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

    Interesting coincidence, this being the lede for the site.
    I just watched my DVR of the TumpSNL show and was surprisingly modified in my characterization of the Trumpit [only slightly]. Meaning he portrayed himself on SNL as the character he portrays for the campaign, meaning the campaignTrump is not actually Trump but a character he fabricated based on what he thinks we think of his Boss character, and all the biases he sees in the population around him. That he is deliberately playing a long con game, trying to wake us up from our deranged attitudes, by being the bufoon everyone starts to laugh at.
    Then again, shaking my head. too optimistic. Trump is just being the A-hole he wants to be and has the money to get away with it and keep himself famous in the process. Time to flush trump.

  2. F.O. says

    I have been following the hate speech laws debate for a while; both sides make valid arguments and neither really convinces me.
    Free speech is of paramount importance. The idealist in me thinks that hate speech should be countered with speech, not laws. This is the side I am biased towards.
    On the other side, words do have effects and manipulate the culture we live in. As a member of a privileged majority, it’s easy for me to underestimate the real weight that hateful speech carries on persecuted minorities, and we as a society can’t afford that.
    While I’d appreciate any opinion stated directly here, any resource that treats the problem seriously would be welcome.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Microaggressions are used to intimidate and demean people that are considered “beneath” the aggressor with repetition. Hate speech is macroaggression. Which is why it should be regulated.

  4. says

    ‘Hate Speech’ can be used to classify political speech and shut it down. It is hard to prevent that when conservatives are in power.

  5. says

    The old Moments of Political Madness thread closed, (PZ said it was automatic after three months), so he opened a new one for us.

    This sounds promising: the Pentagon is close to completing a plan that will close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

    […] The plan is expected to be delivered sometime this week, although Pentagon officials would not provide other details. It is expected to be released to the public [and Congress] at the same time. […]

    “The team from [the Defense Department] has visited sites in South Carolina, Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as several sites in Colorado,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.

    Davis said the plan will also “address the issue of legislation change that’s needed to proceed further.” […]

    “Clearly the Congress’s help is needed in doing this. There are legislative restrictions that prevent us from taking certain actions to plan for the movement of detainees here,” Davis said. […]

    However, any proposal from the Obama administration would likely face an uphill, if not impossible, battle in Congress. Republicans, including leadership in both chambers, are opposed to any plan that would move detainees into the United States. […]

  6. says

    Republican presidential candidates will be participating in another debate on Tuesday. This one is hosted by Fox Business Network. Moderators will be FBN’s Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo; along with Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker.

    Christie and Huckabee suffered from bad poll numbers, so they will be part of the kiddie table debate at 7 p.m. (Some sources say 6 p.m. Eastern Time, but does anyone care?) The other kiddie table debaters are Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.

    Lindsey Graham and George Pataki didn’t meet the poll number cutoff, so they have been eliminated from both debates. No TV time for them.

    The main debate will be aired at 9 p.m., and will feature Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, and Rand Paul.

  7. says

    This fits into our “the company they keep” category.

    […] Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz [are] campaigning at a Christian evangelical conference during which the host cited the Bible as justification to murder gays and lesbians […].

    The conference organizer, Kevin Swanson, is no stranger to controversy, having once said this of the Disney film Frozen: “I think this cute little movie is going to indoctrinate my five year old to be a lesbian or treat homosexuality or bestiality in a light sort of way.” The Daily Beast’s Thor Benson has more on the event organizers:

    This event is organized by conservative radio host Kevin Swanson, whose greatest hits include advocating for the execution of gay people and support for Uganda’s draconian anti-homosexual laws, […]

    Bob Vander Plaats, the president of the conservative organization The Family Leader, will also be in attendance. He has compared supporting gay marriage to supporting slavery. […]

    [Kevin Swanson said] “America, repent of Harry Potter. America repent of How to Train Your Dragon. Repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter […]”


  8. says

    This is good news: one whacko Republican project has been scrapped thanks to lack of support.

    Arizona lawmakers who hoped to build miles of fencing along the border with Mexico using private money are pulling the plug on the project after nearly five years.

    Republican backers of the 2011 legislation hoped to collect as much as $50 million in donations to build the fence. About $265,000 was collected. […]

    The effort began during the height of Arizona’s battle against illegal immigration, before a backlash that left the GOP-led Legislature with no more appetite for measures targeting immigration.

    Donations dried up less than six months after the state launched a website in 2011 to collect money for the project. The estimated $265,000 raised is well short of the $2.8 million needed to build the first mile of fencing. […]

    Arizona Central link

    Backlash from the public can be a good thing.

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Hate speech isn’t a monolith. There is stuff that IMHO should be clearly criminalised such as

    a) advocating or urging violence towards a group and
    b) blood libel and other such pernicious lies.

    If as a result of a) a physical crime is committed, the hate speaker should be convicted for the same crime.

    Other, more subtle hate speech is more difficult.

  10. Alverant says

    I saw a Facebook post by an organization that wants to ban the Democratic party because … they had racists 50 years ago.
    I’m not kidding, that was the logic presented. They ignore how the parties changed after LBJ. You’d think it was a Poe but they had people there supporting them. One claimed that things are worse for minorities in Democratic districts ignoring all other factors. Another said Democrats are still racist today as if it was the GOP that put the first non-Caucasian in high office. In any case, if that’s cause to ban one party, then you might as well ban both.

  11. F.O. says

    What if I said that “We’d better off without group X”?
    Am I “advocating violence” or not? It could be very easily interpreted both ways.

  12. Ice Swimmer says

    F.O. @ 13

    Well, are you advocating violence? Intent matters. So does the meaning of being without group X, whether it means group X disbanding their organizations or current members of group X not existing. Also has anyone tried to commit violence as a result.

    Whatever the intent, there are probably clearer ways to say what you mean than saying “We’d better off without group X”.

  13. F.O. says

    @Ice Swimmer: yes, of course. But it would be easy to use ambiguous words to avoid the law.
    Who is going to adjudicate intent?
    Religious authorities are skilled in saying without saying.
    Hey, what about the Pope saying that marriage equality is a “defeat for humanity”?

    I believe that “inciting violence” is a crime already.

    What if I say “If someone from group X dies or gets killed, we’ll be better off”?
    Am I just making a point or am I actually pushing people to kill someone?
    Even if I am just making a point, what if someone takes my point to its conclusion?

    What about those who advocate death penalty?
    “Let’s kill all violent criminals”. Is this hate speech?

    Would we be ok if the law punished only hateful speech towards underprivileged minorities?
    Would “whites” “christians” “the ultra-rich” protected by hate speech laws?

  14. jsrtheta says

    You cannot have “hate speech” and a First Amendment at the same time. Can’t be done. And to paraphrase on Supreme Court justice, “The First Amendment is not there to protect speech that we just dislike a little.” With the exception of speech intended to provoke immediate violence, one-on-one, all speech is protected. Cost of doing business.

  15. Ice Swimmer says

    F.O. @ 16

    Yes, inciting violence is usually a crime. Courts will have to adjudicate intent in the criminal cases (like they do when they adjudicate between, say, murder and manslaughter). Otherwise, you, me and everyone else will have figure out what’s acceptable and what isn’t and it may not be easy.

    “If someone from group X dies or gets killed, we’ll be better off” is a reckless way to make a point and you should have been aware that there’s a risk that someone tries to take action. If you say it from a position of authority it may be an order to kill in some cases.

    I don’t know what to say about the rest of the stuff. This hate speech issue is complicated and I’m not sure if I’m smart and knowledgeable enough to go any deeper.

  16. says

    jsrtheta @17:

    You cannot have “hate speech” and a First Amendment at the same time. Can’t be done. And to paraphrase on Supreme Court justice, “The First Amendment is not there to protect speech that we just dislike a little.” With the exception of speech intended to provoke immediate violence, one-on-one, all speech is protected. Cost of doing business.

    Um, if an exception is made for speech intended to provoke immediate violence, then other exceptions can be-and have been-made as well. I’m not advocating for an exception in the case of hate speech, but my point is that free speech isn’t absolute. Not all speech is protected.

    Exceptions to free speech in the United States are limitations on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and expression as recognized by the United States Supreme Court. These exceptions have been created over time, based on certain types of speech and expression, and under different contexts. While freedom of speech in the United States is a constitutional right, these exceptions make that right a limited one.
    Restrictions that are based on people’s reactions to words include both instances of a complete exception, and cases of diminished protection. Speech that involves incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, child pornography, threats, and speech owned by others are all completely exempt from First Amendment protections. Commercial advertising receives diminished, but not eliminated, protection.
    Along with communicative restrictions, less protection is afforded for uninhibited speech when the government acts as subsidizer or speaker, is an employer, controls education, or regulates the following: the mail, airwaves, legal bar, military, prisons, and immigration.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    With compliments to Dispatches From The Culture Wars:

    Ben Carson Upset About Being Held Accountable for Things He Says -Carson self-destructs?

    The Second Greatest Political Scandal Ever?
    “Facing criminal charges, relieved of her law license and threatened with removal by the Legislature, Pennsylvania’s attorney general seems to have decided that if she has to go, she’s going to take others down with her”
    Leaks. Yum.

  18. Infophile says

    @19 Tony:

    Indeed, there are exceptions to free speech. There are even exceptions to the general illegality of killing another human being (defense of self or another when no other option is available, or in carrying out a government-approved execution). But these exceptions are narrow. The fact that free speech is in the Constitution means that any exceptions to it have to be as narrow as possible to fulfill other compelling interests of the state. Inciting violence is illegal since the state has to ensure safety, for instance.

    I’ll note that speech banned for the sole reason of “obscenity” does not fall under this category, though. That’s simply a case of the government letting public will override the Constitution. But this does highlight the issue that the Constitution isn’t magic. The government can do things that violate it when it wants to (just look at all the holes in the fourth amendment). What’s really going on with free speech is that Americans place a high value on this liberty, and they don’t want it infringed unless you can convince them you’re not infringing any of the truly valuable parts of it. Inciting violence? Not valuable. Obscenity? Not valuable? Hate speech? Nat valu– wait. What if they call what I’m saying hate speech? Is it hate speech to say “There is no god and Christians are wrong.”? Is it hate speech to say “There is a God and atheists will burn in hell.”?

    You can say hate speech isn’t valuable, but since you can’t get an agreement on what hate speech is, you can’t safely ban it. Just like you can’t ban “slander” without a good definition of it. We have a good definition of slander. We don’t have a definition of hate speech that we can get Americans to agree on. (Yes, definitions exist, but particularly in the current political climate, Americans won’t agree to them.)

  19. says

    Donald Trump said some stupid stuff related to the faux war on Christmas:

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested Monday his supporters should boycott Starbucks, accusing the company of taking Christmas out of their holiday-themed cups.

    While Starbucks has featured snowflakes, reindeer, and other seasonal symbols on its cups during the holiday season, this year’s red cup features a minimal design. Some Christians took the design as a sign of political correctness and a so-called war on Christmas.

    “No more ‘Merry Christmas’ on Starbucks. No more,” Trump said at an event in Springfield, Illinois on Monday. “I wouldn’t buy.” […]

    “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks,” Trump said.

    BuzzFeed link

  20. says

    Rachel Maddow covered the Republican candidates that were featured speakers at a conference led by religious conservatives who think that homosexuality should be punished with death.

    The video begins with a summary of the Democractic “First in the South Forum” and then moves on to other subjects. The video is about 19 minutes long, and the Republicans who want to kill gay people appear at 6:20.

  21. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category.

    Congressman Mo Brooks has endorsed Ted Cruz for president. Brooks is the guy who wants to impeach Hillary Clinton on inauguration day if she is elected president.

    Jeb Bush is embracing his brother George W. Bush’s educational policies. I guess Jeb is no longer playing the “I’m my own man” card. Jeb said that the “soft bigotry of low expectations, which is what my brother called our schools, basically … does a disservice to every child in America.” Jeb also adopted some of W’s foreign policy stances by saying that Iran, Russia, Syria and Cuba are “creating this axis of … opponents of the United States.”

  22. says

    This is a followup to comments 7 and 24, providing more details about the Christians who want to kill gay people … with Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz’s support. Ted Cruz is polling high enough to be on the main stage for the next Republican debate. He is a serious (though seriously whacko) candidate for president … and here he is hanging out with a guy who suggests that if your gay children invite you to their wedding you should smear cow manure all over your body and sit on the church steps.

    It was a Saturday night spent learning about the evils of Dumbledore (gay), Gobber (also gay) and Elsa (lesbian-recruiting bride of Satan). […]

    [snipped text about the evils of the Girl Scouts and women’s soccer]

    Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal […] all three joined Swanson on stage at the conference for individual Q&A sessions, where he inquired about their views on Kim Davis and the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. […]

    As soon as Huckabee left the stage, Swanson declared that if his own son were to marry another man, he would only attend the wedding after smearing cow manure all over his body.

    Swanson closed out the “liberty” conference with a fiery speech in which he proclaimed that although he does believe in the death penalty for gays, he wouldn’t advocate for the government to execute gay people — or, at least, not yet.

    The conditions aren’t right, Swanson explained. The culture hasn’t fully embraced his movement’s version of Christianity, and therefore gay people don’t know that homosexuality is a death penalty crime that they must renounce before it provokes divine destruction. He said he would recommend that the government wait to impose the death penalty until the culture shifts, giving gays time to repent.

    Draconian measures to stop homosexuality are warranted, in Swanson’s view, not only because he believes the Bible mandates them, but also because he thinks that the gay threat is coming from all directions: country music, soccer, schools, day care and Girl Scout cookies. […]

    Another Reconstructionist preacher who spoke at the conference, Joel McDurmon, has said that the U.S. must embrace and enforce Old Testament laws, but that is achievable only once the country is successfully evangelized. […]

    Please do scroll down to watch the video. You have to see this to believe it. Amazing.

    Right Wing Watch link

    All three of the presidential candidates who appeared on stage with Mr. Cow Manure Kill the Gays have made “persecution” of christians a primary issue of their campaign.

  23. Saad says

    I personally would be 100% okay with Kevin Swanson covering himself in shit every time a gay person gets married.

  24. says

    Senator Claire McCaskill is one of just twenty women in the U.S. Senate. She recorded a video for the Stephen Colbert show. Her list of topics on which men should just shut the hell up includes “ethics in gaming journalism.”

    YouTube link

  25. says

    Some experts have weighed in on Ben Carson’s comments about the pyramids:

    Egyptian antiquities officials on Monday scoffed at claims by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson that Egypt’s ancient pyramids were not built as pharaonic tombs but used to store grain.

    “Does he even deserve a response? He doesn’t,” Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty told the Associated Press […]

    Last week, Carson stood by his belief that Egypt’s great pyramids were built by the Biblical figure Joseph to store grain […]

    Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Antiquities Ministry, said Carson’s comments are similar to other inaccurate theories about the pyramids, including that those that say they were built by Atlanteans from a mythical lost continent. […]

  26. says


    President Obama will be the first sitting President of the United States to have posed for the cover of a LGBT publication, it was announced Tuesday.

    Obama was named the “ally of the year” by Out magazine. Obama will be featured on the cover in a black and white photograph. […]

    It’s a great photo.

  27. says

    Saad @27, thanks for the laugh.

    In other news, Republican/conservative politicians have suggested that it is fine to defund Planned Parenthood because, in part, “Pregnancy Care Centers” and other so-called clinics can take of everything Planned Parenthood does, including taking over some of the sex education classes taught by Planned Parenthood.

    Oh, no. Bad idea. Case in point, the Pregnancy Care Center that taught eighth grade children that being married would protect them from STDs.

    An Ohio parent is upset that their child was given inaccurate information about sexual health and unwanted pregnancy by the Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County — a conservative faith-based organization — in their eighth grade family and consumer science class.

    Sneaking christianity into the public schools system via bogus educational classes.

    […] the Wooster High School student was told that marriage protects people from sexual transmitted infections, people shouldn’t have children until they are married, and that if someone is a survivor of incest or rape, they must either keep the child or give the child up for adoption.

    The center also never acknowledged the existence of LGBT students during the presentation, which upset some of the LGBT students the eighth grader is friends with. It was the first time the student had been given any sexual health information in school. […]

    When the parent reached out to another associate principal […] to suggest that a representative from the Wooster Health Care Center — a Planned Parenthood clinic — should be brought in to present accurate medical information and offer more options for students facing unwanted pregnancies, he reportedly denied that request. […]

    […] although the pregnancy care center presented the information, the center took the curriculum from the Alliance for Healthy Youth, which identifies as nonpartisan […]. Suggested materials for eight grade classes include an “abstinence is freedom” poster, and the website also lists objectives like “Create peer culture conducive to abstinence until marriage” and “Increase understanding of the benefits of marriage.”

    It is not at all unusual for inaccurate information on sexual health and family planning to be presented to students by religious organizations.

    In April, Congress allocated $25 million in funding for the Title V program, which gives matching grants to states that use abstinence-only programs. It was tucked into a bipartisan health policy bill and received little attention as a result. Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which provide misinformation and shame students about their sexual activity, have benefited from this funding. […].

    It’s important to note that abstinence-only education doesn’t accomplish its aim. Research throughout the years shows that abstinence-only education doesn’t result in more students delaying sex. The programs also further antiquated notions about gender roles, suggesting the responsibility of stopping sexual activity is on women, not men, which feeds into the idea that women are responsible for their own rapes if they engage in foreplay or wear certain items of clothing. These programs also generally ignore LGBT students completely. […]


  28. says

    Donald Trump says some more stupid stuff about the Starbucks holiday cups:

    “I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. By the way, that’s the end of that lease, but who cares?” Trump said during a campaign event in Illinois on Monday. “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

  29. says

    WTF? Now we have “neo-pagan” white supremacists?

    Three white supremacists plotting to bomb and shoot up black churches and synagogues were charged Monday with a felony after allegedly attempting to buy guns and explosives from an undercover FBI agent. The two men, based in Virginia, were preparing for a “race war,” […].

    The FBI claims that Robert Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney were holding a meeting “to discuss acting out in furtherance of their extremist beliefs by shooting or bombing the occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues, conducting acts of violence against persons of the Jewish faith, and doing harm to a gun store owner.” The two were charged with conspiracy to buy firearms as convicted felons.
    Another man, Charles Halderman, was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

    The group subscribes to a “a white supremacy extremist version of the Asatru faith,” a neo-pagan Icelandic religion akin to the Nordic version practiced by the white supremacist who shot up a synagogue in Kansas last year. […]

  30. jsrtheta says

    Well, not exactly. The First Amendment is a constraint on government only. And the statement that false statements of fact are prohibited is patently false in the political context as the Supreme Court has said that politicians can indeed lie without government sanction.

    Libel and slander law governs private suits, not government prosecutions. There are First Amendment considerations, but. again, the government cannot itself go after you for libeling someone. Criminal libels laws have been repealed.

    Certainly, child pornography does not receive First Amendment protection, though simulated child pornography does. Threats are usually criminalized under menacing statutes or harassment statutes, and are of a piece with words that provoke an immediate violent or disorderly response. Though threatening government officials can be, and is, banned. (Related to, though certainly not the same as, harassment-types of speech.) Prosecution is extremely difficult under these laws precisely because of the First Amendment. And try finding a recent successful prosecution for “obscenity.” Maybe in Mississippi.

    Speech that constitutes furtherance of fraud is not protected, but it is the fraud that is being addressed there, not speech per se. So, yes, my brush was perhaps a little too broad, but not by much.

    “Hate speech” is not a crime anywhere in the U.S., and never will be as long as we have a First Amendment.

  31. jsrtheta says

    Ice Swimmer, I cannot think of any situation where the statement you use as an example could be prosecuted. It might be considered a part of a crime, but the crime itself, not the speech, would be prosecuted.

  32. says

    The network that is hosting tonight’s Republican debate, Fox Business, is is also the network that:

    Promoted conspiracy theories around President Obama’s birth certificate. Yes, they were birthers.

    Promoted the conspiracy theory that SEAL Team Six did not really kill Osama Bin Laden

    Freaked out about the Keystone XL pipeline. (Obama rejected the pipeline to appease “the French,” etc.)

    Claimed that the Muppets brainwash children against capitalism.

    Claimed that the Lego Movie was anti-business.

    Used footage of women in bikinis to discuss crime.

    Claimed that President Obama intended to offer reparations for slavery.

    Hosted a segment in which they asked the question, “Is there something about the female brain that Is a deterrent to having female tech executives?”

    Right. I don’t think these doofuses will do a good job of moderating a political debate.


  33. says

    Donald Trump was interviewed on Good Morning America. He said a lot of stupid stuff, and he made a lot of claims that are jut outright wrong. GMA let him get away with wrong stuff, let him get away with that crap without the slightest pushback.

    […] the unemployment is not five percent. The unemployment is probably close to 20 percent. If you look at all the people out there that want to get jobs that have given up, you’re talking about unemployment that’s actually close to 20 percent. The world is not happy. You talked about my big crowd at the arena last night. It was in Illinois, it was unbelievable. Believe me, if real unemployment was at five percent I wouldn’t have had 10,000 people at that arena last night.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the October unemployment rate was 5%, the lowest since April of 2008.

    Donald Trump also said that Hillary Clinton is running for president in order to stay out of jail.

  34. moarscienceplz says

    re #33
    So Trump Tower has “one of the most successful Starbucks” which would imply that the other tenants in the tower really like that Starbucks. And Trump is going to kick them out because he does’t like their cup design. Isn’t it one of the most fundamental axioms of successful businessmen to give your customers what they want? Why is the Greatest Businessmen Ever ignoring that axiom?

  35. moarscienceplz says

    re #39
    I don’t know if that 20% figure is correct, but Trump is right that the official unemployment figure undercounts unemployment. If you have been told “no” so many times that you give up looking for a job, it doesn’t count you. If you go back to school because you need better qualifications than you currently have in order to get a job, it doesn’t count you. If you want a full-time job but you can’t find one so you accept a part-time job, it doesn’t count you. And if you used to be a white collar worker but you got laid off and now you are working at McDonalds because that’s all you can get, it doesn’t count you, either.

  36. says

    Senator Marco Rubio alienated some potential voters today by getting a few key facts wrong when he was discussing Star Wars movies:

    …Rubio also revealed that he had a toy version of the Death Star, the fictional base for the movie’s darker forces, and re-told a key moment in the series’ plot.

    “I think I had the Death Star, but it kept breaking just like it did in part two – in ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when it blew up cause that guy got that rocket to go into that hole,” Rubio said. “Remember that?”

  37. says

    This is a follow up to comments 7, 24, 26, and 27, (one from Saad).

    Here’s another quote from Kevin Swanson, pal and host for presidential candidates Huckabee, Jindal and Cruz.

    It’s not a gay time! These are the people with the sores, the gaping sores. The sores that are pusy and gross and people are coming in and carving happy faces on pusy sores. That’s not a nice thing to do. Don’t you dare carve happy faces on open, pusy sores. Don’t you ever do that…. America needs to hear the message. We are messed up.

    He got one thing right, he and his ilk are really messed up.

    A note from Rachel Maddow:

    What I just showed you there, those are not like the ‘kill-the-gays’ ravings of the guy who was hosting this event from some time in his past. This is not something that we dug up that he said a long time ago that maybe these presidential candidates didn’t know about.

    This was actually the host of the event speaking this weekend. This was him speaking this weekend at the event where these three Republican presidential candidates were also present and speaking with him.

  38. says

    Lynna @34

    I’m surprised more people aren’t aware of the white-supremacist-flavored branch of Asatru. It’s been an issue not only among Norse neopagans, but also in the wider pagan community.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fast food workers are targeting presidential candidates to favor $15/hr minimum wage.

    Workers from McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other chain restaurants protested in cities around the country Tuesday to push fast food companies to pay them at least $15 an hour. The protesters also had a message for presidential candidates: Support the cause or lose their vote next year.

    The fast food protests were planned by organizers at more than 270 cities nationwide, part of an ongoing campaign called “Fight for $15.” Janitors, nursing home workers and package delivery workers also joined some protests, organizers said.

    Hope they aren’t expecting the Rethugs to be sympathetic.

  40. microraptor says

    @WMDKitty- weren’t there a lot of Asatru who were freaking out about a black actor being cast for Heimdall before the first Thor movie came out?

  41. Nick Gotts says

    I’m amused that the entire “hate speech” discussion has so far completely ignored the experience of the many democratic countries that have hate speech laws. OWHITUSAC!

  42. says

    jsrtheta @35:
    I assume you were responding to my comment @19. In the future, it would be helpful if you at least include the comment you’re responding to, if not also the nym of the person you’re responding to (see: this post).

    “Hate speech” is not a crime anywhere in the U.S., and never will be as long as we have a First Amendment.

    You can say that, but it doesn’t make it true. You can indeed have hate speech laws and a First Amendment. We would just have further restrictions on the 1st Amendment than we have now. It’s not impossible. Which segues nicely into Nick Gotts’ point above.

    (btw, Nick, I don’t know if you’ve checked it out, but I’ve created a Lounge replacement at my blog, if you ever want to join us over there. There are several regulars who comment at the Speakeasy. I don’t have an email addy for you otherwise, I’d have sent an invite that way)

  43. says


    WTF? Now we have “neo-pagan” white supremacists?

    Part of “Original German Fascism™ ” sought to reestablish a mythical pagan nordic aryan past. That’s where christians conveniently claim that of course the Nazis weren’t christian*.
    In Europe you can hardly show any interest in old Germanic rites, culture, religion and tradition without stumbling into Nazis. It’S often a “gateway drug”: mildly ignorant kids get interested in Thor and Freya and want to wear Thor’s Hammer around their neck and they end up ina shop run by Nazis who will give them “something to read”.


    weren’t there a lot of Asatru who were freaking out about a black actor being cast for Heimdall before the first Thor movie came out?

    The problem there, IMO, wasn’t that Elba was cast as Heimdall, but that Elba wasn’t cast for every single other role in that movie as well. Though I admit that’s a problem I have with more or less all movies…

    *It was more or less mandatory for members of the Waffen SS to leave the RCC so there would never be a conflict of loyalty, for example when they shut the whole population into the church and set fire to it.

  44. jsrtheta says

    Tony @49:
    I’m new to this list. I am not as adept at posting as you would like. Sorry about that.

    Now, if you’re done lecturing me (and you really should watch that patronizing tone, not attractive at all), I do take issue with your position. In this country, the First Amendment is about as absolute as any amendment can be, and for good reason. I have seen the prosecutions other countries have waged pursuant to their “hate speech” laws, and I don’t really care for that sort of “thought police” approach to criminal law. See, it all really depends on who’s in and who’s out, and how you can get a majority to squelch what it doesn’t like in the name of saving someone’s feels. And no, you can’t have hate speech laws and a First Amendment. This isn’t really a democracy anyway. It’s a constitutional republic. More to the point, the Bill of Rights was designed to protect the minority from the majority. And I have no desire to have the majority decide what is acceptable speech and what isn’t. Rather defeats the whole “rights” idea.

    There are many reasons why First Amendment jurisprudence has gone the way it has, and it certainly hasn’t always been admirable. But on the whole, it is a damned sight better than having the government dictate what citizens can and cannot say. Once you decide that someone has the right to decide what is and isn’t acceptable thought, you can chuck just about everything out the window.

  45. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Once you decide that someone has the right to decide what is and isn’t acceptable thought, you can chuck just about everything out the window.

    Including the need to take responsibilty and tone back your speech that hurts other people. That is the problem with “free speech”. A well known problem, which we are discussing the need for people to take that responsibility.

  46. says

    Giliell, and others, thanks for adding to my knowledge of neo-pagan white supremacists. That slime runs deep and looks to be ineradicable.

    In other news, the Republican debates last night were mostly boring, but did include some face-palming moments. Here is one from Ted Cruz:

    […] today, we rolled out a spending plan. $500 billion in specific cuts — five major agencies that I would eliminate: the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD — and then 25 specific programs.

    Again, that’s on our website at You want to look at specificity? It’s easy for everyone to say, ‘Cut spending.’ It’s much harder and riskier to put out, chapter and verse, specifically the programs you would cut to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids.

    Yes, he said “Department of Commerce” twice — he meant for one of those to be “Department of Education.”

    If you go to Cruz’s offensive website, you will see that he also wants to get rid of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and many offices related to protecting the environment.

    How long has the National Endowment for the Arts been a target for conservatives? Seems like decades.

    Cruz will not eliminate military programs, he will increase spending on those. He has to get rid of some things because he is offering trillions of dollars in tax breaks. See

  47. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Addendum to Lynna’s #53, AP fact check of the debate. Besides pointing out Cruz’s error, every other candidate had their moments. Carson sticks out with claiming raising minimum wage loses jobs, and Chinese troops are in Syria. Bush made major errors in fiscal policy, that the economy can grow at 4%, and the Chinese Yuan is undervalued.

  48. says

    Thanks, Nerd. It takes a lot of patience to fact check those candidates. Thank you, Associated Press!

    Yes, Carson was wrong when he claimed that raising minimum wages causes job loss. He was also wrong when he claimed that “Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate for black teenagers is 31.7%. That’s really high, but it is no where near the 80.2% that Carson claimed. He offered that bogus statistic because he was trying to make an assertion that if the minimum wage is lowered or eliminated, then those black kids will get jobs.

    Carson also used his autobiographical details, namely that he worked as a lab assistant when he was young, to make his case. The trouble with Carson’s history, as always, is that he makes false comparisons and false assumptions. When he was 24 years old, the minimum wage was $2.10 per hour. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $9.29 today. That’s more than our current minimum wage.

    Carly Fiorina was asked how she could claim that Republicans are better at creating jobs when the Obama record is 107,000 jobs per month, on average, and George W. Bush’s record was 13,000 per month. Fiorina replied, “Yes, problems have gotten much worse under Democrats.” WTF?

    We’re supposed to put the U.S. economy into the hands of one of these doofuses?

  49. dianne says

    Carly Fiorina was asked how she could claim that Republicans are better at creating jobs when the Obama record is 107,000 jobs per month, on average, and George W. Bush’s record was 13,000 per month. Fiorina replied, “Yes, problems have gotten much worse under Democrats.” WTF?

    Sounds to me like she accidentally told the truth–from her viewpoint. Bosses like it when unemployment is high: Makes it harder for people to demand higher wages or walk away from abusive jobs. Things have gotten “worse” under the Dems in that there are more jobs and therefore fewer opportunities to abuse employees. Fiorina called it like she saw it.

  50. says

    Answers from the alternate universe: Maria Bartiromo asked Rand Paul a question in which she noted that energy production has boomed under Obama, and that Obama recently announced a plan to cut carbon emissions (more than has been done already).

    With the boom in energy production established in the question, Rand Paul still claimed that we could not continue to move toward energy self-sufficiency and pursue climate change goals at the same time. Why? In Rand Paul’s alternate universe, because of “the regulations that are hampering our energy that the president has put in place.” WTF?

  51. says

    jsrtheta @51:

    Tony @49:
    I’m new to this list. I am not as adept at posting as you would like. Sorry about that.
    Now, if you’re done lecturing me (and you really should watch that patronizing tone, not attractive at all), I do take issue with your position.

    I think you may have read my comment in the wrong way. There was no intent to be patronizing there. It was meant as a suggestion. I apologize for not wording it in a way that would have made that clearer. As for the rest, we’re not likely to agree. I don’t *want* hate speech laws in the US, but I do think we can have them and still have freedom of speech. It would just be a curtailed 1st Amendment. It wouldn’t eliminate freedom of speech.

  52. says

    About the Republican debate: Jonathan Chait said,

    In a debate where chastened moderators avoided interruptions or follow-ups, the candidates were free to inhabit any alternate reality of their choosing, unperturbed by inconvenient facts.

    I heard Donald Trump telling interviewers this morning that the moderators were very good, much better than those pesky moderators from the previous debate. Yeah, the candidates like it when they can rest comfortably in their alternate reality.

    In other non-news, in both debates, the undercard/kiddie table and the main stage, candidates made a point of hating on Hillary Clinton. Chris Christie even deflected direct accusations from Bobby Jindal by simply expounding on his hatred of Hillary Clinton.

  53. says

    Donald Trump alienated immigrants even more, (is that possible), by continuing to lavish praise on an anti-immigrant policy of the 1950s (Dwight Eisenhower’s administration).

    That immigration program was called “Operation Wetback.” Trump said:

    He moved them just beyond the border, they came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved ’em waaaay south, they never came back. Dwight Eisenhower. You don’t get nicer, you don’t get friendlier. They moved 1.5 million people out.”

    Operation Wetback was not nice, not friendly.

    Dozens of the operation’s deportees died. The program was initiated by then-Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr., who ordered his officers to shoot “wetbacks” trying to enter America. Ultimately, it wasn’t even as successful as Trump claims: Some researchers consider the 1.5 million-deported figure to be highly exaggerated.

    White Supremacists love the idea. Trump is getting a lot of kudos online for his nice, friendly plan to deport 12 million people. For example, this is from Richard B. Spencer: “Operation Wetback, fuck yeah!”

  54. says

    From Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

    This debate is the logical outcome of the blow up after the CNBC debate. CNBC is a generally right leaning network on economic issues. But simply pressing the candidates to answer questions or noting when they’re making demonstrably untrue claims made them liberal. So now we have a debate structured around letting candidates say absolutely anything – because scrutinizing candidates is liberal. This leads to having half the debate framed around how strong financial regulation leads the biggest banks to get bigger and bigger and how we need to put in place new policies to prevent banks from getting this big. And the best place to start is to repeal Dodd-Frank. As David said at one point tonight, it’s impossible to find any way into this conversation because it’s all theology and self-referencing assertions. […]

    And there was this “we love moderators who don’t call us on our bullshit” moment:

    In the post game Ben Carson just told moderator Neil Cavuto he and the rest of the candidates were very happy with the moderators – which pretty much tells the whole story. “Well, can I say the candidates were very happy with you guys.”

  55. says

    During the Republican debate, the American Action Network (über conservation commie hunters) ran an ad. The ad focused on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The AAN doofuses spent $500,000 to make Elizabeth Warren look like a communist dictator.

    Elizabeth Warren noticed.

    So… Can we talk about that ad that just ran during the #GOPDebate where I look like a Commie dictator?
    Wall Street has a problem: They know the @CFPB is working, & it’s incredibly popular with the families it helps.
    The @CFPB has forced the big financial companies to return more than $11B to people they cheated on credit cards, mortgages, etc.
    Thousands of dollars on a TV ad is nothing compared to the money the big banks save if their GOP buddies go after the @CFPB.
    Wall Street knows if they soften @CFPB support, the GOP will feel better undercutting the agency in closed-door deals.


    The 30-second ad from the conservative American Action Network portrays the CFPB as a Soviet-style sweat shop with workers robotically denying loans to American consumers. The narrator says that the bureau is “designed to interfere with your personal financial decisions.”

    Scroll down at the link to watch the ad.

  56. says

    Some highlights … um, lowlights from the undercard/kiddie table debate:

    Huckabee thinks Syrian refugees are just angling for American-style healthcare and “a good sandwich.”

    Christie thinks Black Lives Matter is a movement that is “allowing lawlessness to reign.”

  57. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category.

    It’s no surprise that virulent anti-immigrant activists like Ann Coulter are flocking to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, and Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly is no exception.

    Schlafly told radio host Marc Cox last month that the GOP should nominate Trump because “he acts like he loves America.”

    “The Republicans would be doing themselves a favor by nominating Donald Trump,” she said. “He’s the only one, I think, who really talks the language of the grassroots and why we want to make America great again. That’s a great line.”

    “Yes, and he’s speaking up for America,” she later added. “And your average person believes in America and wants to believe that America’s the greatest and doing the right thing and everything. And he acts like he loves America and is going to stand up for us and not let some of these other two-bit politicians in this country or other countries push us around.” […]


    Give that woman a hat. Trump likes his supporters to be shallow, unthinking. Here’s Trump’s comment on raising the minimum wage: “We don’t win anymore. Why is that? Taxes too high, wages too high.”

    Also, I would like to point out to Schlafly that Trump does not love America the way it is. That’s his whole point.

  58. says

    Maria Bartiroma included a rightwing myth in one of her questions:

    Governor Bush, almost 40 percent of Americans are without a job and are not looking. Many have given up. That’s what the participation rate tells us. […]

    The Wall Street Journal, among countless other sources, debunked that myth long ago. The faulty “participation rate” interpretation included children, retirees, college students and stay-at-home parents.

  59. says

    Only two Republican candidates acknowledge that the climate crisis is real, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki. Both were excluded from the debates. They didn’t even make the kiddie table.

    Poll numbers that, for the most part, have a margin of error somewhere in the 3 point range, were used to exclude Graham and Pataki, and to decide who was at the kiddie table and who made the main stage. Some of the major polls are even worse when it comes to margins of error:

    […] both polls had fewer than 500 participants, resulting in high margins of error (about 5 percent points). When taking the margin of error into consideration, the preferences of Republican voters are far from certain.

  60. militantagnostic says

    Ted Cruz via Lynna @ 53

    five major agencies that I would eliminate: the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD — and then 25 specific programs.

    WTF – How would the government (even if it is just the military, all other functions being apparently unnecessary) be funded if there was no IRS?

    Lynna @64

    Schlafly told radio host Marc Cox last month that the GOP should nominate Trump because “he acts like he loves America.”

    She is right about the “acting” part, just not in the way she means it.

    Also, I would like to point out to Schlafly that Trump does not love America the way it is. That’s his whole point.

    Or even the way it was back when it was supposedly great (in the 1950s).

  61. says

    From Lynna’s @61:

    In the post game Ben Carson just told moderator Neil Cavuto he and the rest of the candidates were very happy with the moderators – which pretty much tells the whole story. “Well, can I say the candidates were very happy with you guys.”

    Ha ha ha.
    The coddling that some claim is going on at college campuses is *actually* going on at RNC debates.

  62. Nick Gotts says

    Further to the “hate speech” issue, I’m not feeling like getting into a long discussion on this right now, but while badly-drafted laws can certainly cause problems (see this post on Mano’s blog for a French example – the thread is a treat for anyone who’s been missing StevoR, BTW), on the whole such problems are grossly exaggerated, and there are much more serious restrictions on individual freedom, both in countries with hate-speech laws, and in the USA.

