1. jimb says

    Christianity isn’t intent on dominating and killing you, it just isn’t.”

    Right, because Dominionism isn’t a thing. Sheesh.

  2. says

    Some Christians are certainly sounding like killers:

    “We will carpet bomb [ISIS] into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out,” [Ted Cruz] said at the Rising Tide Summit in Cedar Rapids.

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

    re @500
    Robertson needs to look in the mirror, when he says,“an aggressive, military, disciplined” group “bent on world domination”.

  4. says

    Chris Hayes produced an excellent segment covering Ted Cruz’s latest debacle related to Climate Change.

    Cruz, who heads a Senate committee, went all-in on anti-science. He included three climate deniers as witnesses, and one rightwing anti-climate-change doofus who does not have a science background. Democrats on the committee invited the only scientist who is not a climate change denier.

    Why is Cruz even holding a Senate subcommittee hearing? Because he wants a public platform that looks like official Senate business from which he can call environmentalists “alarmists,” and from which he can question “the objectivity of climate research.”

    As Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, put it:

    The only thing that requires a thorough scientific investigation is why Sen. Cruz is having a hearing on climate science. This is no longer debate across the entire planet. They’re all there. The last group of deniers are the Republican Congress. The last sub-cult of deniers are the Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee.

    Politico covered the hearing:

    […] Cruz’s main thrust was an argument that has long been a talking point among right-wing climate skeptics — that some satellite records show that global temperatures have barely budged since 1998. (Both federal and U.N. reports say 2015 is actually on track to surpass last year as the warmest on record, based on a wide swath of ocean and land measurements.) And, he argues, polar ice is not shrinking as fast as climate scientists have predicted.

    “Global warming alarmists don’t like these data,” Cruz said […]”They are inconvenient to their narrative. But facts and evidence matters.”

    Afterward, Cruz lamented the “suppression of dissent driven politically by Democrats, by those in control of the funding stream,” of scientists who question the idea of man-made climate change. He also pointed to testimony that carbon dioxide, “rather than being a pollutant, is good for plant life.” […]

    Meanwhile, Democrats and a minority witness who attended Tuesday’s hearing accused Cruz of taking isolated data points out of context, while ignoring contradictory evidence.

  5. blf says

    In @304(previous page) I quoted in full a brilliant comment by “dphaynes” on the thugs’s AGW denialism which is, sorry, worth repeating:

    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?

  6. blf says

    In @490(previous page), I concluded:

    […] In about two months time one of the most important checks will happen: The primaries, etc., begin. After the new orbit starts is when previous elections experience shows people begin to look seriously at the Klowns. At the moment, as frustrating as it is, it is mostly the fanatics and loonies running around, and the nomination rarely(?) reflects the previous year’s polls.

    By coincidence, The Grauniad is now backing up (up to a point) my unevidenced final assertion with data, Donald Trump’s polling lead means little at this stage, past data shows:

    A look at polls from the past three presidential elections past offers little to excite the businessman: none of those leading in the polls this far ahead of the election ended up winning their party’s nomination

    Donald Trump has decisively led nationwide Republican primary polls largely uninterrupted since mid-July. [… A] growing number of commentators view him as a favourite to clinch the Republican nomination. This belief is based almost entirely on polling, so we took a look at what the polls were saying at this stage of the contest in past election cycles.

    At this point in the 2004 Democratic race, Howard Dean was leading in the polls. Four years later, Hillary Clinton had a 20-point lead over Barack Obama, while in the GOP field, Rudolph Giuliani was the frontrunner. In […] 2012, Newt Gingrich was leading in the polls at this point of the contest.

    They all had strong leads.

    But in the end, none of the above clinched the nomination. Their leads eventually faded, albeit at varying speeds: Gingrich and Giuliani’s in four weeks, Dean and Clinton’s over eight and nine weeks respectively.

    John Kerry won the Democratic nomination in 2004, but in December 2003 he was rarely hitting 10% in the polls, while Barack Obama trailed Clinton by nearly 20 points at the end of 2007.

    John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, was behind both Giuliani and Mike Huckabee in December 2007, and in several polls was in the fifth spot, behind Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

    Four years ago the GOP candidate was Romney. He was 10 to 15 points behind Gingrich at this stage of the election.

    There are other examples in earlier primary races […].

    There are, of course, other elections in which the Democratic or the Republican candidate that was leading at this stage did go on to win the nomination. They included, among others, Ronald Reagan (1980), George HW Bush (1988), George W Bush (2000) and Walter Mondale (1984).

    The point is this: the person who leads in the polls at this stage of the election may or may not win the nomination. Polling is one predictor in an election — and any definitive argument based on polls alone is inconclusive based on the evidence available.

    In addition to historical precedent, there are other factors to consider when interpreting polls at this point in an election cycle.

    First, a limited number of people are paying attention to the election at this stage.


    Secondly, polling this far out is influenced by a candidate’s name recognition. […]

    Of course, Trump’s popularity could continue to increase and he may may well win the Republican nomination. But the truth is, based on polling alone, we simply do not know.

  7. says

    More blatant awfulness from camp Trump:

    Katrina Pierson, a spokesperson for Donald Trump’s campaign, argued this morning on CNN that her boss’ proposed Muslim ban has merit because “never in United States history have we allowed insurgents to come across these borders.” Reminded that Trump’s policy would block lots of peaceful people who have nothing to do with violence, the spokesperson was unmoved.

    “So what?” Pierson replied. “They’re Muslim.” […]


  8. says

    You can watch Donald Trump run from a bald eagle, which is quite funny.

    During a photoshoot for Time Magazine in August, Donald Trump was paired with a 27-year-old bald eagle named Uncle Sam for the magazine’s feature story. Unfortunately for Trump, from the minute he they got together, Uncle Sam did not seem to like The Donald or his hair, hitting him on the head and messing his questionable locks within seconds of posing next to each other. Later in the same shoot Uncle Sam took another go at Trump while seated at his desk. […]

    Video at the Link

  9. says

    This is a followup to comments 6 and 7.

    Here are some details concerning the rightwing radio host that Ted Cruz invited to testify on climate science:

    At a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday, Mark Steyn, a conservative writer and pundit, dismissed the threat of climate change and said that related concerns about national security were “ridiculous.” […]

    “We are planning now for global security threats a century hence, because the Maldives might have been swept away by water by then,” Steyn said. “The entire population of the Maldives are Sunni Muslim, so they will fit in perfectly fine if they all move to this Brussels suburb that produced the shooters in Paris.”

    Steyn did not embellish on why the religion of Maldive Islanders — who are predominantly Sunni Muslim — was relevant […]

    Steyn, who does not have any national security experience or qualifications [called]climate change a “cloud-cuckoo, fantasy-land, saving-the-planet type” concern.

    “I can’t tell you how absurd it is to be talking about the security threat [of climate change],” Steyn said. He then went on to talk about how the growing population of West Africa was a greater threat to international stability. “[…] climate change is […] absolutely trivial to the remorselessness of those [population] numbers.”

    […] Steyn does not have a background in science. He was trained as a journalist […]

  10. says

    Supreme Court Justice Scalia said some stupid stuff:

    In the oral arguments Wednesday for a Supreme Court affirmative action case, Justice Antonin Scalia—a well known critic of affirmative action—suggested that the policy was hurting minority students by sending them to schools too academically challenging for them.

    Referencing an unidentified amicus brief, Scalia said that there were people who would contend that “it does not benefit African-Americans to — to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.”

    He argued that “most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.”

    “They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re — that they’re being pushed ahead in — in classes that are too — too fast for them,” Scalia said. […]

  11. says

    The National Organization for Marriage endorsed Ted Cruz. This fits into our “the company they keep” category.

    The National Organization for Marriage, a group that was founded to stop marriage equality but has since embraced other anti-LGBT causes, announced today that it has endorsed Ted Cruz for president, asking conservatives to coalesce around the Texas senator’s candidacy.

    Cruz, who has actively courted even the most radical of anti-gay activists, including those who believe that the government should execute gay people, was one of several GOP presidential candidates who signed NOM’s pledge to back a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, order the Justice Department to help gay marriage opponents and “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.” […]


  12. blf says

    Videos at The Grauniad’s site don’t agree with my connection / browser, so I haven’t watched this (not sure I want to, it contains trum-prat, a surefire cure for sanity, living brain cells, and intact desks), but it sounds, ah, “hilarious”. Well, no, actually, just complete delusional, Trump on Muslim ban: I’m the least bigoted person you’ve ever met — video: “Donald Trump tells ABC’s Barbara Walters that he is no bigot, despite earlier in the week calling for a blanket ban on Muslims entering America. The Republican frontrunner says his proposal is the ‘right thing’, adding that he has great love for Muslims, but that the country must take necessary steps to protect itself from extremism”.

  13. microraptor says

    Lynna @14

    Ah, the good old Libertarian case against affirmative action: those poor black kids are just too stupid to succeed if we send them to the good schools. It’s really for their own benefit that we confine them to the crappy ones.

  14. says

    They’re late to the party, or late to reality, but several states with governments dominated by rightwing conservatives have accepted, endorsed and/or implemented the Medicaid expansion that is part of Obamacare. South Dakota is the latest.

    Other states in which low-income residents now benefit, however belatedly, from the acceptance of the Medicaid expansion:
    Kentucky (though they may move backwards after the election of Matt Bevin as Governor)

  15. says

    Rachel Maddow presented the tepid to almost-concurring responses of some Republicans to Donald Trump’s plan to block Muslims from entering the U.S. It’s a 20.20 minute video, with brief coverage of other stories included.

    We’ve been hearing a lot about the “condemnation” from even Trump’s Republican counterparts, but as Maddow shows, when you look at the facts, it’s anti-Muslim doofuses all the way down.

  16. blf says

    Not sure if this another company-you-keep or source-vetting-fail situation, but teh trum-prat has now shoved his head so far up his arse, it’s not only recursive (going round and into the arse, again and again), a whole new branch of biomathematics is needed to describe it, Trump ignores UK critics and claims country has ‘a massive Muslim problem’:

    Republican frontrunner reacts to petition signed by 300,000 to bar him from UK by applauding controversial commentator’s ‘powerful writing’ in support of him

    Donald Trump has hit back against UK critics of his stand against Islam, saying Britain had “a massive Muslim problem”.

    [… He] also praised controversial British commentator Katie Hopkins after she supported his position in an interview on Fox News.

    “Controversial” is exceptionally weaselly wording. Ms Ha-Ha is a flaming nazi of the worse sort (as per below…).


    In another tweet he said: “The United Kingdom is trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem. Everybody is wise to what is happening, very sad! Be honest.”

    Yes they are, but not in the way you “think”…

    […] Trump attracted a political backlash in Britain when he claimed there were parts of London so radicalised that police officers feared for their lives. The comments were rejected by Downing Street, which said they were “totally inaccurate”, and the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who said they were “utter nonsense”.

    The Scottish government has dropped Trump from his role as a business ambassador, and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen has stripped him of his honorary degree.

    [… Hopkins] said: “A quarter of the population here in the UK are right behind Donald Trump.”

    Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, a eurosceptic, anti-immigration party, [one of several British fascist parties –blf] has described Trump’s call to ban Muslims from the US as a “political mistake too far”. But Hopkins said of Ukip: “60% of their membership are right behind Donald Trump as well.”

    Hopkins […] attracted a storm of protest before the last UK general election by implying that then Labour party leader Ed Miliband was on the autistic “spectrum” after one of his speeches.

    She also provoked fury when she wrote […] that European gunships should be used against migrants crossing the Mediterranean and compared the people fleeing war and poverty to cockroaches.

    As I said, one of worse kinds of nazis. Wants to shoot immigrants / refugees, none of whom she considers people. And teh trum-prat is using her “support” as “evidence”…

    One of the commentators gets it almost correct: “We don’t have a ‘Muslim’ problem. The U.K. has a problem with extremists, some of whom are Muslims, and some of whom are right wing thugs. […]” I’d be happier if this gentleman, when speaking about extremists, had said “some of whom self-identify as Muslims” — ‘You Ain’t No Muslim, Bruv’

  17. blf says

    And the snark (what’s The Grauniad without a good snarking), With just a few tweets, Donald Trump has redesigned Britain:

    The Republican candidate’s vision of our ‘massive Muslim problem’ is so perspective altering that nothing will ever look quite the same again

    Even at their best, Donald Trump’s tweets — disjointed, jabbering and ungrammatical as they are — have the nonsensical ring of spam email. Now he has augmented his general talent for idiocy with a more specific trick. It’s one that will gladden the heart of so many British people who seek his counsel, and who wish they didn’t have to do at a foreigner’s remove: desperate as ever for a new target to have a frothingly weird pop at, he has turned to us.

    Pausing only to hurl rocks in vain at the Massive Muslims crushing their homes underfoot, British people everywhere, struck by this piercing diagnosis of their country’s social problems, turned to Trump for a solution.


    Those moments don’t come very often in a lifetime: when someone says something so insightful, so perspective altering, that nothing quite looks the same again. In this world, where respected columnist Katie Hopkins has a hotline to nonracist presidential candidate Donald Trump, Birmingham is a “totally Muslim city” […]

    Both “respected columnist” and “nonracist” are teh trum-prat’s own descriptions. Birmingham England is the UK city that faux claimed was a “no-go area”.

    In this world, London’s police officers cower in fear any time they find themselves out of sight of Scotland Yard. […]

    Sometimes, I guess, it takes an outsider to see you the way you really are. It takes an outsider to realise that all those mysterious giants are Massive Muslims in disguise. It takes an outsider to realise that what Scotland really needs is to be carpeted in golf courses. […]

    Donald Trump’s re-engineered Britain is a fascinating, if unfamiliar, place. But on the whole, I’m glad I don’t live there, even if it might be nice to have the Loch Ness monster poking his head out of a water hazard.

    Consider this, though: when Trump fires off one of his swivel-eyed fantasias and directs it at us, at least we can console ourselves with the thought that it could never really happen. Americans have to contemplate the possibility that he could actually make it so.

    As a bit of explaination, the “swivel-eyed” is a reference to a now-famous comment by a UK politician(?) complaining about “swivel-eyed loons” making crazy demands and wasting much of his time with delusional conspiracy theories.

  18. says

    blf @13, yes, yet another instance of Trump cozying up to neo-Nazis and/or white supremacists. I’m beginning to wonder if he, or his staff members, vet those sources and as soon as they see signs of white supremacy they say, “Good source! Let’s use this!”

    Ted Cruz is also increasing his “the company you keep is rancid” bonafides. He has endorsed the plan of a christian pastor to “rescue” black people from sexual immorality.

    […] The solutions Jackson [Tea Party politician E.W. Jackson Sr.] proposes and Cruz supports include many extremist, anti-gay, and racially offensive stances. […]

    In a document outlining his plan, Jackson detailed how exactly he would rescue America’s cities. Part of his plan includes sending children who live in “dysfunctional homes” to boarding schools. He claims that “the single greatest predictor of poverty is not race but the lack of a father in the home,” and that the country needs to address “sexual morality” because “a whole host of problems in our cities can be traced to single parent families.” Research actually shows that in cities with a large number of single mothers, families with both parents experience the same level of low upward mobility as single-mother households.

    Jackson’s plan also blames pop culture for creating a culture that devalues life and women. “In a world where Beyoncé shakes her ‘bootie’ and Miley twerks, it is difficult to imagine a culture of sexual responsibility, let alone abstinence,” his document says.
    The recovery plan, titled “Project Awakening,” argues that young people’s sexual responsibility is also tied to their family structure.

    “Young ladies need help to break the pattern of sexual exploitation that reeks [sic] havoc on their lives,” it says. “Ultimately, the absence of a caring father causes girls to go looking for love in all the wrong places.” […]

    Think Progress link

    Cruz buddied up to Jackson earlier when he took part in a teleconference focused on combatting “the gay agenda.” Cruz called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision confirming marriage equality “one of the greatest threats to our democracy we had seen in modern times.”

  19. says

    blf, thanks for the snark in comment 14. Good conclusion:

    Consider this, though: when Trump fires off one of his swivel-eyed fantasias and directs it at us, at least we can console ourselves with the thought that it could never really happen. Americans have to contemplate the possibility that he could actually make it so.


    Taking advantage of Trump mania to fundraise and to recruit new members, the KKK in Alabama is handing out fliers asking people to “fight the spread of Isam in our country.”

    There’s a photo of the flier here.

    The fliers were distrubuted by the Loyal White Knights of the KKK in Decatur, Guntersville, and Cullman, Alabama. If you call the number (“hotline”) on the flyer, you get a recorded message:

    Look at the Muslim attack that just happened in California. Wake up Christian America. The terrorists are being let in by our own government who have betrayed you to destroy our religion.

    Some of the fliers are packaged with candy.

    Here’s praise from KKK and white supremacist luminaries:

    […] Don Black, the founder of white supremacist group Stormfront, told Politico that “Trump has helped drive a steady increase in traffic in recent months — including 30-40 percent spikes when the businessman makes news on immigration or Muslims,” according to the website.

    And Rachel Pendergraft, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas-based Knights Party, which considers itself the national standard-bearer for the KKK, told Politico that Trump has offered KKK members new recruitment opportunities. “Right now he is a major talking point. He is in the news a lot,” she said. […]

  20. blf says

    Snickers… Donald Trump to postpone Israel trip until ‘after I become US president’:

    Donald Trump has said he will “postpone” a trip to Israel and a meeting with the country’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, until “after I become president of the US”.


    Trump’s visit had been opposed by dozens of Israeli MPs — both Jews and Arabs — after his remarks drew condemnation across the Israeli political spectrum.

    The cancellation also followed reports in the Israeli media that Trump had requested a visit to the Haram al-Sharif / Temple Mount religious site, revered by Muslims and Jews alike, and home to the al-Aqsa mosque — one of the most important sites in Islam.

    [… D]amaging for Trump was the fact that Israel’s rightwing energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, one of Netanyahu’s closest political allies, had weighed in, criticising Trump’s remarks.

    “I recommend fighting terrorist and extremist Islam, but I would not declare a boycott of, ostracism against, or war on Muslims in general,” Steinitz told Israel’s Army Radio.


    Underlining the hints of difficulties and tensions around his proposed trip, Trump — in yet another of the brazen untruths that have become the hallmark of his campaign — had on Wednesday attempted to deny he had said he would be meeting Netanyahu despite the fact that the comment had been recorded.

    Asked about comments he made at a rally last week in which he said that he would be meeting the Israeli prime minister, Trump insisted, “I didn’t say that, no.”

    In reality, however, Trump told a Virginia rally last week: “I’m going to Israel, and I’ll be meeting with Bibi Netanyahu, who’s a great guy.”

    I’ve redacted most of the discussion about Netanyahu’s antics regrading the now-“postponed” trum-prattling, and his reaction (or lack thereof) to teh trum-prat’s comments. I suspect Netanyahu can be put into the (possibly-tepid) “supporter” category, but I could also be easily mistaken on that point.

  21. says

    […] A Public Religion Research Institute poll released Thursday finds that 75 percent of Americans believe that self-identified Christians “who commit acts of violence in the name of Christianity are not really Christian.” Only about 19 percent of respondents said they believe these types of perpetrators are authentic Christians. […]


    Too bad they don’t extend that argument to Muslims who commit acts of violence.

  22. says

    The Trumpster is caught … again, by video tape. Blatant lies, per blf’s comment 17.

    Trump has his staff lying as well:

    A top aide [Michael Cohen] to Donald Trump told Yahoo! News that Latinos who dislike the GOP presidential frontrunner “aren’t even here legally,” can’t vote and therefore won’t affect his standing in the polls.

    Trump is always touting polls, why can’t he read the polls that show that 72% of all latinos who are legal, who are voters, hate his guts.

    […] Cohen’s suggestion that only immigrants without papers dislike his candidate is complicated by the fact that Trump’s policies have been condemned by major advocacy groups like the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and the conservative National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. […]

    His polling among U.S. Latinos has consistently trailed that of other Republican candidates. In an October Associated Press-GfK poll, 72 percent said they view Trump unfavorably.

    Still, Trump has publicly claimed that he has the support of Latinos across the country, telling NBC in July, “They love me, I love them. And I’ll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote.” […]

  23. says

    Trump already has suffered some financial setbacks thanks to bigoted comments about Mexicans, and now he is suffering some setbacks thanks to bigoted comments about Muslims.

    We heard earlier about malls in Arab nations no longer selling Trump’s home decor products, and now, today, we are hearing that DAMAC Properties in Dubai is taking Trump’s name off a golf course.

    […] DAMAC Properties initially issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that the firm would continue to work with Trump on the $6 billion course.

    But on Thursday, an image of Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, was removed from a billboard advertising the golf course outside the construction site, according to Reuters. And gold letters reading “Trump International Gold Club” were also removed from a wall at the golf course site. […]

  24. says

    The Toronto Star chronicled the fact that Canadians are showing Trump how to be human:

    The Toronto Star welcomed the first of Canada’s Syrian refugees to their city Thursday with a front-page editorial, giving the newcomers a quick dialect explainer and advice for surviving the Canadian winter.

    “Welcome to Canada. Ahlan wa sahlan. You’re with family now,” the editorial opened. “And your presence among us makes our Christmas season of peace and joy just that much brighter.”

    The editorial board of the Star, the country’s largest newspaper by circulation, wrote that the city was honored to accept the refugees. While the U.S. debates restricting refugees by both religion and number, Canada welcomed refugees with almost open arms. The government, under recently elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, plans to resettle 10,000 by the end of December and another 15,000 by February. […]

    It is particularly satisfying to see all of the international backlash against Trump’s stupidity.

  25. says

    Alex Jones must have been in hall of mirrors, looking at his many reflections. He said on Tucker Carlson’s show that “the average Democrat” is a Nazi

    Jones also claimed that the Obama administration enjoys assassination threats against Donald Trump. I haven’t heard about any assassination threats against The Trumpster, so I am assuming the Jones was projecting about his own glee when he sees assassination threats against President Obama. Hall of mirrors.

    […] “It just seems like it’s now a dumbed-down power cult like the Nazis or the Soviets,” Jones said of Democrats, labeling them “deranged crazy people.”

    Carlson agreed with Jones’ assessment that the Democratic Party is a “gang” that wholly relies on power-hungry intellectuals and people on welfare, with Carlson claiming the party is devoid of “normal people” and reliant on accusations of white racism to win votes. […]


  26. says

    This falls into the “tepid-response/semi-support” category of rightwing politicians reacting to Trump’s proposal to block Muslims from entering the U.S.

    Sen. Ted Cruz and three other Republican senators voted on Thursday against a non-binding Senate resolution affirming that the United States does not use religious tests for immigrants seeking admission into the country.

    The resolution, which is an amendment to a maritime security bill, reads simply, “It is the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this Nation was founded.”

    Buzz Feed link

    These senators voted against the resolution:
    Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
    Thom Tillis (North Carolina)
    David Vitter (Lousiana)
    Tec Cruz (Texas)

  27. microraptor says

    Lynna @19:

    Of course Trump’s staff is lying. If any of them with a commitment to honesty and integrity would have have quit months ago.


    There’s a great deal of irony to be found in the relish that Alex Jones calls his opponents Nazis, given the amount of white supremacist garbage he spews.

  28. says

    Senator Marco Rubio, presidential hopeful, was interviewed by Pat Robertson. During the interview, the young, fresh-faced senator seemed to want to take us all back to the 1950s. Rubio is an old fuddy-duddy inside.

    [Rubio] said he would reverse President Obama’s executive orders on LGBT non-discrimination, appoint judges to roll back abortion and same-sex marriage, and expand religious exemptions to a wide range of laws.

    Most surprisingly, Rubio told CBN that he would “reverse the executive orders the president has made” on LGBT non-discrimination, which a large majority of Americans support.

    While saying that, Rubio repeated the lie that schools have “been forced to, you know, provide girls access to a boys’ bathroom and so forth.”

    The Daily Beast link

    Rubio’s big push to “vote for me because I’m not old like the other candidates” is not that well-received.

  29. blf says

    I hadn’t heard this claim before, but it is an horses-and-peas thing, what’s being compared aren’t too similar… so teh trum-prat “thinks” it is true, Is Donald Trump right that more British Muslims fight for Isis than the UK army? (all emboldening in the original):

    The US presidential hopeful claims fewer Muslims serve in UK armed forces than in terror group — he’s wrong and here’s why

    Donald Trump has claimed more British Muslims join Islamic State than join the British armed forces, but can that really be true?

    The US Republican presidential candidate tweeted the statement in response to a petition demanding he be banned from the UK for his support of a “total and complete shutdown” of US borders to Muslims.

    Trump’s tweets have been disputed in the past: he claimed in the same hour that the Sun’s Katie Hopkins was a respected columnist. But is this statistic true?

    [… analysis of the claim, result is640 Muslims in the armed forcesand “approximately 430 to 440 British fighters alive and currently in Syria [and mostly with daesh]” …]

    It is not really accurate to compare a cumulative number of fighters heading to Isis over a number of years with the current number of Muslim recruits in the British army. But we can say one thing:

    At no point over the past three years has the number of active British Isis fighters eclipsed the number of serving Muslims in the British armed forces.

