicle authorities say was taken illegally from the refuge.

    Felon in possession of a firearm. Stupid man.

  76. raven says

    Xpost from patheos Dispatches As I point out below, when you dig into these militias, you find dysfunctional crackpots.

    The Exact Moment Blaine & Melissa Cooper’s Children …
    Youtube video link ommitted for formatting.
    2 days ago – Uploaded by Pete Santilli ShowThe Exact Moment Blaine & Melissa Cooper’s Children Were Freed From CPS – #OregonFront. Pete …

    The god babble posted above is signed Blaine Cooper.
    Blaine and Melissa Cooper came close to having their children taken away by CPS. I’m not sure how or why yet. Edit: It’s below now.

    If you look at these militia guys, they usually have criminal records for stupid antisocial stuff. Medenbach’s was for prolonged camping on federal land, twice.

    In Oregon, a new-age militia holds its ground – USA Today
    www .usatoday.com/story/news/na…
    USA TodayJan 7, 2016 – Blaine Cooper, 36, is a watchman among rebels. … In Oregon, a new-agemilitia holds its ground … His web site says he has 11 children

    1. And how does dad Blaine support his 11 children? According to his parents, Blaine isn’t much of a parent and they’ve ended up kicking in a lot of food and medicine. How much does taking over a federal wildlife refuge pay anyway?
    2. I’m not sure this is true anyway. According to other reports, he has three kids that he “rescued” from the grandparents.
    3. And it wouldn’t be the first time he lied. He claimed to be an ex-marine but that is false.

    Really, these militias when you dig into their past are simply anti-social dysfunctional crackpots.

    Dailykos
    Armed Oregon supporters makelate-night raid to take children from family member after CPS called

    OhMiCthulhu, this is appalling. Apparently dad and mom (the Coopers)_dropped their kids off with a friend so they could go liberate the US people from their wildlife refuge. The grandparents are “concerned” about the kids being caught in an armed gun battle between their parents and some sort of law enforcement. They tried to get custody through CPS but their kids found out and grabbed their kids.

    Since CPS hadn’t yet got involved, probably no laws were broken. But the Coopers were waving guns around at their parents which is, I don’t know, definitely not cool.
    I see a bright future ahead for these kids as human shields and embryonic terrorists.

  77. says

    Raven @81, thanks for that post, which includes your much-needed explanation. I was confused at first when I looked into the videotaping of the parents more or less kidnapping their own children, and using guns in the process. What a mess.

    In other news, we can add Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie to the “self-deportation” camp when it comes to immigration policy.

    […] In an interview with the Washington Examiner published Monday, Christie was asked if he supported “attrition through enforcement.”

    “I think that would be the practical effect of it, yes,” Christie said in response to a question about his support for E-verify, a workplace enforcement program.

    Washington Examiner link.

    Christie did not use the phrase “self-deportation”, but he did describe a policy that would “encourage” people “to leave on their own.”

  78. says

    Sarah Palin is currently in Oklahoma with Donald Trump. They are are speaking at Oral Roberts University, another node in the evangelical christian circuit.

    Palin offered an explanation for her son’s current trouble with the law and with relationships: he has PTSD. She used that as a lead-in for a long rant about taking care of veterans. She is shrieking and yelling more than I remember from the 2008 campaign. She has changed her style to be more emphatic. “We’re in this together!”

    She also ranted about our sailors “being humiliated” by Iran, which she traces back to President Obama being “weak,” “kowtowing” and “apologizing for America.” That was followed by a segue into praise for Trump being the best at “the art of the deal.”

    She called for a “hallelujah” for Trump as a non-politician and a strong commander in chief.

    Tulsa World link. This link does not include Palin’s speech at Oral Roberts, which is not yet online.

  79. blf says

    Palin’s speech at Oral Roberts […] is not yet online.

    Sure it is! Teh nitwit warbled ah bong chicken seen Oblamea snarplfo yi yi yoysa giddypee ates I-ran mooselim tuf [undecipherable] doorald tupits! The droning continues for several minutes, and ends ah bong chicken seen Oblamea snarplfo yiy orf yoysa guddypew taes I-ran mooselam tuf cow yeah zugh dimrald duopots! The exact count is uncertain, but she seems to have managed as many as four “words” with more than one syllable. Clearly a genius at teh American language she has previously said(or so it is thought) she speaks.

  80. says

    Rightwing doofus Ted Nugent posted a rant on his Facebook page in which he called for President Obama and Hillary Clinton to be hanged.

    Our unholy rotten soulless criminal America destroying government killed 4 Americans in Banghazi. Period! What sort of chimpass punk would deny security, turn down 61 requests for security, then tell US forces to STAND DOWN when they were ready to kickass on the allapukes & save American lives! Obama & Clinton, thats who. They should be tried for treason & hung. Our entire fkdup gvt must be cleansed asap. […]

    Link

    BTW, Ted drank a lot of Fox News and rightwing blog/radio swill, because none of that shit about “STAND DOWN” is accurate. Nugget got some his pseudo-facts from Kenneth Timmerman’s book “13 Hours,” which is a conspiracy stew that has been debunked. “13 Hours” is now a movie that looks to be losing money. (See comment 59).

    Nugent quotes from “13 Hours” in his rant.

    Nugget should be arrested for a Class E felony. He threatened a president.

  81. says

    The Daily Mail posted a photo of Palin and Trump together. The text reads “I’m with Stupid,” “Hate minds think alike,” and “Birdbrains of a feather flock together.”

    Daily Kos noted that Sarah Palin “brought enough word salad for everyone.”

    […] She lives in her own little world, and describes it to the rest of us by shouting into a crystal vase of battery acid and leaving us to decipher the vibrations.

    And he, who would negotiate deals, kind of with the skills of a community organizer maybe organizing a neighborhood tea, well, he deciding that, “No, America would apologize as part of the deal,” as the enemy sends a message to the rest of the world that they capture and we kowtow, and we apologize, and then, we bend over and say, “Thank you, enemy.” […]

    Where, in the private sector, you actually have to balance budgets in order to prioritize, to keep the main thing, the main thing, and he knows the main thing: a president is to keep us safe economically and militarily. He [Donald Trump] knows the main thing, and he knows how to lead the charge. So troops, hang in there, because help’s on the way because he, better than anyone, isn’t he known for being able to command, fire! […]

    And you quit footin’ the bill for these nations who are oil-rich, we’re paying for some of their squirmishes that have been going on for centuries. […]

    President Obama will be able to look up, and there, over his head, he’ll be able to see that shining, towering, Trump tower.

  82. says

    Donald Trump weighed in on the Oscar nominations, and the fact that no actors of color were nominated. Trump offered his usual mishmash of pretending to understand while simultaneously making clueless remarks.

    Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he was “sad” that no black actors were nominated for an Academy Award, but noted that white people are not nominated for any Black Entertainment Television Awards.

    “I think it’s a tough situation. I think it’s really sad,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends” when asked about the lack of black nominees.

    He then mentioned Fox News contributor Stacey Dash’s earlier comments on the show, where she said, “If we don’t want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black.”

    “I saw someone on your show today saying, ‘Well, what do we do with BET, Black Entertainment?’ Right?” Trump asked on “Fox and Friends.” “The whites don’t get any nominations.”

    “And I thought it was an amazing interview actually. I never even thought of it from that standpoint,” Trump continued. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  83. says

    This is a followup to comment 85.

    Ted Nugent is a National Rifle Association board member.

    In other news, Fox News has analyzed the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. They found that too much focus on climate change and other “PC [Politically Correct] stuff” caused the crisis.

    Media Matters link.

  84. says

    Bernie Sanders has some dedicated computer nerds working for his campaign. It looks like they are making it possible for campaign volunteers to call more potential voters in shorter timeframes than any previous campaign.

    […] Guided by the campaign and built by the all-volunteer Coders for Bernie in just under two weeks, the Sander 2016 campaign has been live for the last month with a purpose-built campaign dialing system and voter identity system which reaches live voters at a rates the builders believe are 3x-5x faster than any other systems used by any other Presidential Campaign. […]

    Link

  85. blf says

    Follow-up of sorts to @84, the Grauniad has translated some of teh nitwit’s burbling about wazzock trum-prat, Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump: translating her reference-packed speech:

    Palin’s sprawling endorsement of Trump Tuesday was full of alliteration, confusing half-sentences and many throwbacks to the 2008 presidential race

    Sarah Palin packed her sprawling endorsement of Donald Trump last night with alliteration, cultural references, throwbacks to her own political speeches and confusing half-sentences. But what exactly was she talking about?

    Mr Trump, you’re right, look back there in the press box. Heads are spinning, media heads are spinning. This is going to be so much fun.

    Translation: Palin loves hating on the “liberal media” as much as they love reporting on her.

    Looking around at all of you, you hard-working Iowa families. You farm families, and teachers, and teamsters, and cops, and cooks. You rock’n’rollers. And holy rollers!

    Translation: Beautiful rhyming and alliteration here. Minus the rock’n’rollers and holy rollers, it’s a fairly standard list of everyday American occupations.

    […]

    So troops, hang in there, because help’s on the way because he, better than anyone, isn’t he known for being able to command, fire!

    Translation: Literally a reference to Trump’s “you’re fired” line from The Apprentice, Trump made a gun-shooting gesture with his hands at this moment during the Palin’s speech.

    […]

    Where they’re fightin’ each other and yellin’ ‘Allah Akbar’ calling jihad on each other’s heads for ever and ever. Like I’ve said before, let them duke it out and let Allah sort it out.

    Translation: Palin’s sophisticated analysis of the conflicts in the Middle East.

    Some of the comments:

    ● “You can’t translate stupid”.

    ● “Dumb & Dumbester”.

    ● “I thought comedians and satirists had hit the mother lode with most republican candidates at the last election, seems there is even better material to come.”

  86. microraptor says

    Lynna @88:

    I’m actually surprised that FAUX Noise didn’t pull one of their standard retcons and declare that the water situation in Flint was caused by the liberal, Democrat governor ignoring the will of the people.

    For those of you who may be wondering what I mean by this, FOX News has a long history of declaring anyone they don’t like to be a Democrat. They once did this to John McCain.

  87. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The governor of Oregon is ticked that the feds haven’t taken action against the Bundy Militant Terrorists.

    Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she is angry federal authorities have not yet taken action against an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon and said she plans to bill the U.S. government for what it has been costing Oregon taxpayers.
    Brown on Wednesday demanded an end to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by Ammon Bundy and his armed group.
    She said the occupation has cost Oregon taxpayers nearly half a million dollars so far. She didn’t say what those costs entailed.
    Brown said residents in the area have been “overlooked and underserved by federal officials’ response thus far.”
    She called on federal authorities to quickly end the occupation and “hold all of the wrongdoers accountable.”

    Sounds like she wants a super SWAT team response. She’s in charge of the Oregon National Guard, if she wants armed action.

  88. says

    Illegal immigration into the United States has declined during every year that President Obama has held office.

    With Donald Trump and Faux News trumpeting the opposite, it’s hard to see how we can have a meaningful debate about immigration prior to the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump said during the most recent Republican debate:

    We have no borders…. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. I’m tired of seeing what’s going on, between the border where the people flow over; people come in; they live; they shoot.

    Republican candidates should study the facts before they open their mouths again on the subject of immigration. The Los Angeles Times published a report that outlines even better immigration stats:

    The number of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally is at its lowest in more than a decade and, for the first time in years, has probably dropped below 11 million.

    A new study by the Center for Migration Studies estimates that 10.9 million immigrants are living in the country without authorization. That is the lowest level since 2003 and the first time the number has dipped below 11 million since 2004.

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-immigrant-decline-20160120-story.html

    http://jmhs.cmsny.org/index.php/jmhs/article/view/58

    As the Washington Post put it:

    The number of undocumented immigrants has fallen each year since 2008, the report says, driven primarily by a steady decline in illegal migrants from Mexico.

    The Washington Post also thinks this new information will inform the debate during the presidential race. Ummm, yes on the Democratic side, and a big “NO” on the Republican side where they don’t give a fig for facts.

    Other optimistic folks have weighed in, including Kevin Appleby from the Center for Migration Studies:

    The facts of the report tell a different story than what you might hear on the campaign trail or in the halls of Congress, where many send a message that we’re being overrun by undocumented immigrants. The facts and the data show that’s just not true. Hopefully, political discourse will be more fact-based going forward.

  89. says

    Entertainment figures, religious celebrities, conservative activists, etc. are endorsing Trump and Cruz. Who is not endorsing them? Well-known governors and senators.

    Trump endorsements (partial list):
    Palin
    Jerry Falwell Jr.
    Phyllis Schlafly
    Michael Savage
    Various white supremacists

    Cruz endorsements (partial list):
    Mark Levin
    Bob Vander Plaats
    Glenn Beck
    Phil Robertson
    James Dobson
    Representative Steve King (hey, one politician)

    Looks more and more like the religious/entertainment party and not the GOP.

  90. says

    To wash the bad news away, here’s a video of Syrian refugee children in Canada going sledding for the first time.
    Link

    Scroll down for video. A local Ontario Police Department official supervised the sledding.

  91. says

    Carly Fiorina took over a pre-school field trip to give an anti-abortion speech. Pre-schoolers had to listen to her.
    The Guardian link

    None of the children’s parents had given permission for the Fiorina anti-abortion detour.

  92. says

    I think Bernie Sanders made a big mistake when he identified Planned Parenthood as part of “the establishment” that is endorsing Hillary Clinton.
    Link

    […] And so I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund, in Planned Parenthood. But you know what, Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time and some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment.[…]

  93. quotetheunquote says

    To wash the bad news away, here’s a video of Syrian refugee children in Canada going sledding for the first time.

    Lynna: Thanks for that link, that was brilliant.

    (I didn’t see a single helmet on any of those kids, though – scandalous! And their sponsor a member of the gendarmerie, too. [*tsk *tsk])

  94. blf says

    the Republican side [… doesn’t] give a fig for facts.

    Nah, they love facts. They have a whole industry making them up.

    It’s reality they don’t give a fig for.

  95. says

    The Ammon Bundy’s of the House of Representatives got together and wrote a bill that will reduce protection for wilderness areas, and for proposed wilderness areas in Utah. (Proposed wilderness areas are currently managed to protect wilderness values so that wilderness designation could take place in the future.)

    In addition to reducing federal control over public lands, the legislators also want to allow more oil and gas drilling; and they want to give large tracts of land to the state of Utah, or to private investors. This is all reminiscent of Bundy and his push to let ranchers, loggers, and extractive industries make use of public land.

    Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) released a long-awaited public lands bill Wednesday that, if passed, would affect 18 million acres of public lands in Eastern Utah. The proposal would downgrade protections for wilderness quality lands in the region, create new oil and gas drilling zones that are exempted from environmental protections, and hand over large areas of national public lands to private and state control.

    […] over the past several months there have been many significant changes made to the bill, turning it from a gesture of compromise to a divisive bill that includes Bundy-style public land giveaways, pseudo-wilderness protections, accelerated oil and gas development, and the marginalization of several original stakeholder groups. […]

    Some of the most controversial elements of the bill are provisions that would give the state of Utah full ownership of nearly 40,000 acres of national public lands, according to an analysis by the Center for Western Priorities. Other land seizure elements of the bill include public land “disposals” in Emery County and a contentious land “exchange” program. Not only are these types of public land takeovers not supported by western voters, they make lands that are otherwise open for all Americans to use vulnerable to being sold to the highest bidder. […]

    Though the Bishop bill would designate nearly 2.2 million new acres as wilderness, these lands would be exempted from key protections in the Wilderness Act. The bill mandates, for example, that grazing of livestock continue in all areas where it is currently permitted, without any flexibility to adapt to changing range conditions or environmental degradation. Wilderness lands in the bill would also be prohibited from being designated as a “Class I airshed” — meaning that these lands, and the wildlife, vegetation and recreationists within them will not be protected from air pollution from the oil and gas drilling that will be allowed up to the edge of the wilderness areas. […]

    Sounds like these Republican legislators want to create pseudo “wilderness areas” just to slip this bad proposal past the public. They cannot be allowed to redefine “wilderness” to mean “not wilderness at all.”

    […] “If Congressman Bishop and Chaffetz did not want to fix land management problems on Indian lands, then they should have left our lands out of their bill,” began the Ute Tribal Business Committee, one of 25 tribal organizations participating in the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. “Instead, the bill proposes to take Indian lands and resources, to fix Utah’s problems.” […]

    Under the guise of collaboration and the creation of new public lands, Rep. Bishop has crafted a bill complete with loopholes, land seizures, and favors for his financial supporters in the fossil fuel sector.

    Think Progress link

  96. says

    Ted Cruz might wish that he could get his father to shut up. The elder Cruz is a campaign surrogate for his son, and he is consistently whacko on many levels. Rafael Cruz’s latest crazy conspiracy speech included the “fact” that the public school system in the USA is a Communist plot.

    Rafael Cruz […] claimed today that the country’s public school system was founded by “a member of the American Communist Party.”

    The elder Cruz alleged in an interview on the Sirius XM program “Breitbart News Daily” this morning that public schools are brainwashing children into communism as a result of the work of education reformer John Dewey.

    While he did correctly identify Dewey as a secular humanist, Cruz alleged that “John Dewey was a member of the American Communist Party,” when, in fact, Dewey was “an avowed anti-Communist” who even believed that “known Communists should not be permitted to teach children.” He co-founded the anti-Communist Committee for Cultural Freedom and was widely denounced by supporters of the Communist Party.

    Cruz [the elder] said that Dewey’s influence in the school system instilled anti-American values in children and, as a result, created “chaos in society.” This prompted Cruz to discuss Common Core, which he claimed “is about redefining education, redefining history and attempting to brainwash kids with a secularist view of history which denies the fundamental principles that have made America great.”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  97. says

    Oh, yeah, there’s money to be made from endorsing Donald Trump.

    Sarah Palin didn’t have a great 2015. Fox News unceremoniously dumped her, her subscription video service ceased operations after only one year, and her exploration of a 2016 presidential bid was derailed by a disastrous ad-libbed speech that the National Review called “meandering and often bizarre.”

    But 2016 is a new year, and Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump on Tuesday thrust the former Alaska governor back into political relevance. Palin’s political action committee is now trying to capitalize on the newfound attention by making a fundraising push on the heels of the Trump endorsement.

    Touting Palin’s “historic” endorsement of Trump, an email to supporters got right to the point: cash donations. “SarahPAC plans to continue endorsing anti-establishment candidates who will not play politics as usual,” said the email. “In order to get Sarah to political events to support endorsed candidates we need your help to fundraise her travel.” […]

    Salon link

    In case you were wondering about the SarahPAC’s track record of “endorsing anti-establishment candidates”: In 2012 the PAC spent $4.8 million on consultants, and lest than $300,000 on contributions to candidates. They also spent $4,562 for Sarah to stay at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

  98. says

    We get to add another “the company they keep” entry to the long list of whackos supporting Ted Cruz.

    So, if a hedge fund billionaire says that the U.S. government may have participated in or planned the San Bernardino massacre; that HIV is harmless and does not cause AIDS; that water fluoridation causes cancer; that Hillary Clinton was running guns to ISIS from Benghazi; and that the federal government knows that civil war is imminent, do those billions in hedge fund money make it all true? Does the money make it okay to hang out with Robert Mercer?

    Apparently, Ted Cruz thinks so. The Ted Cruz super PAC accepted $11 million from Mercer.
    Slate link

  99. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I am guessing the National Review does not like Hair Trump:

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 10h10 hours ago
    The late, great, William F. Buckley would be ashamed of what had happened to his prize, the dying National Review!

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 10h10 hours ago
    Very few people read the National Review because it only knows how to criticize, but not how to lead.

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 10h10 hours ago
    National Review is a failing publication that has lost it’s way. It’s circulation is way down w its influence being at an all time low. Sad!

    Ah. Here it is: Conservatives Against Trump:

    Apparently Glenn Beck, David Boaz, L. Brent Bozell III, Mona Charen, Mark Helprin, William Kristol, Michael Medved, Ed Meese, and a bunch of others think that Hair Trump is a liberal, Marxist, non-conservative demogogue. Well, they got the demogogue part right.

    Not sure why they are all surprized. The GOP started down the road of right wing populism almost forty years ago. Hair Trump is the apothoesis of this trend. When Reagan and the GOP leadership decided to court the right-wing Christians, the racists, white men, they embraced a tactic used by fascists the world over — the all-powerful saviour demagogue coupled with hyper-patiotism, scapegoating, demonizing political foes, using the government to enrich themselves and their cronies, and militaristic jingoism. And now, in 2016, they have a candidate that embraces everything the GOP has been working towards for the last four decades and they flinch away?

    You assholes made your bed. You created the opening for Hair Trump. Own it. And suffer the consequences.

  100. dianne says

    A question: Why are there so many people out there who are saying that they won’t vote for Clinton because she’s “a Clinton”? The Clinton years were relatively good ones. The economy expanded. The Gini coefficient rose, but not to the same extent that it did under Reagan or Bush. There were no major wars, fewer acts of terrorism–at least Islamic terrorism, people in other countries looked at US-Americans with envy rather than pity…in short, why can’t Clinton run on Bill’s record? It’s true that he’s a repugnant person and at best a sexual harasser, but he was by no means our worst president or even worst recent president. What’s with all the hatred for Clinton but fondness for Bush?

  101. quotetheunquote says

    @107
    Just checked the originals (because I felt I had to be, you know, diligent and fair), and Trump T. Trump did indeed apply the apostrophe incorrectly – not once, but twice – in that third tweet.

    I’m sure he didn’t actually send these tweets himself – he must have people for that – but shouldn’t a super-rich guy who wants to be C-in-C of the most powerful economy in the world be able to afford lackeys who are at least borderline literate?

  102. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    quotetheunquote:

    Completely missed the homage to Apostraphalia, one of Typos’ minions. But there is a good reason I am not an editor. An dalways have spellcheck turned on. And use grammar check constantly.

  103. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    And the probability of me fucking up spelling in that comment approached 1.

  104. Saad says

    I just made a genuine effort to watch the Palin speech endorsing Trump. I couldn’t do it. Jesus Christ.

  105. quotetheunquote says

    @dianne 108:

    Because Democrat voters (some of ’em at least) are good critical thinkers, and Republican voters (most of ’em, surely) use their heads only as a means of keeping their hats away from the gullets?

    Just a thought.

  106. says

    Rachel Maddow presented an update on the toxic water in Flint, Michigan. She covered increased funding from the feds and the state, plus the EPA whistle blower that first alerted people to the poisoned water.

    There are steps that the EPA now requires Governor Synder to take. The EPA gave him one day to agree to comply with the steps.

    In addition to the lead poisoning, it looks like the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint is related to the toxic water.

  107. says

    Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, made some of his fortune by taking advantage of tenants in his many low-income housing units. Father Trump also took maximum advantage of state and federal subsidies to create his feudal kingdom.

    The elder Trump controlled/bought a lot politicians including the head of the FHA’s New York office.

    As the man who controlled the FHA’s New York office, Powell controlled the flow of money for Beach Haven, a big apartment complex Fred Trump built with FHA loans. He allowed Trump to start building before Beach Haven was actually approved and start renting to vets and others six months before he had to start repaying his loan.

    In that time Trump pocketed $1.7 million in rent payments. Trump was also allowed to pocket most of a fee—5 percent of the Beach Haven development’s cost—that was earmarked for architectural work. Trump was also permitted to borrow more in federally subsidized funds—$3.7 million, to be precise—than he actually needed.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/23/ike-didn-t-like-trump-s-dad-at-all.html

    Woodie Guthrie moved into a Trump-controlled housing project, Beach Haven, in 1950.

    What Guthrie discovered all too late was Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the FHA’s guidelines for avoiding “inharmonious uses of housing” – or as Trump biographer Gwenda Blair puts it, “a code phrase for selling homes in white areas to blacks.” As Blair points out, such “restrictive covenants” were common among FHA projects – a betrayal, if ever there was one, of the New Deal vision that had given birth to the agency.

    Gawker link

    I suppose
    Old Man Trump knows
    Just how much
    Racial Hate
    he stirred up
    In the bloodpot of human hearts
    When he drawed
    That color line
    Here at his
    Eighteen hundred family project .…

    And as if to leave no doubt over Trump’s personal culpability in perpetuating black Americans’ status as internal refugees – strangers in their own strange land – Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord:

    Beach Haven ain’t my home! I just cain’t pay this rent! My money’s down the drain!
    And my soul is badly bent!
    Beach Haven looks like heaven
    Where no black ones come to roam! No, no, no! Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

    http://woodyguthriecenter.org

  108. says

    Saad @112, I know what you mean. I felt obligated to watch that mess in order to cover it in this thread. I ended up listening to the Palin endorsement in small doses via an online source. I started with the original performance on TV as it was occurring, but concluded it was bad for my health. I just could not bear that big a dose of Palin. It hurt to listen to her.

    In other news, it looks like Ted Cruz made too many enemies in the Senate. GOP stalwarts have decided that, when it comes to the Republican presidential nomination, they’ll back anyone but Cruz.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/republicans-prefer-trump-cruz

    Now that it appears that the Republican presidential primary may boil down to a choice between Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), terrified Republicans have started to openly state that they would have to support Trump over the Texas senator, arguing that Trump’s nomination would damage the party less. […]

    Republican strategist Craig Shirley told the Huffington Post that many in Washington simply don’t like Cruz enough to support him.

    “Cruz has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in D.C., whereas Trump hasn’t, and Trump up until this year was pretty much a player,” Shirley said. “Ultimately, the Washington establishment deep down — although they find Trump tacky or distasteful — they think that they ultimately can work with him. Deep down, a lot of people think it is an act.”

    So, those people are coming around to supporting Trump. Holy shit.

  109. blf says

    George Soros: Donald Trump is doing the work of Isis:

    Speaking at a dinner in Davos, the veteran billionaire launched an attack on the Republican nomination frontrunner, as well as Ted Cruz and Vladimir Putin

    The veteran billionaire speculator and philanthropist, George Soros, has launched an astonishing attack on Donald Trump, accusing the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the US presidency of “doing the work” of Islamic State.

    […]

    “By fear-mongering, he and {Ted} Cruz are doing the work of Isis,” Soros said.

    “They want people to turn against the Muslim community and make the Muslim community think there is no alternative to terrorism. It turns the Muslim community into a breeding ground for Isis.”

    […]

    “I was a migrant for 15 years, but migrants were treated better in those days. I could study, get a job, get travel documents, and think about making $100,000 before retiring. All this while I was a displaced person.”

    Soros said Vladimir Putin was making the migration crisis worse by authorising Russia’s bombing of civilians in Syria. […]

    He added that he did not think the Russian president was serious about reaching a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

  110. blf says

    Ms Rampling is supposedly a well-known movie(?) actor, but I have no recollection of her. In the list in Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge, the only move she is in that I recognized (not that I’ve ever seen it) is Zardoz. Anyways, she’s also a eejit, Oscars 2016: Charlotte Rampling says diversity row is ‘racist to white people’:

    The British actor, who is nominated for the best actress award, says black actors may not have been good enough to make the list of Oscar nominees

    Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling has claimed the current campaign to boycott the 2016 Academy Awards over claims of a diversity deficit is racist to white people.

    […]

    “One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” added Rampling. […]

    When the interviewer explains that black members of the film industry feel like a minority, Rampling replies: “No comment.”

    […]

    The response to Rampling’s comment on social media was swift. “MISSING: a set of marbles,” wrote the journalist and commentator Piers Morgan on Twitter. “If found, please return to Charlotte Rampling.”

    Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has vowed to address the diversity issue, with the New York Times reporting that changes to the number of nominees in some categories and moves to prune older, less active voters could soon be brought in.

  111. says

    Undocumented immigrants in Flint, MI are afraid to ask for the help they need to come with the toxic water situation.

    Perhaps as many as 1,000 are not going to water distribution centers, they’re not calling 211 and they’re not getting deliveries. It’s because they’re scared.

    These people are undocumented immigrants living in Flint, mostly on the city’s east side. […]

    Lucia has been living in Flint for more than a decade. She left Mexico 23 years ago. We’re not using the single mother’s face or name, because she’s undocumented.

    “I’m not here legally. And I’m always scared that they’ll arrest me, and then deport me,” she said.

    Lucia heard about lead in Flint’s water four months ago from her son. Since then, she’s been buying bottled water – and she won’t get close to a distribution center after a recent experience.

    “I got close to see what they were giving out, and it was water. And the first thing they asked me for was my license,” she said.

    Some local groups have been quietly going around the east side trying to distribute water, but the problem is a lot of these undocumented immigrants are scared – and they won’t even open the door for them.

    ABC 12 link.

  112. blf says

    For feck’s sake, Sanders smeared as communist sympathiser as Clinton allies sling mud:

    A war of words between Hillary Clinton and Sanders has erupted in recent days as polls show him in the lead among voters in New Hampshire and Iowa

    Attacks on Bernie Sanders by rival Democrats are likely to turn increasingly to his record on the economy and foreign affairs, according to a new dossier seen by the Guardian that accuses him of sympathising with communists and “not believing in capitalism”.

    A ferocious war of words between Hillary Clinton and Sanders has erupted in recent days as polls showing the Vermont senator taking the lead among Democratic voters in both New Hampshire and Iowa have sent shockwaves through the party establishment and prompted growing personal attacks.

    On Thursday, Sanders aides accused David Brock, a political operative who runs a Super Pac set up to defend Clinton, of “mudslinging” after he claimed Sanders was acting as if “black lives don’t matter” in a new campaign ad.

    This follows a week of steadily mounting criticism from other campaign surrogates such as Chelsea Clinton, who accused the senator of wanting to “dismantle Obamacare”, and foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan who warned that Sanders’s proposals for tackling Isis would put Israel at risk.

    It has been pointed out by more reliable observers that Senator Sander’s proposals / proposed method to correct some of the problems in the ACA would make it easier for the thugs to instead dismantle it. If memory serves me correctly, Paul Krugman is one of the people who has pointed this out (the details now escape me).

    Such characterisations are vigorously rejected by Sanders who argues his healthcare plans build on Obama’s reforms and that a regional coalition is necessary to defeat Isis in Syria.

    […]

    The dossier, prepared by opponents of Sanders and passed on to The Guardian by a source who would only agree to be identified as “a Democrat”, alleges that Sanders “sympathized with the USSR during the Cold War” because he went on a trip there to visit a twinned city while he was mayor of Burlington.

    By that ridiculous metric, many(? most?) of the presidents since c.WW ][ have been “communist sympathizers”.

    Similar “associations with communism” in Cuba are catalogued alongside a list of quotes about countries ranging from China to Nicaragua in a way that supporters regard as bordering on the McCarthyite rather than fairly reflecting his views.