  63. says

    Ben Carson thinks the Chinese have deployed troops in Syria. Here’s some of his extended word salad on the subject of Syria:

    Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that’s why they’re called special ops, they’re actually able to guide some of the other things that we’re doing there.

    And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way.

    We also must recognize that it’s a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.

    What we’ve been doing so far is very ineffective, but we can’t give up ground right there. But we have to look at this on a much more global scale. We’re talking about global jihadists. And their desire is to destroy us and to destroy our way of life. So we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers? Because that’s the way that they’re able to gather a lot of influence. […]

    In other word salad moments, Ben Carson claimed that regulations add ten cents to the cost of every bar of soap, and that’s something Hillary Clinton won’t tell you.

    In conclusion Carson is confused. He likes the word “complex,” and he has used that word before to cover his confusion.

    And, no, the Chinese have not sent troops to Syria.

  64. says

    Here’s Donald Trump’s most embarrassing moment from the debate:

    The TPP is a horrible deal, a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door, and totally take advantage of everyone. It’s 5,600 pages long. So complex that nobody’s read it. Like Obamacare. Nobody ever read it. They passed it, nobody read it. And look at mess we have right now, and it will be repealed. But this is one of the worst trade deals, and I would, yes, rather not have it.

    Uh, Donald, China is not part of the TPP negotiations. Lots of people have legitimate complaints about the TPP deal. China is not one of them. In fact, one could argue that a major plus for the TPP is that is sets up the USA to manage the terms of trade in the Pacific, and not China. Not China.

    China may join the pact later, who knows — but they did not have a hand in outlining that pact.

  65. says

    Republican candidates for president have spoken at Liberty University before. Today, Ben Carson became the fourth candidate to speak at Jerry Falwell’s institution of not-really-higher learning when he delivered a speech to a “convocation” of about 13,000 people. The students were required to attend.

    Perhaps because he was speaking to a conservative christian audience, Carson let loose with even more God talk than usual.

    […] We have so many people now who are trying to push God out of our lives. They take the word of God and try to negate it.

    Well let me tell you, our nation’s survival as the pinnacle nation in the world, I believe is rooted in our values system, the values and principles that made us into a great nation.

    The real question is are we willing to stand up for those values and principles, or will we allow ourselves to be intimidated by the secular progressives? [Carson went on to say that “Islamic terrorism” is not the real threat to American democracy, but that “secular progressives” are.]

    The secular progressives don’t care whether you agree with them or not, as long as you sit down and keep your mouth shut, […]

    If the people are not well-informed, all it takes is unscrupulous politicians and news media and off the people go, in the completely wrong direction, listening to all kinds of propaganda and inculcating that into their method of thinking. And then it becomes real easy for them to swallow things. [Here, Carson interjected a reminder for students to attend religious meeting three times a week.]

    Isn’t that part of the problem with our society today? People want to force their belief on everybody else. […]


  66. Jake Harban says

    I’m just gonna point out that today is a holiday dedicated to celebrating people who get paid to murder children.

    Take a look at those pics of the MSF hospital America bombed that were posted recently, and remember that today is a national holiday dedicated to celebrating and honoring the people who committed that atrocity.

    That even many seemingly-reasonable people are OK with that makes all the other moments of political madness that much easier to understand.

  67. jsrtheta says

    Jake Harban @74:

    Words fail. Since much of the discussion here has been about “hate speech”, I must say that your is as obscene an example of “hate speech” as I’ve seen in years.

  68. says

    Mormon leaders in Utah recently announced that children of church members in same-sex relationships could not be baptized. As part of the same announcement, mormon leaders said that members in same-sex relationships are “apostates.”

    One good outcome of all this is that more mormons are leaving their church. One bad outcome is that families who don’t fit the mormon mold, but who live in mormon-dominated communities are being ostracized, including the children.

    […] the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recently made a hard stop in its seeming progress toward LGBTQ tolerance by announcing that going forward, members in same-sex relationships would be considered “apostates” and their children would be barred from religious life. This exclusion includes baptism, which in the Mormon faith is required for salvation—in other words, the church, at least under its own theology, is forcibly keeping kids from God as punishment for their parents’ love. To be accepted fully back into the faith, including being granted to opportunity to go on a mission, children must reach legal age and formally disavow their parents’ relationship.

    This decision would seem at odds with the church’s softening stance on gay issues following the widespread backlash it received for supporting California’s Proposition 8. […] the new hardline approach has forced a reckoning in the minds of believers—many of whom, apparently, can no longer keep the faith.

    […] thousands of souls are set to leave the church on Saturday as part of a mass resignation in Salt Lake City. Because leaving the LDS requires certain legal proceedings, Utah attorney Mark Naugle has volunteered to help with the paperwork; notary publics will also be in attendance. […] Naugle said he has 1,400 resignations already in the works, and the Facebook event for Saturday has almost 1,000 confirmed attendees. […]

    Religious groups are, of course, well within their rights to make harsh exclusionary statements of this sort. But as understanding and support of same-sex couples and families continues to grow, those groups will not be immune to consequences. […]

    I added this to our political thread because in the morridor (mormon corridor), you cannot separate the mormon religion from politics. Mormons have controlled politics in Utah, and in some adjacent states, for decades. To see their influence wane is a good thing. Maybe we’ll see more diversity in elected offices.

    Slate link

    The New Civil Rights Movement link

    KIVI TV link

  69. says

    This is a followup to comment 76.

    One example of mormons controlling the justice system in Utah, resulting in a judge who removes a child from foster parents who are gay and orders that the child be placed in a home with a heterosexual, married couple.

    April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce of Carbon County said the baby they’ve loved and raised for the last three months will be removed from their home and sent to heterosexual foster parents because a judge said the baby would be better-off.

    “We are shattered,” said April. Judge Scott Johansen ordered the baby removed from their house in seven days.

    The women, who are legally married and were approved as foster parents in Utah earlier this year after passing home inspections, background checks and interviews from DCFS, said the judge told them there was a lot of research that indicated children who are raised in same-sex parent homes do not do as well as children who are raised by heterosexual parents. […]

    Some background information on the mormon judge:

    Judge Scott N. Johansen was appointed to the Seventh District Juvenile Court in January 1992 by Gov. Norman H. Bangerter after serving as Emery County attorney since 1979. He serves Carbon, Emery, Grand, and San Juan counties. He received a law degree from the J. Reuben Clark College of Law at Brigham Young University in 1977 and practiced with the Price law firm of Frandsen, Keller & Jensen from 1977 to 1979.

    Yep, mormon, graduate of BYU.

  70. says

    This is a followup to comments 76 and 77.

    […] The division has heard no complaints about the care the child has received while in Hoagland and Peirce’s care, he said. The infant would not have been placed with the couple if DCFS case workers had any concerns about her safety, he said.

    From the readers comments below the article:

    That same old discredited Regnerus study that claimed children whose parents are in same-sex relationships “do not fare as well” as those in opposite-sex relationships.

    link to debunking of Regnerus study

    Mormon leaders have been citing this study ever since it came out about three years ago.

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

    Lynna, #53, quoting Cruz in the debates:

    today, we rolled out a spending plan. $500 billion in specific cuts — five major agencies that I would eliminate: the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD

    Other people called out the DoC for its accidental double-inclusion (when one mention should have been Dept of Education: irony, you fall so heavy and hard!). I wish to point out that the DoC is the source of the grants to advertise profitable companies profitable overseas enterprises.

    That’s right, the US federal government gives McDonald’s money to advertise in other countries, because we want to help the job creators. If you think for one second that the DoC would be gone under a cruz administration, I’ve got some advertising time on Kyrgyzstan national TV to sell you.

    Moreover, the Department of Energy? Cruz has been in the senate how long? Clearly he’s announcing this because the DoE is responsible for research grants for “alternative” power generation – things that we know work, but that are not yet widespread or not yet integrated into our national energy planning or whatever. Tidal power, power from underwater currents, solar power, wind power, micro-hydro and more have been subject to these grants.

    But the single biggest responsibility (in perceived importance from insiders’ perspectives and in terms of total dollars spent) of the DoE is to oversee fission reactors and fusion research in the USA. The US does not want to lose out on the potential to sell fusion power stations to the world (or to license tech to those companies from competing nations who solve bits of the problem on their own). Nor does it want to lose out on the potential to sell power-generating fission plants that are safer, create less radioactive waste, and are harder to turn to military purposes. Nor does it want to lose out on the potential to license important pieces of such tech. Nor does the US want to axe its only regulator of private, power-generating fission plants operating within the US.

    Cruz either knows this and fully intends to keep the DoE running with a budget not-much-changed (though possibly excluding some money for research into “alternative” energy), OR as a senator Cruz is one of the biggest idiots we have in the US government…

    …or both.

    Seriously. Ditch the DoE? He’s counting on the idiocy of the press to pass on such idiocy to the people.

  72. says

    Crip Dyke @79, all good points. Thanks for posting that analysis.

    Ted Cruz cannot eliminate all of those departments. He has no plan to take up the slack in providing services that are essential, like collecting taxes, and, as you said, regulating power-generating fission plants. I can never figure out if Cruz is lying or just stupid in a really sneaky way.

  73. says

    Republicans troll media with ‘stophillary’ wi-fi password:

    Last night, Ted Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler shared an image on Twitter showing the “password every member of the media will have to type to get Wi-Fi access” at tonight’s Republican candidate debate in Milwaukee. That password? “StopHillary.” The thinking here seems be that this will function as a clove of garlic to the vampiric mass media, all of whom are registered Democrats intent on sucking the life out of the Grand Old Party’s slate.

    The joke has inspired predictably mixed reactions on Twitter, from “That is IRL trolling of the first magnitude. Most impressive” to ” @GOP is run by scared 8th grade boys?”

    At any rate, the Republican National Committee likes its gag. This morning, the RNC retweeted an image showing the Wi-Fi SSID and password—adding only a handclap emoji.

    Images at the link. How pathetic.

  74. Jake Harban says

    @jsrtheta 75:

    Were you planning to offer any evidence or did you just post it in honor of Say Really Absurd Things Day?

  75. jsrtheta says

    @Jake Harban 82:

    I think your post is all the evidence that’s needed. To libel literally hundreds of thousands of veterans for one incident is ridiculous. Of course, the way you wrote it makes it sound like there is a national holiday for the people involved in only that incident, which is also ridiculous.

  76. Jake Harban says

    @jsrtheta 83:

    So no evidence then.

    Even if we presume you believe that no soldier has ever killed anyone except in the MSF bombing despite the fact that “killing people” is basically their job, even if we presume that the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Vietnam, and Cambodia never happened, you’re still trying to claim that: “Soldiers shouldn’t be celebrated with their own national holiday” constitutes inciting violence against them and that veterans are an oppressed group. Your posts contain nothing but self-evident absurdities.

  77. jsrtheta says

    No, I think they’re only evident to you. If you don’t understand how the military works (and you apparently don’t), and you don’t think that men and women who risk, and often lose, their lives for shit pay and the ingratitude of folk like you, are worth respect and honor, you are beyond hope. And believe me, that’s as politely as I can put it.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Your posts contain nothing but self-evident absurdities.

    Look in the mirror. Pot Kettle Black.

  79. Jake Harban says

    @jsrtheta 85: Exactly what part of the Iraq war is honorable? Exactly what part of it should I be grateful for? Exactly why should I “respect” someone for being willing to risk their life for an evil cause?

    @Nerd of Redhead, 86: Name one. I fail to see how it’s “self-evidently absurd” to suggest that invading countries and killing people is not something that deserves a national holiday.

    Honestly, I’m somewhat surprised that you support the war. I thought it was generally considered quite unpopular around these parts.

  80. jsrtheta says

    @Jake Harban 87:

    Who said anything about supporting the war? Not me. Not Nerd. (Not that I speak for Nerd.)

  81. Ice Swimmer says

    About Cruz abolishing IRS: There is an evil, destructive and corruption-prone way to collect taxes without a government agency. I find it unlikely that even Cruz would propose this, but for example ancient Romans had tax farmers or publicans, private contractors who collected taxes.

  82. Jake Harban says

    @jsrtheta 88: So you oppose the war but think it should be celebrated? Or perhaps you oppose it only on the grounds that it’s a waste of American lives and money while holding no concern for Iraqis?

    Please do articulate your position on the war which is consistent with (a) the idea that Iraqis are human whose lives have value, and (b) the idea that American soldiers who conducted the war deserve honor, respect, and/or gratitude for having done so.

  83. jsrtheta says

    @jake harban 90:

    I’m not sure if you’re being willfully obtuse, or if you merely need to grow up.

    Like millions of people, I opposed the war. I respect those who, out of patriotism or even a mere honoring of a commitment, followed the oath they gave and fought. I expect yours are the type of ethics that would allow you to have blithely walked away from such an oath or such a commitment. Giving no thought to those you leave in the lurch. If so, I advise you never marry, or buy a house.

  84. Jake Harban says

    @jsrtheta 91:

    I’m not sure if you’re being willfully obtuse, or if you merely need to grow up.

    It appears that your ethics hold an “oath” or “commitment” is absolute and any action, including murder, is justified if it is done in service of a “commitment.” Would you respect those who, out of patriotism or even a mere honoring of commitment, murder doctors who perform abortions, or bomb federal buildings, or commit mass shootings in predominantly-black churches? Perhaps you believe that even the Confederate soldiers, who out of patriotism or honoring of commitment took up arms to defend slavery deserve respect.

  85. blf says

    It is dubious to claim that a member of the military is (1) Essentially is a (war-)criminal; or (2) Essentially is not a (war-)criminal. Both positions may or may not have merit, but neither applies universally — for any definition of “universally” (excepting, perhaps, severely constrained definitions). The USAnnihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate! soldiers in the multiple recent / continuuing wars did, and did not, do some “acceptable” actions. Their immediate commanders did, and did not, order “acceptable” actions. (Interestingly, whether or not the supreme command was as ambiguous(?) is debatable; as an example. the British PM of the time is thought to be a possible war criminal.) Of course, an “acceptable” action does not compensate for an not-“acceptable” action; and the definition of “acceptable” is very much open to discussion, ranging from “nothing is acceptable” to more nuanced positions.

  86. blf says

    I have no recollection of hearing of this particular case before, albeit I am aware there are individuals in “sanctuary” in USArseholirethanthouistan, ‘I’m so happy’: migrant woman free from fear after 461 days in sanctuary (boldfacing mine):

    Mexican maid Rosa Robles rejoined outside world in Arizona after 15 months of becoming a reluctant symbol of the paralysis in US immigration reform

    It took 461 days but Rosa Robles was able to rejoin the outside world on Wednesday, free from fear, and do something she had long yearned for: watch her sons play baseball.

    The Mexican maid emerged from her sanctuary in a Presbyterian church in Tucson, Arizona, secure in the knowledge that she would not be deported. “I’m so happy. I’m watching my boys. The air outside feels different,” she told the Guardian, speaking from the sidelines of a baseball field under a cold, starry sky. “How do I feel? Great.”

    Since August 2014 the undocumented immigrant had hunkered down in the Southside Presbyterian church’s adobe compound, a reluctant symbol of the paralysis in US immigration reform.

    She was not one of the “criminals” or “gang members” whom Barack Obama prioritised for expulsion in 2014, yet she faced a deportation order from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.


    Robles, who moved to the US in 1999 and overstayed her visa, had no criminal record and was in theory a low priority for deportation. Obama had promised compassion for those “trying to figure out how to feed their families”. […]

    The house cleaner got snagged in September 2010 when, on her way to work, she drove on the wrong side of traffic cones in a construction zone. The sheriff’s deputy who pulled her over did not issue a ticket but called ICE agents, triggering deportation proceedings. The use of traffic stops to summon immigration officials is the source of an old, bitter joke among immigrants about being found guilty of driving while Mexican.


    She savoured the prospect of a return to normality on Thursday morning. “I’m going to take the kids to school. Be a mom.”

    So, if yer black (or look like, to a racist, a POC), yer guilty and are likely to be shot dead.
    If yer Muslim (or look like, to an racist, a Muslim), yer a terrorist, and…
    If yer Mexican (or look like, to a racist, a Mexican), yer in USAbsoluteejitisan “illegally” and will be deported…
    and so on

  87. says

    Tony @81, not only that, but the GOP was so proud of their stophillary wifi password that, for awhile, it was the only item featured on the home page of the official GOP website. You had to look elsewhere if you wanted to read about GOP policies, debates or candidates.

  88. says

    Chris Christie blames President Obama for the current unrest/protests on college campuses:

    Asked about the protests at the University of Missouri and Yale University, where complaints of racism or racial insensitivity have pitted students against administrators, the Republican presidential contender said that President Obama had created an atmosphere of “lawlessness.”

    “I think part of this is a product of the president’s own unwillingness and inability to bring people together,” Christie said in a short interview after a Q&A with Republicans here. “When people think justice is not applied evenly and fairly, they take matters into their own hands. The lawlessness that the president has allowed to exist in this country just absolutely strips people of hope. Our administration would stand for the idea that justice is not just a word, but it’s a way of life. Laws will be applied evenly, fairly, and without bias to everyone.”

    Washington Post link

  89. blf says

    Billionaire Charles Koch not endorsing Republican candidate during primary:

    Activist who with his brother David has donated hundreds of millions to conservative causes says he has no plans to endorse anyone in nomination race

    Activist billionaire Charles Koch, who with his brother David has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to advance “conservative” causes from voter ID laws to for-profit prisons to stand-your-ground gun laws, has no plans to endorse a Republican candidate in the presidential nominating race.

    “I have no plans to support anybody in the primary now,” Koch told USA Today in an interview published on Wednesday.


    Earlier this year the brothers said they would raise and spend $889m. The actual figure may be as low as $750m, Charles Koch said.

    Past presidential candidates backed by the brothers have ended as disappointments. In April, David Koch signaled support for Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin famous for stripping some public unions in his state of collective bargaining rights. But Walker was the first candidate to drop out of the race.

    Snicker. The Grauniad can do a fine line in snark, even in a straightfoward news article. And they don’t give up:

    A fundraising network attached to the brothers raised $407m for the 2012 campaign, according to a Washington Post analysis of tax documents. The effort failed to unseat Barack Obama, while the Democrats gained seats in both the House and Senate.

    Charles Koch told USA Today that he is shopping for a candidate who will not only talk the talk but walk the walk (to borrow a recent phrase from Bernie Sanders).

    I am actually going to give this Kochroach the benefit of the doubt about the “shopping for a candidate” quote(? paraphrase?) and presume he meant it in a reasonably innocent fashion; that is, not looking for one Faux & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited can buy / own (which is perhaps all the thugs in the kandidate klown kar, except, perhaps, to his credit, Teh Trum-prat).


    Koch sat for an interview this month with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, whose hosts were accused by […] Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, of playing softball with their VIP guest. To combat the liability their name has become in certain corners of American politics and society, the brothers and their namesake enterprise, Koch Industries, embarked earlier this year on an image makeover.

    The linked-to article at the end of excerpt suggests how deranged this nutter is: “‘People aren’t going to scare me off,’ Charles Koch told the MSNBC interviewers. ‘I’m kind of like Martin Luther when he was on trial. And he said, ‘Here I stand, I can do no other.’”

  90. says

    Re blf’s comment 97: holy crap, the Koch brothers have one thing in common with all of the Republican candidates, overweening ego. Martin Luther, my ass. It is interesting that the Koch brothers haven’t found a horse to buy yet.

    Just for fun, here’s another Carly Fiorina lie:

    […] At one point, she earned applause when she took a dig at the billionaire real estate mogul, noting that unlike him, she had met Russian President Vladimir Putin “not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting.”

    However, during a September interview on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Fiorina used the term “green room” to describe her own encounter with the Russian leader, saying “I met [Putin] in Beijing. We were in sort of a green room setting—each of us were giving a speech at a major economic conference.”

    According to Fiorina, the detail that makes her lie not a lie is that the “green room setting” was at a conference, not on the set of a TV show. Still questionable in my book.

    Trump’s lie, like everything about Trump, was even bigger, much bigger. He said he got to know Putin “very well” when the two were on “60 Minutes.” Uh, no, Donald. The Trump interview for “60 Minutes” was taped separately from the Putin interview for the show. Maybe Trump did a mind meld with Putin that transcended time and space.

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

    Kochs are saying they won’t spend anything during the primaries. Sounds like horse race mentality to me. He doesn’t want to risk his money when the field is so numerously populated. When one gets through the primaries and into the final, I bet they’ll shell out the cash to ensure the winner (or at least try to ensure one).

  92. says

    Remember when we cheered the fact that members of the House of Congress passed a Highway Trust Fund bill before the November 20 deadline? Hurrah, Paul Ryan did something.

    The funding bill passed 363 to 64, with most of the nay votes being cast by far rightwing whackos. The House bill still has to be reconciled with the Senate version, but things seemed to be going relatively smoothly … until now.

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is backing a plan to cut the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax, which pays for most federal transportation projects, by about 15 cents.

    “We need to get the federal government out of this infrastructure business, other than vital economic highways,” the former Pennsylvania senator said [in Tuesday’s undercard debate]. “It has been said that if we cut the gas tax to three to five cents and send the rest back to the states, and just take care of the federal infrastructure that’s vital for our economy,” he continued, “we don’t need the federal government in the road business that it is today.”

    The Hill link

    So far, Marco Rubio agrees with Santorum and has released a similar transportation plan.

    The federal gas tax hasn’t changed in two decades. It should go up a little bit, not be eliminated. We have not kept up with infrastructure needs.

  93. Jake Harban says

    @blf 93: I’m not sure that anyone has ever claimed that every member of the military is a war criminal.

    Your post appeared after mine and seemed somewhat like a response to my “debate” with jsrtheta, but I never claimed that all soldiers were (war)criminals. My point is that soldiers should not be celebrated simply for being soldiers; there’s a rather wide spectrum between celebrating someone as a national hero and arresting them as a war criminal.

    While some soldiers are doubtless war criminals (bombing a hospital and torture are war crimes; we know both have been done), I used those examples to prove that soldiers are not inherently worthy of respect— if some soldiers commit war crimes, then it’s wrong to say all soldiers are heroes.

    I would further argue that no soldier who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan is a hero. Because those wars were crimes, started entirely without merit and causing considerable harm, it is impossible for any conduct in said wars to be heroic.

  94. blf says

    This is perhaps an interesting read, Friction is now between global financial elite and the rest of us, by Robert Reich (“chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and […] secretary of labour [sic] in the Clinton administration”). I’ve only been able to quickly skim it, mostly due to a pair of obnoxious yippity dogs YIPPING AT FULL FECKING VOLUME and completely ruining my concentration…

    The anger and frustration felt by hard-working people who have seen their wages and job security steadily diminish is fuelling a populist revolt against the political establishment

    The standard explanation for why average working people in advanced nations such as Britain and the United States have failed to gain much ground over the past several decades and are under increasing economic stress is that globalisation and technological change have made most people less competitive. […]

    The left’s standard solution has been an activist government that taxes the wealthy, invests the proceeds in excellent schools and in other means that people need to become more productive, and redistributes to those in need. […]

    But the standard explanation, as well as the standard debate, overlooks the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs.


    The standard explanation cannot account for why the compensation packages of the top executives of big companies soared from an average of 20 times that of the typical worker 40 years ago to almost 300 times in the United States.

    Nor can the standard explanation account for the decline in wages of recent university graduates.

    [… E]conomic insecurity has been baked into employment. Full-time workers who had put in decades with a company have often found themselves without a job overnight — with no severance pay, no help finding another job and no health insurance. Today, nearly one in five working Americans is part-time. […]

    [… T]he trend is not sustainable economically. The American economy cannot maintain positive momentum without the purchasing power of its vast middle class. This is one reason why today, six full years into an economic recovery, the US economy is barely back to where it was before it fell into the Great Recession.

    Nor is it sustainable politically. A large portion of the American electorate, working harder than ever but seeing no wage gains for years, is becoming angry and frustrated. […]

    […] Sanders represents a tradition of leftwing reform populism that seeks to limit the influence of big money on the political process, thereby clearing the way for the enactment of new laws and rules that can deliver more broadly shared prosperity. Trump comes out of a tradition of rightwing authoritarian populism that seeks a strongman who will take power away from the prevailing oligarchy and deliver it back to the people directly. Often accompanying authoritarian populism is making a scapegoat of vulnerable minorities, including immigrants.


    Excuse me, I’m going to go yippity dog hunting. With thermonuclear ammo.

  95. blf says

    Jake Harban@101, my comments @93 were not a reply to any particular person, claim, or comment. I think we are saying roughly the same thing, namely, being a soldier does not inherently make one either a (war-)criminal or a hero. Many soldiers never fight and instead work in peacekeeping missions, disaster relief, and so on. Which also does not inherently make them heroes or criminals.

    I tend to agree with your option about at least some of the people who fought in any one of the recent “my penis is bigger than your penis, so let’s kill a bunch of civilians / icky others” pretexts for stealing oil. And I perhaps especially agree about volunteers for “combat” positions in those corporate-mandated crusades, that is, those who expressed a desire to kill. (I am aware that the USAnnihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate! military is all-volunteer.) I am also extremely furious at the extrajudicial drone slaughter-them-icky-others programme.

  96. blf says

    Fewer mass shootings occur in states with more background checks: report:

    Gun control advocates examined data from January 2009 [until] 15 July — states that checked for a criminal history had 64% fewer domestic violence shootings

    States with background checks for all handgun sales had 52% fewer mass shootings as states with more lax rules, according to a report by reform advocates who examined more than six years of data.

    Researchers for Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that supports gun control checks, also found that between January 2009 and 15 July those states that checked for a criminal history in buyers had 64% fewer mass shootings related to domestic violence.

    More than one in three of the gunmen in mass shootings had a history of felonies, domestic violence or mental illness that should have prohibited them from owning a gun, according to the gun control group.

    The researchers relied on the FBI’s definition of a mass shooting — an incident in which at least four people are murdered by a gun — and found 133 such shootings in the six years and seven months of the analysis. They also controlled for population differences between states when accounting for percentages.


    Everytown conceded limits to its study, most notably due to the federal ban on gun research and the ban on publishing data about how and where people bought their weapons. The latter ban prevents non-government employees from learning how many mass shooters acquire weapons, for instance.

    The gun control group also published a second report on gun sales, finding that a few unlicensed sellers account for a disproportionate number of sales in at least one online gun market. Federal law has an “engaged in the business” standard to determine who requires a license to sell, but in practice the standard is arbitrarily or weakly applied in prosecuting cases, the researchers found.

    (Tongue-in-cheek: Fortunately, there are no bans on using thermonuclear devices to discourage yippity dogs, other than you can’t set them off during wildfire season. However, you do have to have a license for the cannon, bomber, or ballistic missile.)

  97. says

    blf, I have a friend whose yippity dogs occasionally get on his nerves. He turns up the heat in his house and then the dogs just lie down and go to sleep. Worth a try.

    In other news, President Obama is supporting more anti-discrimination legislation:

    The White House endorsed legislation Tuesday that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, plunging into the next front in the national battle over LGBT rights.

    Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration has been reviewing the bill “for several weeks.” “It is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act,” he said, adding that it would advance the civil rights of “millions of Americans.”


    Here’s a summary of what the Equality Act entails:

    The Equality Act would effectively expand the Civil Rights Act, originally passed in 1964, to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing, public accommodations (hotels, stores, and similar public places), education, and various other settings. It also expands public accommodations protections to prohibit sex discrimination, and strengthens other, existing protections in public accommodations.


    Republicans in the House will not pass this legislation, but it has 170 Democratic co-sponsors in the House, and 39 co-sponsors in the Senate. The failure of Republicans to pass the Equality Act is likely to make a big splash. I hope so.

    It it worth noting that, when they are polled, U.S. voters think that LGBT people are already protected against discrimination. That’s not true. We have some educating and communicating to do.

  98. says

    Chris Christie said some more stupid stuff about Black Lives Matter:

    “I think all lives matter,” said Christie, who was standing in a cafe where a lever-action rifle hung inside its entrance with the words “We Don’t Dial 911” above it.

    “But let me tell you this: When a movement like that calls for the murder of police officers…no President of the United States should dignify a group like that by saying anything positive about them, and no candidate for president, like Hillary Clinton, should give them any credibility by meeting with them, as she’s done.”

    Last month, Clinton had met privately with members of the Black Lives Matter movement while in Washington D.C. for the National Council of Negro Women.

    Christie vowed never to do so.

    “I want the Black Lives Matter people to understand: Don’t call me for a meeting. You’re not getting one.”

    New Jersey Star Ledger link

  99. says

    Remember when Ben Carson said the Chinese had deployed troops in Syria, and then everyone said, uh, “NO”. Well, Carson is nothing if not consistently wrong, insistently wrong.

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s business manager and adviser Armstrong Williams attempted to support Carson’s bizarre debate claims on Syria during a Wednesday interview with MSNBC by assuring the anchor that the Chinese are, in fact, in Syria.

    When MSNBC’s Tamron Hall told Williams on Wednesday that the Chinese are not in Syria, Williams remained steadfast.

    “From your perspective and what most people know, maybe that is inaccurate,” Williams told MSNBC. “From our own intelligence and what Dr. Carson’s been told by people who are on the ground who are involved in that region of the world, it has been told to him may times over and over, that the Chinese are there.”

    Williams said in the “next few days” a story may come out to reinforce Carson’s claim of a Chinese presence in Syria.

    “Just because the mainstream media and other experts don’t want to see any credibility to it, does not mean some way down the line in the next few days that that story will come out and will be reinforced and given credibility by others,” Williams said. “But as far as our intelligence and the briefings that Dr. Carson’s been in and I’ve certainly been in with him, we’ve certainly been told the Chinese are there.”

    Carson reminds me so much of Sarah Palin. Whatever he says is right because … he said it. And then he claims to have “intelligence” that no one else has. Who are these mysterious sources of intelligence?

    And why does the mainstream media persecute poor Mr. Carson so much?

  100. says

    State lawmakers in Missouri think they have a right to interfere at the most fundamental levels of higher education.

    Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R) has launched an effort to stop a University of Missouri graduate student from studying the impacts of a state law mandating a 72-hour abortion waiting period passed last year.

    He accused the university of breaking a state law that prohibits the use of state funds to “encourage or counsel a woman to have an abortion not necessary to save her life,” the Columbia Tribune reported last week.

    “The study does not appear to be designed as an objective, unbiased research project, but rather as a marketing aid for Planned Parenthood — one that is funded, in part or in whole, by taxpayer dollars,” Schaefer wrote in an October 30 letter to the university’s chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin. […]

    University officials aren’t having it:

    […] The university has defended the graduate student’s study.

    “As the state’s research, land-grant institution, we must stay committed to the discovery, dissemination, application and preservation of knowledge to support our mission while abiding by state and federal laws,” spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said […]. “We will continue performing life-saving research in our laboratories while providing the highest quality of educational opportunities to our students.” […]

  101. says

    The Donald said some stupid stuff about the students who are protesting at Mizzou:

    Donald Trump has joined the chorus of presidential candidates reacting to anti-racism protests at the University of Missouri (Mizzou), which culminated this week with the resignation of both the university’s president and chancellor.

    Asked by Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo about the protests — spurred by a number of racist incidents on campus including a swastika drawn on a bathroom wall in feces — Trump said they were “disgusting.”

    “I think it’s disgusting. I think it’s disgusting,” he said. “I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people. … Trump should have been the chancellor of that University. Believe me. There would have been no resignation.”


  102. blf says

    Lynna, the yippity dogs aren’t mine. I think they own different people, and simply don’t like each other. Unfortunately, neither of their food-fetchers seems to have any idea how to control them, one yelling (adding to the noise) and the other just going “Sssssssh!”(at the dogs as far as I can tell).

    They’ve now stopped, presumably due to the several kilometres-wide smoking glowing crater. Or maybe just because they got hungry and dragged their humans apart to get fed. It’s rather hard to tell through all the smoke…

    And speaking of annoying yippity dogs, the potential for kilometre-wide craters, and smokescreens, Rightwing pundits belittle mainstream praise of Bush and Kasich at debate:

    Conservatives offer starkly different account of fourth Republican debate [sic] from mainstream commentators, proclaiming Donald Trump had sealed his lead

    As the dust settled over an intense Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, the instant verdict of the mainstream media was that the unexpected rise of the political outsider — in particular Donald Trump — had finally begun to come unstuck.

    Commentators noted that it was by far the most substantive debate in the series [given a series of “debates” with no substance, the yippity dogs had a more substantive debate! –blf], with the two former governors Jeb Bush and John Kasich, who represent the establishment wing of the party, using the greater focus on detail to present a dramatically contrasting view on immigration to Trump’s vision of building a wall and ejecting 11 million undocumented immigrants. On foreign policy, both Trump and his immediate rival, the neurosurgeon Ben Carson, looked blustery.

    But that’s not how conservative pundits saw it. In the rarified world of the conservative media, a very different account of the event was being written — one in which Trump sealed his leading status by being unbending on immigration, while Bush and Kasich, far from making a tentative comeback, dug their own presidential graves.

    Michelle Malkin, a star of the conservative blogosphere, summed up the strident mood on Twitter when she portrayed Kasich and Bush “bending over backwards on behalf of Obama’s illegal ‘Dreamers’” — immigrants who were brought to the US as children.

    [… quotes from the usual cast of kooks …]

    Comments such as these could be seen as the vibrant musings of a political fringe. But they matter, for two mutually supportive reasons.

    First, they tend to reflect opinions shared by a large portion of the more committed conservatives who tend to turn out to vote in Republican primary elections. Second, these commentators work for media outlets that those same committed voters trust and read, which provides a political feedback loop in which views are reinforced and hardened.


    One of the points raised by more mainstream TV and press outlets (which the conservative media consider liberal) was that both Trump and Carson displayed their weaknesses on complicated policy areas, particularly foreign affairs and the Middle East. But again, that did not appear to disturb several prominent rightwing commentators.

    In an analysis on the Townhall conservative website, Guy Benson concluded that even though their vulnerabilities were on display on Tuesday night, for Trump’s and Carson’s supporters it really didn’t matter. He wrote:

    [… B]oth Carson and Trump veered into unresponsive, barely-decipherable pablum on a number of occasions. Ben Carson’s answer on Syria and Iraq was especially memorable in that regard. But again, their answers and preparedness on policy seem to matter less to their supporters than what they represent and the feelings they inspire. That dynamic remains intact.

  103. says

    Coal use in the U.S. has fallen by 25% since 2005. Good for the environment, bad for communities that rely on the incomes made by coal industry workers.

    Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan to address the problem.

    […] Clinton’s plan calls for $30 billion towards infrastructure improvements, mine land remediation, training and education programs, and incentives for business investment in Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and the Western coal areas.

    “What I like about this plan is that it’s multi-faceted,” Evan Hansen, president of Downstream Strategies, a West Virginia-based environmental consulting firm, told ThinkProgress. “There is no one solution.”

    Hansen pointed to education, for example. While many people in coal communities need training and education that will make them more attractive employees, training the workforce alone is not enough. The areas also need to bolster the businesses that will hire people, Hansen said, and that means improving standard of living in order to attract new investment. Clinton’s plan includes both infrastructure and broadband improvements. […]

    In many ways, Clinton’s proposal builds on actions already taken by the Obama Administration

  104. says

    blf @110, I heard Rush Limbaugh say that Kasich should not have even been on the stage, that he is not a Republican.

    The rightwing media wants to collude with the rabid rightwing base to whittle the presidential field down to the most conservative whacko white dude on the planet.

  105. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category, and is a followup to comments 7, 24, 26, 27 and 44.

    I guess hanging out with the guy who advocating killing gay people, Kevin Swanson, was not enough. Ted Cruz is now hanging out with people who think that homosexuals are demonic enemies, pawns of Satan.

    […] Ted Cruz will stage a “Rally for Religious Liberty” in Greenville, South Carolina, on Saturday featuring a number of Religious Right activists who have referred to gay rights advocates as demonic enemies.

    The rally is taking place at none other than Bob Jones University […] The school’s chancellor apologized only recently for past comments he made about the need to stone gay people in order to “solve the problem post-haste.”

    Just as Swanson believes that “the homosexual Borg is the power in the principality of the demonic world,” a number of the Religious Right activists who will be speaking alongside Cruz in Greenville have claimed that their battle against gay rights is really a spiritual war against Satan.

    Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has referred to gay activists has “hateful” and “intolerant” “pawns” of the Devil and, like Swanson, has defended the notorious Ugandan bill that would have made homosexuality a death penalty crime in some cases.

    Another speaker, Virginia-based activist E.W. Jackson, has described gay people as “spiritually darkened,” adding, “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.” He also thinks that with President Obama “we’re really dealing with an evil presence.”

    David and Jason Benham have made no bones about their belief that gay people are under the Devil’s thumb. They even wrote an entire column explaining why they think the gay rights movement is motivated by Satan. […]


  106. blf says

    National sorority Alpha Phi refuses to back Republicans’ Safe Campus Act:

    The bill would prohibit colleges from acting on reports of rape until a student makes a report to police and is a rival option to an earlier Democratic bill

    Ah, a rapist’s charter. (Also, Benghazi!)

    Alpha Phi has become the first national sorority to refuse to back a controversial new bill, the Safe Campus Act, intended to combat sexual assault on campus.


    The Safe Campus Act — proposed by three Republican representatives, Pete Sessions and Kay Granger of Texas, and Matt Salmon of Arizona — would prohibit colleges from acting on reports of rape until the student bringing the complaint made a report to law enforcement.

    Critics say the bill would hamper efforts to immediately safeguard students who have been victims of assault. Sexual assault victims, critics add, are often too afraid or traumatized to involve the police in what can be a lengthy and invasive criminal investigation.


    Most major survivors’ groups […] support an earlier bill, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, proposed last year by Democratic senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.