    Basically, what trum-prat et al did was count the total number of people who left for Syria, ignored those who died or later left, claimed all joined daesh (not true), and then compared that completely bogus number to the current number of known Muslims in the UK’s military.

  30. blf says

    A brilliant letter to The Grauniad (all emphasis and emboldening in the original):

    I think we can assume a future president-elect Trump is unlikely to swear the oath of allegiance to the constitution using Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an kept by the Library of Congress […]. Mind you, as a Christian, I would rather he didn’t use the Bible either.
    Rev Paul Hunt
    Senior chaplain, Emanuel School, London

  31. blf says

    There’s “not even wrong.” Is there “not even deluded”? For example, Donald Trump: ‘I’m starting to win the debate on barring Muslims from US’:

    Speaking as he was endorsed by New Hampshire police union, the Republican candidate says that Americans were ‘talking very positively’ about his policy idea

    Donald Trump […] told a crowd of police officers in New Hampshire on Thursday night that he was starting to win the debate about cutting off all Muslim immigration into the US.

    […] Trump audaciously claimed that the nation was starting to swing behind him. “We have people talking, I’ll tell you that,” the Republican frontrunner said, “and they’re talking very positively.”

    He described the worldwide furor that was provoked by his call on Monday for a “total and complete shutdown” of US borders to Muslims as “an interesting few days”. But the public was beginning to agree with him, he said, just as they had done over his earlier contentious plan to build a wall along the Mexican border.

    Not. Even. Deluded. No, not very many think teh wallxico is even plausible, much less anything other than a large pile of exceptionally smelly peashite dumped in the middle of the Rio Grande.

    “They are saying ‘Trump is right. Trump has a point.’”

    Not. Even. Deluded. The people who do say things like that are the knyghts of krazy konspiracies (see @16), other hate groups, and out-and-out nazis of worse sort, like Ms Ha-Ha (see @13).

    The Republican frontrunner made his remarks at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where the New England Police Benevolent Association was voting to endorse him as its presidential candidate. […]

    This gang of goons did what!? Not. Even. Deluded.

    [Teh trum-prat] also unveiled his latest headline-catching campaign wheeze. Were he to win the race to the White House, he said, one of his earliest acts would be to pass an executive order mandating the death penalty for any killer of a police officer.

    Not. Even. Deluded. As The Grauniad itself points out:

    The idea of imposing the death penalty for killing a law enforcer is almost certainly a chimera as US presidents only have power to influence sentencing in the minority of cases that are deemed federal homicides. Most murders are left under the US constitution to the individual states to decide.

    On a better hand:

    The Porstmouth event with police officers attracted one of the largest anti-Trump protests yet. About 200 people assembled outside the Sheraton brandishing placards that said “LOVE>HATE” and “We welcome refugees”.

    [… Republican anti–trum-prat -protestor Harrison Debree] held up a placard that said “Trump: America’s Hitler” with a photograph of the candidate with a Hitler moustache etched on it.

    Debree normally votes Republican but said he was so unhappy about the messages being put out by Trump that he was seriously now considering voting for the leading Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

    “I don’t like the way that Trump is assaulting the Bill of Rights, like this week’s statement on closing the US to Muslims — that’s an attack on the First Amendment religious test. […]”

    Now back to the Not. Even. Deluded.

    [… P]olice officers packed into the ballroom to see Trump were generally in support of his plan to shutdown the country to incoming Muslims. […]

    Dennis Rizzuto […] a police officer from Carver, Massachusetts, said […] he supported the billionaire’s immigration proposals, and if anything he would go even further.

    “I think we need to get a grip on our borders, period. We should consider closing the borders to anyone coming in to this country no matter who they are.”

    Not. Even. Deluded. And, being an obviously racist goon, this knucklehead very probably carries a loaded gun for the express purpose of assassinating anyone he doesn’t like.

  32. says

    blf @29, The Trump-prat proves once again that he is very good at lying. And his supporters will swallow that lie whole.

    Here is part of the response from a recent focus group of Trump supporters:

    To Luntz’s amazement, hearing negative information about the candidate made the voters, only a few of whom gave their full names to the press, hug the candidate tighter.

    “Normally, if I did this for a campaign, I’d have destroyed the candidate by this point,” Luntz told a group of reporters when the session ended. “After three hours of showing that stuff?”
    “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Luntz added. “There is no sign of them leaving. He has created or found the magic formula.”

    Washington Post link

    It would appear the focus-group participants were a spirited bunch. Most believed ridiculous conspiracy theories about President Obama; they assumed Trump’s most outlandish lies were true; they endorsed his anti-Muslim plan; and they discounted any information that originated from major news organizations.

    Maddow Blog link

  33. says

    Re blf’s comment 31, I wonder if Trump’s staff has trained themselves to give him only positive feedback? Seems likely. Trump pays them for that.

  34. says

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally greeted refugees arriving at the airport. Link

    […] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a battery of politicians from across the political spectrum were on hand at the Toronto airport to greet the refugees.

    “You are home,” Mr. Trudeau said to the first passengers to disembark after a 16-hour flight from Beirut on a Canadian military aircraft. “You’re safe at home now.” The premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, gave them winter coats. […]

    NY Times link
    Video at the link.

  35. says

    Trump’s staff must also protect him or shield him from most of the negative responses. (As an aside, I’m regretting the error in comment 33.)

    In other news, Trump is not the only one threatening to leave the Republican Party and run as an independent, Ben Carson is making noises in the same direction.

    There’s another Republican debate scheduled for Tuesday. It looks like Rand Paul won’t make the main stage. Low poll numbers will put him at the kid’s table. “To qualify for the CNN-sponsored primetime debate, candidates must average at least 3.5 percent support nationally or 4 percent in either Iowa or New Hampshire, based on major polls conducted between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13.”

  36. says

    America’s rightwing white supremacists like Trump, but Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front in France, thinks Trump has gone too far. I wonder what kind of buttons you have to push to make Marine Le Pen reject bigotry.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why do rethug voters like The Donald? They think he is decisive.

    A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 8 in 10 Republican registered voters call Trump very or somewhat decisive. That’s top in the field for the businessman, whose blunt style was featured for years on reality TV. At the same time, it finds much resistance to him from the country at large…
    People frustrated with the status quo appear to love his style — even when his policies draw condemnation and his facts are wrong. Trump drew widespread criticism from within his own party and from leaders around the world this week after calling for the ban on Muslim entry to the United States…
    In the new national survey, three-quarters of Republicans said Trump would have a chance of winning the general election if nominated, significantly more than say so of any other GOP candidate.

    But his decisive bigotry poison’s him with general electorate.

    But the AP-GfK poll also offers cause for long-term concern for such Trump loyalists.

    Beyond Republicans, 58 percent of all Americans have an unfavorable view of him. That’s the worst favorable rating of any candidate in either party, a reminder that decisiveness alone may not be enough to help Trump prevail in next fall’s general election if he represents the GOP on the ballot.

    No doubt the more he speaks, the larger his negatives are with the general populace. Which isn’t bad news.

  38. says

    Carly Fiorina is slowly sinking out of sight as far as the presidential race goes, but she continues to put on a good display bonkerness occasionally. Here are some excerpts from her latest rant:

    […] Carly Fiorina appeared on CNN’s “New Day” Friday only to discover that co-host Chris Cuomo remembered he was a journalist and was intent on holding her feet to the pro-life fires she’s been stoking since this summer.

    Cuomo suggested that the man who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, Robert Dear, was “influenced by some of the rhetoric that was coming out of you that painted a very ugly, unfair picture of Planned Parenthood.”

    “Oh really, Chris?” Fiorina testily replied. “There have been nine videos, it is very clear what Planned Parenthood have been doing. Several weeks ago, Planned Parenthood made a quiet little announcement that they would no longer accept compensation for what they call ‘fetal tissue.’ That’s about as close to an admission [of guilt] as you can get.”

    “That’s not what they say,” Cuomo said, only to be shouted down by Fiorina.

    “Look,” an irate Fiorina replied, “what happened in Colorado was a terrible thing. This guy is a deranged murderer who should be put away for life, but that has nothing to do with the truth of what is going on in Planned Parenthood.”

    “This is a typical left-wing tactic,” she continued, regaining her calm cliché by cliché, “of trying to shut down the truth by silencing people. This has happened over, and over, and over again.”

    Cuomo, clearly exasperated by Fiorina’s theatrics, replied that “the question doesn’t go away — the videos were edited, you know that.”

    “I don’t know that!” Fiorina fired back, secure in her belief that if she repeats the same lie enough times, people will believe it. “There has been forensic evidence of those nine video tapes over and over again, and there have been reports that they were not edited.”

    “Of course they were edited,” Cuomo said. “Let’s be careful about what we’re saying.”

    “Let’s be very careful about what we’re saying,” trainwreck-in-process Fiorina replied. “Let’s be very careful about what we’re saying.”

    Cuomo noted that there “were scenes and pictures” in the videos that were manifestly edited into the conversations, even though they weren’t “authentic or germane to the conversation within the video. Now you have someone who went out and killed in the name of that.”

    “Oh really, really, Chris?” Fiorina said, her composure now clearly flagging. “I don’t recall — and careful Chris, you’re a journalist — I don’t recall anybody in the pro-life community celebrating this tragedy.”

    Unfortunately for Fiorina, the standard of evidence isn’t what she does or doesn’t recall, and many conservatives did, in fact, celebrate Dear’s attack on the clinic. […]

    Salon link

    Bonkers and seriously irritating at the same time. She should get a Trumpian hairstyle to complete her costume.

  39. blf says

    Lynna@37, Thanks for the link to the article on Marine Le Prat’s views on Le Trum-prat; I hadn’t seen anything in the English-language press and was rather wondering…

    The le prat nazis are, at the moment, a much much bigger danger than le trum-prat. Marine and her even more bigoted niece are both in the second round of elections to he held this Sunday. The niece, who is reported to be at least as nasty as the elder Mr Le Prat — some say possibly even nastier — is running in my region, and it’s not impossible she’ll win. (In the village where I live, she got over 39% of the vote in the first round last Sunday! (Albeit on a turnout of c.50%.)) Marine, in her region, may also win. That is, they, and possibly other french nazis, are within two-ish days of a real possibility of gaining power. Teh trum-prat is not, and hasn’t even won any sort of an election.

  40. says

    Another potential terrorist has been stopped. He’s a white guy with mental problems and a lot of guns.

    Police in Edgewater, Maryland were alerted to a man’s strange behavior by a person shopping in a grocery store. Police ended up detaining 56-year-old Kirk Green and upon further investigation, discovered he had apparently been planning an attack:

    Officers detained the man, 56-year-old Kirk Green of Edgewater, and later found guns, ammunition and plans to attack government agencies in his vehicle, police said.

    Police said Green had circled locations on a map, and a journal was found in which he said he planned to “take back the land.

    Green appeared to be delusional and a roommate confirmed his mental illness.


  41. says

    Steve Jobs, son of a Syrian refugee:

    Banksy, the famous street artist, turned very famous street artist, put a piece up last night in France. More specifically on a concrete bridge in the Calais migrant camp, a place known as “The Jungle”. […]

    “We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources, but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant.

    “Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7 billion a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.” […]


  42. says

    Here’s one for our “the company you keep” category. Ted Cruz not only buddies up with the most bigoted elements of the religious right, but he is also happy to join forces with the most radical gun groups in the USA.

    Ted Cruz sent a fundraising email on behalf of the radical gun group Gun Owners of America yesterday, boasting that he was “honored to work with GOA” to stop gun legislation after the Sandy Hook massacre and declaring that President Obama’s gun control efforts “have nothing to do with keeping Americans safe, and everything to do with his left-wing hatred of your liberty and your rights under the Constitution.” […]

    When GOA mobilized to help defeat background check legislation in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, the New York Times identified Cruz as the gun group’s “key ally in the Senate.”

    GOA is, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, “a more radical alternative to the National Rifle Association,” which through an absolutist stance against any and all gun regulation has helped to push both the NRA and the gun debate to the right and away from any possible compromise.

    But what’s most troubling about GOA is the radicalism of its executive director, Larry Pratt, who has ties to white supremacists and the militia movement and whose insurrectionist view of the Second Amendment is bolstered by a steady stream of conspiracy theories, many of them directed at President Obama. […]


  43. says

    Yes, some GOP elected officials are still playing the birther card and the Muslim card against President Obama:

    […] Kelly [Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.] said that “most clear-thinking people” now “realize the old saying, if it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. We’ve had seven years of this waddling and quacking going on and we’re finally starting to identify who this person is.”

    Kelly said that Obama has checked out of his job as president and “never believed that this was a truly exceptional country.” “Where in the heck did this guy come from and who raised him?” he continued. “That answers everything for you, if you look into the background you say, ‘Now I get it, now I get it.’” […]


  44. says

    Not sure if this article was linked to in the past. It’s an in-depth article from Autostraddle from back in September about the disinformation machine that is Fox “News”:
    This is how Fox News brainwashes its viewers: Our in-depth investigation of the propaganda cycle:

    2016 presidential primary season is in full swing, which means, among other things, that Fox News’ ratings are skyrocketing. Fox News has been the most watched cable news network in the country for 12 straight years, regularly pulling in more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. During the first Republican primary debate of this season, Fox clocked its most-ever (24 million) viewers, making the two-hour show the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of all time.

    Over the last ten years, everyone I know has lost a friend or family member or mentor to Fox News. Like me, they have watched helplessly as people they love have become part of the conservative punditry herd and, over time, traded their compassion for paranoia; their thoughtful opinions for manufactured outrage; and their empathy for hateful rhetoric. These people — these moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandparents and brothers and sisters and pastors and politicians and friends — have been deceived into believing that Fox News and Fox-approved talk radio hosts provide the only commentary they can trust.

    What these people so dear to us fail to understand is that Fox News is not only uninterested in being fair and balanced; it is also uninterested in being a reliable source of news. That’s because Fox News is playing a zero-sum political game in which every major news story is an opportunity to use their viewers as pawns to advance the power and agenda of the most extremist ideology of the Republican Party.

    Consider Trayvon Martin. After he was murdered by George Zimmerman, multiple journalists pointed out that Fox News had been oddly silent on the subject. Until they had a firm grasp on how to mold the story to their benefit, they refused to report on it. Then, as Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert explains: “Obama addressed it, and once Obama enters the conversation about race, you know, [Fox News] went from zero to a hundred … they decided that the story was partisan, and that supporting Trayvon Martin was the Democratic position, supporting the guy who killed an unarmed teen was the Republican conservative position, and so they set up the markers, and went for it.”

    When a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, Sean Hannity proved Boehlert’s claim. Hannity was practically giddy when he announced to his audience: “Zero for three, a three-time loser! President Obama on high-profile race cases.”

    Study after study after study after study has shown that Fox News viewers are the most uninformed and misinformed people in America. One recent study even found that people who didn’t watch any news programs at all had a firmer grasp on the reality of current events than those who only watched Fox News.

    Rather than adhering to any kind of journalistic standard when reporting the news, or — as is the case with liberal-leaning MSNBC — reporting truthfully on the news and offering ideological commentary grounded in facts, Fox News starts with their end goal in mind and works backwards. How can a news story be used to damage their viewers’ perceptions of President Obama or the Democratic Party? How can a news story be used to bolster Republican politicians, or advance the causes of Republican-leaning policy influencers like the National Rifle Association or evangelical Christians? How can a news story be used to vilify causes championed by progressive Americans?

    Once they’ve settled on the outcome they want, Fox News shapes its narrative and sets in motion its brainwashing cycle.

    Fox News’ use of propaganda to isolate and indoctrinate its viewers is deliberate and terrifyingly effective. It thrives off of fear-based sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and dogmatic intolerance toward anyone who is not a straight, white Christian.

    The Fox News Propaganda Cycle
    I’ve been studying Fox News’ methodology since 2004, when I saw someone I love get pulled into their orbit and transformed for the first time. This article is the culmination of all my research. Below you’ll see a chart I made outlining the way Fox News and their talk radio counterparts use classic propaganda techniques to isolate and indoctrinate their viewers/listeners. And below that, you’ll find an explanation of each technique, along with examples of what these methods look like in action. There are thousands of examples to choose from. I only picked a handful.


  45. blf says

    In previous comments people have wondered about teh trum-prat’s “advisors”. The Grauniad has looked into this, Who — if anybody — is advising Donald Trump?:

    The GOP frontrunner’s statements appear to be drafted on the fly and while several figures play key roles the loss of his political adviser in August is being felt

    When Donald Trump […] dropped his A-bomb on the presidential contest last week by calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, there is little doubt that he knew what he was doing.

    [… T]he policy statement was released in what appears to have been a remarkably cavalier fashion. None of the meticulous pre-release vetting, obsessive focus group testing and media messaging that would be typically carried out by an army of staffers working for any conventional presidential campaign seems to have been done.

    The appearance of such a prominent presidential candidate […] apparently making up contentious policies on the hoof has left an already bewildered Republican party reeling. And it has raised important questions about Trump and his coterie: where is he getting his ideas, and is anybody advising him?

    At first look, last Monday’s blast out of the blue certainly appears to have been thinly sourced. Trump’s two-paragraph announcement, released to reporters and then read out before a mostly military crowd on board an aircraft carrier, cited research by the Pew Research Center showing “great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population” — when Pew’s own studies suggest the exact opposite.

    He went on to quote the results of a survey showing high levels of violent ideation among American Muslims that was conducted by the Washington-based thinktank, the Center for Security Policy.

    Within minutes of the announcement, organisations that monitor hate speech were pointing out that the group’s founder, Frank Gaffney, is a notorious Islamophobe with a long track record in demonizing American Muslims.

    When contacted to ask whether Trump had consulted him in advance of making his contentious call for a Muslim lockdown, Gaffney gave a one-word reply: “Nope.” Yet the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate speech, has identified strong connections between Trump and Gaffney running through this year.

    The SPLC has found that Gaffney organized summits on national security policy in the three early contesting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and Trump attended each one. The Center for Security Policy also co-sponsored a rally on Iran in September at which Trump and his rival Ted Cruz spoke.

    In March, the Center for Security Policy published a pamphlet called Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America that reads like a blueprint for Trump’s Muslim immigration blockade. Its conclusion calls for a “moratorium on Muslim immigration to America” and exhorts supporters to “demand a complete halt”.

    Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC, said that Trump’s anti-Muslim statement “turns out to be based entirely on the thoroughly un-American proposals of Frank Gaffney”.

    [Whilst teh trum-prat] has built a strong organization on the ground in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, there is only one person who truly matters in this campaign: Donald Trump himself.

    As a Republican familiar with Trump’s efforts said: “He controls all content in his campaign. He dictates the press releases. He decides what reporters he wants to see. He is his own strategist and his own message maker.”

    This isn’t to say Trump is making every decision. […] He even has his own surrogate for cable news appearances, telegenic Tea Party activist Katrina Pierson who recently defended her boss’s Muslim ban with the statement: “So what? They’re Muslim.”

    Trump loves to go it alone, though, using his Twitter account to attack his critics. Britain got a taste of that when he warmed to his provocative theme with a succession of slurs about Muslims in the UK, which were rooted so superficially in reality that he found himself relentlessly mocked in a series of absurdist #TrumpFacts.


    At best it can be said that Trump is evasive about his policy advisers. He told NBC News that when it came to looking around for in-depth military knowledge, “I watch the {TV political} shows.”

    The same pattern is shown on domestic policy. The campaign has released several policy papers on topics such as immigration, trade and military veterans’ affairs but they were written by an operative no longer affiliated with the campaign.

    The campaign now relies on Trump himself to be the generator of its ideas. As the Republican source put it, in the same way that Ronald Reagan was able to glean facts from newspapers, Trump “just picks stuff up from the internet. He reads it and he keeps it.”

    [… T]his lack of a traditional infrastructure, largely lacking in policy advisers, speechwriters, pollsters, ad-makers or fundraisers […] leaves him dangerously exposed, and vulnerable to his own tendency to shoot first, aim later. That pattern of behavior was well illustrated last month when he tweeted a panel of what purported to be USA crime figures gathered by the “Crime Statistics Bureau” that had black people being responsible for 81% of homicides of white people.

    The statistics were not only false — PolitiFact rated them “pants on fire” — they turned out to have come from a Twitter feed with the handle @CheesedBrit that has now been discontinued. The owner of the account described himself as someone who “should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache”.

    One reason that the Trump charabanc now looks so chaotic was the departure in August of his top — and pretty much only — political adviser, Roger Stone. In true Trump fashion, the candidate said he’d fired him, while Stone said he left of his own accord out of frustration that the media fights Trump was getting into were drowning out the message.

    Either way, his absence, by all accounts, is now being felt. “I don’t think anybody tells Mr Trump what to say or think,” said conservative strategist Chris Barron, who has worked for many years with Stone. “But Roger was one of the few people who have known Mr Trump for decades and was not a yes-man and would challenge him.” […]

  46. says

    Re Tony’s post @48, I live in a community heavily influenced by mormonism. Almost all of my neighbors have been lost in the Faux News spin cycle for a decade or more. It is disheartening to see them nurturing the reach of Fox News with postings on their Facebook pages, and with emails sent to the entire membership of their mormon “ward.”

    blf @49, that was a good analysis of the Trump-Prat’s modus operandi. I see that the Guardian also noted Trump’s misinterpretation of the Pew poll. I listened to an interview in which a journalist asked Trump about the Frank-Gaffney-generated poll and that poll’s unreliability. Trump’s response was, “There was another poll from Pew.” So, yes, he is using the Pew poll as proof of something the Pew poll does not prove. If you can’t get the media to accept shoddy poll results, you just blithely misinterpret some other poll.

    I’ve said before that Donald Trump does not know how to vet his sources. Now I’m thinking that he does not want to vet his sources … and he doesn’t want staff that vets them either.

    Carly Fiorina is stuck in a spin cycle made by Faux News and other rightwing media sources. She believes, for example, that the deceptively-edited Planned Parenthood videos were not edited … because the sources she reads says they were not edited.

    Dunderheads, every last one of them.

  47. says

    The “War on Christmas” now has its own emergency hotline. Link

    This holiday season, there’s going to be a Defend Christmas Freedom Hotline. That’s right: A dedicated team of conservative cranks and lawyers from the fine state of South Carolina will be taking your calls. If you find yourself religiously oppressed by anti-Christmas forces, just call on the hard-right Palmetto Family Council and they shall get right on that.

    Additional link

  48. says

    Religious blather and back-biting from Trump:

    […] Trump has not forgotten how important the evangelical voting bloc is to the Iowa caucus. He reminded attendees that he is a Presbyterian and Christian while questioning Cruz’s position as an evangelical Christian.

    “I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba, in all fairness. It’s true,” Trump said. “Not a lot come out. But I like him nevertheless.”

  49. says

    Hooray! From the climate conference in Paris, we have a deal! It was a close call, with the conference having to be extended for an additional 24 hours while negotiators worked frantically to get a deal signed. President Obama, who had left the conference earlier, worked the phones relentlessly during that last 24 hours. No doubt, this deal is not perfect, but it is a good step. Unanimity from 200 world leaders.

    In a literally world-changing deal that was almost unthinkable just a year ago, some two hundred leading nations unanimously embraced a plan that will leave most of the world’s fossil fuels unburned.

    […] the world unanimously committed to an ongoing effort of increasingly deeper emissions reductions aimed at keeping total warming “to well below 2°C [3.6°F] above preindustrial levels.” […] the parties agreeing “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” […]

    Tragically, conservatives in Congress are doing everything that they can to undermine this deal, […]

    The economic and environmental implications of this deal for Americans are staggering. In the near term, it will unlock an accelerating multi-trillion-dollar shift in capital investment away from carbon-intensive coal and oil, which were the cornerstone of the first industrial revolution, into clean technologies like solar, wind, LED lighting, advanced batteries, and electric cars. […]

    The Paris Agreement means the world may avoid many of the most catastrophic impacts. That said, a quarter century of largely ignoring scientific warnings has left the world unable to stop a number of very dangerous impacts, including sea level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather, and Dust-Bowlification.
    “I’m optimistic within a pessimistic framework,” said David Doniger the Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate & Clean Air Program. […]

  50. says

    Bad news from Indiana. The state’s leaders seem to be intent on treating LGBT people as second class citizens.

    The fight over LGBT discrimination in Indiana is far from over. Not only are Republicans considering one of the most anti-LGBT bills ever, a new lawsuit is seeking to overturn what limited protections exist in the state.

    The Indiana Family Institute (IFI) and American Family Association of Indiana (AFA-I) have filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to overturn the legislative “fix” passed last year to ensure that the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) did not enable anti-LGBT discrimination.

    Indiana does not have any statewide protections against such discrimination in place, but several cities do at the municipal level. The suit also challenges those protections in both Indianapolis and Carmel, alleging that they infringe on the groups’ religious liberty. […]

    Specifically, the groups accuse the “fix” of engaging in “viewpoint discrimination” against those with the “traditional biblical view of marriage and human sexuality (which requires that sexual relations occur only within a biblical marriage between one man and one woman).” It favors “religious traditions that have no objection to same-sex marriage… over those religious traditions that oppose same-sex marriage.” In fact, it “discriminated” against that latter group, the suit claims. […]

  51. microraptor says

    Lynna @55:

    For a supposed super-hacker group, Anonymous seems remarkably unable to accomplish anything of significance.