    Sanders has insisted on many occasions this year that his own philosophy of democratic socialism is very different to that of authoritarian regimes, and much more in keeping with the tradition of American reformers such as Franklin D Roosevelt.

    The Vermont senator has also ridiculed suggestions — repeated by the attack dossier — that his policies would see nationalisation of US industries.

    […]

    In his current stump speech […] Sanders acknowledges “we live in a highly competitive global marketplace” but calls for better education as a response.

    “One of the reasons our campaign is doing well is because we are treating the American people as if they are intelligent human beings,” added the senator […].

    Asked about the rise of the personal attacks […], Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said they were “nonsense” and only prove how rattled Clinton supporters have become by signs of [her] waning popularity among voters[.]

    Briggs later issued a statement condemning the latest public attack on [Sander’s] campaign for airing an advert only containing a handful of non-white faces. “From this ad, it seems black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders,” Brock said in an interview with the Associated Press.

    “Bernie Sanders […] has one of the strongest civil rights records in Congress. He doesn’t need lectures on civil rights and racial issues from David Brock, the head of a Hillary Clinton Super Pac,” responded Briggs in his statement.

    “25 years ago it was Brock — a mud-slinging, right-wing extremist — who tried to destroy Anita Hill, a distinguished African American law professor. He later was forced to apologize for his lies about her. Today, he is lying about Sen Sanders. It’s bad enough that Hillary Clinton is raising millions in special-interest money in her Super Pacs. […]”

  113. blf says

    Pro-slavery terrorism, Removing confederate monuments gets your Lamborghini burned to the ground:

    As New Orleans and other cities liquidate their confederate symbols, those hired to do the removals bear the brunt of personal attacks — ask David Mahler

    After David Mahler’s company won a New Orleans city contract to move four civil war monuments from their places of public honor, some of his clients reportedly threatened to discontinue business with him. Local groups filed a lawsuit to keep the monuments where they stood. Still, Mahler’s team went ahead and measured the memorial to Jefferson Davis […] for what seemed its inevitable removal.

    But death threats followed, until Mahler finally decided to take his team off the job. Then, a week after he backed out, his Lamborghini was found burned to cinder in the parking lot of his company.

    [… a long discussion of the issue in New Orleans, including distractor’s claims similar to history is being erased …]

    […] Nothing’s really being whitewashed. Nothing’s being erased. On the surface, the controversy is simply over where to place the monuments for public view.

    Why would that make one angry enough to torch a guy’s Lambo?

  114. blf says

    One group of loons points out wazzock trum-prat is extremely loony, so another group of loons throws its toys out of the pram, National Review magazine punished after telling conservatives to shun Trump:

    Magazine is ‘disinvited’ from moderating debate with Republican candidates after calling Trump a ‘philosophically unmoored political opportunist’

    An influential conservative magazine published an editorial on Thursday urging Republicans to rally against […] Donald Trump […]

    National Review […] drew heavy scorn from Trump […] for its issue entitled: “Against Trump”.

    “Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” National Review said.

    But within hours of the publication the magazine revealed it had felt the consequences of its strident position — it was pulled as one of the moderators of a debate with Republican candidates.

    Its publisher Jack Fowler wrote that it had been “disinvited” by the Republican National Committee from the debate which was to be held on 26 February.

    […]

    Meanwhile teh wazzock serves up more delusion:

    At a Las Vegas news conference, Trump said he would bring Republicans together if nominated.

    “Honestly the party has to be healed, has to be brought together and I think the party can be brought together,” he said.

    Some of the better comments:

    ● “When they came for the abortionists, the National Review looked the other way. When the came for the gays, the National Review looked the other way. Long ago the Conservative label was hijacked by those who sought redemption in telling others what to do.
      “Now that they come for you, you see there is no one left to defend you.”

    ● “Having read the article they nailed him when they called him a Huckster.”

    ● “calling Trump a ‘philosophically unmoored political opportunist — Unhinged, not unmoored.”
    In reply: “Both.”

    ● “Trump is a direct consequence of the vitriol and extremism spewed forth over the years by Fox News, Wall Street Journal editorials, talk radio, and, of course, the National Review. Palin, Perry, Cain, Bachmann, Carson, Cruz, Fiorina, and other petty, inconsequential farces are similar products. Great gobs of the Republican masses have drunk deeply from this foul brew of intolerance, racism, jealousy, and corrupted patriotism.”

    ● “I thought the National Review’s take on Trump was rather flattering compared to the reality. But for a mag with an editorial board which includes the hebephrenic Glen Beck and the war-happy, bombing junkie William Krystal, it is a bit rich to criticise orangutan-head. It is not easy to make Trumpelstiltskin look sane.”

    ● “[…] The problem with anyone debating The Donald is that he is not constrained by reality in his statements. In fact, if reality is inconvenient, it is simply ignored, or altered to be a different, ‘improved’ reality which suits The Mouth That Roared.
      “Debating him would be like punching smoke, for anyone.
      “In this way The Trumpster and Ms Palin are soulmates. The only difference is that she is that way because she is (genuinely) stupid, and he is that way because he is so used to getting his way, that he has stepped into a parallel universe. […]”

    ● “When thieves fall out. Superb . This election could damage the Republicans for a generation.”
    In reply: “I hope so. It’d be fun watching them trying to decide who to blame for it, too.”

    ● “Trump is now the RNC’s preferred candidate.
      “They finally remembered that morons with inflated egos are very easy to manipulate.”
    In reply: “That’s what they said about Hitler.”
    [As other commentators point out, this is on the mark: Hilter was originally appointed (not elected) by people who thought they could control him… –blf]

    ● “Sanity is something that occasionally visits America, but it never stays.”

  115. says

    In their never-ending battle to chip away at abortion rights, Republicans in Congress have adopted another tactic, one will likely result in the harassment of medical students who learn about abortion or participate in abortion-related care, and one that will likely result in the disclosure of patient information.

    Six Democrats serving on a select panel investigating Planned Parenthood are accusing their Republican counterparts of issuing document requests that “pose grave privacy and security concerns.”

    In a letter sent Thursday to the panel’s Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., the Democratic members of the select committee cite a recent request to a health care provider in which Republicans ask for “a list of any students, residents, or other medical personnel” who have participated in an abortion, prenatal or postnatal infant care, as well as all communications between the provider and any government officials.

    The requests “appear to be a completely unjustified attack on women’s healthcare,” wrote the Democrats, who said they were not consulted about the queries. “Whether intended or not, these requests would require a healthcare provider to turn over to Congress the personal medical information of any patient who happens to work for the federal government or any State.”

    Congress link, PDF

    Yes, anti-abortion activists have attempted to intimidate medical students in the past, now they are just going about it in a different way. From their past efforts:

    In 1993, Mark Crutcher, the activist who inspired the video project that led to the congressional investigations, somehow got a list of tens of thousands of medical students and sent them a “joke” book that included this barrel of laughs:

    Q.: What would you do if you found yourself in a room with Hitler, Mussolini and an abortionist and you had a gun with only two bullets?

    A: Shoot the abortionist twice.

    Right Wing Watch link

  116. says

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/the-key-to-the-gop-in-2016-is-oprah-607206467790

    Yep, Rachel usually notices when Republican presidential candidates fall into a shocking “the company they keep” moment that is embarrassing. She starts with John Hagee endorsing John McCain, followed by John McCain backing away slowly from Hagee’s madness.

    That’s the lead-in for watching with raised eyebrows as Mike Bickle endorses Ted Cruz … and Ted Cruz seems unlikely to back away.

    As Right Wing Watch noted:

    Bickle is the founder of the International House of Prayer, a controversial missionary organization in Kansas City, Missouri, that some critics have labeled a cult and which is best known for engaging in nonstop 24-hour-a-day prayer in preparation for the End Times and for its anti-gay activism in Uganda.

    Bickle, unsurprisingly is a demon-fighting radical who believes that gay marriage is “rooted in the depths of hell,” that homosexuality “opens the door to the demonic realm” and that Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner of the Antichrist.

    There’s further news on the Oprah front, with Donald Trump offering up Oprah’s name as a possible vice presidential candidate. But Cruz’s supporter, Bickle, sees Oprah in a different light:

    “She is winsome, she is kind, she is reasonable, she is utterly deceived,” Bickle has argued. “A classy woman, a cool woman, a charming woman, but has a spirit of deception, and she’s one of the clear pastors, forerunners, to the harlot movement.”

    So far, Cruz is advertising the Bickle endorsement and fundraising off of it.

  117. says

    Donald Trump said some more stupid stuff:

    “I have a very great relationship with God. And I have a very great relationship with evangelicals,” he responded, adding, “I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try and do nothing that’s bad.”

    NY Daily News link

  118. says

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/surprise-exit-at-koch-group-raises-questions-607218755652

    Rachel Maddow covered that fact certain “grassroots” organizations for veterans are not grassroots, they are funded by the Koch brothers. This is tied into the fact that all of the Republican presidential candidates want to do away with the Veteran’s Administration, and with that system of providing healthcare to vets. Mitt Romney floated that idea and then walked it back when he was slapped around a bit by the media and by veterans groups.

    Now it looks like there might be trouble within the Koch-funded group, with leaders departing, etc.

  119. blf says

    Racist Rampling, the alleged “actor” (see @120), is now trying to deny her stooopidity, Charlotte Rampling: I regret that Oscars racism comment was ‘misinterpreted’:

    Actor issues statement clarifying her claim that row over lack of black Oscar nominees was racist to white people

    Charlotte Rampling has clarified [sic[ her controversial claim that the uproar over the lack of black Oscar nominees was “racist to white people”.

    […]

    “I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration.

    “Diversity in our industry is an important issue that needs to be addressed,” she said in a statement issued on Friday night. “I am highly encouraged by the changes announced today by the academy to diversify its membership.”

    On Friday, the academy pledged to double the number of female and minority members by 2020.

    This pretendance is not convincing, Ms Racist.

  120. microraptor says

    So, question that’s been ongoing since 2008: is the infliction of Sarah Palin against the mainstream of America nothing but a conspiracy to leave George W sounding more erudite by comparison?

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg investigating a presidential run as an independent:

    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking early steps toward launching an independent campaign for president, seeing a potential path to the White House amid the rise of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.
    Bloomberg has retained advisers and plans to conduct a poll after the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary to assess the state of the race and judge whether there is an opening for him to mount an independent campaign, according to three people familiar with his thinking. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about his plans, which were first reported Saturday by The New York Times.
    Bloomberg has set a March deadline to decide on whether to enter the race, to ensure his access to the ballot in all 50 states….
    To prepare for a potential run, Bloomberg has also instructed aides to research previous third-party runs and is said to be willing to spend up to $1 billion of his own fortune, estimated to be about $37 billion, to finance his campaign.

    Shades of Ross Perot.

  122. says

    Deborah Leff just resigned. She was the Justice Department’s pardon attorney, and she headed the department that reviews clemency petitions from federal inmates. President Obama has made reform of the justice system one of his main objectives, and that included commuting the sentences of 184 non-violent inmates.

    The trouble is that Leff’s department was/is severely understaffed. Guess why. Yes, Republican Congress critters did not/will not approve the funds she needs to hire more lawyers.

    […] Right now, the office has 22 lawyers trying to process more than 9,000 clemency petitions. The DOJ is requesting that Congress approve an increase of 24 lawyers in the pardon office, bringing the total to 46.

    Link

    Obama wants to pardon more inmates, but every case has to reviewed.

  123. says

    As far as Trump shooting someone on 5th Avenue and his fans forgiving him (Saad @133). I think it might matter who he shot. Is he going to shoot a family member? Gun violence statistics indicate that he might. Or, he might shoot himself.

    In other news, Ted Cruz lied about the health insurance his family has in order to lie about Obamacare in a pseudo-personal framework. Mr. Assholiness got caught in the lies.

    In a reversal from claims made on the campaign trail, Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is now saying the senator and his family do have health insurance and never lost coverage. [Cruz said] that he and his family were without health insurance and were scrambling to obtain new coverage–and used the claim to slam Obamacare for the mess he was in.

    [Faux explanation blaming someone else:] an insurance broker told Cruz that BlueCross BlueShield of Texas was dropping his PPO plan, but […] the broker did not tell Cruz his family was automatically being transferred to the carrier’s HMO plan. […]

    Thursday, the senator had said he “got a notice in the mail” that “Blue Cross Blue Shield was leaving the market.” […] an announcement in July that explained that the insurer was dropping its PPOs but its HMO plans would be available for consumers.

    Yeah. Ted, “leaving the market” is not the same as dropping PPOs.

    […] Thursday Cruz had also claimed that his search for new insurance was complicated because his “premiums are going up 50 percent.”

    This allegation came as premiums on average in Texas went up only 4 percent in 2016, and the single biggest premium jump came from a tiny carrier that is raising premiums by 34 percent.

    In other words, Ted lied about the premium increase.
    [snipped more faux expansion]

    […] the statement said that his former BlueCross BlueShield PPO plan had been purchased “with no government funds.” Aside from the subsidies offered to users of the Obamacare exchange, the senator is eligible for insurance subsidized by his government employer, but has turned the option down.

    […] it comes with an employer subsidy that covers about three-quarters of monthly premiums. […]

    As to Cruz’s assertion that his premiums had spiked by 50 percent, according the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, on average, premiums in Texas increased by only 4 percent. (In New Hampshire, contrary to Cruz’s claim, premiums went up by 5 percent on average, according to the HHS.)

    Furthermore, as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael A. Hiltzik pointed out, the premiums of some plans in Texas decreased, as tracked by Healthcare.gov and that none of them increased by 50 percent. […]

    “Cruz is still eligible for the government’s employer subsidy of up to 75% of his health insurance premium,” Hiltzik wrote. “He has said he wouldn’t accept the employer share, which makes his complaint about his cost of insurance just a teeny bit more dishonest because he’s the one driving up his own premium.” […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ted-cruz-health-insurance-questions

  124. says

    About the Hyde Amendment: we’ve seen Hillary Clinton repeatedly call for a reversal of the Hyde Amendment. Now Bernie Sanders has joined in that call. Good.

    The Hyde Amendment is an obscure budget rider that bans any federal funding from covering abortion services, which means low-income women on Medicaid can’t use their plans to cover an abortion. It has also helped limit access for government employees, military personnel, those in the Peace Corps, and others. It’s become a routine piece of policy, renewed in every federal spending bill since 1976, and frequently becomes a political football, as when President Obama signed an executive order including restrictions along the lines of Hyde in the Affordable Care Act as a way to win support for the bill’s passage. […]

    […] low-income women are three times less likely to get an abortion and five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy. This only exacerbates their situation, as women who seek an abortion but aren’t able to actually get the procedure are three times more likely to fall into poverty over the following years.

    Link

  125. says

    Defining “Trump”:

    […] In 1903, the word was recorded in a compendium of slang, signifying “the act of breaking wind audibly.” I offer this as my own small contribution to this year’s political discourse. Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, let’s hear, instead of his demagogic blather, this etymological gem: the bung blast, the rump ripper, that trumps his tricky bravado and captures his essence.

    Salon link

  126. blf says

    Bush ]![ — Even Moar Deluded the Third Time is still playing, despite a non-existent connection with reality, Jeb Bush praises Michigan governor for ‘stepping up’ amid water crisis:

    Republican’s comments come after emails indicated that Rick Snyder, who apologized for his actions this week, initially dismissed the threat in Flint

    Jeb Bush on Sunday praised Rick Snyder, the beleaguered governor of Michigan, for “stepping up” in response to the crisis over lead-poisoned drinking water in the city of Flint.

    Emails show that Snyder, a Republican, ignored and dismissed the problem more than a year ago, even as children began showing signs of irreparable lead poisoning. A federal state of emergency has been declared.

    […]

    Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, former Florida governor Bush, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said big government was most likely to blame for the crisis, which occurred after state[-appointed] emergency managers switched the city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint river in a cost-cutting measure.

    […] Bush said: “Instead of saying ‘the dog ate my homework’ and ‘it’s someone else’s fault’, once it became clear, {Snyder has} taken the lead{…} and that’s exactly what I think leaders have to do.”

    Eh? Once it became clear […] taken the lead — sounds like following behind from a considerable distance, throughly disinterested and unconcerned about what’s happening up front. (Probably waiting for orders from Faux & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited.)

  127. blf says

    (Oops! Clicked Post Comment without meaning to…) Some of the better comments from @140, about Bush ]![‘s concept of “leadership” and the military-scale poisoning in Flint:

    ● “‘Heckuva job Ricky!’ — Johnny E. Bush”

    ● “Bush.. really Snyder did not Step anywhere except out to lunch on the People Of Flint Mich.. Get real here Jeb.. Snyder has hired a spin team to save [himself …].”

    ● “An impressive observation from an irrelevant candidate. Anything to keep his name in the news.”

    ● “Jeb! is no different than his f’cktard brother, W. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!” was just another way of saying let the blacks of New Orleans drown — they don’t vote Republican. Snyder’s approach to poisoning Flint is in a similar vein and neither he nor Jeb! could care less about the children of Flint. […]”

    ● “Jeb is right if ‘taking responsibility’ means ‘Ignore the problem until people start to die, extend platitudes when the political heat gets uncomfortable, then fire the people who were trying to get you to take action’.”

    ● “Well, that certainly gives everyone fair warning what to expect from a President Bush III; he admires a man who poisoned thousands of his fellow citizens in order to save peanuts.”

    ● “Bush is an idiot like the rest of the self centered, good for nothing Republican leaches.”

    ● “Jeb Bush praises Michigan governor for ‘stepping up’ — It was a very slow stepping up, twelve months or something, sort of the stepping up when it’s the last recourse and you have finally no choice but sort the problem out.”

  128. says

    Governor Snyder and his administration were, last I heard, still trying to tell themselves that it was not their fault that toxic water poisoned an entire city. Their claim is that the poison water was the fault of local officials in Flint. (“I’m still trying to figure out why this is the State’s fault.”)

    Umm, dear Governor and other assorted doofuses, you appointed an emergency manager to take over from local officials some time ago. You ousted the elected local officials and replaced them with a like-minded doofus who focused on saving money at the expense of safety.

    You and your administration’s undemocratic “emergency manager” program are at fault.

  129. says

    Followup to comments 142 and 141.

    Furthermore, Governor Snyder and his administration are now challenging the legality of the orders from the EPA that require them to properly address the toxic water situation.
    Link to Maddow segment covering this part of the issue. 5:36 video.

  130. says

    Followup to comments 141, 142 and 143.

    Snyder is concerned about his reputation. He may have taken a long time to admit that the people of Flint were being poisoned, but he was Johnny-on-the-spot when it came to hiring a PR firm to make him look better.

    Detroit Free Press link

    Gov. Rick Snyder has hired the national public relations firm Mercury LLC, where the spouse of Snyder’s new chief of staff is a senior vice president, to help with communications during the Flint water crisis.

    The governor has also hired another communications expert, Bill Nowling […]

    Murray [Snyder press secretary Dave Murray] did not respond to a question about how Mercury and Nowling are being paid. Snyder has a number of non-public funds, largely supported by corporate donors, which he could use to pay the communications experts.

    Melanie McElroy, executive director of Common Cause in Michigan, challenged Snyder to disclose the sources of the money that will pay Mercury and Nowling.

    “Not only is he using his exemption from FOIA (the Michigan Freedom of Information Act) to dodge full accountability for this disaster, but now he’s using secret money to put a spin on what happened in Flint,” McElroy said. […]

  131. blf says

    Senator warmoneyer is loosing her grip, Hillary Clinton: my speeches for Wall Street haven’t led to conflict of interest:

    Former secretary of state describes speaking engagements for ‘a wide array of groups’ beyond bankers, noting that she challenged institutions as senator

    Hillary Clinton has rejected suggestions that paid speaking engagements which she undertook for big Wall Street banks might create a conflict of interest, as the 2016 presidential primary season begins.

    “I gave speeches to a wide array of groups,” the former secretary of state [said], “from healthcare groups to auto dealers and many, many more.

    “What they were interested in{…} was the world. Coming off of four years as secretary of state in a complicated world{…} people were interested in what I saw, what I thought.”

    All plausible, and possibly even true, but noticeably ducking the point: Conflict-of-interest, of being a toadie for teh robbankifa, of being a major recipient of donations (in addition to “speaking fees”) from said mafia (see comments below).

    […] Clinton […] has faced consistent criticism over her relationship with Wall Street. She at first rebutted such criticism by saying that as a senator for New York she represented the financial community in the aftermath of 9/11.

    What has that particular mass murder got to do with conflict of interest? I also rather wonder about the humans — as opposed to corporations — she should have also been representing? Didn’t pay enough in “speaker’s fees” I’d guess…

    Asked by NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday if there was any conflict of interest present, Clinton said: “Absolutely not. I took them on when I was senator.”

    And a few of the comments:

    ● “[…about the last paragraph excerpted above, I took them on when I was senator…] Did you, Hillary? How interesting that your top 5 financial contributors during your time as senator are as follows […], ordered by contribution [borked link to http://www.opensecrets.org –blf]:
    1. Citigroup Inc
    2. Goldman Sachs
    3. DLA Piper
    4. JPMorgan Chase & Co
    5. Morgan Stanley
      “Hillary, fearlessly taking on Wall Street, fighting for the common man!”
    [ I have no idea if that site, OpenSecrets, is trustworthy or not, but the general claim, if not perhaps the details or the source, matches up with previous information… –blf]

    ● “‘I get millions for speaking and it never influences any of my decisions.’ Why would she take such a pay cut to be president?”

    ● “$675000 for 3 speeches, so those hillbilly bankers could learn about the world? […]”

  132. blf says

    The continuing existence of chattel slavery in Mauritania has been mentioned a few times over the past year or so. And the situation is getting worse, Anti-slavery activists in Mauritania face violent clampdown, rights groups warn:

    Campaigners say authorities in Mauritania are trying to crush the anti-slavery movement, in a country where 4% of the population are still enslaved

    Protestors marking the one-year anniversary of the conviction and imprisonment of Mauritania’s leading anti-slavery activists are facing an increasingly violent clampdown by security forces, according to human rights groups.

    Biram Ould Abeid, runner-up in the 2014 presidential elections and head of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), and his assistant Brahim Bilal Ramdane, were jailed last January with two other activists for belonging to an illegal organisation and for violence against the police.

    Seven anti-slavery activists were reportedly arrested last week at protests arranged to mark the anniversary of the conviction. All were later released.

    Abidine Merzough, head of IRA-Europe, said the arrests are part of a wider programme of intimidation of anti-slavery activists in the country.

    “There is an increase in violence against those trying to end the illegal practice of slavery in Mauritania. Police use tear gas at peaceful demonstrations — protestors are being beaten and intimidated,” said Merzough.

    Slavery is deeply rooted in Mauritania’s caste-based society. Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery, in 1981. [Nonetheless,] human rights campaigners [estimate] 4% of the population live in conditions of domestic or agricultural slavery. The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian NGO that produces an annual global slavery index, estimates there are up to 156,000 people in Mauritania still trapped in caste-based slavery.

    Other estimates are c.600,000 slaves (about 17% of the population (see link below)).

    […]
    “Since slavery was outlawed there has been one single conviction under anti-slavery laws despite dozens of cases being brought to the courts,” he said. “Instead, Biram and Brahim are still in jail and we are being beaten on the streets.”

    As a reminder, slavery persists in Mauritania because (in part):

    ● Many of the slaves are isolated by illiteracy, poverty, and geography, and do not know that life outside servitude is possible.
    […]
    ● Belief that slavery is part of the natural order of this society.
    ● Belief in a “misguided interpretation of Islam”, in which slaves are told that their paradise is bound to their master and that if they do what the master tells them, they will go to heaven.
    ● Mauritanian laws, which 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.

  133. blf says

    There are suggestions tests for lead in water are routinely collected in an scientifically unacceptable manner (effectively falsified), US authorities distorting tests to downplay lead content of water:

    Exclusive: Documents seen by the Guardian reveal questionable practices that mean people’s drinking water is at risk in ‘every major city east of the Mississippi’

    Water authorities across the US are systematically distorting water tests to downplay the amount of lead in samples, […] documents seen by the Guardian show.

    The controversial approach to water testing is so widespread that it occurs in “every major US city east of the Mississippi” according to an anonymous source with extensive knowledge of the lead and copper regulations. “By word of mouth, this has become the thing to do in the water industry. The logical conclusion is that millions of people’s drinking water is potentially unsafe,” he said.

    Documents seen by the Guardian show that water boards in cities including Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as the state of Rhode Island, have distorted tests by using methods deemed misleading by the Environment Protection Agency.

    There is no suggestion that EPA regulations have been broken, but the agency’s guidelines have been systematically ignored.

    […]

    Dr Yanna Lambrinidou, a Virginia Tech academic, has disclosed what she considers to be evidence of deceptive practices by city water authorities after she sat on an EPA taskforce that reviewed federal rules on lead and copper poisoning that have been in place since 1991.

    The taskforce ended its work last year […], with Lambrinidou criticising the final report for failing to step up protections to prevent the corrosion of pipes, which leads to lead leaching into water supplies.

    [… S]everal cities have advised residents to use questionable methods when conducting official tests for lead content. These include encouraging testers to run taps for several minutes to flush out lead from the pipes or even removing the filter from taps. Such methods have been criticized by the EPA for not providing accurate results, with the agency telling authorities not to use them.

    The Philadelphia water department’s instructions to residents in November last year were to remove the aerator from the faucet. Leave the aerator off until sampling is completed. This practice was deemed “against the intent of the monitoring protocol” in 2008 by the EPA […]

    Philadelphia also asks testers to run only the cold water for two minutes before taking a water sample. This practice of “pre-flushing” the pipes before testing water is repeated in instructions given [… in numerous locales].

    […]

    Many of these cities also advise residents who conduct tests to put test water into a container in a slow and steady stream from the tap. Containers with small openings are provided to ensure this. Again, this tactic is thought to influence the amount of lead found in a typical sample.

    […]

    This has, of course, triggered comments from anti-fluoridation nutters and other loons. One simple comment I found interesting, and relevant, “15 years ago when I was in charge of our community water company (125 people) we were instructed to take the Pb/Cu samples as the first draw on the morning without flushing. The idea was to get the water that had been in contact with pipes and faucet (often made of bronze which has significant lead component) overnight so as to get the highest possible reading and estimate the risk.”

  134. blf says

    Kooky Kandidate Klowns eating Krazy Kandidate Klowns, Chris Christie sees ‘real immaturity’ in Marco Rubio after snowstorm joke:

    New Jersey governor and Republican presidential hopeful says rival candidate, a senator, ‘has never been responsible for anything’

    Chris Christie on Sunday accused Marco Rubio of showing “real immaturity”, after the senator […] joked about the winter storm which hammered the US eastern seaboard.

    On Saturday, Rubio joked that the snow storm that closed down Washington and much of the east coast would keep federal agencies from imposing new regulations and keep Barack Obama from using his veto pen.

    […] Christie said the remark showed “a real immaturity from Senator Rubio to be joking as families were freezing in the cold, losing power and some of them losing their loved ones”.

    By late afternoon on Sunday, at least 28 deaths had been blamed on the storm, resulting from car crashes, shoveling snow and hypothermia.

    Christe went on to say that having a temper trantrum and closing down a major bridge for fake repairs showed “a real immaturity in myself”… NOT.

  135. microraptor says

    While I haven’t watched it extensively, I’ve seen several CBS News broadcasts on the Flint water fiasco that have been every interesting in what they said. Or rather, what they didn’t say.

    Multiple reports on the CBS Evening News failed to mention Flint’s Emergency Manager at all, instead simply saying that the city had chosen to switch to getting its water to the Flint River. Without having seen the story elsewhere, a viewer might conclude that Governor Snyder had nothing to do with the crisis, in fact.

    I’d expect something like that from FOX, but the fact that CBS is doing it is fairly alarming.

  136. says

    Hillary Clinton has received endorsements from the Des Moines Register, the Boston Globe and the Concord Monitor.

    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed Ted Cruz, as did Glenn Beck. Beck said, “I have prayed for the next George Washington. I believe I have found him.”

    More signs that Ben Carson will drop out of the race soon: his former campaign manager, Barry Bennett, is now an advisor for the Trump campaign.

    In his reply to a question about not receiving a lot of endorsements, Bernie Sanders pointed out that he is taking on the political establishment, the financial establishment, and the corporate establishment. (I thought he wasn’t clear in making a distinction between “financial” and “corporate,” but other than that, I see his point.)

  137. says

    microraptor @149, I have almost given up on CNN. They have lowered their journalistic standards so much, so often, that they are no longer a reliable source.

    This is getting into the weeds a bit, but I find these details fascinating when it comes to understanding the Flint, Michigan switch to the Flint River as a water source:

    […] city reports from 2011 indicate that the Flint Water Treatment facility, which had served the city until 1960, would require at least $60 million in upgrades to be able to treat the water [Flint River] properly for use as a primary source. The river had been heavily polluted by the automotive industry for decades, and while it was considered by some to be drinkable, the lack of infrastructure to properly treat what was undeniably a more polluted source than other options made it unpalatable. There were also concerns that the treatment facility could not provide the volume needed to make a permanent switch feasible.

    It is clear that—even when making the distinction between using the Flint River permanently or temporarily—somewhere along the line, the tune about the Flint River as a water source changed in a major way. And with the idea that the switch was motivated by money now under scrutiny, why would state officials and emergency managers appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder suddenly decide that the Flint River was a good choice—even if temporarily?

    No excuses, Governor Synder. No Excuses Emergency Managers past and present (Ed Kurtz and Jerry Ambrose). None of you have a reasonable or believable excuse.

    It turns out that the Flint River was rejected as a water source for the city in 2011, and again in December 2012. Did it suddenly get cleaned up enough to make it a good source, even temporarily, in 2014? Was the Flint Water Treatment facility upgraded? No. It was about the money.

    Daily Beast link

  138. blf says

    Whilst I got the giggles from the @151 “bar fight” rankings (and was surprised Bernie wasn’t № 1), I was looking for the person who knock the wall down so your side could leave before anything happened. Having someone causally punch an exit in the wall tends to cool things down…

    The mildly deranged penguin does that (provided you had the foresight to put some cheese on the other side of the victimwall), but she has a tendency to either return with a flamethrower, or else return to orbit for the ye olde nuke optione. Sometimes she gets a bit confused and returns to orbit with a flamethrower, but that is not thought to have lead to the extermination of any alien barfighters, albeit it does tend to create large interior remodeling bills.

  139. Saad says

    From Lynna’s post #150

    Former Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed Ted Cruz, as did Glenn Beck. Beck said, “I have prayed for the next George Washington. I believe I have found him.”

    My question is why has he been praying for another George Washington? I don’t understand.