    McCaskill and Gillibrand’s Campus Accountability and Safety Act would require sexual assault training for campus officials, standardized investigation and punishment, and increased resources for victims of assault. The bill would also stiffen fines for colleges found to violate the federal requirement for reporting sexual crimes. […]

    It’s unclear from the article whether or not any of the measuers in the more-sensible McCaskill and Gillibrand bill attempt to deal with the rape kit backlog, Victims’ hopes for justice fade as rape kits are routinely ignored or destroyed:

    Tens of thousands of boxes have collected in ‘rape kit backlog’ as some states lack rules on how long evidence should be kept while some police departments destroy kits after a year


    For decades, tens of thousands of boxes of DNA evidence that nurses meticulously gathered from the bodies and clothing of sex assault victims sat stacked in storage rooms, ignored. Later, this mountain of untested evidence would be known as the “rape kit backlog”.

    As scrutiny of disregarded rape kits mounted, a portrait of a more difficult to tally sort emerged — rape kits police destroyed. As with the rape kit backlog, there is no national tally of the kits police destroyed. But increasingly, local media have published reports of police destroying rape kits in states as disparate as Utah, Kentucky and Colorado.


    In Kentucky, the state auditor discovered some police departments routinely destroyed rape kits after a year, even though the state had no statute of limitations for rape. The perpetrators could have been prosecuted as long as they were alive. […]


    Contrast Alabama’s lack of a statute with Mississippi: there, evidence must be preserved for the length of time a crime is unsolved or until a convicted person is released from custody […]. This kind of statute, advocates say, provides greater protection not just for victims of crimes but for the wrongfully convicted.

    States lacking evidence retention laws are not split between liberal or conservative, nor are they geographically grouped. They span from Vermont to Tennessee and from Pennsylvania to Utah.


    A particular problem is, apparently, anonymous (or “Jane Doe”) rape kits, which is the result of victims undergoing a rape exam but who did not want to report the incident. As The Grauniad says, anonymous rape kits are “meant to encourage rape victims to preserve evidence, even if they weren’t ready to report”. These anonymous rape kits seem to be particularly prone to destruction.

  107. blf says

    I’m not going to bother to excerpt this, except for a summary paragraph and then two paragraphs I found hillarious, Ted Cruz’s ‘crazy’ tax plan would cost US at least $16tn, thinktank says:


    “Cruz’s claim that his plan would cost ‘less than a trillion’ depends critically on raising an enormous amount from his 16% VAT, which would apply to almost everything American consumers purchase. The remaining revenue shortfall would, in Cruz’s estimate, be offset by a supposed economic boom based on the discredited supply-side magic that has been part of the far right’s economic fantasies for decades,” said [Bob] McIntyre [director of the left-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ)].

    “But Cruz’s math has a gigantic hole in it. He wouldn’t just make consumers pay his VAT, he would also make the government pay the tax (to itself) on all of its purchases, from warplanes to paper clips and the wages it pays to its employees. Cruz’s claim that the government can raise money by taxing itself accounts for a third of the alleged yield from his VAT. Without this sleight of hand, Cruz’s overall plan would cost more than $16tn over a decade and reduce total federal revenues by well over a third.”


    CTJ has run similar analyses of plans by other Republican candidates […]. With those analyses CTJ calculated a distributional analysis, working out which income groups would receive the most benefits from the cuts. Rubio’s plan, for example, would give the top 1% a tax cut of $220,00 a year, according to CTJ. McIntyre did not do a distributional analysis for Cruz’s plan because “it’s too crazy”.

    Right. The government will raise much of the funds it needs by taxing itself. Any other funding needed will be raised by taxing flying unicorns.

  108. blf says

    Teh Trum-prat appears to now be jumping multiple sharks at once (kudos to robro in the On my way to Skepticon thread for one incident). Another, Donald Trump likens Ben Carson’s ‘pathological’ temper to child molesting:

    ‘You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it. Pathological, there’s no cure for that,’ Republican presidential hopeful says of his rival

    Donald Trump has intensified the increasingly fraught infighting within the crowded Republican presidential field by comparing the self-confessed “pathological temper” of his closest rival, Ben Carson, to child molesting.

    In his 1992 memoir, Gifted Hands, Carson wrote of his troubled younger years: “I had what I only can label a pathological temper — a disease — and this sickness controlled me, making me totally irrational.”

    In recent days, Trump has homed in on this admission, making several barbs about what he called Carson’s “very serious, pathological disease”.

    On Thursday evening, in an interview with CNN, he went further, saying: “It’s in the book that he’s got a pathological temper. That’s a big problem because you don’t cure that{…}

    “As an example: child molesting. You don’t cure these people. You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it. Pathological, there’s no cure for that.”


    Dr Carson seems to be an eejit in multiple areas outside his specialty (which is probably true of everyone, myself included), but Teh Trum-prat seems be specialize in being an eejit. A particularly toxic and obnoxious one.

  109. says

    blf @116, I heard an interview with Carson this morning in which he was asked about Trump’s having compared Carson’s “pathological” youth to incurable diseases like “child molestor.” Carson refused to take the bait. He said that he hoped Trump’s staff would help him out with the “pathological” part of Carson’s description in his book.

    On the other hand, we can now add Carson to the list of Republican candidates who have said that they stand ready to shoot down Russian planes over Syria. He’s a master of talking calmly about totally bonkers ideas.

  110. says

    While Trump was comparing Carson to child molestors, he also claimed to know more about ISIS “than the generals do,” and he stands ready to “bomb the shit out of Middle Eastern oil fields.”

    While Trump is being bombastic and stupid, he also dissed the people of Iowa for believing Carson: “How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

    Trump doesn’t have an irony meter.

    Both Carson and Trump claim to know more about Syria than the entire intelligence-gathering apparatus of the USA. (Carson claims he has proof that China has deployed people to Syria.) In that sense, they are the same. Mysterious, unidentified sources tell them stuff about Syria.

  111. says

    Congressional Republicans are trying, once again, to repeal Obamacare. Yes, they really are. 50-60 attempts were not enough.

    After all that practice, they still aren’t any better at executing a repeal-Obamacare plan.

    […] congressional Republicans are trying to pursue their goal through the budget reconciliation process, but this week, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough said reconciliation is only supposed to be used for bills that decrease the deficit, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the Affordable Care Act would make the deficit vastly larger.

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has suggested firing MacDonough and replacing her with a parliamentarian who’ll interpret Senate rules in ways Republicans want them to be interpreted. […]


    Comments by two Republican Senators go further to put the main problem with repeal in plain sight:

    “I am very concerned about the 160,000 people who had Medicaid expansion in my state. I have difficulty with that being included,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia.

    Sen. John Hoeven (R), who represents North Dakota, where an estimated 19,000 people gained access to Medicaid after Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple decided to broaden the program, said he was unsure about repealing the expansion. […]

    “I respect the decision of our Legislature and our governor on Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, which has a Democratic governor. “I’m one who respects their rights and voices.”


  112. says

    An analysis of the “I have secret information” ploy used by politicians is good for a few laughs.

    […] Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.), for example, claimed last year to have secret information about ISIS fighters getting caught entering the United States through Mexico, which never happened in reality. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) claimed to have secret evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which is the exact opposite of the truth.

    Both Hunter and Ernst were reelected. Stupidity pays off for right-wingers.

    And then there’s Ben Carson, who claimed this week that China has deployed troops to Syria, despite the fact that China has not deployed troops to Syria. Yesterday, Armstrong Williams, a top Carson campaign aide, defended the claim by pointing to – you guessed it – secret intelligence. Here was the exchange between Williams and MSNBC’s Tamron Hall:

    HALL: …Dr. Carson said that the Chinese were – are in Syria, which is not accurate.

    WILLIAMS: Well, Tamron, from your perspective and what most people know, maybe that is inaccurate, but from my intelligence and what Dr. Carson`s been told by people on the ground involved in that area of the world, it has been told to him many times over and over that the Chinese are there. But as far as our intelligence and the briefings that Dr. Carson`s been in, and I`ve certainly been in with him, he`s certainly been told that the Chinese are there.

    This isn’t even the first time Team Carson has tried to pull this stunt.

    Last month, the retired right-wing neurosurgeon claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas all went to college together. When told that didn’t make any sense, Carson insisted he’s talked to “various people” who’ve provided him with unique insights.

    Apparently seeing himself as a character in a spy drama, the Republican presidential candidate added, “There’s a lot more information that I’ve gotten that’s probably not appropriate for revelation.” […]


    Rachel Maddow’s video segment on this issue

  113. says

    The GOP is so panicked by the prospect of a Trump or a Carson presidential nominee that they are considering calling Mitt Romney back into the race.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha! I’ve seen that story on almost every news media site I checked today.

    According to other Republicans, some in the party establishment are so desperate to change the dynamic that they are talking anew about drafting Romney—despite his insistence that he will not run again. Friends have mapped out a strategy for a late entry to pick up delegates and vie for the nomination in a convention fight, according to the Republicans who were briefed on the talks, though Romney has shown no indication of reviving his interest.

    Washington Post link

  114. says

    This is a followup to my comment 34, WMDKitty’s comment 45, micro raptor’s comment 47, and Giliell’s comment 50.

    […] “Doyle and Chaney, and others known and unknown to the FBI, ascribe to a white supremacy extremist version of the Asatru faith,” read the FBI’s report.

    Traditionally, most American white supremacists claim to be Christians […] a number of white supremacists are abandoning Christianity for a very different religion: Odinism, sometimes called Asatru, Vanuatrú, or Dísitrú.

    The faith, which has several different strains, is a modern expression of an ancient, polytheistic Nordic belief system that reveres a slew of gods such as Thor. […] Norse paganism, once the religion of Vikings, is currently undergoing a revival among young residents of Iceland, where it is recognized as a state religion.

    Yet an unsettlingly virulent strain of Odinism has coalesced in the United States over the past few decades, attracting white supremacists who see it as more purely “white” than Christianity. […]

    “From white supremacist point of view […] “They say, ‘What did the Jews and Christians do? They made these religions about turning the other cheek and caring for the poor.’ They see Christianity as a feminized, weak, self-destructive theology created by Jews and forced on white people who were by nature supposedly very different.” […]

    Oh, FFS, this brand of white supremacists managed to throw some misogynist darts at christianity.

    On the personal front, I’m having a hard time enjoying my favorite, admittedly silly, Thor-related movies. Bah!

  115. says

    Good news from Portland.

    We’ve seen examples of cities and states taking the lead on raising the minimum wage when the federal government fails to do so; and now we see the same dynamic in addressing climate change.

    […] the Portland, Oregon city council voted yesterday to pass a resolution that opposes any new infrastructure that would transport or store fossil fuels within the city or its adjacent waterways.

    The vote, which was unanimous, comes a week after the city council voted to adopt a similar policy opposing any proposed rail projects that would carry crude oil through the city of Portland or Vancouver. Together, the resolutions constitute what environmentalists are calling the strongest city-supported opposition to fossil fuels in the country. […]

  116. says

    Kris Kobach is back in LaLa Land when it comes to fighting fictional voter fraud. (Well, really he never left LaLa Land. He lives there permanently.)

    Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and architect of anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures copied across the country, called same-day voter registration a “travesty” […] portraying his restrictive voting laws as necessary to prevent various mythical voter fraud schemes.

    I snipped a long conspiracy theory about voters being bussed to Kansas towns in order to same-day register and vote — a totally bogus, long-debunked story.

    Kobach said, “which is why — proof of citizenship stops that, because you can’t have same-day registration, which is a travesty, I think same-day registration is a huge problem, and proof of citizenship prevents you from registering fictitious identities or registering under someone else’s name. So I think we, you can’t do those things in Kansas anymore.”

    Kobach is currently attempting to purge 37,000 people from Kansas’ voter rolls for failing to provide a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship when they registered to vote. […]


  117. says

    Bernie Sanders picked up a key endorsement in Iowa.

    Former Ohio state senator Nina Turner […] endorsed Sanders last night. […]

    While Turner never formally endorsed Clinton, she was a longtime supporter of the Ready for Hillary super PAC, met with Clinton as recently as last month, and served on the board of the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record. […]

    Good news for Bernie, but not the whole story:

    […] Turner’s endorsement also comes on the heels of Sander’s largest union endorsement from the 200,000 member large American Postal Workers’ Union on Thursday.

    Still, as NPR pointed out this morning, Clinton has a huge lead over Sanders “superdelegate” endorsements, 359 to 8. […]

    Salon link

  118. says

    Oh, FFS. Here’s a Moment of Mormon Madness. Mormon leaders tried to clarify their recent asinine pronouncements and only made things worse (as usual).

    For the backstory, see comments 76, 77, and 78.

    LDS Church leaders added details Friday to a new policy focused on same-sex couples and their children.

    Mormons in same-sex relationships should still expect discipline from the church, and possibly excommunication, and their children must still wait until they are 18 to get baptized.

    But a clarification released by the faith’s First Presidency said that applies only to children whose “primary residence” is with a same-sex couple. If a child spends weekends with a parent in a same-sex relationship, for instance, he or she can still receive a naming blessing, be baptized or go on a mission like any other Mormon. […]

    It’s only a matter of time before these guys get kicked out of political power circles in Utah.

    From the readers comments:

    […] with Mormon judges like Johansen, it will be used as leverage in custody battles. The church claims children are disadvantaged by living in same-gendered households and the church is doing everything it can to ensure that their claim holds true.

    See comment 77.

  119. says

    In other Utah news, Judge Scott Johansen may soon see his own day in court.

    Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services said on Thursday that it would go to an appeals court if state juvenile Judge Scott Johansen did not rescind his decision.

    The state agency said the judge went against its recommendation that the baby should stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple in Price, Utah.

    The Guardian link

  120. says

    Donald Trump and Sean Hannity, (two entertainers, one a presidential candidate and one a Fox News host, both clowns), endorsed an anti-Clinton book that was dedicated by the author to a Holocaust denier, to a man who also blamed 9/11 on a “Jewish Plot.” More fodder for our “the company they keep” category.

    Roger Stone and Robert Morrow’s The Clintons’ War On Women is dedicated to and repeatedly cites research from Victor Thorn, who wrote The Holocaust Hoax Exposed and blames a “Jewish plot” for the 9/11 attacks.

    The book has been repeatedly touted by Fox News and endorsed by Sean Hannity and Donald Trump. […]

    Media Matters link

    Disreputable crap, lousy source material. It figures that Donald Trump would like it.

  121. says

    Fox News is not happy with Jennifer Lawrence. Why? The actress support’s women’s rights. Fox host Andrea Tantaros said:

    Actress Jennifer Lawrence sharing some harsh views on the GOP.

    The Hunger Games star tells Vogue magazine: “I was raised a Republican, but I just can’t imagine supporting a party that doesn’t support women’s basic rights. It’s 2015 and gay people can get married, and we think that we’ve come so far, so yay! But have we? I don’t want to stay quiet about that stuff.”

    The 25-year-old star also slamming Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis. You’ll remember she is the woman who refused to issue gay marriage licenses earlier this year. Lawrence saying, “She’s a lady who makes me embarrassed to be from Kentucky. All those people holding their crucifixes, which may be as well — I don’t know — pitchforks, thinking that they’re fighting the good fight. I grew up in Kentucky. I know how they are.”

    Wow, I’m embarrassed for Jennifer Lawrence, I’m embarrassed to be a woman, Harris, to listen to a female spout some idiocy.


  122. Anton Mates says

    But as far as our intelligence and the briefings that Dr. Carson`s been in, and I`ve certainly been in with him, he`s certainly been told that the Chinese are there.

    Not that I expect consistency from Republicans, but shouldn’t they have a problem with Dr. Carson and his campaign aide attending secret intelligence briefings and leaking the information to the public? i mean, either they’re getting these briefings from the US government, in which case leaking the results is sedition and treason and undermining our troops and all that bad stuff, or they’re getting them from foreign governments, in which case their loyalty to Amurrica is questionable anyway.

  123. says

    Anton Mates @133, my bet is that Carson and his aides are being briefed by rightwing whackos. We may find out soon. Carson has promised to provide more information in about a week.

    When Joni Ersnst claimed insider knowledge about WMD in Iraq, she hinted at a connection made by her spouse who served in Iraq. Carson mentioned “Generals,” so it may be that a rightwing whacko with a military background talked to him. There are, unfortunately, lots of rightwing whackos in the military.

  124. Anton Mates says

    Sure, but the problem remains, doesn’t it? This “secret information” isn’t public, so either the US government doesn’t know about it, in which case Carson’s hypothetical military sources are concealing info from their superiors, or the government does know about it and has classified it, in which case Carson’s hypothetical military sources are leaking state secrets. Either way, Nefarious Treason is happening.

  125. says

    The ragged edge of the far rightwing in the House of Congress has come up with a “Contract With America II.” The contract is a plan for all-out destruction, destruction that the House Freedom Caucus has blithely described as “positive.”

    Members of the House Freedom Caucus are preparing a “Contract With America II” that would call for House votes in the first 100 days of 2016 on replacing Obamacare, overhauling entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and repealing the estate tax.

    An early draft of the plan obtained by Bloomberg News also calls for legislation to slash government regulations by 20 percent, cut corporate tax rates and expand offshore oil drilling. Efforts are still under way to finalize contents of the “contract,” which lawmakers say they hope will become the basis of House Republicans’ 2016 agenda. […]

    Some Freedom Caucus members say the new “contract” is intended to show the group can do more than throw rocks at the Republican establishment by devising a more-positive legislative agenda.

    Bloomberg News link

    The contract includes other “positive” agendas, like defunding Planned Parenthood.

  126. says

    Anton @135:

    Sure, but the problem remains, doesn’t it? This “secret information” isn’t public, so either the US government doesn’t know about it, in which case Carson’s hypothetical military sources are concealing info from their superiors, or the government does know about it and has classified it, in which case Carson’s hypothetical military sources are leaking state secrets. Either way, Nefarious Treason is happening.

    White House officials have already denied Carson’s claims. Some smirked a bit while doing so.

    Chances are good that what looks like treason is just stupidity. The “secret” information is not real. It is conspiracy theories pulled out of someone’s ass and then flogged to gullible people like Carson as truth.

    Carson is already making moves that indicate he will have to back down a bit. In an interview with Katie Couric he said that he meant to say that the Chinese government sells supplies to Syria.

    One thing this incident confirms is that rightwing politicians, and their aides, do not know how to vet their sources.

  127. says

    Alabama just got slapped by the federal Justice Department for not complying with the National Voter Registration Act. Not slapped hard enough.

    On Friday morning, the Alabama and the federal Justice Department reached an agreement to bring the state in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), a law passed in 1993 requiring states to make it easier and more convenient for residents to register to vote.

    The Justice Department had threatened to sue Alabama earlier this year over “widespread non-compliance” with the law, citing evidence the state was not giving residents who visited the state’s DMVs the opportunity to register, and state offices were not sending in the registrations they did collect to election authorities. […]

    The new agreement, however, does not force the state to reopen the more than two dozen DMVs in majority-black counties that recently shut down due to a state budget crisis.[…]

    Secretary of State John Merrill and other Alabama Republicans have insisted that the DMV closures will have no impact on residents’ right to vote — arguing that each county will still have one Board of Registrar’s office and most will get a visit from a mobile unit giving out free voter IDs. Yet these mobile units stop in only one location in each county, and are open for just two hours at a time. Voters without IDs, who cannot drive and may have full-time jobs, could have difficulty accessing this service. In all of 2015 to date, only a handful of voters have obtained an ID this way. […]


  128. says

    Multiple attacks involving shootings have been reported in Paris.

    French and international media are reporting that multiple shooting attacks and bombings have occurred in Paris.

    According to initial reports, at least one gunman opened fire at a Paris restaurant.

    Police told the AFP wire service that at least 18 people were killed in the attack.

    Meanwhile, an explosion also occurred near the Stade de France, where the French national soccer team was playing against Germany. President Francois Hollande, who was attending the game, was evacuated according to French television station iTELE. At least one other shooting and explosion has been reported.

    Mother Jones link

  129. says

    More on the multiple attacks in Paris:
    Washington Post link

    Two police officials say that at least 26 people have been killed in shootings and explosions around Paris, in the deadliest violence in France in decades.

    One of the police officials said 11 people were killed in a Paris restaurant in the 10th arrondissement and about 15 killed in the Bataclan theater, where a hostage-taking is under way. […]

  130. blf says

    The goons lash out at the suggestion they do not need to kill people, Police union scorns LAPD award for officers who use non-lethal force:

    Blog unanimously approved by Los Angeles union leadership calls Preservation of Life medal ‘a terrible idea that will put officers in even more danger’

    The police union in the nation’s second largest city is upset over a seemingly innocuous announcement by the police chief that he is going to start acknowledging officers for resolving potentially deadly situations with non-lethal force.

    The Preservation of Life medal will be one of the department’s highest honors, along with the medal of valor, given out for acts of heroism, Chief Charlie Beck told the police commission earlier this week.

    Two days later, the union that represents officers in the nation’s second-largest city wrote a blog calling the award “a terrible idea that will put officers in even more danger”.

    The existence of an award makes a dangerous job more dangerous?
    By this logic, awards for bravery also makes the job more dangerous.

    The Los Angeles Police Protective League blog,

    We interrupt this excerpt: Police Protective League? Provocative name…

    published on Thursday, said officers already are trained to preserve life and that the award “suggests that officers must go above and beyond their normal activities to avoid harm”.

    So an award for bravery “suggests that officers must go above and beyond their normal activities to cause harm”?

    And, trained? One would hope so. So how do the goons in LA demonstrate this training? Well, to-date this year (mid–Nov 2015), the number of police shootings has doubled (Shootings involving Los Angeles police officers have doubled this year: “So far this year, there have been 45 officer-involved shootings, 19 of which were fatal, compared to 23 shootings through the same time period last year”).

    So the Chief goon has a problem, the goon squads supposedly under his command are running amuck. And seem to want to continue to impose an arbitrary rule enforced by terror and (probable) extrajudicial execution. An award isn’t going to solve the problem, but its existence isn’t a bad idea.

  131. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ben Carson acknowledges that there are no Chinese troops in Syria. (note, Faux News item)

    Days after asserting that China is involved in the fight in Syria — and after freshly offering to prove it with his own intelligence — Republican presidential contender Ben Carson acknowledged Friday that there are no Chinese troops in that conflict.

    Then the weasel tried to backtrack to Chinese involvement.

  132. blf says

    The Grauniad on all the possible(? hopefully?) snark-jumping the thugs are doing, A ‘child molester’, ‘stupid’ voters and … Mitt? Welcome to the election’s silly season (my edits / redactions are in [square brackets]):

    The barbs flying among Republicans have gotten bizarre and personal, and the rhetoric has become so bilious it has the White House speechless and party elders clamoring for Mitt Romney. Where does it all lead — and when will it end?

    Violent criminal? Or pathological liar?

    That’s the question the leading Republican presidential candidate posed about his closest rival Friday, as a week that had begun for the GOP with a polite policy debate ended in a tumult of accusation, insult and hyperbole.

    Donald Trump compared Ben Carson to a child molester and said voters would be “stupid” to buy his stories. Carson asked voters to pray for Trump and said he had better intelligence on Syria than the White House. The press secretary declared himself speechless, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio traded blows on immigration, and somewhere someone was heard to cry: “Mitt Romney!”

    From one angle it looked like just the kind of mêlée that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats would script if they could. But with all lines of political logic in this election cycle having been long since scrambled, it was unclear how the wild words would hurt — or help — the combatants.


    Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University hailed the advent of “silly season” in Republican politics.

    “We don’t have another debate for another month,” Whalen said. “I think you’ll see exchanges flying fast and furiously, a lot of just general nonsense, if you will.”

    It was a sharp contrast to the comity that prevailed at Tuesday night’s debate […]

    The détente lasted until late Thursday, when Texas senator Ted Cruz jabbed Rubio […]

    Trump piled on, telling CNN that Rubio “wants amnesty” — a conservative shibboleth referring to legal status for undocumented migrants — because he and his parents are Hispanic.


    In expressing disbelief about Carson’s stabbing story, Trump went as far as to question the intelligence of voters.

    “How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?” Trump said.

    As far as a campaign technique, calling voters stupid might not be effective, said Timothy Hagle, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa.

    “It’s not a smart strategy,” Hagle said, laughing.

    “Having said that, Trump has been in a world of his own in this. He has done so many things that people have said, ‘That’s going to capsize his candidacy, that’s going to hurt him in the polls’ — and it hasn’t, for the most part. He’s not playing on the same playing field as everybody else, seemingly, at least not yet.”

    Carson set off on his own on Friday as well, clinging to a theory about Chinese involvement in the Syrian war that was rejected out of hand by the national security adviser, members of Congress from both parties and scholars.


    The Carson campaign clarified on Friday that “Dr Carson does not believe that China is currently fighting in or deploying troops to Syria”.

    But the candidate himself, when asked about the White House dismissal of his theory, doubled down. “I have several sources that I’ve gotten material from,” Carson said. “I’m surprised that my material is better than theirs.”

    We now return to this excerpt after a prolonged bout of ROTFL… (Is this a contender for the most idiotic claim — “my sources are better than your sources!” — yet made by any of the thugs?)

    Press secretary Josh Earnest was dumbfounded. “Maybe it violates my job description as a spokesperson to be speechless, but I think in this case, I am,” he said.

    The controversial comportment of the frontrunners in the Republican race has left party leaders uneasy, with “some in the party establishment … so desperate to change the dynamic that they are talking anew about drafting Romney”, the party’s nominee in 2012, the Washington Post reported.


    Whalen, of the Hoover Institute, said: “I think there’s a lot of Chicken Little running around here … There’s too much panic on the Republican side.

    “You can either get panicked at the idea of Carson and Trump, and one of them winning one or two early stops, or you can ask, I think the more salient question, which is: where will the race be at the end of February? I look at this whole thing as a big contest to winnow down the field to about three or four people.

    “I would not panic about what may or may not happen in Iowa, and I’d worry more about the long game.”

    Hagle agreed. “There’s still an awful lot of Iowans who are still undecided at this point,” he said. “As we’re getting a little closer to the caucuses, people are starting to take a harder look at these candidates. […]”

    Despite the generally unsettled quality of the race, Whalen said, it was possible to draw at least one conclusion.

    “I think the lesson here is that Iowa and New Hampshire cannot come soon enough.”

  133. says

    There’s a debate tonight between the Democratic presidential candidates. With all of the focus on France, it seems likely that the debate will not have as large an audience as the last one, but the attacks in Paris should prompt the candidates to focus on foreign policy. We’ll see.

    CBS has made some major changes to the debate topics in response to the attacks in Paris. The network says that security, terrorism, and foreign relations will be major topics. The debate is a 9 p.m. Eastern Time. It is being held in Iowa.

    CBS will air their hour-long special on the attacks in Paris right before the debate.

  134. says

    Hillary Clinton’s comment on the attacks in Paris: “All our prayers are with the people of France tonight. We must stand side-by-side every step of the way with France and our allies around the world to wage and win the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism. Even in this darkest night, Paris remains the City of Light. No terrorist attack will ever dim the spirit of the French people or our common commitment to the democratic values we share.”

    Donald Trump’s comments: “President Obama said “ISIL continues to shrink” in an interview just hours before the horrible attack in Paris. He is just so bad! CHANGE.”

    Ted Cruz commented: “We must immediately recognize that our enemy is not ‘violent extremism.’ It is the radical Islamism that has declared jihad against the west. It will not be appeased by outreach or declarations of tolerance. It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life.”

    I really disagree with Cruz’s suggestion that the U.S. should have more “tolerance for civilian casualties.”

  135. says

    This is good news:

    Both the French Government and the United Nations have confirmed that the big Paris climate talks scheduled for November 30 to December 12 will proceed as planned, but with stronger security in the wake of the Friday’s terrorist attacks. […]

    120 heads of state will attend the climate talks.

  136. blf says

    Of course, in @145 I mean shark-jumping, not snark-jumping. I don’t recall if Lewis Carroll had anything to say about The Jumping Of The Snark, but if he did, it would be more sensible than perhaps anything the thugs have been saying.

  137. blf says

    ‘Poverty pay’ leads Walmart employees to skip lunch — or steal it from coworkers:

    Workers group Our Walmart announces 15-day fast to protest company’s wages, demanding $15 an hour and full-time schedules ahead of busy holiday season

    Walmart employees are so poor that they are skipping lunch, sharing it or, in some cases, stealing it from their coworkers, some of the company’s workers claimed on Thursday while announcing a fast in protest of the company’s wages.

    Starting Friday morning, over 100 Walmart associates who are members of Our Walmart, a workers organization, and about a 1,000 supporters will begin a fast to shine light on what they describe as Walmart’s “poverty pay”.

    The protest comes in the run-up to Thanksgiving and the Black Friday shopping bonanza, one of Walmart’s busiest periods. Some of the workers will take their fast to the doorstep of Walmart heiress Alice Walton’s apartment in New York City.

    Earlier this year, Walmart announced it was raising wages for about half a million of its employees, paying them at least $9 an hour — $1.75 above the federally mandated minimum wage. The company plans to further increase their pay to $10 an hour next year.

    The workers say that’s still not enough and demand that they be paid $15 an hour and be given full-time schedules. The name of the 15-day fast is Fast for 15.

    Tyfani Faulkner, a former Walmart customer service manager from Sacramento, California, who worked for company for about five years, will be one of those fasting in protest.

    “Every day there are associates who go to work with no lunch, or an unhealthy lunch, because that’s all they can afford. I have seen instances where some would eat another associate’s lunch from the refrigerator because they have nothing to eat,” said Faulkner.

    “One of the things I remember most from working at Walmart was my friends and I emptying our pockets to scrape together one meal we all could share for lunch. One of my coworkers put in a dollar, another two dollars, and with my two, we could together buy chicken from Walmart’s deli to split between us. That was lunch; I don’t know if they had dinner.”

    This should go without saying, but I am seriously appalled. (I presume Ms Faulkner’s claims are broadly true, they certainly seem consistent with other reports.) Food deprivation is an incredibly nasty means of control, so nasty that even the Magna Carta prohibited it (“no one shall be ‘amerced’ (fined) to the extent that they are deprived of their means of living”), and, less ambiguously, as do FDR’s Four Freedoms and (later) UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, plus other agreements. There then seems to be an argument that Walmart is committing, deliberately, a variety of crimes, not just at a local and national level, but also at an international and world-wide accepted, level.

  138. says

    The Democratic candidates for president debated last night. I thought the debate was fairly good, though sometimes the moderators asked questions that forced the candidates to correct oversimplifications before they answered the question.

    Here are some of Bernie Sander’s memorable moments:

    “I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower.” [That was in reference to high taxes for the über rich during Eisenhower’s administration.]

    2) “Over the next few years.. we have got to move the minimum wage to a living wage. And I apologize to nobody for that.”

    4) “If Teddy Roosevelt, a good Republican, were alive today, you know what he’d say? ‘Break them up.’”

    7) “Wall Street played by the rules? Who are we kidding? The business model of Wall Street is fraud. That’s what it is.”

    8) “Here’s my promise — Wall Street representatives will not be in my cabinet.”

    12) “It is not a radical idea to say that if somebody works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty.”

    13) — “Let’s say you’re elected president. Congratulations.” —
    “Thank you. Looking forward to it.”


  139. says

    Here a few more details from the Democratic debate. Most of this is presented in “quick summary” fashion.

    The second Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa began with a moment of silence for the victims of the attacks. While Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley dedicated their opening statements to addressing the situation in Paris, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) only lingered on the attacks for a brief moment. […]

    CBS News anchor and moderator John Dickerson confronted Clinton right off the bat on whether she and the rest of the Obama administration, in which she served as secretary of state from 2009-2013, underestimated the threat of the Islamic State. Clinton responded that while American leadership is “essential” in taking the fight to the terror group, the U.S. should take on a role supporting its allies in the Middle East.
    Sanders challenged Clinton’s argument that the “bulk of responsibility” for the destabilization of the Middle East belonged to regional governments.

    “In fact, I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al- Qaeda and to ISIS,” the senator said.

    After drawing that distinction from Clinton, Sanders agreed with the former secretary of state that the U.S. must lead an international coalition that includes Muslim nations in the region in order to combat terror groups. He argued that those Muslim nations must do more to “get their hands dirty” and combat extremists on the ground. […]

    [O’Malley said] “These are American soldiers and we fail them when we fail to take into account what happens the day after a dictator falls and when we fail to act when a whole of government approach with sustainable development, diplomacy, and our economic power in alignment with our principles,” he said. […]

    Clinton disagreed with Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) assertion that the Paris attacks showed the U.S. was at war with “radical Islam.”

    “I don’t think we’re at war with Islam,” Clinton said. “I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims.” […]

    More later.

  140. says

    Ann Coulter thinks that the attacks on Paris are a guarantee that Donald Trump will win the presidency.

    They can wait if they like until next November for the actual balloting, but Donald Trump was elected president tonight.
    Why does NO ONE say the obvious thing on TV?! It’s insane. Don’t want terrorism in US? Stop importing Muslims!
    Paris death toll up to 100. U.S. college students need to tell Parisians about real violence from Halloween costumes & “trigger words.”
    How does one say “Illegal immigration is an act of love” in French?
    Every year, the US imports 100K more Muslims to live here permanently. Rubio says he wants more. Why would anyone support him? [not true, BTW]
    Too bad there were no concealed carry permits … anywhere in Europe … since 1818.

    That’s a sampling of Coulter’s tweets.

  141. says

    Cray cray batshit load of conspiracy theories following the attacks in Paris:

    Kevin Barrett, the conspiracist editor of Veterans Today, knows exactly what happened Friday: it’s another false flag, its perpetrators all of the usual suspects: “Authoritarian insiders. Zionists. Militarists. Islamophobes. New World Order-Out-Of-Chaos freaks.”

    The date alone gives it away, he says: “It happened on Friday the 13th (commemorating the massacre of the proto-illuminati Templars) in the 11th month, in Paris’s 11th district. It’s going to be remembered as ‘11/13’ or ‘Friday the 13th.’ Illuminati numerology or coincidence?”

    Barrett knows why it happened too—it’s all about him and his false flag theories: “If I were a truly paranoid conspiracy theorist, or conspiracy intellectual, or whatever,” he wrote, “I would think somebody staged these new attacks just as I was leaving Paris and planning to return one month later because…well, because they’re afraid that my book We Are NOT Charlie Hebdo is picking up steam and threatening to expose the state-sponsored crimes of last January.”

    Salon link

  142. says

    Mormons leaving the faith, in public, and in droves.

    Short video, plus text.

    More than 1,000 inactive and active Mormons — along with their backers — rallied in City Creek Park on Saturday to protest the LDS Church’s recent policy decisions involving same-sex couples and their children.

    Many who attended the Salt Lake City event brought rainbow flags in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. They also hoisted signs with slogans such as “LDS: Love Doesn’t Separate.”

    At one of several tables, attorney Mark Naugle helped Mormons expedite their paperwork to resign their memberships in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their forms were then dropped into a file box, which was rapidly filling 90 minutes after the event began, for mailing to nearby LDS Church headquarters to have those members’ names removed from the faith’s rolls. […]

    This will weaken the mormon church’s domination of politics in Utah.

    A few comments from mormons:

    in a world of spineless moral ambiguity, one has to admire the church’s willingness to draw some very clear lines in the sand.
    I know hundreds of people inside the Church who support the new policy. I guess that trumps the “several” Mormons you know who are disappointed.
    The only Hate group involved, is the LGBT community and their hate for anything that follows the word of God!
    I am so sick of LGBT community demanding that we all think and believe what they do! LGBT should leave the Church and then leave them alone. […] Mormons are content to leave LGBT people alone. The hate mongers and witch hunters are all on the LGBT side. How about some tolerance for religious people who follow God’s law?

    Okay, that’s enough of that. You get the idea. Mormons have their hateful heads in the sand. Their most developed skill is self-delusion.

  143. says

    Trump blames Obama, and offers a simple solution:

    When will President Obama issue the words RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM? He can’t say it, and unless he will, the problem will not be solved!


  144. says

    During the Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said:

    “I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists.”

    Republican candidates and rightwing media were quick to condemn Hillary’s comments:

    Yes, @HillaryClinton we are at war with radical Islam! You are not qualified to serve if you cannot even define our enemy! [Santorum]
    Yes, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism. [Jeb Bush]
    You’re all grown up now. You can do it. Three words. Ten syllables. Say it with me: “Radical Islamic terrorism.” [Mike Huckabee]
    We need a President who will see and speak and act on the truth…Hillary Clinton will not call this Islamic terrorism. I will. [Carly Fiorina]
    Hillary refuses to say we are at war with “radical Islam.” [RNC @GOP]
    .@HillaryClinton has consistently failed to understand the depth of the ISIS threat. We need @JohnKasich’s leadership.
    If your #DemDebate drinking game words are “Radical Islam” — you’ll be going home cold sober tonight, folks. [Todd Starnes]
    Just so all you vapid @HillaryClinton supporters know. She just said “we are not at war with radical Islam”. #parisisburning #WakeUpAmerica [Eric Bolling]

    For what it is worth, most Muslim leaders in the USA echoed some form of the distinction Hillary Clinton made.

    It’s interesting to see that a lot of christians do not want to be lumped into the same category as, say, Westboro Church members, (or mormons for that matter), but they are willing to lump most Muslims in with “radical Islamists.”

  145. zenlike says

    So literally saying “we are at war with the jihadists” apparently means saying “we are not at war with radical islam(ists)”. Do these right-wing hack-jobs ever grow tired of lying through their teeth?

  146. says

    zenlike @159, I think the rightwing whackos really, really need someone to blame. It’s an emotional need. Donald Trump channels them most clearly, most simply, and most revealingly when he says, “When will President Obama issue the words RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM? He can’t say it, and unless he will, the problem will not be solved!”

    I actually like Clinton’s distinction. For one thing, it acknowledges the fact that a lot of Muslims disagree with the Jihadist organizations. For another, it puts the jihadists/terrorists in a category that almost everyone can agree to fight against.

    President Obama’s comments at the G-20 summit match Clinton’s more closely than Trump’s.

    The skies are darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris. We stand in solidarity with them in hunting down the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice.

    The killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is not just an attack on France, not just an attack on Ankara, but an attack on the civilized world.

    Some good news from the summit, Obama and Putin

    […] agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be proceeded by U.N.-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well as a cease-fire,” the White House said.