  52. blf says

    Texas ‘mock mass shooting’ staged by pro-gun groups:

    The much hyped response to attempts to keep University of Texas at Austin gun-free happened — it just did so out of sight, using condiments for blood and pursued by determined protesters with fart guns

    Pro-gun activists staged their promised and much-hyped “mock mass shooting” in Austin, Texas on Saturday — though they did so without many witnesses.

    In protesting efforts among academics and students to make the University of Texas at Austin a gun-free zone, in the face of an incoming campus carry law, Come and Take it Texas and announced plans to conduct a dramatization of a mass school shooting on college property.

    Their aim was to demonstrate the supposed effectiveness of armed citizens in neutralising gunmen who target public spaces, and the announcement duly caused a media stir.

    But the planned location was changed on Wednesday after UT issued a statement saying university property was only open to students and staff, and any activities held on it by outside parties could be considered criminal trespassing. Mock-shooting organizer Murdoch Pizgatti told the Austin American-Statesman: “We will move forward with the event on the adjacent public land using UT as the backdrop.”

    On Saturday, the venue was changed again.

    At first, a dozen reporters waited outside a parking garage one block west of the University of Texas, where a Facebook event page had told pro-gun supporters to meet at noon in order to begin the day’s activities with an open-carry gun walk.

    As reporters waited for organizers to emerge from the garage, one man […] Austin real estate broker Andrew Clements, stood on the sidewalk with a short barrel AR-15 strapped to his chest. […]

    At about 12.30pm, two men emerged from the parking garage wearing bandanas and sunglasses to obscure their faces. One, the hood from his yellow sweatshirt pulled over his head, held a sign that read: “Criminals support gun-free zones.”

    Pizgatti emerged from the garage next, wearing a black t-shirt with a slogan that read: “Proud Member of the Terrorist Watch List.” He carried a bullhorn and walked with another man whom Clements said was Pizgatti’s brother. Both men declined to speak to reporters.

    A group containing more journalists than activists then walked a 10-block loop that took them down Guadalupe Street, directly in front of the UT campus.

    One marcher, Heather Hill of Fort Worth, said she was one of the mock-shooting organizers and a member of Come and Take it Texas. A host of an internet radio show called Liberty 4 Free, she carried a sign that read “10 mins vs 10 seconds” — a reference to police response times to mock shootings as opposed to supposed response times of armed citizens — on one side and “End Gun Free Zones” on the other. […]

    At about 1pm, the open carry walk ended and Pizgatti announced that the group would break for lunch, then reassemble at 2.30pm for the mock shooting [… on the West Mall].

    The West Mall is the free speech area at UT, where the event was originally scheduled to take place. By 2pm, a counter-protest group had assembled there, carrying props including Nerf swords, guns that made flatulent sounds and sex aids. One man held a sign that said: “Fart here”. Others’ signs said “Armed with reason” and “Sorry about your small penis issues”.

    At 2.15pm, the man holding the “Fart here” sign announced that the mock mass shooting demonstrators had been spotted about 10 blocks away. The entire group, including media, made the long trek to 27th street and Whitis, there to find that the mock mass shooting had already finished.

    Pizgatti and the others were nowhere to be seen. Only chalk outlines of human bodies and ketchup-stained sidewalks in

    [… T]he leader of the fart mob declared a victory. “It’s time to stand up for common sense, good humor and, despite the fart guns, good taste,” he said.

    Next up, the shoot-wildly-whenever-you-imagine-seeing-someone-not-like-you “activists” will demonstrate how quickly they can kill everyone in an darkened theatre when one of them mistakes another one of them for a being one of the probably imaginary bad guys.

  53. blf says

    I rather wonder what the bigot would have done had the victim lied and said “Yes”, Muslim teen upset after teacher asked if she had a bomb in her backpack:

    Father says Georgia teacher stopped his 13-year-old daughter, who wears a hijab, and asked if she had a bomb — school says principal apologized


    Abdirizak Aden said the teacher at Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett County, Georgia, stopped his 13-year-old daughter, who wears a hijab, and asked if she had a bomb.


    “I was upset,” said Aden, who lives in Snellville and works as a truck driver and grocery store owner. […] “We are from Africa, we are Muslims, we live in America,” he said. “I didn’t teach my children to hate people or to think they are better than other people.”

    Sloan Roach, a Gwinnett County public schools spokeswoman, told the newspaper the school’s principal had apologized to the family.

    “The remark was not appropriate, but based on their conversation and investigation,” school officials don’t believe it was made with ill intent,” Roach said.

    Awww, how predictable, the “it was only a joke” excuse. An answer of “No, but I want to use it to carry a clock” would have been quite appropriate — and the bigot’s reaction telling…

  54. blf says

    A follow-up to @49, @50, and other comments, Team Trump: the people behind Donald Trump’s quest — and one who used to be (all emboldening in the original):

    The candidate’s rise has been achieved with a campaign manager known as ‘a bomb thrower’ and a spokeswoman who has warned of UN takeovers in Texas

    The manager
    Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s aggressive campaign manager, has been described as “a bomb thrower” with “a knack for spectacle, an eye toward making money and a proven willingness to defy the Republican Party”. […] An experienced New Hampshire operative who last worked for Americans for Prosperity, part of the Koch brothers’ conservative political network, Lewandowski […] travels to almost every campaign event with Trump and is constantly by his side.

    The adviser
    Sam Clovis is a long-time conservative activist from Iowa who […] started the 2016 campaign as a supporter of former Texas governor Rick Perry, writing of Trump in a private email that he had “no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal”. Before Perry dropped out, however, Clovis signed on with Trump as national co-chair and senior policy adviser. An economics professor at Morningside College in Sioux City, Clovis has helped Trump craft policies including his proposed ban on Muslims entering the country.

    The spokeswoman
    Katrina Pierson has long been a fixture on cable news, often defending Trump, although she only officially joined his campaign in November. A professional activist who has warned Tea Party members of UN plans to take over Texas, she has worked for the Tea Party Leadership Fund, one of the most prominent “scam Pacs” — groups, mostly on the right, that spend almost all the money they raise on themselves. In 2014, she mounted an unsuccessful primary challenge to veteran Texas congressman Pete Sessions. Her campaign was damaged by the revelation that while preparing her run and doing consulting work for the Senate campaign of Ted Cruz, she was receiving government unemployment benefits. [This scamswoman is who made the “So what? They’re Muslim.” reply –blf]

    The conspiracy theorist
    Unveiling his plan to ban all Muslims from entering the US, Trump cited a poll conducted by a thinktank [sic] run by the controversial Frank Gaffney. [… He is] a prominent conspiracy theorist, claiming for example that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and top conservative activist Grover Norquist are agents of the Muslim Brotherhood. […]

    The entry for Gaffney in The Encyclopedia of American Loons, written pre–trum-prat, is a hilarious. A few excerpts:

    Frank Gaffney is an islamophobic pundit and a really not particularly nice fellow. [… The] Center for Security Policy [(teh “thinktank”) –blf …] is his propaganda organ and their expressed purpose is to keep people “informed” about Islamism, terrorism, and the threat of creeping Sharia — including promoting “research” showing that Sharia is taking over the American court system — as well as, for good measure, advocating global warming denialism as a national security matter. Its website Family Security Matters is famous for calling for George Bush to use nuclear weapons in Iraq and become “president for life” since he was the only one who could ensure continued freedom and, by declaring himself president for life, democracy in the Western World. Gaffney claims that the intervention in Iraq was necessary because of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. According to Gaffney it is obvious that he had them — regardless of what reality and even the government have admitted concerning the matter.

    [… The] “research” proving the existence “creeping Sharia” […] is not only badly carried out and stupid, but also completely fraudulent […] insofar […] as nearly every single case they have provided has really been evidence against their conclusion, but like young earth creationists and global warming denialists people like Gaffney aren’t particularly proficient at evaluating evidence.

    He famously made a fool of himself when he criticized Obama for changing the logo of the Missile Defense Agency to include a crescent, something he later retracted when he noticed that the logo was approved by the Bush administration rather than the Obama administration. […] Gaffney’s explicitly expressed solution to politicians palling around with Muslims is to revive the solution that worked so well in the 50s and erect a new “House Anti-American Activities Committee”. […]

    He has also been promoting conspiracy theories surrounding Anders Breivik, in particular that his so-called manifesto was a hoax created by Muslim extremists. That one was a fall-back position after he dimly realized that his claims that Breivik might be a secret Muslim didn’t quite fly even with his regular fans […]

    And on and on and on. And on…
    Now back to The Grauniad:

    The hip-hop mogul
    Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has described himself as a longtime friend of Trump. However, the strains of the campaign seem to have caused a rupture. Simmons this week said in a public statement: “I want to begin this tough criticism by reminding you that I am the chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, whose sole mission is to fight bigotry of all kinds.” He added: “You are a generous, kind man who has built a career on negotiating deals where everybody wins. [Go visit Scotland Mr Dum Jam, and look into teh trum-prat’s “deals” there… –blf] Now, you seem like a one-man wrecking ball willing to destroy our nation’s foundation of freedom.” [Ok, so Mr Dum Jam isn’t completely deluded… –blf]

    Only Mr Simmons (“Mr Dum Jam”) seems to have any familiarity, however flawed, with reality.

  55. blf says

    The Grauniad’s First Dog on the Moon, The exciting adventures of President Trump’s Hair — leader of the free world (and the moon) cartoon: “When Donald’s Trump’s Hair rules the world everyone will be required to use tanning lotion. Unless your skin is actually brown. Then you’ll have to use whitener”.

    Lots of snarky comments. A few examples:

    ● “Hasn’t anybody worked out yet the that ‘hair’ is actually the equivalent of high-tech tinfoil to keep the mind-controlling rays of the Martians out — or keep them in, I can’t figure it out yet and I don’t think Donald knows either?”

    ● “Trump’s hair is a delightful illustration of what can happen when someone is too rich and influential to say ‘no’ to, and too knuckle headed to take a hint. His ideas are an appalling illustration of the same phenomenon.”

    ● “On behalf of we non-insane Americans, thank you FDOTM. […]”
    In reply: “So both of you liked the cartoon?”

    ● “Trump’s first act as president will be to do some re-branding. The White House will be ‘Trump Mansion’, the defense department will be ‘Trump Security’, the Internal Revenue Service will be ‘Trump Cash’, America will be ‘Trump Nation’, the earth will be ‘Trump Planet’, and the universe will be ‘Trump Creation’. The towers, casinos, wineries, etc. are just small potatoes compared to the brilliant future.”
    In reply: “And fly in ‘Hair Force One’.”

    ● “Trump’s hair is actually an alien life-form. It escaped from Roswell some years ago, and discovered that Trump’s brain provided nourishment for it. It is now controlling him, and because it hates humans, particularly Americans, because of the experiments conducted on it in Area 51, it plans to destroy the Earth and use the energy of the explosion to get back to its own world.”
    In reply: “Can it survive on such limited nourishment?”

    ● “Much like Samson’s strength came from his hair, I wonder if Trump’s stupidity stems from his?”

    ● “The great fear was that a rogue nation would get their hands on a nuke. Now we have the very real possibility of the worlds largest stockpile of nuclear weapons being in the hands of a fascist loon and his gun toting, freak-show party.”
    In reply: “That’s all right, don’t worry. Mr Putin’s looking after the other one.”

    ● “We Shall Overcomb!”

    ● “Donald Trump makes Sarah Palin look and sound intelligent, now that is a very scary prospect,and if they ever invent a spacecraft that can travel to and colonise another planet i hope i am the first one on it.”
    In reply: “I hope he is”.

    ● Too good — ‘when I was young i wanted to be a pterodactyl’ […]”
    In reply:

    Pterodactylus, like related pterosaurs, had a crest on its skull composed mainly of soft tissues. In adult Pterodactylus, this crest extended between the back edge of the antorbital fenestra (the largest opening in the skull) and the back of the skull.

      “Nice to see someone achieve their childhood ambitions now and again, I s’pose”.

  56. blf says

    The Discuss: World Politics still appears to be not-accepting comments, very probably due to the expiration of its three month statute of commentations, so this is going here…
    Mystery of Japan sea’s ghost ships points to North Korea:

    Bodies discovered aboard drifting vessels believed to be those of soldiers turned fishermen, as Japanese authorities concede puzzle may never be solved

    The identities of the corpses found aboard a capsized fishing boat off the Japan sea coast last month will be forever shrouded in mystery. The remains have been cremated, the ashes unclaimed. Soon the rickety wooden vessel that took its occupants to their deaths will be destroyed too.

    Their 12m (40ft) boat now rests on a wharf in the city of Fukui, its bow encrusted with shells and algae, the ripped traces of what appears to be a sail trailing from its stern.

    For weeks — possibly months — it drifted south through the perilous stretch of water separating Japan from the Korean peninsula, before being spotted by fishermen approximately 60 miles (100km) off the coast.

    Inside, coastguard officials made a grim discovery: the skeletons and badly decomposed bodies of seven people dressed in clothes that bore labels written in Korean Hangul script. Alongside them was squid-fishing equipment and empty plastic bottles and cigarette packets.

    They represent just one piece in the “ghost ship” puzzle that Japanese authorities have conceded may never be solved. The poor condition of the boat, the lack of equipment and, in one case, the discovery of a Kim Jong-il lapel badge all point to one country of origin: North Korea.

    In the past two months at least a dozen suspected North Korean boats carrying the remains of 27 people have been found drifting off Japan’s coast.


    Economic necessity seems much more plausible than defection as an explanation for the boats’ arrival in Japan since October, according to John Nilsson-Wright, head of the Asia programme at Chatham House. […]

    Most of the boats were found carrying basic fishing equipment, nets and signs written in Korean script. In the grimmest discovery of all, 10 badly decomposed bodies were found in a single vessel with markings that said Korean People’s Army, the official name of North Korea’s military. There were also pieces of what appeared to be a North Korean flag.

    [… I]t is the arrival of so many, and in such quick succession, that has heightened speculation about their origins, and how they came to take so many people to their deaths.

    Akio Saito, a Fukui resident, agreed with the theory that the victims were fellow fishermen, sent out in dilapidated vessels ill-equipped to cover long distances. “It would be easy for boats of that size to capsize in the Japan sea at this time of year,” he said. “The waves are often six or seven metres high, so they’d have no chance. If they had been found alive we would have done everything we could to help them.”

    Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press, an Osaka-based organisation with a network of high-level contacts in North Korea, believes Kim sent out an order in the summer that more seafood should be provided to the army. […]

    Ishimaru, who discussed the boat disappearances with contacts by phone in North Korea earlier this week, believes that large numbers of boats carrying soldiers who knew nothing about fishing or navigation left ports in North Korea soon after Kim’s exhortation to increase catches.

    Typically small, with tiny engines and no GPS navigation instruments or VHF radios, the boats would easily have lost their way in a storm or a strong current and quickly run out of food and fuel.

    “When Kim Jong-un issues an order no one can ignore it, even if he is asking them to do the impossible,” Ishimaru said. “That means inexperienced soldiers go out to sea, even in terrible conditions and with no idea what they are doing. They don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they are soldiers, so they wear civilian clothes, which is why none of the bodies found in Japan was in uniform.”

    In Fukui, concern about the arrival of vessels from North Korea is mixed with sympathy for the people who met such wretched ends, in freezing seas many miles from home. “I expect they were ordered to catch fish by the North Korean government, but of course no one there will take any responsibility for what happened to them,” said Mitsumasa Sakashita, a 67-year-old fisherman in Fukui. “It’s sad, because they were just like us: fishermen trying to make a living from the sea.”

  57. blf says

    Teh trum-prat has made clear what others have suspected, assuming he isn’t lying (often a very big IF), he’ll run as an independent should he fail to win the thug nomination, Donald Trump calls Ted Cruz a ‘little bit of a maniac’ after falling behind in Iowa:

    Businessman threatens to run as independent in 2016, saying reports of Republican party working against him could lead to ‘problems’


    The once dominant frontrunner is now 10 percentage points behind conservative rival Ted Cruz in the state, according to a Des Moines Register-Bloomberg poll that saw Trump slide to second just 49 days before the Iowa caucus on 1 February.

    Trump duly turned his fire on Cruz, calling him “a little bit of a maniac” in an interview with Fox News.

    In a series of interviews, Trump sought to defend his controversial proposal to bar entry to the US to all Muslims. […]

    But in perhaps the most significant twist in a crucial weekend for the Trump campaign, [he] again raised the prospect that he could run as a third-party candidate if he feels badly treated by the Republican establishment.

    This nightmare scenario for the GOP, which could dramatically split the conservative vote, was previously ruled out by Trump, who promised to run as a Republican — but only so long as he was “treated fairly”.

    He responded angrily to reports this week that party leaders have been discussing alternative ways of deciding the nomination process if Trump leads a divided field by the time of the national convention in Cleveland next July.

    Pssssst! Hey, you, with the self-propelled orange hair… That’s called deal-preparation, discussing / working-through possible scenarios. As the world’s best deal-maker, self-proclaimed, you should be well familiar with such groundwork.

    “We’re in medieval times. Having a strong temperament is good,” he told CNN when asked about reported comments by House speaker Paul Ryan claiming his anti-Muslim rhetoric could “ruin the party”.

    Yes, all those copyists used computers, barons communicated by telephone, the serfs watched The Jetsons, and nuclear-powered submarines fought the Vikings. Medieval times, as endorsed by all those historians who say there was a battle in the War of Slavery fought in golf-course (some time after the medieval period, but that’s just a pesky fact…).

    [Teh trm-prat] also questioned the veracity of polling in the wake of his immigration proposal.

    “I didn’t do it for polls, so I don’t care what the polls say {…} I don’t think the polls are accurate,” said Trump, who has spent much of his campaign highlighting positive polling.

    Coming soon, “the dog ate my support (so shoot all mammals)”.

  58. says

    microraptor @57:

    For a supposed super-hacker group, Anonymous seems remarkably unable to accomplish anything of significance.

    What they may accomplish is mainstreaming the idea that ISIS should be mocked. The media coverage of Anonymous attacks against ISIS may be more valuable than the hacktivism.

  59. blf says

    Re Anonymous, there is also the matters of Timing — they’ve been pretty good in the past at their antics becoming known at a time of high-impact — and Time — some antics are easier to accomplish than others, heavily(?) dependent on the method used, and so on.

  60. blf says

    The French polls are now closed and the votes being counted. It’s still quite early, but the initial indications are the nazis (le prat’s FN), on a higher turnout, quite possibility have not won any region (including my own region, where the über-nasty younger Marion Marechal-Le Pen was running), albeit a few regions are still “too close to call”. Some reports are saying “a complete rout”.

    (Apologies if this double-posts, I’m having some connections problems…)

  61. says

    Speaking of employing the power of mocking, blf’s comments at 58 and 61 show the value of mocking people who are whacko about guns, and the appropriateness of mocking the Trumpster: “We shall overcomb.”

    I know better, but I still sometimes think that Trump is mocking himself. He such a good parody of a narcissistic doofus billionaire.

    Re comment 62, all of those people remind me in some ways of other refugees. They are gambling on dying at sea because the conditions in their country are that bad. Of course, it may be true that they had no choice but to follow Kim’s orders to obtain more seafood. Sending them out in ill-equipped boats that were too small for the conditions puts their deaths on Kim’s growing list of crimes.

    Re the last bit of comment 63: It is so predictable, and hilarious in a way, that when some polls find Trump to be in second instead of first place, he tries to discredit the polls.

  62. says

    This is an “oh, for fuck’s sake” moment: The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, made a move that kicked about 9,000 chronically ill children out of the healthcare system.

    Yeah, he doesn’t care if those kids suffer, if they die.

    The Miami Herald obtained thousands of pages of health department documents under the state’s public records law, including nearly 800 emails and hundreds of memos and reports that detailed the state’s plan to “restructure” CMS [Children’s Medical Services].

    They show that the elimination of children from CMS was the result of a plan to slash spending on sick kids at a time when Florida had a $635.4 million surplus. For the legislative session that begins next month, Gov. Rick Scott has proposed $1 billion in new tax cuts. The spending plan would eliminate an additional 718 health department positions. […]

    Miami Herald link

    The 9,000 number may grow — that’s just since May.

    Scott is a Republican dunderhead who is infamous for his almost-criminal actions and for his lack of empathy.

    Why is Scott doing this? He needs the money to fund tax cuts.

  63. says

    Nerd @69, thanks for that link. I see that Oklahoma Republicans also cut education funds so that they could give tax cuts to people that didn’t need them

    In other examples of stupidity, one town in North Carolina rejected a solar farm out of fear that it would soak up all the solar energy and the plants wouldn’t get enough.

    The stupid, it burns . . . . The worst of the lot? A former SCIENCE teacher that said she was afraid it would hurt nearby plants making them unable to photosynthesize because the solar panels would be sucking up all of the solar energy. . . Woodland’s Planning Commission banned the solar farm on a 3-1 vote. That’s right, 75% of the planning commission was either too afraid to tell their stupid residents the actual scientific truth, or their just as stupid as their residents. […]

    Daily Kos link
    Roanoke-Cowan News Herald link

    […] Jane Mann said she is a local native and is concerned about the plants that make the community beautiful.

    She is a retired Northampton science teacher and is concerned that photosynthesis, which depends upon sunlight, would not happen and would keep the plants from growing. She said she has observed areas near solar panels where the plants are brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.

    She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

    “I want to know what’s going to happen,” she said. “I want information. Enough is enough. I don’t see the profit for the town. […]

  64. says

    Well, this is a surprise, Rand Paul just squeaked by. He made it to the main debate stage for next Republican debate, which will be aired at 8:30 pm ET on Tuesday.

    Also on the main stage:
    Donald Trump
    Ben Carson
    Marco Rubio
    Ted Cruz
    Jeb Bush
    John Kasich
    Carly Fiorina
    Chris Christie

    At the kiddie table:
    Mike Huckabee
    Rick Santorum
    Lindsey Graham
    George Pataki.

  65. blf says

    A former SCIENCE teacher that said she was afraid it would hurt nearby plants making them unable to photosynthesize because the solar panels would be sucking up all of the solar energy

    Oh that reminds me of a hilarious incident at a firm which shall not be named in Silicon Valley when I was working there as a student summer intern many many yonks ago…

    They had just installed a satellite dish, quite visible from the main road, and before even being commissioned — even before, as I now recall, the electronics were hooked-up — were receiving complaints that it was “sucking up all the TV signals” and ruining reception. (There were, at best, only prototype mobile phones in those days, or else I’d imagine the complaints would have been even more hilarious.) This caused a considerable amount of giggling and a few amateur cartoons (the only one of which I now recall showed chimneys sucking up all the smoke and allowing the sun to be seen).

  66. says

    What I’ve noticed in my community is that the children of strict mormon parents learn to lie really well. I think it’s a matter of survival for them. No human can meet the demands of the mormon church, so they learn to lie their way through the ordeal. Children may also see their parents bending the truth when they present one face at church and another at home. Mormon teenagers can be really sneaky. They have to be.

    Generalizations, yes, but after a few decades you get the picture … and it is fairly consistent.

    Now there’s a study out that shows that children of parents who are very religious are less altruistic than other children, and they are quicker to mete out punishment.

    Step one. Go to an elementary school. Find a child. Place a set of 30 stickers in front of the child. Tell the child to pick her favorite ten.

    Step two. […] Tell the kid that not everyone in school could participate in the sticker bonanza. Fortunately, there is a chance to share: the kid can pick between zero and 10 of her favorite, cream-of-the-crop stickers, and set them aside in an envelope. That envelope will go to another person in the school. Afterward, the kid will walk out with whatever stickers she chose to keep.

    […] this sharing stage is anonymous. Nobody watches the kid set her stickers aside. She doesn’t know which classmate receives them, and the classmate doesn’t find out who donated them. But, later, the researcher can count the shared stickers […]

    In their study, Decety and his colleagues gave the sticker test to 1,170 kids at schools in six cities […] “Altruism was calculated as the number of stickers shared out of 10,” they write. The researchers also gave the kids another test, in which they watched videos of people hurting other people, and then judged (a) how mean the bullies were, and (b) how much punishment the bullies deserved.

    Then Decety and his collaborators went to the kids’ parents and asked them questions about the religious identity and practices of the family, and about how moral they thought their kids were.

    Here’s the zinger: according to Decety and his colleagues, kids from more religious households are less altruistic, and more apt to deal out punishment, than kids from non-religious households. […]

    […] “It’s not like you have to be highly religious to be a good person[…] Secularity—like having your own laws and rules based on rational thinking, reason rather than holy books—is better for everybody.” […]


    Problems with the study are discussed in the same article. See the link.

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

    he said she has observed areas near solar panels where the plants are brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.