  140. blf says

    In a follow-up to @147, apparently Flint’s testing instructions for Pb in water were scientifically bogus, saying to first cold faucet of your kitchen or main bathroom sink and let it run for three to four minutes and then sample the water. That flushes much of the accumulated lead, so the water sample then contains much less lead than it otherwise would. The EPA does not approve of this so-called “pre-flushing”, but (to-date) does not ban it.

    Flint rewrites water testing directions blamed in lead pollution crisis:

    The city of Flint has belatedly rewritten water testing instructions that have been blamed for the gross underestimation of its lead pollution crisis, with the Michigan government to be sued this week over its continued support for the distorted tests revealed by the Guardian [see @147].

    […]

    Analysis conducted by the Virginia Tech scientists Marc Edwards, Rebekah Martin, and Min Tang, who were among the first to uncover the toxic water crisis in Flint, found that of 21 Flint households tested under these altered conditions, 16 showed much higher lead levels when their water was tested normally.

    “The differences in the tests are profound,” Edwards said. “If Flint had followed the test protocols, people would have immediately got instructions on how to keep themselves and their children safe.

    “Instead, the state, with the EPA’s blessing, said that the water is safe. Because of the smoke-and-mirrors testing, Flint is meeting the standard even as national guardsman walk the street. This shows what a sham the EPA has allowed its tests to become. They are condoning cheating.”

    Following a lawsuit lodged in November […] Flint rewrote its testing instructions to remove mention of pre-flushing.

    The new advice, however, does ask residents to pour water into sample bottles gently — another technique thought to be misleading because it reduces the amount of lead and other material that is dislodged from pipes by a strong flow of water.

    The Michigan department of environmental quality, meanwhile, still advises residents across the state to turn on their taps for several minutes before taking a test.

    The state is set to be sued over this, and its alleged failure to remedy the crisis, on Wednesday, as part of a wider class action […]

    […]

    The EPA and the Michigan state government failed to respond to repeated requests for comment on the controversial tests and the state’s decision not to switch to standardized testing.

  141. says

    The Boston Globe endorsed Ohio Governor John Kasich for the Republican presidential primary.

    In other news, regarding Saad’s question up-thread about why Glenn Beck would be looking for the next George Washington, and why he thinks he has found him in Ted Cruz: it turns out that Glenn Beck has hyper-mythologized George Washington, and that he sees him everywhere, not just in Cruz.

    […] In November 2011, for example, not long before the Iowa caucuses, Beck told his audience “[I]f there is one guy out there that is the next George Washington, the only guy that I can think of is Rick Santorum.”

    Nine months later, Mitt Romney was also George Washington, “a man of true character and honor and decency.”

    At one point in 2010, even Sarah Palin was apparently in the running for George Washington status. Beck told the former half-term governor, “I have to tell you that every time I bring up your name and somebody says, ‘Who’s out there?’ I answer one of two ways. I’m waiting for George Washington to appear. Then it’s usually followed by your name.”

    Whether Beck’s George Washington detector will be more accurate in 2016 remains to be seen, but as Simon Maloy concluded, even if Cruz comes up short, “the next ‘next George Washington’ is only an election cycle away.”

    Maddow Blog link

    Link to Simon Maloy’s article on Salon.

  142. says

    Criminal justice reform is a bipartisan issue … for many legislators, but not for all. Here comes über right-winger Senator Tom Cotton to throw a wrench in the works if he can.

    Sen. Tom Cotton, the hawkish upstart who’s already made waves on the Iran nuclear deal and government surveillance programs, is now leading a new rebellion against a bipartisan effort to overhaul the criminal justice system — hoping to torpedo one of the few pieces of major legislation that could pass Congress in President Barack Obama’s final year. […]

    “It would be very dangerous and unwise to proceed with the Senate Judiciary bill, which would lead to the release of thousands of violent felons,” Cotton said later in an interview with POLITICO. “I think it’s no surprise that Republicans are divided on this question … [but] I don’t think any Republicans want legislation that is going to let out violent felons, which this bill would do.”

    Politico link

    The actions Tom Cotton is taking to sink the reform legislation, “Criminal Justice Reform and Corrections Act,” come after the proposal already has 28 co-sponsors, 13 Republicans and 15 Democrats and. Now, that’s bipartisan. Hell, even the Koch brothers back the reform proposal. Apparently, it gives Cotton heartburn.

    Other doofuses joining Cotton to scuttle a good thing are: Jim Risch of Idaho and David Perdue of Georgia. A few other right-wingers are making noises, so Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may not risk bringing the bill up for a vote. [insert a long string of swear words of your choice]

  143. says

    Yet another whacko doofus tries to join the Bundy militia in Oregon:

    Harney County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Hines Market on OR-20 just before noon for the report of an armed man.

    When they arrived, they questioned 54-year-old Joseph A. Stetson of Woodburn, who told them he was on his way to the refuge to become a personal guard for the Bundy family. He was armed with a pellet gun.

    When deputies asked him if he had been drinking, he began making threats.

    “I will kill all of you. Don’t believe me? If I go to jail and when I come out, I’ll kill you,” Stetson is heard saying to the deputies.

    Video at the link.
    Daily Kos link

  144. says

    The water crisis in Flint, Michigan was caused to some extent by Republican gerrymandering of legislative districts, and by the resultant scheme to appoint “emergency managers,” a scheme I don’t think they should have gotten away with. The federal Department of Justice should have taken them to court over that.

    In 2012, Michigan voters re-elected Barack Obama by a wide nine-point margin of victory. The also re-elected Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in a landslide, gave more votes to Democratic congressional candidates than Republicans, and voted for Democratic state legislative candidates by an eight-point spread as well. So why did Republicans maintain their dominant grip on Michigan politics, with majorities in both the state legislature and U.S. House? Because they’ve rigged its electoral and political institutions to their benefit, through gerrymandering and anti-democratic “emergency manager” laws.

    […] Gov. Rick Snyder and his party set out to insulate their political power from popular dissent [in 2010]. […] Republicans once again passed aggressive gerrymanders of congressional and legislative districts […]

    In the seven elections since 2002, Democrats have won the popular vote for the state House five times. But thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans won majorities in the chamber five times. […]

    Rendering legislative elections almost meaningless still wasn’t enough power to satisfy Republicans, since many key cities with large minority populations have remained Democratic strongholds, such as Detroit (which voted 98 percent for Obama) and Flint (90 percent). Republicans therefore concocted a scheme to circumvent elected local governments by having the state appoint so-called “emergency managers” to take control of local financial decisions. […] Republicans in the state capital have spent years starving Detroit and other cities financially, thus paving the way for these emergency managers to swoop in and undermine pensions, promote education privatization, and dismantle public services.

    We’ve seen this scenario before: starve it until it’s almost dead and then claim that Republican takeover or privatization is required to set things right.

    The emergency manager law proved so unpopular that Michigan voters repealed it at the ballot in 2012. In response, Republicans, with their gerrymander-protected majorities, simply passed the law a second time, and added a small fiscal appropriation that rendered it immune from a ballot-box veto.[…]

    At the state’s direction, that emergency manager made the decision to switch from Detroit’s water system to contaminated Flint River water, even though the move would not save money. Instead, it would help undermine Detroit’s water system and pave the way toward its eventual privatization. […]

    Link. Many more reference links are embedded in the article. Those links back up the claims of “aggressive gerrymandering,” for example.

  145. says

    Oh, this is nice. Justin Trudeau promoted feminism at the World Economic Forum.

    I’m incredibly proud to have a partner in my wife Sophie, who is extremely committed to women and girls’ issues. But she took me aside a few months ago and said Okay, it’s great that you’re engaged and modeling to your daughter that you want her empowered and everything, but you need to take as much effort to talk to your sons—my 8-year-old boy and my 2-year-old—about how he treats women and how he’s going to grow up to be a feminist just like dad. And by the way, we shouldn’t be afraid of the word “feminist.” Men and women should use it to describe themselves any time they want.

    Link, there’s video at the link.

  146. says

    This is a followup to micro raptor’s post @156.

    Republican presidential candidates are nearly apoplectic at the jury’s decision to indict the videographers who produced and distributed deceptive videos about Planned Parenthood. The Republicans are clinging to their misinformation and their myths desperately.

    Carly Fiorina said:

    Yes, well, this is why it’s a fight for the character of our nation. We know for a fact that because of Planned Parenthood’s own announcement that they would no longer accept payments for what they call ‘fetal tissue,’ and they were in fact trafficking in baby body parts. So guess what? I’m not going to sit down and be quiet as I said at the March for Life. I will not sit down and be quiet, I know the value of life, we know what’s going on, and I will continue to stand for the character of this nation. Here’s what I know: Planned Parenthood has been trafficking in body parts. Planned Parenthood has been altering late-term abortion techniques to this specific purpose of harvesting body parts. In President Fiorina budget, there will not be a single dime for Planned Parenthood.

    Marco Rubio said:

    I’m disturbed. We’ll need to learn more, but I’m disturbed that while Planned Parenthood, who are the ones that were actually selling off these (body) parts were found having done nothing wrong, the people who tried to expose them are the ones that are now facing criminal charges.

    Mike Huckabee tweeted:

    Its a sick day in America when our govnt punishes those who expose evil w/ a cellphone—yet accommodates those who perform it with a scalpel.

    Ben Carson’s Communications Director Larry Ross said:

    He [Carson] is equally shocked that they instead decided to indict the individuals that exposed Planned Parenthood’s heinous and illegal activities. As President, he will use the full weight of his office to not only cut off all federal funding for this organization, but also prosecute them for crimes against the unborn.

  147. says

    Ken Ham must be so happy.

    The state of Kentucky must give millions of dollars in tax subsidies to a Noah’s Ark theme park owned by a creationist ministry, even though that ministry refuses to comply with the state’s request not to engage in hiring discrimination, according to an opinion by a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench. Under Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove’s opinion, the creationist group Answers in Genesis (AiG) stands to gain up to $18 million. […]

    I think this decision will be challenged.

    […] Judge Van Tatenhove’s opinion, in other words, rests on the extraordinary proposition that the state of Kentucky is required to subsidize discrimination. That is not what the Constitution provides. […]

    More details at the Think Progress link.

  148. says

    President Obama did the right thing … again. This is only piecemeal reform of our justice system, but he is doing what he can. (See comment 158 for a discussion of Congress critters that block broader justice system reform.)

    President Obama announced Monday night a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile and low-level offenders in federal prisons, saying that isolation is “increasingly overused” and can lead to “devastating, lasting psychological consequences.”

    In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Obama described the story of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old who was held in solitary confinement for two years as he awaited trial at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack. Browder killed himself after he was released from jail without charges. […]

    Think Progress link

  149. blf says

    Robert Gates: Republicans’ grasp of national security is at a child’s level:

    Former defense secretary condemns media for failing to challenge presidential candidates on promises he believes are unaffordable, illegal or unconstitutional

    Robert Gates, former US defence secretary who served under eight presidents, has derided the party’s election candidates for a grasp of national security issues that “would embarrass a middle schooler”.

    […]

    “The level of dialogue on national security issues would embarrass a middle schooler,” Gates said of the Republican contenders […]. “People are out there making threats and promises that are totally unrealistic, totally unattainable. Either they really believe what they’re saying or they’re cynical and opportunistic and, in a way, you hope it’s the latter, because God forbid they actually believe some of the things that they’re saying.”

    […]

    Trump suggested “closing parts of the internet” to prevent Islamic State attracting recruits, Ted Cruz pledged to “carpet bomb them into oblivion”, Chris Christie proposed flying Air Force One over disputed Chinese islands and Carly Fiorina boasted of having had “a private meeting” with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when in fact they met in a green room at a conference.

    […]

    “In some cases, the things they’re saying they’re going to do are unconstitutional or merely against the law and others are, from a budgetary standpoint, inconceivable, and so it seems to be that the press has not hammered hard enough and been relentless in saying, ‘How the hell are you going to do that?’”

    Mr Gates then goes off the rails:

    Gates condemned National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden as a traitor, called on tech companies to put security ahead of business interests and cooperate with intelligence agencies on encrypted data […]

    What was that about pathological liars doing / proposing unconstitutional or illegal things again?
    What was that about a dialogue at a child’s level?

    The only noteworthy reader’s comment at the moment is “Although I radically oppose many of Mr Gates’ policies, it is refreshing to see someone intelligent on the other side of the isle. I’d take an intelligent adversary to a dumb friend anytime.”

  150. says

    Jerry Falwell Jr. is ignoring all of Donald Trump’s wives, the hots he has for his daughter, his obvious bible-related gaffes (“two Corinthians”), etc. and endorsing Donald Trump for president.

    Falwell runs Liberty University.

    This is very bad news. It will result in more evangelical christians in Iowa voting for Trump. The new endorsement arrives in Trump’s lap just days before the Iowa caucuses.

  151. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category.

    Donald Trump racked up another endorsement. This one is from former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker, bigot extraordinaire. Here’s Rocker’s explanation for why he would not want to play for the Yankees or the Mets:

    It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing… The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?

    The quote is from the Wikipedia page for Rocker.

  152. says

    This is good news. At least one of the mormon centers of discrimination in Utah is being investigated.

    Law school accreditors are investigating Brigham Young University amid allegations that the LDS Church-owned institution’s policies violate nondiscrimination standards by expelling students who live in same-sex relationships or leave the Mormon faith.

    The American Bar Association (ABA) is reviewing the formal complaint from a group of BYU alumni pushing for LDS students who lose or change their faith to be allowed to finish their degree […]

    FreeBYU this summer added gay and transgender rights to their cause after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage nationwide. BYU also violates ABA nondiscrimination guidelines, Levin said, by forcing some LGBT members to hide their sexual orientation and gender identity or risk expulsion. […]

    Salt Lake Tribune link

    Yes, BYU has some room to discriminate based on religion, but not as much room as mormon leaders think they have.

    […] Religious institutions such as BYU have some leeway in tailoring their admissions and hiring processes to indicate a “preference” for people with a certain religious affiliation, according to the most recent ABA guidelines, so long as the preferences are clear before students and faculty come to campus. But the standards may not be used to limit academic freedom or to discriminate when it comes to admission or retention of students. The professional organization of attorneys and law students forbids schools from “taking action” based on race, religion, gender, nationality, sexuality, age or disability. […]

    From the readers comments below the article:

    All the older Mormons need to finally understand that BYU isn’t a seminary, it’s a university–one that happily receives federal funds through grants and federal student aid for students.

    This is the crux of the whole thing. It’s a regulated and accredited university despite a private religious sponsor. If the church wants BYU to continue to grant degrees signifying an ability to operate in the secular economy, then it needs to change. If it wants to be an amped-up version of LDS Institutes (that teach religion courses) found on other college campuses, then it should not be presenting itself to the world and prospective students as a university in the service of the public and in compliance with all the attendant regulations and requirements.

  153. says

    Ah, yes, Trump swims ever deeper into our “the company they keep” category. More birdbrains flocking together.

    Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is on his way to Iowa to endorse Donald Trump. And get this: Trump invited him.

    Trump loves this: “I have great respect for Sheriff Arpaio. We must restore law and order and respect the men and women of our police forces. I thank him for his support of my policies and candidacy for President,” Trump said in a statement to the New York Times.

    Arpaio and Trump were also birds of a feather during the height of the Birther movement that questioned where President Obama was born. Both guys are rabid when it comes to anti-immigration policies.

  154. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In the company you keep category, an Oregon man trying to join the Bundy Militants is arrested for DUI and resisting arrest.

    Authorities arrested a man who was heard saying he wanted to join armed occupiers at a southeastern Oregon wildlife refuge and help kill federal agents.
    Deputies and state troopers responded Monday to a store in Hines— a town 30 miles north of the refuge — after getting a report that Joseph Stetson made the threatening comments.
    In a body-camera video released by police, the 54-year-old man tells a trooper he wants to protect the leaders of the occupation that started Jan. 2 at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He said if the authorities want to kill them, they’ll have to kill him first.
    The trooper smells alcohol and asks Stetson how much he’s had to drink. Stetson later yells that he’s going to kill his arresting officers.
    The Woodburn, Oregon, resident was jailed on charges of drunken driving and resisting arrest.
    Back in 2009, Stetson got into a standoff with deputies near Portland. The Oregonian reported at the time that he destroyed a mobile home during a rampage.

    Gee, wonder if he is also forbidden to carry firearms? I suspect he will be shortly…

  155. says

    Maine Governor Paul LePage is also good for a horrified laugh or two. Rachel Maddow’s segment from last night is a good example.

    Today, LePage added to his repertoire of fuckery by promoting guillotine executions for drug dealers.

    Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Tuesday said that penalties for drug traffickers are not harsh enough, suggesting that the state execute those criminals, perhaps with a guillotine.

    During his weekly interview on Maine radio station WVOM, LePage was asked about a push for harsher penalties for those who import drugs into the state.

    “I think the death penalty should be appropriate for people that kill Mainers,” he responded. […]

    “Actually, if you want my honest opinion, we should give them an injection of the stuff they sell,” LePage added.

    “What I think we ought to do is bring the guillotine back,” he continued. “We could have public executions.” […]

    Talking Points Memo link.

  156. says

    Nerd @170, that drunken militia supporter was armed with a pellet gun, so there’s a chance he was refused when he tried to buy a real gun. I’m not hopeful, though. We let all kinds of doofuses carry/buy guns … just look at the Bundy crew.

    I would like to know if Mr. DUI has access to guns. Stetson said out loud and to the officers’ faces that he intended to kill them.

  157. says

    Well, I for one certainly won’t miss him. Donald Trump is pulling out of the Thursday night Republican debate … or so he says. You can never tell for sure with the Trumpster.

    Donald Trump said Tuesday that he “most likely” will not participate in Thursday night’s FOX News-Google debate, citing the participation of “lightweight” Megyn Kelly as well as FOX’s “wise-guy” press release poking fun at Trump’s rhetoric. […]

    After the press conference, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandoski told reporters that the real estate mogul “will not be participating in the Fox debate” and that it is “not under negotiation.”

    Link

  158. says

    Rachel Maddow covered the hullabaloo over Trump refusing to appear at the next debate. The segment begins with a summary of white supremacist support for Donald Trump. Rachel covered yet another, new, white supremacist endorsement for Trump.

    The segment includes Trump’s extended rant against Megyn Kelly and against Fox News in general.

  159. says

    What Trump said in 2011 about backing out of debates: “We have guys who are afraid to go into a debate. How would they stand up to China if afraid to debate?”

    My conclusion is that Trump is afraid of Megan Kelly.

  160. says

    Ted Cruz said some more stupid stuff in Iowa. A resident of Iowa, Randy Delong, asked Cruz about gay marriage:

    […] Cruz assured DeLong that his presidency would not endorse the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right, calling it “fundamentally illegitimate, lawless, and unconstitutional.”

    Previously, Cruz has said individual states should ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling making marriage equality the law of the land. In leaked audio from an event in December, however, Cruz indicated that abolishing same-sex marriage would not be a priority if he was elected president.

    Priority or not, Cruz on Tuesday mounted a spirited defense of his views on marriage — that it should only occur between a man and a woman. The American people, he said, are on his side.

    “The American people all overwhelming disagree with [same-sex marriage],” he said, arguing that polls that show majority support for marriage equality […] are “skewed.” […]

    Think Progress link

    In other news, I am posting updates to the standoff at the wildlife refuge in Oregon to PZ’s The beginning of the end of the Malheur occupation thread.

  161. blf says

    When someone bites the company you keep, Rubio launches dubious attack against Planned Parenthood after indictments:

    Republican on the defensive after Texas grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood decided to indict anti-abortion activists who prompted the inquiry

    Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio sought to raise questions on Tuesday about the indictment of two anti-abortion activists by drawing a dubious connection between a member of the prosecutor’s office and Planned Parenthood.

    I think it’s pretty outrageous that Planned Parenthood was investigated by some lawyer or district attorney who apparently, according to some news reports, has actually been a board member of Planned Parenthood and donated to them, Rubio said, responding to a voter question about abortion at an Iowa town hall.

    Eh? [S]ome lawyer or district attorney who apparently, according to some news reports, has actually been a board member of Planned Parenthood — one could be generous and assume the twit (Rubio) couldn’t quite recall what his researchers had told him, but I suspect it is much more likely there either was no research, and/or his researchers just parroted what they’d head in the thug echo chamber.

    “They investigated Planned Parenthood and they said: ‘We found they did nothing wrong,” he added. But we’re going to indict the people who filmed them talking about these things.’ That’s outrageous.

    […]

    The indictments […] put abortion foes like Rubio on the defensive after months of touting the videos in fights over Planned Parenthood’s government funding. But Planned Parenthood was quick to point out on Tuesday that the district attorney in fact has no known connections to their organization.

    Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice-president, said that the indictment is a sign political attacks on the group have largely failed.

    “I think that is an accurate thing to say, given the three years of investment they made and the tremendous criminal lengths they went to try to harm Planned Parenthood,” she said on Tuesday. “The breathless reporting for weeks and months around these videotapes produced an amazing amount of material to rebut the charges{…} The Center for Medical Progress has really unravelled.”

    Rubio’s attack was likely referring to a Harris County prosecutor in the criminal family law division, Lauren Reeder. Reeder was a member of the Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast board of directors at the time of the county’s investigation […].

    But Reeder was not, as Rubio stated, the district attorney who handed down Monday’s indictments, nor was she involved in the broader investigation. According to news reports from the time, Reeder disclosed that she was a Planned Parenthood board member shortly after Harris County began its investigation in August. The district attorney, Devon Anderson, made Reeder’s affiliation public and stated that Reeder would not have any involvement in the investigation.

    In other words, the officials did the proper thing to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    […]
    Josh Schaffer, an attorney who represented Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast in the Harris County investigation, said on Tuesday that it was his understanding the district attorney’s office created a “firewall” around Reeder.

    […]

    Schaffer […] said the grand jury did not find enough evidence to even vote on indictments for Planned Parenthood.

    [… A]t least one state, California, is investigating the Center for Medical Progress […] whether the center broke laws when it registered the fake corporation that activists used as their cover.

    […]

    In California, an ongoing lawsuit has set the stage for the identities of the key architects and financiers behind the center’s sting to become public knowledge. The names of the center’s key bankrollers are still a mystery, although Troy Newman, an extreme abortion opponent who supports violence against providers and clinics, has been identified as a cofounder.

    […]

    “It’s been telling that while the defendants have been very vocal in the media saying that they have nothing to hide, throughout the case, they have invoked the Fifth Amendment, and not cooperated with court orders to turn over information,” Melissa Fowler, a NAF [National Abortion Federation] spokeswoman, told the Guardian. “Thankfully, these efforts to hide their fraud and dodge discovery have not been successful{…} We hope that the grand jury indictment will be a wakeup call and that politicians will want to distance themselves from this indicted felon and his discredited campaign.”

  162. blf says

    Trump is afraid of Megan Kelly.

    The Grauniad has an article on that, Megyn Kelly: the journalist who dinged Trump’s ego – and got under his skin:

    The Fox News anchor has been just about the only thing causing consternation for the Republican frontrunner, with her unforgiving approach to interviews

    Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is not the first journalist to incur the wrath of Donald Trump. But she may be the first to have forced the combative Republican presidential frontrunner into submission.

    Certainly, she must be the first TV anchor who dedicated an entire live broadcast to a news event that was, as she put it on Tuesday, about “yours truly”.

    That was how she reported that Trump was pulling out of the final Republican TV debate before the Iowa caucuses, essentially because he didn’t like the idea of being questioned by Kelly.

    “He doesn’t get to control the media,” Kelly told viewers of her evening show […].

    “While he has made his position clear about me after that first debate, Roger Ailes made his position clear too,” she said, referring to the Fox News TV executive who has stood by Kelly. She added that Trump had been bringing up the issue of her moderation of the forthcoming debate “again and again and again and again”.

    Declaring his intention to withdraw from the debate on Tuesday, a flustered-looking Trump said simply that he believed his nemesis was “a total lightweight”.

    […]

    Boycotting the event is […] all the more notable for the fact the billionaire real estate mogul’s rare surrender took place out of concern over a head-to-head with a journalist — a profession he holds in great disdain — and one who, no less, works for the arch-conservative Fox News.

    The fact Kelly […] works for Fox News, which has so often been a cheerleader for Trump, goes part of the way to explaining why Trump may find her especially irksome.

    […]

    “Mr Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter,” Kelly said during the [first thug] debate. “However, that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”

    It was the first of several tussles between the two, and a shock to the system for Trump, who had grown used to softball questions from TV journalists, at Fox News and other networks — all of which have given the billionaire almost unfettered access to their airwaves in the knowledge that he immediately boosts their ratings.

    Kelly’s attempt to challenge Trump over his perceived misogyny was the toughest questioning the Republican presidential contender had faced since announcing his bid for the White House two months earlier.

    As if to confirm he does, indeed, have a problem with women, Trump reacted furiously after the debate […]

    [… N]o reporter has gotten under Trump’s skin quite like Kelly.

    With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else, Trump said on Tuesday when announcing his withdrawal from the debate. Let them have their debate and let’s see how they do with the ratings.

    That banging and whizzing you are hearing are the toys being tossed out of the pram. And I find it rather amusing teh wazzock is talking about ratings.

    Another possible issue is murdoof and trum-prat are reported to loathe each other.

  163. blf says

    Fox News accuses Donald Trump of ‘terrorizing’ network after debate exit:

    Channel, which says Trump campaign threatened ‘rough days’ for Megyn Kelly if she hosted event, rejected ‘capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums’

    Well, yes, murdoof and company prefer to buy and own politicians, spread the politicans’s lies and their own far and wide, invent “facts”, and so on… And so does teh trum-prat. Which is making this whole “I’m got more politicians in my pocket” argument so hilarious.

    […]
    Fox claims Trump campaign staff had threatened a similar “rough couple of days” for Kelly if she hosted this coming event. [“Similar” to teh trum-prats initial attacks on Ms Kelly after the first thug “debate”. –blf]

    “We can’t give in to terrorizations of any of our employees,” said a company spokesman. “Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager{…} toward Megyn Kelly.”

    The station, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, is often accused of pushing American politics to the right but now appears to be siding with its establishment wing, even though ratings have soared as result of Trump’s bombastic antics in the 2016 election race.

    Trump continues to hit out at both the network and its well-regarded debate host — claiming the former is only interested in making money out of his appearances […]

    […]

    The showdown highlights the bitter personal rivalry between Trump and Ailes, who for many years has appeared to be the party’s kingmaker.

    Interesting. I have no recollection of reports of a feud between teh paranoid conspiracy kook, Ailes, and teh wazzock, trum-prat. My recollection is since teh wazzock has a long-standing feud with murdoof, the wazzock / his minions had been going directly to Ailes.

    Murdoch, who controls Fox News’s parent company, is also said to have taken a growing interest in its editorial coverage of the election in recent months, and like many US business leaders appears alarmed by the anti-establishment tone of the Republican race.

    Some of the reader’s comments:

    ● “Fox is old school extremism like Al Qaeda and Trump is new school extremism like Isis […]”.

    ● “[…] It’s a wondrous sight to watch the right cannibalize itself. […]”

    ● “Trump terrorizing ⇒ Fox News
    Fox News terrorizing ⇒ the American people
    ⇔ Trump terrorizing ⇒ the American People”.

  164. says

    President Obama never backed out of a debate during his presidential campaign.

    […] “The President himself noted that he was not a big fan of participating in presidential debates, but he never backed out of a debate two days before it was scheduled to be held,” Earnest [White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest] said.

    “We’ve seen over the last several months that Mr. Trump has repeatedly chosen to kick reporters out of the room for asking tough questions,” Earnest added. “It appears he’s taking that approach to a new level by avoiding those questions entirely.” […]

    Link

  165. says

    More nonsense from the militiamen who are still at the wildlife refuge center:

    […] The militants remain convinced that reinforcements, including a group of retired Navy Seals are on their way to save and/or fight with them until the end. They spoke of the retired seals arriving by land, water and air. […]

    Link

  166. says

    Donald Trump should take a look at this immigrant:

    Cedrick Argueta is a 17-year-old high school student at Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, a part of the Los Angeles Unified school system. Mr. Argueta is the son of an Salvadorian maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse who works two jobs. Cedrick Argueta was one of only 12 students to score perfectly on this year’s AP Calculus exam. […]

    LA Times link

    […] Cedrick is the son of Lilian and Marcos Argueta, both of whom came to the United States as young adults – she from the Philippines, he from El Salvador. Lilian, a licensed vocational nurse, works two jobs at nursing homes. Marcos is a maintenance worker at one of those nursing homes. He never went to high school.

    Lilian Argueta, pausing during one of her shifts this week, said her son’s accomplishment is still sinking in. He texted her when he found out, and she told him it was great but, she said, she didn’t understand the magnitude until reporters started calling.

    Argueta said that she always told Cedrick and his younger sister to finish their homework and to “read, read, read,” but that they knew she’d be proud of them whether or not they got straight A’s. […]

  167. says

    PZ was right. The arrest of Ammon Bundy and others has led to a sort of domino effect.

    Three more militants who were part of the Oregon standoff are now occupying the Multnomah County jail. Duane Ehmer and his horse “Hellboy” surrendered yesterday afternoon, along with Dylan Wade Anderson. Duane Ehmer could often been seen during the standoff, posing for the cameras on his horse, holding an American flag.

    Hours later, Jason Patrick followed suit and turned himself in at a roadblock. […]

    Link

    There’s a lot of self pity, beer drinking, and pot smoking in the latest around-the-campfire video posted by the few doofuses who are still at the refuge.

  168. says

    Trump continues fly his injured-bully flag. He equated Megan Kelly with Iran:

    “When you’re mistreated, as we were with the Iran deal, our country should have walked,” Trump said. “I was not treated well by Fox. . . . I said, ‘How much of this do you take?’ ” […]

    Donald Trump continued his onslaught on Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Thursday, retweeting a follower who criticized a photo shoot she did for GQ Magazine.

    “And this is the bimbo that’s asking presidential questions?”, the tweet said. It included two photos of Kelly posing provocatively and the following text: “Criticizes Trump for objectifying women … Poses like this in GQ Magazine.”

    Link

    Not a sign of strength, Trumpster.

  169. says

    A lot of people support President Obama’s approach to immigration … until they are told it is his plan. Attaching the name “Obama” to almost any policy instantly shaves a few points off its popularity.

    A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Americans approve of President’s Obama’s actions on immigration when described broadly — especially when his name isn’t attached. That support shrank once the question posed to respondents mentioned that they were executive actions taken by the president […]

    Sixty-one percent of Americans supported Obama’s plan — which shields some undocumented immigrants from deportation — when they were not told Obama had taken the action, according to the poll released Wednesday. While half of Republicans rejected the plan when described this way, 42 percent of Republicans supported it. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/reuters-poll-immigration-obama

  170. says

    Uh, what now? Carly Fiorina answered an animal rights question by giving a few anti-abortion pointers.