    “As the diplomacy continues, President Obama welcomed efforts by all nations to confront the terrorist group ISIL and noted the importance of Russia’s military efforts in Syria focusing on the group.”

    USA Today link

  147. Al Dente says

    zenlike @159

    Clinton didn’t use the magical incantation the Radical Christian Terrorists conservatives want her to use. Jihadist does not equal Radical Islam Terrorists because reasons!

  148. says

    Excerpt from a much longer article in The New York Review of Books:

    The thinkers, tacticians, soldiers, and leaders of the movement we know as ISIS are not great strategists; their policies are often haphazard, reckless, even preposterous; regardless of whether their government is, as some argue, skillful, or as others imply, hapless, it is not delivering genuine economic growth or sustainable social justice. The theology, principles, and ethics of the ISIS leaders are neither robust nor defensible. Our analytical spade hits bedrock very fast.

    I have often been tempted to argue that we simply need more and better information. But that is to underestimate the alien and bewildering nature of this phenomenon. To take only one example, five years ago not even the most austere Salafi theorists advocated the reintroduction of slavery; but ISIS has in fact imposed it. Nothing since the triumph of the Vandals in Roman North Africa has seemed so sudden, incomprehensible, and difficult to reverse as the rise of ISIS. None of our analysts, soldiers, diplomats, intelligence officers, politicians, or journalists has yet produced an explanation rich enough—even in hindsight—to have predicted the movement’s rise.

    We hide this from ourselves with theories and concepts that do not bear deep examination. And we will not remedy this simply through the accumulation of more facts. It is not clear whether our culture can ever develop sufficient knowledge, rigor, imagination, and humility to grasp the phenomenon of ISIS. But for now, we should admit that we are not only horrified but baffled.

  149. says

    A Syrian refugee who is now in Germany put the attacks in Paris into perspective:

    “What’s happening to them is happening every day in Syria, 100 times per day for five years, so we know what that means,” he said. “We are with them right now, just to help them with this crisis”

    There’s some hyperbole in that statement, but you get the idea, and the empathy.


    According to conservative estimates, about 210,060 people have died in Syria since civil war engulfed the country four years ago. That means that an average of 144 people in Syria have died each day, at least half of them civilians.


  150. says

    Lindsey Graham made a promise he can’t keep, a promise that makes him sound like blusterer-in-chief Donald Trump:

    What you see in Paris is coming to America, and if I’m commander in chief, it will not happen, I promise you.

  151. says

    A bit more from the Democratic debate:

    “I have never heard a candidate, never, who has received huge amounts of money from oil, from coal, from Wall Street, from the military industrial complex, not one candidate say, oh, these campaign contributions will not influence me,” he [Bernie Sanders] said. “Well, why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? They expect to get something. Everybody knows that.”

    Clinton did not take Sanders’ Wall Street attack lying down. “He has basically used his answer to impugn my integrity,” she said, demanding time to respond.

    “It’s fine for you to say what you’re going to say, but I looked very carefully at your proposal,” she said, referring to Sanders’ plan for reforming Wall Street. “Reinstating Glass-Steagall is a part of what very well could help, but it is nowhere near enough. My proposal is tougher, more effective, and more comprehensive because I go after all of Wall Street not just the big banks.”

    Clinton also had a response ready for both Sanders’ and O’Malley’s calls to reinstate Glass-Steagall, the Depression Era-law that separated commercial and investment banking. “I have nothing against the passion that my two friends here have about reinstating Glass-Steagall,” she said. “I just don’t think it would get the job done.”


  152. says

    Well, this is a novel event, rightwingers are praising the French. Here’s what Erick Erickson said: “Dear President Obama, today France is leading from the front to contain what you couldn’t contain leading from behind.”

    Erickson was responding to the announcement from the French Defense Ministry about a raid conducted last night: the raid included at least 10 fighter jets and was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.” Twenty bombs were dropped. The raid was conducted with coordination from U.S. intelligence assets.

    Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal said this morning that President Obama has a “deep seated aversion to using military force.”

    How do right-wingers square this rhetoric with the statistics from the Pentagon that show the U.S. has carried out 6,353 airstrikes in the last 15 months. All of our allies in the region, combined, have carried out 1,772.

    […] If we narrow the focus to Syria specifically, as of late last week, France had carried out four airstrikes. The United States, acting on orders from President Obama, had carried out 2,658.

    Republicans have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to ignore the fact the Obama’s offensive in Syria and Iraq is more aggressive than that of France. In fact, they ignore the offensive altogether most of the time.

  153. says

    More blather than help is coming from Republican presidential candidates.

    Ted Cruz appeared on Fox News over the weekend, where he shared this insight: “I recognize that Barack Obama does not wish to defend this country. He may have been tired of war, but our enemies are not tired of killing us.”

    This is not an argument about having an effective strategy, but an assertion that impugns Obama’s character and motives. He “does not wish to defend this country” — really?

    President Obama has had striking successes on national security, preventing terrorist attacks, killing all kinds of terrorist leaders, and helping dismantle terrorist networks. Last year in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, hardly a liberal, wrote, “Obama has become the greatest terrorist hunter in the history of the presidency.”

    One can argue about Obama’a approach and effectiveness, especially in Syria, but one cannot argue that he doesn’t want to defend the USA.

    Cruz went further:

    Sen. Ted Cruz Sunday continued to call for Muslim refugees from Syria to be barred from entering the United States but opening the borders to displaced Christians, arguing there is not a “meaningful risk” that Christians will commit terrorist acts.

    “There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror. If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation,” Cruz (R-Tex.) told reporters in a middle school gym here.


  154. says

    An excerpt from President Obama’s press conference today:

    President Obama, In a press conference following the G-20 meeting in Turkey, addressed the attacks in Paris and national security, saying that the U.S. and other nations must “welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety.” “Slamming the door in their faces,” he said, “would be a betrayal of our values.” […]

    President Obama distinguished the small number of radical terrorists who say they are acting in the name of Islam, and the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing strife, poverty, and famine, pointing that the “overwhelming majority of victims are themselves Muslim.”

    He went on to say that ISIL does not represent Islam and doesn’t represent the majority of Muslims. Addressing specifically the debate that has “popped up” at home over the weekend, he said that we cannot equate the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism. “When I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution? That’s shameful. […]”

    He concluded that he was very proud after 9/11, when President Bush was “adamant and clear” that this is not a war on Islam, and the current leaders of his party are ignoring all that, […] ‘We don’t kill people because they’re different than us. That’s what separates us from them. We don’t feed that kind of notion that somehow Christians and Muslims are at war.” […]


  155. says

    More stupidity from the rightwing:

    Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has hit on a way to posture about the Paris terrorist attacks that feeds right into a whole bunch of the worst stereotypes about his state. Bentley “will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” which is to say he has announced he’s refusing to host Syrian refugees in his state. […]


  156. says

    8.5 million people watched the Democratic debate on Saturday night. This is lowest number of viewers for any primary debates in 2015, but is still higher than the viewer numbers for any debate in the 2012 presidential race.

    A lot of people have noted that Saturday night is not a debate-viewing night for many people, and that the attacks in Paris dominated the news. I was kind of surprised by the 8.5 million. I thought it would be less.

    In Democratic candidate news, Hillary Clinton has promised that if she, as president, raises taxes, families earning less than $250,000 will not be affected. I’m not sure about her threshold there. Seems a bit high.

    In Republican candidate news, Jeb Bush looks like a loser in many respects, but in terms of congressional endorsements, he is winning. Link

  157. says

    Donald Trump waxed bellicose and unintelligible on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program:

    Well, you’re going to have to watch and study the mosques because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques. And from what I heard in the old days, meaning a while ago, we had great surveillance going on in and around mosques in New York City and I understand our mayor totally cut that out. He totally cut it out. And I don’t know if you’ve brought that up and I’m not sure it a fact, but I heard that under the old regime, we had tremendous surveillance going on in and around the mosques of New York City. And right now, that’s been totally cut out.

  158. says

    This is a followup to comments 54 (Nerd), 71, 107, 121, 133 (Anton), 138, 144 (Nerd), and 145 (blf).

    When Ben Carson said he had “better sources” than the U.S. government for the claim that the Chinese military was involved in Syria, we all wondered who the heck his source was. Now we know. Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Dees.

    […] Dees, […] West Point graduate […] supervised U.S. troops in Korea and Europe and served as commander of the US-Israeli Joint Task Force for Missile Defense [retired] in 2003 to take a post as the head of “defense strategies” at Microsoft. […]

    Dees later dedicated himself to various military ministry organizations and currently serves as associate vice president for military outreach at Liberty University, the evangelical institution founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. The retired general told recently told CNN that he met Carson at church earlier this year. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

    Oh, yeah. Couldn’t you just see that coming?

    Dees declared that the U.S. had “been infiltrated” by Muslim extremists at a 2013 Christian men’s conference. […]

    Dees repeated that story at the 2014 Values Voter Summit, adding Lackawanna, New York to the list of cities where residents are in contact with associates in the Middle East. He went as far as to say that those cities are “all Islamic sanctuaries in the United States within which there are fundamentalist sleeper cells.” […]

    What else does Dees believe? That Common Core educational standards are a threat to national security; that allowing gays to serve openly in the military degrades “moral readiness”; and that the U.S. in going to quickly go the way of the Roman Empire thanks to decadence and evil. He thinks U.S. troops should be christian troops. And he told Ben Carson that the Chinese are involved in Syria.

  159. says

    The growing list of governors who say they do not want Syrian refugees in their states:
    Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley
    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

    The Louisiana State Police, upon receiving information of a Syrian refugee already relocated within the State of Louisiana, are authorized and directed to utilize all lawful means to monitor and avert threats within the State of Louisiana.

    As an aside, Dylann Roof collected his guns in Louisiana.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, was more reasonable:

    We must not lose sight of the fact that families leaving Syria are trying to escape the same violence and unimaginable terror that took place in Paris and Beirut.

  160. says

    The governors who want to refuse Syrian refugees are disconnected from reality and from the laws of the USA:

    […] The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.

    Just in case there is any doubt, President Obama has explicit statutory authorization to accept foreign refugees into the United States. Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president may admit refugees who face “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” into the United States, and the president’s power to do so is particularly robust if they determine that an “unforeseen emergency refugee situation” such as the Syrian refugee crisis exists. […]

    Think Progress link

  161. says

    Jeb Bush definitely wants to go to war:

    On Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” Jeb Bush said that it was time for the United States to go to war with ISIS, and to put together an international coalition to rout the jihadis from their strongholds in Syria and Iraq. “We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear, both diplomatic and military of course, to be able to take out ISIS,” Bush, who is trailing badly in the G.O.P. Presidential polls, said. “We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven’t shown the will.”

    Pressed by Chuck Todd, the show’s moderator, on what else Bush wanted President Obama to do, the former Florida governor talked about creating no-fly and safe zones in Syria, “directly” arming Kurdish peshmerga forces, and embedding U.S. personnel in the Iraqi military. When Todd asked Bush what he would tell the American people to justify such a strategy, he said, “We have to be in this fight. There is no other option.”

    Later, Todd inquired whether such a plan would involve “boots on the ground.” “Absolutely,” Bush replied. “And it ought to be designed by our military without their hands tied.” […]

  162. Pteryxx says

    While the climate change meeting is taking place in Paris, starting Nov. 30, ALEC will be holding its States and Nation Policy Summit in Scottsdale Arizona: Alternet Ben Carson will be speaking on Dec. 4 according to ALEC’s own site.

    At a session held during the 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, ALEC legislators were repeatedly told: “There is no scientific consensus on the human role in climate change.” At another session during the same conference, legislators heard that: “The idea that there is a “scientific consensus” [on climate change] does not hold up.” ALEC counts more than 2,000 legislators as members and it has touted its reach in Congress with former House Speaker John Boehner plus several GOP members of the Senate and House who have publicly denied climate change.

    Despite ALEC’s efforts to promote climate change denial among U.S. politicians, there is in fact wide consensusthat the earth is warming because of human activity. Respected scientific bodies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, along with 97% of climate scientists agree on this point.

    Earlier this year, CMD/PRwatch co-launched a new website that documents the teaching of climate change denial to legislators at ALEC conferences:

    ALEC’s next meeting is in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the same time as the UNFCC’s COP 21 meeting on climate change will be taking place in Paris, France.

  163. blf says

    Bush I!I, et al., “Freedom Fry” Warroirs, sending others to die so teh monkeys can surrender.

  164. zenlike says

    Newsflash: if you are already regularly bombing the positions of an entity for months on end, you are already at war with them.

    Yes, I am looking at you, Bush. And at you, Hollande. And at all those pundits who repeat the same nonsensical “tough guy” message.

  165. microraptor says

    I had a neighbor try to talk up the French airstrikes to me today. She got kind of offended when I brought up the long history of bombing campaigns that failed to win wars, starting with the Battle of Britain in WW2.

  166. says

    Pteryxx @179, Ben Carson needs ALEC. He wants to be a far right warrior, but he definitely doesn’t have the chops to write his own policies, nor to even help write legislation. He will depend on ALEC to do all that work for him. He’ll claim it as his own … and it will all be bad.

    Carson already has a background in plagiarism, so a relationship with ALEC will fit right into his comfort zone.

    ALEC needs to expand the services it offers to Ben Carson. He needs foreign policy help:

    Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Carson could not name a specific country or leader he would call to assemble an international coalition to counter the Islamic State, despite being asked three times by host Chris Wallace.

    In that same interview, Carson took a step backward and repeated, strongly, his belief that the Chinese military is intervening in Syria.

    When asked a question about handling the refugee crisis, Carson said:

    You know, the reason that the human brain has these big frontal lobes as opposed to other animals, because we can engage in rational thought processing, we can, you know, extract information from the past, the present, process it and project it into a plan. Animals, on the other hand, have big brain stems and rudimentary things, because they react. We don’t have to just react, we can think.


  167. says

    Regarding Bernie Sanders’s recent statement that climate change also contributes to terrorism, a statement much scoffed at on rightwing media all day today:

    According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “Extreme weather, climate change, and public policies that affect food and water supplies will probably create or exacerbate humanitarian crises and instability risks.” The Department of Defense says that climate change “poses immediate risks to US national security” and has the potential to exacerbate terrorism. There’s also substantial evidence that drought linked to climate change helped spark Syria’s civil war.

    Slate linkM/a>

  168. says

    Anonymous sent a message to ISIS:

    On Friday 13 November our country, France, was attacked in Paris for two hours—claimed by Islamic State (ISIS). These attacks cannot go unpunished. That’s why Anonymous activists from all over the world will hunt you down.

    Yes you, the vermin who kill innocent victims—we will hunt you down like we did to those who carried ou the attacks on Charlie Hebdo.

    So get ready for a massive reaction from Anonymous. Know that we will find you and we will never let up. We are going to launch the biggest ever operation against you. Expect many cyber attacks. War is declared. Prepare yourself.

    The French people are stronger than you and will come out of this atrocity even stronger.

    Anonymous sends its condolences to the families of victims.

    We are Anonymous

    We are legion

    We do not forgive

    We do not forget

    Expect us

  169. says

    Rightwing media is in a paroxysm of joy over new fodder it has to excoriate President Obama. Here’s an account of what Obama actually said:

    President Obama used part of his press conference Monday at the G20 summit in Turkey to lay waste to empty slogans that some politicians develop instead of creating real plans to defeat terrorist groups.

    “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning’ or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people,” Obama said as part of an extended response to a reporter’s question.


    So what did the right-wingers do? They edited the quote to make it seem like President Obama said he was “not interested in America winning.” They edited the video too.

    The other rightwing orgasm is over President Obama having said previously that ISIS was “contained,” a statement he made in direct reference to geographical boundaries of ISIS-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq. Obama also followed up by saying that the U.S. and its allies had not yet succeeded in decimating all of the ISIS leadership. The rightwing take on this is that Obama claimed ISIS is “contained” and look! they got all the way to France, that’s not contained! The rightwingers deliberately misunderstood the previous comments. Or maybe they’re just stupid.

  170. says

    Right-wingers are really heating up over ISIS, the Paris attacks, and what they describe as President Obama’s cowardice.

    Tom DeLay […] declared that President Obama is a coward who has “surrendered to ISIS” and so Republicans need to dedicate themselves to putting pressure on Obama and the Democrats to launch a full-scale war against ISIS. […]

    “If I was there,” he continued, “I would suspend all legislation for the rest of the year …. and focus on going to war and eliminating ISIS and go to the American people in their districts and in their states, explain what’s going on here, explain what has to happen, show them a president that is a coward and stand up for the people when they rise up.

    “First place I would go is I would go to every state that has a Democrat senator and every district that has a Democrat House member and I would physically move my members into those districts and start holding town meetings and hang Obama around these Democrats and weaken their resolve to support this horrible strategy of Obama’s. Then you can build a pressure cooker that might force the president to do the right thing.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  171. says

    Amanda Marcotte gets it right:

    Are Republicans getting paid to write propaganda for ISIS? If I worked for ISIS, I’d consider cutting them a check or at least a thank you card for all the hard work they’ve been doing, helping create the narrative that the United States is so anti-Muslim, so consumed with hatred with all things Islam, that they can’t even tell the difference between bad guys like ISIS and the victims who are trying to find safety, i.e. the Syrian refugees.

    If I were trying to stoke the us vs. them narrative that ISIS uses to recruit people to join their apocalyptic war-mongering cult, I would argue that “the West” hates the ordinary Muslim as much as the ISIS fighter, so you might as well be the latter. But why should ISIS bother writing that propaganda, when Republicans are willing to do it for them? […]

  172. says

    Supreme Court Justice Scalia just compared protections for gay people to protections for pedophiles.

    […] Speaking at Georgetown University Law School Monday, Scalia said the Constitution guaranteed only religious and political protections, […] and that it was not up to judges to determine which other minority groups deserved legal protections.

    “What minorities deserve protection?” he said rhetorically. “What? It’s up to me to identify deserving minorities?”

    “What about pederasts?” he asked. “What about child abusers?”

    “This is a deserving minority,” he went on, jokingly. “Nobody loves them.”

    He argued that it instead should be up to the democratic process to determine which minority groups deserve legal protections.

    Talking Points Memo link

  173. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Meanwhile, as the Rethuglican Pols felate the donors at the donors at ALEC, the October temperature anomaly has come in at an astonishing 1.04 degrees C above the historical average for the month. This is the highest monthly anomaly measured…ever.

    Fiddle, you bloated plutocratic bastards! Fiddle!

  174. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Something from the democratic side, where somebody needs to read the law:

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, told Califf he would oppose his confirmation because he isn’t “strong enough” on the issue of lowering drug prices. Outside the hearing, he said he would consider holding up Califf’s nomination.

    By law, the FDA cannot look at company financials, and doesn’t have any say in setting drug prices; they are on the sidelines. Why does anybody in government think otherwise, unless they are unaware of the laws covering the FDA?
    I worked at an FDA regulated company. Our SOP, in accordance with law on FDA inspections, was specific: no financial information was to be disclosed to the FDA at any time, even if requested.

  175. microraptor says

    And the next Republican candidate to suspend his campaign for presidency is… Bobby Jindal.
    “This is not my time”

    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said on Tuesday he was suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, saying “this is not my time.”

    “We spent a lot of time developing detailed policy papers, and given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there just wasn’t a lot of interest,” Jindal said on Fox News after announcing his exit from the race.

  176. says

    Here’s an odd insight into the psyche of the Koch brothers: it seems that they think their money has a good influence on our political system, but everyone else’s money is “special interest” money that should be banned.

    Q: Campaigns have become so expensive now, Charles. Is there too much money in politics and is it because rich people are putting too much money into politics?

    KOCH: No, it’s because of corporate welfare. It’s – why are 6 out of the 10 most prosperous counties around Washington, DC? The estimates are there over $5 trillion out of a $15 trillion economy that goes to corporate welfare including a trillion and a half in the tax code. So that’s the problem with the money. And so, the more money, the better to change that and get the politics out of people’s lives. That’s what we’re trying to do: put some money in so there’s less money in politics.

    And, from a different interview:

    Charles Koch did an interview with CBS last month in which he insisted that he and his brother are trying to “fight against special interests.”

    When the interviewer noted that many might consider Koch and his business enterprise to be a classic example of a special interest, the billionaire added, “Yeah, but my interest is, just as it’s been in business, is what will help people improve their lives, and to get rid of these special interests.”


    The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce website reported that a Koch bothers’ annual tax filing showed that Charles and David Koch spent about $126 million in the most recent midterm elections, on those elections in which we saw some really terrible candidates win.

    The Koch brothers aren’t always successful when they throw their money around. They’ve been less successful in presidential races, for example, but since they adopted the tactic of focusing on down-ballot races they’ve been winning.

  177. says

    What we know about the latest police raid in Paris, in which two are dead and seven suspects were arrested:

    Amid gunfire and explosions, police raided a suburban Paris apartment where they believed the suspected mastermind of last week’s attacks was holed up. […]

    The dead were a woman who blew herself up with an explosive vest and a man hit by projectiles and grenades […]

    Prosecutor Francois Molins said the raid was launched after information from tapped telephone conversations, surveillance and witness accounts indicated that the suspected planner of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, might be in a safe house in the district.

    Authorities could not immediately confirm whether Abaaoud, a Belgian Islamic State militant, was killed or arrested Wednesday morning. […]

    “As things stand, it is impossible to give you the identities of the people detained, which are being verified,” Molins said. “All will be done to determine who is who, and based on the work of forensic police, we’ll tell you who was in the apartment — and what consequences it will have for the development of the investigation.” […]

    Four police officers were injured.

  178. says

    Part of President Obama’s recent speech is worth repeating:

    I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility, suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.

  179. says

    The rightwing in the USA is demanding that the U.S. refuse all Syrian refugees, that the country take in none, zero.

    France was just attacked, but President Hollande confirmed that France will take in 30,000 refugees:

    Pres. Hollande commits to taking 30,000 refugees in next 2 years; says France has duty to honor that commitment. “Life must go on.”

    When will the French start calling Republican governors cowards?

  180. says

    This is a followup to comment 197, in which we see the Koch brothers claiming that the money they put into political campaigns does only good.

    Their tax filings show that they give millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations, and to anti-choice organizations.

    Over the past year, petrochemical billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have gone to great pains to change their public image and sell themselves as social moderates who “don’t want the federal government in your pocketbook” or “in your bedroom.”

    But IRS filings released on Tuesday by Freedom Partners, the Kochs’ secretive tax-exempt organization that serves as the ATM for their anti-government activism, show they also continued to help distribute millions of dollars to anti-choice and anti-gay organizations in 2014. […]

    Freedom Partners gave $5,745,000 to Evangchr4 Trust, a Koch-tied Evangelical Christian pastoral outreach organization that itself gave more than $1.3 million in 2013 to Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink and $375,000 to the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council Action.

    The group also gave $885,000 for advocacy and another $125,000 for general support directly to CitizenLink — which describes itself as “deeply concerned about the hearts and souls of those who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or ‘transgendered.’”

    It also sent $225,000 to Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion and anti-contraception organization, and $150,000 to Heritage Action for America.

    Freedom Partners reported giving $0 to socially progressive organizations in 2014.

    Think Progress link

    We see you, Koch brothers. We see right through your PR and your layered approach to distributing money. We see you making sure LGBT people and women feel the burden of your retrograde politics, of your social conservatism.

  181. says

    Congressional Republicans are being good at wasting time … again. They are also making their anti-regulation, anti-environment attitudes known … again.

    The Senate approved two resolutions Tuesday to stop the EPA from implementing the Clean Power Plan, a rule that limits the amount of carbon allowed from the electricity sector.

    If — or more likely when — the resolutions reach his desk, President Obama will veto them, making Tuesday’s vote obviously symbolic, even to the senators participating.

    A combined version of the resolutions, which apply separately to new power plants and existing ones, is already being considered in the House. […]

    “This will never become law. It is just a big exercise in time-wasting,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said during the hearing leading up to the first vote.

    He said he thought the Senate was considering the resolutions in order to “send a signal. To send a signal to the big coal interests, the big oil interests, the Koch brothers, the Tea Partiers, ‘We’re with ya.’” […]


    Marco Rubio was not present for the vote.

  182. says

    Ben Stein said some really stupid stuff:

    “I think the question is why is he so angry at America?” Stein said [in reference to President Obama]. “I don’t think there’s much question that he does not wish America well. He has a real strong hatred of America. Is it because he’s part black? I don’t know. Is it because his father was mistreated by the British in Kenya? I don’t know.”


    “Because he’s part black …”, WTF?

  183. says

    To Ben Stein (comment 204), we can add Tony Perkins as another right-wing doofus pushing “liberals hate America” propaganda.

    Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said on his radio program last night that efforts to resettle some Syrian refugees in the U.S. show that President Obama and liberals “hate America” and that the “ideals of America” are “foreign to them.” […]


  184. blf says

    Another one forgets where the Kandidate Klown Kar is, blames Mr Obama, Republican Bobby Jindal suspends presidential campaign (“suspend” is liar-speak for withdraw):

    Jindal criticized Barack Obama for what he said was a failure to take on the Islamic State group.

    “We’ve got a president, he’s a community organizer at a time of war. He doesn’t even want to say the words radical Islam.”

    WTF is it with this racist incantation the thugs are pushing? If chanted or whatever, daesh evaporates, thugs will all elections forever, pigs fly higher, and the peas leave?

  185. says

    Hillary Clinton received another endorsement from a labor organization:

    Hillary Clinton picked up another major labor endorsement from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Tuesday […]

    SEIU is one of the nation’s largest unions with 2 million members in a wide range of industries, from home healthcare to janitors to security guards. It’s also one of the most politically involved unions, spending almost $24 million in the 2014 midterm election alone.[…]

    “As President, I will be proud to stand with SEIU and fight alongside them—to defend workers’ right to organize and unions’ right to bargain collectively, to raise incomes for working people and the middle class, and to ensure that hardworking Americans can retire with dignity and security,” Clinton said in a statement released by her campaign. […]


  186. blf says

    Mr Obama is (quite rightly) annoyed, ‘Offensive and hysterical’: Obama lashes Republicans over Syrian refugees:

    President says Congress lawmakers and state governors are doing Islamic State’s work by wanting to lock refugees out or only accept Christians

    Barack Obama has hit back at Republicans who want to stop the US taking in Syrian refugees — with the president saying some of the language used in the wake of the Paris attacks only serves to strengthen the Islamic State terror group.

    Obama rounded on Republicans in Congress who are preparing legislation that threatens to suspend a US refugee program for Syrians — and on state governors who have said threatened to try to block the refugees’ entry. […]

    The House speaker, Paul Ryan, escalated the political row that has been growing since the Paris attacks by announcing on Tuesday that he had formed a taskforce to examine ways of forcing Barack Obama’s hand on the issue.

    Unfortunately, Mr Obama does not have the authority to feed these eejits to the peas.

    Obama […] said: “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.

    “When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians should be admitted, that’s offensive.

    “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for Isil {Isis [deash –blf]} than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate.

    “Isil seeks to exploit the idea that there’s war between Islam and the west, and when you see individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the Isil narrative. It’s counter-productive. And it needs to stop.

    I’m tempted to suggest the best targets for Mr Obama’s extrajudicial slaughter-by-drone are the thugs in Congress, but I will not stoop to that short of immoral illegality. Which highlights another point, the murders-by-drone is not helping either, Obama’s drone war a ‘recruitment tool’ for Isis, say US air force whistleblowers (my emboldening):

    Four former service members — including three sensor operators — issue plea to rethink current airstrike strategy that has ‘fueled feelings of hatred’ toward US

    [… T]hey argue, the killing of innocent civilians in drone airstrikes has acted as one of the most “devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world”.


    In the wake of the Paris attacks, Obama has stuck firm to his determination to avoid sending large numbers of US troops to Syria, beyond the limited engagement of special forces. The natural, though unspoken, consequence of such a strategy is a deepening reliance on aerial attacks in which unmanned drones increasingly play a leading part.

    The number of lethal airstrikes has ballooned under Obama’s watch. The Pentagon has plans further to increase the number of daily drone flights by 50% by 2019.

    From its inception, the drone program has been troubled by reports of mistaken targeting. Classified government documents leaked to the Intercept revealed that up to 90% of the people killed in drone strikes may be unintended, with the disparity glossed over by the recording of unknown victims as “enemies killed in action”.

    Sputters with rage

  187. says

    blf, thanks for the highlighted quote above, where the drone program is questioned. Now I hear that the Russians are carpet bombing Raqqa. Even worse. I don’t know if this is accurate, but an MSNBC report put the number of civilians still in Raqqa at 500,000.

    In other news, Donald Trump has gone from saying that he would “strongly consider” closing mosques in the USA (yesterday), to saying that he definitely would close mosques (today). His reasoning? “We’re going to have no choice, absolutely no choice.”

  188. says

    Bill O’Reilly lectured Muslims on overcoming bad PR:

    […] “You have to understand, and I’m sure you do, that in this world there are so many radical Muslims, so many that it becomes difficult for unsophisticated thinkers to separate the good from the bad,” O’Reilly said. “It’s almost like Germany in—during the Nazi regime. Not all Germans were Nazis, but we had to kill them all and bomb the hell out of their cities to break that movement.”

    O’Reilly said that this kind of mass bombing campaign could be avoided because the world’s Muslims are geographically dispersed, but insisted that “there’s a lot of people who are getting a little fed up” with practitioners of the religion.

    Zafar nodded as O’Reilly spoke before pointing to the “good work” being done by Muslim activists to combat these stereotypes. But the Fox host held firm to his view that the Muslim community needed “a better PR arm.” […]


  189. says

    More obnoxious rightwing nonsense about the attacks in Paris:

    Extremist right-wing activist Theodore Shoebat posted a screed on his website yesterday telling people to stop praying in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris because “France Is A Godless Nation That Deserved To Be Attacked.”

    After declaring that France has a long history of killing Christians and therefore needed to be punished, Shoebat asserted that those who died while attending an Eagles of Death Metal concert were “worshippers of the devil” and got what they deserved […]


  190. says

    Even more obnoxious rightwing nonsense about the attacks in Paris:

    William Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition and founder of the Government Is Not God PAC, was a guest on Gordon Klingenschmitt’s “Pray In Jesus Name” program today, where he was asked to share his “expertise” on last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

    As Murray explained it, such attacks should not come as a surprise since France and Europe as a whole have been “overrun” by Muslims because European women are too selfish and short-sighted to dedicate their lives to having children. […]


  191. blf says

    The MOARDUR! spews, Rupert Murdoch to Obama on refugees: admit only ‘proven Christians’:

    […] Rupert Murdoch has come up with a foolproof method to ensure that the United States is safe from terrorism.

    In a tweet offering advice to the American president, he wrote:

    Obama facing enormous opposition in accepting refugees. Maybe make special exception for proven Christians

    Oh yes he did. Does the News Corp boss not realise that this is just the kind of response to terrorism that the terrorists seek to provoke?

    Ostracising all Muslims by refusing them sanctuary on the grounds that that they are potential terrorists is likely to be counter-productive. And, incidentally, is it not unChristian?

    [… T]he editor of [BBC’s] Newsnight, Ian Katz, tongue firmly in cheek, tweeted back to Murdoch:

    Interesting idea… will you come and talk about it on @BBCNewsnight

    The MOARDUR! is vehemently anti-BBC…

  192. microraptor says

    Va. Mayor Rejects Syrian Refugees, Refers to Japanese Internment Camps

    “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis [sic] now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,” Bowers wrote.

    This guy is not a Republican. This guy is a Democrat who, until just after he made that statement, was on Hillary Clinton’s presidential committee. Hillary, I’m pleased to report, promptly gave him the boot.

  193. says

    Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, actually refused to let two Syrian refugee families come to Indianapolis.

    Two Syrian refugee families who had been approved to be moved to the United States and were scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis on Thursday have been officially told they are not welcome.

    The letters also told Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. and Catholic Charities Indianapolis to notify its national resettlement agencies that all subsequent arrivals be suspended or redirected to other states.

    One of the families has been has been waiting in Jordan for three years before getting approval to move to the U.S., according to the New York Times. The family of three will be resettled in New Haven, Conn., the Times reports.

    Chicago Tribune link
    Mike Pence is a christian homophobe, so perhaps we should not be surprised that prejudice and unfounded fears are his default mode.

    And then there’s Donald Trump, who recently said that he wouldn’t rule out making every Muslim in America carry special identification. I assume Trump would corner of the market on whatever this new version of identity was, and then he would charge Muslims a lot for the privilege of wearing it.

  194. says

    And yet another rightwing dunderhead says stupid stuff about refugees, and about Muslims in particular:

    Rhode Island state Sen. Elaine Morgan (R) wrote in a Tuesday email to a constituent and her fellow state senators that if the U.S. accepts refugees from Syria, they should be placed in refugee camps.

    “I do not want our governor bringing in any Syrian refugees. I think our country is under attack. I think this is a major plan by these countries to spread out their people to attack all non Muslim persons,” she wrote in the email, according to Rhode Island television station WPRI. “The Muslim religion and philosophy is to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone who is a non Muslim.”

    She added that if the U.S. does take in Syrian refugees, “we should set up refugee camp to keep them segregated from our populous [sic]. We have veterans in the streets starving, alcoholics, drug addicts. I can see taking [Syrian refugees] in, but keeping them all centralized – it sounds a little barbaric, but we need to centralize them and keep them in one central area,” Morgan said.

  195. says

    Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton said, “It would be a cruel irony indeed if ISIS can force families from their homes and also prevent them from finding new ones.”

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

    And then there’s Donald Trump, who recently said that he wouldn’t rule out making every Muslim in America carry special identification.

    like a Crescent+star on their clothes (in bright blue) to indicate Muslimness?
    I’ll be frst to Godwin that with: remember Hitter made all the Jews wear Star of David on their clothes for instant. public, ID? Trump wants to go that way, hmmm why am I not surprised?

  197. says

    microraptor @214, I was really glad to see that Hillary Clinton did not suffer that fool gladly. She was right to kick him to the gutter.

    In related news, George Takei is reaching out to the bigots who are pushing for refugee internment camps:

    Actor and activist George Takei on Wednesday invited the Virginia mayor refusing to offer state assistance to Syrian refugees to be his personal guest to a new Broadway musical based on Takei’s family’s experience in a Japanese-American internment camp.

    Roanoke Mayor David A. Bowers cited the historical precedent of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “sequester” of Japanese “foreign nationals” after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in cutting assistance to Syrian refugees in his state. Bowers is a part of a growing and vocal contingent of American state and local lawmakers who want to stop all refugee migration into the U.S. […]

    “The internment (not a ‘sequester’) was not of Japanese ‘foreign nationals,’ but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens,” he wrote. “I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.” […]

    “Mayor Bowers, one of the reasons I am telling our story on Broadway eight times a week in Allegiance is because of people like you,” Takei wrote. “You who hold a position of authority and power, but you demonstrably have failed to learn the most basic of American civics or history lessons. So Mayor Bowers, I am officially inviting you to come see our show, as my personal guest. Perhaps you, too, will come away with more compassion and understanding.”

  198. says

    slither tove @218, I’m sure The Donald would tell you that he will make the most beautiful identity patch for Muslims! It will be so beautiful that it will make your head spin, and not only Muslims will want to wear it!

  199. says

    Whoops, I let autocorrect turn “slithey” into “slither.”

    Rand Paul said some stupid stuff about war, refugees, and well … just about everything:

    Paul, who has used the “we won the war” logic while discussing Iraqi refugees before, fought back against criticism of his legislation to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. in an interview with Breitbart News, saying it’s “ridiculous to say it has anything to do with hate” because “you’ll never meet someone who is more fair-minded than myself, who believes in individual rights of every individual no matter what their religion is.”[…]

    Here’s my point also is that if they were pro-Western, which many of them probably are, they would have been the best people to rebuild Iraq in a reasonable fashion,” the Kentucky Republican added. “It would be sort of like us winning the revolution and our Founding Fathers decide to take political asylum in England. You know, it just makes no sense at all.” […]


  200. says

    I suppose everyone knows this by now, but I’ll post an update anyway.

    The chief psychopathic honcho of the attacks in Paris is dead.

    Paris’ chief prosecutor announced on Thursday that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected architect of the deadly terrorist attacks that killed 129 people, was killed during Wednesday’s seven-hour-long standoff in Saint-Denis, during which some 5,000 rounds of ammunition were exchanged between the police and militants.[…]

    Two people, including Abaaoud, were killed in the raid. Eight others were arrested. On Thursday, officials confirmed that the woman who detonated herself using an explosive vest was Abaaoud’s cousin.


  201. blf says

    This is hilarious, US gives Russian newspaper grammar lesson over ‘fake letter’ to LGBT activist (image of the marked-up letter):

    Embassy tweets copy strewn with red pen marks after article claims US gives activists ‘grants’ to accuse Russian officials of homosexuality

    The US embassy in Moscow has given a Russian newspaper a grammar lesson over a fake letter that purports to show that the US pays gay rights activists to smear Russian officials.

    The embassy marked more than two dozen mistakes in a copy of the alleged letter that it posted on its Twitter account. “Dear Izvestia, next time you use fake letters, send them to us — we will be happy to help correct the mistakes,” it wrote at the bottom.

  202. says

    This is from Paul Ryan’s Twitter feed:

    BREAKING NEWS: With a veto-proof majority, the House just passed a bill to pause the Syrian refugee program.


  203. says

    Uh-oh. This is not good. Contrary to other reports, the vote to pause the Syrian refugee program really does look veto-proof:

    Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans as the House passed the measure 289-137. That margin exceeded the two-thirds majority required to override a veto, and it came despite a rushed, early morning visit to the Capitol by top administration officials in a futile attempt to limit Democratic defections for the measure.

  204. says

    Bernie Sanders gave a speech in which he described his brand of Democratic Socialism.

    […] Sanders insisted that, unlike a regular socialist, he does not want the government to run the entire economy — however, he does want significantly more government-funded programs that he believes will make life easier for the middle and working classes.