    Here is the wiggle room:
    near the solar panels’, could mean, “in the shadow of…” (during regular periods of the day). Shading the plants and robbing them of nutrient sunlight.
    To claim that solar panels “suck up” all the light anywhere near them is taking seriously the metaphor of sunlight as water (when considering the paths of light).
    as for the other anecdote about a satellite dish ruining everyone’s reception in the vicinity (even before electronics installed); there is a possibility of radio reflections scattering and randomizing signals to produce more noise in the vicinity.
    even so, both of the above are minor technicalities. The issue is the plebes blaming these anomalies a metaphor and not the actualities, and then generalizing it excessively.

  68. blf says

    The results of my village are now in: On an increase in turnout (up to c.60% from c.50%), the über-nasty younger le prat, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, increased her share of the vote from c.40% to c.45%. Since the Socialist candidate (who came in third in the first round) pulled out, that means the other candidate, described as the “hardline mayor of Nice” (I know nothing about him) won, in what I assume is a case of “someone nasty who is not completely nuts all the time vs an extremely nasty someone is who is totally bonkers all the time”.

  69. says

    Donald Trump said on Sunday that Hillary Clinton “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity” when she was secretary of State. Talking to Fox News in an interview that was taped Friday, Trump seemed to blame Clinton for the Syrian Civil War and the rise of ISIS. […]

    Slate link

    I have my doubts about Hillary Clinton being responsible for the Syrian civil war. Seems like a stretch. /sarcasm

  70. blf says

    slithey tove@74, An overgeneralization of yer own (my emphasis), “a satellite dish ruining everyone’s reception in the vicinity”: No. Not said. In fact, no quantity given at all. I (now) have no recollection of the number of complaints — it fact, I’m not sure I knew even back then — but have always presumed it to be quite small. A dozen, maybe?

    Yes, technically, radio-shadows and (more likely) reflections could have caused problems. Another possible cause is the complainer’s homes being burnt to the ground by one of Genghis Khan’s armies misplaced due to a time-travel accident. The lack of a path of destruction tends to rule out the later possibility, despite it being far more entertaining and curious.

  71. blf says

    Not unlike @75, more eejit stretching, albeit by a different mumble-prat, in this case the odious Marion Maréchal-Le Pen:

    In Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur we have won the party’s best score in France. [seems to be the case… –blf] To all those who hope to scare us, to discourage us, to disgust us, discourage us, I say: you are mistaken.

    We will redouble our efforts, because our love of France has never been more exalted. So don’t be sad. There are victories that shame the winners. In the name of republican values, they have shut down democracy.

    Yeah, allowing people to vote freely, how they want to, is “[shutting] down democracy”. Obviously. Geesh!
    What she is complaining about is the third-place Socialist candidate withdrawing so that it would be a clear choice between her obvious nazis and someone else.

  72. says

    Republicans in the Senate are remarkably stubborn when it comes to authorizing the fight against ISIS. They say over and over again that President Obama is “weak” and is not doing enough to fight ISIS. When it comes to doing their part of the job, the Republican senators are doing nothing.

    “I would not want to saddle the next president with a prescriptive AUMF. We’re going to have a new president a year from now,” the GOP leader [Mitch McConnell] argued. “He or she may have a different view about the way to deal with ISIS and that part of the world. I don’t think we ought to be passing an AUMF [Authorized Use of Military Force] as the president exits the stage when he already thinks he has the authority to do what he’s willing to do now.”

    Just so we’re clear, McConnell was effectively ruling out authorizing a vote before the next presidential election — which is 11 months away — waiting to see what the next president wants after the the next Inauguration Day — which is 13 months away. In other words, as the Senate Majority Leader sees it, the U.S. military offensive began in August 2014, and Congress might consider authorizing the mission, maybe, in 2017. […]

    What President Obama said:

    “If Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists. For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight.”

    Another view of the impasse in the Senate:

    […] Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who has been as vocal as any member on Congress failing to do its duty, continues to voice his frustrations.

    “The British Parliament, the French National Assembly, the German Bundesrat and even the Duma in Russia, for God’s sake, are having a debate and having a vote,” Kaine told the Washington Post. “The spotlight is getting bigger and bigger on congressional inaction and indifference.”

    The Virginian added that Congress acted with incredible speed to block Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS violence from reaching American soil, but those same lawmakers can’t be bothered to legislate when it comes to the mission against ISIS.[…]


  73. Rowan vet-tech says

    Well, it is indeed finally happening. Read an article last night where a woman in Tennessee is being charged with attempted murder after she tried a coat hanger abortion and went to the hospital because she was bleeding a lot. It says doctors were able to save ‘the baby’, but it doesn’t say how. Did they make this woman have a c-section? Did they make her go through normal labor?

  74. blf says

    How Well Do You Know Religion?:

    Donald Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from America may be a gift to ISIS recruitment and a grotesque echo of the sentiment behind the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese-Americans. But, like those earlier spasms of exclusion, the Trump proposal has plenty of supporters.

    In one recent poll, more than three-quarters of Republicans said that Islam was incompatible with life in the United States. There’s a widespread perception in America that Islam is rooted in misogyny and violence, incorrigible because it is rooted in a holy text that is fundamentally different from others.

    So here’s my quiz on religion. Some questions have more than one correct answer.

    (1) Which holy scripture declares: “Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent{…}then leave them free. Lo! God is forgiving, merciful.”
      ○ The Quran
      ○ The Bible, Book of Leviticus
      ○ The Bible, Book of Revelation

    (2) Who had 700 wives?
      ○ King Solomon
      ○ Joseph Smith
      ○ The Prophet Muhammad

    [… I suspect you get the ghist now –blf …]

    (13) What prescribes death for apostasy?
      ○ The Quran
      ○ Hadith, or traditions of the Prophet
      ○ The Book of Deuteronomy
      ○ All of the above

    (14) Who says: “Women should remain silent {in religious meetings}. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission.”
      ○ A much doubted hadith
      ○ St. Paul, but scholars believe it wasn’t he who wrote that
      ○ Jesus, although in a third-century Gnostic gospel whose accuracy scholars doubt

    Some of you are probably angrily objecting right now that I am cherry-picking texts. Yes, I am. My point is that faith is complicated, and that we’re more likely to perceive peril and incitement in someone else’s scripture than in our own.

    In fact, religion is invariably a tangle of contradictory teachings — in the Bible, the difference between the harshness of Deuteronomy and the warmth of Isaiah or Luke is striking — and it’s always easy to perceive something threatening in another tradition. Yet analysts who have tallied the number of violent or cruel passages in the Quran and the Bible count more than twice as many in the Bible.

    There’s a profound human tendency, rooted in evolutionary biology, to “otherize” people who don’t belong to our race, our ethnic group, our religion. That’s particularly true when we’re scared. It’s difficult to conceive now that a 1944 poll found that 13 percent of Americans favored “killing all Japanese,” and that the head of a United States government commission in 1945 urged “the extermination of the Japanese in toto.”


    When I hear Americans stereotype Muslims, when they don’t actually know any Muslims, it seems to me an odd echo of anti-Semitic comments I sometimes hear in Muslim societies.

    Trump’s bluster reinforces the Islamic State narrative of a clash of civilizations, and undercuts moderates. In my travels in Muslim countries, I’m sometimes asked about Islamophobia. In the past, I’ve been able to say something like: Well, the Rev. Terry Jones may be planning to burn Qurans, but he’s a fringe figure. Alas, Trump can’t be explained away as a fringe figure.

    In international relations, extremists on one side empower extremists on the other side. ISIS empowers Trump, who inadvertently empowers ISIS. He’s not confronting a national security threat; he’s creating one.

    More than 1,000 American rabbis have signed a joint letter welcoming refugees and noting a parallel to the late 1930s, when the United States barred most Jewish refugees. The letter noted that refugees are fleeing persecution, not committing it.

    “In 1939, our country could not tell the difference between an actual enemy and the victims of an enemy,” the rabbis wrote. “In 2015, let us not make the same mistake.”


    Yes, the Islamic world today has a strain of dangerous intolerance. And for all of America’s strengths as a society, as Donald Trump shows, so does America.

  75. says

    Ted Cruz is beating Donald Trump in Iowa — or so the polls say. This development has caused Trump to go on the attack:

    “I don’t think he’s got the right temperament. I don’t think he’s got the right judgment,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Fox News on Sunday. “You look at the way that he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there, frankly like a little bit of a maniac. You’re never going to get things done that way.”

    Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, said his rival Cruz would “never get anything done” because he can’t get along with people.

    “You can’t walk into the Senate and scream and call people liars and not be able to cajole and get along with people,” Trump said.

    Now, Trump makes a good point about Cruz. All of the things he says about Cruz are true, but just how clueless do you have to be to fail to realize that you are also describing yourself? Pot meet kettle. It takes one to know one. Etc.

  76. says

    ISIS claims to be creating an Islamic paradise. People are risking death to flee this supposed paradise. They are fleeing by the hundreds of thousands.

    An article in the Daily Kos makes the strong point that each and every one of these refugees is a propaganda victory against ISIS. The propaganda victory works well if we embrace the refugees.

  77. says

    More hyperbole from Trump’s supporters:

    […] “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” It [the letter from the doctor] did not elaborate if Trump’s current physician had evaluated former elected officials such as George Washington or George W. Bush. […]

    I wonder how much Trump paid Dr. Harold N. Bernstein of Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital to say that? Bernstein even put it in writing.

    Trump may be in good health for his age, but to say that he will be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” is just silly.

    Trump himself told us that his health is “perfection.”

  78. says

    There goes some of Trump’s leverage over the GOP. He cannot run as a third party candidate in Ohio, and we may find out that’s true in other states as well.

    Donald Trump has stood on the debate stage for the Republican Party in Ohio, and he has filed to run in the state’s primary. In Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, that is enough to disqualify Trump from running as a third-party candidate […]

    Trump has threatened the Republican Party countless times that if they don’t treat him fairly, he is going to launch an independent campaign. […] a candidate can only run as a third-party candidate in Ohio if they “disaffiliate” from another party in “good faith.” The spokesman says that Trump is too far entangled in the GOP primary to back out as a Republican now.

    “Since Donald Trump has filed a declaration of candidacy with our office as a Republican, has filed with Federal Election Commission as a Republican candidate, and voluntarily took part in the Republican presidential debates, the first of which was held in Ohio, there is no way for Mr. Trump to disaffiliate from the Republican Party ‘in good faith’ during this election cycle,” Husted spokesman Joshua Eck told the Plain Dealer.

  79. blf says

    On teh trum-prat being “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”, that’s actually possible: No previous president is known to have been a brain-less remote-control zombie without a remote control. Brain-less, yep, had those; remote-control, yep, definitely had those; and zombies? Yup, mostly. But they all had handlers, frequently behind the scenes, and Power-Off switches so they stop digging a bigger hole. Teh trum-prat is a defective President Mark i model, lacking an Power-Off switch or any functioning remote control. He lurches about feeding off anyone stoopid enough to listen, and then — babble-fish–like — projects a corrupted-matrix of randomly-misfiring neurons into the stupefied victim, who then either swarm about teh trum-prat, like flies to the faeces, or else develop a liking for peas.

    The point is, we have no idea how long an uncontrolled unalive can appear to live.

  80. blf says

    More on the very silly “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”, Donald Trump would be America’s healthiest president, doctor’s letter says:

    He was declared unfit to fight in Vietnam but according to the Republican candidate’s physician ‘his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary’
    The letter, dated 4 December 2015, was written by Dr Harold Bornstein, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill hospital in New York. According to the letter, Trump recently underwent a complete medical examination “that showed only positive results”. Bornstein, who has served as Trump’s doctor since 1980, and whose father was his physician before that, notably claimed that the Republican candidate has “no history of ever using alcohol or tobacco products”.

    The letter, which was addressed “to whom my concern” […]

    […] Bornstein did admit that Trump had had an appendectomy at the age of 10, which must not have been excellent.

    Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s US politics reporter, noted that Trump’s doctor’s note “doesn’t mention the foot issues which got him a draft deferment during the Vietnam War”.

    And the snarky comments:

    ● “That moment when you’re more sick than Donald Trump.”

    ● “Ah yes the old ‘foot issues’. He’s no dope. Although he will always have to keep in mind whether it was the left or right one.”

    ● “In consideration of Mr Trump’s PSA results, one is surprised that his urologist does not nominate him to the Guiness book of records as the worlds biggest a……. .”

    ● “Important to emphasize that Dr Bornstein specialises in diagnostic medicine from the neck down.”

    ● “Obviously foot-in-mouth disease is not considered a serious ailment according to the good doctor.”
    In reply: “Nor fecalcephalia.”

    ● “Did they get a vet to check out that thing on his head?”

    ● “So he’s an extremely fit loonie. Just what the world needs now.”

    ● “Round 2 of ‘Trump or Kim Jong Il ‘. Which one is said to have shot a score of 38 on a golf round containing no fewer than 11 hole in ones?”

    ● “Sounds like he’s ready to join the troops on the front line. Show us how it’s done, Donald. I’m sure we can find a war for you.”

    ● “Interesting that Trump’s ‘personal physician’ is a gastroenterologist. Colonoscopy would provide an excellent vantage point for observing The Donald’s political agenda.”

    ● “In conclusion, Mr Trump’s health changes rating as the circumstances require. When he needs to fight for his country, he’s wilting, and when he’s trying to become the most important man in his country, he’s thriving.”

    ● “He’s undead.
     “Even silver bullets and stakes to the heart wouldn’t touch this fucker.
     “Of course, the Zombie approach would be a non-starter; someone’s already taken the liberty of removing the Brain.” (No, this was not me, my @87 was written without knowledge of this comment.)

    ● “If we learnt anything in this election, it’s that the medical schools in America are in dire need of an overhaul, spewing out brain surgeons incapable of rational thought, and now a gastroenterologist inept at clinical communication.”

    ● “You have to have a heart to have heart trouble.”

  81. blf says

    To the best of my knowledge, Discuss: World Politics is still down, so this is going here… Tunisia jails six students for homosexuality:

    Human rights activists attack court verdict after group of men given three-year prison sentences and banished from city

    A court in Tunisia has sentenced six students to three years’ prison each on charges of homosexuality in a judgment condemned by rights activists.

    The court in Kairouan handed down the maximum sentence last week under a controversial article of the criminal code that criminalises sex between men, their lawyer, Boutheina Karkni, said on Monday.

    The six were also banned from the city for five years after they complete their sentences, she said. [Banishment is apparently exceptionally unusual –blf]

    The young men were detained in November and December and made to undergo anal examinations after “neighbours denounced them”, she said.

    […] Amnesty International denounced the ruling as “a shocking example of deep-rooted state sanctioned discrimination”.

    It said anal examinations “amount to torture when carried out involuntarily”, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the six.


    In September, a court sentenced a student to a year in prison […] on charges of homosexuality, also after he was examined anally. He was released in November pending an appeal hearing expected on Thursday.

    After the September judgment, the then justice minister, Salah Ben Aissa, called for article 230 [of the penal code] to be scrapped and was sacked in October.

    The article does not seem to describe “article 230”, other than as something “Shams, a local gay rights group which calls for decriminalising homosexuality in Tunisia” wants revised.

  82. blf says

    This is the latest in a story I haven’t been following very closely, Spain arrests man known as ‘The Nurse’ for forced abortions on Colombia rebels:

    A former fighter with the Farc guerrilla group is accused of carrying out more than 500 forced abortions on female members of the group

    Spanish police have arrested a man accused of performing more than 500 forced abortions on women fighters belonging to Colombia’s rebel guerrillas.

    The man, known as “The Nurse” and described by Spanish police in a statement as a former fighter in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) himself, was detained in Madrid on Sunday. […]

    The arrest comes after Colombia’s top prosecutor, attorney general Eduardo Montealegre, said on Friday that his office was investigating 150 cases of former female rebel fighters who claimed they had been forced to terminate their pregnancies.

    Montealegre said there was evidence that Farc fighters used forced abortions to avoid losing female fighters “as an instrument of war”. […]

    Spanish police said that according to Colombian authorities, victims of “The Nurse” had been raped by Farc fighters and included at least 50 underage girls. […]

  83. microraptor says

    Given all the spelling and grammatical errors in the letter Trump’s campaign released regarding his health, I was going to ask if the person who wrote it was a real doctor. Then I remembered that Ben Carson is a real doctor.

  84. says

    blf @88, I liked the comparison of Trump to Kim Jong Il. That’s so apt.

    Very entertaining, all this silly best-health-ever-along-with-all-manner-of-perfection meme that applies to our would-be Dear Leader … but scary as hell since the Trumpster continues to rise in the poles.

    […] Trump has 38 percent support for his party’s nomination from Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who are registered to vote, up a slight 6 points from last month, entirely among men. […]

    ABC News link

    I’m sticking with my conclusion that the Trumpster pays his doctor to write that “most excellent health” shit. Did the doctor try to clue us all in by including some obvious errors in the letter, errors he knew the Trumpster and his staff would not notice?

  85. says

    Frank Gaffney is gathering more Republican flies.

    Before he even landed for Tuesday’s CNN debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) beamed into a small conference here to expound on foreign policy — and to thank a friend. Frank Gaffney, the controversial president of the Center for Security Policy […].

    “Frank is a patriot, he loves this country, and he is clear-eyed about the incredible threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” said Cruz. […]

    When Donald Trump announced a plan for a temporary ban on the entry of Muslims into the United States, he cited a Center for Security Policy poll which found “25 percent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad,” and even more were open to sharia law. […]

    Yeah, about the poll, which was an online, opt-in poll of about 600 people. Not reliable, very shoddy.

    The daylong conference took over the brightly lit and well-marbled International Peace Education Center, a conference center built by the late Rev. Sung Myung Moon’s Unification Church. Around 200 activists paid for the forum, breaking only for a boxed lunch between segments on “America’s military in decline,” the threat of insecure borders, and the possibility that terrorists could take out America’s power grids with electromagnetic pulse attacks. […]

    “When terrorists can simply swim across the Rio Grande, we’re daring them to make the journey,” said Cruz. “When we are opening up our country to thousands of refugees from regions filled with terrorists, with the express intent to kill us, our immigration policy ceases to be an economic question. Border security is national security.”

    […] Some drifted from the main room — especially during moments when Skype connections failed — to buy brochures on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and the security dangers of immigration. In interviews, many of them agreed with Gaffney’s warnings about people sympathetic to the Brotherhood infiltrating the government. […]

    And here are some comments from audience members:

    “It’s scary,” said Bill Newton, 68. “There are so many Iranians just in the White House — Huma Abedin and Valerie Jarrett.” (Abedin, a close aide to Democratic front-runner and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is the children of Indian and Pakistani parents.)

    Scott Stonehocker, 50, said the fears of radical infiltration were realistic — and explained what was otherwise inexplicable about the Obama administration’s policies.

    “It kind of reminds me of the era when Communists were inside the government,” he said. “Joe McCarthy has a bad reputation, some of it earned, but he was not entirely wrong.” […]

  86. says

    Here are a few other highlights from Frank Gaffney’s swarm of flies:

    […] James Simpson, an economist, described how Muslim immigration fit into the extant problem of the left signing people up to social welfare programs in order to bankrupt the country. […]

    [Santorum was there, and he answered questions from the press.] “Certainly, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has a lot of supporters in this administration, and had a lot in the last administration,” said Santorum. “Their relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood is pretty well-documented. And as you know, this administration saw the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate partner in Egypt, when I did not.” […]

    Right. That’s not bonkers, not wildly off track at all. Not at all.

  87. says

    Good news: Bernie Sanders is close to breaking a record that should be broken.

    “With just two weeks before the final FEC fundraising deadline of the year, we’ve set a goal that will shock the political elite and billionaire class of this country: reaching our two millionth individual contribution by Wednesday at midnight. Accomplishing this goal would represent an unprecedented outpouring of support for any presidential challenger in our nation’s history. Let us never forget that this country belongs to all of us, and not just a handful of billionaires.” — Bernie Sanders, December 14

  88. says

    Three Syrian refugees just arrived in the state of Georgia. Officials in that state are refusing to help them, and this includes refusing to process their application for food stamps. It’s the Republican way, let them starve.

    The Department of Human Services sent a memo in November ordering employees not to process the applications of Syrian refugees after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) issued an executive order telling all state agencies to stop any involvement with the resettlement of refugees from Syria.

    Ravae Graham, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Human Services, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the department will follow the Nov. 18 memo with the newly arrived family.

    “We are just going to follow that process as outlined,” she said.

  89. says

    Lynna @96, it’s finals week in the high schools. This could be some little jerk’s attempt to get out of their exams, but better safe than sorry. I think the district made the right call.

  90. says

    Anti-Muslim attacks and threats have increased since the shooting in San Bernardino. There’s a long list here.

    Fake grenades have been thrown into mosques, mosques have been set on fire, a woman was shot at when she left a mosque in her car … it goes on and on.

  91. says

    Bombastic, narcissistic and unrealistic Donald Trump spouted off in Las Vegas last night:

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Monday night at a campaign rally in Las Vegas that if he had been present for the Paris terror attacks, he would’ve personally shot at the attackers and “those people would’ve been gone.” […]


  92. microraptor says

    Lynna @101

    I’m starting to suspect that Trump is actually an IS weapon designed to kill the US via testosterone poisoning.

  93. says

    microraptor @102, Trump is poisonous. And I don’t think there is an antidote. (As an aside, #92, very funny. Love me some dry humor.)

    The “Ministry of Truth” published a good analysis of the Trumpian/Republican poison:

    For the last six months Donald Trump has led the GOP primary. All it took for him to do so was a racist rant against Mexicans. Since then he has added racist rants towards Muslims and hostility towards black people to his policy free campaign. All the while every last chickenshit ratfucking Republican has been too afraid of calling out Trump’s racism because they all want to win over his racist primary voters. It turns out libertarianism, fiscal conservativism and balanced budgets aren’t what motivates the GOP base. Racism does. Yelling at Muslims does. Trump proves this every time he opens his pie hole. Libertarianism is dead in the water in the GOP primary, just look at Rand Paul. Fiscal conservativism doesn’t get a huge crowd at rallies either. But you want to scream at brown people? There is a huuuuuge space for screaming at brown people in today’s GOP. Huuuuge.

    This fucking bullshit has to stop.

    We are now at a point where someone who has the support of Nazi’s and white supremacists has the lead in the GOP primaries. This didn’t happen by mistake and it didn’t materialize out of thin air. And not just any lead, but a commanding lead. That candidate, Trump, refuses to reject the support of those Nazi’s. None of Trump’s main competitors for the GOP nomination have the balls to tell those racists to fuck off either. They are all fucking cowards, cowards who pander to racist people. […]

  94. says

    Playing with guns stupidly … well, I guess they weren’t playing, they were “training” stupidly.

    A Modesto, California pastor is recovering after being accidentally shot by his firearms-safety instructor during class […]


  95. says

    This is a followup to Rowan’s comment 80.

    Charging that Tennessee woman with murder is a great idea according to Personhood USA. In fact, it is such a good idea that they would like to expand it to include women who “hire an abortionist to kill their babies.”

    […] A woman in Indiana was similarly charged with allegedly attempting to self-induce an abortion earlier this year. In fact, stealth “personhood” measures — meant to lay the groundwork for criminalizing abortion by granting certain rights to fetuses — have been passed around the country. In Alabama, the state supreme court has used “chemical endangerment” laws to lay the legal groundwork for fetal personhood, leading to the prosecutions of nearly 500 women accused of endangering their fetuses. […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  96. says

    With every poll, Trump supporters look worse and worse.

    […] Public Policy Polling today released the results of its latest Iowa survey, and found that a substantial percentage of Republicans in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, including a majority of Trump backers, are in favor of closing mosques and establishing a database monitoring all Muslims.

    A majority of Republicans in the state also back Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.

    Unsurprisingly, a plurality of Trump’s Iowa supporters also backed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. […]


  97. says

    When Black Lives Matter protestors interrupted a Trump rally in Las Vegas, one of Trump’s supporters shouted, ““Light the motherfucker on fire.” Link

  98. says

    About one of Trump’s favorite rhetorical devices, and how he uses this trick to insult people while claiming that he is not insulting anyone:

    […] Praeteritio is the act of saying something by saying that you’re not going to say it. Like, for instance, when Trump calls Rubio a lightweight by saying “I’m not going to call him a lightweight, because I think that’s a derogatory term.” It’s a rhetorical device as old as political rhetoric itself, once proudly wielded by Cicero, who often “refused to mention” the various crimes committed by Catiline and his supporters. […]

    Slate link

  99. Saad says

    Rick Santorum is on his way out, but he’s not letting that stop him from spewing horseshit:

    Santorum: The reality is that under this president, since 9/11, this anti-Muslim United States of America has doubled the rate of Muslim immigration. Since 9/11.

    “Under this president, since 9/11”

    “Under this president”….

    “since 9/11″….

    Not to mention it says the doubling took place over two decades (since 1992).

  100. says

    So, yeah, there was another Republican debate last night. I’ll get to that, but in the meantime, let’s take a break.

    Youtube link to Jimmy Fallon and The Roots joining Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford for an a cappella tribute to “Star Wars.”

    Ah. That’s nice.

  101. says

    Okay, we have an agreement to pass a bill to fund the government. Both Republicans and Democrats are claiming they won (as if funding the government were a war or something).