    “I really wish there was that much passion in that young man for unborn children as there are for pigs,” she said. “We have to take back the character of this nation.”

    Think Progress link

    Admittedly, the guy speaking up for pigs was protesting at an event sponsored by pork farmers. So, yeah, strange all around.

    There is real debate and real news around the issue of animal abuse on pig farms, but that was not discussed.

    […] Iowa’s pork farming industry has faced criticism in recent years for supporting a law that prevents activists from exposing animal abuse on farms. Passed in 2012, that law makes it illegal for people to lie on farm job applications to farms. […]

  171. says

    Republican politicians are using veteran’s organizations, and veterans in general, as cover for pulling political stunts.

    Trump is skipping the Fox debate tonight to speak at a “special event to benefit veterans organizations.” Looks like a scam to me, since the Trump campaign set up a website to take donations for vets, but failed to provide any details whatsoever about where the money will go.

    Two Super PACs backing Ted Cruz have said they will give $1.5 million to “charities committed to helping veterans” if Trump will debate Cruz in a one-on-one debate. Yet another scam? The PACs do not specify which charities or organizations will receive the $1.5 million.

    Carly Fiorina says that if Trump will invite her to his Drake University, anti-Megyn Kelly event, she will give $2.0 million to a veterans’ cause. Again, the “veterans’ cause” is not named.

    Vets organizations are not happy.

    Dangling donations over heads of veterans as prop to entice a candidate to debate is a pretty low form of charity – Just make the donation.

    That’s from VoteVets

  172. says

    A low-level court system in Arizona has been making millions from people arrested for drugs.

    […] Since 1990, Maricopa County has operated a diversionary program for people facing prison over minor possession offenses.

    Sounds like a good idea so far, right? Just wait. The devil is in the details.

    The state’s most populous county outsources the drug treatment alternative to a private outfit called the Treatment Assessment Screening Center (TASC), which ”won” a no-bid contract to be the exclusive provider of drug treatment alternatives to prosecution back in 1989.

    When someone arrested for drug possession is facing trial in Maricopa County, prosecutors often offer TASC’s mix of addiction treatment and urinalysis testing as an alternative to prison and a criminal record. Such systems have long been touted as a key tool in dismantling the mass incarceration system in America.

    But Maricopa doesn’t pay TASC’s bills. Individual citizens desperate to stay out of a cell do. TASC wouldn’t tell the New Times what a typical participant pays for her freedom, but a local defense attorney said the total bill often runs as high as $1,300. Arizona gives people an extra incentive to shell out that money, too: It is one of the few remaining states where a drug conviction means losing access to food stamps and welfare benefits for life.

    The county refers thousands of marijuana offenders to TASC each year, generating millions of dollars in revenue for the non-profit organization. The system, which one former participant described as “government-run, taxpayer-funded legal extortion,” has been kind to those in charge of running it. […]

    ASC CEO Barbara Zugor made more than $4.2 million in total compensation from 2000 through her retirement in 2014 […]

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/01/27/3743509/maricopa-county-drug-court-profiteers/

  173. says

    Some gun manufacturers are getting taxpayer-funded subsidies. [head meet desk]

    […] By relocating to Huntsville, Remington, a $1 billion firearms conglomerate owned by the Manhattan private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, would receive state and local grants, tax breaks, and other incentives worth approximately $69 million—the equivalent of getting about $14 from every resident of Alabama. […]

    Mother Jones link

  174. microraptor says

    There was something I saw last night (can’t remember which show it was on) where a commentator said that Trump’s skipping out on this debate is a calculated strategy on his part. Trump’s got absolutely no substance to his platform, something that would become immediately apparent if he were forced into a serious debate. So by boycotting this debate, if the event that he goes on to win the Republican nomination he’s set a precedent that might allow him to get away with boycotting debates against Hillary or Bernie, since he knows that if he goes up against either of them he’s going to get pulverized.

  175. says

    Glenn Beck said some more stupid stuff related to his endorsement of Ted Cruz for president:

    Glenn Beck interviewed Rafael Cruz, father of GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, on his television program last night, where he declared that the elder Cruz’s birth was “divine providence” because it resulted in his son Ted, who he says is now being raised up to save this nation.

    “Everybody was born for a reason,” Beck told Cruz while the two were seated in a scale replica set of the Oval Office. “As I learned your story and saw the fruit of that story, now in your son, I am more and more convinced in the hand of divine providence.”

    “Oh, absolutely,” replied Cruz. […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  176. blf says

    Senator Sanders is starting to deal with one of his weakest / wrongest positions — an, at best, “meh” attitude towards the excessive number of guns in circulation — Sanders to co-sponsor bill repealing protections for gun makers and dealers:

    On Wednesday, staff for the Bernie Sanders campaign met with Hector Adames, a gun control advocate who has joined with the Brady Campaign

    Bernie Sanders announced on Thursday that he will co-sponsor a bill to repeal protections for gun manufacturers and dealers — a law he voted for in 2005 […].

    In 2005, while a member of the House of Representatives, Sanders voted for a bill that shields manufacturers and dealers from legal liability in cases “resulting from criminal or unlawful misuse” of their guns by a third party. Twelve years earlier he had voted against the Brady Bill, which imposed federal background checks and a waiting period on gun purchases.

    […]

    Under the [2005] law, gun manufacturers and dealers have more protections than most other manufacturers of consumer goods.

    [… T]he Sanders campaign met with Hector Adames, a gun control advocate who has joined with the Brady Campaign. Adames’ 13-year-old nephew was shot dead in a gun accident, and in 2009 the US supreme court rejected their challenge of protections for the gun industry.

    If memory serves me right, one of the reasons behind the silly law / excessive protections is to deny people like Mr Adames an ability to sue due to the lack of so-called “smart guns” — killing machines which can only be fired by their owner. My recollection is a properly-functioning smart gun (and/or other precautions built into the gun itself) would very probably have prevented the accident which killed his nephew.

    The current situation is roughly analogous to selling cars with a simple pushbutton ignition and no locks, and being immune to lawsuits complaining about the ease of theft and having your nephew run over by a stolen car.

    […]
    Adames said he and other advocates hoped for Sanders “to make a wrong a right. That he responded so quickly is almost amazing”.

    […]

    By the measure of one tracker, there have been more than 1,000 mass shootings since the December 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school attack that killed 20 children and six adults and spurred the 2013 bill.

    The issue has not been debated seriously between presidential campaigns in 15 years, though it has been raised repeatedly in this Democratic primary.

  177. says

    I think Oklahoma is trying to win a “most anti-LGBTQ” state in the USA award.

    HB [House Bill] 1598 protects ex-gay conversion therapy scams.

    HB 3044 prevent depressed and/or suicidal LGBT youth from seeing a gay-affirmative therapist.

    SB [Senate Bill] 733 prohibits marriage for HIV-positive people.

    Slate link

  178. says

    Anti-gay legislation from Utah, (proposed by a mormon legislator):

    A Republican representative wants to make clear in Utah law that the state favors couples in traditional marriages when it comes to placing children for adoption and foster care.

    The effort by Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, comes in response to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that effectively wiped out a prohibition in Utah against placing children for adoption or foster children with gay parents.

    “Between an opposite-sex couple and a same-sex couple, all other things being equal, the judge would grant preference to rewarding custody” to a heterosexual couple, Powell explained.

    The reason, he argues, is that it is better for children to have a male and female role model in the family, exposing the child to more diverse gender roles.

    Powell’s bill — titled Parentage Amendments — will be released in a few days and, if it passes, would put back into law a preference for adoptions by couples with a male and female parent when the child is in the custody of the state and there is not a family member or anyone with an existing relationship who wishes to adopt the child.

    Since the court’s ruling last year, the state has been granting adoptions and foster placements to same-sex couples on the same terms as mixed-gender couples. […]

    Salt Lake Tribune link

    From the readers comments section:

    It’s nice to see a legislator working so hard to legislate discrimination. Perhaps he can amend the bill to include preference for white couples over black or mixed couples while he’s at it.

  179. says

    Oh, Donald Trump. Will you ever stop falling for hoaxes?

    Trump fell for, and retweeted, a hoax about a Saudi Prince being “co-owner” of Fox News. The hoax includes a badly photoshopped image of Megyn Kelly added to a photo of Prince Al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia with his sister.

    The fake has been known to be a fake for some time. Prince al-Waleed bin Talal owns an investment company that has about a six percent share of 21st Century Fox. Megyn Kelly never posed for a photo with Prince Al-Waleed and his sister.

    Does Donald Trump not have enough money to pay someone to fact-check the hoaxes before he posts them on his Twitter account?

  180. says

    We now know how Ben Carson plans to spin his exit from the presidential race:

    […] “It is much better to do what’s right and lose an election than to do what’s politically expedient and lose your soul,” Mr. Carson said with a sense of resignation during a Tuesday night event that mixed a campaign pitch with a Christian prayer service. […]

    NY Time link

  181. says

    About tonight’s Republican debate, Fox news stated:

    The debate is completely sold out. No rates have changed and there are no advertisers who have backed out. Prices don’t change once the orders have been placed.

    About tonight’s debate, Donald Trump tweeted:

    FOX debate advertising rates falling like a rock! Tune into my special event for the Veterans at 9pm EST!

  182. says

    This is a followup to comment 171.

    Paul LePage, extreme rightwing doofus and governor of Maine, said some more stupid stuff. He is inciting Maine citizens to shoot people they think may be drug dealers.

    Fresh off saying Maine should revive the guillotine to decapitate drug dealers, Gov. Paul LePage (R) said Wednesday that private citizens should get in on the criminal-killing action too.

    “I tell ya, everybody in Maine, we have constitutional carry,” LePage said in an on-camera interview in Lewiston, referring to the state’s protections for carrying concealed handguns without a special permit.

    “Load up and get rid of the drug dealers. Because, folks, they’re killing our kids,” the governor said. The reporter he was speaking with quickly asked if the head of the state government was calling for vigilante justice. LePage denied that he meant to invite vigilantism by saying Mainers can use concealed firearms to “get rid of” drug dealers when they find them. […]

    Think Progress link

  183. says

    There are signs of Michigan government officials protecting themselves at the same time that they were not protecting the residents of Flint … at the same time that they were telling Flint residents that their water was safe to drink.

    In January of 2015, when state officials were telling worried Flint residents their water was safe to drink, they also were arranging for coolers of purified water in Flint’s State Office Building so employees wouldn’t have to drink from the taps […]

    A Jan. 7, 2015, notice from the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which oversees state office buildings, references a notice about a violation of drinking water standards that had recently been sent out by the City of Flint.

    “While the City of Flint states that corrective actions are not necessary, DTMB is in the process of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned near the water fountain, so you can choose which water to drink,” said the notice.

    “The coolers will arrive today and will be provided as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”

    […] The state continued to provide the coolers of purified water, right up to today, because “there were more findings as we went along,” Buhs said. […]

    “Sadly, the only response was to protect the Snyder administration from future liability and not to protect the children of Flint,” Scott said. “While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building.”

    Detroit Free Press link

  184. says

    From last night’s debate, a note about Marco Rubio. Rubio is recycling old Mitt Romney material:

    Today, we are on pace to have the smallest Army since the end of World War II, the smallest Navy in 100 years, the smallest Air Force in our history. You cannot destroy ISIS with a military that’s being diminished.

    Okay, Rubio, let’s debunk this nonsense once again. [sigh] Let’s start with recent comments from Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is a Republican, but who said of the Republican candidates that they “don’t know what they’re talking about” and maintain a “level of dialogue on national security issues would embarrass a middle schooler.”

    Let’s move on to the debate preceding the 2012 election in which Obama cut Romney to ribbons when Mittens brought up the “smaller than at any time since …” nonsense. Obama replied:

    Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities?

    Bloomberg politics, (not a bastion of liberalism), wrote:

    The numbers of ships and planes don’t define U.S. military capabilities. Modern warships, notably aircraft carriers and submarines, are far more effective and lethal than their World War II predecessors.

    The Air Force is preparing to field the costliest jet fighter ever built, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, and already has the second generation F-22 with stealth characteristics. Advances in precision guidance and intelligence collection make even older aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16 far more capable than the jets that preceded them.

    Okay, that’s us finishing off Rubio’s specious, memorized, and wrong points about the size of our military forces. Rubio claims to be an expert when it comes to foreign policy. He is more like a robot into which someone has programmed the wrong talking points.

  185. says

    According to some of the latest polls, Ohio Governor John Kasich is running second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire. He is losing big time in Iowa, but coming in second in New Hampshire would be a big move up for him. You can tell that Kasich is a sort of good, sort of bad candidate for president by the ads Christie and Bush are running against him. The ads slam Kasich for supporting cuts in defense spending, and for closing military bases.

    In other news, Jeb Bush has adopted a new campaign trail tactic, mocking his own ineptitude. Laughing in the face of defeat does make him more appealing. At one point, he even ironically raised his hands to the sky and said, “Mission accomplished!”

    In other debate news, yes Donald Trump won by not showing up. More on that later.

  186. says

    Meditations on the miserable fact that The Trumpster won a debate he did not attend:

    The other candidates attacked Ted Cruz instead of the absent Donald. Cruz turned in a poor debate performance, which means that the rest of the Republican field did Trump’s work for him. They cut down his closest rival.

    Rubio, the supposed hope of some establishment Republicans to take down Trump, floundered and flailed. From Politico:

    Rubio seemed overly tense, hyper-emphatic and prone to his unflattering habit of delivering his answers in an annoying Gatling Gun crescendo of ever-increasing volume…. His less-than-calm performance undermines the boyish senator’s contention that he’s seasoned enough for the big job.

  187. says

    Lily Ledbetter was in the White House again today. She watched President Obama sign his first bill after he became president (Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act), and today she introduced Obama for his speech about equal pay.

    Congress has blocked and further progress toward equal pay, so the president is using a roundabout way to move forward.

    […] proposing a new rule that will require companies to report pay data by gender, race and ethnicity, the White House announced.

    The rule, which would apply to companies that have 100 or more employees, will require employers to include salary information on a form already submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that currently includes employees’ sex and age.

    The new rule goes into effect in September 2017. It will make it easier to see patterns of unfairness when it comes to pay.

  188. says

    KKK supporters are quite active in the state of Georgia.

    The Klan “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order,” he said.

    “It made a lot of people straighten up,” he said. “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”

    Atlanta Journal Constitution link.
    That’s Tommy Benton speaking. He’s a Republican who represents House District 31.

    This reactionary state representative has introduced bills to protect Confederate memorials in Georgia, to make sure Robert E. Lee’s birthday remains a public and legal holiday in perpetuity, and to make sure that Georgia Democrats don’t go all ISIS on confederate history (the ISIS comparison is his).

    Benton also wants to revert to historical street names, circa 1968. This move would remove Martin Luther King’s name from one street and restore the name of a KKK leader.

  189. says

    Trump is still aiming Birther comments at Ted Cruz, with his most recent salvo being that Cruz is “An anchor baby in Canada.” During the debate, Cruz tried to make fun of Trump by imitating him. Cruz called the other candidates “stupid, fat, and ugly.” The joke fell kind of flat.

    In other Trump news, remember that badly photoshopped image of Megyn Kelly with a Saudi Prince? The image that Trump tweeted? (See comment 198.) Well Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz al Saud slapped Trump for that:

    Trump:You base your statements on photoshopped pics?I bailed you out twice;a 3rd time,maybe?

    Al-Waleed did indeed bail Trump out financially in the 1990s. So much for Trump’s claim that he is always successful, always a good businessman, never makes a bad deal, etc.

    And, of course, Trump lied. He lied about Al-Waleed being a “co-owner” of Fox, and he lied about Megyn Kelly being best buds with Al-Waleed and his sister. Though I’m not sure why it would matter if Kelly was a friend of the family. Maybe Trump’s bigotry against foreigners is showing again.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/al-waleed-trump-tweet

  190. says

    With only two days to organize his counter-programming event, Trump did his best to make it look like more people wanted to see him speak at Drake University than wanted to watch the Republican debate that he boycotted. Here’s some inside scoop on how Trump made his rival event look well-attended:

    […] “I’m just here cause I think he’s hilarious,” said one Drake student, who declined to give her name. Her friend, a 20-year-old Drake student wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, agreed. The reason “Drake students are attending tonight is more the comedic factor,” she said. “We’ve had all these very serious events with random raffles and drawings, and then Trump shows up on campus and he gives out around 3,000 tickets on an app to an event happening in an auditorium that holds around 700 people.” […]

    Link

    Ah, yes, pure trumpishness. He does that all the time. He did it in New Hampshire and left people standing outside in very cold weather.

  191. blf says

    Bush ]![ continues to show his astonishingly non-existent grasp of just about everything. Other thugs follow him down the rabbit-hole, which by now is so deep / long the far end is in someplace in the Andromeda Galaxy. Jeb Bush pins hopes on someone in a garage to tackle climate change:

    As rising sea levels threaten their state of Florida, fellow Republican candidate Marco Rubio also warns that action on climate [change] would destroy the economy

    Florida’s leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, have both criticized federal action to combat climate change […]

    Responding to a rare question about climate change in Thursday’s Republican debate [sic …], Rubio denied that he ever supported a “cap and trade” system to lower emissions, despite his having called it “inevitable” in 2008.

    I have never supported cap-and-trade and I never thought it was a good idea, the Florida senator said. And I do not believe it’s a good idea now. I do not believe that we have to destroy our economy in order to protect our environment.

    And especially what these programs are asking us to pass{…} will do nothing to help the environment, but will be devastating for our economy. When I am president of the United States of America, there will never be any ‘cap and trade’ in the United States.

    […]

    Obama’s administration has pledged to cut US greenhouse emissions from all sectors by up to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Research released this week by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and the University of Colorado Boulder found that the US could slash emissions much further, cutting them by up to 78% below 1990 levels within 15 years, while meeting increased demand.

    These cuts, the Nature Climate Change study states, could be achieved “without an increase in the levelized cost of electricity”. It would be undertaken via a shift to a national energy system using existing renewable sources such as solar and wind and deploying the latest electricity storage technology.

    […]

    Bush said he doubted sea level predictions for south Florida but, if they did come true, he has told his wife that they should move house.

    Last week, a group of 15 mayors in Florida, including Tomas Regalado, the mayor of Miami, wrote to Rubio to call upon him to “acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the upcoming crisis it presents our communities”.

    […]

    The League of Conservation Voters, which is backing Hillary Clinton, said Rubio had a “weak relationship with the facts” on the economic impact of tackling climate change.

    […]

    Adam Beitman, a spokesman for environment group the Sierra Club, said: “Rubio’s views on climate action have gotten more dangerous as the threat to his home town has gotten more severe and the Koch brothers’ influence on his positions has gotten more pronounced.”

    Beitman said Bush’s comments showed that Republicans were paying “lip service” to action on climate change while opposing serious solutions to it. “When your plan is to wait around and hope that someone in their garage fixes the climate crisis, it’s clear you’re not taking the issue seriously at all — especially while seas are rising around your home state.”

    Some readers’s comments:

    ● “Bush predicting someone in a garage somewhere will solve the problem instead — By designing a virus that only kills climate-change deniers?”

    ● “Cannot fault the logic of these intellectual giants. After all big teams of scientists and engineers working together and drawing on funding and technical support have never done did things like putting men on the moon, discovering the Higgs boson, mastering the production of graphene, ridding the world of smallpox, etc, etc. No it was loners working in their own garages that have always solved the world’s biggest problems.”

    ● “Sure — someone in a garage will have to solve it, because when has government in the US ever done anything of any use to anyone? I mean, apart from the Hoover dam, rural electrification, Social Security, regulation of food quality, (fade out to Cleese and co.: ‘What have the Romans ever given us..’)”

    ● “Maybe we should replace Bush with ‘someone in a garage’. ‘Someone in a garage’ probably isn’t being fed millions of dollars in coal money.”

    ● “It is fairly simple. The Republicans only represent people that have sufficient wealth to flee the rising water. They are not deeply concerned. They will just move to higher ground before it becomes a serious issue for them.”

  192. blf says

    Another creeps vs civil society entry, Fitbit used to track students’ physical activity at Oral Roberts University:

    Private school [sic] in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says bracelet it uses doesn’t contain GPS tracker but still monitors students at all hours as part of ‘whole person education’

    Oral Roberts University […] has found a novel way to teach physical education: require students to wear Fitbit activity-tracking bracelets and lower their grades if they are not active enough.

    The Tulsa-based private school [sic] praised the popular tracking hardware in a press release earlier this month, saying the Fitbit program had begun during the fall semester after a pilot during the spring of 2014.

    “The marriage of new technology with our physical fitness requirements is something that sets ORU apart,” said the university president, William Wilson. “In fact, when we began this innovative program in the fall of 2015, we were the first university in the world to offer this unique approach to a fitness program.”

    Gee, I wonder why…

  193. says

    blf @213, I like that phrase, “weak relationship with the facts.” Very succinct, and it can be applied to all of the Republican candidates.

    As proof of their weak relationship with the facts, here’s a summary of the Republican dick-waving about ISIS in last night’s debate:

    First, they would all protect the USA better than President Obama, though how they would do this was presented in vague or unrealistic terms.

    Rubio wants to root out ISIS in the USA and then ship terrorists to Guantanamo Bay.

    Christie wants to embed U.S. troops in the Iraqi military forces. He would also “get the lawyers off the damn backs of the military once and for all”, which I take to mean that all this nonsense about not torturing prisoners would be dropped. /sarcasm for that last bit.

    They would all “rebuild the military” (see comment 205 for an analysis of this approach).

    Ted Cruz tried to redefine “carpet bombing” … and he failed
    .
    And all will remember that Sarah Palin described Trump’s approach as “kicking Isis ass” by giving the military free rein in the Middle East.

  194. blf says

    Faux & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited, is firing-up some boilers on its coal-burning sapping machine, Koch brothers convene donor retreat as dark money spending set to soar (edits by The Grauniad in {curly braces}):

    Billionaire Republican backers host retreat with over super-rich conservatives as secret donations are forecast to break records in the 2016 election

    The Grauniad got a nice bit of snark in, the picture accompanying this article is of the thug Klown Kar Kandidates.

    The billionaire Koch brothers are set to convene one of their famed retreats this weekend for several hundred of their fellow super-rich conservatives in Palm Springs, California, as observers forecast a record year for secret donations, dubbed dark money […].

    “Given the trends we’re seeing, we wouldn’t be surprised if dark money spent on direct advocacy {in the US 2016 election} hit half a billion dollars,” said Viveca Novak, the editorial director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. “Spending by these groups in the 2016 cycle is way ahead of previous cycles, and {dark money groups} are more integrated into campaigns than we’ve seen in the past.”

    In 2012, the center has reported, dark money groups spent over $300m, of which more than 80% came from Republican-leaning outfits.

    Dark money is the name for cash given to nonprofit organizations that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals and unions without disclosing their donors. Under IRS regulations these tax-exempt groups are supposed to be promoting “social welfare” and are not allowed to have politics as their primary purpose — so generally they have to spend less than half their funds directly promoting candidates. [How convenient! –blf] Other so-called “issue ads” paid for by these groups often look like thinly veiled campaign ads.

    Several Republican congressional incumbents and candidates facing tough races are slated to attend the Koch retreat this weekend, and, if recent history is a guide, are expecting to gain support from Koch-backed dark money groups.

    Florida congressman Ron DeSantis will be one of the lucky ones […]

    DeSantis and other congressional guests are also hoping to see Super Pacs that support them receive checks that donors, thanks to the Citizens United decision, can write with no upper limit. Super Pacs are organizations independent of the candidates’ campaigns which, unlike the campaigns, may since Citizens United raise unlimited amounts of money from individual donors, corporations and unions. Unlike with dark money, these donations do require disclosure.

    […] Charles Koch has stated that their donor network is aiming to spend at least $250m in this year’s elections and another $500m on conservative advocacy and research programs.

    Several Koch network donors have voiced strong concerns about the rise of Trump […].

    [… Minnesota broadcasting billionaire Stan] Hubbard adds: “Trump wasn’t their choice,” referring to the Koch brothers network. “But they’re also realists. I believe you have to work with what you have.”

    Who you own was probably meant…

    […]
    Rubio’s presidential run has benefitted by almost $10m in dark money spending by the Conservative Solutions Project. […]

    Three watchdog groups have filed complaints with the IRS or Justice Department against the pro-Rubio nonprofit, charging among other things that it is providing Rubio a “private benefit” contrary to IRS rules, undermining its “social welfare” status. […]

    Another dark money behemoth, Crossroads GPS, cofounded in 2010 by […] Karl Rove, is expected to spend millions of dollars this year on research [sic] and ads to help whoever wins the Republican nomination […]

    [The president of Crossroads GPS, Steven] Law also leads another dark money outfit, One Nation, which last year spent millions to help embattled Republican Senate candidates including Ayotte and Portman.

    […]

    This tsunami of dark money donations and spending by nonprofit groups does not seem to have been anticipated by the Citizens United decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his majority opinion, envisioned a campaign finance system where all spending would be instantly disclosed via the internet, and outside groups would be completely independent from campaigns, thus limiting potential corruption.

    [C]ompletely independent? Oh good grief, what fecking colour is the sky on your planet, Justice Kennedy?

    In a recent speech at Harvard Law School, Kennedy acknowledged that disclosure was “not working the way it should”.

    The only readers’s comment of note at the present time:

    Several Republican congressional incumbents and candidates facing tough races are slated to attend the Koch retreat this weekend, and, if recent history is a guide, are expecting to gain support from Koch-backed dark money groups.

    For some reason I’m reminded of the opening scene of The Godfather where supplicants meet with Don Corleone and present their requests on the occasion of his daughter’s wedding, kissing his hand at the end.

    Can’t imagine why.

    Yeah, that is a mystery. No comparison at all. Nothing similar here, move along…

  195. says

    Ted Cruz added to his list of religious whack jobs that support his candidacy for president. Bob Vander Plaats thinks that any government not led by christians will be/is corrupt. The company Cruz keeps stinks to high heaven.

    […] the head of the Iowa Religious Right group The Family Leader and an influential Republican power-broker in the state. Vander Plaats has since been crossing the state to campaign for and with Cruz, even engaging in a Twitter spat with Cruz’s main rival, Donald Trump. […]

    In an email to members of The Family Leader on Monday, Vander Plaats lamented that “hundreds of thousands of Iowa Christians stayed home” during the last presidential caucus. To reverse that trend, he asked members to encourage their pastors to distribute a Family Leader-produced bulletin insert on Sunday urging their flocks to participate in Monday’s caucus.

    The bulletin insert offers instructions on how to caucus as well as a list of reasons “why it’s important that Christians caucus,” including that it’s necessary to choose “godly candidates” with a “Christian worldview” in order to bring revival to America.

    The TFL caucus guide also reminds churchgoers that elected officials are “ministers of God,” and as such, government’s “God-given purposes easily become corrupted without Christians engaged and guiding it.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  196. says

    Glenn Beck says he is planning to move to Israel in preparation for the collapse of U.S. society and other signs of the apocalypse. Maybe we should warn Israel? Link

    Glenn Beck backs Ted Cruz for president. And in more “the company they keep news,” Jason and David Benham have decided to endorse Cruz. A little background on the Benham brothers:

    […] The brothers and their Religious Right activist father, Flip, were all part of a group of people who went to a Charlotte, North Carolina, city council meeting in 2004 to complain about a gay pride event that had taken place in a city park:

    “This is filth, this is vile and should not be allowed in our city,” said David. Jason urged city council members to reject future permits for Pride celebrations – and seemingly for any LGBT-themed event.

    They have a right to apply for this permit, but you have a right and responsibility to deny it. I [implore] you not to be governed by the fear in which you feel. If you deny them this permit you will open a can of worms but you in your leadership position have to take that responsibility and you have to not allow the fear of making this homosexual community mad. You have to accept that responsibility and deny them every permit that they ask for.

    Link

  197. says

    Here’s part of Donald Trump’s take on why he did not appear onstage last night at the Fox debate, as seen through the eyes of Salon journalist, Heather Digby Parton [load of swill warning for anything Trump did or said]:

    […] Just as the debate was about to begin he [Trump] invited CNN onto his luxurious private plane to explain that Fox had profusely apologized for their bad behavior (“they couldn’t have been nicer”) and had begged him to come to the debate. He wished he could but he’d promised to raise money for the veterans and couldn’t let them down.

    Trump repeated that swill at the beginning of his rally speech, repeated it word for word.

    Fox News has a different version of events, claiming that there was no apology and that Trump had shaken them down agreeing to appear with the hated Kelly but only if the network would promise to pay $5 million to his veterans charity. They refused to “negotiate” any further.

    His event was a dull affair but the other networks covered it nonetheless. They always do. The bright spot of the night was when Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, both previous Iowa caucus winners, raced over from the kiddie table to lend their tacit support to Trump. […]

    It was truly funny when Rick Santorum attempted to talk into the microphone without standing behind the “TRUMP” podium. No matter what they said, it looked like Huckabee and Santorum were endorsing Trump.

    Trump raised millions from himself and some other millionaires and smaller donors for the veterans, “who he loves.” Curiously, the money all went to donaldtrumpforvets.com, a website set up that morning which routes the money to the Donald Trump Foundation. […]

    Instead of reciting poll numbers, like he usually does, Trump recited donations from his fellow fat cats, as in, such-and-such-fat-cat gave $1 million. Not a lot of small donors really, unless you count $50,000 to be a “small” donation.

  198. says

    As we all know, Megyn Kelly can be a rightwing rabid doofus. However, she can also hold a Republican candidate’s feet to the fire when she is a debate moderator. Trump was right to be afraid of her.

    […] Kelly pulled a “Daily Show” on Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, playing lengthy montages of their past support of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. (They’ve each since flip-flopped.) Both men, robbed of their ability to insist that they’d never said the words they’d obviously said, floundered helplessly. […]

    Link. Scroll down for video.

  199. blf says

    In a follow-up to @212, Trump’s solo act takes cues from vaudeville and tap dances around issues:

    Republican frontrunner’s boycott turned political rally steers clear of plans for policy […]

    In an old theater with red velvet curtains and folding wooden seats, Donald Trump trotted out his own unique variety show for a crowd of roughly 700 in the theater […].

    It was an attempt to resurrect the long-dead genre of vaudeville, only replacing acrobats with Rick Santorum and tenors with veterans.

    In lieu of participating in the Fox News presidential debate [sic], Trump held his own special salute to veterans in the Sheslow Auditorium at Des Moines’ Drake University. He served as ringmaster, prancing on and off stage as fellow presidential candidates, combat veterans and YouTube celebrities all took turns paying tribute both to Trump and those who have served in the US armed forces.

    The crowd was a mix of Trump supporters […] and local military veterans. […] The crowd was leavened by a healthy mix of members of the national media, television anchors, cameramen and those writers fortunate enough not to be booted to a spare media filing room off-stage.