    “The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist — like tomorrow — remember this: I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street, or own the means of production,” he said. “But I do believe that the middle class and the working families of this country who produce the wealth of this county deserve a decent standard of living, and that their incomes should go up, not down.”

    Along with lifting up the working class, however, Sanders said Democratic socialism also means actively making life harder for the very wealthy. He slammed the Republican-led concept of trickle-down economics, and said his policies would drive wealth by making it easier for a majority of Americans to reach into their own pocketbooks. […]

    Think Progress link

  205. jsrtheta says

    This is sloppy. It’s not “veto-proof” until the Senate passes it by the appropriate majority. And they haven’t even scheduled a debate on it yet.

  206. emergence says

    I’m a bit late to the party, but that thing that Egnor was jabbering about was pathetic. Any attempt to make dualism seem scientific or intellectual is nothing but turd-polishing, and the same goes for all other supernatural bullshit. I especially hate when science deniers try to use wonky faux-philosophical bullshit to “disprove” science. They honestly think that we should throw out empirical evidence in favor of a bunch of word salad and misappropriated philosophical concepts.

    To be honest, that last part has turned me off of philosophy as a method of describing scientific concepts. Using “pure logic” to describe the nature of the human mind, or the fabric of space-time, or anything else that can be empirically studied is usually just a way of denying the results of empirical evidence. The arguments usually consist of making unfounded assertions and treating invented concepts and distinctions as if they had meaning in the real world.

    Since I love bulleted lists, I think I’ll list off my grievances with the whole idea of a “soul”.
    – If there’s some sort of intangible ectoplasm that resides in the brain and gives people consciousness and complex thought, then actually show me. If it’s there, then it should be possible to study the brain and detect the influence of the soul on it, and the brain’s influence on the soul. No neuroscientist has ever detected some mysterious otherworldly force influencing people’s brain activity, so why should I have any reason to think that there is one?
    – Does the soul come in multiple parts? Why, if memories and personality traits and math skills and the like are produced by our soul, is it possible to cut these various functions off from each other? It’s possible to alter your brain in a way that cuts off access to your memories, so does that mean that the part of your soul that houses your memories is separate from the part of your soul that houses your conscious mind?
    – Why exactly would we even need a brain if we had a soul that could think, house our memories, and direct our bodies? Wouldn’t we just have all of our sensory and motor nerves leading to a single point where they intersect and send and receive signals to and from seemingly nowhere?

    I think that the whole idea of dualism should have been thrown out the second that people figured out that the brain was associated with cognition. The boilerplate spiritualist assertion that the brain is some sort of “radio receiver” for the soul comes across exactly like every other attempt to reconcile superstition with science; a convoluted ad hoc rationalization that tries to crowbar bullshit myths into the science that made them obsolete.

  207. Saad says

    Mike Huckabee compares Syrian refugees to spoiled milk (I think?)

    Source [YouTube]

    His analogy starts around 1:55.

    In the beginning he also spews some lies about Hollande closing the French borders to refugees.

    “When Chipotle had an outbreak of E. coli just recently, what did they do? They closed all the Chipotle restaurants,” Huckabee said. “I mean, how many gallons of tainted milk do we tolerate before we say, ‘take it off the shelves?’”

    [. . .]

    “If we take millions of gallons of tainted milk because a few people get sick, does it make any sense that we would say, ‘well we’re going to bring in tens of thousands of people, we have no idea who they are,’” he said. “We don’t know if they’re ISIS members who are sneaking in with the real refugees.”

    What the fuck?

  208. says

    Caine @230, thank you! This day promises to be better later when it warms up enough to melt the ice off the walkways and streets.

    In the meantime, I had apple pie and canadian bacon for breakfast. Inside my house it’s all warmth and indulgence.

  209. says

    Caine, if I read you right, happy birthday to you too! And adding mine to yours for Lynna, who provides so much to the Pharyngulites, thanks and happy birthday, Lynna!

    May you both have so many more as you desire, and may each be better than the last.

  210. says

    jsrtheta @227: quite right. I should have made that clear. Also, Harry Reid said that the bill wouldn’t pass the Senate, so we’ll see.

    In the meantime, it is depressing that so many Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for the so-called “American Security …” bill.

    We can give Republican Ken Buck points for creativity. He connected the Republican problem with Syrian refugees to Benghazi:

    Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck on Thursday blamed the President’s handling of the 2011 terrorist attack in Benghazi for Americans’ distrust of Syrian refugees today.

    In a back-and-forth with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez, Buck argued that no one should be surprised Americans are deeply concerned about refugees considering the way Obama handled the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks.

    “It is a result of this administration’s lack of credibility that has caused the fear and panic among many of the Americans in this country.”

    Talking Points Memo link

    If you are tracking the progress of the Republican-dominated Benghazi Committee, you already know that it did not implode after Hillary Clinton made it look so bad. No, it is still stumbling along. A new high was hit this week: taxpayers have now paid $5 million for this “ridiculous sham,” as Steven Benen called it.

  211. says

    How Republicans help President Obama fight terrorism … NOT.

    Adam Szubin, who has bipartisan support, has been waiting more than 200 days to be confirmed as the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. The job involves tracking terrorists to prevent them from raising money on the black market and elsewhere.

    Szubin’s nomination got a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Sept. 17, and Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) praised his past work in countering terrorist financing during his time with both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    “He is eminently qualified for this,” Shelby said at the time.

    But Szubin’s nomination hasn’t moved since. There’s no clear reason why, beyond trying to make it difficult for President Barack Obama to fill administration posts.


  212. says

    Here are the 47 Democrats whose constituents should shame them for voting for xenophobia.
    Pete Aguilar (CA)
    Brad Ashford (NE)
    Ami Bera (CA)
    Sanford Bishop (GA)
    Julia Brownley (CA)
    Cheri Bustos (IL)
    John Carney (DE)
    Gerry Connolly (VA)
    Jim Cooper (TN)
    Jim Costa (CA)
    Joe Courtney (CT)
    Henry Cuellar (TX)
    John Delaney (MD)
    Lloyd Doggett (TX)
    Tulsi Gabbard (HI)
    John Garamendi (CA)
    Gwen Graham (FL)
    Gene Green (TX)
    Janice Hahn (CA)
    Jim Himes (CT)
    Steve Israel (NY)
    Marcy Kaptur (OH)
    Bill Keating (MA)
    Ron Kind (WI)
    Annie Kuster (NH)
    Jim Langevin (RI)
    Dan Lipinski (IL)
    Dave Loebsack (IA)
    Stephen Lynch (MA)
    Sean Maloney (NY)
    Patrick Murphy (FL)
    Rick Nolan (MN)
    Donald Norcross (NJ)
    Scott Peters (CA)
    Collin Peterson (MN)
    Jared Polis (CO)
    Kathleen Rice (NY)
    Raul Ruiz (CA)
    Tim Ryan (OH)
    Kurt Schrader (OR)
    David Scott (GA)
    Terri Sewell (AL)
    Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)
    Louise Slaughter (NY)
    Marc Veasey (TX)
    Filemon Vela (TX)
    Tim Walz (MN)

  213. says

    Wish I were in Caine’s house, we could celebrate together. Birthday wildness!

    In other news, some Republicans buck the xenophobic tide:

    Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) delivered a speech on the House floor Wednesday tearing into his colleagues’ push to restrict Syrian refugees’ ability to come to the U.S., arguing that such policies will make the U.S. like the Islamic State.

    “While I have focused my comments on actions we should take to eliminate ISIS, one action we should not take is to become like them. America is a lamp that lights the horizon of civilized and free mankind. The Statue of Liberty cannot have a stiff arm. Her arm must continue to keep the torch burning brightly,” he said in his floor speech.

    “But if we use our passions and our anger, fear, and we use that to snuff our her flame by xenophobic and knee-jerk policy, the enemy wins. We have played into their hands. Period,” he continued. […]


  214. says

    More rightwing nonsense mixed with incitement to violence:

    WorldNetDaily columnist Burt Prelutsky writes today that he has an ingenious but “politically incorrect suggestion” of how to defeat ISIS, namely that the U.S. “bomb Mecca off the face of the earth, not concerning ourselves in the least with collateral damage, letting the Muslims know once and for all that our God is far more powerful and, yes, vengeful than their own puny deity.” […]


  215. says

    Yeah, Republicans are holding xenophobic votes in the House, and Republican governors are pretending that they can deny refugees access to their states, but none of them have given good reasons for their actions. Rick Snyder is a good example.

    Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was the first of more than 30 primarily Republican governors who are attempting to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees. When asked about his specific concerns regarding the two-year screening process for refugees seeking to enter the U.S., however, Snyder was unable to point to a single problem with the current system.

    “I wouldn’t single out any specific problem I have with it,” the Republican governor said. […]

    Inskeep [NPR host] followed up to ask if similar precautions should be taken to review how tourists enter the country. He noted that people from Western Europe don’t even need to apply for a Visa to enter the country.

    “Well I wouldn’t necessarily [limit the entry of tourists]” Snyder said. “This is a particular case, this refugee process, where there is a high degree of concern.”

    That concern, as more than one immigration expert told ThinkProgress this week, is largely misplaced. None of the attackers, at least in Paris, were refugees. Conversely, most of them were citizens of countries in Western Europe and could have entered the U.S. very quickly without any sort of vetting process. […]

    While there were initial fears that at least one of the attackers in Paris might have slipped in to Europe by posing as a refugee, investigators no longer believe that is true. Those carrying out the query have said that the Syrian passport registered to an asylum seeker was either fake or stolen. […]

  216. says

    Oh, FFS. These people are hopeless.

    WorldNetDaily super-reporter Jerome Corsi was super-excited a few years ago when he caught President Obama wearing an Islamic ring that proved that he was gay-married to his Pakistani college roommate. Upon closer inspection, however, it turns out that the ring in question only displayed a series of loops, rather than the Shahada, the Muslim statement of faith.

    But Corsi has an explanation for that!

    As he told “InfoWars” host Alex Jones in a segment today, fittingly titled “Obama Is A Muslim Radical Who Hates America,” the White House altered Obama’s ring following Corsi’s major scoop!

    “I continue to say and have always said that Obama’s sympathies are Muslim,” Corsi said. “Obama has always worn this ring which has the Shahada on it. I still believe that’s the case. I know the White House tried to alter the ring. But Obama was wearing this wedding ring which is from Indonesia which looks to me [like it has] Muslim inscriptions on it since he was in college, long before he was married.”

    Corsi went on to explain that the president “wants to expand the chaos in the Middle East for his own goals of reducing the power and influence of the United States and his leftist agenda of revolutionary transformation of the United States.” […]


    There’s not even a way in to start unraveling the nested, twisted stupidity.

  217. blf says

    Vaguely related to @150, Walmart employee fired for redeeming $2 of cans finds groundswell of support:

    Thomas Smith said he was unaware that taking bottles and cans left in shopping carts violated store policy as advocate argues race issues were behind firing
    Thomas Smith, 52, told the Albany Times Union that he was fired in early November for redeeming a total of $5.10 worth of cans and bottles on two occasions, and said he was unaware that doing so violated store policy.

    Support for Smith grew after a story on his termination from the Albany Times Union. A GoFundMe drive for Smith set up by Dounya Hamdan, of Chicago, has nearly reached the $5,000 goal as of Friday afternoon.

    On the day he was fired, Smith, a formerly homeless ex-convict who has a learning disability, had stayed three hours past the normal end of his shift, having agreed to work extra time on a day when the East Greenbush, New York, store was short-staffed.

    Kudos to Walmart for employing an ex-con.

    A Walmart spokesperson said the store did not take issue with the $3.10 worth of empty beer cans he took after a man discarded them in the parking lot, but with the $2 he redeemed from cans and bottles left in a shopping cart just inside the store’s entryway.

    Oh for feck’s sake! Even if that is a violation of policy / rules it’s hard to see why it is a firing offense. The amount involved is trivial, Walmart did not loose possession of the empty cans (Mr Smith redeemed them!), and the intent on Mr Smith’s part seems to have been both clever and honest.

  218. says

    Cross-posted from the “Cowards …” thread.

    Seven Republicans running for president spoke at at an event called “Presidential Family Forum” in Iowa yesterday. Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul were happy to associate themselves with Bob Vander Platts, the organizer.

    Vander Platts wants to defund any courts that rule in favor of marriage equality, and he thinks that government should be an instrument of God. “God’s principles and precepts” govern government.

    Some tidbits from this evening of bigotry and silliness:

    Asked to name the first person they would call upon hearing about a terrorist attack, Carson and Rubio both said the Department of Homeland Security; Fiorina and Mike Huckabee both said they’d fall to their knees and pray.

    When Huckabee said he would fall to his knees and “make a call to God,” the audience responded with the loudest applause.

    That’s what Huckabee would do if simultaneous terrorist attacks were made on Times Square and Yankee Stadium on September 11, 2017.

    NBC News link

    And there’s this from Ted Cruz:

    He brought down the house at the close of the evening with an impassioned plea for conservative unity that may, come the Iowa caucuses in February, turn out to be prophetic.

    “If conservatives come together and stand as one, it’s game over,” he said. “This primary is over if conservatives unite. And if conservatives stand together and unite, the general election is over.”

    Cruz also claimed that President Obama is “serving as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism.”

  219. says

    President Obama spoke about ISIL again:

    Earlier this year, the top ISIL leader al-Baghdadi revealed the true goal of their attacks. Here’s what he said: “Compel the crusaders to actively destroy the gray zone themselves. Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one and two choices. Either apostatize or emigrate to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution.” So it’s clear. It’s clear what ISIL wants. They want to manufacture a clash between civilizations. They want frightened people to think in terms of “us versus them”.

    Vice President Joe Biden said:

    Let’s also remember who the vast majority of these refugees are: women, children, orphans, survivors of torture, people desperately in need medical help.

    To turn them away and say there is no way you can ever get here would play right into the terrorists’ hands. We know what ISIL – we know what they hope to accomplish. They flat-out told us.

    They want us to turn our backs on Muslims victimized by terrorism. But this gang of thugs peddling a warped ideology, they will never prevail. The world is united in our resolve to end their evil. And the only thing ISIL can do is spread terror in hopes that we will in turn, turn on ourselves. We will betray our ideals and take actions, actions motivated by fear that will drive more recruits into the arms of ISIL. That’s how they win. We win by prioritizing our security as we’ve been doing. Refusing to compromise our fundamental American values: freedom, openness, tolerance. That’s who we are. That’s how we win.

    The above text is excerpted from longer speeches.

  220. blf says

    The racist mayor who used the example of interment during WW ][ has issued a sort-of apology, Virginia mayor apologizes for invoking WWII in justifying Syrian refugee ban:

    Roanoke mayor David Bowers apologized for citing the government’s internment of Japanese-American in comments about keeping Syrian refugees out

    A Virginia mayor apologized Friday for invoking the mass detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II in comments about keeping Syrian refugees out of the region.

    Roanoke mayor David Bowers called his comments “unwise and inappropriate” and said he plans to continue in office despite calls for him to resign.

    In his statement on Wednesday, Bowers cited the government’s internment of Japanese-Americans. He said the threat to the United States from the Islamic State group “is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then”.

    The US government issued a formal apology more than four decades after World War II and paid reparations to former Japanese internees and their heirs.

    At a special City Council meeting Friday, Bowers said the comparison was “a mistake”. He apologized specifically to Japanese-Americans.

    “It’s just not in my heart to be racist or bigoted,” Bowers said. “My statement was intended to be respectful, measured and moderate in tone and substance. But it fell short obviously.”

    Bullshite on every count. How in fecking hades is using an exceptionally disgraceful chapter within living memory either “respectful”, “measured”, “moderator”, or sensible? Not to mention a complete lack of both logic and historical knowledge, plus undisguised full-on bigotry.

    City council members criticized Bowers for using his office letterhead to issue Wednesday’s statement.

    “I think the press release demonstrates a lack of full understanding of some of the things that we have suffered in this country,” Councilman Ray Ferris said at the meeting on Friday, “and certainly the things that were suffered by the Americans of Japanese descent back in World War II.”

    Indeed. As the current top comment puts it:

    His comments were not only “unwise and inappropriate”, they did not make any logical sense. There was no “real and serious” threat from Japanese -Americans in WWII; in fact, there was not one act of treason or sabotage on their part. […]

  221. says

    Yes, Sarah Palin is fulminating in all-caps on Twitter, but Democratic legislators are still pushing for a gun-control measure that would prevent terror suspects from purchasing guns in the USA.

    Congressional Democrats are trying to build support for an effort to bar gun purchases by terror suspects, hoping to take advantage of the same public anxieties about security that gave Republicans a ringing House victory.

    The Democratic push seems likely to fall victim to opposition from the National Rifle Association and congressional gun-rights backers, chiefly Republicans, who have smothered firearms curbs for years. If the Republicans who control Congress block votes on the proposal, Democrats hope to profit politically by winning sympathy from angry voters.

    “By leaving this terrorist loophole open, Republicans are leaving every community in America vulnerable to attacks by terrorists armed with assault rifles and explosives purchased legally, in broad daylight,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday in a written statement.

    The bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would have the attorney general compile names of known and suspected terrorists, likely drawing from huge lists the government already keeps. Federally licensed gun dealers would be barred from selling firearms to people on that list if government officials believed they planned to use the weapons for terrorism. […]

    Gun dealers can’t sell to convicted criminals or to people with severe mental illness (two of the ten prohibited categories), but people on terror watch lists? Oh, yeah, gun dealers can sell them a weapon.

  222. blf says

    ‘Americans saved my life’: former refugees from Iraq perplexed by US fears:

    Displaced Kurds from the Persian Gulf war in 1991 say politicians’ backlash against taking in Syrian refugees is a stark contrast to what they experienced

    As US lawmakers voted this week to block the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris, Abdulla Sindi struck a despondent tone.


    Sindi remembers the daily uncertainty confronted by his family when placed at a refugee camp lacking the most basic of resources. The image of food and supplies airdropped by American planes under Operation Provide Comfort stays with him to this day — it was what motivated Sindi to accept two deployments training and advising US troops after the country’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    That would have been when Bush ][ was president. A point probably lost on the current thugs, who would, if they are even aware of it, somehow connect that operation to Benghazi!

    “Americans saved my life,” Sindi told the Guardian. “And so I worked with them and returned the favor.”

    After gaining US citizenship in 2006, he went on to spend four years in Iraq, from 2009 to 2012. There, Sindi served as an interpreter for the US military and in the security detail for vice-president Joe Biden and senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham during their trips to Erbil.

    To Sindi, his story is about more than goodwill toward the country he has now called home for two decades. It’s about the trust placed in him, a native of Zakho, Iraq, by the US government.

    “I was a refugee, I came from nowhere, and I reached the point where I could be in a convoy with the vice-president of America in Iraq,” Sindi said.


    Sindi is perplexed by the fears raised by American politicians over the vetting of Syrian refugees. If the goal is to defeat the Islamic State, he said, leaving refugees in a state of destitution with no options for their future will only exacerbate the cause.

    “They live in miserable conditions, they’re in the middle of nowhere in a tent for four years,” Sindi said. “They just want to find a job and put their kids through school over here.”

    “If we leave them, they will be targets for terrorist organizations.”

    The not-so-slight problem here, Mr Sindi, is you are familiar with reality and rationality, not to mention compassion and comprehension. The occupants of the Kandidate Klown Kar not only do not know what those words mean, they do not the words or the concepts.

  223. blf says

    Let’s deny Isis its binary struggle — and celebrate the grey zone:

    Violent jihadism longs for a polarised world of black and white. We should not fall into that trap, even as we debate how to defeat it

    The grey zone is where I want to live. Islamic State hates it, that place between black and white, where nothing is ever either/or and everything is a bit of both. Those who have studied the organisation tell us “the grey zone” — Isis’s phrase — is high on the would-be warriors’ to-eradicate list, along with all those other aspects of our world that so terrify them: women, statues of the past, the pleasures of the present.

    Specifically, the grey zone refers to the sphere of coexistence where Muslim and non-Muslim might live together. That’s anathema to the frightened young men of Isis, who yearn for a world divided on binary lines, with room for only two categories — them and the infidel. Such a world would be as clean and neat as computer code, with Isis the ones and the rest of us reduced to zeros.

    Not to take away from Mr Freedland’s point, but whilst computer code can be “clean and neat”, most of the time it is not.

    No wonder a city such as Paris — indeed, the very idea of a city — appals them. Such places are all about mixing, like with unlike. The modern city, whether Paris or Beirut, scares them because it suggests that human beings might just be able to rub along, those who are Muslim and those who are not, living in the same places, visiting the same shops, watching the same football matches, listening to the same music.

    “Refugees welcome” scares them. It undermines their insistence that the west has an ingrained hostility to Muslims and could never be their home. Isis despises empathy and longs instead for polarity and conflict. They want atrocities such as last week’s in Paris — or today’s siege in Mali — to sow fear and loathing, so that non-Muslim majorities turn on their Muslim neighbours until the latter conclude the only place they can ever truly belong is the caliphate. One or the other, either/or. In the Isis mind, ambiguity, like a hybrid identity, is weakness and decadence.


    [… A]ttributing Isis terror  — or even Isis recruitment — to western action is a temptingly neat explanation, but it fails to account for the fury at western inaction. In the violent jihadist worldview, western intervention has been a provocation — but so has western non-intervention.

    What’s more, it’s not just military action that triggers a fierce Isis response. Recall the beheading of the US journalist James Foley. It came after US planes had been circling over the Sinjar mountains of Iraq. Except those aircraft dropped not bombs but food parcels, water supplies and blankets to the desperate Yazidi people then threatened with starvation, the murder of their men and the sexual enslavement of their women.

  224. says

    Rancid peanuts (Huckabee), rabid dogs (Carson)… and now we have rattlesnakes courtesy of Sid Miller, Texas agricultural commissioner. All of the Republican comparisons of Syrian refugees to … something, all of them are demeaning, insulting.

    The Texas Agriculture Commissioner is an elected post, unlike the situation in most states. […] Among the tasks are supervising the Department of Agriculture, overseeing the inspection of fuel pumps, regulating pesticides and administering the state’s half-billion-dollar federal school lunch program.

    Currently in that post is Sid Miller, an ultra-conservative Republican who used to be a representative in the state legislature.

    In August, Miller posted on his Facebook page [a] grotesque nuke-the-Muslims image […]. The post was deleted after a public outcry […] But before it was taken down, the image had received more than 3,000 “likes” and 300 comments.

    Now Miller is at it again, this time with a nauseating attack on Syrian refugees: “Can you tell me which of these rattlers won’t bite you? Sure some of them won’t, but tell me which ones so we can bring them into the house.”

    Millers comment was accompanied by two photos, one of a nest of rattlesnakes (too many to count), and one of a line of refugees walking. Among the refugees are women, children, old people, families, and men young and old.

  225. says

    Some good political news for a change-
    The citizens of Louisiana chose not to elect a conservative asspimple as their next governor:

    State Rep. John Bel Edwards, a relatively unknown Democrat from a rural Amite, will be the state’s next governor after toppling Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., in one of the biggest political upsets in the state’s history.

    No state in the Deep South has had a Democratic governor since Kathleen Blanco left office eight years ago. A Democrat hasn’t even come within spitting distance of statewide office in Louisiana since 2008, when former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu won reelection.

    That all changed Saturday (Nov. 21) as Edwards came out of nowhere to take down a Republican candidate once seen as unbeatable in a solidly Red State.

    Edwards election day efforts focused on New Orleans. He met up with U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond in the afternoon at Spears & Spears law firm in St. Roch to make phone calls and send encouraging texts to supporters. Several people in “John Bel Edwards for Governor” T-shirts could also be seen boarding a school bus outside the law firm’s building, presumably help the Democrat turn out the vote in other parts of the city.

    An Edwards administration is expected to be a marked shift from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approach to public policy over the past eight years. The Democrat is expected to bring Medicaid expansion to Louisiana shortly after taking office, meaning thousands of more Louisiana residents could have access to health insurance in a couple of months. Teachers unions and other organized labor groups will also have more of a voice with Edwards than they ever had with Jindal.

  226. says

    Tony @251, I was so glad to see they didn’t elect Vitter. As you may have noticed, Vitter tried to rescue his failing campaign with a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric after the attacks in Paris. Vitter also called in a Duck Dynasty cast member to campaign for him.

    And, oh my!, now it looks like Louisiana will reap the benefits of Medicaid expansion. Lot’s of good news.

    Now that Vitter is out of the race for governor, we may have even more good news coming down the pike:

    Vitter has announced that he’ll serve the final year of his Senate term, but will not seek re-election. We’re in for another exciting open seat race!

  227. says

    A white man punched and attempted to choke a black protester who was thrown on the ground at a Donald Trump rally here on Saturday morning, as an onlooker yelled, “Don’t choke him! Don’t choke him!”

    Washington Post link

    The black man was a Black Lives Matter activist, Mercutio Southall Jr.

    About the incident, Donald Trump said,

    Southall “was so obnoxious and so loud, he was screaming. I had 10,000 people in the room yesterday, 10,000 people, and this guy started screaming by himself and they — I don’t know, rough up, he should have been — maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the interview.

  228. says

    Here’s another, recent, xenophobic lie from The Donald:

    Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. So something’s going on. We’ve got to find out what it is.

    There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down, and that tells you something. It was well covered at the time.

    Mashable link

    Nope. Not true. Maybe Trump watched that in his dreams? Maybe he can’t tell the difference between New Jersey and Afghanistan?

    While rumors of such behavior have persisted in certain corners of the Internet since 9/11, there has never been any proof of such events occurring on U.S. soil. The most specific rumors, that such celebrations took place in Patterson, New Jersey, which has a large Muslim population, were later refuted by police and city officials.

    And Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was quick to come to his city’s defense, […] “Trump is plain wrong… Trump needs to understand that Jersey City will not be part of his hate campaign.” […]

    And former Governor George Pataki tweeted: “Not sure what luxury spider-hole @realDonaldTrump was hiding in on Sept11 but I saw Americans come together that day”

  229. says

    Ben Carson gets some of the history that is, so he says, most precious to him wrong.

    Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said in an interview that aired Sunday that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution. But in reality, the founding father was the lead author of the Declaration of Independence. […]

    “I’m impressed by a lot of them, but particularly impressed with Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react,” Carson said. “And he tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.” […]

    Ben Carson said earlier that the founding fathers had “no elected office experience.” He was wrong then too.

  230. says

    Cross-posted from the “Jesus Fascist Christ” thread.

    This is a followup to comment 25 on the Jesus Fascist Christ thread.

    Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted a series of inaccurate murder statistics from the “Crime Statistics Bureau — San Francisco.” The bureau doesn’t exist and the statistics were fabricated. It appears the numbers were manipulated to perpetuate racism against African Americans. For example, the graphic claims that 81% of whites are killed by blacks. The actual percentage, based on the latest data from the FBI, is 14 percent.


    So where did this image of bogus crime statistics come from? From a neo-Nazi who uses a swastika for an avatar.

    Some media outlets basically let Trump get away with this particular racist lie by calling Trump’s tweet “controversial.”

    Also, Trump did not tweet “racially charged crime data,” as CNN reporters said. Trump did not tweet data. Trump tweeted a neo-Nazi meme that is false, wrong, a lie, bigoted and racist.

    A few media outlets got it right in reporting on Trump’s trumped up crime stats, calling them “very wrong,” “wildly incorrect,” “wildly inaccurate,” and “false statistics to make a racist point.” I guess we can write all of those sources off as “liberal media,” including The Washington Post and The Daily Beast.

    Another source for media responses, and debunking, of Trump’s false crime statistics.

    Trump’s poll numbers have gone up again.

  231. blf says

    First EPA chief accuses Republicans of ignoring science for political gain:

    William Ruckelshaus, who this week will receive the presidential medal of freedom, says candidates are harming US’s reputation ahead of Paris climate talks

    The man considered the father figure of environmental protection in the US has attacked Republicans for “going through all the stages of denial” over climate change, accusing leading presidential contenders Donald Trump and Marco Rubio of ignoring science for political gain.

    Quibble: Whilst Mr Ruckelshaus certainly did play an important role in setting up the EPA & valuable regulations, the “father” figure could be argued to be Rachel Carson (and her book, Silent Spring).

    William Ruckelshaus, who on Tuesday is to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom, told the Guardian that leading Republicans are harming the US’s reputation by attempting to stymie efforts to tackle climate change.

    The criticism is particularly stinging as Ruckelshaus previously ran for election as a Republican and was appointed by Richard Nixon as the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Ronald Reagan appointed him to a second term at the federal regulator in 1983.

    “The {Obama} administration is trying to lead on climate change but they aren’t getting much support from the Republicans who have turned it into a partisan issue, which is too bad,” Ruckelshaus said. “If they are successful, that will set us back a fair bit. It won’t look good to the world and it won’t be good for the US.”


    Ben Carson […] has said climate change is “not a big deal”, while […] Marco Rubio said last year that scientists have taken “a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to man-made activity. I don’t agree with that.”

    Ruckelshaus criticised the current Republican leadership for “resisting doing anything” on climate change in a bid to appease the party’s increasingly conservative voting base.

    And Faux, Exxon, & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited

    “The Republicans aren’t helping, they are just responding to the convictions of the base that climate change isn’t a real problem and feeding that back to them — it’s a vicious cycle,” he said. “Instead of treating it as a serious problem they are going through all the stages of denial. They are now at the stage of saying that it’s too expensive to do anything about climate change, which is no solution at all, they may as well just deny it’s a problem.

    “I don’t know what Trump actually knows about climate change, I don’t think Trump thinks much about many of the issues. Rubio shifts around a lot because he hears a lot of different messages from his constituents but what he’s essentially saying is that climate change isn’t a big enough problem to address. That comes down to not dealing with it. It’s concerning and I don’t understand why they don’t see this as an opportunity rather than something to be denied.”


    Under Obama’s plan to slash the US’s output of greenhouse gases, the EPA will treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant and will ensure that power plants cut emissions by 32% by 2030 on 2005 levels. A coalition of 24 states and a coal mining companies have filed lawsuits against what they call the “flatly illegal” regulations, claiming that they represent an overreach of executive power.

    But Ruckelshaus said the new use of the EPA’s powers was “exactly how the Clean Air Act was meant to work in the first place”.


    The former EPA administrator will be honoured primarily for his environmental work but he is also known for resigning as deputy attorney general in October 1973 amid the Watergate crisis after refusing to dismiss the special prosecutor in the case.

  232. blf says

    As a follow-up to @258, The Grauniad has a nice round-up of some of the thugs’s idiocy regarding AGW, Climate change and the Republican party: ‘America is not a planet’ (all emboldening in the original):

    As world leaders prepare for climate talks in Paris, Republicans are under fresh scrutiny for their refusal to acknowledge the science. Here, from the extreme to the merely contrary, is a sample of some of their statements


    Marco Rubio
    Said in September 2015: “We’re not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate. America is a lot of things, the greatest country in the world, absolutely. But America is not a planet.”

    USArseholierthanthouastan! Rah rah rah!! Therefore, AGW isn’t a problem, and even if it was a problem, it ain’t involves us ‘cuz US isn’t a planet!!! Besides, the cow jumped over the moon.

    Ben Carson
    Said in October 2015: “Just the way the Earth rotates on its axis, how far away it is from the sun. These are all very complex things. Gravity, where did it come from?”

    Right, let’s repeal the Law of Gravity. That way, all that nasty GHG will float off into space where, other than inconveniencing the cow, it won’t be problem. So no moar AGW, which isn’t real anyways.

    Ted Cruz
    Said in October 2015: “Climate change is not science. It’s religion. Look at the language, where they call you a denier. Denier is not the language of science. Any good scientist is a skeptic. If he’s not, he or she should not be a scientist. But yet the language of the global warming alarmists, ‘denier’ is the language of religion. It’s heretic. You are a blasphemer.”

    You mind is so open the cow could land there.

    John Boehner
    Said in May 2009: “Every time we exhale we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know when they do what they do you’ve got more carbon dioxide.”

    And that’s why cows should be sent into orbit around the moon: To reduce the amount of GHGs.

  233. blf says

    I would put this in the Discuss: World Politics thread, except it seems to be closed (presumably due to the three month statute of limitations expiring…). Anyways, Poland’s recently-elected rightwing nutjob (RWNJ) govrenment is enthusiastically throwing shite around. The day after the recent events in Paris they close the country to Syrian refugees (not sure what the current situation is, they got a lot of flack for that).

    Now, one of the RWNJs is trying to ban a play by the Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek, Polish minister tries to ban Nobel winner’s ‘pornographic’ play: “Piotr Gliński’s move seen by civil liberties groups as a sign country is poised for a return to draconian state censorship”.

    That article also mentions that the RWNJs have been up to even more mischief, “Within a week of being sworn in this month, the Law & Justice government has sacked Poland’s intelligence chiefs and passed a legal amendment that could allow political control of the constitutional court.”

    Another RWNJ thinks the protocols of the elders of zion is real! Polish defence minister condemned over Jewish conspiracy theory. This kook is apparently something of a conspiracy nutter with the usual denial of actual evidence and invention of falsehoods.

  234. says

    I like this proposal from Hillary Clinton:

    In what her campaign is calling a Social Security expansion, Hillary Clinton has proposed a tax credit and Social Security credit to people caring for elderly and disabled family members. The credit of up to $6,000 would offset costs associated with caregiving, and the Social Security credit would make up for the loss of contributions when people leave the workforce to provide care.

    The maximum value of the caregiving credit would be $1,200 for qualifying families and is the latest in a series of tax proposals Clinton plans to introduce aimed at boosting the middle class.

    “That will help family budgets stretch, it will help seniors maintain independence,” Clinton said Sunday at a campaign stop in Iowa, which holds the first party-nominating contest in February.

    Daily Kos link

    Reuters link

    Clinton’s proposal also includes respite care, (care for caregivers). Having taken care of my parents for more than two years as they slowly died, I understand how important respite care can be. In fact, stats for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are scary, with caregivers sometimes dying from the stress.

    blf @260, some of those Polish politicians would be right at home among Donald Trump’s supporters. Elders of Zion, really!?

  235. says

    This is a followup to comment 261.

    Bernie Sanders thinks Clinton’s plan is good as far as it goes, but that we clearly need to go further.

    He proposes a broader expansion of Social Security, one that includes an adjustment that takes into account the years an adult is not in the workforce because their job is taking care of their children.

  236. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Clinton’s proposal also includes respite care, (care for caregivers).

    A policy that I can get behind too.

  237. says

    Good news, news that should shame Donald Trump and other islamaphobes:

    Dear Jack, you had saved $20 in your piggybank for an Apple iPad. But then a local Islamic mosque was vandalised. So you donated your $20 to this local Texas mosque. Because of your amazing generosity & kind heart. ‘Please enjoy this Apple iPad with our sincere thanks :-). Love The American Muslim Community.

    Jack Swanson is seven years old. He lives in Texas, and his heart in the right place.

  238. says


    In separate announcements, the FBI and the Department of Justice say they’ll create programs to monitor police-involved shootings at the federal level. Law enforcement agencies are tasked with tallying their own officer-involved shootings, but after the officer-involved death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it came to light that no government agency maintains a complete database of the national numbers.

  239. says

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott actually told nonprofits in his state to stop helping Syrian refugees.

    […] He’s a mean, dumb man. He is also a liar. Last week, on the heels of the tragic events in France, Abbott joined his fellow cowards Republicans in trying to ban Syrian refugees from entering his state. He referred to the Syrian refugees that had been erroneously implicated, on suspect evidence, […]


  240. says

    County election boards in North Carolina moved a lot of early voting places, and they closed others. One result:

    […] African American voters found themselves 350,000 miles farther away from their nearest early voting sites than they were in 2012, while white voters’ total distance-to-poll increased by only 21,000 miles.

    This blatant attempt to keep black voters from the polls by making it harder for them to vote […] is akin to [poll taxes] […]

    Crunching these numbers […] revealed the striking disparity in distance-to-poll changes imposed on black, but not white, voters. Today, Insightus releases the full report from Busa’s research in North Carolina, and launches the Fair Places Project, in which they hope to expose similar actions by elections boards in other states. […]

    Once we understood the sheer magnitude of the scam that is being perpetrated here, we realized that our next step has to be to look at racial disparity in polling place locations for other states, as well. North Carolina has been a high-priority target for the Koch brothers and other radical plutocrats, so it seems reasonable to assume that what’s working for them here is probably being implemented in other states, as well. […]


    Insightus link

  241. says

    This is a followup to comment 51 on the Jesus Fascist Christ thread.

    Ben Carson is backing up the Trumpster’s claims that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered while the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11.

    Ben Carson told reporters on Monday that he has seen the news coverage of New Jersey residents cheering after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a debunked rumor resurfaced by Donald Trump over the weekend.

    He told reporters in Nevada that he “saw the film” of New Jersey residents cheering, later clarifying that he saw the “newsreels” of the cheering, according to ABC News. […]

    The rumors Trump cited have been debunked by numerous fact-checkers. Some news outlets reported rumors of crowds cheering after the attack, but there was no evidence to support the few reports about Muslims cheering in New Jersey. According to CNN, some local news outlets showed images of Palestinians cheering after the attacks, but it does not appear that there are any photos or video of the events to which Trump and Carson are referring. […]

  242. blf says

    This is an older article / analysis from Reuters I stumbled across whilst searching for a more recent article about a certain village in Syria (whose name escapes me at the moment (Dabeq?)) where, apparently, the more fervent nutjobs in daesh think Armageddon will “soon” occur, Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time. Broadly, this article, and the article I’m trying to find, suggest one powerful motivation and recruitment tool / technique for daesh is the promise of the eminent “end of the world” blah blah blah, not unlike some xian nutters…

  243. says

    Oh, dear. This is so confusing. Whatever shall I do when it comes to holiday shopping? The American Family Association put out its “Naughty or Nice” list to let me “know which companies are Christmas-friendly,” to make sure I do not support the “secular forces in our country that hate Christmas because the word itself is a reminder of Jesus Christ.”

    My problem? Liberty Counsel (they provided lawyers for Kim Davis) also put out a list that “applauds retailers who acknowledge the reason for the season, and exposes those who do not.” And the two lists are contradictory!