    […] What’s out—any restrictions on the implementation of net neutrality, along with Planned Parenthood defunding and the Iraqi and Syrian refugee ban. All of this means the Freedom Caucus guys won’t vote for it. Most of the really poison pill stuff they wanted did not make it into the bill. However, there’s enough goodies for corporate America in the parallel tax extender bill that they’ll happily support that.

    Ryan is going to pass the spending bill with Democrats and the tax extenders with Republicans and call it a wash. This doesn’t bode terribly well for Ryan’s future with the Freedom Caucus, particularly since he’s also making deals with Harry Reid.

    The current funding resolution expires Wednesday night, so both chambers will have to vote on another temporary extension Wednesday. That bill has already been introduced and it expires on the December 22, giving them plenty of time to figure out a procedure in the Senate to get the full spending measure done. It could take all that time, if the Republican presidential candidates in the Senate decide they want to make some headlines, but it seems likely they’ll want to get the hell out of Dodge for Christmas and will have this wrapped up by the end of the day on Friday.

  102. says

    While the Republicans were focusing on terrorist attacks during the debate last night, and were trying to top each other in generating fear, they failed to mention the terrorist attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

    Nope, not a peep about white guys with guns who are religiously motivated to shoot U.S. citizens. Not a word.

    In other debate news, the audience cheered when candidates repeated their willingness to kill noncombatants and other innocent people while they fight terrorists.

    […] A student from Georgia Tech called Donald Trump on his suggestion that he would kill family members of ISIS in order to deter terrorists from attacking us. “So my question is: How does intentionally killing innocent civilians set us apart from ISIS?”

    No surprise here, Trump doubled down: “I would be very very firm with families. And frankly, that will make people think. Because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their family’s lives.”

    And … you guessed it: the audience broke into applause.

    Several minutes later, Ben Carson faced a question on whether he would be tough enough as Commander in Chief to order bombings that would kill innocent children.

    “Could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children not just by scores, but the hundreds and the thousands?” Hugh Hewitt asked.

    Ben Carson nodded off for a brief moment. Hewitt tried again: “Can you be as ruthless as Churchill was in prosecuting the war against the Nazis?”

    “Ruthless is not necessarily the word I would use,” Carson responded, “but tough, resolute, understanding what the problems are and understanding that the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country and to do what is necessary in order to (inaudible).” In other words, yes.

    And… you guessed it: wild applause.


  103. says

    Here’s how Donald Trump exercises, he skips around questions he doesn’t want to answer.

    Donald Trump on Tuesday night dodged a post-debate question about whether he really believes President Obama was not born in the United States.

    Follwing the CNN Republican presidential debate, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Trump, “Is Donald Trump honest when he says that Barack Obama isn’t a legitimate president?”

    “So, I knew you were going to ask me that question,” Trump said in response. “You know what I’ll say? I don’t talk about that anymore.” […]

  104. says

    Let’s look at a little snippet of debate coverage by Faux News, coverage in which we find out that Sean Hannity doesn’t agree with all the Geneva Conventions:

    While discussing Donald Trump’s comments that he would support killing the family members of Islamic State militants, Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night said he wasn’t sure he supports all of the treaties governing war in the Geneva Conventions.

    During the Tuesday night Republican debate, Trump confirmed that he would have no problem going after terrorists’ families. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) disagreed with Trump, noting that the tactic would violate the Geneva Conventions. […]

    “He says other things like, ‘Well, we should kill the terrorists’ families,'” Paul told Hannity after discussing surveillance issues. “So we’re going to kill their 2-year-old kids, their 4-year-old kids? And the thing is that to kill bystanders and non-combatants goes against what America stands for — and goes against the the Geneva Conventions.”

    “I’m not so sure if I agree with all the Geneva Conventions and whether or not other countries follow those rules. There’s a separate debate,” Hannity said, suggesting that the U.S. should perhaps break the Geneva Conventions. […]


  105. says

    Trump on his plans to build walls in the internet, sort of:

    […]Trump said he would seal off the internet from places at war with America, since the internet was “our idea.”

    “I don’t want them using our internet to take our young impressionable youth,” Trump explained.

    “So, are you open to closing parts of the internet?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked.

    “I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody,” Trump said. “I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our internet. Yes, sir. I am.”

    Trump also said he would recruit “our good people” in Silicon Valley to “penetrate the internet” to “find out exactly where ISIS is and everything about ISIS.”

    Think Progress link

  106. dianne says

    Trump really is dumber than a rock, isn’t he? No insult to rocks intended. How can a person living in the US in the 21st century be that ignorant about the internet?

  107. says

    More lowlights from rightwing coverage of the Republican debate:

    Bill O’Reilly said that Trump’s lying is acceptable because it is just political theater.

    Rightwing radio host Steve Deace said on Twitter: “Wow…Fiorina goes full vagina right away.” Link

    One of the debate moderators, Hugh Hewitt, used his platform to include attacks against President Obama as part of his questions.

    Governor Huckabee, ten minutes ago you blasted President Obama for destabilizing Iraq, you hit former Secretary of State Clinton for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt but you have said recently you would sanction countries that don’t join the fight aggressively against ISIS. Having had an administration that has effectively undermined our friends and emboldened our foes, why would you start sanctioning those who are not yet on our side against ISIS?


  108. says

    Several Republican candidates harped on the theme of blaming President Obama and/or Hillary Clinton for all incidents of terrorism. Here’s an example from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

    “America has been betrayed” by “the leadership that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have provided to this country.”

    Christie pointed to yesterday’s closing of the Los Angeles Unified School District “based on a threat.” He never got around to mentioning that the “threat” had long since been revealed as a hoax. But still Christie was worried about the “children filled with anxiety,” and the “mothers who will take those children tomorrow morning to the bus stop,” and the “the fathers of Los Angeles, who tomorrow will head off to work and wonder about the safety of their wives and their children.” They live in terror, these nameless gendered stereotypes, because Obama couldn’t protect them from the threat posed by “”


    And here’s an example from Marco Rubio:

    “This is the most sophisticated terror group that has ever threatened the world or the United States of America,” he warned. “This is a very significant threat we face. And the president has left us unsafe.” He made a special point of noting the Islamic State’s sophistication: “This is a radical jihadist group that is increasingly sophisticated in its ability, for example, to radicalize American citizens… This is not just the most capable, it is the most sophisticated terror threat we have ever faced.” He warned about “the next time there is an attack on this country” while pushing for reinstatement of metadata collection provisions in the Patriot Act.

  109. says

    dianne @117, rocks can tell all kinds of interesting and truthful stories, if you know how to “read” them. Trump cannot. Trump is what my geologist brother calls “leaverite,” which is shorthand for “leave it right there, it’s not worth picking up (or digging out).”

    Wired published a good article on the tech policies mentioned by Republican candidates during the debate.

    […] the more the candidates on stage discussed technology, the more they revealed just how limited their knowledge of the encryption debate, the intelligence community, Silicon Valley, and, well, the Internet itself really is. We’ve rounded up a few of the more confusing comments of the night in hopes of adding a little bit of clarity to a muddled conversation. […]

    It’s not exactly clear what Trump means by “closing areas where we are at war with somebody,” […]. Our best guess is that he’s saying it’s possible for the US to shut down Internet access in countries like Syria. That’s problematic, not only because it would shut off millions of innocent people from the Internet, but also because the US simply doesn’t control the Internet in countries like Syria, and neither do US companies.

    Another potential possibility is that Trump is using “our Internet” as shorthand to refer to Internet companies like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube that are often used as recruitment platforms for terrorist groups like ISIS. If that’s the case, then Trump seems to be suggesting that these companies will voluntarily shut down service in these countries. But even in countries where the US has imposed sanctions, like Iran and Sudan, services like “instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging,” are allowed. […]

    More details about Carly Fiorina’s questionable assertions can be read at the link. She’s the candidate that should know what she’s talking about … but she still muddied the waters.

    Others covered in the article: Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich.

  110. microraptor says

    Lynna @120:

    Trump’s ideas are coprolite.


    Rightwing radio host Steve Deace said on Twitter: “Wow…Fiorina goes full vagina right away.”

    I’m almost afraid to ask, but what the frell does that even mean?

  111. blf says

    @120, “Carly Fiorina is the candidate that should know what she’s talking about [re Internet, encryption debate, “tech” (read: computing), et al.…]”

    Why? Being one of the worse CEOs evar, of what has a highly-regarded high-“tech” (and high-margin) company, which she basically turned into a commodity-computing (and low-margin?) company, is not an obvious qualification for having any idea of what one is spouting-on about in those general areas. Her background, albeit always at respected companies (AT&T and Lucent prior to HP), has also always been on the management side — think the dome-headed eejit in Dilbert

  112. blf says

    Teh trum-prat had a golfcourse built in Scotland a few years ago after a series of highly-dubious “deals”. Somewhat more recently, a proposal for an offshore windfarm, which would be visible from the golfcourse, were approved. Teh trum-prat doesn’t like that and has been trying to block it. The UK’s high court just turned down his appeal, causing the usual bluster from teh trum-prat, Alex Salmond [former First Minister in Scotland] brands Trump ‘loser’ after judges reject windfarm appeal (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Trump hits back at ‘hasbeen’ former first minister after losing appeal against planning permission for offshore turbines near Aberdeenshire golf course
    Five justices at Britain’s highest court have rejected [teh trum-prat]’s attempt to prevent an offshore windfarm being built within sight of his golf course in Scotland, dismissing his appeal against planning permission for the turbines that was granted by Scottish ministers.

    Their decision prompted an extraordinary war of words between the billionaire and the former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, who branded Trump “three times a loser”, referring to the fact that he had suffered repeated defeats in the Scottish courts before taking his fight to the supreme court. Trump’s successive appeals had “at best postponed, and at worst jeopardised, a vital £200m boost for the economy of the north-east of Scotland”, Salmond said.

    But the Trump Organisation hit back at Salmond in a pointed and characteristically colourful statement: “Does anyone care what this man thinks? He’s a hasbeen and totally irrelevant. The fact that he doesn’t even know what’s going on in his own constituency says it all {…} He should go back to doing what he does best: unveiling pompous portraits of himself that pander to his already overinflated ego.”

    Project much?

    The two men were once warm allies, after Salmond backed Trump’s £750m development of the Menie golf resort in Aberdeenshire, and after planning permission had initially been refused by Aberdeenshire council.

    But they fell out over plans for the windfarm, and [teh trum-prat] wrote a blistering open letter in 2012 that accused Salmond of being “hellbent on destroying Scotland’s coastline and therefore Scotland itself”.


    The Menie estate was purchased by Trump in 2006 and transformed into a golf resort on protected coastal dunes north of Aberdeen. In 2011, Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd applied […] to construct an electricity generating station and offshore wind turbines off Aberdeenshire. Permission was granted by the Scottish government in 2013 for 11 turbines, which Trump says will be a “monstrous” blight on the coastal landscape. The turbines will be about two miles from the course.

    George Sorial, executive vice-president of the Trump Organization in New York, said: “This is an extremely unfortunate verdict for the residents of Aberdeen and anyone who cares about Scotland’s economic future. The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) will completely destroy the bucolic Aberdeen Bay and cast a terrible shadow upon the future of tourism for the area.

    “History will judge those involved unfavourably and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small-minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish government’s dangerous experiment with wind energy. With oil prices plummeting {…} the EOWDC will never be built, and comments that suggest otherwise are nothing more than delusional posturing. […]”


    Patrick Harvie, economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP [Member Scotland’s Pretendliament –blf] for Glasgow, said: “This crucial project has been delayed for too long by one rich climate change denier. This is the latest rejection for an irrational bully whose brand is increasingly toxic.”

    […] Salmond also said of Trump: [“]His behaviour and comments are unlikely to attract the votes of many Mexican Americans or Muslim Americans. Given his treatment of Scotland, Scots Americans are likely to join the ever growing list of people alienated by Trump.”

  113. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fallout from last night’s debate. The AP fact check of claims.
    Nobody appears to be free of not checking facts before opening mouth. Just a couple of examples:

    TED CRUZ on immigration policy: “What you do is you enforce the law… That means you stop the Obama administration’s policy of releasing criminal illegal aliens. Do you know how many aliens Bill Clinton deported? 12 million. Do you know how many illegal aliens, George W. Bush deported? 10 million.”
    THE FACTS: Cruz vastly overstates the deportation numbers for both presidents. Statistics from Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that roughly 1.6 million were deported under Bush. Under Clinton, when the old Immigration and Naturalization Service oversaw deportations, the figure was about 870,000, according to the Migration Policy Institute. So far, about 2.4 million have been deported under the Obama administration.
    To get the larger numbers, Cruz appears to be combining deportations with arrests made by the Border Patrol in the previous administrations, the institute says.

    The Donald:

    DONALD TRUMP: “Our country is out of control. People are pouring through the southern border.”
    THE FACTS: Arrest statistics are widely regarded as the best measure, if an imperfect one, of the flow of people crossing illegally into the U.S. And Trump’s suggestion that illegal immigration is increasing at the border is not supported by arrest statistics discussed in recent months by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
    Johnson has said that during the 2015 budget year that ended in September, about 330,000 people were caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, a near 40-year low in border arrests. During the 2014 budget year, roughly 486,000 people were arrested.

  114. blf says

    My night with Trump and the other chumps:

    This week I caved, and tuned into the Republican debate. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, me or the pet tortoise

    As an American I feel an occasional obligation to stay up late and witness some cultural phenomenon half a dozen timezones away: the World Series, election nights etc. But I don’t last very long. I usually give up on the Super Bowl before anybody’s touched a football. [I laughed out loud… –blf]

    I’ve ignored all the current run of Republican debates. I do harbour a small desire to be there, watching live, when Donald Trump makes some campaign-ending comment; but he says something campaign ending every time he opens his mouth, and his support only grows. This time, having recorded it, I sat down with a heavy heart.

    From the outset it became clear that Trump’s main contribution to the debate had already occurred: persuading the other candidates to ape his hysterical rhetoric rather than attack it. Almost all of them embraced the nonsensical notion that “political correctness” presented the biggest threat to US national security, apparently because Obama dared to suggest that preventing a massacre like the one in San Bernardino [included] making it slightly more difficult for unstable people to get hold of military weapons […]

    The problem is that few of the other candidates have Trump’s knack for saying something stupid with the brazen confidence required to make it sound resolute. […]

    Despite the competition, Trump got one good chance to demonstrate his special gift for defiant ignorance, when asked about his strategy for combating terrorism (and you are free to think of this as a trick question, if you like): “Are you open to closing certain parts of the internet?”

    “I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are war with somebody,” he said. “I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us, and kill our nation, use our internet. [… ‘Our’ Internet? Oh for feck’s sake! –blf]”

    The big loser of the night, I think, was Ben Carson, the softly spoken neurosurgeon and crackpot’s crackpot. […]

    At this time of year our tortoise […] slows right down. In high summer he can be surprisingly sprightly, but in winter he mainly serves as a decorative doorstop. He doesn’t quite hibernate; if the sun comes out, he stirs and stalks the kitchen in search of something to eat. When I looked up during a lull in the debate, I saw him gently gnawing on a picture of a cauliflower on the side of a […] shopping bag.

    I’m not sure whether his intelligence has gone up or down in my estimation. I struggled to think of a metaphor for the US election candidates, and then I gave up and got him some lettuce.

    Semi-hibernating Tortoise for president! Vote for Cauliflower Picture Gnaw Party!! We hold all doors open!!!

  115. blf says

    This sounds promising, especially if there is no communications link and it’s a one-way trip to the Sun, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos wants to send Donald Trump into space:

    Washington Post owner offers to put Republican presidential hopeful on his Blue Origin rocket in response to Twitter tirade

    Donald Trump mocked Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ business acumen, so Bezos announced plans to blast the extremist Republican presidential hopeful into space.

    Trump apparently has issues with the Washington Post, […] which, like most US newspapers, has been pointing out that the candidate’s policies and persona veer between ludicrous and fascistic.

    An hour before Trump began his tirade, the Post published an opinion piece titled Donald Trump is the Gamergate of Republican Politics. That might have been the inciting incident for Trump’s next few tweets, which lambasted the paper while claiming it was just a tax dodge for Amazon.

    [… At the request of the Desk Preservation League, Society to Avoid Braincrashes, and Movement for Intelligible Comments, we omit teh trum-prat’s head-into-desk-crashing worldsalad –blf]

    In fact, Amazon regularly turns a profit, although it is frequently small in comparison to its revenue, and Bezos owns the Washington Post personally, so its profit or loss wouldn’t affect the tax Amazon pays. Fact checking Donald Trump tweets is futile.

    But Bezos had a snappy response: Send Donald Trump to space.


    The Amazon founder’s spaceflight company, Blue Origin, may have recently demonstrated its own reusable rocket for the first time, but we suspect this trip would be on a one-way ticket.

  116. says

    PBS series ‘Finding Your Roots’ finds Bill Maher and Bill O’Reilly are related:

    The PBS series “Finding Your Roots” has discovered that political television’s polar opposite Bills — Maher and O’Reilly — are distant cousins.

    The revelation shocks the two men as it seems to tickle the show’s host, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The series, which had been put on hold following revelations that actor Ben Affleck sought to quash news that he had a slave-owning ancestor, begins its third season Jan. 5. The Maher-O’Reilly episode airs a week later.

    The pugnacious Fox News Channel host is shown with the series-prepared book of his ancestry in front of him and is told he has a familial tie to another well-known personality.

    He turns a page to see a picture of Maher, the liberal host of HBO’s “Real Time.”

    “Oh, geez,” he said. “You’re going to have to put him on 24-hour medical watch. This ruins his career. This destroys him.”

    Maher is more measured when he sees the O’Reilly picture in his book.

    “It just shows you what a great place America is,” he said. “Because we’re about as opposite as you can possibly get.”

  117. microraptor says

    Maher and OReally? aren’t as opposite as you can get.

    They’re both pretty proud of their Islamaphobia, for example.

  118. says

    Governor Scott Walker has been running to the right with Wisconsin. He dramatically affected voting rights, reproductive rights, collective bargaining (unions), and education in a markedly negative way.

    Here’s his latest rightwing shenanigan:

    Gov. Scott Walker privately signed a measure Wednesday loosening the state’s campaign finance laws and eliminating the state elections and ethics agency that investigated his campaign for teaming up with conservative groups. […]

    The nonpartisan Government Accountability Board in Wisconsin had been a model to which other states aspired. Now its a dead duck.

    Quote comes from the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, but I couldn’t get the page to load properly.

  119. says

    Rachel Maddow also fact-checked the Republican debate, and she did it with humor and with historical context that went back to 1971. Scroll down for the video. Link

    “Wolff I will tell you what reckless is,” Chris Christie said. “What reckless is, is calling Assad a reformer. What reckless is, is allowing Russia to come into Crimea and Ukraine. What reckless is, is inviting Russia into Syria.”

    Rachel response was epic. “Gosh darn you Barack Obama for traveling back in time and inviting Russia into Syria,” Maddow said. “To be clear, Russia, already in Syria.”

    Maddow used footage of the funeral of King Hussein to debunk a comment from Christie; and she highlighted the fact that Donald Trump does not know what the nuclear triad is.

    Maddow illustrated Chris Christie’s ignorance when he referred to King Hussein as the King of Jordan instead of King Abdullah. What was in fact frightening is that Donald Trump did not know what the nuclear triad is. This is the man that would have his finger on the button.

    These candidates continue to malign President Obama. They continue to claim he is incompetent or does not know what is going on. Yet with all the prep one would expect them to do for these debates, they show an ignorance of international policy, military policy, and domestic policy that disqualifies them all from the presidency.

  120. says

    Putin and Trump have a love fest going:

    Russian president Vladimir Putin offered up glowing praise for “talented” Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump while speaking to reporters after his annual year-end news conference, NBC reported Thursday.

    “He is a bright personality, a talented person, no doubt about it,” Putin said, according to NBC. “It is not up to us to appraise his positive sides, it is up to the U.S. voters. But, as we can see, he is an absolute leader in the presidential race.”

    The admiration is apparently mutual. In July, Trump told reporters in Scotland that he thinks he “would get along very well with Vladimir Putin” because both men shared an antipathy towards President Barack Obama. Trump has repeatedly praised the Russian leader’s “toughness” and promised that he could be the one to warm the frosty relationship between Russia and the U.S. […]

    Referring to Trump, Putin said: “He is saying that he wants to move to a different level of relations with Russia, to a closer, deeper one. How can we not welcome that? Of course, we welcome that.”

  121. says

    Trump skipped around a question about child care, and then he derided the questioner. Standard Trumpishness.

    At a recent event for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a member of the women’s policy organization Make It Work asked him about his thoughts on child care.

    “I love children,” he responded. After her follow up, he continued, “It’s a big subject darling.” He then pivoted to address the rest of the crowd, saying in a derisive tone, “She wants to know my thoughts on child care. Come on, we’ll talk for about 10 hours.”

    […] At a town hall event in Iowa last month, a woman in the audience asked him what he would do to increase access to affordable child care. His answer focused on private companies providing it on-site, rather than any government intervention.

    “It’s not expensive for a company to do it,” he said. “You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks and you need some swings and some toys… I do it all over, and I get great people because of it… It’s something that can be done, I think, very easily by a company.”

    If it’s so easy and low-cost, though, few American employers have caught on. Only 7 percent provide care at or near the workplace — a share that has actually declined since 2008. Thanks to safety and health regulations, it costs far more than buying some toys and hiring a couple of workers to set up a daycare.

    […] the government offers subsidies to low-income families, but spending on them has reached decade lows and there are enormous waiting lists in many states.

    […] child care costs continue to rise and are now more than what the average family spends on rent or food. In 28 states, it even costs more than public college tuition and fees. A family in Massachusetts can expect to pay an average of $17,000 a year for their infant’s care. Average weekly child care expenses rose more than 70 percent between 1985 and 2011. […]

    If Trump ever decides to run as a third-party candidate, he should call his party “The Know Nothings.”

  122. says

    Yeah, we knew this was the way it was behind all the flashy gold trim and the bombastic language. Trump treats workers at his hotels unfairly.

    Since 2012, Marisela Olvera has folded the towels, tucked in the sheets, and vacuumed the floors of 62-story, gold-plated Trump International Hotel just off the Las Vegas Strip. […]

    “He says he wants to make America great,” she told ThinkProgress in Spanish. “Well, he should start here in his own house, his own business. He always brags about how he has millions and millions and millions of dollars, but he pays his workers less than most in Las Vegas.”

    This week, the hotel’s management refused to recognize the union and demanded the federal labor board throw out the results of the December 5th election, in which a majority of the 500-odd workers voted to be represented by Culinary Workers Union and Bartenders Union.

    Eric Trump, the company’s executive vice president of development and acquisitions — and Donald Trump’s son — released a statement claiming “over 200 employees…stood up and categorically rejected union representation due, in large part, to the union’s many hostile, intimidating and dishonorable tactics.”[…]

    When the management at the Trump hotel caught wind of the union drive last year, they hired the “union avoidance” consulting firm Lupe Cruz and Associates. […]

    […] over several months, employees of Lupe Cruz held individual meetings with union organizers and so-called captive audience meetings with the entire staff to try to quash the union effort.

    “They intimidated us a lot,” she said. “[…] They told us the union only wants our money, that if we supported the union we’d lose our jobs, that the company would put our names on a blacklist and no other hotels in Las Vegas would hire us. They told us to think of what our children would do if we were out of work. Everyone was very stressed. People were afraid. But bendito sea Diós, we still won, even with all that pressure.”[…]

    With the Trump management refusing to recognize the votes of Olvera and her colleagues, lawyers for the two sides will both have to present arguments to the National Labor Relations Board, which will hear the case on January 5th in Las Vegas. The workers have already received offers of support from local clergy members, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, and all three Democrats running for president, some of whom have marched in the streets with them in front of the hotel. […].

  123. says

    Bernie Sanders picked up an endorsement from the Communication Workers of America.

    In national polls, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 51% to 26%.

    Warren Buffet endorsed Hillary Clinton.

  124. says

    A large group of American Muslims held a rally to condemn ISIS. A group of rightwing bigots claimed the rally was to support ISIS.

    In Dearborn, Michigan, American Muslims held a march to denounce ISIS. As in they held an actual parade to condemn ISIS and ISIS’ version of Islam which is, uncannily enough, exactly what many shrieking xenophobes (e.g. sitting congressman and King of the Mole Rats Steve King) have been demanding American Muslims “do” in order to disassociate themselves with the bad people.

    You know what happened next, right? It took about 10 days for conservatives online to start sending each other pictures of the march with claims that it was a rally in support of ISIS. […]

    “This is Dearborn Michigan after the radical Islamic attack in California ! These are Isis flags and Isis supporters folks but the media has not reported because of politically correctness.” It had been shared almost 3,700 times, and I also found a tweet with the same photo that had been retweeted more than 1,300 times.[…]

    That’s right. American Muslims hold an actual motherflippin’ parade to denounce ISIS and terrorism, and anti-Muslims immediately convince themselves that the pictures are (1) from a secret pro-ISIS rally, (2) being covered up by the entire American media establishment because of “politically correctness”, and (3) further proof that American Muslims are coming to murder us all no matter what the stupid politically correctness press and them Muslim folks say. […]

  125. Ice Swimmer says

    Lynna, OM @ 133

    I’ll cite an old TV cabaret (my translation): “You don’t get an inheritance by competing on the market or being entrepreneurial.” After this line came a cutesy song about 20 families who have (allegedly) more influence than the parliament, the surnames used as a chorus. A modern international of the song would likely feature at least Trump, Koch, Adelson, Busch, Hilton, Arnault, Bettencourt and Walton (though I’d guess the single syllable names could be rhytmically problematic).