    […]

    Trump waited all of 15 minutes after the scheduled start of the Republican debate at 8pm local time to take center stage. Addressing the crowd, Trump, with typical bravado, insisted that Fox had been desperate to get him back in the debate.

    “Fox has been extremely nice the last number of hours and they wanted me there,” said Trump. However, the GOP frontrunner said he couldn’t show up because he was hosting Thursday’s event for veterans. [Teh wazzock means leaching on them, exploiting them, and giving not-so-subtle hints he wants his own “army” of brownshirts –blf] This account was disputed in a press release from Fox News.

    […]

    After doling out his obligatory insults aimed at “low energy” Jeb Bush, Trump introduced two other Republican candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, fresh from the undercard Republican debate across town.

    Huckabee and Santorum […] both talked briefly about their deep concern for veterans while dealing with the awkwardness of speaking behind a podium with TRUMP emblazoned on it.

    […]

    Both as a vaudeville show and a political rally, Trump’s event was lacking. There were no musical numbers nor were there any jugglers, although Trump certainly tap danced around addressing any substantive issues of policy. And while he got in a few jabs at Jeb Bush and rolled his eyes at the obligatory protesters who shouted “we loved veterans, Trump loves war,” it didn’t have the trademark fireworks of a Trump rally.

    Instead it was, to use a favorite Trump phrase, “low energy”. While, just over three miles away, Republicans sparred over policy and cast sharp jabs at each other, Trump committed the ultimate sin in show business: he was boring.

  200. blf says

    Re “[t]hey’ve each since flip-flopped” quoted in @220, I intensely dislike the term flip-flopped: There’s nothing a priori wrong with changing one’s position. When someone does it, what I am heavily interested in is why they did: What was the rationale? Evidence considered?

    (In the cases in question, I assume the reason “why?” is a mixture of political convenience and orders from paymasters. Which (if correct-ish), seems far more revealing — and alarming — than the actual “flip-flopping”.)

  201. says

    blf @223, I know what you mean about the term “flip-flopped.” Making an informed decision based on new information is a good thing.

    However, one should be able to coherently defend and explain how one changed one’s mind. In the Republican party especially, changing one’s mind is seen to be a sign of inauthenticity or evil intent. Kelly’s questions about the flip-flopping could have been answered intelligently, but were not. The candidates flailed around as if they were in deep water and didn’t know how to swim. Kelly framed the questions as if everyone agreed with the supposition that changing one’s mind is a bad, bad thing. I think it has something to do with the absolutist world view of most right-wingers.

    One thing I don’t like about the Bernie Sanders campaign is how much he harps on the times when Hillary Clinton changed her mind. I don’t think he should be an absolutist. If he did a better job of explaining how or why Clinton should not have had to change her mind, I would be more convinced. I do think Bernie has a good issue, or set of issues, there but his presentation is lacking in detail and nuance.

    Some Iraq war vote background from The Atlantic. The article is from 2014, but it takes a closer look at Hillary Clinton’s vote at the time, and at her subsequent explanations.

  202. says

    One of Ted Cruz’s more obvious lies, proffered during the debate last night:

    “First of all, we have seen now in six years of Obamacare that it has been a disaster,” Cruz said. “It is the biggest job-killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums skyrocket.” […]

    The numbers run against Cruz’s statement.

    Not only has the number of jobs gone up, but the number of unwilling part-timers has gone down. […]

    All of the job numbers have moved in a positive direction since April 2010, the first full month after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. The unemployment rate has moved steadily from 9.9 percent to 5 percent. The economy has added about 10.7 million jobs. And the number of working people who have part-time work but would rather have full-time work has fallen by nearly 3 million. There was a brief rise in that number between April and September 2010, but the longer term trend is clearly one of decline. […]

    Politifact link.

    The article goes on to take a closer look at the details. It points out that the Affordable Care Act does not get all the credit for positive job numbers, and it more roundly debunks Ted Cruz’s lies. Even when other factors are taken into consideration, Cruz is still pants-on-fire lying.

  203. says

    Some facts to keep in mind when Donald Trump claims that his absence at the debate totally tanked the Fox News ratings:

    Fox News’ Trump-less debate Thursday night drew 12.5 million viewers, the second-highest telecast in the network’s history but the second lowest-rated GOP debate of the cycle thus far.

    To be sure, the ratings on the debates have been on a downward trajectory since the astonishing numbers of the first debate hosted by Fox News brought in 24 million viewers.

    But we’ll never know if Donald Trump not attending the debate made any difference in viewership. Trump’s competing event, which CNN and MSNBC broadcast for about 30 min, drew about 2.7 million total viewers across the two networks. […]

    While the Fox News debate handily topped the last debate on Fox Business, which drew 11 million viewers, Fox Business is available in far fewer homes than FNC is, making the lower viewership expected.

    Despite the lower numbers, 12.5 million viewers is a big night for any network, and is incredible, historically, for a primary debate night. This entire cycle has seen debate ratings smash primary debate viewership records from prior cycles.

    Politico link

  204. Nick Gotts says

    Lynna, OM@219,

    Looks as though Huckerbee and Santorum have decided Trump is likely to win the nomination, and are hoping for the VP slot. But my guess is that he’d offer it to Rubio or Carson, even possibly Cruz, in an attempt to shore up support among ethnic minorities.

  205. says

    Nick Gotts, @228, you could be right. I hadn’t considered the V.P. angle. Maybe Huckabee and/or Santorum are angling for any cabinet post as well. Their political careers are so down the tubes that they would accept anything with a little prestige attached.

    In other news, a closer look at the recent Republican debate reveals a lot of shout-outs to god:

    When asked to explain how is trailing Donald Trump in the polls despite being hailed as the “Republican savior” by TIME Magazine, Rubio cited a savior he feels trumps them all.

    “Let me be clear about one thing, there’s only one savior and it’s not me,” he said. “It’s Jesus Christ who came down to Earth and died for our sins.”

    Quoted text is from Time magazine.

    That moment of blatant pandering to the religious rightwing was not Rubio’s only religiously inflected moment. He referred to “Judeo-Christian values” several times. In his closing statement he mentioned the Bible and letting his light shine. As do most of the Republican candidates, Rubio warned us all in ominous tones about the “apocalypse.”

    Ted Cruz ties his proposed energy policy to god and the bible: “I think God has blessed this country with enormous natural resources, and we should pursue all of the above.” This is the pillage-the-earth-because-god-told-you-to religious ideology that is slowing disappearing from favor among christians in the USA. Younger christians are more likely to side with environmentalists. Maybe Cruz thinks that Republicans can win one more election with the votes of retrograde, religious right-wingers who think environmentalists are evil.

    In Iowa, 60% of the people who actually attend a caucus for their preferred candidate claim to be evangelical christians (or “born-again” christians).

    Here’s what Bernie Sanders said when he was asked about religion by a reporter from the Washington Post: “I think everyone believes in God in their own ways. To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”

  206. says

    The Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns have agreed to add four more debates to the Democratic debate schedule. It’s about time. It is kind of ironic that they had to fight their own Democratic National Committee to get a better debate schedule.

    “Once dates and cities are locked down, we are looking forward to four additional debates,” a person close to the Sanders campaign told BuzzFeed News. A source close to the Clinton campaign confirmed that account, saying that aides in Brooklyn have agreed to what the Sanders campaign asked for earlier this week.

    Both sides, still in separate negotiations with DNC officials, have agreed to attend the “unsanctioned” Feb. 4 debate in New Hampshire hosted by the Union Leader and MSNBC, should that event go forward, in addition to three others, to be held at later dates.

    Buzzfeed link.

  207. says

    Yeah, we’re going to have to talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails again. [sigh] I think there are a lot of reasons for voters to question Clinton, but this email thing has been blown out of proportion. The Republican presidential candidates have jumped on this latest news of after-the-fact “secret” classification without restraint. They are blithely spouting lies and fake outrage in front of any camera they can find. (I’ll cover the Republican response in a separate comment.)

    […] Hillary Clinton’s unsecured home server contained some of the U.S. government’s most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate.

    That “most closely guarded secrets” is a claim we can’t judge. We can’t see even redacted versions. No independent source is seeing these emails.

    The Associated Press has learned seven email chains are being withheld in full because they contain information deemed to be “top secret.” The 37 pages include messages recently described by a key intelligence official as concerning so-called “special access programs” — a highly restricted subset of classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes or government eavesdropping.

    None of the emails was marked “classified” at the time the material was transmitted. We do not know if Clinton sent any of the emails herself.

    “The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the AP, describing the decision to withhold documents in full as “not unusual.” That means they won’t be published online with the rest of the documents, even with blacked-out boxes.[…]

    Kirby said the State Department’s focus as part of the Freedom of Information Act review of Clinton’s emails was on “whether they need to be classified today.” Questions about their past classification, he said, “are being, and will be, handled separately by the State Department.” […]

    The AP reported last August that one focused on a forwarded news article about the classified U.S. drone program run by the CIA. Such operations are widely covered and discussed in the public sphere, including by top U.S. officials, and the State Department immediately pushed back against McCullough’s claim. […] several officials from different agencies suggested the disagreement over the drone emails reflected the government’s tendency to over-classify material, and the lack of consistent policies across difference agencies about what should and shouldn’t be classified. […]

    Legal questions aside, it’s the potential political costs that are probably of more immediate concern for Clinton. She has struggled in surveys measuring her perceived trustworthiness and an active federal investigation, especially one buoyed by evidence that top secret material coursed through her account, could negate one of her main selling points for becoming commander in chief: Her national security resumé.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/hillary-clinton-emails-top-secret

  208. says

    Marco Rubio claimed that the retroactive classification of emails found on Clinton’s server disqualified her from being president.

    Chris Christie said basically the same thing, and added that no one can trust Hillary Clinton.

    Jeb Bush said, again, that the FBI is investigating Clinton herself (instead of just looking into the server itself), which is false. He claimed that Clinton would spend her first 100 days in office being questioned by the FBI.

  209. says

    The New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on the Democratic side, and John Kasich on the Republican side.

    The New York Times’ editorial board endorsed Saturday former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the presidential nominations of the Democratic and Republican parties.

    Calling him “the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience,” the Times cited Kasich’s move to expand Medicaid in the state and his support of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in its GOP endorsement.

    The editorial also cast Kasich, a “distinct underdog,” in the race, as the only choice next to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who they wrote is running a campaign fueled by “ambition,” and Donald Trump, who “invents his positions as he goes along.”

    On the Democratic side, the board wrote while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has proved to be a more “formidable” opponent than most expected, only Clinton has the breadth of experience and policy ideas to succeed in the race.

    The editorial also called Clinton “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/new-york-times-endorses-clinton-kasich

  210. says

    Gabby Giffords and her husband endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. “Come January, I want to say these two words: Madam President!” Link. Video at the link.

    In other news, Bernie Sanders can now boast more than 3 million individual contributors to his campaign. Link.

  211. says

    Whoops. I made a mistake in comment #234. Bernie Sanders can now boast more than three million separate contributions to his campaign, not three million individual contributors. Some contributors have donated several times.

  212. says

    Ben Carson said something stupid:

    “Fortunately, our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, was designed by men of faith, and it has a Judeo-Christian foundation,” the retired neurosurgeon told a packed room of potential caucusgoers in Iowa City on Friday afternoon. “Therefore, there is no conflict there. So it is not a problem.”

    Carson was answering a question about separation of church and state.
    Link.

  213. says

    Chris Hayes covered the Hillary Clinton email server controversy. Link.

    “These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent.” [said State Department Spokesman John Kirby]

    “This is over classification run amok. We adamantly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails.” [said Brian Fallon]

    The Chris Hayes video also covers some of Bernie Sanders’ negative ads against Hillary Clinton.

    Here is some additional NBC news coverage of the email controversy that starts with the expected Republican hair-on-fire response:

    […] “We must assume that every classified piece of information ever stored on her private server is now in the hands of our enemies,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said […]

  214. blf says

    The Discuss: Art thread seems to have its statue-of-limitations, so this is being posted here, Trump’s old Iowa campaign bus turned into satirical art — stripper pole and all:

    Philadelphia artists alter billionaire’s vehicle to present his slogan in Arabic, with stickers mocking his comments on women and Mexicans

    The campaign bus was attracting funny looks. On its side was the by now all-too-familiar last name of the Republican presidential frontrunner. Somewhere inside the castle-shaped hotel next door, Donald Trump was holding court, as hundreds awaited another rally of bombast and branding.

    Except, in the parking lot, the white block letters on the bus had been split up by a period, and so it read oddly: T.RUMP.

    And Trump’s famous slogan, cribbed from Ronald Reagan, had been playfully re-imagined: #MAKE FRUIT PUNCH GREAT AGAIN!, the bus declared.

    And then there was the driver, who was standing atop the bus, wearing a neon yellow windbreaker — and swinging a golf club into a New Hampshire weekend afternoon.

    The bus that once ferried Trump across Iowa is now a mobile art installation run by a group of Philadelphia-based artists who would prefer the real estate mogul stick to golf courses and skyscrapers, rather than come here with a win in his sails and momentum on the campaign trail days before the New Hampshire primary.

    Hence the trick: before you stumble upon this kind of electric Kool-Aid acid test ride for these Trumpian times, the bus looks like it still might actually shuttle Trump from stop to stop.

    “People come over and they’re all excited and they don’t even read that it says Make Fruit Punch Great Again,” said Mary Mihelic, an artist who is part of the anti-Trump bus project. “And they’re just totally taking pictures and then you’ll hear someone say, ‘Honey, it’s a gag! It’s a gag!’ And we just crack up.”

    […]

    At some of their own faux-campaign stops, the artists hand out red fruit punch for people to throw at the bus.

    […]

    On the back of the bus, the artists wrote Trump’s actual motto — “Make America Great Again” — in Arabic. […]

    […]

    When they got a hold of Trump’s old ride, the artists found an extra feature inside.

    “The bus used to be used as a party bus and the Trump campaign leased it from them, but they never removed the stripper pole,” Mihelic said. “So we’re kind of using that as kind of a metaphor for Trump.”

  215. says

    We don’t really need any more reasons to NOT vote for Trump, but here’s another reason anyway: he wants to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn marriage equality.

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that he’d consider, as President, appointing judges to the Supreme Court who would work to overrule the same-sex marriage decision.

    “If I’m a, you know, if I’m elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

    Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Trump to clarify if he meant he would try to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would try to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage.

    “I would strongly consider that, yes,” Trump said.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-consider-supreme-court-appointments

  216. says

    blf @238, I like the idea of the sarcastic changes to the former Trump campaign bus. Ridiculing Trump may be the best way to go.

    In other news, one former Trump campaign staffer has filed a lawsuit against him. I’m not sure what to make of this, but I’m afraid the army of lawyers Trump employs will take the staffer down.

    Elizabeth Mae Davidson, a former Iowa field organizer, filed a sex discrimination complaint against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday, The New York Times reported.

    Davidson, who was fired this month, complained that her male colleagues were paid more and were able to speak at campaign rallies, while her requests to do so were refused, the Times reported. […]

    Link

  217. says

    Ted Cruz also wants to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would do his bidding as a rightwing conservative:

    […] “Many of the most liberal justices in this country — Earl Warren, Bill Brennan, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Harry Blackman, the author of Roe v. Wade — all of those were Republican appointees,” Cruz said. “And the reason is simple. Over and over again we keep electing Republican presidents for whom the court is not a priority. And when it comes to a nomination, they take the easy road out.” […]

    “We are one justice away from the Supreme Court concluding that nobody in this room and no American has an individual right to keep and bear arms,” Cruz said. “We are one justice away from the Supreme Court striking down every restriction on abortion, and mandating unlimited abortion on demand, up until the time of birth, partial birth, with taxpayer funding, and no parental notification whatsoever. We are one justice away from the Supreme Court ordering veterans memorials torn down all over this country if they contain any acknowledgement of God Almighty.” […]

    Link

  218. says

    Mike Gronstal, the Iowa Senate Majority Leader, endorsed Hillary Clinton today.

    A more complete presentation of what Bernie Sanders had to say about the newly resurrected Clinton email issue:

    “I think this is a very serious issue,” Sanders said. “I think there is a legal process right now taking place. And what I have said — and — you know, and I get criticized. ‘You know, Bernie, why don’t you attack Hillary Clinton? There is a legal process taking place.’ I do not want to politicize that issue. It is not my style. And what I am focusing on, Jake, are the issues impacting the middle class of this country.”

  219. says

    dianne @243, I think Iowa is important, but also overly hyped by everyone. The candidates and the media will make a big deal out of who “wins,” but I see all of the wins, (and even the second place ratings) as provisional. There’s so much time for things to change between now and November.

    Of course, media sources are covering this Iowa caucus day 24/7 because it is their job to do so, and because it is slightly different from last week’s political news.

    Donald Trump is comparing the Iowa vote to a more realistic poll. He does love his poll numbers. Donald Trump held a rally today that media pundits classified as “subdued” — probably because no one threatened to kill the journalists or protestors. Most Trump rallies are raucous, one subdued one is not really indicative of anything.

    Bernie Sanders raised $20 million in January, which is astounding. Bernie drew his usual large crowds over the last week.

    Hillary Clinton has fired-up ground troops all over the state. The media seemed surprised by some of her raucous rallies in the last two days — that didn’t fit with their “Sanders has the enthusiasm, Clinton has the experience” meme. The memes are ridiculous and sometimes self-perpetuating.

    The addition of new debates to the Democratic schedule is good news. We are more likely to hear discussion of matters of substance. The first of these new debates will be this week on Thursday. Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd will host a debate in New Hampshire. Should be good. Link.

    With only about 3% difference between polls showing likely caucus votes for Clinton and Sanders (within the margin of error), Martin O’Malley could play a big role there. He is polling at about 3%, and he could encourage his voters to swing one way or the other. In the weeds caucus tactics are discussed here.

  220. says

    Just what we don’t need, another Cheney in the Washington D.C. halls of power.

    Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for Wyoming’s only House seat, a return to politics after her short-lived but much discussed bid for the Senate two years ago. […]

    Ms. Cheney now plans to run to replace Representative Cynthia M. Lummis, a four-term Republican who was a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Ms. Lummis will retire at the end of the year. Ms. Cheney’s filing on Friday with the Federal Election Commission was first reported by The Associated Press.

    Quoted text is from the New York Times, a news source that now wants me to subscribe because I use it too frequently. I don’t have the money this month, so I’m quoting the NY Times as quoted by another source.

    I hope more realistic Wyoming voters chew Liz Cheney up and spit her out like they did last time. She opposed her sister’s right to marriage equality, and if I remember correctly, she wanted to go fishing in Wyoming without a proper license.

  221. says

    As Governor Rick Snyder and his cohorts continue to fail in both big and small ways to properly address the toxic water problem in Flint, Michigan, other people are taking matters into their own hands.

    It’s only one small step out of many that are needed, but a bunch of plumbers decided not to stand idly by.

    On Saturday, 300 plumbers from unions across the country descended on Flint to install new faucets and water filters for free.

    Many Flint residents needed new faucets because their existing faucets were so old they could not accommodate water filters provided by the state.

    The effort was coordinated by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, known as the United Association. The fixtures were donated by the Plumbing Manufacturers International.

    Donations, volunteers, union labor. All good stuff. Snyder looks very bad by comparison.
    Think Progress link.

  222. says

    Donald Trump has offended Adele. We can add her to the list of musicians that Trump has offended.

    […] “Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning,” the spokesman told BBC.

    Hours after Adele’s spokesman’s statement, Trump played “Rolling in the Deep” at the end of his rally Monday in Waterloo, Iowa.

    Trump has gotten in hot water with other artists for playing their music without their consent. The lead singer of R.E.M. blasted Trump in September for playing “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at a rally to protest the Iran nuclear deal. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler asked Trump in October to stop playing “Dream On” at campaign events. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-no-permission-adele-music

    As a supposedly great businessman, Trump should know that he has to get permission from Adele, and that he has to pay a fee if permission is given.

  223. says

    Another embarrassing moment in the religion department for Trump. He attended church services in Iowa. He started to put his offertory money in the communion plate.

    Trump has been pandering to evangelical voters in an effort to put the brakes on Ted Cruz’s rise in the polls, but he keeps making unforced errors.

  224. says

    Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is campaigning for Ted Cruz. You may have seen the campaign ad that featured Cruz and Robertson going duck hunting.

    Now, Robertson is in Iowa to tell crowds of supporters that we have to “rid the earth” of people who support marriage equality.

    Don’t you understand that when a fellow like me looks at the landscape and sees the depravity, the perversion — redefining marriage and telling us that marriage is not between a man and a woman? Come on Iowa! It’s nonsense. It is evil. It’s wicked.

    It’s sinful. They want us to swallow it, you say. We have to run this bunch out of Washington, D.C. We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there. Ted Cruz loves God.

  225. blf says

    Something of a follow-up to @213 and other comments, Republicans reject climate change fears despite rebukes from scientists:

    Ted Cruz has presented ‘misleading’ information in the Senate, scientists say, while Marco Rubio rejects ‘destroying our economy’ — despite pleas for action coming from officials in his own state

    They have bloviated about carpet bombing, bickered about walls, and waxed anti-Muslim and -migrant, but over more than 16 hours of debate, the Republican candidates for president have almost entirely ignored what most of the world fears most: the rising tides and temperatures of climate change.

    Last week, Fox News moderators asked only one question relevant to climate change, about whether Florida senator Marco Rubio would support regulation to lower emissions. Rubio said he would not: I do not believe that we have to destroy our economy in order to protect our environment.

    On the trail, former Florida governor Jeb Bush interjected to say the free market would resolve climate change before government could.

    There’s someone in a garage somewhere, he said, […] that’s going to have a clue, to have an answer to this.

    Miami will settle for anyone doing something — so long as it’s before environmental changes driven by humans destroy the city’s economy. Late last week, Mayor Tomás Regalado joined 14 other south Florida mayors in signing an open letter to Rubio, asking him to give up his opposition to climate change action.

    […]

    One of the signatories, South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard, was more blunt a few years before Rubio’s presidential bid.

    “Rubio is an idiot,” he told the Guardian at the time. “He says he is not a scientist so he doesn’t have a view about climate change and sea-level rise and so won’t do anything about it.”

    Rubio’s professed ignorance has shifted to skepticism — a sign that many Republicans have reluctantly accepted that the issue exists for voters, if not that the issue matters. […]

    […]

    None have agreed that climate change exacerbates threats to national security and the economy, although the point is agreed on by Pentagon officials, Nasa scientists, foreign policy experts, dozens of Republican and Democratic leaders, international researchers and the pope.

    The candidates might be playing simple politics — no one wants to be seen agreeing with Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, who called climate denial a “charade” on Sunday night — but they have also tried out several arguments to discredit the dangers and science of climate change.

    […]

    That not all data indicates constant warming is one of the preferred arguments of Ted Cruz […]

    But the senator chose a very specific set of data: an extraordinary El Niño set record temperatures in 1998, and by the RSS [satellite] metric global warming has slowed in the 18 years since. The result was a chart that began with a peak and spanned not quite two decades of slow warming.

    Carl Mears, the senior research scientist whose data Cruz used, [said] Cruz was guilty of the crime with which he charges scientists: presenting a very partial argument.

    “He ignores other time periods, and other types of data,” said Mears, stressing surface temperatures “that do not support his hypothesis. He asserts that the satellite temperatures are more accurate than the surface temperature without providing any supporting evidence.”

    […]

    Rubio has also spoken of the hiatus, which Mears and others are studying and which remains only part of the picture. Last year was the hottest on record by far, smashing a record set only a year earlier.

    A witness called by Democrats to Cruz’s Senate hearing, David Titley, a Penn State meteorologist […], rebuffed Cruz. Titley noted that science by definition contains error and revision — demonstrated, for instance, by the corrections made to satellite data produced by his fellow witnesses.

    He also showed a clear curve of rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels since 1880.

    […]

    Cruz mentioned a ship that got stuck in ice around Antarctica, arguing that the polar ice caps are not melting.

    Charles Bentley, an expert on Antarctica at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, [noted] that sea ice floats.

    “If someone says sea ice in the same sentence as related to sea level change, a red flag goes up.”

    […]

    Rubio and Cruz have both said they would pull the US out of the historic Paris climate accords, and with [Jeb] Bush and New Jersey governor Chris Christie said they oppose any measures that would destroy the economy or stifle business. Donald Trump, Bush and John Kasich have mocked the Paris summit as an unnecessary diversion.

    If the US withdrew from the Paris deal, it would join North Korea, Syria, Libya and Venezuela among the handful of nations who refuse to sign.

    […]

    How climate change action might affect the economy depends on the measures involved; most of those proposed affect the worst emissions producers, such as coal — an industry in decline in the US for decades.

    […] The US natural gas industry faces more pressure from cheap Opec oil than investment in renewable energy.

    [… I]n 2011, before the industry was rocked by low oil prices, the five main fossil fuel industries still accounted for less than 2% of all US non-agricultural employment.

    Doing nothing also has its consequences, as south Florida businesses have tried to remind Republicans. […]

    Economists at Stanford and UC Berkeley also published a study last year that found rising temperatures will likely exacerbate inequality.

    Some of readers’s comments:

    ● “Don’t worry. No matter how scary things get, it’s a good thing we have strong leaders to deny that they exist!”

    ● “These guys would insist on freedom to sell cigars on the International Space Station, if cigar marketers paid them.”

    ● “When it comes to wearing blinders Republican’ts are in their element. […]”

    ● “And they shall continue to burn offerings to their God and he will be well pleased. Book of Exxon 1:1”

    ● “I want to see someone superglue Rubio’s feet to one of those streets in Miami Beach that regularly floods, and keep asking him, “Is there climate change”? until the waters finally close over his head.”

    ● “Rising temperatures will likely exacerbate inequality — Sounds like good news for Republican donors!”

    ● “It’s like the house is on fire and the GOP is arguing that the most important thing to do right now is mow the lawn.”

    ● “You wont destroy […] the economy. The climate will do that for you. Bloody nitwit.”

    ● “Trump will just have to extend the wall to surround the other 49 states and job done. […]”

    ● “Any word on how Jeb!’s guy in a garage somewhere is getting on with the answer to the problem?”
    In reply: “Well, Republicans don’t rely on random guys in garages when it comes to defense. Defense projects come from teams of scientists employed by large corporations.”

  226. says

    You remember how bugnuts Michele Bachmann was when she was a congresswoman, and, a once-upon-a-short-time presidential candidate? Well, I sometimes think that holding public office actually worked as a restraint on Bachmann. She is even worse now that she is out of office.

    […] Bachmann, who has previously claimed that President Obama and the gay rights movement are ushering in the Last Days, told radio hosts Jan Markell and Eric Barger that “the world is about to give legitimacy to the Islamic State” while, at the same time, Russian and Iranian military intervention in Syria on behalf of its dictator Bashar Assad has paved the way for a future invasion of Israel by the two countries in order to seize its energy resources, just as laid out in the Bible.

    […] All of these powers, she said, are seeking “a global world order to keep their game going into the future and to support them if they would invade against Israel.”

    And who will lead this global world order? Why, none other than Obama.

    Bachmann cited a report from the right-wing outlet Investor’s Business Daily about a story that originated with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, which claimed that Obama is trying to become secretary-general of the United Nations while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is thwarting his bid. If this story sounds too strange to be true, that’s probably because it is […]

    “Obama would only go into an empowered, powerful UN, powerful enough to see the United States come under the UN’s authority,” Bachmann warned.

    Barger suggested that Obama may in fact be the Antichrist […]

    Link.

  227. says

    Sarah Palin said a bunch of stupid stuff, then she freaked out when questioned about that stupid stuff.

    […] Guthrie attempted to ask Palin about the recent arrest of her son Track, saying “you talked about it, and then you mentioned PTSD and you said that President Obama may be to blame for some of the PTSD that’s out there.”

    Palin denied ever having said that, even though she did, and then complained that she was “promised” that the interview would only be about politics. “As things go in the world of media, you don’t always keep your promises, evidently.”

    Lauer tried to press her, asking whether she regretted that comment about Obama being responsible for PTSD, to which Palin replied, “What did I say that was offensive? I don’t regret any comment that I made because I didn’t lay PTSD at the foot of the president.” (She did.) “If you have a specific quote, it allows the media to be credible if you guys would tell me exactly what you’re talking about.” […]

    Scroll down to watch the video if you think you can do without the neurons that die in the process.

    Salon link

  228. blf says

    Hum… I wouldn’t call HuffPo a “media outlet”, more “unadulterated bilge”, but this is none-the-less interesting, Media outlets dare to call Donald Trump a liar, racist and misogynist:

    HuffPo appends a critical note to online articles about the Republican contender that challenges the ‘traditional notions of journalistic neutrality’

    A story about Donald Trump’s feud with Fox News carried by the Huffington Post was routine enough — until the conclusion. Appended to the article was the following statement:

    Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the US.

    […]

    Although [a] HuffPo spokesman said the note would appear below all its articles about Trump, I can’t locate any other examples.

    […]

    HuffPo is hardly alone among US media in dealing with Trump in a very different fashion to its treatment of any other politician.

    At the beginning of December, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a commentary headlined “Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist”.

    He noted: “There is a greater imperative not to be silent in the face of demagoguery. Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and now the disabled.” And he went on to list Trump’s sins:

    Trump led the ‘birther’ movement challenging President Obama’s standing as a natural-born American; used various vulgar expressions to refer to women; spoke of Mexico sending rapists and other criminals across the border; called for rounding up and deporting 11 million illegal [sic] immigrants; had high-profile spats with prominent Latino journalists and news outlets; mocked Asian accents; let stand a charge made in his presence that Obama is a Muslim and that Muslims are a ‘problem’ in America; embraced the notion of forcing Muslims to register in a database; falsely claimed thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey; tweeted bogus statistics asserting that most killings of whites are done by blacks; approved of the roughing up of a black demonstrator at one of his events; and publicly mocked the movements of New York Times (and former Washington Post) journalist Serge Kovaleski, who has a chronic condition limiting mobility.

    Also in December, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, told his journalists they could call Trump a liar and “mendacious racist”.

    There is one amusing exchange in the readers’s comments.

    ● “In the coming weeks I’ll be quite happy with ‘sorest loser in history’.”
    In reply (from either a Poe or Trump supporter, who previously wrote Trump could eat a live baby and I would still vote for him. I hate every other political shill and puppet out there almost as much as I hate the media. Yes, more than someone who eats live babies — and I’m not alone. Just wait and see.): “The Guardian?”
    And in reply: “No. Donald Trump. The man who’s just spent over $300,000 having his red campaign hats manufactured in Calif. Mostly by Mexicans. […]”

  229. says

    Faux News messed up big time when it introduced coverage of Black History Month today.