    Can I shop at Barnes & Noble or not? Can I shop at The Gap? These and other retailers appear as “nice” on one list, but “naughty” on the other.

    I have also been asked to contact Staples in order to thank that company for putting Christ back in Christmas, but American Family Association lists Staples as “naughty.” I am so conflicted that I think I’m going to have to ignore these lists.

  244. What a Maroon, oblivious says


    I’d suggest limiting your shopping to those businesses that made both naughty lists.

  245. blf says

    Lynna@273, A moar reliable means of determining teh naughty, teh nice, and teh neither naughty nor nicers, is to read the entrails of yer thanksgiving goose. Most people use turkey(the bird, not the country), which is where they go wrong, turkey entrails are about as believable as an essay supposedly by the mildly deranged penguin explaining why she prefers peas over, say, cheese. Turkey entrails aren’t completely wrong all the time, unlike say, thugs. And turkey entrails are easier to clean up after than thugs, and you don’t need to use brain beach.

    CaitieCat@272, That’s it, thanks (Dabiq is also the name of daesh’s English-language propaganda magazine). I still can’t find the article I am looking for (my Generalissimo Google™-Fu seems to have a case of turkey entrails), but I did find this (short) scholarly article on the subject, ISIS Fantasies of an Apocalyptic Showdown in Northern Syria (from the Brookings Institution). The article concludes:

    The fact that Turkish Muslims, not infidel Romans, control Constantinople today and are working with the infidel Romans against the Islamic State makes the Dabiq prophecy a poor fit for contemporary events. The inevitable defeat of the Islamic State at Dabiq, should it ever confront “Rome,” would also argue against the prophecy’s applicability. But in the apocalyptic imagination, inconvenient facts rarely impede the glorious march to the end of the world.

  246. says

    What a Maroon @274, good plan!

    In other news, Donald Trump has gotten so bad that Ted Cruz is positioning himself as the more reasonable alternative. Back in August Cruz was loving him some Trump: “I have been glad to praise Donald Trump for speaking out boldly and brashly and for focusing on illegal immigration.”

    Now Cruz is backing slowly away from white-supremacist Trump: “I’m a big fan of Donald Trump’s, but I’m not a fan of government registries for American citizens. The First Amendment protects religious liberty, I’ve spent the past several decades defending religious liberty.”

    That Cruz is ready to let go of his Trumpian life raft may be a sign that things will not always go Trump’s way. Of course, if things go Ted Cruz’s way, that’s just as bad. Different, but still rotten.

  247. says

    blf @275, that “glorious march to the end of the world” sounds like a description of wild-eyed Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail. Scratch the surface and they’re all the same.

    I’m not fixing turkey or goose for Thanksgiving, so I don’t have those entrails to read. Maybe I’ll meditate next to some cheese.

  248. Saad says

    American white supremacist and presidential candidate Donald Trump expands on his waterboarding position

    “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat,” Trump said to loud cheers during a rally at a convention center here Monday night that attracted thousands. “And I would approve more than that. Don’t kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.”

    “It works,” Trump said over and over again. “Believe me, it works. And you know what? If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing. It works.”

    Holy shit.

    That’s it. I almost want to buy into the conspiracy theory that he’s trolling the GOP and in it to make the other candidates look bad because they’ll up their game to match his rhetoric.

  249. says

    Like you, Saad (comment 278), I would like to think that Donald Trump is just putting on a show. However, he and his supporters are real. They think that way.

    Back in the 1970s Trump was sued for discriminating against people of color. This was in relation to some housing he owned. I think he has always been a dumbs.

  250. says

    TRUMP: Well, I’m going to have to see what happens. I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly. You know, when I did this, I said I have to be treated fairly. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine. All I want to do is a level playing field.

    That’s the Trumpster going back on his word to not run as an independent candidate … sort of. It’s the usual blather that could be interpreted many ways, but it can’t be seen as Trump confirming that he won’t run as an independent.

    He signed a “loyalty pledge” to the GOP back in September. Now that many Republicans are desperately seeking a way to shut him up, Trump is interpreting that as people not treating him fairly.

  251. says

    Marco Rubio does not know that showing video footage of captured prisoners is prohibited by the Geneva Convention.

    I believe we should be carrying out attacks against Sunni leadership nodes, videotaping the whole thing and putting it up on YouTube so that the world can see these people are not invincible. I want the world to see how these ISIS leaders cry like babies when they’re captured. I want the world to see how these ISIS leaders, once captured, begin to sing like canaries if they survive.

    NBC News link

    Rubio went on to say that he would like young fighters to see “how easily humiliated they [ISIS leaders] are humiliated by Americans.”

    This strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do. It’s as if Rubio wants to run a recruitment service for ISIS.

  252. says

    Trump continues to claim that he saw “thousands and thousands” of Jersey City residents cheering when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. This claim has been debunked over and over again.

    Now Trump is demanding an apology from new media for questioning him. And he is backing up the truth of his claim by pointing to people posting on Twitter that he is right. Sheesh.

    In a sign the campaign and Trump himself may be at least a little concerned about the way his comments are perceived, the Donald made an impromptu call to NBC News Monday afternoon. Offering reassurance that he had indeed seen video of the celebrations on television on and “all over the Internet,” Trump said, “I have the world’s greatest memory. It’s one thing everyone agrees on.” […] Many people have tweeted that I am right!


    Via @washingtonpost 9/18/01. I want an apology!

  253. says

    Here’s some good news. Kentucky governor, Steve Beshear, used an executive order to restore voting rights to nonviolent former felons.

    “The right to vote is one of the most intrinsically American privileges, and thousands of Kentuckians are living, working and paying taxes in the state but are denied this basic right,” said Beshear in a release, just before announcing his move at a press conference in Frankfort. “Once an individual has served his or her time and paid all restitution, society expects them to reintegrate into their communities and become law-abiding and productive citizens. A key part of that transition is the right to vote.”

    Kentucky was one of only four states that did not automatically restore the voting rights of felons after the final discharge of their sentence—whose numbers in the state are estimated to be 181,000, with most of those convicted of nonviolent crimes. Though legislation amending Kentucky’s constitution to restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons has easily passed the state House in recent years, it was continually blocked in the state Senate—with Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, vowing to continue blocking it because he was once jeered by a handful of voting rights activists in a committee meeting.

  254. blf says

    Putin’s mostly putting on a show for domestic (Russia) audience. Both he and Turkey are sending fairly clear signals this should not lead to military action or other forms of penis waving, and perhaps to not much of anything else either, Russia’s emotive talk won’t lead to military action, say analysts:

    Putin says Turkey stabbed his country in the back in shooting down its plane, but de-escalation is in his interest, experts say

    Vladimir Putin’s visceral response to Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian plane, saying the country has been “stabbed in the back”, makes it clear the incident will have serious repercussions, but diplomatic observers say those consequences are unlikely to be military.

    Putin and the Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, both have carefully maintained images as strongmen. Erdoğan is under pressure to defend Turkmen communities in Syria from Russian airstrikes.

    Meanwhile, Putin seemed to be addressing a domestic audience when he claimed the downed Russian plane had been targeting Russian-born terrorists, “to make sure these people do not return”.

    The fighters in the area are not daesh but anti-Assad rebels. Whilst some might be from Russia, Putin’s claim that is what he was waving his penis at is on the dubious side of fishy…

    In his remarks, however, the Russian president made no reference to any immediate military steps and said his government would now “analyse” the incident, leaving open the door to de-escalation later.

    “Putin’s primary goal is to save face at home,” said Sam Greene, the director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London. “Expect the rhetorical bark to be much worse than the policy bite.”

    Turkey has also been cautious in its response. It has called for an emergency session of Nato member state ambassadors in Brussels on Tuesday evening, but significantly this will be not under article four of the alliance’s founding treaty.

    Meetings under that article are to debate a response to a threat to the territorial integrity or security of a member state, and can be a precursor to invoking article five, to trigger an allied military response.

    […] By holding a less formal session […], stressing that it is purely an opportunity for Turkey to keep its allies informed, Ankara is sending a signal it is keen not to escalate. It does not want to risk triggering an automatic response from Moscow.

    “My hunch is Turkey will try and de-escalate, rather than take Moscow on. This will play out in Syria using sub-state actors,” Aaron Stein, the author of a recently-published book on Turkey’s foreign policy.

    In its early comments, the Russian foreign ministry said it believed its plane was shot down from the ground. It must know that is highly unlikely, and its decision to put out that version may also be motivated by a desire to keep a lid on the incident and prevent it spiralling out of control.

    “This will be a major diplomatic row, but I don’t think there will be a military escalation,” said Ian Kearns, the director for the European Leadership Network (ELN), an advocacy group for diplomacy and nuclear disarmament.

    “Turkey and Russia have a strong relationship based on trade, economics and tourism. Secondly there has been a confluence of circumstances that have brought Russia and the west together over Syria: the Sharm el-Sheikh plane bomb and the Paris attacks. Russia has a strategic interest in exploiting that opportunity.”

    In the past few weeks Turkey has warned off at least two prior incursions, met with Russian military officers to try and avoid future incidents (making this incident even the more surprising), and issued a clear warning that it will “not tolerate” any further such incursions. It also claims to have warned the aircraft which was shot down multiple times, both before and after scrambling its interceptors. There’s some speculation Russia was testing Turkey’s resolve / “rules of engagement”, and if so, just got their fingers burnt (but if so, it’s a bit surprising (to me) the intruder didn’t back off before the incepting aircraft opened fire).

  255. says

    The facts behind Trump’s claim about Muslims in New Jersey cheering the 9/11 attacks:

    Rumors of groups of people celebrating the attacks in “tailgate-style parties” popped up in national publications like The Washington Post and Associated Press, but were never confirmed as true. A highly publicized video of Muslims cheering and flashing victory signs on the day of the attack was shot in the Israeli-occupied West Bank of Palestine, not in the Garden State. A video of American Muslims celebrating the terrorist attack doesn’t appear to exist and none of the unconfirmed reports of such an incident comes anywhere near the scale that Trump describes. […]

    Lots more detail at the Talking Points Memo link. Journalist Allegra Kirkland very carefully presents both the rumors and the debunking(s).

  256. says

    Regarding the Trumpster: “His right to spew nonsense is protected by the Constitution, but the public doesn’t need to swallow it.”

    NY Times link

    Excerpt from a longer, and excellent, opinion piece from the editorial board:

    America has just lived through another presidential campaign week dominated by Donald Trump’s racist lies. Here’s a partial list of false statements: The United States is about to take in 250,000 Syrian refugees; African-Americans are responsible for most white homicides; and during the 9/11 attacks, “thousands and thousands” of people in an unnamed “Arab” community in New Jersey “were cheering as that building was coming down.”

    In the Republican field, Mr. Trump has distinguished himself as fastest to dive to the bottom. If it’s a lie too vile to utter aloud, count on Mr. Trump to say it, often. […]

  257. says

    You will note that the first act of physical aggression came from Trump audience members:

    […] Before the event started, Southall’s friend began livestreaming himself, saying to his camera, “We want to show [Trump] he’s not welcome here.” Upon hearing that, a nearby man knocked the phone out of his hand, prompting Southall to come to his friend’s defense. The three started chanting, “Black lives matter.” […]

  258. says

    This might be good news … we’ll see. The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and the Science Channel may finally be ridding themselves of entertainment disguised as documentaries.

    John Hoffman is the new boss of documentaries at the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and the Science Channel, and he wants you to know big changes are coming to the networks sometimes criticized for favoring overcooked “docu-tainment” over scientifically accurate programming. […]

    Hoffman calls climate change “the most important story of our time.” […] “I’m also part of a group decision, throughout the company, to bring a lot more science. To elevate the scientists in the films.” […]

    Animal Planet […] aired two documentary-style programs purporting to present evidence that mermaids are real, as well as a similar program about Bigfoot. […]

    In 2014, Discovery’s “Shark Week” aired Megalodon, a film that claimed the largest predatory shark that ever lived was still alive. (It’s not.) Infuriating wildlife advocates, last year’s Eaten Alive promised to show a man being swallowed whole by an anaconda. (He wasn’t.) Oh, and don’t forget 2012’s zombie “documentary,” either.

    By contrast, Hoffman is regarded as documentary aristocracy: a 17-year veteran of HBO with a record of meticulous science documentaries like The Alzheimer’s Project and The Weight of the Nation, on which he partnered with leading research and advocacy groups to present definitive pictures of Alzheimer’s disease and obesity, respectively. He’s won a Peabody Award and two duPont-Columbia awards. […]

  259. microraptor says

    Lynna @290: Great, now if they can just start putting in shows about science and animals back on the air in place of all the stupid reality shows about people who build tree houses and quit the sensationalism of shows like Fatal Attractions, the channels might go back to being worth watching.

  260. says

    In a giant, everyone-is-involved conspiracy, media outlets are not airing footage that would back up Trump’s claims that Muslims in New Jersey (“thousands” of them) cheered on 9/11.

    No, that conspiracy theory has no basis in fact. But it is amusing that Trump’s campaign manager is resorting to such garbage to excuse the inexcusable.

    In an interview today with Breitbart News, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski defended his candidate’s bogus claim that he saw on TV “thousands and thousands” of Muslim Americans in New Jersey holding celebrations on 9/11 to applaud the attacks.

    No footage or reports of such an event exist, and initial press reports about small “rooftop celebrations” were later declared to be “unfounded.”

    However, Lewandowski said that reports of the (nonexistent) celebration do in fact exist and that the Trump campaign provided that material to media outlets which, according to Lewandowski, have refused to air it as part of a massive anti-Trump conspiracy. […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  261. blf says

    This was in England, Train passengers stand up against racial abuse of Muslim woman:

    Ruhi Rahman, 23, says members of public on Newcastle Metro supported her and told abusive man to get off train

    A Muslim woman has thanked the public for standing up to a man who racially abused her and her sister on a packed Newcastle train.

    Ruhi Rahman […] was threatened when the abuser told other passengers she could bomb the train, as she sat with her sister.

    Other passengers on the on the [sic] Tyne and Wear Metro carriage, including football fans in replica shirts, were “angels” Rahman said, and told the man to get off the train.


    She said the man hurled anti-Muslim abuse at them, and said: “You’re bombing different countries and don’t deserve to be here or in this country.”

    She said: “Before I even got a chance to react to his comments the women beside me supported me and helped. […]”

  262. Saad says

    Lynna, #279

    Like you, Saad (comment 278), I would like to think that Donald Trump is just putting on a show. However, he and his supporters are real. They think that way.

    Back in the 1970s Trump was sued for discriminating against people of color. This was in relation to some housing he owned. I think he has always been a dumbs.

    Oh, maybe it’s because I didn’t start paying attention to Trump until the birth certificate stuff. You’re right. It was wishful thinking on my part.

    I definitely know his supporters are real. Pictures of a bunch of armed white men in front of a mosque don’t lie.

  263. blf says

    Re @282, “Trump said, ‘I have the world’s greatest memory. It’s one thing everyone agrees on.'”

    In that case (snicker!), ask teh trum-prat Which channel or network or show; To name the anchor or reporter; When he saw it (time of day); and What the “cheering person” who was interviewed said. I don’t think teh trum-prat has claimed anyone who was cheering was interviewed, but his reply to that question could be very illuminating.

  264. says

    Rachel Maddow covered the fact that Ted Cruz has buddied up with more religious radicals that promote violence. The video segment is 8:11 minutes long.

    This fits into our “the company they keep” category. Cruz is buddies now with Troy Newman, an anti-abortion activist who backed people who actually bombed abortion clinics, and/or murdered doctors. Their claim is that such violence is “justifiable homicide.”

    Troy Newman runs Operation Rescue. One of his most recent (June) forays into anti-abortion activity included a trip to California, where he said:

    The land was polluted — scriptural language — polluted with innocent blood. Is it no wonder that California is experiencing the worst drought in history when it is the largest child-killer in all of the United States? There are no coincidences with God.

    Cruz just finished speaking at an event hosted by Kevin Swanson, the guy who thinks the Bible justifies killing gay people.

    About Troy Newman, Cruz said:

    I am grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman … We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice.

    One of the ways in which Troy Newman stands up is maintaining a website that lists, state by state, the names of doctors and other healthcare workers who work at women’s health clinics. The site posts home addresses and phone numbers as well. Harassment is encouraged.

    Cruz is rising in the Iowa polls. He is now only 2 points behind Trump.

  265. says

    Well this novel. Not only are a lot of right-wingers arguing that the USA should not accept any Syrian refugees, some conservatives are arguing that the USA was right to refuse refugees from Nazi Germany. So, that WWII lack of reason and compassion was a good example, a good precedent?

    Holy crap.

    Conservative activist David Horowitz, who has close ties with a number of prominent Republican elected officials, argued against the U.S. resettlement of Syrian refugees yesterday by implying that the U.S. rightly refused refugees from Nazi Germany during World War II.

    […] Horowitz stated his strong opposition to accepting Syrian refugees and, in an effort to emphasize his point, compared the current situation with the United States’ position during World War II. “Forget this refugee thing, we’re in a war!” Horowitz said. “You want to take refugees from Nazi Germany during the Second World War? Come on!” […]

    Horowitz ended his commentary by stating that the Obama administration is “treasonous” for accepting refugees.


  266. says

    Ready for some good news? The ACA, (Obamacare), is playing a stellar role in cancer detection.

    Researchers from the American Cancer Society wanted to examine whether the expansion of health insurance among young American women was leading to more early-stage diagnoses. Early diagnosis improves the prospects for survival because treatment is more effective and the chance of remission is higher. It also bolsters women’s chances for preserving their fertility during treatment. And women with health insurance are far more likely to get a screening that can identify cancer early.

    Researchers used the National Cancer Data Base, a hospital-based registry of about 70 percent of all cancer cases in the United States. They compared diagnoses for women ages 21 to 25 who had cervical cancer with those for women ages 26 to 34, before and after the health law provision began in 2010. […]

    Rise in Early Cervical Cancer Detection Is Linked to Affordable Care Act

    The results painted a striking picture of increased early-stage diagnoses among the younger group, with no meaningful change in the older group.

    One of the researchers, Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, said the effect of the Affordable Care Act is hard to miss, leading to results he described as “very remarkable.”

    For the ACA’s proponents, it’s additional evidence to suggest the law is literally a life-saver, and for the ACA’s opponents, it’s another challenge in explaining why the law must be destroyed in its entirety, regardless of the consequences.


  267. blf says

    Crooks gotta crook, fraudsters gotta fraud, and Shkrell’s gotta greed & gouge, Martin Shkreli walks back on pledge to lower price of HIV drug Daraprim:

    Turing Pharmaceuticals said it would provide free samples and hospital discounts, despite outrage against boss for price gouging pills to $750 each

    Controversial pharmaceutical boss Martin Shkreli has has decided he’s not going to lower the price of his HIV medication after all.

    Shkreli’s company Turing Pharmaceuticals, announced on Wednesday that it would provide volume discounts of its drug Daraprim to hospitals, but it appears that the company’s $750-a-pill price tag still stands.

    Turning and Shkreli attracted a firestorm of criticism in September after it was revealed the company had raised the price of Daraprim, a 62-year-old treatment for parasitic infections, to $750 a pill from $13.50 after acquiring it. The medicine once sold for $1 a pill.

    Shkreli pledged to lower the price of the drug in an interview shortly after being roundly pilloried by people including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But in a press release Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, said: “[…] A drug’s list price is not the primary factor in determining patient affordability and access. A reduction in Daraprim’s list price would not translate into a benefit for patients.”

  268. blf says

    New York Times slams ‘outrageous’ Donald Trump for mocking reporter’s disability:

    Republican front-runner twisted his arms in apparent imitation of Serge Kovaleski’s arthrogryposis as he reiterated controversial 9/11 claims

    The New York Times has criticised Donald Trump as “outrageous” after the Republican presidential front-runner mocked one of its reporters and appeared to imitate his disability.

    In a speech to supporters on Tuesday night, Trump derided Serge Kovaleski — a reporter for the newspaper who has disputed Trump’s claim that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks — while flailing and twisting his arms.

    Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.

    In 2001, he was a journalist at the Washington Post and one of the authors of a report cited by Trump in defence of his 9/11 claim. (The Washington Post has since added a disclaimer to the report, distancing it from the claims.)

    The 2001 report said that “law enforcement authorities {in Jersey City} detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops”.

    In the wake of Trump’s insistence that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” as the World Trade Center was destroyed, Kovaleski this week said he did not recall “anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating”.

    (My connection right now is not being cooperative, so I don’t have a link to anything at NYT on teh trum-prat’s ableism.)

  269. blf says

    NOAA is getting support in their fight-back against the thugs’s “Benghazi”–style committee “investigation” of AGW, Top scientists accuse House panel of harassing climate researchers:

    Eight key scientific bodies warn Republican congressman Lamar Smith that his committee’s investigation into Noaa could have a ‘chilling effect’ on science

    Leading scientists have accused a Republican-led committee of subjecting climate researchers to politically motivated “harassment” amid an increasingly fractious investigation into the activity of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

    Eight key scientific bodies have written to Republican congressman Lamar Smith, chairman of the House committee on science, to warn that the committee’s inquiry into Noaa could have a “chilling effect on the willingness of government scientists to conduct research that intersects with policy-relevant scientific questions”.

    The letter added: “Scientists should not be subjected to fraud investigations or harassment simply for providing scientific results that some may see as politically controversial.

    “Science cannot thrive when policymakers — regardless of party affiliation — use policy disagreements as a pretext to attack scientific conclusions without public evidence.”


    [Rush Holt, chief executive of the AAAS and one of the signatories to the letter to Smith, said] “Politicians may not like the outcome, it may not fit with their political picture but to tamper with the process politically only serves to weaken the ability of scientific work. Climate science has become politicised which is unfortunate because this subject, more than any other, needs good scientific investigation.”

    There is a brilliant comment (by “dphaynes”), which I quote in full:

    Notice the Republican “let’s do nothing except make government dysfunctional” strategy hard at work here.

    The science is published in journals where anyone with evidence or logical argument is free to publish their own response to the published paper.

    _Anyone_ can write a letter to a scientific journal and say “There is a problem in the data and it is…” or “There is a problem with the methodology and it is…”

    You don’t have to be a scientist. Smith, Inhofe, Cruz and the rest of the Republican anti-science, anti-reason, anti-intellectual clowns can get the fuck of [sic] their asses any time they want and actually *do something* about the published science and actually change the scientific consensus by challenging it in the journals where it is published.

    Yet they never have. They *choose* to continue doing nothing about correcting this supposedly bad science.

    30+ years of science out there looking at the recent, rapid global warming we have observed, over 33,000 papers and not *ONE* of the Republicans or any of their yapping lap dogs like Spencer, Singer, Morono, Soon, Easterbrook, Mclean, Curry, Bastardi, Watts, Lindzen… not a single one of them has challenged a single paper in the journal where it was published. All they ever present are claims of global conspiracy with no evidence and no logic to back them up.

    They’re lying. It’s no longer a matter of being misinformed, or of misunderstanding, and it’s clearly not a matter of questioning the science or the evidence. They’re simply lying because it makes them money or gives them political advantage.

    Lies are fraud are what the Republican party stands for today, and the reason for that is pretty obvious: They want government to be dysfunctional. It saves them a lot of effort. They can spend time trying to fight CO2 emission reductions, they can spend time trying to fight restrictions on formaldehyde in building products, they can spend time trying to prevent food labeling — or they can simply take the shortcut and make government completely dysfunctional, make people give up trying to accomplish anything useful because they know it’ll all just end mired in Republican owned and Republican operated lies and fraud.

    What better way to repay their corporate owners than to make government so dysfunctional that the corporations will never again be subjected to attempts at regulation because Republicans will always attack with lies and fraud to prevent reason and evidence from even entering the discussion?

  270. says

    A Line Has Been Crossed

    It’s starting.

    It started before the election geared up, but it grew to maturity with the Republican candidates. They have set the stage. Some more than others.

    Trump gathered another crowd of haters and when a protestor spoke out, Trump said, “Get him the hell out of here.” Trump supporters surrounded the man, tried to choke him, and then wrestled the man to the ground. They kicked him. They called him a “nigger.” Security escorted the man away.

    Later Trump said “maybe he deserved to be roughed up.” Obviously. He interrupted Donald Trump. He was black.

    A day or so later another group of white hate-mongers shot five black protestors in Minnesota. The NAACP in Minneapolis has accused Minneapolis police of involvement. The protest was over another black death at the hands of police.

    Trump says he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers. He saw it. It was on television. It was in the newspapers. It was on the internet. He is not mistaken because he has an excellent memory. Thousands, cheering the fall of the towers and the death of Americans.

    Days later a group of armed men and women surrounded a mosque in Irving, Florida to protest Syrian refugees coming to this country. They were protesting the Islamization of America. They were armed with AK47s for defensive purposes only… because the Muslims who had been worshipping at that mosque peaceably for years might suddenly go all jihadi on their asses or something.

    This all has happened before.

    Read the rest at the link — it’s quite chilling.

  271. quotetheunquote says

    @blf #303: Trump’s ableism

    Is there no low that is too low for this man? (Silly question…)

    What I really can’t get my head around is (to steal a trope from Last Week Tonight). How is this (Trump’s candidacy) still a thing? He seems hell-bent on tossing as many people out of the good old “Big Tent” as he can, before the actual campaign has even started. (I recognize that this is something he shares in common with his fellow GOP candidates; I’m just saying he seems to be doing a more thorough job of it…)

    But, quite honestly, how can this “to hell with anyone slightly different from us (white, rich, straight, etc, etc.) people” strategy be anything BUT political suicide? Even Ronald Ray-gun, whom I absolutely loathed, didn’t do anything this stupid. (James Watt did, but that’s another story, and he wasn’t campaigning at the time.)

  272. says

    In reference to the comments up-thread about Trump making fun of a reporter’s disability, about 1 in 5 people in the USA have some kind of disability according to the 2010 census. Trump may have just added almost 60 million people to the list of those he has insulted.

  273. says

    More details on the anti-Muslim ugliness in Texas:

    The leader of a group of armed anti-Muslim protesters in Texas posted the addresses of dozens of local Muslims and “Muslim sympathizer(s)” to Facebook on Tuesday.

    David Wright III was behind an armed protest Saturday outside of a mosque in Irving, Texas by a group calling itself the “Bureau on American Islamic Relations,” […]

    Talking Points Memo link
    Dallas Morning News link

  274. says

    Marco Rubio broke out in a serious case of God hives on Tuesday:

    In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot to abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.

    So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win.


  275. says

    Donald Trump has started linking to in order to back up his bogus claims about thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11. Infowars is one of the worst rightwing conspiracy sites. Infowar has no credibility.

    […] Trump links to, a conspiracy website that pushes the idea that 9/11 was an inside job.

    According to Infowars, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary was a hoax, FEMA is setting up concentration camps and Andrew Breitbart was assassinated to prevent the release of damaging information about Barack Obama.

    Even Infowars’ article doesn’t support Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims were celebrating on 9/11. It’s simply a woman who claims she saw a “pocket” of Muslims celebrating. Similar claims were investigated and found not to be credible. […]


  276. says

    Oh, please weep for them. Get out your tiny violins. Anti-gay dunderheads are running out of places to shop for christmas goodies. This makes them really sad.

    In her WorldNetDaily column yesterday, Mission America’s Linda Harvey lamented that Religious Right activists like herself who boycott pro-LGBT businesses are running out of places to shop.

    “Well, it’s that time again — time to get out the Christmas list and start hitting the stores,” she wrote. “The problem is — what stores? For any Christian who wants to spend hard-earned dollars with family-friendly, Christian-affirming retailers, restaurants and service providers, the list is growing shorter all the time.”

    Harvey urged readers to avoid stores such as Macy’s, Target, Walmart and JC Penney, along with items from Mattel, Levi-Strauss and General Mills. For online shoppers, Harvey said that Amazon, Google and Facebook should also be off-limits.

    Companies that post high scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, Harvey wrote, are joining “Satan’s Office Party” and “the nation’s leading self-declared enemies of Christians.” […]


    Hmmm, “Satan’s Office Party.” Sounds better than some office parties I have attended.

  277. microraptor says

    quotetheunquote @306:

    Is there no low that is too low for this man? (Silly question…)

    Trump cannot go to low,
    Trump is doing the political limbo.

  278. blf says

    “Carson’s learning curve works like a boomerang” — a great comment on his apparent inability to learn much of anything about foreign policies, Ben Carson to meet with Syrian refugees in Jordan amid foreign policy stumbles:

    Republican presidential candidate in Middle East to gain ‘firsthand knowledge’ as he faces increasing scrutiny over his lack of foreign policy credentials

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, facing increased scrutiny over his views on foreign policy, flew to Jordan overnight on Thursday. He was scheduled to meet Syrian and Iraqi refugees, his campaign told media outlets, confronting an issue that has upended the immigration debate.


    “I find when you have firsthand knowledge of things as opposed to secondhand, it makes a much stronger impression,” Carson told the [New York Times].


    Carson, a retired neurosurgeon with no experience of foreign policy, has repeatedly stumbled on the issue. Last week, he suggested refugees of the Syrian conflict should be screened and likened them to rabid dogs.

    In the last Republican debate, he made the baseless assertion that the Chinese were in Syria, alongside the Russians and the Iranians. In a recent Fox News interview he failed to name a potential ally in the fight against Islamic State militants.

    As Carson’s poll numbers have suffered, a handful of his foreign policy advisers have suggested he has difficulty grasping complex global issues, despite rigorous briefings on the subject.

    “Dr Carson is on a learning curve. There’s much for him to learn. […]” Armstrong Williams, a top adviser, told Bloomberg TV earlier this month.

    This could be quite amusing. Four-ish years ago a number of the thug candidates took various trips abroad, and all(?) of them succeeded in saying stupid things and insulting at least some of their hosts. My recollection is Mitt Rollingmoney visited something like four countries and insulted every one of them.

  279. says

    Re elf’s comments in 314: one virtue(?) of such a long campaign season is that the Republican candidates have more opportunities to insult not just the citizens of the USA, but also those living in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, etc. They need to cover all the bases. More fodder for late night comedians.

  280. says

    A really despicable anti-Muslim activist is said to have left Arizona to take his rhetoric and incitements to violence to New York.

    After tracing the cross-country movements of a menacing anti-Muslim rabble-rouser from Arizona, the FBI took the unusual step of issuing an alert to New York law enforcement agencies to look out for him, sources said.

    The FBI got involved after a Muslim group based near Albany notified the agency that Jon Ritzheimer, 32, of Phoenix had posted a video on Nov. 18 in which he showed a gun, made profane anti-Obama statements and said he was driving cross-country to confront them […]

    Ritzheimer, a former Marine, has made threats against Muslims a personal cause. He has organized an armed protest at a Phoenix mosque, threatened to “arrest” all senators who voted for President Obama’s nuclear pact with Iran, and encouraged all Americans to carry rifles in public for protection against terrorists.

    Ritzheimer’s destination was the property in Hancock, N.Y of a group called the Muslims of America, which publishes a newspaper, The Islamic Post, which recently labeled him an “American Taliban.”

    Ritzheimer bellows in the video that he’s “going to see those assholes who called me a f—— terrorist.”

    He continues, “F–k you Muslims. We’re gonna stop at virtually every mosque along the way, flip them off and tell them to get f—–.”

    He then cocks the slide on a handgun.

    He also insults President Obama: “And Obama, you stupid sorry sack of sh–t, you wanna come out and say we’re all afraid of these poor little widows and orphans? F–k you. That’s not what’s coming over here … And guess what: We’re f—–g ready for them.”

    NY Daily News link

  281. says

    In Colorado Springs, Colorado a shooter has opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

    The latest report shows that the shooter shot one officer and then barricaded himself inside the Planned Parenthood building. There are reports of other, multiple victims, but no details yet.
    Think Progress link

  282. blf says

    “elf”? (See @314.) Are we talking the LotR kind, the Pratchett kind, the Tpyos kline, the kind that lives in a hollowed-out MUSHROOM!, or something else…?
    And which Klown in the Kandidate Kar is gonna insult which elfkind?

  283. says

    Re 318 and 319: damn autocorrect to hell. It keeps turning “blf” into “elf.” Maybe you are an LoTR elf?

    Sometimes I catch the autocorrected mistake, and sometimes I don’t.

    In other news,

    White Christians now make up less than half of the U.S. population, largely receding from the majorities of most demographic groups, with one notable exception: the Republican Party.

    According to the latest results from Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape survey published Monday by National Journal’s Next America project, just 46 percent of American adults are white Christians, down from 55 percent in 2007.

    At the same time, according to the report, the share of white Christians identifying as Republican has remained steady, even equal with the share of the party that carried President Ronald Reagan to his 1984 reelection. Nearly seven in 10 white Christians — 69 percent — identify with or lean toward the GOP […]

    Politico link

  284. says

    Here’s the latest news from the shooting in Colorado Springs:

    At approximately 11:38am local time, Colorado Springs officers responded to reports of a shooter at the Planned Parenthood offices on Centennial Boulevard. At least three officers were wounded by the gunman as they responded to the scene. The suspect continued to fire at officers from a position inside the Planned Parenthood clinic during the resulting five-hour standoff.

    The suspect surrendered at 4:52pm local time after responding to vocal orders from police inside the building; he is now in custody. Nine victims were transported to local hospitals and are in “good condition at this time.”

    Police spokesperson Lt. Catherine Buckley has confirmed that two civilians have died at the scene. A University of Colorado at Colorado Springs officer who responded to the call for assistance has also died; three Colorado Springs police officers were also injured, as well as one El Paso County deputy sheriff.

    A Planned Parenthood official now says she believes all staff and patients are now accounted for and that none were severely injured.

    The gunman brought additional “items” with him to the clinic; those items are being treated as possible explosives, requiring extra caution as officers work to secure the scene. Police are now shuttling the employees and patrons of nearby businesses trapped in those businesses since noon under shelter-in-place orders back out of the area.

  285. says

    While a 47 year old white man was shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, Representative Adam Kinzinger criticized Planned Parenthood on live TV. Insensitive would be one way to put it, total flea brain would be another.

    […]“We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about.” […]

    Kinzinger also criticized a statement from Planned Parenthood about the incident as “very premature.” He said that, if it was later discovered the shooter was not targeting Planned Parenthood he would “fully expect an apology.” (The statement, while criticizing “extremists” for “creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country,” acknowledged that “we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack.”)

    The congressman had no problems, however, diagnosing the motives and influences of the shooter. “This is a person that has a mental health issue, that is to some level psychotic and crazy,” Kinzinger said. He also said the shooter could have had a “legitimate disagreement” with Planned Parenthood. […]

    Think Progress link

  286. says

    Most of the Republican Candidates did not put out statements responding to the Planned Parenthood shooting. Ted Cruz issued the standard “praying for the victims and their families” response.

    Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Today and every day, we #StandWithPP.”

    Bernie Sanders tweeted, “We proudly #StandWithPP of Colorado Springs and the brave law enforcement personnel who fought to protect it.”

    Marco Rubio was on Twitter, but his message was: “Stay warm this winter with our new cold-weather bundle. Shop now and save!” He referred people to Cyber Monday deals on his Marco Rubio merchandise site.

    Donald Trump was on Twitter, but he sent tweets about his poll numbers.

    President Obama commented:

    This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

    May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.

  287. blf says

    Re @320, “damn autocorrect to hell.”
    I just got a message from Ms Satan, Mr Beel-Zebub, and “Fly Lord” (who I think is either their pet dog or pet pea), pointing out that autocorrect is a human torture disavowed by Hades Inc.

  288. says

    blf @324, thanks for the laugh. I needed that.

    In other news, anti-abortion activists are saying that the Planned Parenthood shooting was a robbery of a nearby bank. Sheesh.

    They have their facts wrong. Many are reporting early and inaccurate information.

    “If you think dismembering a baby murdered for convenience is women’s health, you won’t care that a gunman was actually a bank robber.” [tweet from Anthony Bialy]

    “The AP are going to keep screaming “Planned Parenthood” even though everyone shot was apparently hit near Chase Bank.” [tweet from Bob Owens]

    More here: Think Progress link.

    Closer to truth:

    Police officers have confirmed that “the entire incident took place at the Planned Parenthood clinic.”

  289. says

    Here is just a sampling of the heated, and factually incorrect, rhetoric that preceded the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado:

    State Rep. Dan Nordberg, who represents Colorado Springs, declared, “A civilized society cannot allow unethical and illegal medical practices such as the harvesting of aborted human organs and babies for monetary gain. I would hope that even proponents of abortion would agree to that much.”

    And Rep. Doug Lamborn, who represents Colorado Springs in the U.S. Congress, said then, “It is shocking that despite Colorado being the epicenter of a national outcry over the trafficking of aborted baby body parts for profit, our state officials, who have been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure compliance with state law, have chosen to relinquish their duty.”


  290. blf says

    Re @325, “blf @324…”. What, no “elf”? Yer truly is a spam of the god.
    (Obviously, I meant to type “spawn”, but Teh Tpoys offering has a certain amusing quality to it…)

  291. blf says

    What will it take to stop Donald Trump?:

    For months, Trump has defied the laws of political gravity by maintaining his lead despite a never-ending string of controversies. Now, even the candidate himself is wondering whether his improbable campaign can go the distance

    [… lots of background info on teh trum-prat’s, well, insanity (I welcome a better term) …]

    And just as critics began to argue that such comments about Muslims were brutal, racist demagoguery verging on fascism, Trump’s Twitter account recirculated racially charged but falsified crime statistics from an actual Nazi sympathiser.

    Trump has complained that many of these incidents were exaggerated by the political media, 70% of whom he says are “scum”. But he has nonetheless refused to retract any of the comments.

    “I could have said ‘Oh, I misspoke’, but I am not big on that,” he told the crowd in South Carolina. “You have to be wrong.”

    Some rivals still hope that eventually even Trump’s supporters will tire of what critics view as his relentless attacks on minorities in particular. Ohio governor John Kasich, for example, is running attack ads drawing inspiration from anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, whose updated refrain might begin: “First they came for the Mexicans{…}”

    Others question whether there is much over-arching political ideology to Trump at all, as opposed to simple opportunism and a relish for making waves.