    Trump would probably take the song as a compliment…

  126. blf says

    Why am I unsurprised, Anti-Isis proposals floated at Republican debate would likely be war crimes:

    Ted Cruz leads way [ over the cliff –blf]as candidates discuss carpet-bombing and attacking terrorists’ families, despite Geneva Conventions ban on ‘indiscriminate attacks’

    Carpet-bombed cities, world war three and internet blockades were among the images conjured up by Republican candidates for president on Tuesday night, as the hopefuls took bellicose rhetoric to new heights over the inconveniences of law and fact.

    Senator Ted Cruz struck arguably the most overtly belligerent tone of all the candidates, backtracking only slightly from his promise to “carpet bomb” Islamic State militants wherever they are. On Tuesday, he said he would “carpet bomb where Isis is, not a city, but the location of troops” with “directed” air power.

    “The object isn’t to level a city. The object is to kill the Isis terrorists,” he said, only a slight departure from his campaign promise to bomb them “into oblivion”.

    “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark,” he told a rally in early December, “but we’re going to find out!”

    To find out, do a controlled experiment in a lab!
    And, b.t.w., Syria is not, as far as I know, mostly sand. It is arid(? semi-arid?) but that does not mean sand. For instance, most of Australis and Argentina are also semi(?)-arid.

    Because Isis largely embeds in cities with the civilian population that it claims to rule, Cruz’s plan would by definition entail wholesale bombing of places where hundreds of thousands of people — many the victims of Isis crimes themselves — live.

    During the debate, Cruz compared his notion of carpet bombing to the US strategy in the first Iraq war, when the US launched about 1,000 airstrikes a day. Pentagon leaders past and present have noted that those air strikes, which relied on precision [sic] missile technology and targeted a traditional military, were not a carpet-bomb campaign like the one the US unsuccessfully carried out in Vietnam in 1972.

    Testifying before the Senate last week, Gen Paul Selva, vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said Cruz’s proposal “is not the way that we apply force in combat. It isn’t now nor will it ever be.”

    The first Iraq war also left dictator Saddam Hussein in power, despite his defeat […]. Cruz did say, however, that he prefers dictators, such as Egypt’s deposed Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s now-deceased Muammar Gaddafi, to the unpredictable revolutionaries who followed them.

    He claimed that Gaddafi assisted the US in fighting terrorism, even though he was designated the leader of a state sponsor of terrorism for decades. Chris Christie similarly said he sided with autocrats, name-dropping his “friend” King Hussein of Jordan — a monarch dead 16 years and the father of current King Abdullah.

    Cruz’s repeated promises to “hunt down” and “utterly destroy” terrorists made him the most explicitly aggressive candidate on Tuesday night, but even he did not express nonchalance about killing civilians, as Donald Trump and Ben Carson did.


    Asked by the moderator whether he was “OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians”, Carson replied: “You got it. You got it.”

    The Geneva Conventions prohibit “indiscriminate attacks”, including aerial bombardment; the US and most of the world’s nations are signatories to the conventions […]

    In October, a US warplane bombed a civilian hospital in Afghanistan, raising prospects of a war crime inquiry over the apparent accident. A bombing campaign as prescribed by Cruz, Carson or Trump would at best have questionable legality, make the US an international pariah and exacerbate the refugee crisis.


    Candidates were not only insouciant about human rights abroad; they also felt comfortable doubting rights enshrined by US law.

    “If you’re an American citizen and you decide to join up with Isis, we’re not going to read you your Miranda rights,” Senator Marco Rubio said […]

    [… A]ny policy that would strip Americans of rights in the US would almost certainly face challenges, if not outright rejection, from the courts.


    Trump also said Isis was “using the internet better than we are {…} and it was our idea”. It was in fact Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a Briton, who invented the world wide web.

    The pedant in me will point out the Internet and the WWW are not the same thing, and as such, the Internet was developed over there and the WWW on this side of the pond. However, most(?) people do seem to conflate the two, as I suspect teh trum-prat was doing.

    Paul also repeatedly accused his rivals of pushing the US toward a third world war, and relative moderates, like Jeb Bush and John Kasich, called their opponents cartoonish and unrealistic — to no avail. The tone that won the debate was aggressive from start to finish, and candidates ended by taking aim at political correctness itself.


    A few recent comments:

    ● “Kill thousands of children, persecute minorities, establish a jackbooted surveillance state, implement censorship{…} Funny how they trash ISIS while secretly trying to become them.”

    ● “And these people claim to be Christian?”
    In reply: “Kinda like how ISIS claims to be Muslim. Extremism on both sides.”

    ● “Even five year olds would have a lot more sense than this bunch of idiots trying to be presidents.”

    There was also an opinion piece in the International New York Times making roughly the same points (apologies for the lack of a link).

  127. says

    Yes, rightwing billionaire Sheldon Adelson bought himself a newspaper:

    The son-in-law of billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson arranged the $140 million purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Adelson’s behalf, sources confirmed Wednesday.

    Patrick Dumont, who is listed on the website of Las Vegas Sands Corp. as the company’s senior vice president of finance and strategy, put together the deal at the behest of his father-in-law, the chairman and CEO of the casino operator.


  128. says

    Harvard is using “social justice” placements as part of a broader social justice campaign. This is driving Faux News hosts mad.

    ANDREA TANTAROS: It’s such propaganda. Liberals cannot let you have a meal alone. Remember last Thanksgiving it was like try and sign up your family members for Obamacare. And this last time around Thanksgiving President Obama wanted to talk about ISIS over turkey, because nothing goes better than jihadists and cranberry sauce. […]

    SANDRA SMITH: I mean, Meghan, are you really surprised by this though?

    MEGHAN MCCAIN: It’s so embarrassing. It’s the infantilization of this generation. I don’t understand — I am embarrassed to say what college I went to because of crap like this. Legitimately I’ve like gotten a place like this. You’re supposed to be expanding your mind but it’s just liberal indoctrination and I think it’s really depressing. This is why people can’t get out of their safe zones and actually have a conversation with someone that disagrees with them.

    SMITH: So it addressed a few other things by the way in addition to black murders in the street and Islamophobia and refugees. Also the house master title came up as well and how to have that discussion with your family at the dinner table.

    PETE HEGSETH: This place mat is like ideological vomit. It is. It’s absurd. It’s authoritarian. We’re telling students what to say. You know why? Because the kids are going to have to leave their cocoon of Harvard and go back home and talk to their uncle. Their uncle who’s got a little common sense, probably from flyover country, probably got a real job and probably is fired up about what is happening in this country and is going to confront their — set off a bunch of trigger warnings for them and their safe zones going to be invaded and they’re not going to know how to handle it. I mean this is how silly higher education has become.

    Media Matters link

    “Ideological vomit,” what a lovely turn of phrase.

  129. says

    More coverage of Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and why we should be worried: Salon Link.

    Adelson all but lied about his involvement with the paper in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, saying he had no “personal interest” in the Review-Journal—a statement that is only barely true in a technical sense.

    The interview took place at Adelson’s Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. As it happens, that’s where Tuesday’s Republican debate was held. This is not a coincidence. Adelson is not shy about his desire to influence the 2016 election, and to use his fortune to do the influencing. Candidates are falling over themselves to try to win the “Adelson primary.” Now he has Nevada’s most important paper in his clutches.

    Adelson’s family issued a statement saying it was committed to “a journalism product that is second-to-none.” This should be taken with a truckload of salt. The conflicts facing the Review-Journal staff are almost too many to list. Adelson is a major player in the day-to-day business of Las Vegas, in the Republican Party, and in the key swing state of Nevada as a whole. Pity the poor Review-Journal reporters who have to find a way through that minefield with their dignity intact. […]

    […] we need only look at Israel Hayom, the hard-right free daily newspaper that Adelson launched in 2007. It’s now Israel’s biggest-selling paper, and its slavish backing of Adelson ally Benjamin Netanyahu is so infamous that Netanyahu’s rivals have tried to pass laws curbing its influence. Adelson has been willing to lose buckets of money on the paper to both help Netanyahu and get around Israel’s restrictive campaign finance laws. […]

  130. says

    McCain called Putin and Trump “a match made in heaven.” McCain sometimes does sarcasm quite well.

    Trump is having a bromance with a guy who has had journalists murdered. He’s having a bromance with an anti-gay guy.

  131. says

    The only thing worse than a bunch of christians who are bigots is a bunch of bigoted christians who are organized.

    James Dobson, founder of the Christian group Focus on the Family and one of the nation’s most influential evangelicals, will endorse Ted Cruz for president today, according to sources briefed on the announcement. […]

    Dobson, sources say, has long been an outspoken voice on Cruz’s behalf, arguing in previous private gatherings that Marco Rubio was not sufficiently conservative to earn the group’s support.

  132. says

    Rachel Maddow reported on the Sandy Hook truther who is also a professor at Florida Atlantic University.

    Professor Tracy harassed parents of children killed in Newtown for 3 years. He sent them demands for proof that their children ever existed, legal threats, etc.

    That asshole claimed the Newtown massacre, and others, were synthetic, theatrical stuff done with actors (just to take your guns away, don’t you know). Alex Jones, über fringy rightwing radio host, makes the same claims, and Jones is friends with Professor Tracy. And Jones is another one of Donald Trump’s bromances.

  133. says

    This is a followup to comment 129.

    Rachel Maddow covered the news about Governor Scott Walker dissolving the Government Accountability Board.

    More broadly, that segment addresses the ways in which Republican governors and legislators have worked against accountability and transparency in government; and the ways in which they have worked toward letting corruption flourish.

  134. says

    More on the Trump and Putin bromance:

    Joe Scarborough pressed Trump on Putin’s history as “a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries.”

    Trump responded by defending Putin. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader. Unlike what he have in this country.”

    Scarborough pressed: “But again: He kills journalists that don’t agree with him.”

    Trump again brushed off the critique, telling Scarborough, “our country does plenty of killing also, Joe.”

    Before moving on, Scarborough threw Trump a lifeline. “You obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?”

    “Oh sure, absolutely,” Trump replied carelessly.

  135. says

    The Daily Show with Trevor Noah recapped 2015. His Year-in-Review segment was biting and funny at the same time.
    Salon link

    Scroll down for video. Look back in horror at Kim Davis. Look back at media bits that went viral. Martin Shkreli was also covered.

  136. says

    Uh-Oh, infighting in the Democratic National Party:

    Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign released a statement on Friday afternoon calling for a swift investigation into the breach of its voter data by members of opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) staff.

    Brian Fallon, Hillary for America’s national press secretary, wrote that the campaign was “informed that our proprietary data was breached by Sanders campaign staff in 25 searches by four different accounts and that this data was saved into the Sanders’ campaign account.”

    “We are asking that the Sanders campaign and the DNC work expeditiously to ensure that our data is not in the Sanders campaign’s account and that the Sanders campaign only have access to their own data,” he continued.

  137. blf says

    In a sad-alarming sortof way, this is hilarious, Republicans are so bullish on war that 30% would bomb a fictional country:

    The level of tough-guy militarism that Republican candidates spew looks like a race to see who would start more wars harder and quicker

    [ Picture of three of the Kandidate Kar Klowns singing the national warmarch, with the caption: “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air{…}” –blf]

    A poll on Friday by Public Policy Polling perfectly encapsulates the Republican presidential race so far: “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah.” That would be the fictional country in Aladdin.

    Republican voters […] are now eager to bomb anywhere that has a Muslim-sounding name regardless of whether it comes from a cartoon. While the poll itself may be amusing, it’s not exactly surprising given the cartoonish levels of tough-guy militarism that spews from the mouth of every Republican candidate as they try to one-up each other on who would start more wars harder and quicker.

    Ted Cruz has spent the past two weeks calling for a “carpet bombing” of the Middle East in an attempt to destroy Isis […]. He defended this call on national television Tuesday while outright avoiding the question of whether that means he’s prepared to kill the hundreds of thousands of civilians that live in Isis’s de-facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.

    Donald Trump, in between his calls for banning Muslims here at home, also called on American forces to commit war crimes by killing the families of terrorists. His meaningless calls to “bomb the shit out of Isis” naturally have led all the other candidates to trip over each other in an attempt to find more and more colorful adjectives to describe how their bombs would look.

    Chris Christie, whose whole campaign seems based around trying to sound like he could beat the other candidates up for their lunch money, was perhaps the most absurd: he threatened war with both Russia and China during the last debate. Christie claimed he was totally willing to start a third world war with Russia over a no-fly zone in Syria and would shoot down Russian pilots immediately. His reason? To avenge the thousands killed by Assad, and the “millions running around the world, running for their lives”. So Christie’s position is: we will start the third world war to save Syrians, but we draw the line in at allowing five-year-old Syrian orphans into the United States.


    On top of all this, it’s such a foregone conclusion that many of these candidates will happily rip up the Iran nuclear deal and send us down a path of war with them that hardly anyone even asks them anymore.

    Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko has a handy chart where he is tracking all the people and places each presidential candidate has said he or she wants to bomb. He reminds us that Ben Carson has not only promised all of the above, but to also unleash drone strikes in Mexico.

    It’s worth noting that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is just as militaristic, or more so, than most of the Republicans when it comes to Isis and Iran. She has at least refrained, however, from calling for a third world war with Russia or launching drone strikes in Mexico.

    Referring to Zenko’s chart, the least war-minded candidate seems to be Martin O’Malley, in that he’s only made one comparatively limited suggestion (special operations vs daesh). Loosening the criteria slightly (listed in alphabetical order), Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders aren’t completely hopeless. Surprisingly, Rick Santorum isn’t completely mad, albeit he is proposing a large ground force (which, I understand, is what the professional military says what is needed if you really intend to defeat daesh). The rest are loonies — including Ms Clinton — albeit to her credit, taken individually, several of the logged proposals are somewhat measured or not totally delusional, in sharp contrast to the reset of the loonies.

  138. blf says

    The Death Snark strikes again, Donald and Darth: how the two leaders compare on key issues (all emboldening in the original):

    As Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican polls in the US and Star Wars prepares to rule the box office, how do the two match up?

    The deal
    Trump’s 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal holds the billionaire’s basic pitch: he can bargain. He has a true rival in Vader, though, another tall, swaggering white man with an oversized head. They’re fond of black suits, bombast and petty insults. They have family issues, and can’t seem to find a good apprentice. And they make deals, alter those deals and then make threats about how they’ll do whatever they want.

    Vader has extreme religious views in a non-Christian faith. Trump, a casual Presbyterian, has alienated some voters. Neither is quite what evangelicals are looking for.

    National security
    Vader has a history of relying on people (see Calrissian, Lando) to further his ends, setting him apart from the surveillance-crazy parts of the GOP. Trump is so concerned about the internet that he wants to close parts of it down.

    […] Vader’s OK with spy drones and enhanced interrogation, and stands with Trump on the idea of targeting the families of militants{…}who happen to be his kids.

    Border control
    The border doesn’t much matter to Vader, who let organized crime flourish on outer worlds like Tatooine, a planet that became a safe haven for the Empire’s own Lee Harvey Oswald, Luke Skywalker.

    And neither of these guys care much for detail, even though they both made their names with large, shiny houses for the ruling class — the Death Star is huge (HUGE). Vader leaves logistics to his flunkies; Trump leaves them to the imagination, and says someone else — Mexico, China, why not Alderaan? — will foot the bill.

    Military interventionThe Donald, like the Darth, is backed by an alarmingly large army of white guys with guns. […]

    Trump approves of working with autocrats, at least, and would probably make fast friends with the galaxy’s less reputable leaders — especially those who share his interests, eg crimelord Jabba the Hutt, who lives in an ostentatious palace, loves parties, demeans women and feeds a literal Rancor. Vader meditates.

    But when it comes to military intervention and most everything else, Vader and Trump mostly seem to make split decisions for very little reason at all. The Empire invades Hoth because Vader gets a tipoff from the Force. Trump goes with his gut, which tells him to invade Mexico.

    So how different are they?
    Peas in an escape pod.

    Nah, peas are mean, nasty, texture- and taste-less, and unfortunately, real. Teh trum-prat is mean, nasty, soggy orange cardboard with bad taste, and unfortunately, quite possibly real (except for the hair), albeit whole new subjects in biomathematics and biophysics have had to be developed to describe him. The other one not real, but does have enough sense to hide inside a helmet.

  139. says

    blf @153, amusing. :-) “White guys with guns …”

    The rest of the world is wondering what the heck is going on in the USA when we have candidates for the presidency stating publicly, on what is a global stage, that we should adopt a policy of killing the families of terrorists. Never mind the Geneva Convention, never mind other treaties to which we are signatories, and never mind our own military code of conduct.

    This is madness. Trump, Carson, Cruz and others are spouting madness as if it made sense. It’s a head-shaking situation that is not good for anyone.

    Bill O’Reilly’s idea that it’s okay to say this kind of stuff because it is just political theater is all wrong. I’m afraid all the crazy talk will lead to crazy action. It already has led to an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes and harassment in the U.S.

    Clinton’s proposal to defeat ISIS matches President Obama’s current approach fairly closely. There are details that should be questioned in both cases, but one thing stand out to me: Clinton, Obama, Sanders and O’Malley all have some degree of patience in approaching what is a many-layered problem. They want to work on it without expecting a solution tomorrow, and without ignoring international rules of engagement. What we see on the Republican side is a complete lack of realistic assessment of the problem(s), along with a complete lack of patience.

    “Patience” may not be the right word. Constant pressure, applied with the best intelligence we have — that ability to maintain focus over a long period of time, that’s what is missing from “carpet bomb them until the sand glows” crowd.

  140. says

    Fighting the so-called “war on Christmas” in a more official way:

    A group of House Republicans has signed onto legislation declaring support for Christmas.

    Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) has introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the House that “the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas” amid warnings from the right that religion is being pushed out of the holiday.

    The resolution states that the House “strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas” and “expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.”
    Thirty-five fellow Republicans have signed onto the resolution as co-sponsors.

    The measure comes after Starbucks encountered controversy this holiday season for unveiling minimalist red cups. […]

    The Hill link

  141. says

    Alabama promotes god on license plates:

    Gov. Robert Bentley today announced there will be no additional fee for Alabamians who choose the God Bless America license plate.

    The state was to begin collecting a $50 fee for the plates for the first time starting in January.

    “Approximately 1.1 million Alabamians have chosen to proudly display their patriotism with the God Bless America license plate,” Bentley said in a press release. […]

    “Based on those findings, I have ordered that no fee will be charged by the Department of Revenue for the God Bless America tag. Alabamians who want this license plate will be able to choose it at no additional cost as it has previously been offered.” […]

    No word on whether or not the governor will allow “Allah Bless America” license plates for no extra fee.

    Also, the conflation of “patriotism” with God bothers me.

  142. says

    Good ideas from Iceland:

    Icelanders opposed to the state funding of religion have flocked to register as Zuists, a movement that worships ancient Sumerian gods and – perhaps more importantly – promises its followers a tax rebate.

    More than 3,100 people – almost 1% of Iceland’s population – have joined the Zuist movement in the past two weeks in protest at paying part of their taxes to the state church and other religious bodies. Followers of Zuism will be refunded the tax element earmarked for religion.

    Icelanders are required to register their religion with the state, with almost three-quarters of the population affiliated to the established Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland. There are more than 40 other registered religious bodies that qualify for “parish fees” paid through the taxation system. The amount set in next year’s budget is the equivalent of about $80 (£53) per taxpayer over a year.

    “There is no opt-out. Those who are unaffiliated or belong to unregistered religions effectively just pay higher taxes,” said Sveinn Thorhallsson, a Zuist spokesperson. An opinion poll published in September showed 55% of respondents want an end to the system. […]

  143. says

    Mold, not miracles:

    The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City says a bleeding host reported after a communion wafer turned water red was caused by bread mold, not a miracle.

    Officials said Wednesday that a scientist found the conclusive natural explanation for the wafer that turned water in an ablution bowl a dark red color at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kearns.

    The diocese appointed a committee to investigate after the host that went uneaten on Nov. 8 appeared to bleed after being left unattended for several days. […]

  144. says

    Donal Trump wants everyone to know that he’s willing to nuke them into oblivion.

    Appearing on Fox News on Friday, a spokesperson for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump threatened that the business mogul would be willing to use nuclear weapons if he were elected to serve as commander in chief.

    “What good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it?” campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson asked on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor.

    Pierson went on to suggest that while other Republican candidates may threaten war, Trump would actually be willing to use the the nuclear triad to fix problems around the world. “That’s where we are today,” she said. “We need to be discussing how we fix their problems, not just complaining and name-calling about who started this and who started that.”

    Think Progress link

  145. says

    Many of the Republican presidential candidates are so solidly anti-gay that they are willing to sign pledges to that effect.

    Six of the Republican candidates vying for the presidency have signed a pledge promising to support legislation during their first 100 days in the White House that would use the guise of “religious liberty” to give individuals and businesses the right to openly discriminate against LGBT people.

    Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee vowed to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), legislation that would prohibit the federal government from stopping discrimination by people or businesses that believe “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman” or that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” […]

    But instead of protecting “gay marriage dissenters,” FADA gives people and businesses license to openly discriminate against same sex couples. If it were to pass, it would mean that government workers could refuse to perform their duties, and businesses and organizations — including those that operate with the support of taxpayer dollars — would be free to discriminate. The American Civil Liberties Union has called it “a Pandora’s Box of taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples and their children.” […]

  146. says

    The waning days of our lives are given over to treatments that addle our brains and sap our bodies for a sliver’s chance of benefit. They are spent in institutions—nursing homes and intensive care units—where regimented, anonymous routines cut us off from all the things that matter to us in life. Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm we inflict on people and denied them the basic comforts they most need.

    That’s an excerpt from Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal.” It got me thinking again about the two or more years my parents spent doing nothing but dying in difficult and overly medicated circumstances.

    The costs were enormous, the good moments (i.e. moments to enjoy or appreciate anything) were almost nonexistent. Surely addressing this issue would make a difference in the cost of health care in the USA. We don’t have to classify this as “killing Grandma,” like the Republicans do.

    New York Review of Books link

  147. says

    Ah, yes, another presidential debate, this time on the Democratic side. Before we get into that, let’s take a break. Here’s an article about face mites.

    There, that was nice.

    Now, about that debate: Hillary Clinton’s last line of the night was, “Thank you, goodnight, and may the FORCE be with you!” Link

  148. says

    Bernie Sanders apologized because one of his staffers (or more) accessed the Clinton campaign’s voter data.

    “Yes, I apologize,” he said. “Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, and I hope we can work together on an independent investigation from day one. I want to apologize to my supporters. This is not the type of campaign that we run. And if I find anybody else involved in this, they will also be fired.”

    Clinton accepted the apology and the two seemed ready to move on, (both had agreed to an independent investigation of the data breach).

    Martin O’Malley wasn’t ready to move on. He provided a strange verbal detour, and then the debate got back on track, sort of.

  149. says

    More debate news.

    I don’t think the moderators were very good. They didn’t ask a single question about climate change, and they often tried to reduce complex issues to simple accusations, like “are you responsible for Libya?”

    All of the candidates mentioned Trump in various negative ways. I think they should have referred to his stupid ideas without mentioning his name. Being name-checked on TV is like a hit of oxygen for Trump. He likes it. His supporters will be overjoyed to see that the Democratic candidates for president tried to tear Trump down.

    That said, Bernie Sanders made some good points:

    […] What you have now is a very dangerous moment in American history. […] Our people are fearful. They are anxious on a number of levels. They are anxious about international terrorism. And the possibility of another attack on America. We all understand that.

    But you know what else they’re anxious about? They’re anxious about the fact that they are working incredibly long hours, they’re worried about their kids and they’re seeing the income and wealth going to the top 1 percent. And they’re looking at Washington and saying, ‘the rich are getting much richer, I’m getting poorer, what are you going to do for my kids?’

    And somebody like a Trump comes along and says, ‘I know the answers. The answer is that all of the Mexicans, they’re criminals and rapists, we’ve got to hate the Mexicans. Those are your enemies. We hate all the Muslims because all of the Muslims are terrorists. We’ve got to hate the Muslims.’

    Meanwhile, the rich get richer. So what I say to those people who go to Donald Trump’s rallies, understand, he thinks a low minimum wage in America is a good idea. He thinks low wages are a good idea. I believe we stand together to address the real issues facing this country, not allow them to divide us by race or where we come from. Let’s create an America that works for all of us, not the handful on top.

  150. says

    One journalist’s review of the debate:

    […] The former secretary of state was the only one on stage Saturday night who looked like she could step into the presidency tomorrow. Her knowledge on foreign policy — from ISIS to Syria and beyond — was significantly greater than her rivals, and it showed. (ABC moderator Martha Raddatz was the only one on stage confident enough in her own knowledge of foreign policy to go after Clinton.)