    […] Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” took some time to examine the importance of the African American vote on this first day of Black History Month, only to blast black voters for “slavish support” of the Democratic Party.

    Guest and conservative pundit Crystal Wright (aka GOPBlackChick) began by arguing that Donald Trump is the only Republican presidential candidate credibly suited to compete for the African American vote, citing his plans for mass deportation as a boon to blacks and applauding the billionaire frontrunner for not “pander[ing]” to Black Lives Matter.

    “He’s the only one really talking to black voters in my opinion on the Republican side,” Wright told co-hosts Steve Doocy and Anna Kooiman. […]

    “Let’s talk Democrats,” Kooiman later pivoted. “And you have a theory that they are essentially buying the African American vote. What do you mean?”

    Blacks have shown a slavish support for the Democrat party for over 50 years,” Wright replied. “Part of me wonders if the Republican party should even bother asking for the black vote because black Americans seem to like being political dummies.” […]

    Salon link

  230. says

    Ted Cruz denies reality:

    WALLACE: Senator, the fact checkers say you’re wrong. Since [the Affordable Care Act] went into effect, the unemployment rate fell from 9.9 percent to 5 percent, as 13 million new jobs were created and 16.3 million people who were previously uninsured now have coverage. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of problems with Obamacare. But more people have jobs and health insurance than they did before Obamacare.

    CRUZ: Chris, the media fact checkers are not fair and impartial. They are liberal, editorial journalists. And they have made it their mission to defend Obamacare.

    (CROSSTALK)

    WALLACE: There’s certainly no question that more people have jobs and more people have health insurance coverage.

    CRUZ: Yes, there is question.

    And, no, Cruz does not have a replacement for Obamacare. What he does have a set of talking points in which he repeats how much he hates Obamacare, and in which he tells several lies in a row.

  231. says

    Ted Cruz tripled down on making sure that the company he keeps is the most extreme element of the rightwing.

    In one of the last rallies before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) allowed right-wing radio hosts, Glenn Beck, Michael Berry,and Steve Deace, to introduce him, despite their records of espousing extreme rhetoric. […]

    Beck […] previously caused controversy due to his claim that President Obama is a “racist” with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” The host has been criticized in the past for his use of Nazi imagery, his history of violent rhetoric and for making outlandish claims like blaming President Obama for the November terrorist attack in Paris. […]

    Iowa based radio host Steve Deace […] has written at least 24 articles trumpeting Cruz […] Deace’s brand of extremism centers around a plethora of anti-gay ideas. Deace coined the phrase “rainbow jihad” to describe advocates for LGBT rights — a phrase which Cruz paraphrased claiming “the jihad … going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.” Deace’s extreme views [include] claims [that] Obama is not a Christian [and] divorce could make children gay. Deace has recently pushed the conspiracy theory that Obama may not leave the White House when his term is up in January 2017.

    […] Michael Berry […] Much of Berry’s show revolves around stoking the flames of racial tension. The host often undermines the intentions behind the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming “black lives matter, just not to black people” and that white people don’t kill people the way black people do. Comedian Chuck Knipp, a frequent guest of Berry’s, performs in blackface as “Shirley Q. Liquor” to mock racial stereotypes of black people.

    Most egregious is Berry’s weekly segment dedicated to mocking victims of gun violence in Chicago. Every Monday the host reads the “butcher bill,” reciting the names of those shot while mocking their names and the circumstances in which they were wounded or killed. Berry has claimed that the segment is sponsored by Black Lives Matter.

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/02/01/extremist-radio-hosts-rally-for-ted-cruz-on-the/208289

  232. nahuati says

    Lynna, OM, blf and other posters:

    Thanks so much for all of your informative posts! I’ve learned so much about politics reading this thread.

  233. says

    nahuati @257, you are quite welcome. Thank you for your comment. Sometimes we can’t tell if people are reading the thread or not.

    George Packer, writing for The New Yorker, came up with some very good descriptions of the Iowa caucuses and the upcoming New Hampshire vote.

    […] About one half of one per cent of all registered voters in the United States—ninety-six per cent of them likely to be white, a hundred per cent certain to live in Iowa or New Hampshire—will now exercise their inalienable, God-given, legally mandated right to choose the Presidential nominees of the two parties. Since the advent of the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucus as we know them, in the nineteen-fifties and seventies, respectively, no one has been elected President without winning one or the other—except Bill Clinton, whose second-place finish in New Hampshire, in 1992, amid various scandals, was a victory over expectations, and proved that he was indefatigable. So is the political hegemony of these two smallish, non-representative states. […]

  234. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sometimes we can’t tell if people are reading the thread or not.

    I think a lot of people are reading. We just don’t comment like we used to.

  235. says

    Donald Trump seized another opportunity to encourage attendees at a rally to commit violence against protestors.

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told the crowd gathered at his campaign rally on Monday to “knock the crap” out of anybody who threw a tomato at him.

    Trump said the event’s security staff told him there was a risk people would throw the juicy fruit.

    “So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them,” Trump said at his rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    “I will pay for the legal fees. I promise,” he added. “They won’t be so much because the courts agree with us too.”

    A protestor was arrested last week for throwing tomatoes at Trump at a different Iowa event. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-tomato-throwers-beware

  236. says

    Uh … okay. Sarah Palin compared Donald Trump to Justin Bieber.

    […] Sarah Palin told CNN Monday that she thought Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump should be more appreciated for changing his stance against abortion, as pop star Justin Bieber is. […]

    “I am so glad that Mr. Trump has seen the light and understands the sanctity of innocent life and how a baby in the womb should be most protected. What has been kind of sad about this situation, though, politically speaking, are groups that are pro-life and they say they want to bring more people into the fold,” Palin said. “They giving Trump a hard time for his past views on abortion where they’re celebrating others, like I was going through a list. Like Justin Bieber and, gosh —”

    “Justin Bieber,” Tapper said.

    “Yeah, yeah, who has made statements, understanding the sanctity of life, but in the past said it was no big deal to him,” Palin said. “He’s just one example.” […]

    Link

  237. says

    That fight didn’t last long. Donald Trump now claims that he and Fox News are “friends again.”

    My bet is that Trump doesn’t think he can run a successful campaign without those 130+ appearances that Fox News granted him, not counting the debate coverage. Trump probably also realizes that skipping debates because he is afraid of Megyn Kelly will not play well twice. Even donation to veterans’ organizations won’t get him out of the whiny-baby category.

    He’ll have to think of a new way to dominate the news cycle next time.

  238. says

    Senator Rubio doesn’t have to stand in line for six hours to cast a vote, but he doesn’t mind if his constituents in Florida have to do so. In fact, Rubio seems to be in favor of all kinds of voter-suppression techniques.

    […] an Iowa voter recently asked the Florida senator about the six-hour lines Miami voters were forced to wait in to vote in 2012.

    Rubio responded: “That is only on Election Day.”

    As the Nation reported, the response is both factually inaccurate — many early voters waited in multi-hour long lines — and alarming. Rubio’s comment suggests that he thinks it’s appropriate for voters to wait in line for six hours, if they go to vote on Election Day.

    The obvious solution to long voting lines would be to expand early voting opportunities. But Rubio does not support expanding early voting.

    […] he disparaged efforts to expand voting to Sundays before Election Day, a reform that would help accommodate the large numbers of voters who cannot take time off during the work week to cast a ballot.

    African American voters also benefit from Sunday voting hours because many predominantly black churches around the country organize “Souls to the Polls” events that encourage churchgoers to vote after attending Sunday church services. […]

    At the Iowa campaign stop in October, 46-year-old Ankeny, Iowa-resident John Olsen also asked Rubio about Florida’s ex-felon voter purge in 2000. At the time, 12,000 registered voters were incorrectly labeled as ex-felons and were prevented from voting.

    “No one intentionally kept anyone from voting,” Rubio responded. “It is unconstitutional and illegal to deliberately keep someone from voting.”

    Whether or not the effort was deliberate, there’s no doubt that it occurred or that it helped swing the election in favor of George W. Bush.

    Olsen then asked Rubio if he supports the recent legislation to restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Rubio said he was not familiar with the bill.

    […] Rubio has been a strong supporter of a number of voter suppression laws […]. He supported the state’s 2012 voter purge, which a court has ruled violated federal law. Rubio claimed at the time that the effort to identify non-citizens on the voter rolls was worth falsely purging many other qualified voters.

    And he has also blown off concerns about strict voter ID laws. “What’s the big deal?” he asked during a campaign stop in 2012. […]

    Link

    All of the Republican-backed voter suppression tactics disproportionately affect people of color, low-income populations, and students; people who tend to vote Democratic. So of course the Republicans want to cheat by limiting access to the polls for those voters.

  239. says

    Here’s a policy proposal from Bernie Sanders that I haven’t head before: He wants to put right-wingers into forced labor camps. (/sarcasm on my side of things, but dead seriousness from the rightwing side.)

    […] “But I don’t want to be put in his [Bernie Sanders’] forced labor camp. I don’t want to be ruled over by that piece of crap.”

    [Alex] Jones continued: “It’s so creepy to have a hardcore commie who wants to put me in a forced relocation camp like Mao Zedong.”

    “If Bernie Sanders somehow were to become president, I suspect that you and I would become illegal immigrants somewhere,” [Richard] Reeves added.

    Right Wing Watch link.

  240. says

    This is a followup to comment 249.

    About the Duck Dynasty star’s comments, Ted Cruz said:

    “What a voice Phil has to speak out for the love of Jesus,” Cruz added. “What a joyful, cheerful, unapologetic voice of truth Phil Robertson is.”

  241. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A little pushback against Cruz’s anti-gay marriage idiocy:
    http://my.xfinity.com/articles/news-politics/20160201/US–Fake.Engagement-Cruz.Rally/

    Two Massachusetts students say they staged a marriage proposal at a Ted Cruz rally as a demonstration against the Republican presidential hopeful’s stance on gay marriage.
    Emerson College sophomores Arden Jurskis and Kenzy Peach tell The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/1Purvwe) the fake engagement at Sunday’s rally in Iowa was “spur of the moment” and a “demonstration of values and activism.”

    Applause, Applause.

  242. says

    According to the last eight polls that are recognized by NBC as being the most reliable, Donald Trump was slated to win in Iowa. Can we just all agree that polls have their limits. Maybe we can stop giving polls top billing? Ha, like the Donald would ever do that.

    Trump spun his second place into a win in his book. Ted Cruz spun his win into having received a direct blessing from God

    Hillary squeaked out a win, and Bernie did much better than a lot of people thought he would (though the pesky polls predicted a very close race).

    Mike Huckabee had the good sense to leave the presidential race after seeing his results in Iowa.

  243. says

    Martin O’Malley also left the presidential race. That leaves only Clinton and Sanders on the Democratic side. We should be seeing some good debates as a result.

    Clinton came up with 49.9% of the vote, and Sanders’ supporters gave him 49.6%. This is close enough that Bernie’s campaign may ask for a recount.

    Ted Cruz is such a sneaky bastard that he is now in trouble for apparently having some of his campaign staff spread the rumor that Carson was dropping out of the race so that Iowa evangelical voters would turn even more to Cruz. The Cruz campaign also mailed out questionable flyers that accused voters of some kind of official “violation” that they could supposedly make up for by showing up to caucus.

  244. says

    Here’s some more detail regarding the “dirty tricks” that Carson is accusing the Cruz campaign of promoting.

    “For months, my campaign has survived the lies and dirty tricks from opponents who profess to to detest the games of the political class, but in reality are masters at it,” Carson said in the email. “Even tonight, my opponents resorted to political tricks by tweeting, texting and telling precinct captains to announce that I had suspended my campaign – in some cases asking caucus goers to change their votes.”

  245. says

    Fox News is now claiming that Donald Trump skipping their debate cost him a win in Iowa. Hard to know if that is true or not, but I understand the impulse to crow over Trump being a Loser.

    Here’s the Trumpster’s official take on Iowa, delivered via Twitter:

    My experience in Iowa was a great one. I started out with all of the experts saying I couldn’t do well there and ended up in 2nd place. Nice

    The New York Daily News featured a front page photoshopped image of Trump as a “Dead clown walking.” Link.

  246. says

    Here’s Ann Coulter’s take on Trump’s loss:

    Trump is the leading GOP vote-getter tonight, among natural-born-American candidates.

    Ha! Oh, Ann, you do make me laugh.

    Jeb Bush failed miserably in Iowa. I really think he should drop out of the Republican race. Jeb did a lot for the local economy though. His campaign spent so much on ads that every vote Jeb received cost him $2,800.

  247. says

    Carly Fiorina earned 1.9% of the Republican vote in Iowa. After the results were in, she did not make a concession speech at the after-party for her caucus and staffers. She didn’t thank her supporters. A not-classy act all the way.

    She closed out the night by disappointing us all when she didn’t drop out of the race.

    Boarding our plane. See you soon, New Hampshire.

    Media types photographed her empty party room.

  248. says

    The Republican doofus who won in Iowa with about 28% of caucusgoer’s votes is a real piece of work.

    Anti-abortion: Ted Cruz worked to make it harder for women in Texas to access abortion services. He wants to defund Planned Parenthood — promises to do so if he is elected president.

    Immigration: no path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; don’t let any Syrian refugees into the USA; secure the border; end sanctuary cities.

    Terrorism: he wants to carpet bomb and saturation bomb parts of Iraq and Syria (a war crime under the Geneva Convention).

    Obamacare: he wants to “repeal every last word of Obamacare” but has no plan to help the people who would lose their health insurance if he did that.

    Climate change: Cruz is a denier. He cites discredited data. He would expand oil and gas drilling, remove federal fracking regulations, approve the Keystone XL pipeline and defund the EPA.

    Gun control: Cruz has an A+ rating with the NRA, which probably tells you all you need to know. He promotes the conspiracy theory that Obama is trying to take everyone’s guns.

    LGBT rights: he wants to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. He votes a big “NO” for granting equal rights to transgender people. He buddies up with the absolute worst of the anti-LGBT organizations.

    The text above is a summary of an article by journalists Aviva Shen and Kira Lerner.

  249. says

    About 64% of the Republican Iowa caucusgoers were evangelical christians. That’s a significant increase from 2012 when 57% were evangelicals. These people are not going away. They gave Ted Cruz his win.

    Cruz is counting on evangelicals to hand him another win in South Carolina on “Super Tuesday.” Cruz has even stooped to using terms like “jihad” to describe how he thinks gays are terrorizing christians and threatening religious liberty. Cruz invents quotes from James Madison and others to support his radical ideas.

    He is less obvious than Trump when it comes to pandering, but he is also better at pandering to the religious right. I hope the spotlight that follows him out of Iowa exposes him for sneaky slimeball that he is.

  250. says

    A little sampling of Cruz’s religious rhetoric:

    “ […] the body of Christ will rise up to pull us back from the abyss.” Yes, he is saying that he is “the body of Christ.”

    “Strap on the full armor of God, get ready for the attacks that are coming.”

  251. says

    Here is your Bundy soap opera update.

    Ammon Bundy is in jail. Ammon’s father Cliven may have ruined any chances Ammon had of pre-trial release with a GPS monitor on his ankle.

    Cliven sent a ridiculous certified letter to Sheriff Ward, warning him that:

    […] We the People of Harney County and also We the People of the citizens of the United States DO GIVE NOTICE THAT WE WILL RETAIN POSSESSION OF THE HARNEY COUNTY RESOURCE CENTER (Malhaur National Wildlife Refuge) […]

    Bold emphasis, all caps, and other oddities are from the original.

    Link

    Cliven went on to demand that the FBI and state police leave Harney County.

    The judge overseeing Ammon Bundy’s case said earlier that he would not be released from custody while the wildlife refuge was still occupied by militants.

  252. says

    More of Donald Trump’s blather about his loss in Iowa. His feelings are hurt.

    The media has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly. Brought in record voters and got second highest vote total in history!

  253. says

    In case anyone wants the actual delegate count from Iowa in the virtual tie between Clinton and Sanders: Clinton won 23 delegates, and Sanders won 21.

  254. says

    From his fainting couch, clutching his pearls, Donald Trump continues to issue a blizzard of tweets. He is now dissing the voters of Iowa:

    I don’t believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one. I will keep doing, but not worth it!

    Sounds to me like Trump is getting tired of spending his own money. He may be looking for an excuse to start fundraising and spending someone else’s money.

    Blaming others for his loss. Hating the media for not covering his second place finish as a win … sounds like a tantrum to me.

  255. says

    On Groundhog Day no less. Do Republicans have no sense of irony?

    Yes, they voted on Groundhog Day to repeal Obamacare … again. They are stuck in a 1993 film.

    House Republicans voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act on actual Groundhog Day is a perfect symbol of their governing philosophy. We’ve all lived through this charade before and we all know how it’s going to end — in a failed effort to take health care away from millions of Americans. But unlike Bill Murray’s character, who eventually learned from his mistakes and became a better person, Republican leaders are either willfully ignorant or intentionally wasting everyone’s time. [Senator Chris Murphy wrote that]

  256. blf says

    FBI joins EPA in investigating Flint water crisis for criminal violations:

    FBI spokeswoman says agency’s role is ‘investigating the matter to determine if there have been any federal violations’ in lead contamination of drinking water

    The FBI is working with a multi-agency team investigating the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water, alongside Environmental Protection Agency investigators who can tackle criminal violations of federal environmental law, officials said on Tuesday.

    Also on Tuesday, it was announced that Darnell Early, the state-appointed emergency manager for Flint when its water source was switched, will leave his current role in Detroit’s troubled school district four-and-a-half months early.

    A slew of local, state and federal officials have resigned since doctors revealed last year that using the Flint River for the city’s drinking water supply caused elevated levels of lead in some children’s blood. […]

    In addition to the FBI and the EPA, the team includes the US postal inspection service […]

    In November, the EPA announced it was auditing how Michigan enforces drinking water rules and said it would identify how to strengthen state oversight. […]

    The federal investigation is one of several taking place into Flint’s water supply. Last month, Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette announced the appointment of a special counsel to help his office investigate whether laws were broken.

    An independent panel appointed by Snyder has determined that the Michigan department of environmental quality was primarily responsible for the water contamination. The Michigan civil rights commission also plans to hold hearings to explore whether the civil rights of Flint residents were violated.

    Today’s dead tree edition of the International New York Times has an article about the difficulties of actually prosecuting anyone over the situation. Broadly — this is from memory (and so is probably somewhat mistaken) — the Feds would have to prove deliberate intent to cause harm, which is unlikely no matter how much of a ratbag Gov Snide and the Kacophony of Krazy Kooky thugs are. However, apparently, using a prerevolution British common law precedent, the Michigan state investigation may have better luck with a charge, of something like “dereliction of duty”.

    (I myself have sort-of wondered how possible it it to use the Geneva Protocol banning chemical & biological assaults — probably quite a long-shot…)

  257. blf says

    Sounds to me like Trump is getting tired of spending his own money. He may be looking for an excuse to start fundraising and spending someone else’s money.

    I read today(?) in the dead tree edition of the International New York Times that wazzock trum-prat recently loaned his campaign $10m. Yes, he loaned his money to himself. (Most(?) cases I hear of of people doing that sort of thing seem to be tax-avoidance maneuvers, and I assume this is one as well.)

    He’s also apparently collected something like only $2m in contributions, most from “small” contributors / donors.

    Again, most of the above is from memory, and so is quite possibly somewhat mistaken…

  258. says

    blf, I think you have it right that Trump loaned his campaign money. I think the figure was closer to $11 million. I do not doubt that he can afford it, but I think it really hurts his feelings to spend his own money like that. For him, it is probably something akin to physical pain. He once admitted during a rally speech that he has been greedy, gathering all the money for himself all his life long.

    In other news, the Iowa Democratic Party has decided not to do a recount despite the narrow margin of victory between Clinton and Sanders.

    Donald Trump has picked up the endorsement of a likeminded scumbag, Scott Brown. Brown is a former Massachusetts senator.

    Sarah Palin thinks Trump lost in Iowa because he failed to show enough of his conservative side. “I think he just had to have seen more of his conservative side out, because Iowa’s so good and conservative.”

  259. says

    Hmmm, this is interesting. Some christian groups do not like Ted Cruz’s claims that he won in Iowa thanks to christian voters. Faithful America is the largest and also the fastest-growing online christian community. (Their claim of “fastest-growing,” which I have not verified.) Their spokesperson Michael Sherrard took umbrage over Cruz’s claims and issued a strong counter-message.

    […] Cruz touted the endorsement of hate group leaders and even a fringe anti-semitic pastor who says God sent Hitler to hunt Jews. He held rallies where Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson denounced the “perversion” and “depravity” of gay marriage and said we need to “rid the earth” of those who support marriage equality.

    This isn’t Christianity – it’s bigotry wrapped up in the Bible. And the only way to fight is for Christians to stand up and say: That’s not our faith.

    http://faithfulamerica.org/about/

  260. says

    Ted Cruz’s former Princeton roommate, Craig Mazin, must have been waiting a long time for this opportunity. Mazin is still dissing Cruz.

    He took AP Shaming long before he arrived at Princeton.
    ————-
    “The Lord told me to vote for Ted Cruz.” Remind me why the omnipotent creator of the universe would give a shit?
    ——————–
    Yeah, turns out U.S. military commanders also think Ted is a jackass. Who’s left at this point?
    http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-carpet-bomb-strategy-isis-war-macfarland-2016-2
    —————
    Personally, I’m kinda thrilled. More Cruz! If I suffered for 10 months with this abomination, why should you people get off any easier?
    ————
    Ted Cruz focused all of his resources on a state with tailor-made demographics for him, and he got 50,000 votes. Dodger Stadium fits 56,000.

    Quotes are from Mazin’s Twitter feed.

  261. says

    Donald Trump is still hurt over his loss in Iowa. We can tell because he is still talking about it on Twitter. He is also still blaming everyone and everything but himself.

    Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!

    And finally, Cruz strongly told thousands of caucusgoers (voters) that Trump was strongly in favor of ObamaCare and “choice” – a total lie!

    Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.

  262. says

    Rand Paul has called it quits. He is no longer in the Republican race for president. He does still have a Senate campaign to run. He represents Kentucky in the Senate now, and he wants to continue doing so.

  263. says

    Hillary Clinton added more focus on “environmental justice” to her campaign’s policy proposals. This increased emphasis comes on the heels of her earlier attempts to address the lead poisoning, the toxic water, in Flint, Michigan.

    Environmental justice can’t just be a slogan – it has to be a central goal. Cities are full of lead paint in low-income housing, lead embedded in the very soil from the days of leaded gasoline. Already, African-American children are twice as likely to suffer from asthma as white children – and climate change will put vulnerable populations at even greater risk. […]

    As president, I will make environmental justice a central part of my comprehensive commitment to low-income communities of color – by pursuing cleaner transportation; ambitious steps to reduce air pollution; dedicated efforts to clean up toxic sites; more resources for lead remediation; and greener, more resilient infrastructure. Because clean air and clean water are basic human rights – and our rights shouldn’t change between ZIP codes.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/there-are-too-many-flints

  264. says

    Chris Christie went to the sort-of-gross and misogynistic swamp to bluster about Hillary Clinton:

    I’ll beat her rear end on that stage and afterward she’ll be relieved that I didn’t serve her with a subpoena.

  265. says

    One of MSNBC’s long-time hosts, Melissa Harris Perry was threatened by a white nationalist when she was in Iowa to cover the caucus. Perry is black.

    […] Monday night I was sitting in a hotel lobby in downtown Des Moines with my back to a wall of windows, my eyes fixed on the TV, my attention wholly focused on early caucus results. I didn’t notice until he was standing right next to me, much closer than is ordinary or comfortable. When he started speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him.

    “…So what is it that you teach?”

    “I am a professor of political science.”

    “My wife is a professor of communications.”

    “Does she teach here in Iowa?”

    “What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”

    I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

    “Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

    “But why you? Why would they pick you?”

    Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

    “I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

    Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.

    I freeze. Not even me – the girl in me. The one who was held down by an adult neighbor as he raped her. The one who listened as he explained why he was doing this. She freezes.

    I freeze. He speaks. And moves closer. Is there a knife under the coat? A gun? Worse? And I can’t hear all the words. But I catch “Nazi Germany” and I catch “rise to power.” […]

    Instead of sitting still as he tells me what he is going to do and why, I jump up. I move. I put space – a table – between him and me. My friend jumps too. It is breathtaking how fearlessly – almost recklessly – she throws herself between he and I. Together we raise our voices and make a fuss. He turns. He runs out. He jumps in a car. He drives off. We try to explain to hotel security what has happened and how I receive hate mail and even death threats, how I have had people show up at my workplace, how this might be serious. They listen politely, but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours.

    http://ajccenter.wfu.edu/2016/02/02/5756/

  266. says

    This is exceptionally ugly, and exceptionally stupid … even for Alex Jones.

    Yesterday, Alex Jones of InfoWars chatted with Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman about Klayman’s column naming President Obama 2015’s “Muslim of the Year.”

    Jones, discussing cases of sexual assault in parts of Europe by migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, claimed that some liberal women in the West actually want to be assaulted by Muslim men.

    “What is happening with the left?” he asked. “Not just here, but in Europe. I even found out that it’s a new fad where liberal women want to go out and find a very Sharia-law Muslim man to slap them around and dominate them but they hate their daddy from the liberal West who gave them all that freedom. Is this like some type of mass suicide culturally by the left? Who are these people?” […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  267. says

    Bernie Sanders got more out of Iowa than a tie with Hillary Clinton. His campaign raked in the cash. Donations exceeded $3 million in 24 hours.
    Salon link

    40% of those donations were from new contributors, so Bernie continues to expand his base of supporters and donors. His small-dollar donation rate is higher than any other candidate.

  268. says

    Now Donald Trump is thinking about suing Ted Cruz over the Iowa caucus vote. Threatening to sue seems to be Trump’s go-to response when something happens that he doesn’t like.

    […] Asked if he would sue, Trump said, “I probably will, what he [Cruz] did is unthinkable. He said the man [Carson] has left the race and he said it during the caucus. And then when the clarification was put out by Ben Carson saying it’s untrue, they got the statement and they didn’t put it out.” […]

    “It’s a total voter fraud when you think of it and he picked up a lot of those votes and that’s why the polls were so wrong, because of that,” continued Trump. “I couldn’t understand why the polls were wrong.” […]

    BuzzFeed link

    I think Trump lost the Iowa vote because he had virtually no ground game.

  269. says

    Wow. New Hampshire is home to some really whacko right-wingers.

    A Republican state representative in New Hampshire on Wednesday submitted testimony to a state House committee hearing arguing that giving public assistance to Muslims amounts to treason.

    State Rep. Ken Weyler submitted the testimony for a hearing on a bill he co-sponsored that would prohibit “any member of a foreign terrorist organization from receiving public assistance, medical assistance, or food stamps.” […]

    “Giving public benefits to any person or family that practices Islam is aiding and abetting the enemy. That is treason,” […]

    In his written testimony, Weyler said that all “terrorist attacks of the last twenty years have been by Muslim fanatics” and referenced the Tsarnaev brothers. He said the Boston Marathon bombers were “raised on public benefits.” […]

    The lawmaker acknowledged that there are “Muslims in our community who are working hard to be economically successful.” […]

    Weyler then launched into an argument that all Muslims are responsible for terrorism, charging that Islam is not a real religion. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  270. says

    For the first time since taking office as President, Obama visited a Mosque.

    President Barack Obama noted Wednesday while speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore that the rumors about him being a secret Muslim were leveled against one of the country’s founders, too.

    “Thomas Jefferson’s opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim. So I was not the first,” Obama said, trailing off to laughter.

    “No, it’s true. Look it up,” he said. “I’m in good company.”

    The event marked the first time he visited a U.S. mosque while in office. Obama assured American Muslims that they should feel appreciated in the country regardless of the heated rhetoric directed at them by some Republican presidential candidates.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/obama-jefferson-muslim

    Rightwing media is having a field day with this mosque visit. Their first line of attack was to discredit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a tactic that included making shit up about it being a terrorist organization.

  271. says

    Most of the undercard or “kiddie table” Republican candidates have dropped out of the race, leaving only Carly Fiorina. Now that ABC says it will not have a kiddie table at the next debate, Fiorina may possibly be kicked off the stage entirely.

    For once, I agree with Fiorina on something: ABC has to allow her onto the main stage. They are giving a podium to Christie and to Kasich, both of whom earned fewer votes in Iowa than Fiorina. (Fiorina 1.86%, Christie 1.76%, and Kasich 1.86% but with 11 fewer votes.)

    In other news, Kasich’s campaign is showing signs of life in New Hampshire. He is second in some polls.

  272. says

    Note to Bernie Sanders: I don’t think you have to be so strident about the definitions of “moderate” and “progressive” in the Democratic arena. I don’t see this going anywhere useful.

    Some of the Bernie side of the argument:

    When reporters asked Sanders on Tuesday if Clinton was a “true progressive,” the Vermont senator responded that she was on “some days.”

    “Except when she announces that she is a proud moderate, and then I guess she is not a progressive,” he said.

    You can be a moderate. You can be a progressive. But you cannot be a moderate and a progressive.
    ————-
    Most progressives that I know were opposed to the Keystone pipeline from day one. Honestly, it wasn’t that complicated.

    The Clinton side of the argument:

    At a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire on Wednesday, Clinton accused Sanders of a “low blow” for saying that the former secretary of state was only a progressive on “some days”.

    “I hope we keep it on the issues,” Clinton said, “because if it’s about our records, hey, I’m going to win by a landslide.” […]

    The Guardian link.

    At her town hall meeting, Clinton went on to mention the Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), health care for 9/11 responders, the U.N. conference where she gave her famous “women’s rights are human rights” speech, making LGBT rights a focus of U.S. foreign policy when she was Secretary of State, family leave for military families, etc.

    It just seems odd to me to slot either candidate into a category that may be narrowly defined. I’d rather look at the proposals from Sanders, and the proposals from Clinton.

  273. Chris J says

    Just letting y’all know that I read this thread regularly as well, and appreciate everyone who’s been contributing. I haven’t been commenting much because I don’t know what the rules are, and there haven’t been a lot of response comments…

  274. says

    Chris J @311 (and others up-thread): thanks for letting us know that you are reading and finding the thread useful. There aren’t any rules really. You can say whatever you like as long as you don’t break the Commenting Rules that PZ established for Pharyngula threads in general. “Have a fucking sense of perspective” is his first rule.

    In other news, it may be hard for us to understand how anyone could take a partisan/ignorant stance over the poisoning of children in Flint, Michigan with toxic water, but some Republicans have managed to do so. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the chairman of the committee (an oversight committee), blamed the Environmental Protection Agency.
    NY Times link.

  275. says

    You have got to be kidding me. Bob Woodward (famous for Watergate-related journalism) seems to be getting not only more conservative as he ages, but also more of a misogynist.