    “He is an egomaniac, he’s a narcissist, he’s not a conservative, he’s not a liberal, he believes in himself,” former presidential rival Bobby Jindal told the Guardian shortly before dropping out of the race. “He’s not reflective of a coherent ideology, he’s for himself. He took Reagan’s slogan about making America great again, {but} he’s about making Donald Trump.”

    Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has accused his nemesis of living in an “alternate universe” designed to “prey on people’s fears”.

    [… A] well-connected New Hampshire Republican marvels at the political controversies that Trump has weathered.

    “Just one of these flips flops, gaffes or lies, would have killed a capable, competent campaign,” he said. But, he added, “if your campaign is based on jumping the shark, there’s no jumping the shark moment”.


    So what might it take to stop Trump?

    The biggest source of optimism among opponents is the increasing belief that the polling on which Trump draws his confidence is profoundly flawed.

    For starters, there is strong evidence that simple polls this far away from election day can be an average of eight percentage points out, simply because most people have not made up their mind.

    Hype has also consistently run ahead of reality, a crucial factor for a candidate who relies on relentless media coverage to overshadow his opponents.

    Before announcing that he was running, Trump was polling at just 2% but receiving 4% of all media coverage. A small enough gap. But immediately after his announcement, while Trump’s support had climbed to 11%, the media was dedicating 20% to 30% of candidacy headlines to one candidate.

    Polls that just ask whether people think Trump is likely to win, rather than whether they would actually vote for him, again show the gap between expectations and reality. Many surveys do not adjust for low turnout levels in primary elections either.


    Yet Trump’s support base could be problematic on election day. In 2008, Americans who didn’t graduate from college were significantly less likely to register to vote compared to those who did graduate.

    It does look like Trump supporters tend to be less educated. But the more detailed the demographic data, the less reliable it is, given that pollsters are struggling to find representative samples of Americans to talk to them.

    Those demographics might also explain why college-educated pundits underestimated Trump’s support. There is another cognitive bias, one called “the curse of knowledge”, whereby better informed people find it difficult to view problems from the perspective of others who don’t have the same information.


    “Trump’s got a locked-in base no matter what he does,” [“prominent Iowa conservative” Steve Deace] said. Deace, a vocal supporter of Cruz, compared Trump to former Texas congressman Ron Paul in that both candidates had “a high floor and a low ceiling”.

    Supporter of Cruz? Another deluded eejit, albeit he does seem to have a point here…

    Trump’s antics are “both a good and a bad thing”, he argued. “On one hand, it produces a loyal following that is attracted to that persona which will not leave you. On the other hand, it limits your ability to grow beyond that.”

  292. says

    Better not call the shooter a “lone wolf.” Comments on Fox News demonstrate that the shooter has a lot of supporters.

    Is it a drone free zone? Bomb the planned death center!
    obama set this up!!!! he is sick!!!
    PP is a hard target, wait for them to leave and follow them home and get them there.
    probably an attempted holdup by one of the six blacks in Colorado Springs.
    Good. No one else deserves to die as much as they do.
    Too bad the abortion doctor and the nursing staff weren’t all killed. FREE ERIC RUDOLPH!
    This shooter is a HERO! All life is precious, and must be protected cradle to grave.
    their only shooting liberals so like who really cares?

    News Corpse link

    Daily Kos link

  293. says

    blf, for describing Trump, I like “Trumpster” for the association with “dumpster.” I also like your “Trum-prat.” “Deluded” comes to mind.

    In other news, here are a few more indications that right-wingers like to promote violence:

    Fox News contributor Erick Erickson said Republicans who won’t vote to defund the health provider “should be destroyed, ” and conservative blog RedState called Planned Parenthood “our Auschwitz.”

    Fox host Bill O’Reilly described Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation as “Nazi stuff,” while many conservative media figures drew comparisons to the notorious Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, who conducted painful and often fatal human experiments on concentration camp prisoners.

  294. blf says

    A follow-up of sorts to @329, Donald Trump suffers his largest drop in polls after week of controversy:

    Poll suggests leading presidential Republican hopeful may finally have gone too far, with the billionaire losing 12 percentage points in one week

    Donald Trump’s support among Republicans has dropped 12 points in less than a week, marking the presidential hopeful’s biggest decline since he started leading the field in July, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

    Trump is still in the lead, with 31% of people surveyed naming him as their preferred candidate in a rolling poll over five days that ended on 27 November. However, that number was down from a peak of 43% on 22 November.

    The sharp drop follows criticism of Trump for comments he made in the aftermath of the Paris attacks on 13 November in which 130 people died.

    Following the attacks, Trump told an NBC News reporter that he would support a plan requiring all Muslims within the United States to be registered to a special database, which his critics likened to the mandatory registration of Jews in Nazi Germany.

    Trump was also criticised for flailing his arms and distorting his speech as he mocked a New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who is disabled.

    The strange display came as defended his unsubstantiated assertion that during the 9/11 attacks on the United States, he watched on television as “thousands and thousands” of people in New Jersey cheered while the World Trade Center fell.

  295. says

    Mother Jones posted an article that covers the current Planned Parenthood shooting and goes on to summarize most of the recent uptick in violence against PP clinics.

    […]The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widely debunked—videos. […]

    Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation. […]

    Details at the link.

  296. blf says

    Lynna@331, “for describing Trump…”, I assume you are referring to my@329 “teh trum-prat’s, well, insanity (I welcome a better term)”: I am searching for a term for teh trum-prat’s inane ideas / proposals / promises, such as “register Muslims”, building a well (using Mexico’s money!), and so on…

    “Insane” is a perhaps derogatory shorthand for “mental illness”, and comparing known mentally ill people to teh trum-prat is derogatory. I have no idea if teh trum-prat is mentally ill or not, but he is a demagogue, liar, and seems to be far too unstable, unpredictable, and inhuman (not to mention inhumane and compassionless) to be considered viable for any post other than use as pea-poison. How to refer to such eejitoic foolish “ideas”…?

  297. says

    blf @334 — I’m also still looking for adjectives to describe Trump. Nothing seems to quite match the enormity of his Trumpness.

    Maybe we need some old-fashioned adjectives to describe his ideas as well as his persona.

    Maybe Trump is simply poisonous.

  298. says

    Here are some more details about the Colorado shooter, Robert Lewis Dear.

    Dear was a South Carolina native and had been charged with animal cruelty there in 2002​.

    According to court records, Dear has an arrest record in both North and South Carolina. He has been convicted of several traffic offenses, but has been arrested several times on more serious charges.

    His record include seat belt violations, driver’s license violations, operating a vehicle in an unsafe mechanical condition and driving a non-registered vehicle. […]

    Dear’s cabin, which lacks both running water and electricity and is decorated with a cross made out of twigs, is a half-mile up a curvy dirt road about 15 miles west of Asheville. He split his time between the remote shack and a home in Swannanoa, N.C., his neighbors said.


  299. says

    More bits and pieces concerning Robert Lewis Dear:

    He was arrested on “peeping tom” charges twice.

    His wife, Pam Dear, reported that he locked her out of their residence, and that he hit her. She did not file charges.

    Dear had ongoing, various disputes with neighbors that culminated in threats of violence toward the neighbors.

    Regarding the animal cruelty charges, apparently Dear shot a neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun.

  300. says

    Some descriptions of Trump culled from media sources:
    nakedly xenophobic
    embodiment of the naked id of white supremacists
    Spaulding Smails caricature of a spoiled rich kid
    a ridiculous parody of a Nietzschean superman

    Those last two are from Matt Taibbi

    From Jon Stewart: Fuckface von Clownstick

    From a homing missile locked on target

  301. says

    Donald Trump is like a character out of a Dickens novel, all pigeon-breasted bluster and impenetrable self-regard.

    Some possibilities:

    Mr Pumblechook in Great Expectations: “a large hard-breathing, middle-aged slow man, with a mouth like a fish, dull staring eyes, and sandy hair standing upright on his head, so that he looked as if he had just been all but choked.”

    John Podsnap in Our Mutual Friend: Dickens described him as standing very high in his own opinion, as dismissing all things foreign, and as “particularly well satisfied with most things, and above all other things, himself.” “Podsnappery” is an adjective we could use for Trump.

    There’s Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist: Bumble preaches about christian morality, but has little compassion. Dickens describes his pompous nature, his greed, and his folly. Bumble is as proud of his hat as Trump is of his hair. Bumble is in love with power and is a sadist. Bumble does have a few moments during which the reader sees that he has a heart, but he never acts on any compassionate feelings that come fleetingly his way. Bumble the Beadle runs the workhouse. He is sure those he controls love him.

  302. says

    Senator Bernie Sanders and others have pointed out a connection to the violence at the Planned Parenthood clinic and the statements of Republican presidential candidates.

    In a statement, Sen. Sanders said, “While we still do not know the shooter’s motive, what is clear is that Planned Parenthood has been the subject of vicious and unsubstantiated statements attacking an organization that provides critical health care for millions of Americans. I strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work it is doing and hope people realize that bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences.”

    The political campaign against Planned Parenthood has involved edited videos that are not factually accurate, congressional hearings which were filled with heated and inaccurate attacks against the health care provider, and even a Republican presidential candidate (Carly Fiorina) flat out lying about Planned Parenthood on the debate stage.

    Sen. Sanders was correct. The Republican tactic of using false statements and over the top rhetoric is dangerous because it creates the climate for violence. When Republican rhetoric is combined with easy access to weapons, it makes the perfect recipe for mass shootings.

    Politics USA link

  303. says

    Journalist Frederick Clarkson talks about the shooting at Planned Parenthood:

    […] I have been appalled at the general failure of traditional journalism to quickly and aggressively expose the highly doctored videos produced by the Orwellianly named Center for Medical Progress, which do not actually support the hyperbolic charge that PPFA engages in illegal trafficking in human body parts.

    Everyone involved has been rightfully cautious about ascribing suspect Robert Lewis Dear’s motive for the recent massacre at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, but police now say that he said “no more baby parts” after his arrest. Additionally, […] witnesses said the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion.

    The national brouhaha about the videos not withstanding, the absence of evidence of unethical or illegal activities on the part of PPFA has become more of an issue, as investigations of the spurious charges in state after state have found no wrong doing. […]

    A few months ago, I wrote about how the producers of the anti-Planned Parenthood smear videos attempted to cast themselves as investigative journalists. As someone who has done investigative journalism, this was particularly galling. Facts matter, even in advocacy journalism. […] And indeed, at what point free speech and journalism crosses over into criminal threat and even terrorism, can also get blurry […] In the end, whether Deer’s alleged crimes will be called domestic terrorism is probably more of a political than a legal question. […]

  304. blf says

    There is always the master insulter, Mr Shakespeare, who left many insult generators scattered about the web. This one suggests:

    a withered double villain
    an unnecessary wench
    a scurvy barbermonger
    a rump-fed boy-queller
    a whining cur
    a greesy cacodemon
    a detestable plague
    an insolent rag
    a spongy toad
    an oderiferous noisemaker
    a greedy puttock
    an idle tortoise
    a pernicious carbuncle
    a fen sucked fool
    a cruel ape

    …and on and on and on. And on. And on…

  305. Al Dente says

    Trump is a narcissist. Several other Republican presidential candidates claim that God told them to run (including several like Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal who are now out of the race). Trump doesn’t make that claim. His ego is what told him to run. Trump’s universe consists of two things, him and everything else, with everything else trailing far behind him in importance.

  306. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    More arrogance and wishful thinking shown by The Donald. He scheduled a press conference to show as many as a hundred black evangelical ministers backed his campaign. They said NO!

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has cancelled a press conference in which his campaign said he would be endorsed by as many as 100 black evangelical religious leaders. Many of those invited to the event say they had no intention of endorsing the billionaire businessman and former reality television star.

  307. says

    Nerd @345, I don’t get why Trump would cancel that press conference with black ministers. Even if they don’t endorse him, such a press conference would serve Trump’s purpose, which is to have photos of him surrounded by black evangelicals.

    Trump is usually all show and no substance anyway.

    I see that Trump still plans to meet privately with some black pastors. It sounds like a snafu from which Trump will extract good PR. I am sure we can trust Trump’s account of the meeting after the fact … not. No press in the meeting? Trump can say whatever hyperbolic stuff comes to him.

  308. says

    Regarding Ted Cruz’s recent lame attempts to distance himself and rightwing politicians in general from the shooting in Colorado, we should remember that Cruz was very happy to be endorsed by Troy Newman who does support killing abortionists.

    I am grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman. He has served as a voice for the unborn for over 25 years, and works tirelessly every day for the pro-life cause. We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice.

    Link to

    […] Cruz touted the endorsement from an activist who has called for the “execution” of abortion providers. In his 2003 book, Troy Newman said the entire country was “blood-guilty” for their failure to kill “abortionists.”

    In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people. Instead, the act of abortion has been elevated to a “God-given right” and the abortionists canonized as saints. Consequently, the entire nation has the blood-red stain of the lives of the innocent upon its head.

    Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.

    Newman, currently the president of the far-right anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, argues that his book was just a “theological study” and that his writing does not constitute “advocating violence.” […]

    Think Progress link

  309. says

    Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association took Ted Cruz seriously. He tweeted: “CO shooter not a Republican, registered to vote as a female.”

    Only Ted Cruz has, so far added “leftist” to the description of the shooter.


    Other right-wingers taking Ted Cruz seriously include: The Gateway Pundit, Young Conservatives and WorldNetDaily.

    Cruz’s campaign spokesman cited a blog post on The Right Scoop.

    Ted Cruz is also fighting on another fantasy front, the war on Christmas. To do so he is offering the world’s ugliest christmas sweater. You have to see it to believe it.

    Set an example for the “tolerant left,” and while wearing your festive Cruz for President gear, or any gear for that matter, make sure to say Merry Christmas every chance you get!

    Right Wing Watch link

  310. says

    Fox News host Bill Hemmer pointed to snowfall in Alaska as a response to the climate change conference in Paris. To summarize, Hemmer basically said, “more snow than usual in Alaska, so global warning is not real, and/or global warming is not an important issue.”

    And from Donald Trump, we have this in response to the climate change conference:

    Well, first of all, I think one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics in the history of politics as I know it, which is pretty good, was Obama’s statement that our number one problem is global warming, okay?

    When we have large groups of people that want to blow up every one of our cities, that want to destroy our country, that want to kill our people. And he’s worried about global warming. I think it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Or perhaps most naive. […]

    You know it used to be global warming, and then they had a problem when they had some very cool areas and that wasn’t working. So you know they call it climate change, now it’s extreme weather, so I don’t know which one of the many terms he used, all supposedly meaning the same thing.

    But for him to say that that’s more important than stopping countries like — by the way, North Korea, which is never even mentioned. You know, they made one of the worst deals in history when they made the Iran deal. But Iran probably doesn’t have nuclear weapons right now.

    But what about North Korea? Nobody mentions that. That’s like when you have something that you don’t want to do, you don’t mention it because you sort of don’t want to do it, you don’t want to talk about it –[…]

    After he avoided the actual question posed about climate change, Scarborough asked him again what he would do. Trump then issued a few platitudes about clean air and “beautiful clean water” before segueing quickly into an account of all the environmental awards he has received.

    I’ve received — you know, people don’t know this about me, but I’ve built many, many projects all over the world. And I’ve received many environmental awards. You know, the environmentalists hate to see those awards. Because it really does — but I’ve received some of the high awards, and many of them, for the work I’ve done.

    Media Matters link

  311. says

    This is a followup to 345 (Nerd) and 346.

    Oh, FFS. Donald Trump is now claiming that all of those black evangelical ministers were ready to endorse him until they were pressured not to by Black Lives Matter activists.

    “Probably some of the Black Lives Matter folks called them up and said, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be meeting with Trump because he believes all lives matter,'” Trump said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” referring to the movement protesting against police brutality and the killing of unarmed African-Americans.

    AP link

  312. says

    Ben Carson toured a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, and this is the conclusion he came up with:

    I did not detect any great desire for them to come to the United States. You’ve got these refugee camps that aren’t completely full. And all you need is the resources to be able to run them. Why do you need to create something else?

    Carson also noted that he did not see anything that reassured him that refugees were being properly screened to eliminate potential terrorists from those allowed to immigrate to other countries. “What I learned is that you’re going to get a different answer from everybody depending on what their slant is.”

    In other words, Carson went to Jordan for a couple of days, confirmed all of his biases, and then came back to his comfortable home in the USA. The guy has a compassion deficit, and he obviously doesn’t understand the potential long-term effects of living in a refugee camp.

    Carson also wants the U.S. government to get the heck out of the refugee-support program (which is internationally funded, or underfunded). He wants a citizen-driven “humanitarian drive” in the USA to raise money, and he wants to keep all of the refugees in “neighboring Arab countries.”

    “All they need is adequate funding. It’s really quite impressive when you go over there and see it,” Carson told the AP, adding that some areas had recreational facilities, schools, electricity and indoor plumbing. “They were a lot happier. They were quite willing to stay there as long as it takes before they can get back home.”

    Yahoo News link

  313. says

    Ted Cruz indulged in some fear mongering about the Supreme Court:

    One more liberal justice and our right to keep and bear arms is taken away from us by an activist court. One more liberal justice and they begin sandblasting and bulldozing veterans memorials throughout this country. One more liberal justice and we lose our sovereignty to the United Nations and the World Court.

    Des Moines Register link

  314. blf says

    Donald Dump: how Trump the pottymouth triggered an artistic overload:

    The Republican candidate’s campaign-trail trolling has sent the art world into satirical overdrive. From Trump the turd to Trump in drag, say hello to the megalomaniac billionaire’s colourful new incarnations

    Is visually shaming presidential candidates the best way to boycott them? Last week, an image surfaced of US presidential candidate and consummate foulmouth Donald Trump with his face wrapped around a lip-shaped urinal by Dutch designer Meike van Schijndel. It’s a snapshot from the men’s washroom of Belushi’s Bar in the St Christopher’s Inns hostel in Paris — but it isn’t real. It’s a Photoshopped masterpiece by two California-based artists, William Duke and Brandon Griffin.


    A better candidate for a meme than for president, Trump has been creatively transformed into an Oompa Loompa, a drag queen and a fly-attracting pile of poo. One could call this the anti-Trump art movement, or simply, the genre of Donald Dump.

    The toilet seems to be a common theme: we’ve had Trump toilet paper and 3D-printed Trump butt plugs. [Someone would actually consent to have one of those, ah, well… … the mind boggles and then shuts down in self-protection! –blf] The New York street artist Hanksy, who started with the observation that Trump rhymes with dump, created a Manhattan mural of Trump as faeces. “My work is usually lighthearted, but this guy is the absolute worst,” said Hanksy. “The fact that US citizens are cheering his name shows you how deeply misguided we are as a nation. God help us all if this booger with a wig receives the Republican nomination.”

    [… numerous examples of so-called “[trum-prat] art” …]

    An anonymous journalist who runs the Christian Nightmares blog has been closely following the rise of Trump art. “Trump is a larger-than-life buffoon who begs to be mocked,” the blogger said. “He embodies the worst characteristics of America: he is crass, arrogant, completely self-centered and delusional. When I share and laugh at the art he inspires, it’s mostly out of embarrassment for the current political state of America — it’s a nervous laugh.”

    I still can’t believe anyone would want teh trum-prat’s head stuffed up… I mean, teh trum-prat’s head is stuffed so far up his own arse it’s recursive: The head is stuffed so far up his arse it’s come out of his mouth, circled around, and is stuffed up his arse again, coming out of the mouth again, repeat ad infinitum… The thing on his head is a recursion counter, it moves / rotates each time he achieves another level of stuffing head up…

  315. says

    blf @355, I guess all of that artwork mocking the Trumpster is one way of getting around the fact that the English language fails when we try to describe his awfulness, his assholiness.

    In other news, Trump posted a video to his Instagram account that is a mashup of President Obama laughing with scenes from recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Such bad taste.

    In good news, the state of Alabama is going to have to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees. [chortle] Justice.

    Not only have Alabama’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood Southeast been blocked by the courts, Alabama taxpayers will also have to foot the bill in the more than $51,000 in legal fees for the reproductive health organization […] under a settlement filed in federal court Monday morning. The agreement still must be approved by a U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson […]

    Montgomery Advisor link

  316. says

    Donald Trump has now found two, (count them…there are two), Muslim-Americans in Jersey City who celebrated on 9/11. One of the two has since denounced terrorism. This hasn’t slowed Trump down one bit. He’s got proof! you see. Sheesh.

  317. blf says

    State-sponsored xian terroriban in, where else, Texarse, Texas official threatens to sue aid group helping Syrian refugees relocate:

    Chris Traylor said Dallas branch of International Rescue Committee’s work goes against Governor Greg Abbott’s stance against accepting refugees into state

    A Texas official has written to a humanitarian aid group, threatening to sue if it continued to help Syrians move to the state.

    “We strongly believe that a failure to cooperate with the state on this matter violates federal law and your contract with the state,” wrote Chris Traylor, the head of state’s health and human services commission, in a letter to the Dallas branch of the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

    In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November, Texas’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, was among the first of more than 30 governors to oppose Syrians fleeing violence moving to their states, on the basis that they could be security threats and that the vetting process was inadequate. Most of the Republican presidential candidates have echoed that view amid an atmosphere of heightened rhetoric.

    “The Governor believes that accepting refugees from Syria is incompatible with an absolute commitment to the safety of Texans,” the letter, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, reads, “because the President has shown the Governor no willingness to improve the security screenings of refugees from Syria, despite the abundant evidence that the screenings are ineffective.”

    “Abundant evidence”? SHOW IT.

    Bryan Black, a spokesperson for the Texas health agency, said on Monday that the IRC was the only group to have received such a letter. According to state figures, 190 Syrian refugees and 23 Syrian asylum seekers arrived in Texas in fiscal year 2015 […]. Last month — the first of the new fiscal year — 21 refugees arrived.

    Ask the French for help you complete incompetents. They are accepting thousands per month, and that is despite a group of unrelated loonies running amuck in Paris a few weeks ago. You fecking eejits are so incompetent, scared, racist utter pieces of shite — and so are the voters who elected you — you cannot even handle 21. Twenty-fecking-one! No wonder Texarse voters are the laughing stock of the entire planet.

  318. says

    Wow. Ted Cruz must be angling for the title of Most Reality-Challenged GOP Douchebag (currently held by Dr. Ben Carson)-
    Ted Cruz lashes out: “The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats:

    “Here’s the simple and undeniable fact. The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats,” Cruz told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The media doesn’t report that.”

    Cruz did not cite any data to back up his accusation, instead repeating the conservative talking point criticizing President Barack Obama for nominating attorney Debo Adegbile last year to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division because Adebbile represented Mumia Abu-Jamal while working for the NAACP in 1981. Adegbile’s nomination was blocked.

    Hewitt made reference to Saturday’s terrorist attack against a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado by noting his own opposition to reproductive rights over the past 25 years.

    “I’ve probably done more than 100 [anti-abortion events],” he said. “I have never met, not once, a single pro-life activist who is in favor of violence of any sort.”

    Hewitt failed to mention that Cruz has embraced the support of Kevin Swanson, who has called for homosexuality to be punished by death in the US.

    “This whole episode has really exposed the ugly underbelly of the media,” Cruz said in response. “Every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing, you can almost see the media salivating — hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican, so that they can use it to try and paint their political enemies.”

  319. says

    The GOP and anti-choice assholes nearly had *more* blood on their hands-
    Man arrested near hospital after he threatened to shoot surviving Planned Parenthood attack victim:

    Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs was on lockdown earlier today after threats were received:

    Colorado Springs police are looking for a “suspicious person” Monday afternoon at Memorial Hospital after he allegedly made threats to shoot one of the wounded victims from Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting, according to police.

    Heavy police activity was spotted in the area around the hospital and now police believe they have their suspect:

  320. says

    Trump being Trump:

    “How about I tell CNN that I’m not gonna do the next debate?” Trump said to his audience, as quoted by USA Today. “I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which money goes to the Wounded Warriors or to vets.”

    More Trump being Trump: this is a followup to comment 346. About his meeting with 100 black ministers, Trump said, “It went longer only because of the love. It didn’t go longer for other reasons.”

    Meanwhile, some who were actually in the meeting said the atmosphere was tense, that Trump listened and did not answer questions directly (his aides answered), and that only a few of the black ministers endorsed Trump for president after the meeting. According to the accounts of those who attended, some of the ministers were angry about Trump’s tweet of incorrect crime statistics. (see comment 257).

  321. says

    In other political news:

    Bernie Sanders had an elective hernia operation, and he is fine. He will be back to work today.

    Democrats are using the shooting in Colorado to push back against Trey Gowdy’s specious special investigation of Planned Parenthood. They’ve pushed back before, and now they are renewing the effort. Democrats want the committee dissolved. They have a good point. Multiple investigations at the state level have already absolved PP of any wrongdoing.

    Darrell Issa endorsed Marco Rubio. That fits into our “the company they keep” category.

    Surprise! The Planned Parenthood shooter has been proven to be NOT transgender. Link

  322. says

    Oh, dear, there’s even more proof that Trump was wrong about Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Trump has comprehension problems, and he does not know how to vet his sources.

    […] cited an MTV News story that allegedly covered the “celebrating Muslims” in 2001. Debbie Schlussel, an anti-Muslim blogger who has promoted the claim relentlessly online, pointed specifically to the MTV clip as the basis for her claims, acknowledging it was not available online.

    MTV has now released the clip. It doesn’t support Trump’s claim — it disproves it. The video features a woman, Emily Acevedo, who claims that on 9/11 she saw “12 or 13” kids banging on trash cans and shouting. In the original video, she said she heard the kids say “burn America.” Interviewed this month by MTV, Acevedo said that she only recalled that phrase on TV. What she saw on 9/11 was “not anything any different than would’ve happened on any other summer night,” Acevedo said.

    But regardless of what the kids said, she’s been consistent that it was only a small number and not the “thousands” that Trump claimed. Further, the MTV video also features local news reports that looked into the rumors at the time and found no evidence they were true.

    None of this gave Trump any pause. He simply took a short snippet of the MTV video, took it completely out of context, and pretended it supported his claim. […]

  323. says

    cross-posted from the “Utterly Demented” thread.

    Ted Cruz goes a step further to show his true colors:

    Fresh off announcing endorsements from radical anti-choice and anti-gay activists, Ted Cruz announced his Virginia Leadership Team last week, naming state Sen. Richard “Dick” Black as his state campaign co-chair. […]

    As a state delegate, Black [commented on] marital rape: “I do not know how on earth you could validly get a conviction of a husband-wife rape, where they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie and so forth, there’s no injury, there’s no separation or anything.”

    Black, who wants to ban abortion in all cases and made waves by “passing out plastic fetuses before a crucial abortion vote,” once denounced abortion rights as reminiscent of Nazi Germany and likened abortion clinics to Nazi death camps like Auschwitz.

    He is also an opponent of contraceptives, calling for a law that would outlaw the morning-after pill and referring to emergency contraception as “baby pesticide” and “a toxic method of eliminating a child.”

    No fan of gay rights, Black responded to the Lawrence v. Texas decision overturning state anti-sodomy bans by declaring, “If I’m the last person on the face of this Earth to vote against legalizing sodomy, I’ll do it.”

    He once tried to mandate that adoption agencies inquire whether prospective parents are “known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity” and attacked a state initiative to make it easier for gay couples, who were not allowed to legally marry at the time, and other unmarried couples to apply for home mortgages by insisting that Virginia “is now spending $90 million to subsidize sodomy and adultery” and having tax dollars go towards “supporting a radical homosexual agenda.” […]


  324. says

    Chris Christie said some stupid stuff this morning:

    […] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told MSNBC this morning that there is no climate “crisis.” Asked if he’s relying on evidence, the governor replied, “That’s my feeling. I didn’t say I was relying on any scientist.”

    And nothing says “presidential leadership in the 21st century” better than relying on “feelings” rather than facts. […]


  325. says

    Thirteen female Democratic senators endorsed Hillary Clinton today. The only one missing was Elizabeth Warren, who is not endorsing anyone, not yet anyway.

  326. says

    Another Republican official has expressed an opinion about the shooting in Colorado. That opinion is that the Planned Parenthood clinic is to blame.

    Republican Colorado state Rep. JoAnn Windholz on Monday blamed Planned Parenthood for a mass shooting at its Colorado Springs facility that left three people dead, calling the health care provider an “instigator” of violence in a Facebook post. […]

    “Violence is never the answer but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit,” she wrote. “The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any pph facility is pph themselves. Violence begets violence.”

    “So, pph,” she continued, “YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”


    Another excerpt from the Facebook post:

    When a violent act happens at a Planned Parenthood (pph) facility (most recent in Colorado Springs) the left goes on “auto-pilot” blaming everyone insight when they should be looking in a mirror. Free Speech has brought to light the insidious selling of baby body parts (pph has no shame). These facts and overall mission of the abortion industry would easily send anyone over the hill who wasn’t rational.

    Errors are in the original.

  327. says

    Another Republican elected official has weighed in on the Colorado shooting, and he finds the Planned Parenthood clinic and the gunman equally to blame.

    Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) told The Hill on Tuesday that Planned Parenthood and the gunman who shot and killed three people at its clinic in Colorado have something in common: they both have “no respect for innocent human life.” […]

    “What this person did was evil, and it should remind us all of the common denominator that Planned Parenthood has with individuals like this who have no respect for innocent human life,” Franks said […]

    “It should only increase our commitment to defund organizations … that further this non-ethic of disregarding the sanctity of human life,” he added.


    All of these public officials blaming the clinic are encouraging others to do what Robert Lewis Dear did. They may think they aren’t doing so, but they are.

  328. says

    Bernie Sanders showed everyone that he recovered well from his hernia surgery. Despite Donald Trump saying, “May he rest in peace,” about the surgery, Sanders was back on the Senate floor defending Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

    “Instead of throwing seventeen million Americans off of health insurance,” Bernie Sanders said. “What we should be doing is expanding on the improvements of the Affordable Care Act to make healthcare a right of all people, not just a privilege. Further, let us be clear. And I think everybody here in the Senate understands this. The bill we are debating today is a complete waste of time. … Obama is not going to sign a bill repealing Obamacare.” […]

    “This bill doesn’t just cut the Affordable Care Act,” Sanders said. “It also eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood which provides healthcare services for nearly three million women each and every year.” […]

    “What is clear is that Planned Parenthood has been the subject of vicious and unsubstantiated statements,” Sanders said. “Attacking an organization that provides critical care for millions of Americans, and in fact provides high quality care. I for one strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work that it is doing. In my view instead of trying to defund Planned Parenthood, we should be expanding funding so that every woman in this country gets the healthcare that she needs. Mr. President it is also my sincere hope that people throughout this country including my colleagues here in the Senate and across the Capitol and the House understand that bitter vitriolic rhetoric can have serious unintended consequences. Now is not the time to continue a witch hunt for an organization that provides critical healthcare services.”


  329. says

    Oh, horrors.

    The Alabama Justice Project has obtained documents that reveal a Dothan Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation was covered up by the district attorney.

    A group of up to a dozen police officers on a specialized narcotics team were found to have planted drugs and weapons on young black men for years. They were supervised at the time by Lt. Steve Parrish, current Dothan Police Chief, and Sgt. Andy Hughes, current Director of Homeland Security for the State of Alabama.

    All of the officers reportedly were members of a Neoconfederate organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels “racial extremists.” The group has advocated for blacks to return to Africa, published that the civil rights movement is really a Jewish conspiracy, and that blacks have lower IQ’s.

    Both Parrish and Hughes held leadership positions in the group and are pictured above holding a confederate battle flag at one of the club’s secret meetings.

    Photo at the link.

    These assholes upped their illegal activities after President Obama was elected.

  330. says

    Black Friday brought some dismal shopping news. A new record was set for background checks for gun-buying individuals. More than 185K individuals purchased, or set in motion a purchase of a gun.

    That’s a 5% increase from last year.

  331. says

    Here’s some good news for President Obama, and for his immigration policies. The Supreme Court is backing him up … so far.

    […] last February a federal trial judge with a history of advocacy on behalf of harsher immigration policies halted policy changes President Obama announced last fall that would permit millions of undocumented immigrants to temporarily remain in the country and work openly. Moreover, while the Justice Department made two attempts to convince a federal appeals court to reinstate the programs, both appeals court cases were heard by two especially conservative judges. As a result, the policies have remained in limbo for months.

    […] Texas, the lead state challenging the new immigration policies […] asked the justices to effectively delay their consideration of the petition by 30 days. Were the Court to grant this motion, then it is likely that they would not decide the case on the merits until June of 2017 — months after President Obama leaves office.

    On Tuesday, the Court denied Texas’s request for a 30-day extension — instead granting only an 8-day extension. […]

    The Obama administration, and the immigrants who are depending upon them, in other words, are not out of the woods. But they’ve cleared a major hurdle that could have halted the new policies for at least one additional year.

    If the justices ultimately decide to take the case, the administration has good reason to be optimistic. In the Court’s last major immigration case, two Republican members of the Court — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy — broke with their three fellow conservatives to side with the Obama administration.

    Think Progress link

    This business of court decisions and appeals, and then more decisions, proceeds at such a glacial pace, and in such incremental steps that it drives me batty.

  332. says

    Republicans in the House of Congress just passed a bill they know President Obama will veto. They were forthright about their goal, they want all of the world leaders at the Climate Conference in Paris to know that they do not back President Obama’s agenda.

    While our negotiators are still in meetings in Paris, these doofuses in the House are doing what they can to undermine the president.

    The House passed two joint resolutions Tuesday to kill the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s rule to restrict carbon emissions from the electricity sector. The resolutions passed 242-180 and 235-188 and will now head to the White House.

    The Clean Power Plan would reduce emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Under the rule, states are required to design and implement flexible compliance plans that could include increases in efficiency and clean energy. Together the resolutions cover emissions restrictions on both new and existing power plants. They passed the Senate last month. […]


  333. says

    Rhetoric has consequences. Rightwing conspiracy theories that claim President Obama is a Muslim who secretly supports ISIS are having a very negative effect in Iraq.

    […] From time to time, Republicans in the United States, including GOP presidential candidates, will argue publicly that President Obama’s national security policy has the effect of helping ISIS. Rick Santorum recently went so far as to argue that it “sounds like” the president “is in cahoots with the strategy of ISIS.” […]


    On the front lines of the battle against the Islamic State, suspicion of the United States runs deep. Iraqi fighters say they have all seen the videos purportedly showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons to the militants, and many claim they have friends and relatives who have witnessed similar instances of collusion.

    Ordinary people also have seen the videos, heard the stories and reached the same conclusion – one that might seem absurd to Americans but is widely believed among Iraqis – that the United States is supporting the Islamic State for a variety of pernicious reasons that have to do with asserting U.S. control over Iraq, the wider Middle East and, perhaps, its oil.

    [Mustafa Saadi, a commander in one of Iraq’s Shiite militias said] “American support for ISIS “is not in doubt.” ISIS is “almost finished,” he said. “They are weak. If only America would stop supporting them, we could defeat them in days.”

    Washington Post link

    OMG, they view videos like Donald Trump does.

    It sounds to me like the U.S. is severely underestimating the PR problem it has here. People who think we do not need to push back against obviously bonkers conspiracy theories are wrong.

    U.S. military officials say the charges are too far-fetched to merit a response. “It’s beyond ridiculous,” said Col. Steve Warren, the military’s Baghdad-based spokesman. “There’s clearly no one in the West who buys it, but unfortunately, this is something that a segment of the Iraqi population believes.”

    Not true. Some people in the west, including Republican presidential candidates do buy it, and they spread it.

    The perception among Iraqis that the United States is somehow in cahoots with the militants it claims to be fighting appears, however, to be widespread across the country’s Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide […] The allegations of U.S. collusion with the Islamic State are aired regularly in parliament by Shiite politicians and promoted in postings on social media.

  334. says

    Yes, some Republican candidates run for office just to raise their profile so that they can make money off, among other things, healthcare scams.

    Last year, a man named Brian Chambers announced a world-changing advance: An international research organization called the Health Sciences Institute had found an incredible cure for cancer hidden in the Book of Matthew. For just $74, you, too, could discover the secret.

    That was the breathless pitch emailed to hundreds of thousands of Huckabee’s followers in January, beneath a “special message” from the Republican presidential candidate trumpeting “important information.” Upon closer inspection, the divine remedy—eating fewer carbs—was never recommended by St. Matthew. Chambers is not a doctor, and the studies on starvation diets he cited make no mention of “cures.”

    The Health Sciences Institute is part of a company called NewMarket Health, which is just one asset of a Baltimore-based publishing empire named Agora Inc. Agora’s subsidiaries and affiliates publish more than 40 newsletters and sell more than 300 books on a range of topics, including biblical health tips, natural-healing supplements, and “insider” investment advice […] Agora’s subsidiaries have tapped into a network of conservative heavyweights, including Huckabee, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, who sell access to their massive email […].

    Gingrich sent out more than a dozen Agora-related emails after he dropped out of the 2012 race, including one from an investment newsletter warning that Obama might seek a third term (sell, sell, sell!). In April, Paul appeared in a 51-minute video for an Agora subsidiary in which he argued that the United States was on the verge of martial law and societal collapse. […] An email sent last year to followers of the popular right-wing site RedState on behalf of the Health Sciences Institute claimed that the Obama administration was blocking a miracle cure that “vaporizes cancer in six weeks.”

    […] Conservative operatives have created a booming field of “scam PACs,” political action committees that ostensibly raise money to help popular candidates but don’t produce much more than big checks for direct-mail firms. […]

    More details at the link.
    Mother Jones link

  335. says

    This is a followup to comment 376 about right-wingers spreading the myth that President Obama supports ISIS.

    This week on “TruNews,” Rick Wiles and his team discussed President Obama’s involvement in restraining ISIS. According to Wiles, rather than working to destroy ISIS, Obama is legitimizing the group and attempting to expand an ISIS controlled caliphate. […]

    “Obama is setting up an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East,” Wiles declared. “He’s doing it from the White House.”