    Clinton also demonstrated her ability to play to local interests — she touted Market Basket, which is based in Tewksbury, Mass., for example. She repeatedly turned the focus away from the differences among the candidates on stage and instead pointed out the differences she and the other Democratic candidates have with controversial Republican front-runner Donald Trump. She showed a sense of humor; asked by ABC moderator David Muir whether “corporate America should love Hillary Clinton. “Everyone should,” she responded to raucous applause in the room. […]

    Washington Post link

  151. says

    I pretty much agree with this analysis of Martin O’Malley’s performance at the debate:

    Martin O’Malley: The former Maryland governor came into the debate with a plan: Lump Sanders and Clinton into a heap as Washington politicians — not to mention old — and distinguish himself as the youthful guy who has never spent a minute in the nation’s capitol. The problem with that plan was two fold: (1) it made him too scripted and (2) it felt super-forced. After Clinton and Sanders had a kumbaya moment over the Democratic National Committee data breach that roiled the race over the last 24 hours, O’Malley condemned the bickering between the two. Um, what?

    O’Malley’s low point, however, came when he mentioned that he came from a different generation than the other two candidates on stage — a not-so-subtle attempt to call Sanders and Clinton old. (Sanders is 74 years old, Clinton is 68; O’Malley is 52.) The crowd got what he was doing — and booed.

    O’Malley’s status in the race — way, way, way behind the top two — makes debates almost too pressure-filled for him. He looked so desperate to make a mark or make a moment on Saturday night that he couldn’t get out of his own way and often came across as unlikable.

  152. says

    The Democratic debate drew about seven million viewers. That’s less than the number of people who watched Republican debates.

    There’s some debate about the DNC’s motives in scheduling the debate for the last Saturday night before christmas.

    Donald Trump’s response to the debate was to call Hillary Clinton “a liar.”

  153. says

    The most recent Republican debate drew 18 million viewers. No comment.

    In other news, a lot of people have noticed that the holiday song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is completely inappropriate. Link

  154. says

    Oh, but Lynna, it’s just a product of it’s tiiiime! Things were diiiifereeeent in the 1940’s! She obviously wants to stay, but can’t just say so, because social expectations!!!elebenty!

    I’m with you (and that article) — when a woman is repeatedly telling a man that she wants to leave, and he continues to badger her into staying, to the point of spiking her drink and saying she’s damaging his pride, it doesn’t matter what the alleged “context” is, it’s creepy af. Additionally, the song was written with the parts described as “wolf” and “mouse”; it’s clear to any objective observer that this song is about a predatory male who is trying to get his prey into bed.

  155. microraptor says

    Forget not hearing it at Macy’s, what we really need is for Barns & Noble to stop using it in their advertisements.

  156. blf says

    Basic Economics 101, How not to do it (for many values of “it”), Venezuela frees Pepsi workers it arrested for not making enough Pepsi:

    Government inspectors had detained staff at plant in Miranda and ordered the site be reactivated, company Empresas Polar and media said

    Employees at a Pepsi-Cola Venezuela plant have been freed after being detained by the government for halting operations, Empresas Polar, the owner of the local Pepsi division, said late on Sunday.

    The company blamed the production pause on a lack of raw materials but the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, has routinely accused Polar, the country’s largest food and beverage producer, of slowing production or hoarding goods to spur product shortages in the Opec nation’s struggling economy.


    Polar said production lines were halted because of delays due to the country’s currency control system that left it unable to import the necessary raw materials.


    Maduro has described the country’s chronic product shortages as the product of an “economic war” led by opposition leaders and private companies.

    His critics say currency controls have left companies unable to obtain imported machine parts and raw materials while price controls have made it unprofitable to produce many basic consumer goods.

    The decaying state-led model created by the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez has also suffered heavily from the collapse in 2014 in the price of oil, which provides nearly all of the country’s export revenue.

    The ruling Socialist party lost control of Congress for the first time in 16 years in a sweeping opposition victory in December that was driven largely by anger over the economic crisis.

  157. blf says

    Teh trum-prat does not seem to be directly involved here, but as soon as he (or the other thugs) learn of it, they’ll want to copy the idea because it is so cruel, nasty, and short-sighted, Charging old people for falling down is an affront to human decency:

    Cuts have forced local councils to save money, but making people pay to be helped off the ground is sinister and cruel

    During my time at Essex county [UK] fire and rescue service, barely a shift went by without receiving a call from an elderly person who had fallen in their home, or from their concerned neighbour or carer.


    I would mobilise a crew and inform the ambulance service, which wouldn’t be far behind. We’re the “fire and rescue” service, you see, and that’s what we do. It was all part of the service, along with rescuing donkeys from swimming pools, righting overturned horse boxes and getting dogs out of lakes. These days the service is so much more than pointing wet stuff at burning stuff.

    So news that Tendring district council in Essex is planning to introduce a “falling fee” for elderly residents struck a blow to all that I knew about decency, humanity and my years in the service.

    […] I contacted a former colleague to ask his opinion. He responded with expletives, with anecdotes of broken hips and shattered wrists and ribs smashed on the sides of bathtubs, and how dealing with them needed the professional care that comes of regular first-aid training and having a paramedic on hand.

    Paul Honeywood, a Conservative councillor for Tendring, defended the measure saying the council needs the £26 annual charge in order to continue offering a “lifting service”. “Having consulted users, we have discovered there is a demand […]”

    Ironically, Mr Honeywood is also an officer with the Citizens Advice Bureau , which offers assistance to people who feel that they are being unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of age […]. If I were an elderly resident of the area, I might feel that being charged £26 for the inconvenience of growing old would count as discrimination, and might complain to Mr Honeywood at both of his offices. Politics, local and national, feel so desperate and deluded as to be beyond satire.

    Mr Honeywood, like all small-minded trum-prat wannabes, isn’t “thinking” big enough. Indeed, he has it completely backwards. There is a much greater “demand” for staying upright, so the council should charge everyone a modest fee for time not spent in bed. The monies raised would be much greater, and even better, you wouldn’t have to bother dispatching those pesky firefighters and paramedics. So then you could do the trum-prat thing you most crave, and fire them (they clearly aren’t necessary).

    That will save monies. To raise even more money, notice that people who are in bed aren’t being charged a fee. So charge them one. Now everyone is paying, either for being upright or else for not being upright, except, of course, those who have special exemptions, such as you and your friends. The local council will be so rich you can then “borrow” millions from it and never have to worry about paying anything back. The police will be too busy collecting the fees, and fines from people not paying the bed- and upright-fees, to investigate the minor matter of missing millions.

    Small-minded dolt.

  158. blf says

    Klown Kar Komments, Bush talks Trump: it’s ‘liberating to run against guy not qualified’ for presidency (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    As the former Florida governor lags in polls, he shrugs off Republican frontrunner’s jabs and maintains Trump can’t ‘insult his way’ into office

    Jeb Bush says it is “a little liberating” to be campaigning against Donald Trump, who is 30 percentage points or more ahead of the former Florida governor in recent opinion polls.

    “Liberating”? You’ve also gone pretty much full-facist you nitwit. I guess it is “liberating” to be able to show how completely fecking delusional you are and still be considers one of the saner tools.

    Bush spoke in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation scheduled for broadcast on Sunday and taped in New Hampshire on the same day he told a town hall audience Trump was a “jerk”.

    The insight comments and civilized discussion of the thugs.

    Given that remark came with a repetition of Bush’s assertion from this week’s Republican debate in Las Vegas that Trump cannot “insult his way to the presidency”, reaction was widespread and amused.

    On Friday, through Twitter, Trump called Bush “dumb as a rock”. […]

    “To a certain extent, it is a little liberating to be able to post up against a guy who is not qualified to be president,” Bush said in the CBS interview […]

    “I’m trying to point out that he’s not a serious candidate. His {debate} answer about the nuclear triad, for example, was mind-blowing{…} I mean, he has no knowledge about this stuff.

    Bush I!I has a point. Here is apparently what teh trum-prat said (at the 3:48am (British time?) entry):

    Q for Trump: What’s your priority among your nuclear triad?

    Trump: We need someone who can be totally trusted. Well, I called Iraq “very strongly. We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear.”

    “The biggest problem we have today is not president Obama with global warming,” he says{… It’s} having some madmen go out and get a nuclear weapon.

    The nuclear triad, as a reminder, is the US Annihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate!’s main means of annihilation, consisting of nuclear-armed aircraft (especially bombers), nuclear-armed submarines, and nuclear-armed land-based ballistic missiles. Except possibly the submarines, most parts of the triad are decades-old (especially the main heavy bomber, the B-52, which is a 1950’s design). The land-based ICBMs are a 1960’s design. The question then is what to do, but unfortunately, the general assumption seems to be the answer is “update” or “replace”, and not, for instance, “eliminate”.

    Except to teh trum-prat, who said the answer is “Iraq”? Huh?

    Returning to the original article:

    “{H}e now has come out saying Putin is a strong man and a great guy, when he’s trying to destabilize our relationship with our allies. He’s not a serious candidate.”

    Trump’s praise of Russian president Vladimir Putin — and Putin’s praise of Trump — have led other candidates to attack the billionaire.


    On Friday, on NBC, Trump was asked what he thought of Putin as someone who “kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries”. Trump said: “At least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

    “Our country does plenty of killing also,” he added.

    Speaking in Iowa on Saturday, Trump said: “If Putin likes me, actually he thinks I’m a good, smart person, which I hope he believes that I am{…} actually he’s right, I am brilliant.”

    Snickers uncontrollably, then gives up and simply laughs and laughs so hahic!rd he getshic! the hichic!-upshic!

    Teh trum-prat is brilliant in the same way a light bulb works — by sucking in darktrons…

    Not. Even. Delusional.

    And, no surprise, badly- or un-informed. I cannot find the article right now, but apparently teh trum-prat recently(?) said claims Russia’s put-put-prat has had journalists imprisoned, censored, or killed are “not proven”.

    Not. Even. Delusional.

    A few amusing comments:

    ● “Does the republican party now have a university where you can be qualified as candidate for president of the USA. Classes of stupidity or racism are optional as they may have a natural gift for them.”

    ● “‘To a certain extent, it is a little liberating to be able to post up against a guy who is not qualified to be president’ […]
     “A slight grammatical error needs correcting here. It should be ‘against guys who are not qualified to be president’.”

    ● “‘it’s liberating to run against guy not qualified’ for presidency’
     “self awareness not really a strong point in the Bush family”

    ● “300,000,000 US citizens{…} and this bunch of morons is the best the country can come up with{…} f@cking [sic] scary scenario.”
    In reply: “‘best’ Republicans the country can come up with. Kinda like a toilet backing up.”

    ● “Jeb you are right about Trump. But you yourself while the Governor of Florida cheated (changing the voter rolls, and during recounting) to make sure a guy not qualified for presidency, your own brother, was elected.”

    ● “Calling Trump a jerk is not an insult.”
    In reply: “It is to all jerks.”

  159. blf says

    How anti-Muslim sentiment plays out in classrooms across the US (my added emboldening):

    Words are the most common weapon of bullies, but in the last month harassment in schools is increasingly manifesting in physical attacks and incidents are taking a psychological toll on some students

    While watching a TV news report on the Paris attacks with her seventh-grade class, Farah Darvesh became acutely aware that she was suddenly the center of her classmates’ attention.

    “When they said Muslim terrorists did it, everyone’s heads turned and all eyes in the room were on me,” says 12-year-old Farah, one of only three Muslims at her middle school in Columbus, Georgia.

    A few weeks later, a classmate asked Farah point blank: “Why did your people kill those people in Paris and San Bernardino?”

    Farah, a highly confident and self-described popular girl among her peers and teachers, had “gotten used to people joking” she was a terrorist. But even so, she said:. “Before the attacks I was mostly treated like everyone else,” she said. “But now I’m having to answer questions about my religion and the actions of people I don’t even know. It’s a lot of pressure. I mean, I’m only 12.”

    She waited for her anger to cool down before retorting to her classmate: “Don’t ask me, ask them. Do I ask you why your people are shooting up schools?”

    “That shut him up,” Farah said. She concedes that she may not have the best answer, but she’s doing her best considering the circumstances. “I’m feeling the same way everybody else is — I’m mad at Isis too. They’re killing innocent Muslims everywhere too. The shooting in San Bernardino happened 9 miles from my cousin’s school. It’s very scary that she was so close to danger. But exactly because I’m a good Muslim, I’m not going to take my anger out on anyone.”

    Well said, Ms Darvesh!

    Muslim American students, many of whom weren’t even born until after September 11, are coming of age in an era of a protracted “war on terror” abroad, and broad surveillance and profiling of their community at home. In the last month since attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have spurred escalating rhetoric from Donald Trump and other politicians, the long-simmering Islamophobia in America has reached a boiling point with a litany of threats, vandalism, and violence against Muslims.

    Versions of this anti-Muslim sentiment have also been playing out in the classroom setting.

    Muhammad Rahman, a 15-year-old at a Chicago high school, says he gets asked “Is that a clock or a bomb?” at least once a day since the international outcry over the arrest of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed. That the uproar was over teachers and police wrongfully assuming Ahmed’s homemade clock to be a bomb […] doesn’t matter to Muhammad’s bullies.

    “Even the nicest people, who you wouldn’t expect to be mean, say stuff,” says Muhammad. “I know my friends aren’t racist of course, but the jokes aren’t funny when they’re disrespectful. […]

    “Every day, they make sure to let me know that I’m different from everyone else.”

    Mr Rahman, in a very good way you are different — you are not a frothing nutter.

    Words are the most common weapon of school bullies, but in the last month, anti-Muslim sentiment in schools is increasingly manifesting in physical attacks, particularly against girls who wear the hijab. On 19 November, three boys allegedly beat up a sixth-grade girl wearing a hijab, calling her “Isis”. A 2014 study by Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) study found 29% of students who wore hijab experienced offensive touching or pulling of their scarves.

    Lana Alshahrour is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed 12-year-old Syrian Muslim at a Chicago middle school. Because she does not wear the hijab and has Caucasian features, when Lana was a new student she was privy to Islamophobic gossip about a classmate who wore the hijab.

    Lana risked her social standing to defend the girl. “Instead of making fun of her, why don’t you get to know her?” she told the bullies. “But that’s what terrorists wear,” they replied. “No, that’s what Muslims wear. It’s just a piece of cloth,” Lana countered.

    Neatly put, Ms Alshahrour, neatly put!


    Fifty-five percent of Muslim students surveyed by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) last year reported that they were bullied at school in some form because of their Islamic faith. That’s twice the national percentage of bullying reported by all students, regardless of their religion. According to the CAIR survey, verbal harassment is the most common, with non-Muslims calling Muslim students terrorists or referencing bombs. But physical assaults also occur.

    These incidents are taking a psychological toll on Muslim youth. “At a crucial time in their identity development, they’re suffering from chronic trauma,” says Dr Halim Naeem, a psychotherapist and president of The Institute of Muslim Mental Health. Dr Naeem says that in the last few months alone, he has seen increased cases of depression, anxiety, image issues, paranoia, and substance abuse among Muslim American youth. […]

    Most kids don’t report any Islamophobic harassment to their teachers. “I don’t think they’d do anything that would make a difference, because they probably wouldn’t take it seriously,” says Farah. Her fear may not be unfounded, as she reports that even some of her teachers recently asked her questions about Islam “in a way that wasn’t just curious.”

    The CAIR survey found that the sentiment that teachers don’t take Islamophobia seriously is shared by a majority of Muslim American students […]

    One in five Muslim students reported being discriminated against by school staff. Recently, a California teacher asked her class “Who thinks Muslims should die?” and called a Muslim student in class a terrorist. The school board disciplined the teacher, but he is still teaching. […]

    Muslim parents are grappling with how to respond appropriately to protect their children while maintaining a sense of normalcy. […]

    Many are sitting down to give them “The Talk,” much like African American parents do with their children, about how to avoid raising suspicion and avoid physical harm or arrest. “I told Farah that it’s not wrong to be Muslim, but it might not be a good idea to vocal about it right now,” says Mrs Darvesh. “It’s sad because I want my kids to be proud of who they are, and that’s what this country is about.”


    On Friday, tensions boiled over in Augusta County, Virginia, when schools were closed after a lesson in Arabic calligraphy elicited an uproar from the community. Students in the world geography class were presented with an Islamic Statement of faith written in Arabic to demonstrate the artistry of the calligraphy, but a community forum that night blasted it as an “indoctrination” of faith.

    Oh for feck’s sake! Most likely the complainers were xians, and xianity in the USAllforjebus is notorious for trying to indoctrinate — they call it “convert” or “being saved” and so on. They’ve even got their sodding slogan plastered all over the currency! Project fecking much?

    [… W]hile Lana ponders the consequences of appearing visibly Muslim through the hijab, she can’t help herself from using her own background for reference when the subjects of Islam, terrorism, and Arab refugees come up in her eighth grade classes. In a recent debate about refugees, her classmates argued that Middle Eastern refugees should not be allowed into the US “because they could be Isis”.

    Lana laughs. “They think if we don’t let anyone in here, then the terrorism stays overseas. But Isis doesn’t need to send fighters to America — they can recruit from the internet. Besides, Isis is not the root of the refugee problem.”

    When someone suggested bombing the entire country of Syria to eliminate all threat of terror, Lana realized that her classmates didn’t see them as individual humans. “They think all Muslims and Arabs are scary. So I shared my family’s story: My uncle was a student in Syria but he is now a refugee living with us in Chicago after he had to escape being captured by Bashar Al Assad’s forces. The root of the problem is Assad, not Isis.”

    There aren’t too many comments at the moment, and a fair number of them seem to be from kooks. There is, however, a good reply to the comment “Kids don’t care about being politically correct, so they do and say what many Americans think”: “many Americans talk and think like kids? […]” Zing!

  160. blf says

    ‘Trump-Putin 2016’ spoof follows Russian’s praise of GOP frontrunner:

    John Kasich campaign releases spoof website and Twitter account

    A day after a poll showed that nearly a third of Republican respondents would support the bombing of a fictional Arabian kingdom, the GOP presidential race took another turn for the surreal on Saturday with the announcement that frontrunner Donald Trump had named Vladimir Putin as his running mate.

    The thug’s Klown Kar Kampaigns are now so surreal they are a twisted clump of peas.

    “In a bold and visionary move characteristic of everything he does,” the announcement began, “today terrific billionaire Donald Trump named Russian president Vladimir Putin as his running mate in the 2016 US presidential campaign.

    “Trump pledged that together with Putin he would ‘Make Tyranny Great Again’.”

    Though written with a version of Trump’s signature bombast — and predicated on genuine quotes from the two men in praise of each other — the announcement was in fact an advertisement paid for by the campaign of John Kasich.


    In the long Republican primary campaign, Trump has overcome his lack of foreign policy experience — like his lack of domestic, elected political experience — with a mixture of bluster, belligerence and controversy.

    In July […] Trump said: “I think I would just get along very well with Vladimir Putin. […]

    He has subsequently advocated leaving Putin to bomb Islamic State militants in Syria [which is not what put-put-prat is doing –blf] and criticised President Obama’s relationship with the Russian leader […]

    Some (serious) reports have suggested that Putin would like to see Trump win the US election. On Thursday in Moscow [put-put-prat said] “He [trum-prat] is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”

    Some of the better comments:

    ● “The two world powers would be run by chummy tyrannical despots. What could go wrong.”

    ● “A dream team! Perhaps we can rename the two countries Trumputania? Or perhaps Trumputinia? […]”
    I suggest Pratprat –blf.

    ● “Putin and Trump — two power-hungry, billionaire sociopaths. […]
     “I don’t doubt Trump’s assertion that he would get along great with the KGB-trained kleptocrat, and I don’t doubt that Trump is jealous of Putin’s power.”

    ● “It’s well known Putin backs the Front National financially. One day we’ll find out how Putin bought Trump’s admiration. […]”
    Actually, I had forgotten this, but the commentator is correct, put-put-prat does financially back the French le prat nazis (FN), whom I am now calling the pratzis –blf.

    ● “Trump is like a dumber version of Putin. Of course they get along.”

    ● “Putin would like an utter tit be US President? Of course, he does!”

    ● “Trump-Putin means certain death for Trump if elected. Pres Trump would soon encounter Polonium in his Whiskey and Putin will get to the Presidency.”
    This refers to the assassination in 2006 of Alexander Litvinenko (a former KGB agent-turned put-put-prat critic) by, very probably, the Russian state, by spiking his drink with highly radioactive Polonium –blf.

  161. blf says

    Here’s the article I could not find (see @174), Trump on Putin’s crackdown on journalists: ‘it’s never been proven’:

    Donald Trump on Sunday defended Russian president Vladimir Putin’s record on press freedom, challenging journalists to provide him with evidence that the Kremlin has ever sponsored efforts to murder reporters. […]

    Trump challenged reporters to name a journalist who had been killed in Russia at the hands of the government. Host George Stephanopoulos cited the 2006 murder of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, which some activists have long linked to the Russian government.

    “If he has killed reporters I think that’s terrible,” Trump replied. [yeah, sure –blf …] “It’s never been proven that he’s killed anybody […]”

    In a retrial in 2014, five men were convicted of Politkovskaya’s murder. But the mastermind of the plot has never been found. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists [(see below) –blf], at least 36 journalists have been murdered since 1993, often in direct retaliation for their work. In only four cases was anyone convicted.

    The Putin administration is routinely accused of harsh crackdowns against political opponents and journalists in the region. Shortly after Putin was inaugurated for a third term in 2012, the federal assembly passed a series of bills restricting freedom of speech, which included greater censorship of online publishing, bolstering criminal defamation laws and curtailing the right to assemble.

    From Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge:

    Amnesty International reported in 2009, that “Human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers who spoke openly about human rights abuses faced threats and intimidation. The police appeared to be reluctant to investigate such threats and a climate of impunity for attacks on civil society activists prevailed.”
    According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Russia is a more dangerous place now than it was during the Cold War. Only Iraq and Algeria outrank it on the list of most life-threatening countries for the press.

    The Human Rights Committee of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is concerned about the contemporary situation in Russia: “at the alarming incidence of threats, violent assaults and murders of journalists and human rights defenders […]”

  162. blf says

    Donald Trump is an erratic phony. Why believe he won’t try a third-party run?:

    The Republican presidential hopeful always promises that he’ll stick with the party —as long as they do what he wants

    Much has been made of Donald Trump’s latest promise not to run as a third party candidate – a specter that has haunted Republican operatives ever since Trump started surging in the polls this summer.

    The curious thing is that anyone believes him this time.

    Trump already made this exact pledge […] to the Republican National Committee this fall. He even signed a piece of paper saying as much to much fanfare and with cameras rolling. […]

    He also said that he wouldn’t rip up the written pledge at a later date.

    It all may sound like a case of protesting too much, but they’re actually important qualifiers for a guy whose platform consists of tearing up trade deals that he doesn’t like.

    Then, of course, after giving his word to America, he […] threatened repeatedly to disregard the substance of the thing he made such a circus over honoring.

    [… W]hen the GOP establishment reacted less than warmly to his[…] suggestion that we ban all Muslims from immigrating to the United States, Trump made noises about taking back his pledge. The chair of New Hampshire’s Republican Party, for instance, dubbed Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the country: “Un-Republican, unconstitutional and un-American.” Such great betrayals from Republican standard-bearers this month had Trump tweeting: “A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent.”

    One doesn’t have to parse the language too finely to read between those lines.

    [… W]hy does anyone think for a moment that Trump would be bound by a toss-away comment in a forgettable debate?

    The first time a gentleman gives his word is supposed to be enough, but apparently the rules are different for Trump — and they always have been.


    It is very tough to run as a third party candidate, election law expert Rick Hasen [said], and it’s even harder for someone in Trump’s position — which is to say, someone who’s already running as a Republican. Just to get ballot access if you’re running as an independent means fighting your way there state-by-state, an expensive and time consuming task.

    And as a candidate who’s already filed as a candidate in the Republican primaries, Trump would face additional legal obstacles. Some state laws [the so-called “sore loser” laws –blf] make it illegal to run either as an independent or as the candidate of another minor party […] having been a candidate for the Republican nomination.

    […] “Sore loser laws do not apply to presidential primaries except in three states,” [said Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News] — Texas, South Dakota and Ohio. “And there’s ways around it in those three states.”

    Specifically, Winger said, Trump could do something like have his son run in the general election as a proxy, instructing supporters to vote for the younger Trump. Such moves would be extremely irregular but not unprecedented. In 1966, for instance, George Wallace was constitutionally prohibited from running for re-election as governor of Alabama and so his wife ran and won. He was seen as the power behind the throne.

    Not that Winger believes it will come to that — but there’s a long tradition of candidates pulling a switcheroo after losing a primary fight and running against their own party.

    Illinois Republican John Anderson decided to run as an independent candidate in the 1980 presidential election after it became clear that Ronald Reagan was going to win the nomination. And in what should be construed as a warning sign for Trump naysayers: he succeeded in getting on the ballot in every single state.