    He appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program to discuss Hillary Clinton. Woodward complained that she “shouts” too much. Other descriptive words used: screaming, acting unnatural, being feisty, not relaxed, etc.

    […] “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating,” Woodward told the panel Wednesday morning. Joe Scarborough jumped in, asking, “Has nobody told her that the microphone works? Because she always keeps it up here. The genius of Reagan was…Reagan kept it down low.”

    Cokie Roberts of NPR broke in to note that the footage they were referring to was at a noisy rally: “These are rallies, though, and it’s hard to do that at a rally.” […]

    Woodward later brought up Clinton’s volume again after the conversation turned to whether or not voters trust Clinton. “I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue, but there is something here, where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself,” he said. […]

    “She could make a case for herself if she would just kind of lower the temperature and…get off this screaming stuff,” Woodward argued.

    Former DNC head Howard Dean then came on the program to defend Clinton’s demeanor, suggesting that she would be under less scrutiny if she were a man. “Oh my God, that’s desperate,” co-host Mika Brzezinski scoffed. […]

    Clinton has previously discussed her struggle with the sexism she faced from the media during her 2008 campaign, when she was accused of being “shrill” and “nagging.”

    Commentators openly argued that her menstrual cycle would impact her decisionmaking. Morning Joe was a leader in those discussions; Scarborough often referenced the “Clinton cackle” and another panelist cracked a joke that Clinton reminded everyone of their “first wife in probate court.”

    The “screaming stuff” trope has followed Clinton throughout her political career. As Rebecca Traister notes, Clinton’s criticism of Sanders’ single-payer health care plan has been meme-ified as “Hillary’s Mean Scream,” echoing a common perception that women who sound assertive are angry. In a less subtle attack, the New York Post ran a cover during the Benghazi hearings of Clinton looking angry with the headline “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid: Hillary explodes with rage at Benghazi hearing.” […]

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2016/02/03/3745884/morning-joe-sexist-hillary-discussion/

  276. says

    Hillary Clinton introduced the first part of her climate/energy-saving plan in New Hampshire today. Bernie Sanders also has an energy efficiency plan, parts of which he introduced in December.

    […] [Clinton outlined] how efficiency programs could reduce the average American’s household bills by $600 a year — a national decrease of $70 billion.

    The plan calls for reducing energy waste in American buildings — including homes, businesses and government buildings — by a third within 10 years.

    Clinton plans to achieve this by improving building codes, retrofitting federal buildings, and including efficiency calculations in home pricing. She also wants to eliminate the use of “expensive and highly polluting” oil and propane for home heating — an issue that particularly affects residents in New England. […] nearly 70 percent of New Hampshire homes use heating oil […]

    New Hampshire has some of the most expensive energy in the country, especially for residential and industrial electricity […]

    Clinton’s plan largely builds on existing federal programs, while encouraging states and local communities through a proposed $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge. […]

    Bernie Sanders, also included energy efficiency in his wide-ranging climate plan, released in December. […]

    According to analysis from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the United States wastes 60 percent of the energy it produces. […]

    According to NOAA, the United States could reduce emissions from electricity production by nearly 80 percent over the next 15 years.

    […] Most of the Republican candidates’ plans seem to rely on increased drilling and fracking to reduce energy costs […]

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/03/3745909/hillary-efficiency-plan/

  277. Ice Swimmer says

    I read this thread irregularly but often. I seldom feel I have anything of substance to say.

    Lynna @ 301

    Sadly, shit like that doesn’t feel out of the ordinary in the realm of Internet bigotry. It should.

  278. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.

    I think it hilarious that Trump has decided that telling lies is suddenly bad.

  279. blf says

    I think it hilarious that Trump has decided that telling lies is suddenly bad.

    No, no, there’s no problem with telling liesinforming with new facts, as long as you buy your new facts from him. Teh Wazzock Trum-Prat Facts Company carefully manufactures all the facts you want and like, using low-paid operatives at plants in China and Mexico, who will be fired if your facts don’t [sic, Yes they really don’t say what it is the facts “don’t” –blf]. In addition, the company will periodically go bankrupt so as to avoid any responsibility for the facts. #Make Up Moar Shite Again!

  280. says

    Speaking of indulging in rather silly semantics, Bernie Sanders said last night:

    Of course I am a Democrat and running for the Democratic nomination.

    Sanders has run in Vermont elections since 1972, and never as a Democrat.

    I don’t effing care, but others are apparently diving very deeply into this semantic battle over who is a Democrat and who is not; who is a progressive and who is not; who is a socialist and who is not; who is a moderate and who is not. Can you be a progressive and a socialist at the same time; can you be a moderate and a progressive at the same time? It just goes on and one.

    Can you vote against the Brady Bill and be a progressive? Can you flip-flop on the Keystone XL pipeline and be a progressive?

    Jesus Haploid Christ. Dump this discussion where it belongs: in the very large dumpster for punditry that equals fuckery. There are no doubt moments from any long-time politician’s career that could be slotted into any category you like

  281. says

    After he dropped out of the race, Rick Santorum endorsed Marco Rubio. Santorum’s endorsement ran into a bit of a snag when he couldn’t name even one Rubio accomplishment that had earned his support.

    Santorum floundered right off the bat when asked to list Rubio’s “top accomplishment” while in office. “Well, I mean, I would just say that this is a guy who’s been able to, No. 1, win a tough election in Florida and pull people together from a variety of different spots. This is a guy that I think can work together with people,” he said. “That’s the thing I like about him the most.”

    Santorum was asked by the interviewer for specific accomplishments four times. He finally came up with:

    I guess it’s hard to say there are accomplishments.

    Santorum went on to blame “gridlock” in Congress.

    That’s the Congress where Rubio set a record for never showing up to vote.

    As Steve Benen put it:

    When the question was expanded to include literally any Rubio bill, whether it passed or not, Santorum pointed to an obscure risk-corridor measure on health care policy — which (a) is an awful policy; and (b) happens to be an example of Rubio taking credit for others’ work.

    Rubio had boasted:

    Last year, I stopped an Obamacare bailout and saved taxpayers $2.5 billion.

    You wish, Marco. You wish. The terrible, no-good anti-risk corridor language inserted into the bill was the work of Jack Kingston, Fred Upton, and Jeff Sessions, three Republicans trying to sneakily damage the implementation of Obamacare.
    Washington Post reference link, January 14.

  282. blf says

    For once, I agree with Fiorina on something: ABC has to allow her onto the main stage.

    Other way around, they should send all the other Klowns in the Kandidate Kar to the kid’s table. And keep it canceled, so as to not distract from the main debate.

    Over at the main debate, which is still being held of course, but with none of the thugs present, the quality must improve.

  283. says

    Ted Cruz has decided to add the toxic water problems in Flint, Michigan to his rally speeches in New Hampshire:

    You know, you look at what’s happening in Flint. Flint is an absolute outrage. You’ve got your own government poisoning the citizens. You look at the basic responsibilities of government, making sure our water’s clean is really near the top. I mean, we’re not talking rocket science here. This isn’t even broadband Internet. This is, “Don’t have the water coming out of my sink poison me.”

    Very good, Ted. And thank you for noticing, which is more than some Republican candidates have done.

    Ted Cruz continued speaking long enough to shoot himself in the foot:

    You know, there’s an interesting parallel between Flint and New Orleans. Both cities have been governed with one-party government control of far-left Democrats for decades.

    Dafuq!? Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, is a Republican. The legislature that gave Republican governors the power to replace local, elected leaders with “emergency managers” was dominated by Republicans. No Democratic officials had any say in the matter.

    More coverage from Rachel Maddow, with an interview featuring Elijah Cummings the ranking Democratic member on the congressional oversight committee. 9:44 video.

  284. says

    blf @320, that made me laugh. You should run the debates.

    In other news, here is your near-daily Bundy/militia update. A federal grand jury has handed down indictments for 16 of the doofuses involved in the wildlife refuge takeover in Oregon.

    […] The alleged offenses began Oct. 5, when two of the defendants met with the Harney County sheriff to warn of “extreme civil unrest” if their demands were unmet, according to the indictments.

    The alleged co-conspirators are charged with occupying the federal property “while using and carrying firearms,” threatening violence against anybody who attempted to remove them from the refuge, and using social media and other means of communication to recruit and encourage others to join them. […]

    The Oregonian link.

    Those named in the indictment: Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Brian Cavalier, Joe O’Shaughnessy, Jon Ritzheimer, Shawna Cox, Pete Santilli, Jason Patrick, Dylan Anderson and Duane Leo Ehmer.

    The four militants still occupying the buildings at the wildlife refuge will face the same changes when/if they leave … that is, when they are arrested.

    An Oregon congressman, Earl Blumenauer, introduced a bill that would take the financial burden of all this hullaballoo off the shoulders of Oregon taxpayers. Blumenauer wants the federal government and the militant doofuses to pay the costs, which are now running into the multi-millions. Basically, the bill states that the feds should pick up the entire tab and then try to wring a reimbursement out of the militant doofuses.

  285. says

    Oh, FFS. Governor Synder has amended his plan to reimburse the residents of Flint, Michigan for the money they paid for poisoned water. He will lower the water bills by 30% until the water is safe.

    I don’t know, Governor, paying 70% of my water bill for access to toxic water just does not sound like a good deal to me. The average water bill in Flint is quite high, $140 per month. That’s higher than in neighboring cities.

  286. says

    This is a followup to comment 308.

    President Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore. He gave a good speech, which included:

    […] we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths. And when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up. And we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion. […]

    Horrible and evil according to Marco Rubio:

    Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today: he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims….It’s this constant pitting people against each other that I can’t stand.

    Donald Trump added his wazzock blather:

    I don’t have much thought, I think that we can go to lots of places. Right now, I don’t know if he’s — maybe he feels comfortable there.

    At first I thought the Wazzock was going to say something true: “I don’t have much thought,” but then he kept talking so that he could throw in an “Obama is a secret Muslim” dog whistle.

  287. says

    Another ferfuckssake moment. Stolen valor … again, in association with the militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This time from an elected official.

    Graham Hunt, a (now former) Washington state representative, defied the FBI and local law enforcement to personally meet with Ammon Bundy at the armed militants at the wildlife refuge in January. He just couldn’t resist a trip to meet with his fellow constitutional lovers.

    Now The Seattle Times confirms Graham Hunt has been forced to resign after flat-out lying about his military service […]

    Daily Kos link.

    The Seattle Times first reported last month that military records did not back up Hunt’s claims of serving as a “combat veteran” in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he’d listed three medals on his official biography that the Air Reserve Personnel Center had no record of him receiving. […]

    Seattle Times link.

  288. says

    A nice little bit of schadenfreude in connection with Graham Hunt’s resignation from his elected office (comment 325): the wannabe dudebro of militants was also Ted Cruz’s statewide chairman in the state of Washington. Hunt had to resign that job too, though I’m not sure why since Cruz seems to be perfectly comfortable with bedding down with the sleaziest of the sleaze balls.

  289. blf says

    Lynna@322, “You should run the debates.” Right. I need a supply of ejector seats, trapdoors over deep exit-less caverns filled with sharp spikes and tripwire-activated flamethowers, a cask of Anchor Steam, Monty Python, and a BIG clewstick.

    I suspect the winner will be the Dead Parrot, which has far more interesting and useful things to say, and is not a mole you have to keep whacking.

  290. says

    Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have sided with deceptive, lying, sneaky anti-abortion forces … again.

    Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida are among the 174 members of Congress who have submitted an amicus brief yesterday urging the Supreme Court to uphold a Texas anti-abortion law that threatens to close most of the abortion providers in the state.

    The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (previously called Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole) on March 2, considering whether sweeping abortion restrictions in Texas present an unconstitutional “undue burden” on women seeking abortions or whether they are merely meant to protect women’s health, as their backers claim. The case is a critical test of the anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy to weaken Roe by gradually chipping away at abortion access in the states, often by claiming that burdensome regulations are meant to protect the health of women seeking abortions.[…]

    Texas’ lieutenant governor at the time the law was passed, David Dewhurst, boasted that it would “essentially ban abortion statewide.” […]

    Rubio and Cruz, like the law they are defending, are deliberately skirting around the point. Rubio supports banning abortion in all circumstances, while Cruz has backed a radical “personhood” laws that would ban all abortion and could even risk outlawing some types of birth control. At the same time, Cruz backed then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s refusal to accept federal Medicaid expansion that would have insured more than one million people while Rubio has tried repeatedly to take away insurance coverage for contraception from some women. […]

    Link

  291. says

    Where does Marco Rubio turn when he wants to come up with quotes for his flyers, billboards, and campaign TV ads? He turns to disgraced writer Ed Klein, specifically to Klein’s book “Unlikeable.”

    Check your sources, Marco. They suck.

    […] Ed Klein’s work has been thoroughly discredited. Over the years he has produced a series of books and reports (published primarily in right-wing outlets) about major politicians like President Obama and Secretary Clinton that have been debunked and criticized by reporters, including many conservatives. Klein’s writing has been described as “smut,” “junk journalism,” “fan fiction,” and “devoid” of “basic journalistic standards.”

    The allegations made in his books are often outrageous and outlandish, including his claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary Clinton. A prior Klein book was reportedly dropped by publisher HarperCollins because it “did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers.” It was later put out by the conservative publisher Regnery, which also published “Unlikeable.” […]

    Despite his journalistic failures and deception, Klein continues to be a fixture in some quarters of the conservative media, particularly the Fox News and New York Post outposts in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. As a result, he has unfortunately become a part of the presidential election. […]

    Media Matters link.

  292. says

    Link

    NBC News and Media Matters have debunked the claim that Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal the names of undercover operatives. Nevertheless, rightwing media outlets, including Fox Business and FoxNews, continue to promote the false story.

    Today FoxNews has reported that those twenty-two Top Secret emails included “operational intelligence” that involves espionage sources and methods, adding that lives have been put at risk by Hillary’s mishandling of this information.

    The same false story was picked up by the New York Post, Townhall.com, The Federalist, Breitbart.com, Powerline, etc.

    The facts:

    A handful of emails forwarded to Hillary Clinton’s personal server while she was secretary of state contained references to undercover CIA officers — including one who was killed by a suicide attack in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed them.

    But contrary to some published reports, three officials said there was no email on Clinton’s server that directly revealed the identity of an undercover intelligence operative. Rather, they said, State Department and other officials attempted to make veiled references to intelligence officers in the emails — references that were deemed classified when the messages were being reviewed years later for public release.

    In one case, an official said, an undercover CIA officer was referred to as a State Department official with the word “State,” in quotes, as if to suggest the emailer knew the officer was not actually a diplomat. In another case, an email refers to “OGA” for “other government agency,” a common reference to the CIA. Yet another now-classified email chain originated with a member of the CIA director’s staff, leading some officials to question how Clinton could be blamed. […]

  293. says

    Even the female hosts on Faux News have jumped on the misogyny wagon when it comes to talking about Hillary Clinton.

    Katie Pavlich said:

    Hillary, you have a microphone. There’s no reason to yell. That’s what microphones are for. […] She has a communications problem not just with Democrats but also with the rest of the country. She’s not likable. And she’s trying too hard here. And again, microphones already accentuate your voice, we don’t need you to be yelling. […]

    Let’s just fact check here. Hillary Clinton is not filling up large stadiums where she needs to yell into the microphone to reach all of the people in the room. She’s yelling at tens of supporters who are showing up to these events. […] And if Hillary Clinton can’t handle some criticism about her voice maybe being a little too grating, I’m not sure she can handle being president of the Untied States. And I guarantee you that Vladimir Putin and the Saudis and everyone else also thinks that her voice is grating […]

    It bears repeating that in a noisy rally politicians may have to speak loudly to be heard by the audience. The TV audience viewing footage of the event hears less of the crowd noise, and they hear the candidate speaking more clearly than does the crowd at the rally.

    The “fact check” that Hillary is speaking to “tens of supporters” is wrong.

    Similar criticism is not aimed at the male candidates most of the time. (Donald Trump did criticize Ted Cruz’s speaking style.)

  294. says

    Let’s get some perspective regarding the never ending soap opera over Clinton’s emails: emails sent to personal Secretary of State or U.S. National Security Advisor accounts during the Bush/Cheney era contained classified material at the time, or have been retroactively categorized as “secret” or “confidential.”

    State Department officials have determined that classified information was sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, NBC News has learned. […]

    In a letter to Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy dated Feb. 3, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick said that the State Department has determined that 12 emails examined from State’s archives contained national security information now classified “Secret” or “Confidential.” […]

    Link

    No one is claiming any wrongdoing on the part of Powell or Rice.

  295. says

    An update on the Ben Carson campaign, or lack of a campaign:

    […] He flew out from Iowa […] declaring that he had run all out of clean clothes and needed to travel back to Florida to do his laundry; two days later, he is still there, firing staff and, more importantly, feeling very damn hurt about how this has all worked out. […]

    Link

    “Dr. Carson feels absolutely robbed, violated,” said Armstrong Williams, a Carson confidant, in a phone interview. “He realizes, the Democrats are not his enemies trying to malign him. It’s people who smile in his face, shake his hand, go out to dinner with him — and yet, they’re trying to destroy him behind his back.”

    Link

  296. Hekuni Cat, Social Justice Ninja, MQG says

    I always follow this thread (even if I am sometimes several days behind), but I rarely have time to comment. Thank you, Lynna and blf.

  297. says

    Cross posted from the “Baby Steps …” thread.

    The big winner of last night’s debates? Democrats. Those two candidates, with their flaws and their strengths, delivered a debate that was the best one we’ve seen so far.

    No one promised to carpet bomb parts of the Middle East like Republican candidates. They discussed the problem of toxic water in Flint, Michigan without lying about it like Ted Cruz did. Neither Sanders nor Clinton included their poll numbers as an arbiter of virtue like Donald Trump does.

    You know, sometimes in these campaigns, things get a little bit out of hand. I happen to respect [Secretary Clinton] very much, I hope it’s mutual. And on our worst days, I think it is fair to say we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate.

    From Taegan Goddard on Politicalwire:

    Sanders still hasn’t figured out he needs to come up with a coherent foreign policy view. In the end, the debate was probably a draw.

  298. says

    The text part of Ted Cruz’s logo says, “TRUSTED,” with “Trus” in white and “Ted” in red. A TRUS is a transrectal ultrasound used to send sound waved through the wall of the rectum into the prostate gland. It’s an anal probe. Good logo choice, Ted.

  299. says

    Here are a few Clinton moments from last night’s debate:

    Senator Sanders says he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be,” Clinton said. “Time and time again, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to, you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. I just absolutely reject that, Senator. I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. Enough is enough. If you’ve got something to say, say it directly.
    —————
    Senator Sanders is the only person who would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment. It’s really quite amusing to me.
    —————
    Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street; Vice President Biden is not progressive because she supported Keystone; Sen. [Jeanne] Shaheen [of New Hampshire] is not progressive because she supports the trade pact. Even the late, great Sen. Paul Wellstone would not fit this definition because he voted for [the Defense of Marriage Act]. You know, we have differences and, honestly, I think we should be talk about what we want to do for the country. But if we’re going to get into labels, I don’t think it was particularly progressive to vote against the Brady Bill five times.

    A few Bernie Sanders moments from the debate:

    And if elected, not only do I hope to bring forth a major change in national priorities, but let me be frank, I do want to see major changes in the Democratic Party. I want to see working people and young people come into the party in a way that doesn’t exist now. And you know what, I want a 50-state strategy so the Democratic Party is not just the party of 25 states.
    —————–
    What being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super-PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one’s life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests. To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.
    —————–
    Too many innocent people, including minorities, African Americans, have been executed when they were not guilty. In a world of so much violence and killing, I just don’t believe that government itself should be part of the killing.

  300. says

    Ted Cruz said some more stupid stuff. He was the featured speaker at the Addiction Policy Forum held in a Baptist church.

    […] Solving the drug problem becomes de-emphasized because [the] policy view instead is to open the borders to illegal immigration. On the Democratic side, you know there’s a new term for illegal immigrants. It’s called “undocumented Democrats.”

    Link

  301. says

    A Comprehensive Guide To Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton …

    My summary of the main points:

    If Clinton raises her voice like many male candidates often do she is described as angry, bitter, screaming, etc.

    She is called a “bitch,” a “lesbian” or “manly.”

    She is “too emotional” or “too feminine.”

    Her laugh is evil or too raucous, not feminine enough.

    She hates men, she castrates men.

    Any success she has had is thanks to her husband.

  302. says

    Fox News anchor says Clinton’s presidential campaign is just “bra burning.” Link

    CNBC’s Larry Kudlow called Clinton’s style “shrieking.”

    The Editor In Chief of The Hill said, “When Hillary Clinton raises her voice, she loses.”

    I watched the debate. I’ve watched a lot of both Clinton’s and Sanders’ speeches. They both raise their voices occasionally. They both sound a little tired or rough-voiced by the end of a long day. Neither candidate’s voice makes me think they are losers.

    Rush Limbaugh said, “Hillary Clinton is a screeching bore.”

  303. says

    Rachel Maddow did a good job as a moderator of the debate.

    […] She directed a question to Sanders that struck to the heart of the practical difficulties of his platform—asking him how he planned to work with the corporations that advanced progressive agendas, those corporations that had to be dealt with to pass the Affordable Healthcare Act, for example.

    She asked Clinton for the chance to see the transcripts of those Goldman Sachs speeches.

    Maddow asked Sanders how he really intended to win the presidency as, essentially, a third-party candidate. […]

    I think that Sanders and Clinton have real issues with each other, but I also think that neither Sanders nor Clinton really want to fight with each other, and at the end of the day, despite the whiz-bang of the zingers, neither do we. Beyond the artificial dichotomy of the debate, Sanders and Clinton are all we’ve got—two viable candidates against a stack of wildcards that are still funded and still in the race over on the other team. […]

    Salon link

    Debate transcript

  304. says

    An excerpt from the opening statement of Bernie Sanders:

    Our job, together, is to end a rigged economy, create an economy that works for all, and absolutely overturn Citizens United. One person, one vote. That’s what American democracy is about.

  305. says

    An excerpt from Clinton’s reply to Sanders about speaking fees and donations:

    […] you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received. […]

    Today, you’ve got hedge fund billionaires aligned with Karl Rove, running ads against me to try to get Democrats to vote for you. I know this game. […]

    But while we’re talking about votes, you’re the one who voted to deregulate swaps and derivatives in 2000, which contributed to the over-leveraging of Lehman Brothers, which was one of the culprits that brought down the economy. […]

    What I got from the rather lengthy exchange about who took donations, who did not, and who voted for what financial regulation was that both Sanders and Clinton had good motives when they worked toward financial regulation. When it comes down to it, they both have similar goals now: updating Glass-Steagall legislation for example.

  306. says

    nahauti @ 345, thanks for that link. That’s an interesting article. I heard an interview with a young feminist woman in New Hampshire today. The young woman said, Hillary Clinton’s feminism is not my feminism.

    I have no idea what that means, but a point was made at the same time that Hillary is “the establishment.” I think that is a more damaging meme. I don’t really think it is true, but it has been repeated so much that it is a common talking point. The article to which you linked made the same point.

    I love the idealism of the young people quoted in the L.A. Times article, and the idealism in general of most of Sanders’ supporters. I do not see why part of that idealism has to be putting the black hat of “the establishment” on Hillary Clinton. I see that as an oversimplification, something we usually see Republicans doing.

    I don’t like seeing overly simplified memes taking over in either party. It’s the lazy way out. It gives you something to say, something to repeat … and it leaves out most of the picture. No perspective. No nuance.

    Also, I seriously doubt that younger women are aware of all the work Clinton has done to promote women’s rights. If so, we can blame her campaign for that.

  307. blf says

    Perhaps the main issue right now here in France is not the proposed extension to the current “state of emergency” (which allows the authorities to ignore a number of civil liberalities, including, I think, habeas corpus), the proposal to revoke the French citizenship of dual-nationals convicted of(? decided to be involved with?) terrorism, and usual sorts of economic and inequality issues, et al., but Français, or more specifically, some proposed spelling changes approved 26 years ago, Not the oignon: fury as France changes 2,000 spellings and drops some accents:

    #JeSuisCirconflexe campaigners fight back against decision by the Académie Française to ‘fix anomalies’ — although decision was originally made in 1990

    French linguistic purists have voiced online anger at the removal from many words of one of their favourite accents — the pointy little circumflex hat (ˆ) that sits on top of certain vowels.

    Changes to around 2,400 French words to simplify them for schoolchildren, such as allowing the word for onion to be spelled ognon as well as the traditional oignon, have brought accusations the country’s Socialist government is dumbing down the language.

    Nothing provokes a Gallic row than changes to the language of Molière, but the storm took officials by surprise as the spelling revisions had been suggested by the Académie Française, watchdogs of the French language, and unanimously accepted by its members as long ago as 1990.

    The aim was to standardise and simplify certain quirks in the written language making it easier to learn (among them chariot to charriot to harmonise with charrette, both words for a type of cart and the regrouping of compound nouns like porte-monnaie / portemonnaie (purse), extra-terrestres / extraterrestres and week-end / weekend, to do away with the hyphen.

    […]

    While the “revised spelling list” was not obligatory, dictionaries were advised to carry both old and new spellings, and schools were instructed to use the new versions but accept both as correct.

    [… History of the changes, multiple previously-ignored announcements, and the trigger for the current row …]

    The far-right Front National [the Le Pratzis –blf] waded in […] declaring “the French language is our soul” […].

    […]

    Some pointed out that the i-less ognon sounds less like a vegetable and more like ‘oh non’, which pretty much summed up France’s reaction to the changes.

    What sound does a vegetable make? I know peas snarl (to them: Attack! to you: Run Away! Run Away!! Arrrggghhhh!!!), but most vegetables are smarter than that and spring their lethal vegginess on you silently. Horses are another exception.

  308. says

    It looks like we may see a lot more anti-government, militia-type extremism soon. Friends and family are preparing to bury the one man from the Oregon wildlife refuge occupation that was shot, LaVoy Finicum. Extremist militiamen are planning to use the funeral as an opportunity to stage protests and who knows what else.

    Authorities in Utah are preparing for a scenario in which “armed extremists” crash the funeral of LaVoy Finicum […]

    An advisory issued Wednesday by the Utah Statewide Information and Analysis Center […] alerts law enforcement officials near Kanab, Utah, where the funeral is being held Friday, to be “vigilant and aware that confrontation with these potentially volatile persons, may include more than one individual.” [The Finicum family has asked for a quiet funeral.]

    […] “This may include both militia extremists and sovereign citizen extremists. […]

    Talking Points Memo link.

    As an aside, there are some families of “quiver full” and fundamentalist mormons in the Kanab area. Quite a stewpot of extremist views.

  309. says

    Well, aren’t we all relieved and/or bored/indifferent. Donald Trump has confirmed that he will be on stage for the next Fox debate

    Trump wimped out of a town hall event scheduled for today in New Hampshire. The official reason was that snow had closed airports so he couldn’t fly the Trump plane into New Hampshire. Uh, no. I think Trump must have just needed some rest. Both the LaGuardia airport (where Trump’s plane sits), and the Manchester, New Hampshire airport were still open at 10:30 am.

  310. says

    This should work out well … not. Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, has been chosen to chair a task force to find legislative ways to stop President Obama’s “executive overreach,” with the major focus on immigration issues.

    Steve King is Ted Cruz’s buddy, which immediately puts King’s judgement in question, but he also is the guy who said some really offensive things about immigrants.

    He wanted to electrify a border fence: “It would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.”

    He thinks racial profiling is common sense:

    After Arizona enacted an anti-immigration law in 2010 known as SB1070, which would allow law enforcement officials to racially profile suspected undocumented immigrants, King defended the policy. He said it was a “common sense thing” for law enforcement to use “indicators” like “what kind of clothes people wear, what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accents they have, the type of grooming they might have… sometimes it’s just a sixth sense that they can’t put their fingers on.”

    Link.

    He compared immigrants to dogs:

    You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest … not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner. You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet. We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.

    He’s the guy that generalized immigrants coming into the U.S. from Mexico as being “drug mules” and having “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” I think Steve King must be insecure about the size of his own calves.

  311. blf says

    Refugees stealing the Canadian attack moose and invading has spooked the thugs in the Senate, Blame Canada? US Senate committee ponders if northern border is a threat:

    Homeland security committee scrutinises Trudeau’s plan to fast-track country’s intake of refugees amid fears it will enable terrorists to reach US soil

    Existential threats to the US homeland have come in many forms — some real, some imagined. There was immigration from Asia — referred to in the xenophobic phrase “yellow peril” — fascism in Europe, communism in the Soviet Union and radical Islam in the Middle East.

    And now there is Justin Trudeau in Canada.

    […]

    The [Senate] hearing, which did not begin with a rendition of the song Blame Canada from South Park, offered a glimpse of the relationship between the US and its northern neighbour, once characterised by Trudeau’s father Pierre, a previous prime minister, as like “sleeping with an elephant”.

    It also raised the possibility that Republican candidate Donald Trump chose the wrong border when he promised to build a wall to keep out people from Mexico. The northern border, it transpires, is far more porous.

    […] Witness Dean Mandel of the US National Border Patrol Council said: “I would assess that there are approximately as many Capitol police on duty right now protecting the Capitol complex as we have on the entire 4,000-mile northern border.”

    […]

    Can we expect President Trump to order Trudeau to erect a border wall? There would be practical problems, for a start. Many people cross by boat and the technology that greets them is far from cutting edge.

    Witness Dr Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, said: “We’ve got great lakes and great fishing and hundreds of miles of the border is actually under water. I don’t know how you build a wall under water. […]”

    [… T]he primary concern of those worried about the Canadian border is not about hordes of Americans pouring over the border in search of inexpensive healthcare. [… Trudeau promised] to resettle 25,000 refugees fleeing the violence in Syria […]. The move was lauded by progressives and liberals as typical of Canadian humanitarianism. Among US Republicans, not so much.

    […]

    Senators questioned whether security would be compromised by overworked Canadian officials failing to vet the refugees properly through background checks. […]

    […] Dawson mounted a spirited defence of the Canadian policy. She said refugees coming to the country were from low-risk groups — families with children, single mothers, and lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people — all of whom have taken refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some 60% are women and 22% are children. “This is not an Isis demographic,” she said.

    […]

    Mandel, meanwhile, suggested the refugee resettlement was something of a red herring compared with the 5 million foreign visitors who enter Canada each year. He described its visa waiver system as “a huge security gap”. He also called for more staff, resources and cooperation.

    […]

    As the hearing drew to a close, Senator Jon Tester of Montana told his colleagues and the Canadian witnesses that the US must accept responsibility for the refugee situation. “We invaded Iraq 15 years ago looking for weapons of mass destruction.