    […] “My critics, all of the left wing media, they will not challenge me on this issue,” he said. “[…] they will not challenge me on this issue that Obama is a Muslim building a caliphate in the Middle East. Because it’s true. It is the truth.”

    Wiles then shifted the subject to Russia’s actions in the conflict. Wiles claimed that Putin, not Obama, is actually fighting back against ISIS in the Middle East, despite the fact that Russian airstrikes rarely target the terrorist group.

    “[…] God is on Putin’s side. Did you hear what I said? The Almighty God is on the side of Putin and the Russians.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  336. says

    Larry Wilmore did a great job of taking Trump to task. Wilmore covered the meeting with black pastors, Trump making fun of a disabled journalist, and Trump’s general tendency to lie.
    Salon link. Scroll down for video.

  337. microraptor says


    Right-wingers are going pro-Russia and pro-Putin now? Boy, if you needed a sign of the end times….

  338. says

    What Fox News says about Donald Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City celebrated on 9/11:

    “Whether or not it was thousands, a few hundred, a handful, who cares?” […]

    Bolling insisted, “It doesn’t really matter to me, because I know there were Muslims and Muslim groups who were happy that the World Trade Center came down and they were in the United States when that happened.”

    Yep, that’s Eric Bolling demonstrating that he and other right-wingers don’t care if The Dumpster lies.

  339. says

    Awfulness in Ohio:

    The two-term mayor of a small Ohio town has apologized for alleging that “blacks have all but formally declared war on whites” in a Friday Facebook post.

    Hillsboro mayor Drew Hastings, […] took Friday’s fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado as an opportunity to share his thoughts on America’s frayed race relations.

    […] “When are people going to figure out that we are in a Revolution in this Country. Blacks have all but formally declared war on whites […]

  340. says

    Today, Trump continued to defend his claim that thousands of Muslims celebrated when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11:

    Donald Trump has absolutely no evidence to support his claim that “thousands and thousands” of Muslim-Americans in Jersey City celebrated the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, so naturally he turned to “InfoWars” host Alex Jones today to argue that he was right all along.

    Interestingly enough, Jones is a well-known 9/11 truther, among many other conspiracy theories that he purveys on a regular basis, and has insisted that the terrorist attack was “an inside job.”

    Trump told Jones that fans on Twitter and people from New Jersey who attended his recent rally in Sarasota, Florida, told him that they too saw the giant celebrations with their own eyes, proving that Trump was correct.


    In a way, this is one of the scarier aspects of Trump’s presidential campaign, the proof that facts do not dissuade him from taking the wrong path. He depends on Twitter users and audiences at this rallies to tell him “the truth.”

  341. says

    Here’s some good news. The Florida state Supreme Court upheld the new congressional redistricting plan that is fairer than the old gerrymandered plan that had been put in place by Republicans.

    The Fair Districts amendment bans drawing districts to favor a political party. Republicans are spitting mad. But, in truth, some Democrats will also face more of an uphill battle when it comes to reelection. There are very few “for sure” races for either party. At the end of the day, net wins for Democrats will probably be two seats as a result of the fairer districting.

  342. blf says

    The Grauniad is snarking again, Jeb Bush says Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate. Has he noticed the Republicans?:

    From Donald Trump on Muslims to Ben Carson on pyramids, the hopefuls on Bush’s own side keep saying something stupid

    Over the weekend Jeb Bush […] told CBS News that if it came to it he would support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, “because anybody is better than Hillary Clinton”. You can see why he felt obliged to say so, but it won’t be easy for him to defend the idea […]

    When it comes to standing by something you’ve said, no matter how stupid, Bush can look to fellow Republicans for guidance. Trump still maintains the patent falsehood that he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating 9/11 in Jersey City, even though he benefits from a form of inarticulacy so comprehensive that he can almost always plausibly deny what he said afterwards.

    Ben Carson, meanwhile, stands by his “personal theory” that Egypt’s pyramids are not pharaonic tombs, but giant grain stores built by Joseph of dreamcoat fame. […]

    I don’t even understand why you’d want to believe something like that. It’s not an article of faith, and it’s spectacularly indefensible. The pyramids would be useless as grain stores; they’re not even big inside. And access would be a logistical nightmare. The theory doesn’t just make its adherents look stupid. It makes Joseph look stupid.

    [… discusses journalist HL Mencken’s quote, “the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire … and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” …]

    Successful candidates could either be genuinely stupid […] or merely unprincipled enough […] to play the part. [… O]ne can either stand firm in one’s actual belief that the pyramids are grain stores, or you can just go on television and insist you’re of the honest opinion that Trump would make a better president than Clinton.

  343. blf says

    Teh Moardah! says silly things, again, Rupert Murdoch condemns liberals for giving America an ‘identity crisis’:

    In a sweeping speech to a conservative US thinktank, the media mogul hinted that current US leadership weakness is fueling international terrorism


    In a sweeping speech to a conservative US thinktank, reproduced on Wednesday as an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, which Murdoch owns, he praised the legacy of American political and military might around the world and called for the US once again to promote its driving values of freedom and “exceptionalism”.

    Head meets desk, desk severely dented, and countless braincells are calling in sick.

    “The world, as we know it, depends on our great country,” he said.

    Another head desk collision. The desk looses. The mildly deranged penguin wakes up.

    He also hinted that leadership weakness in the US was fueling international terrorism.

    Addressing a dinner at the Hudson Institute on Monday, where he was introduced by Henry Kissinger [warmonger and probable war criminal –blf] and received an award for global leadership […]

    The mildly deranged penguin did not get out of the way before I spewed all over the remains of the desk with such force I drilled (vomitblasted?) a hole through the floor into the room below. She is now complaining that not only is this rapidly-added new addition to the lair cold, dark, and smelly, it has no undigested cheese.

    Meanwhile, the brain has shut down compl……

  344. says

    blf @390, Marco Rubio gave a speech in which he echoed Murdoch. In fact, blaming President Obama for the shooting in San Bernadino is a meme that is making rapid headway on all the rightwing media I checked this morning. [sigh]

    In other news, Hillary Clinton racked up another endorsement:

    Labor Sec. Tom Perez on Friday will become the third Obama cabinet member to officially endorse Hillary Clinton as he campaigns with her in Iowa. […]

    Clinton news includes her call for a federal investigation of the Chicago police force:

    Hillary Clinton called for a federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department Wednesday night as her longtime ally, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, faces demands for his resignation over an alleged cover-up of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by police.

    “Hillary Clinton is deeply troubled by the shooting of Laquan McDonald and the outstanding questions related to both the shooting and the video,” said Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon. “Mayor Emanuel’s call for a task force to review practices of the Chicago Police Department is an important step, but given the gravity of this tragic situation, she supports a full review by the Department of Justice.” […]

  345. says

    How Trump speaks to the audience at a Jewish summit:

    Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2016 candidate forum, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump repeatedly returned to a riff about being a good negotiator like “you folks.” He also said the attendees wouldn’t support him because “I don’t want your money.”

    Early in his remarks, he bragged about how little money he spent on his campaign thus far, adding, “I think you, as business people, will feel good about this and respect it.”


  346. says

    This sounds like a step in the right direction: military roles in U.S. forces will all be open to women.

    The United States’ military will open all combat roles to women, Pentagon Chief Ash Carter announced in a press conference on Thursday.

    “Our force of the future must continue to benefit from the best America has to offer,” Carter told reporters during a Pentagon briefing. “This includes women.”

    The various arms of the military submitted their recommendations about the possibility of opening all combat jobs to women in September. Only the Marine Corps requested exemptions to the policy.
    Carter overruled the request, because, he said, the military should operate under a common set of standards.

    “There will be no exceptions,” he said.

    The decision to admit women to any role in the military for which they are qualified comes three years after the Pentagon first eliminated its ban on women serving on the front lines of combat. The move opened up thousands of additional military jobs to women. […]

  347. says

    George Zimmerman, still a classy act … not. He has segued from shooting unarmed black teenagers to posting nude photos of his ex-girlfriends.

    George Zimmerman’s Twitter account was suspended Thursday after he tweeted photographs of a topless woman he said was an ex along with what appeared to be her contact information.

    Zimmerman wrote in one tweet that the woman pictured, who he called “Heather,” cheated on him “with a dirty Muslim.” The tweet included a phone number and the photograph showed her from the chest up.

    Zimmerman’s tweets also included: “She’ll sleep with anyone.”

    That was not the only naked photo of a woman that Zimmerman posted.

  348. says

    Bad news on the Islamophobia front:

    Anti-Muslim rhetoric, recently on display as lawmakers discuss the issue of resettling Syrian refugees, began on the fringes of the far-right and has infiltrated mainstream politics, according to a new report released by the National Security Network.

    “The current political climate is the culmination of a years-long and well-funded effort to bring Islamophobia and xenophobia from the far-right fringe to the political mainstream,” report authors J. Dana Stuster and Samuel Davidoff-Gore […]

    “This rhetoric and legislation has a direct lineage stemming from a network of hate groups and conspiracy theorists. The legitimization of these extremists’ views in the political discourse is an irresponsible denigration of American democracy.”

    As the report points out, anti-Muslim rhetoric is becoming increasingly prominent among Republican presidential candidates. Real estate mogul Donald Trump has said he would consider closing down mosques and keeping a database of American-Muslims while neurosurgeon Ben Carson has compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs.” […]

    Think Progress link

  349. Ice Swimmer says

    Lynna @ 394

    Would this revenge porn stuff finally end Zimmerman’s impunity? I’m not sure if getting some jail time would teach him that you can’t get away with bad behavior and killing people forever, but the best case scenario would be that he would realize he isn’t untouchable by law.

  350. Saad says

    Ice Swimmer, #396

    Well, so far his offenses have been against a black person and women. He’s still good.

  351. says

    Ice Swimmer @396, it would certainly be easier to put Zimmerman in jail for revenge porn than for shooting an unarmed black teenager.

    As for whether or not jail time would affect Zimmerman’s world view, I doubt it. He has demonstrated that he has a solid set of rightwing ideas. He even did a bit of quasi-political stumping for gun rights, and some anti-Muslim stuff for a gun store that put up “No Muslims Allowed” signs. He is through and through a misogynistic, racist, bigoted, violence-prone doofus.

    Realizing that, as you say, he isn’t untouchable by the law, might slow him down a little. We can but hope. It’s more likely that jail time will push him even further into anti-all-women mode.

  352. says

    Saad, I didn’t want to laugh at 397, but I did. So true. So fucking true.

    In other bizarre news, Ben Carson spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition forum (same one where Trump spoke, see comment 392). Carson appeared to read a Wiki article about Israel. He mispronounced “Hamas” as “hummus” several times. And then there was this:

    Addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition today, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told a story about how the Star of David came to be on the U.S. dollar bill.

    Only one problem: There’s no Star of David on the dollar bill.

    ABC New link

    Ah, the debunked Star of David story. Carson told the entire effing conspiracy theory with no clue that he was spouting nonsense. And this was not the first time. He tells that story a lot. You would think that, with his excellent Wikipedia skills, he would have figured out that his story is bullshit.

    The Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s Wayne Homren says there’s no evidence to suggest any truth to support the theory that the stars were intentionally arranged to represent the Jewish star, let alone that it was done in Salomon’s name.

    “If you squint, you can say there’s some resemblance but that certainly was not the intention of the designers, that we’re aware,” Homren told ABC News.

    Here’s the debunking, in case you are interested.

  353. says

    Regarding Trump’s having given a speech consisting of nothing but an unfortunate string of stereotypes about Jews (comment 392), he has lots of company. Other Republican candidates are doing the same thing.

    […] Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) reminisced about the advice he received as a child: “My mother told me one time, she said, ‘Johnny’ — when I was a very young man — she said, ‘Johnny, if you want to look for a really good friend, get somebody who’s Jewish.’ And you know why she said that? She said, ‘No matter what happens to you, your friend, your Jewish friend will stick by your side and fight right with you and stand by you.”

    Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore added, “Last night I was watching Schindler’s List. Everybody here has seen Schindler’s List.” […]

    Maddow Blog link

    I can see these guys are trying. They are trying to be nice about the whole Jewish thing, but it is obvious that they have bought into a lot rightwing nonsense about Jews.

  354. says

    Republican elected officials are not going to budge an inch on gun control, not a millimeter, not a nanometer.

    The evolving situation has forced Republican leaders and presidential candidates to contort themselves: talking tough on terrorism, yet ignoring the fact that the two were armed to the teeth with two .223-caliber assault rifles and two 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols, and hundreds of rounds, all purchased legally.

    While the nation suffered through the shock of another bloody massacre, on Thursday every Senate Republican except Mark Kirk of Illinois voted against legislation to prevent people on the F.B.I.’s consolidated terrorist watchlist from purchasing guns or explosives.

    NY Times link

    The shooters in San Bernadino were not on any watch lists, but the idea that we cannot even take the steps necessary to prevent those on watch lists from purchasing guns and explosives just blows my mind (let’s hope not literally).

  355. says

    About an hour after the vote to keep people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns failed, the Senate vote on expanding background checks also failed.

  356. says

    Here’s some good news (“liberal propaganda” if you are a Republican):

    […] Overall, the U.S. has added 2.64 million jobs over the last 12 months — 2.54 million in the private sector alone — which is quite good, and 2.3 million jobs this calendar year, with another month still to come. November was the 62nd consecutive month of positive job growth — the best stretch since 1939 — and the 69th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record. […]


  357. says

    Here are the results from the latest CNN poll:

    1. Donald Trump: 36% (up from 27% in a CNN poll conducted in mid-October)
    2. Ted Cruz: 16% (up from 4%)
    3. Ben Carson: 14% (down from 22%)
    4. Marco Rubio: 12% (up from 8%)

    Yes, the Trumpster was right. His poll numbers go up with every mass shooting.

    52% of Republican voters now see Trump as the most electable candidate on the Republican side. Maybe this is, in part, a condemnation of the entire GOP field. They’re all bad.

  358. says

    Walmart flexed its muscles and pressured a town in California to defeat a bill increasing the minimum wage.

    Walmart helped kill a minimum wage increase in Desert Hot Springs, California, on Tuesday. The retail giant had threatened to pull back from opening a new store in the town if Desert Hot Springs raised its minimum wage to a planned $10.20 in January, with dollar increases to follow in the next two years. On Tuesday, a new city council was sworn in and promptly took the minimum wage off the agenda […]


  359. says

    Let’s see, what have I got here? I’m still tallying the number of dumb moves by Senate and House Republicans in the last two days.
    1. They voted to repeal Obamacare … again.
    2. They voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
    3. They voted to let people on the FBI’s consolidated terrorist watch list buy guns and explosives.
    4. The said they wanted to address mental health issues instead of gun control, so they voted against increasing mental health care too. Say, what?

    Yes, that’s right, an amendment to improve mental health (and to improve substance abuse treatment and prevention) was voted down 57 to 47, with the Republicans defeating it.

  360. says

    It’s beginning to look like the family of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan hired a bunch of rightwing lawyers who are inordinately fond of conspiracy theories:

    […] “there is a lot of motivation at this time to emphasize or create incidents that will cause gun control or prejudice or hatred toward the Muslim community.”
    “There was a lot of questions drawn with regards to Sandy Hook and whether or not that was a real incident or not. We just don’t know.”
    “It doesn’t seem plausible to us that this petite woman [Malik] would be involved in this sort of hyper-caricatured, Bonnie and Clyde crazy scenario,” […]

    The lawyers are Mohammad Abuershaid and David Chesley.

    Talking Points Memo link

  361. says

    You have all probably heard this already, but I’ll post it anyway. The female shooter in the San Bernardino massacre, Tashfeen Malik, pledged her allegiance to an Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, before taking part in the shooting.
    Additional link

  362. says

    What do terrorist organizations think of gun laws in the USA:

    “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?” American-born al-Qaeda spokesmen Adam Yahiye Gadahn said in a message to followers in 2011. Gadahn, once the American face of al-Qaida, was killed in drone strike in 2015.

    Similarly, a six-page jihadist document obtained by The Violence Policy Center (VPC), instructs would-be terrorists “on the advantages the United States offers for firearms training and advises readers on how to exploit them.” […]

    Think Progress link

  363. says

    blf, I think I might be on Donald Trump’s list of people to deport.

    Some gun owners are not going along with the latest NRA-backed stupidity when it comes to gun laws:

    Former Nevada Assembly Speaker and candidate for Congress John Oceguera wrote to the National Rifle Association this week asking them to remove his name from their membership list.

    Calling himself a “law-abiding gun owner” who grew up in a family of hunters, and “Life Member” of the NRA, the Democratic candidate for the House said Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California was the final straw for his relationship with the pro-gun lobby.

    “Our country is facing a tragic gun violence epidemic, and we cannot ignore it,” he wrote. “Still, the NRA opposes any legislation that would help keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and the mentally ill, and spends millions to stop any action in Congress that could help prevent further violence. I cannot continue to be a member while the NRA refuses to back closing these loopholes.” […]


    And that’s from Nevada, home of Cliven Bundy.

  364. says

    Hillary Clinton picked up another labor endorsement, this time from North America’s Building Trades. The organization said it would campaign for Clinton.

    […] “Her infrastructure plan is further proof that she understands that the state of our nation’s infrastructure is a bellwether for the health of the American economy and for the economic prospects of American workers,” McGarvey said.[…]

    In other news, Donald Trump said that he will release his medical records soon. He claims they “will show perfection.” No news on his mental health records.

  365. says

    Reporters enter San Bernardino terrorists’ apartment, rifle through papers, photos, other evidence

    What!? Yes, it happened. I watched this unfold on TV. Stranger than strange if you ask me. Here’s the baby’s bed. Here are the baby’s toys. Here are a bunch of photos scattered around in the bathroom, some of which may or may not be photos of the wife. Here is a scrum of reporters and cameramen pushing and shoving.

    In a scene that can only be described as insane, multiple news sources have entered the San Bernardino terrorist suspects’ house and are rifling through whatever papers and pictures they find there. Reporters from MSNBC, CNN, CBS and unknown others have been showing the social security numbers, drivers licenses, photo albums and other presumed evidence on camera.

    According to reporters, they were let in by the landlord, who used a crowbar to remove the temporary plywood door left after police destroyed the original. Nobody seems to be able to explain why this apparent destruction of evidence is being allowed, on-camera. […]

  366. says

    Yes, Ted Cruz continues to keep it classy … not.

    Just days after shooters in San Bernardino opened fire and killed 14 people, Ted Cruz will introduce his National 2nd Amendment Coalition at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa Friday.

    According to a report in Politico, the event was previously scheduled, but not canceled because Cruz spokesman Catherine Frazier told Politico “even in the midst of horrific events like this, we should never rush to take away the basic liberties enshrined in our Constitution that are guaranteed to law-abiding American citizens.”

    As Politico pointed out, the Crossroads Shooting Sports boasts that part of its mission is to “glorify God in all we do and to be a positive influence to all who come in contact with CrossRoads Shooting Sports LLC.”


  367. says

    San Bernardino Truthers are out in force on rightwing media.

    […] Alex Jones wrote on Facebook that the attack “appears to be geared to elicit widespread public outrage,” sharing an “InfoWars” article suggesting that the “highly suspicious” shooting was staged since it “occurred hours after House Republicans blocked debate on a bill to prevent people on the government’s no-fly list from exercising their Second Amendment right.”

    The post added: “A shooting at a facility for people with developmental disabilities will undoubtedly result in widespread outrage, as did the alleged shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, 2012.”

    […] He has claimed that both the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting and Aurora, Colorado, movie theater mass shooting were ‘staged.’” […]


  368. says

    This is a followup to comment 416.

    Another example of rightwing conspiracy theories affecting analysis of the shooting in San Bernardino. This time from an elected official:

    Yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, claimed that the Obama administration has “let loose” criminals and brought “massive” numbers of “violent terrorists” into the U.S. so that the president can eventually tell people to “give up your Second Amendment rights because I let all these terrorists in.” […]


  369. says

    Faux News update:

    […] Even though the president conflated what happened in Colorado with Paris, nobody wants to talk about who has the higher body count: the doctors at Planned Parenthood or the jihadists.

    That’s Andrea Tantaros of Fox News spinning news about the shooting in San Bernardino so hard that she turned it into an abortion.

  370. says

    This is a followup to comment 412.

    So, yeah, this is more like what we have come to expect from Nevada’s elected officials: entire families (except the babies) packing iron. Even Grandma has an automatic weapon.

    For Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore’s (R) 2015 family Christmas card, which she posted on Facebook on Monday, her family was each outfitted with a gun. If it wasn’t immediately obvious, Fiore is a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights. […]

    The photo is scary and hilarious at the same time. Fiore claims, “We’re just your ordinary American family.”

    In the top left corner the card lists the guns photographed: a Beretta 92FS, Glock 30 .45ACP, Serbu Super-Shorty 12-gauge shotgun, Extar EXP-556, Walther P22 (LR), Glock 19 9mm and Glock 30 .45ACP.

  371. blf says

    Lynna@412: I think I might be on Donald Trump’s list of people to deport.

    That surprises me. Teh trum-prat’s list is rather exclusive, hard to get onto. He says so himself. Whilst the exact criteria for getting on the list is not known, several categories are known: Mexican. Muslim. Looks like a Mexican. Moar Muslims. And them Latinos. All the rest of the Muslims. And Jews. Pea-likers. Pea-haters. Peas. Any Muslims missed. Blacks. Spanish-speakers. People who have traveled aboard. People from aboard. Anyone who does not own sufficient guns to equip a brigade. People who do not stomp about in jackboots shouting “Hail Prat!” Jackboot stomping shouters not wearing Trump™©® jackboots. Anyone smarter than teh trump-prat on a scale where teh trump-prat’s intelligent is rated minus infinity. Everyone teh trump-prat can’t fire. Everyone the trum-prat can fire. Unionists. Scientists. People who can speak in coherent sentences. Literate people. People who don’t spake “American”. Females. Disabled people. Teh Gay. Polar bears. Anyone who ever associates “green” with anything other than the trum-prat’s money. People who don’t get out of paying taxes. Climatologists. Gollum. Smeagol. Everyone in Mexico. Rocks. Sentient beings. Robots. Lumps of putty. Pottery. Every who isn’t teh trum-prat. Atoms.

    It’s a very exclusive list. Practically no-one qualifies. Except those who, of course, must qualify.

  372. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Trum-prat will have trouble deporting Gollum. Gollum is sneaky and slippery.

    And invisible, until Frodo stole “Precious”.

  373. says

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel succeeded in convincing lawmakers to vote to join the coalition of nations fighting ISIS.

    According to NPR, Germany will send six Tornado jets, one naval frigate and about 1,200 soldiers to fight ISIS in Syria. France had directly asked for assistance.

  374. blf says

    The Trum-prat will have trouble deporting Gollum. Gollum is sneaky and slippery.

    And invisible, until Frodo stole “Precious”.

    Mr Bilbo “stole” Precious.

  375. says

    Too bad there was just the one right floating around in the “who owns it?” category. I know there are other rings of power, but I think I want the one Frodo had.

    Since Gollum fell into the fiery pit of Mount Doom, I guess no one gets the ring. Nor do we get to hang out with slippery, sneaky Gollum in order to learn tricksy ways to avoid The Trumpster. We’re going to have to find our own way out of this.

    In other news, Ben Carson said some amazingly arrogant stuff about his presidential candidacy … and then he ended on some unintentionally funny stuff.

    The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn asked Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson if he believes God wants him to be president. “Well, I don’t know what will happen to my campaign for the presidency, but I do know that up until this point it’s been a force greater than myself,” Carson replied. “And no one can really explain what’s happened here. I was talking to a famous pollster within this past week and he said, ‘We were all sitting around talking and, you know, none of us can explain why you’re doing so well.’”

  376. says

    Oh, this is going to hurt Marco Rubio. President Obama is canceling millions more in student loans that were swindled by one of Rubio’s favorite donors, Corinthian Colleges. Obama had cancelled some loans before. More justice is coming soon.

    Corinthia College Inc. is the bankrupted and criminal organization that Marco Rubio was defending just this past year, probably because he got a boatload of money from them in campaign organizations.

    Over the past 10 years it has come to light—through numerous lawsuits and state and federal investigations—that untold billions of dollars has been swindled out of student and taxpayers’ pockets by this private educational company.

    Earlier this year the Obama administration forgave almost half a billion dollars in federal student loans that were fraudulently acquired and today it’s being reported that further cancelations of federal student loans are coming. […]


  377. says

    The state of Iowa held a Youth Caucus on November 20th. Middle and high school students voted for a Democratic candidate for president. Bernie Sanders got 53% of the vote; Martin O’Malley got 24%; and Hillary Clinton came up with only 15%.

    Now, most of these kids can’t really vote. They’re not old enough, but it is still interesting to see young people in Iowa so gloriously out of step with their conservative elders.

    Ben Carson won the Republican side of the ticket. I still maintain that Carson was momentarily popular because he was less bombastic, though no less clueless, than The Trumpster. There are no good choices on the GOP side.

    Des Moines Register link

  378. says

    Ben Carson said some stupid stuff about the shooting in San Bernardino.

    Ben Carson pointed to the San Bernardino shootings as proof that there are gaps in the U.S. immigration system during a Friday conference in Arizona. According to the Washington Post, the Republican presidential candidate said that shooter Tashfeen Malik’s easy passage through the U.S. visa vetting process should be the “end of the argument” for accepting refugees from Syria.

    “If that vetting resulted in missing someone who could carry out such a horrendous crime, that should be the end of the argument right there. We shouldn’t even have to talk about this anymore,” the Republican presidential told the audience at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s summit. […]


  379. says

    Holy crap!

    Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. urged more students to carry guns on Friday, arguing that if the victims of Wednesday’s attack in San Bernardino, California were armed, they would have been able to protect themselves from the attackers.

    “I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them,” he said during the school’s convocation, before teasing the students about his own gun.

    “If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now…,” he said. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he joked, to laughter and loud applause. “I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”

    Falwell later told the Washington Post that he decided to carry a .25 pistol following Wednesday’s attack, which authorities are ascribing to two individuals who may have been radicalized by the foreign terrorist group ISIS. The son of the late religious leader Jerry Falwell Sr. also clarified that his reference to “those Muslims” was short hand for Islamic-inspired terrorists. “That’s the only thing I would clarify,” Falwell told the Post. “If I had to say what I said again, I’d say exactly the same thing.” […]


  380. says

    I’m cheering for these Democratic Senators.

    With the first week of the U.N. climate summit coming to a close, the world appears increasingly nearer to reaching to an international deal on climate action.

    Back in the United States, a coalition of Republican senators and representatives have been hard at work to stymie such a deal, voting to derail President Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan and threatening to hold climate funds hostage in the year-end budget.

    But in Paris, a group of 10 Democratic senators lead by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-NM) had a different message: President Obama has strong support for an international climate deal.

    “What you see here are people who are going to protect what the president is putting on the table here in Paris as a promise from the American people to the world,” Ed Markey, (D-MA), said during a press conference held Saturday. “We are going to back up the president every step of the way.” […]

    “We are moving in the right direction and we are not going to back down,” Udall said. “We have the president’s back and we are going to make sure we keep moving in the right direction.” […]


    The Dems with the right stuff:
    Ed Markey, (D-MA)
    Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
    Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    Chris Coons (D-DE)
    Al Franken (D-MN)
    Brian Schatz (D-HI)
    Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
    Tom Udall (D-NM)
    Ben Cardin (D-NM)

  381. blf says

    Since Gollum fell into the fiery pit of Mount Doom, I guess no one gets the ring.

    The mildly deranged penguin says a specially constructed diving capsule made of multiple layers of British Industrial Cheddar worked quite well, albeit determining when and where to put it was a bit difficult since Dr Tolkien was not very precise when Gollum and his Precious would do the famous high dive. The One Ring would be quickly destroyed so the timing had to be near perfect. Too late, no ring. Too early, lots of molten Gollum (very hard to clean off your feathers, she says).

    Nor do we get to hang out with slippery, sneaky Gollum in order to learn tricksy ways to avoid The Trumpster. We’re going to have to find our own way out of this.

    Point out to teh trum-prat that it’s Mt Doom, not Mt Trump. After he buys MordorTrumpLand™©®, claim a War of Slavery battle was fought in the very depths of Mt Trump©™® itself, and invite him to unveil the commemorative Battle of Trump®™© Memorial in Mt Trump©™® at Trump®©™’s TrumpLand™©®…

  382. says

    blf @433. Ha! Many chuckles there, especially in the last paragraph. Remember when Trump fell for a fake veteran organization’s hype and gave a speech for them? He’s ripe to fall for the Mount Trump scenario.

    Journalist Frank Vyan Walton added to our descriptive adjectives for The Trumpster:

    Loud. Brash. Rude. Pig Ignorant. Neo-Fascist. Billionaire Skinflint. Racist as a mack truck with Confederate mud flaps. Generally these would be considered character flaws and completely disqualifying traits for someone who aspired to run a Dairy Queen, let alone the free world and the most powerful economy and military on earth. Not so with Donald John Trump.

    He regurgitates bigoted conspiracy theories and lies like he has them on a permanent loop, yet his supporters do not recoil, they do not feel embarrassed, or shamed by many, many, many gaffes and outright lies that come flying out of his bilious pie-hole at just under sub light speed. […]


  383. says

    Bernie Sanders posted his corporate tax reform plan yesterday. One result of the Sander’s plan is $1 trillion in funds the government should spend on infrastructure, according to Bernie.

    A few details:

    Sanders’ “Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act” […]

    1) Ending the rule allowing American corporations to defer paying federal income taxes on profits of their offshore subsidiaries. […]

    2) Closing loopholes allowing American corporations to artificially inflate or accelerate their foreign tax credits. […]

    3) Preventing American corporations from claiming to be foreign by using a tax-haven post office box as their address. […]

    4) Preventing American corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by “inverting.”

    In an inversion, an American corporation acquires or merges with a (usually much smaller) foreign company and then claims that the newly merged company is a foreign one for tax purposes — even though the majority of the ownership is unchanged and little or no personnel or operations have actually moved offshore. […]

    5) Prevent foreign-owned corporations from stripping earnings out of the U.S. by manipulating debt expenses.

    This stops multinational corporations from loading up their U.S.-based corporation with debt to companies they own outside of the US as a way to shift profits out of the U.S. company. They make interest payments to the foreign companies, deduct it, and this reduces or wipes out their U.S. income for tax purposes.

    6) Preventing large oil companies from disguising royalty payments to foreign governments as foreign taxes.

    U.S. oil and gas companies have been disguising royalty payments to foreign governments as foreign taxes in order to claim foreign tax credits. Sanders’ bill would stop this.


  384. says

    In Kansas, DCF personnel did everything they could to prevent LGBT people from adopting or fostering children.

    Friday, District Judge Kathleen Sloan unsealed the 2013 ruling regarding the placement of a child by Kansas Department of Children and Family Services (DCF), and in it dropped a bombshell: the State of Kansas DCF practiced “witch hunt” tactics against LGBT foster homes and potential adoptive parents. […]

    “We need a strong psych and medical case against them,” was one of the statements in emails sent between DCF officials.

  385. blf says

    Secretary Clinton calls out Jerry Falwell Jr of Liberty “University” for his recent shoot-moolsins-on-sight idiocy, Clinton condemns Liberty University head’s call to ‘end those Muslims’:

    Democratic presidential candidate says Jerry Falwell Jr’s comments urging students to carry concealed weapons offered ‘aid and comfort to Isis’


    “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Falwell said. “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.” It was difficult to make out his final statements in a videotape of the remarks.

    Clinton told ABC News on Sunday that Falwell was aiding Islamic State militants with such comments.

    “This is the kind of deplorable — not only hateful response to a legitimate security issue, but it is giving aid and comfort to Isis and other radical jihadists,” she said.

    “With respect to the gun issue, it’s legal to buy a gun in America. If you are eligible to buy a gun, you can go buy a gun […]”

    Falwell himself said he began carrying a .25-caliber handgun in his back pocket after Wednesday’s shooting in California. He told the approximately 10,000 students attending his convocation speech that he’s had a permit for more than year. Falwell mentioned the weapon during his address and reached around seemingly to fetch it. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, laughing, drawing some hoots from the audience.

    Falwell’s call to arms is apparently being heeded. He said more than 100 people had asked Liberty police about a free class to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe called Falwell’s comments “reckless” on Saturday.

    “My administration is committed to making Virginia an open and welcoming commonwealth, while also ensuring the safety of all of our citizens,” McAuliffe said in a statement issued late Saturday. “Mr Falwell’s rash and repugnant comments detract from both of those crucial goals.”

  386. says

    Falwell Jr.’s .25 caliber pistol would have been almost useless against two people spraying bullets from automatic rifles. It may have worked to cause the shooters to focus on him as opposed to other citizens.

    […] While they were originally sold legally, with magazine locking devices commonly known as bullet buttons, the rifles were subsequently altered in different ways to make them more powerful, according to Meredith Davis, a special agent with the ATF.

    The Smith & Wesson rifle was changed in an attempt to enable it fire in fully automatic mode, while the DPMS weapon was modified to use a large-capacity magazine, she said. […]

  387. says

    Here’s a nice summary of Ted Cruz’s policy positions:

    Ted Cruz is so much more than a Tea Party Republican who believes that the best way to balance the budget is to get rid of the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. And that we won’t need the IRS either, because with a 10 percent flat tax, we will all be able to fill out our tax returns on the back of a postcard.

    He will save additional funds by dismantling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities. […]

    When it comes to his relationship with evangelicals, he has a spiritual connection. He is one of them. He gets them and they get him. And one thing’s for certain: He’s not ashamed of the Gospel. Far from it. Cruz wears his faith on his sleeve and is proud of it.

    Link 2

  388. blf says

    George Monbiot, who knows his stuff, has finally gotten fed up with all the chemtrails nonsense, The contrails conspiracy is not only garbage, it’s letting aviation off the hook too:

    The real issue — global warming caused by aircraft emissions — calls on us to act. But focusing on ‘chemtrails’ absolves people of the responsibility to do so

    You spend years trying to get people to take an interest in aircraft emissions. Then at last the issue gets picked up — but in the most perverse way possible.

    The pollutants spread by planes are a major issue. They make a significant contribution to global warming, yet they are excluded from international negotiations, such as the conference taking place in Paris. As a result, aviation’s expansion is unchecked by concerns about climate change.

    This exclusion is ridiculous, not least because aircraft emissions have a particular role in heating the planet, due to the height at which they are released, and the multiplying impacts of the water vapour and other gases the planes produce. Gases that sometimes form contrails in the sky.

    You might expect me to be delighted by the fact that thousands of people are taking an interest in contrails and their effects, and campaigning against the airlines producing them. Far from it.

    The most vocal people protesting against aviation emissions have no interest in their contribution to global warming. Quite the opposite. Many of those now denouncing the pollution of the skies see climate science as part of the problem: a conspiracy by corporations, military planners and other nefarious interests to control the skies.

    Until recently, I ignored this movement […]

    But it was only when the editor of a major environmental magazine sent me what he called “a remarkable essay” […] that I decided I could ignore it no longer. The “remarkable essay” was garbage: a long series of disconnected facts tacked together to create what appears to be a coherent narrative, but that bears as much relationship to reality as a speech by Donald Trump. On a bad day.

    In my home town, the streets are now littered with graffiti advertising the website So I looked it up. You might imagine, in reading what follows, that I’m picking an extreme example, but I’m sorry to say this is typical of the hundreds of sites promoting this nonsense. […]

    Here are its main contentions:
    ● “Planes are not supposed to make clouds and yet we see them doing so in our skies every day.”
    ● “Three huge global corporations now own almost all of the world’s airlines. They have modified their aircraft to spray chemicals unknown into our skies during flight.”
    ● “Large private, corporate organisations {are…} modifying our atmosphere without the knowledge and consent of society.”
    ● “We think their insane plan to block our sunshine is unnecessary, dangerous and nothing to do with science or protecting us, but more to do with financially motivated weather control.”

    You can see the impacts everywhere. The authors of the website note that “virtually the entire month of November has been a ‘white out’{…} unbroken cloud characterised by a thin, translucent, white blanket of chemicals sprayed from aircraft.”

    Cloudy skies in November — hmmm, fishy to say the least.

    So why are “they” doing it? Well, it depends which part of this website you read. On some pages it claims that the contrails (or “chemtrails”) are being used to “manipulate the CO2 figures”. This will then justify the mass re-engineering of the atmosphere. On other pages, the contrails themselves are being used to re-engineer the atmosphere, using unspecified chemicals to change the weather.

    Who profits from this “financially motivated weather control” and how is left strangely vague, though of course the beneficiaries include “very well paid scientists”. Don’t they always? As everyone knows, scientists are rolling in money, which is why so many oil company executives leave to take up more lucrative careers as university lecturers.

    The scientists’ mysterious benefactors must be extremely powerful, however, as they engineered the Paris attacks (“another false flag event”), in order to leave nothing to chance during the climate talks.

    Everything confirms the thesis, even the dismal number of followers the site has managed to attract. That’s down to the role of Facebook […] in the conspiracy:

    “We hired some clever people to analyse the behaviour and reach of our posts and they concluded that algorithmic restriction had been put in place to restrict the reach of our posts to just a few people, a small group of subscribers, and it was normally the same people every time.”

    Dr Dunning, meet Dr Kruger…


    The real issue — global warming caused by aircraft emissions — calls on us to act. Reducing our impacts means flying less […] It involves an exhausting battle against a powerful industry and unresponsive governments. It means reading boring papers, attending boring meetings and engaging with a level of political and technical complexity that many people find repulsive. There’s plenty of grind and precious little glory.

    Mr Monbiot does some more snarking of the kooky chemspiracy sites, “if hardly anyone reads your website, it only goes to prove how important you are: why else would the authorities go to such lengths to limit your followers?”

  389. blf says

    Bugger! Today was the first round of voting for French regions (there will be a second round of voting in the regions where there is no majority in about a week’s time), and on a low-ish turnout, Le Pen’s French Nazis (FN) are reported by exit polls as having c.30%, higher than either of the two main parties. In at least two regions, including the one I live in, they are polling at c.40% !

    Just to make clear how much of a disaster this could be,