    As a reminder, the UN reported before Bush I and B.Liar announced Cheney’s order to invade that none would be found. And none were found.

    The result of that has been quite frankly the Middle East is a mess. These refugees don’t have any homes, they’ve been destroyed.

    “The best way to radicalise people is not to reintegrate them into a society. We have an obligation to figure out how to do this and do this right for the sake of this country, but we cannot ignore it because if we do, we’re not doing anybody any favours on this Earth.”

    Perhaps emboldened by this, it was Dawson who supplied the zinger of the day: “Without being cute, the United States is more of a risk to Canada than Canada is to the United States.”

  312. blf says

    me@353, I meant Bush ][… Bush I also invaded Iraq, as a response to the invasion of Kuwait. Different penis waving contest.

  313. says

    Uh, what? Is Chris Christie this stupid and/or venal? In the wake of the toxic water news from Flint, Michigan, Christie is setting New Jersey up for privatized water systems. Yeah, where delivery of water to residents is run like a corporation, with money/earnings as the top priority. What could go wrong?

    The Water Infrastructure Protection Act, which purportedly aims to address aging infrastructure , allows for fast-tracking of sales of municipal water systems to private entities.

    Among the sponsors of the measure, which passed the state legislature in December, was Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), who stated Thursday: “We recognize that there are times when private entities might be most capable of operating, maintaining and upgrading drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems,” and keeps “the public’s ability to be part of the process.”

    http://thecontributor.com/christie-signs-bill-privatizing-new-jerseys-water-supply

    Christie’s administration did what a lot of Republican administrations do, cut funding for infrastructure, then complain that infrastructure is falling apart so that they can privatize what used to be a state government function.

  314. says

    Ah, Trump’s habit of keeping company with and of inspiring extremists has paid off again.

    Pete Santilli, is a “shock jock” who backs illegal takeovers of federal land. He is currently occupying a jail cell as a result of his participation in the takeover of the wildlife refuge in Oregon. Santilli has said some really outrageous and stupid things. To defend Santilli, his attorney, Thomas Coan, made the point that all that extremist stuff is okay because, hey, Donald Trump says the same kind of things.

    Coan, attempting to show that Santilli is not alone in his inflammatory but constitutionally-protected statements, played a clip of presidential candidate Donald Trump, where he boasted in Iowa that support for his campaign would not decline even if he shot someone in the middle of New York’s Fifth Avenue.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/02/federal_judge_affirms_decision.html#incart_river_home

  315. says

    Ben Carson has a good point when he points out the sneaky, dirty trick that the Cruz campaign played on him during the Iowa caucus. But Ben Carson looks really stupid when he compares it to Benghazi.

    Not to take corrective action is tacitly saying it’s okay, or it’s sort of like, as Hillary Clinton said after Benghazi, “What difference does it make.”

    I’m not saying that it rises to the level up Benghazi, I’m saying it’s the same kind of attitude.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ben-carson-benghazi-ted-cruz

  316. blf says

    Is Chris Christie this stupid and/or venal?

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, and also yes. Plus yes.

    Somewhat related, in @291 I said “Today’s dead tree edition of the International New York Times has an article about the difficulties of actually prosecuting anyone over the [Flint water] situation.” The article I was referring to was Assessment of Flint Water Crisis May Hinge on Stupidity vs. Criminality:

    […]
    The Justice Department and the Michigan attorney general’s office are investigating whether the series of decisions that led to the high levels of lead in Flint’s water involved criminal conduct. Unlike environmental violations that result from a single event, like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, what happened in Flint was the result of bad choices made over the course of months by officials at the local and state level that ultimately proved disastrous.

    Proving a crime will require looking beyond laws protecting the environment to see if public officials tried to cover up what they were doing, or failed to fulfill their legal obligations in dealing with the city’s water issues.

    The main federal environmental law in this area is the Safe Drinking Water Act, which authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to set standards that rely primarily on the states and local governments to keep contaminants away from the sources of tap water.

    […]

    That law, however, does not provide for criminal prosecution except in limited circumstances. For example, a “willful” violation of an underground injection program can result in up to three years in prison, and selling water coolers that are not lead-free can be punished by a five-year sentence. But neither of those provisions apply to what happened in Flint […]

    Other federal statutes, like the Clean Water Act, regulate the discharge of pollutants and wastewater treatment, but not what is required for drinking water. […]

    To bring a criminal case, the Justice Department will have to focus on whether any reports filed by officials in Michigan with the E.P.A. were false — the old Watergate approach of punishing the cover-up. Even that approach may be difficult because federal law generally requires proving that a statement was actually false and not just incomplete, so it can be open to interpretation whether a defendant intended to lie when submitting information about Flint’s water.

    A more likely path to pursuing individual officials may be under Michigan law. […]

    Michigan law allows for the prosecution of public officials for “misconduct in office” under a statute that permits charges based on common law crimes that are not otherwise included in any statute. This crime dates to England before the American Revolution, and is defined by the courts as “corrupt behavior by an officer in the exercise of the duties of his office.”

    The breadth of this offense is alarming, at least for those involved in any of the decisions regarding Flint’s water or the response to reports of contamination. The Michigan Court of Appeals explained in People v. Coutu that this crime “encompasses malfeasance, which is the doing of a wrongful act, misfeasance, which is the doing of a lawful act in a wrongful manner, and nonfeasance, which is the failure to do an act required by the duties of the office.”

    A violation requires more than negligence, so the government would have to prove the official’s misconduct was done intentionally.

    What the crime does not require, however, is showing that the person gained anything from the conduct, or even that the person intended any harm. Failing to fulfill the duties of office or acting wrongfully, even if not illegally, can result in a felony conviction.

    […]

    The crime of misconduct in office covers both what officials did, misfeasance or malfeasance, or what they failed to do, nonfeasance. That means the state investigation can range much more broadly than the violations that could be pursued by the Justice Department.

    There is a difference between stupidity and criminality, and the investigation of the Flint water crisis may reveal just how close they really are.

  317. says

    President Obama gave a speech today in which he touted the new jobs numbers which showed the unemployment rate is below 5 percent for the first time in eight years. Obama pointed out that:

    The United States of America right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour continues in New Hampshire. I guess you can’t please everybody.

    The Hill link.

    Ha!

  318. says

    More people have declared that Ted Cruz is god’s choice for president. Of course, Ted’s father already told us the Ted was anointed by God to be President. A bunch of evangelical pastors followed suit.

    Now we have Kenneth Copeland, the televangelist from Texas as the latest whacko to declare that he thinks Cruz is anointed to be the next POTUS. “God has raised him up for such a time as this.”

    Eagle Mountain International Church senior pastor George Pearsons joined in to say:

    There’s a new birth, right now, for America, and it’s taking place right before our eyes. And we will not set apart our responsibility and our duty to do what God has called us to do; we say, “Yes, Lord, Yes, we will do exactly what You have called us to do” and we receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the Spirit over Washington, D.C. We see Congress praying, we see them seeking God, we see prayer coming back into our schools, we see the Bible coming back into our schools, we see abortion being turned around, we see this nation being completely restored, completely delivered, for it is a time the new birth of our nation and we’re seeing it right before our eyes, now, in Jesus’ name.

    Link.

    If Ted Cruz actually believes this stuff, maybe he should ask god why he is dropping like a rock in the New Hampshire polls.

  319. says

    Voter-restriction efforts have been renewed in some states. More dunderheaded actions from the Republican rightwing:

    A federal elections official has decided — without public notice or review from his agency’s commissioners — that residents of Alabama, Kansas and Georgia can no longer register to vote using a federal form without providing proof of U.S. citizenship.

    The action by the new executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission is being roundly criticized by voting rights activists, who say the “secretive move” will create additional barriers for potential voters […]

    […] three states had requested the change. Under the new rule, any resident in those states who registers to vote using the federal form must show citizenship documentation — such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or passport. In other states, no such documentation is needed to register; voters need only sign a sworn statement. […]

    EAC Commissioner Thomas Hicks, told The Associated Press that he’s weighing his options so that the commissioners can address the issue. The Democrat posted a blistering statement on the agency’s website this week, and said Thursday that Newby’s action constitutes a policy change that should have been taken up by the commission and approved by at least three of four commissioners. […] The other commissioners, both Republicans, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Newby took over in November and came from Kansas, whose Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, has been a staunch advocate for such citizenship requirements and has fought court battles over them. Kobach also had appointed Newby to be a county elections commissioner. […]

    Newby said the move was prompted by a Nov. 17 letter from Kobach’s office requesting the addition of thecitizenship documentation requirements to the federal form, and he looked at similar pending requests from Georgia and Alabama. […]

    Yep, Newby and Kobach cooked this up. They’re both criminals in my eyes.

    The ACLU is on the case:

    “We think this is neither appropriate, nor legal — not to mention simply bad policy,” ACLU executive director Micah Kubic said. “There is a reason EAC has held the position that it did for so many years, which is that there should be one standardized federal form.”

    Link.

  320. says

    Cross posted from the What is a Prayer thread.

    Prayer is the excuse politicians use to do nothing while also looking righteous.

    House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday blasted critics who say prayer isn’t an adequate response to mass shootings and defended his rifle-loving party’s do-nothing approach to gun violence.
    “The attitude in some quarters these days is, ‘Don’t just pray; do something about it,”‘ Ryan said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “The thing is, when you are praying, you are doing something about it. You are revealing the presence of God.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ryan-defends-prayer-adequate-response-gun-violence-article-1.2520577

  321. says

    I have a relative who works in social services in Massachusetts. She is often dismayed to see poor people who have broken minor laws subjected to a year or more of probation … and required to pay a monthly fee for supervision during probation. They end up unable to pay the fee and that lands them in prison.

    […] America suffers from “mass probation” in addition to “mass incarceration.” Although probation has often been thought of as an “alternative” to prison or jail sentences, the U.S. has achieved exceptional levels of punitiveness in both incarceration and community supervision. […]

    The financial expense and opportunity costs of “mass probation” should also be assessed nationwide. […] National data suggest that a large share of all prison admissions come from probation revocations—a substantial number of which are for “technical” violations of sentence conditions rather than new criminal conduct. Far from being an “alternative” to incarceration, probation has been a “feeder” institution or a “conduit” to our prisons and jails.

    In this respect, misguided probation policy has almost certainly been a major contributor to America’s excesses in prison policy. The problems of mass incarceration and mass probation are intimately linked, and they must be tackled together. […]

    http://www.robinainstitute.org/news/new-data-brief-american-exceptionalism-probation-supervision/

  322. says

    Ah, Utah, the state where the predominant religion fields a team of lobbyists, and were most of the state legislators are mormons.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes a bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug. […]

    Lobbyists for the Utah-based faith have conveyed to Madsen, as well as House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, that the church opposes the bill, but did not explain its objections. […]

    “Maybe they don’t want to be known as the special interest who put their thumb on the scale and decided this for everyone in the state,” he said. “If they’re going to put their thumb on the scale politically and force everyone to a standard, then I think they owe something of an explanation to the people.”

    The LDS Church employs several lobbyists who frequently visit the Capitol to weigh in on issues before the Legislature. […]

    Alcohol and morality • Niederhauser said the church rarely weighs in on legislation, but when it does, it is typically on issues of alcohol policy or morality. […]

    Two years ago, Mormon apostle D. Todd Christofferson recorded a video arguing against liberalizing Utah’s liquor laws, effectively derailing efforts on alcohol policy for the year. LDS officials have again been consulted on liquor policy this year. […]

    A vast majority of Utah lawmakers belong to the LDS Church and about 60 percent of Utahns are Mormons.

    That gives the religion’s leaders tremendous sway over its followers and influence in the political process. […]

    Salt Lake Tribune link.

  323. says

    Some of the people commenting on the article about LDS/mormon lobbyists affecting legislation in Utah (comment 366) have hit on a common theme: the mormon leaders will be all for medicinal marijuana as soon as they can figure out how to make money in that market (like they do with real estate, ranching, water rights, hunting preserves, Hawaiian vacation lodges, used clothing, etc.)

    The obvious route for mormon leaders is turn selling marijuana-based edibles into a multi-level marketing scheme.

    From the reader’s comments:

    Don’t worry to much about that. As soon as they figure out a profit motive they will be on it like bees on flowers.
    ——————–
    As soon as Whorrin can find a way to get his bribers, err, contributors, to conjure up an MLM so they can benefit from weed, then it will be revelated and approved.
    —————-
    “Niederhauser said the church rarely weighs in on legislation”, cough, cough, choke, choke, cough, cough….sorry that was a bit too much to swallow.
    ———
    I don’t know what disgust me more, the Mormon church every time it opens its mouth, or the legislators which will now obey the command of their master.

    It is heartening to see so many people willing to speak out against the mormon church’s political tactics. That would not have been true a few decades ago.

  324. says

    Canadians seem to be happy to have Ted Cruz in the USA instead of in Canada:

    […] “I just don’t think he’s reasonable. The States can keep him,” said Jane Savannah, a nursing student at Foothills Medical Centre, the hospital where Cruz was born in 1970. A close follower of U.S. politics, Savannah talked of how Cruz was not liked “by a lot of people in the Senate” and of how he was chummy with business mogul Donald Trump “until he tried to eclipse him.” […]

    “He’s pretty extreme,” said Steward, chatting over a cup of coffee on a frigid day. Canadians are “much less inclined” to mix religion and politics, she said.

    Fond of their socialized health care, Canadians also chafe at Cruz’s fervent opposition to the Affordable Care Act. They welcome Syrian refugees and disagree with Cruz’s fierce anti-­immigration stance. And in a country with much tougher gun laws, the video clips of Cruz cooking bacon by wrapping it around the barrel of an AR-15 rifle left some slightly aghast.

    Given all that, Paul Fairie, a political scientist in Calgary, said: Don’t expect anyone to make a “memorial at his childhood home.” […]

  325. says

    Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton want to repeal Citizens United as a first step to reforming the influence of Big Money in politics. Charles Koch wants to stand in the way, and he’s willing to put about $900 million behind those efforts.

    That $900 million is on track to equal what both major political parties will spend in 2016.

    Charles Koch sees the Republicans as the lesser of two evils, and that’s why he supports Republican candidates: “The Democrats are taking us down the road to serfdom at 100 miles an hour, and the Republicans are at 70 miles an hour.”

    Charles Koch is a capitalist puritan. Milton Friedman is his Jesus, Friedrich Hayek his Peter. His goal for his influence is to reindoctrinate the country according to the pure theory of capital, the sole principles of which are capitalism and freedom. Pure economic liberty is the only road to true prosperity, while government intervention is the road to serfdom. […]

    Link

    More of same if you ask me. Unfettered capitalism got us into this mess where 1/10th of 1% of the population reaps most of the benefits. The Kochs don’t like corruption, but they don’t realize that the ideology they are backing breeds corruption and inequality.

  326. says

    Proof that Marco Rubio is a robot who needs adjustments to his programming.

    “Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country….”

    That’s the first time Rubio used a memorized portion of his stump speech like he was putting on his well-worn slippers and kicking back.

    Here comes the second time, and it was in response to a different question:
    “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country.”

    Here’s the third time, also in response to a completely different question:
    “Here’s the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

    Here is the fourth time Robot Rubio got stuck in a loop. He was mocked by Chris Christie for using memorized talking points over and over, so what does he do? He repeats the talking point again.

    “We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what he said and how many times he said it. In general, the Republicans worked hard to make the Democratic debate look really good. They succeeded.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/06/transcript-of-the-feb-6-gop-debate-annotated/

  327. blf says

    The Kochs say they don’t like corruption…

    Fixed. Also, I suspect their definition of “corruption” is like their (apparent) definition of “serfdom”, and not one many would recognize (excepting John Brichers and similar).

  328. says

    About Marco Rubio, a reporter for a newspaper in New Hampshire, Erik Eisele, wrote:

    It was like watching a computer algorithm designed to cover talking points. He said a lot, but at the same time said nothing. It was like someone wound him up, pointed him towards the doors and pushed play. If there was a human side to senator, a soul, it didn’t come across through.

    And that’s from a reporter that was conducting a 20-minute, one-on-one interview.

  329. says

    What Jon Chait wrote about Marco Rubio:

    Do you get the feeling that ‘Marco Rubio is not an actual human being at all but some kind of computer program designed by the Republican Party? Imagine they had the technical know-how to create a candidate like this. What would they come up with? They’d come up with Marco Rubio, a cinematically handsome Latino from Florida who hews to the Tea Party line while spitting out patriotic cliches that sound as if they were programmed like a computer. I’m not saying I’m sure Rubio is a robot. I’m just saying that I want to watch him walk through a metal detector.

  330. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    AP fact check on the rethug debate: The Donald doesn’t understand government finances:

    DONALD TRUMP: “Right now, we’re the highest taxed country in the world.”
    THE FACTS: Far from it. The U.S. tax burden pales in comparison with that of other industrialized countries.
    Taxes made up 26 percent of the total U.S. economy in 2014, according to the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That measure looks at the entire tax burden, which is different than tax rates that can be gamed through loopholes, deductions and credits.
    In Sweden, the tax burden is 42.7 percent of the economy. It’s 33.6 percent in Slovenia (Trump’s wife, Melania, was born in the part of Yugoslavia that became Slovenia). Britain clocks in at 32.6 percent, while Germany’s burden is 36.1 percent.
    Where is the tax burden lower than the United States?
    South Korea, Chile and Mexico.

    DT, bogus hyperbolic rhetoric equals incompetence.

  331. says

    Are there conservatives that go farther than Donald Trump does when it comes to immigrant-bashing. Yes.

    Florida Representative Lake Ray is a raging bigot. […] Mr. Ray thought it was a perfect time to push for a bill that is so over-the-top in its immigrant-bashing that it makes Donald Trump come across as a class act. […]

    Mr. Ray introduced, HB 1095, is called the “Prevention of Acts of War.” It gives fantasy war powers to Rick Scott. As the Orlando Sentinel explains:

    Gov. Rick Scott would be able to use military power to keep immigrants or refugees from entering Florida if they are from or have been near countries where “invaders” live or train if a bill a House committee approved Wednesday becomes law.

    The Prevention of Acts of War bill would let the governor declare that certain immigrants and refugees are “restricted people” if he determines they are from countries where he believes invaders want to come to the United States to attack people or property.

    […] Naturally, the bill was approved by the House committee with all nine Republicans in favor and all four Democrats against. […] the bill exempts immigrants ”born in the Western Hemisphere.”

    […] It is not constitutional. No, the governor actually can’t send in tanks to crush an encampment of Syrian refugees relocated by the federal government, no matter what this bill says. I’m sorry, GOP, you will just have to resort to legal means to stem the invading army of…. malnourished Syrian babies? […]

    Daily Kos link

    Orlando Sentinel link.

  332. says

    Ben Carson explains why he stood in the entry for two minutes and didn’t come on stage when he was called.

    Trump stood in the hall with Carson briefly, also failing to enter when his name was called. It was a noisy environment, but they had a stage manager who tried hard to get them onstage in a timely manner. They just didn’t follow the stage manager’s instructions.

  333. says

    Good for Bernie Sanders. He said the right thing.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders had a terse message for any of his supporters who engage in online harassment “we don’t want that crap.”

    He told CNN on Sunday that the so-called “Berniebro” phenomenon is “disgusting” and that “anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things — we don’t want them.”

    The “Berniebro” phenomenon, where a mob of online Sanders supporters attack politicians and writers who express views critical of the Vermont senator or supportive of his Democratic rival Secretary Hilary Clinton, launched numerous thinkpieces from journalists unfortunate enough to encounter them online. At their worst, Berniebros have accused Clinton supporters of voting “based on who had the vagina” and have invented novel sexist terms such as “clitrash.” […]

  334. says

    The FBI arrested most of the elected officials in the town of Crystal City, Texas.

    […] According to the Department of Justice indictment, Crystal City’s officials were accused of using “their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting bribes from persons seeking to do business” since February 2015. The city manager, William James Jonas, III, was accused of managing the bribery scheme, in which a contractor provided bribes worth more than $12,000 to city officials in exchange for a city contract and unfair advantages. Ngoc Tri Nguyen, a city councilmember, was accused of providing payment to Mayor Ricardo Lopez, “including $6,000, in exchange for various official acts from Lopez and Jonas.” Nguyen was allegedly running illegal gambling rooms, as well.

    Joel Barajas, the remaining councilman without an arrest warrant, said that the city has about $2 million in unpaid bills and was facing bankruptcy. […]

    Think Progress link.

  335. says

    Nerd @378, thanks for that quoted text and link. I really like to see Donald Trump thoroughly fact-checked. He gets away with far too much hyperbole and outright lying.

    In other debate news, Senator Ted Cruz backed the use of waterboarding to question persons who are detained. The Guardian link.

    Donald Trump could not resist topping Ted Cruz’s torture policy. Trump said that he would bring back interrogation techniques “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

  336. says

    Correction to comment 381, I was referring to comment 375.

    Just for fun, check out the video that Mother Jones posted, covering the awkward opening of the debate. Not only did Carson and Trump stack up in the entry hall, but the moderators seem to have forgotten to call John Kasich’s name. His podium remained empty until they figured out that they had made a mistake.

  337. blf says

    Wazzock trum-prat is coming very close to calling for extermination camps, Donald Trump: I’d bring back ‘a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding’:

    Ted Cruz denied practice of simulated drowning used during the Bush administration was ‘torture’ during Republican debate in New Hampshire

    Donald Trump said he would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding, or simulated drowning […].

    His Republican rival Ted Cruz, asked whether the practice notoriously used under the Bush administration during the war on terror was torture, denied it was: Under the definition of torture, no, it’s not. It is enhanced interrogation […].

    But the Texas senator added: “I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use. And indeed I’d join with Senator {John} McCain in prohibiting line officers from employing it.”

    Former Florida governor Jeb Bush […] said: It was used sparingly […].

    No, Bush ]![, it was not used sparingly. For example, “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed […] was arrested in March 2003 in Pakistan. While he was in CIA custody he was waterboarded 183 times in one month.” That’s an average of c.6 times a day, every day.

    Furthermore, it was absolutely pointless, “The [2014] Senate report squarely rebuts CIA claims that the use of such methods generated intelligence that prevented further terrorist attacks and therefore saved lives. [Senator Dianne] Feinstein said its investigators had not found a single case where that was true. Detainees who underwent torture either disclosed nothing, or supplied fabricated information, or revealed information that had been already been discovered through traditional, non-violent interrogation techniques.”

    Back to the “debate”, the robot was apparently not programmed to deal with this subject:

    Meanwhile, Marco Rubio said it was inappropriate to discuss interrogation techniques.

    Some of readers’s comments:

    ● “Ayatollah Khamenei: ‘We have detained 10 US sailors who claim to have “inadvertently drifted” into Iranian waters. We are going to waterboard them 183 times to find out what really happened.’
      “President Trump: ‘Sure, no problem, as long as you don’t torture them.'”

    ● “A Trump presidency would be the political equivalent of waterboarding the electorate. ‘Democracy, you’re fired!'”

    ● “Evil shits. Do they think changing its name from ‘torture’ to ‘enhanced interrogation’ somehow alters the concept. Or if it’s ‘the good guys’ that do it, it’s not torture but if the ‘bad guys’ do it, it is.” [The typing in this quote was atrocious and I have made numerous (unmarked) corrections –blf]

    ● “The Republican stance on torture has long been reprehensible: it was Bush & Rumsfeld [I smell Cheney –blf] that rewrote the ‘definition’ of what constitutes torture in the mid-2000s, which was a calculated perversion of the UN’s generally accepted version. Whereas the latter defined torture as the infliction of either mental or physical pain for the extraction of information, and is in place to preserve universal human rights, the US’s version stated that it was not torture unless the interrogation led to the shutting down of internal organs or death (which is to what Cruz is alluding here — see the infamous Bybee memo for more info), effectively legalising a whole raft of human rights violations through the rewriting of one sentence. […]”
    Some troll replied: In the real world you have to fight fire with fire. […]
    And gotten taken to pieces: “In the real world you actually fight fire with water, CO2, dry powder or chemical foam, or with a fire blanket, depending on the source. Likewise, in the real world, the best way of fighting sadistic, medieval idiocy is probably tolerant, civilised intelligence.”
    And: “Really? I guess that explains why firemen use flame throwers.
      “Oh, wait.”
    And: “Don´t be insulting to medieval people by comparing them with […] these republicans. Your average peasant knew how to deal with fire.”

    ● “Trump said he would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding — Looking at any random cross section of your supporters you already have Donald.”

    ● “Toughest draft dodger in America.”

    ● “Thomas Ferguson (Prof. UMass, Boston) wrote that elections are spectacles behind which groups of investors coalesce and invest to control the state. Elect Trump and cut out the middle-man.”

    ● “A president Donald Trump would be torture enough thank you very much.”

    ● “His whole schtick is a hell of a lot worse than water boarding.”

    ● “Why not be completely honest about his intentions and tell us he’d bring back gas chambers while he’s at it? And who would need things like free trials, adequate legal aid and generally respect for international law? […]”

    ● “I know evolution doesn’t have an antonym, but at this rate we’ll need to invent one.”
    In reply: “Intelligent design.”

    ● “US or Isis? It’ll be hard to tell the difference if Trump gets in.”

    ● “Excellent, we can use it on Republican candidates to check whether they are lying — since it ain’t torture!”

    ● “Civilisation has existed for x number of years and yet one idiot can try to take us back to barbarism”.

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

    Bern had an interesting parody skit on SNL last night. Where a women heading to the polls collides her car into a post and dislocates her shoulder. She tells Bern to “pop it back into place(so she can vote for him)”. To which he recoils, with the sensible, “call an ambulance, I’m not trained to restore a dislocated shoulder…”
    He then gets hated for abandoning that woman and not letting her vote for him. …
    *sigh*
    I hope I saw that as he intended, that he wants to do the right things (in the right way), that votes for him are of secondary importance when faced with damages that need trained professional attention.

    He also presented a skit responding to his brief kerfuffle with BLM, where a black woman first coughs into her hand before extending it to shake his. He recoils, refusing to shake, clearly from the cough and not the color of the hand. He then gets misconstrued as a bigot. Concluding, with losing Iowa by a 5 vote difference; with the family (of 5) of the black women he recoiled from suddenly wearing Hill-shirts, who had previously been wearing Bern-shirts, accounting for the 5 votes that lost him the caucus. *chuckle*

  339. says

    During the Republican debate, Jeb Bush finally scored a direct hit against Donald Trump. They were discussing eminent domain seizures of property and Jeb pointed out that Trump tried to use eminent domain to evict an elderly woman in Atlantic City. Trump wanted the property so that he could tear down her house and make a parking lot for limousines.

    During the heated exchange of words, the audience actually booed Trump. Here’s an excerpt:

    Trump: A lot of time—let me talk
    .
    Bush: How tough it is to take away a property from an elderly woman?

    Trump: Quiet. A lot of times …

    [Booing]

    Trump: … that’s all of his donors and special interests out there.

    [Booing]

    Trump: So—it’s what it is. That’s what—and by the way, let me just tell you, we needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets for the—I’m talking about, to the television audience? Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money.

    [Booing]

    Trump: That’s who it is. The RNC told us. We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they’re not loving me…

    [Booing]

    The RNC does manage ticket allocation. There were only 75 donors in the audience (out of 1000 audience members), so that does not account for all the booing. Some of the people invited to the debate: state Republican party reps, St. Anselm school officials, ABC officials, WMUR personnel, and the spin room sponsor personnel (Google).

  340. says

    Lynna@376, I wonder if the Republicans behind that bill realise that the Western Hemisphere includes everything south of the US southern border.

  341. blf says

    The robot’s programing is quite buggy, Marco Rubio doubles down on debate repetition: ‘I’m going to keep saying it’:

    Florida senator says he would ‘pay to have them keep running that clip’ after taking criticism for repeating himself on Barack Obama’s policy

    Marco Rubio on Sunday defended his performance in Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate, in which he was widely panned for coming off as scripted in a tense exchange with Chris Christie.

    […The robot] was asked to explain why he repeated the same line — about Barack Obama intentionally weakening America — at least four times in the first hour of the debate, when pressed by the New Jersey governor on his relative inexperience.

    Rubio, according to most observers, played directly into Christie’s attack line, that he is rehearsed and incapable of straying from the same set of talking points.

    And his repeated memorized line had nothing to do with the question that was originally asked.

    Actually, I would pay them to keep running that clip, because that’s what I believe passionately, Rubio said, reiterating once more his point about Obama deliberately harming the country.

    Let’s see: ACA, no (new) wars, unemployment at low levels, action on AGW, … Yup, deliberate harm. Teh thugs have been trying heroically to stop the harm: No Surgeon General or many other (including judges) confirmation hearings, millions spent on Planned Benghazi show trials, do nothing about guns (don’t even deny them to people you let fly), long vacations, and numerous other actions and inactions this comment box is too small to contain.

    Some readers’s comments:

    ● In reply to “Why does he even like this line so much in the first place?”: “Maybe because during the rehearsals they had an automated dispenser set up that popped a food pellet out every time he said the line?”

    ● “They say the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same thing and expecting different outcomes. To keep making the same false accusations about Obama will remind everyone what a fool he is. As Obama said to Romney in one of their debates, ‘Please proceed…’.”

    ● “The very definition of a tool.”

    ● “Rubio is a pandering simpleton.”
    In reply: “I think that’s an insult to simpletons everywhere. All they do is drool harmlessly.”

    ● “Beep beep boop beep.
      “Wai u no think I a hyooman?”

    ● “Squuaaawk! Marco want a cracker! Who’s a pretty boy? Squuaaawk!”

  342. says

    Oh FFS, Rubio is still stuck on “repeat.” When asked about his weird repetition four times of a canned speech during the debate, Rubot said today:

    As far as that message, I hope they keep running it and I’m going to keep saying because it’s true. What [Obama’s] trying to do to America, it’s part of a plan. He has said he wanted to change the country; he’s doing it in a way that is robbing us of everything that makes us special.

  343. blf says

    [Do] the Republicans behind that bill [@376] realise that the Western Hemisphere includes everything south of the US southern border[?]

    Wadda mean, hemisphere? The Earth is flat!

  344. says

    tim @386: Ha! Good point.

    In other news, Democrats have wasted no time in trolling Marco Rubio’s robot nature.

    […] Dressed in cardboard and tinfoil robot costumes, two reps from Democratic super-PAC American Bridge greeted Rubio fans at his first rally of the day, a pancake breakfast in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The two Rubio-bots handed out broken gaskets and mechanically repeated barbs about Rubio’s repetition of the line, “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” As Rubio sparred with Chris Christie during last night’s debate, the New Jersey governor finally called him out for reciting the same talking point. “There it is,” Christie bellowed. “The memorized 25-second speech.” By night’s end, the Rubio-as-robot-meme was born. […]