    Not relevant to the point being made here, but Anderson (disclaimer: who I supported) was demonstrably rational.

    [… T]he pledge Trump took to the RNC has no force of law — “It legally means nothing,” Winger noted — and the RNC’s only recourse would be to try to shame Trump publicly. (That hasn’t worked well for critics in the past.)

    Whatever Trump does, Republicans who think this latest assurance will bind Trump to anything are dreaming. If his candidacy has taught us anything, it’s that nothing can tie Trump down — not even Trump himself.

    The mildly deranged penguin notes that no-one has tried peas. They could not only tie teh trum-prat down, but fill his mouth so that he’d STFU.

  163. says

    President Obama made some thoughtful comments about the Republican Party at his year-end press conference on Friday:

    “Keep in mind that, right now, the American Republican Party is the only major party that I can think of in the advanced world that effectively denies climate change. I mean, it’s an outlier. Many of the key signatories to this deal, the architects of this deal come from center-right governments. Even the far-right parties in many of these countries — they may not like immigrants, for example, but they admit, yes, the science tells us we’ve got to do something about climate change.

    “So my sense is, is that this is something that may be an advantage in terms of short-term politics and a Republican primary. It’s not something that is going to be a winner for Republicans long term.”

    Here are few other ways in which the Republican Party is an outlier:

    Tried to sabotage an international nuclear agreement with Iran (in this case, they were joined in their outlier status by some politicians in Israel).

    Against universal health care.

    For unrestricted access to guns for everyone.

    No wonder the rest of the world sees the Republican Party as a dangerous bunch of clowns, as some of blf’s most recent comments demonstrate in detail.

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The mildly deranged penguin notes that no-one has tried peas. They could not only tie teh trum-prat down, but fill his mouth so that he’d STFU.

    Alas, the power of peas probably isn’t that great. Only starch, a weak glue, after all.
    A very fast acting cyanoacrylate resin (super glue) might do the trick. Unless his teeth are a false as the hair. Then MDP, you are only hope.

  165. says

    One more Republican has dropped out of the race, Linsdsey Graham. Graham had a good performance in the undercard, or kiddie table debate, but he has been relegated to the kiddie table for too long. His viewership numbers were too low, and a lot of the Republican base did not like it when Graham criticized Trump.

    […] The Republican lawmaker did his best to position himself as the anti-Trump — two weeks ago, Graham argued, “You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell” — and he even had a confrontation in which Trump gave out Graham’s personal cell-phone number to the public, but his campaign nevertheless struggled for relevance. […]

    John McCain endorsed Graham, but that didn’t help Graham’s poll numbers, which stayed at about .7 to 1% for some time.

  166. says

    Nerd and blf @180, Ha!, laugh-worthy that was. I wonder if the MDP would consider occupying the Trumpster’s mouth for as long as necessary?

    Big Tough Trump actually gets his feelings hurt quite easily, so maybe the MDP should just shadow the man while constantly insulting him.

    Big tough insult politician Donald Trump is outraged that Hillary Clinton dared to criticize him. At Saturday night’s debate, Clinton said that Trump is becoming “ISIS’ best recruiter,” a statement experts on the issue generally agree with. According to Rita Katz of the SITE Intelligence Group, “When [Trump] says, ‘No Muslims should be allowed in America,’ they tell people, ‘We told you America hates Muslims and here is proof.'” But Trump is not taking it. He’s demanding an apology:

    “I will demand an apology from Hillary. She should apologize,” Trump said. “She lies about emails, she lies about Whitewater, she lies about everything. She will be a disaster about everything as president of the United States.”


  167. says

    A man that posted online that he would follow Donald Trump “to the end of the world” was arrested for planning to harm Muslims with explosive devices.

    […] Police evacuated William Celli’s neighborhood when they found a device at his home on Sunday and detonated it, Bay Area TV station KPIX reported. Celli was arrested and booked into county jail on Sunday afternoon, according to the report.

    KPIX reported a tipster told police Thursday that a man was making devices and threatening to harm Muslims. But while law enforcement said Celli’s statements attracted their attention, police wouldn’t elaborate on the threats, according to the report. […]


  168. says

    This is a followup to comment 182. Hillary Clinton is not apologizing to Trump.

    When the WSJ asked Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon if she would say sorry, he said: “Hell no.”

    “Hillary Clinton will not be apologizing to Donald Trump for correctly pointing out how his hateful rhetoric only helps ISIS recruit more terrorists,” Fallon said.


  169. says

    Ted Cruz excels, once again, in our “the company they keep” category.

    […] Religious Right activist Matt Barber announced that he is endorsing Ted Cruz for president, saying that Cruz is being raised up by God “for such a time as this.” […]

    Barber has repeatedly stated that gay marriage is “Satanic” and a cancer and that gay rights activists are fascists, thugs and the “pawns of Satan.” […] He is notorious for having once said that gay male relationships constitute nothing more than “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.'” He has called for the passage of Russian-style anti-gay laws in America and has said that he has been “called by God” to tell gays that AIDS is God’s punishment for their sin and that it is his mission to wipe out the “sexually immoral scourge of same-sex marriage.”

    With these sorts of views, Barber fits right in among Cruz’s other anti-gay endorsers, including the National Organization for Marriage, which exists for the purpose of fighting gay marriage, anti-gay Iowa radio host Steve Deace, who regularly rails against the “rainbow jihad,” and influential Iowa Religious Right activist Bob Vander Plaats, who has warned that gay marriage will lead to “a parent marrying their child.” […]

    I snipped an addition to the long list of anti-gay whackos that support Cruz.

    Cruz named a rabidly anti-gay Republican legislator to lead his campaign in Virginia and another anti-gay activist to serve as co-chair and welcomed the endorsement of a North Carolina pastor who likened gay people to “maggots” and murders and stated that Ebola was God’s judgment on America for accepting homosexuality […]


  170. says

    The Trumpster ranted away in his usual manner on Tony Perkins’ show. Perkins heads the Family Research Council. Trump said, in part:

    […] religious liberty is very important to me, and I see more and more, especially, in particular, Christianity, Christians, their power is being taken away. I just watch it and I get angry at it. You look at what is going on with other religions, you look at, as an example, what’s happening with respect to Muslims and others where perhaps they just band together better or something. […]

    You know, you go from one thing to the next to the point where it’s not politically correct to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to anybody or you go to stores and you don’t ever see the word ‘Christmas’ anymore. You don’t see that term anymore, Tony.

    One of the things I always say, and I say it lightheartedly but I mean it, it’s actually not supposed to be so lighthearted, and I get standing ovations, especially in Iowa and certain places, is we are going to start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again. Because you go into these stores and you don’t see anything having to do with Christmas and it’s disgraceful, frankly, as far as I’m concerned, and that’s the way it should be and I feel strongly about it. […]


  171. blf says

    I wonder if the MDP would consider occupying the Trumpster’s mouth for as long as necessary?

    The mildly deranged penguin points out that she is a penguin. Penguins get the stupid males to do all that sitting-on-a-egg-in-the-middle-of-winter stuff. And she doubts any of the males are dumb enough to try and hatch baby trumplets. Besides, teh trum-prat clearly would not make an edible omelet, though he does look dense enough for use as a volcano plug.

    Alas, the power of peas probably isn’t that great. Only starch, a weak glue, after all.

    No no no, yer thinking of the semi-tame domesticated pea. Small, green, round, tasteless, textureless, and, if throughly dead, claimed to be edible. It is the wild pea, also small, green, round, and thought to be tasteless and textureless (no-one is suicidal enough to try eating one), who go around in pods and terrify the Known Universes, that are the ones who could, the mildly deranged penguin says, tie teh trum-prat up and fill his mouth.

    One problem, of course, is telling the two peas apart. The usual test is known as kick-the-bucket. Place a pea you wish to identify in front of you. If you die shortly thereafter, it was a tame domesticated pea. But if you die before then, it was the wild type. The bucket is so any non-atomized remains can be taken away and incinerated as a precaution.

  172. says

    Misogyny reared its ugly head at the Democratic debate, and now we have an ongoing misogynistic internet storm from rightwing sources obsessed about how much time Hillary Clinton spends in the bathroom.

    […] during Saturday night’s debate […] Martha Raddatz rather unsubtly suggested that Clinton would be emasculating her husband by relegating him to a role that traditionally requires the presidential spouse to “supervise the menus, the flowers, the holiday ornaments, and White House decor.”

    But now conservatives are falling all over themselves to make a big, honking deal out of the fact that Clinton took a longer bathroom break during the debate than her male colleagues did.

    […] Fox News covered Clinton’s speediness in urination as if it was literally the most important part of a debate that actually covered important topics, like foreign policy and health care reform. But their approach was positively mild compared to what other conservative news outlets decided to do with the fact that Clinton was briefly absent from her podium due to a slightly over-long bathroom break. […]

    When it was reported that one of the factors holding her up was that there was already someone in the bathroom, there was a rush by conservative media to accuse Clinton of cattiness, such as this headline at Breitbart, “Hillary Clinton missed debate because she wouldn’t share a bathroom.” […]

    There’s a million likely reasons Clinton can only use an empty bathroom, starting with the fact that Secret Service probably doesn’t want to follow her in there. But she’s a lady, so the right-wing media has to imply that she’s got some irrational lady reasons for her behavior. […]

    The funny thing is that Clinton was actually trying to be quick about it, even though it really is hard for women — with the sitting down and the complicated clothing issues — to get it done faster than men. She had Abedin timing the bathroom breaks for her. It was just that Abedin showed O’Malley’s campaign staffer a small mercy in letting her into the bathroom first that slowed things down. Add to it that Clinton had a longer sprint to the bathroom (and the expectation that she sprints in heels). Truly, she did a pretty bang-up job getting through nature’s call with efficiency. […]


  173. says

    This is a followup to comments 182 and 184:

    […] Rita Katz, executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group, recently explained to NBC News that Middle Eastern radicals “love” Trump “from the sense that he is supporting their rhetoric. They follow everything Donald Trump says. When he says, ‘No Muslims should be allowed in America,’ they tell people, ‘We told you America hates Muslims and here is proof.’”

    Clinton could have worded this better, but her underlying point is sound: Trump is providing rhetorical ammunition to America’s enemies. There’s ample evidence to bolster the argument. […]


  174. says

    Oh, this should be interesting, Megan Kelly is slated to face Trump again as a debate moderator.

    Fox News announced Monday that its moderators from the first Republican presidential debate in August will return to moderate the network’s second debate scheduled for Jan. 28.

    Moderators will include Fox hosts Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly, according to a news release. Kelly, of course, has had several public clashes with Republican presidential Donald Trump following the first debate.

    Trump had said Kelly had blood “coming out of her wherever” after he was unhappy with her questions at the first debate about his history of making sexist comments about women. Trump’s subsequent remarks about Kelly put him in hot water with Fox News’ top executive Roger Ailes, although the two have since made peace. […]


  175. says

    This is a followup to comment 139.

    The editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal published a front-page editorial on Sunday promising to maintain independence and transparency after being purchased by conservative casino mogul Sheldon Adelson in a secretive $140 million sale. […]

    The editors acknowledged that the purchase of Nevada’s highest circulation paper by one of the Republican Party’s largest donors presented an “ethical challenge,” but vowed to disclose and investigate all possible conflicts of interest. […]

    I snipped an example of interference with editorial decisions.

    The editorial board promised in a separate Sunday editorial to devote the same level of scrutiny to the editorial page, which they warned could turn into the Adelson family’s “personal soap box.” They released a list of issues on which the casino mogul could significantly change the newspaper’s focus. […]


  176. says

    Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas is one of those Republicans that believes in tax cuts for the wealthy and cutbacks for everyone else. To that end he cut the Kansas budget for mental health care facilities several times.

    The true cost of those cuts is a failure to care for patients. A secondary effect is to treat employees of health care facilities like slaves. Horrible from all angles.

    Things have gotten so bad that The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services told Kansas that no more federal funds whould be sent to the Osawatomie facility.

    With the patient count so high, many of the hospital’s direct-care staff were pressed into working one, two and sometimes three overtime shifts a week.

    “The place is over census and understaffed,” said Rebecca Proctor, executive director at the Kansas Organization of State Employees, a labor union that represents many state hospital front-line workers. “Conditions there are really, really bad.”

    Angela de Rocha, a spokesperson for Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, confirmed that the Osawatomie hospital’s patient count on July 15 was “an overall high for the past 10 years.”

    Kansas Health Institute Link

    Here’s an excerpt from the legal notice:

    Notice is hereby given that the agreement between the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Osawatomie State Hospital, located at 500 State Hospital Drive in Osawatomie, Kansas, as a provider of hospital services in the Health Insurance for the Aged and Disabled Program (Medicare) is to be terminated at the close of December 21, 2015.

  177. blf says

    Teh trum-prat, who can’t even speak coherently, has been trying to bamboozle an apology out of Ms Clinton for pointing out his blabberings are a textbook-example of a daesh recruiting tool. The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees has now weighed in, not in the teh trum-prat’s favour: UN refugee chief says Trump-style rhetoric helps Islamic State:

    UN High Commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres says rejecting Syrian refugees — especially Muslims — plays into the hands of extremists

    People who reject Syrian refugees are the “best allies” of Islamic State militants and other extremists, the United Nations refugee chief said […].

    More than 4.3 million Syrians have fled a nearly five-year civil war. UN High Commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres told the Security Council they cannot be blamed for the terror they are risking their lives to escape.

    “Those that reject Syrian refugees, and especially if they are Muslim, are the best allies of the propaganda and the recruitment of extremist groups,” Guterres said in a swipe at Trump and some US state governors and European leaders.

    […] Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that Islamic State is using Trump’s rhetoric to enlist fighters to radical jihad. Trump rejected her claim and called her a “liar.”


    “We must not forget that […] refugees are the first victims of such terror, not its source,” Guterres said. “They cannot be blamed for a threat which they’re risking their lives to escape.

    “Yes, of course there is a possibility that terrorists could try to infiltrate refugee movements. But this possibility exists for all communities — and homegrown radicalisation is by far the biggest threat, as all recent incidents have shown,” he said.

    He said a UN survey of 1,200 Syrians who had fled to Europe found that 86% of them had a secondary school education and almost half had gone to university.

    “Syria is experiencing a massive brain drain,” said Guterres […]

    “One can only imagine the disastrous consequences of such an exodus on the future post-conflict reconstruction of Syria.”

    The “brain-drain” angle is, I admit, new to me, albeit in retrospect not surprising.

    There are numerous kooks in the comments. Some of the saner comments:

    ● “Yes, but Ted Cruz’s promises to nuke their homelands and turn them into a sheets of glass have nothing to do with it, right? It’s all on Donald Trump, even though the warmongering neocons like Cruz have been preaching war for long before Trump ever threw his hat in the ring.”

    ● “Senator Bernie Sanders has far more courage and guts than Trump has in his pinky. He is the only one out of all the candidates to bring up the fact that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have literally done nothing to deal with ISIS. […]”

    ● “IS recruits from among a small percentage of Muslims — young, disaffected, alienated. If IS is to be defeated, a wedge must be driven between this group and IS itself. This is an extremely difficult task.
     “Instead, Trump and his ilk are blithely driving a wedge between all Muslims and the West. Of course, this is exactly what IS wants.”
    In reply, 1: “I agree. If we are going to defeat the fanatic Muslims we need the Muslim community to do it. They are willing, but Trump and the Repubs want to make enemies of all of them. How much sense does it make to lay blame on one quarter of the human community for the acts of a few demented criminals?”
    In reply, 2: “That wedge was forged over centuries. Trump is an arse, but ISIS have enough fuel to pull the victim card regardless.”
    (There are also multiple kook replies, which I have omitted –blf)

  178. blf says

    The Grauniad and the International New York Times (formerly IHT) disagree as to the reasons behind a recent minor kerfuffle involving N.Korea. Kim Jong-un recently dispatched a project of his, the all-female pop group Moranbong, to Big China for their first-ever overseas tour. They apparently perform a mixture of “Western” pop classics and anti-American diatribes (mostly, apparently, in mini-skirts (and it has been claimed some of the ladies are former girl-friends of Kim Jong-un)). The later — the anti-American songs — seems to have been the problem. A few hours before the first concert, for an invitation-only audience of Chinese mucky-mucks, the concert was canceled and they suddenly boarded an airplane back to N.Korea (having arriving by train).

    Why? is what N.Korea-watchers are wondering. This is, by N.Korean standards, a major feck-up. The Grauniad, citing confidential but normally reliable sources, says it was due to some of the anti-American lyrics. China is known to be annoyed at N.Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and is working-with the USA and possibly others in a series of multi-party talks to keep a lid on N.Korea’s nuclear weapons. Apparently, the Chinese censors felt some of the anti-American lyrics would disrupt those talks.

    The International New York Times, however, reports a slightly different angle: The day of the canceled concert is also the day Kim Jong-un announced N.Korea had an H-bomb (which no-one believes). China saw this as a “trap” — that concert was invitation-only for the Chinese “leadership”, and so China (quite sensibly) feared attendance at the concert would be construed as an endorsement of N.Korea’s nuclear weapons program and/or its claimed H-bomb.

    I have no idea what the S.Korean or Japanese media are reporting (Big China’s media apparently saying nothing). Please accept my apologies for the lack of links, since most of the above is based my recollections of the dead-tree editions over the past few days.

  179. blf says

    Half of voters would be ’embarrassed’ if Trump became president, poll finds:

    About a quarter of people surveyed said they would be ‘proud’ if Trump became president, and both leading Democrats would beat him in election, poll says

    Half of US voters said they would be “embarrassed” if […] Donald Trump were elected president while just under a quarter said they would be “proud” to have [him as president], according to a Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday.


    The poll also showed a divide in those who say they would be “embarrassed” by a Trump presidency along lines of gender, age and political ideology. Six in 10 female voters said they would be “embarrassed” to [him as] president compared to four in 10 male ones.

    Among 18- to 34-year-old voters, 73% said they would be “embarrassed” by Trump being president compared with 13% who said they would be “proud”.

    Meanwhile, 47% of independents said they would be “embarrassed” by Trump compared with 44% Republicans who said they would be “proud” of him.

    By comparison, 35% of voters said they would be “embarrassed” if Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, were elected president, compared with 33% of voters who said they would be “proud”.

    The poll also found that both leading Democrats would beat Trump in a hypothetical matchup, were a national election to be held today. Clinton would best Trump by seven points. And Vermont senator Bernie Sanders […] would defeat Trump by 13 points.


    “Hillary Clinton tops him. Senator Bernie Sanders hammers him […]. Can a candidate that half the American electorate thinks is an embarrassment win in November?” [noted Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll].

    A few comments:

    ● “Time to put away the canard about Bernie being ‘unelectable’.”

    ● “I am already embarrassed that Trump belongs to my species!”

    ● “I’m embarrassed right now that so many of my countrymen support this guy” (emphasis in the original).

    ● “OK so extrapolating the result of this poll suggests there are about 50–60 million (supposed) adults in the USA who would be proud to be led by a rude, ignorant, bumptious, over-privileged, ill-informed, bigoted, racist, narcissistic, misogynistic loon with a gun in his pocket. […]”

    ● “Trump is a sleazy, bigoted, racist who has insulted women,his own party members and just about everyone else. He loves Putin, the vicious demagogue, and is an embarrassment to the entire country.”
    In reply: “Trump is an embarrassment to his race. The human race.”

    ● “Embarrassed isn’t the word I would have used. Completely terrified would be more appropriate.”

    ● “Mere embarrassment might be the least of Americans’ problems if that crazed, fascist, profoundly stupid, lunatic becomes the President.”

    ● “Trump is America’s Berlusconi, only worse.”

  180. says

    blf @193, I appreciate that roundup of comments that put Trump squarely in the camp of supporting the goals of ISIS with his bluster.

    The Trump-Prat said more stupid stuff. About reporters and journalists, he said, “I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people, it’s true.” His audience cheered wildly. By bringing up the idea of killing them, and then saying he wouldn’t do it, Trump is having it both ways. A front-running candidate for president is discussing killing journalists.

    The Trump-Prat also said that Hillary Clinton got “schlonged” when Barack Obama won over her in the Democratic primary in 2008.

  181. says

    This comment is a bits-and-pieces post, with various subjects presented with no attempt at transitions or coherence. It’s that kind of day for me.

    After Lindsey Graham quit the race for president, ten members of his campaign team moved over to Jeb Bush’s campaign.

    Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan to increase spending to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Women and minority voters are disproportionately affected by the disease.

    […] The Democratic front-runner will propose spending $2 billion a year in an attempt to cure the degenerative brain disease by 2025. […]

    It’s the first time a presidential candidate has made Alzheimer’s a major campaign issue, said Robert Egge, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, whose advocates are leaning on all 2016 campaigns to take up the issue. None of them has offered specific plans. Clinton’s proposal “makes this a national conversation,” he said. […]

    USA Today link

    With 2.2 million contributors, the Bernie Sanders campaign surpassed the record previously held by Obama’s 2008 campaign.

    Here’s some good news detailing a Trump campaign failure:

    […] Mr. Trump’s Iowa director predicted that he would recruit a leader for each of the state’s 1,681 Republican precincts by Thanksgiving. Instead, the first major training session for precinct leaders, heavily promoted in emails and conference calls, drew only about 80 people to West Des Moines last weekend, with about 50 participating online. […]

    NY Times link

  182. blf says

    Follow-up to (part of)@196, Clinton calls Trump’s ‘degrading language’ on 2008 loss an insult to all women:

    Republican presidential frontrunner launches broadside against Democrat, saying she was ‘schlonged’ in her 2008 Democratic primary loss to Obama

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign hit back at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump Tuesday, accusing him of using “degrading language” which inflicted humiliation on all women.

    The response came after Trump used a Yiddish vulgarity to refer to Clinton on Monday, saying she was “schlonged” in her 2008 Democratic primary loss to Barack Obama.

    Schlong is a Yiddish term for penis. [Ah! I admit I was a bit lost as what teh trum-prat was insinuating –blf]

    Trump […] also denigrated Clinton for taking too long to return from a commercial break during Saturday night’s Democratic debate.


    The Clinton campaign [… c]ommunications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote: “We are not responding to Trump but everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should.”

    The campaign event was Trump’s first since […] Clinton claimed that Isis used the Republican frontrunner’s heated rhetoric in recruiting videos. The New York real estate mogul pushed back and claimed she was a liar, alleging that the former secretary of state was “crooked”.

    Trump was slightly more charitable to journalists than he was to the former secretary of state. He proclaimed that while he hated some reporters, “I would never kill them. I would never do that.”

    [This was not] first time that Trump used the phrase “schlonged”. In a 2011 interview with the Washington Post, Trump blamed Paul Ryan […] for the party losing a special election and used the vulgarity. […]

    Is there a Yiddish word / phrase for “head recursively stuffed up yer own arse”? Or for “Not. Even. Delusional.”?

  183. blf says

    Muslims hailed for protecting Christians during terror attack on Kenyan bus:

    Passengers donated headscarves to help prevent non-Muslims being targeted after al-Shabaab militants stormed a packed vehicle

    Muslims helped dress non-Muslim passengers in Islamic garb to prevent extremists from identifying them for slaughter on a bus in northern Kenya, witnesses said.

    Two people died in the attack on Monday in northern Mandera County when gunmen, believed to be part of the Somali islamist group al-Shabaab, shot at a bus and truck headed for Mandera town […]
    Some of the Muslim passengers gave non-Muslims headscarves to try and conceal their identities when the bus stopped [after its windshield was shot out].

    Witnesses said a man entered the bus and ordered everyone to get out and form two separate groups of non-Muslims and Muslims. One person, a non-Muslim, decided to run and was shot in the back and died, Hussein said. He said several non-Muslims managed to survive the attack thanks to the donated scarves.

    I have no idea who the quoted “Hussein” is, this person is not obviously mentioned elsewhere in the article. Hussein may be a misspelling of Governor Hassan Joho, who is quoted as saying “I wish to recognise heroes/heroines who stood firm & rescued their fellow Kenyans from extremists in Mandera City.”

    Some comments:

    ● “Hey Trump, this is what humanity looks like! Open your eyes! Awaken from your fear mongering.”

    ● “The real Muslims doing great and dangerous work”.

    ● “Good on you lot”.

  184. says

    For blf, a few Yiddish words to describe the Trump-Prat:

    Gonif: Someone known to be shady or untrustworthy, a bamboozler or trickster.

    Khnyok: A racist or a bigot.

    Momzer: A conniving or untrustworthy bastard, the kind of guy you have to keep your eyes on.

    Oysshteler: A braggart, egotist, show-off or showboat.

    Prostak: A vulgar, coarse, ignorant person.

    Shtik drek: Literally, a “shit head.”

  185. says

    Donald Trump hates women, and the idea of women using a bathroom even more:

    Standing before a crowd of 7,500, Trump recounted how Clinton was seconds late to the Democratic debate stage on Saturday night following a commercial break. Trump asked the crowd four times where Clinton had gone.

    “I know where she went — it’s disgusting, I don’t want to talk about it,” Trump said, screwing up his face, as the crowd laughed and cheered. “No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”

    Washington Post link

  186. says

    Details from the evangelical-centered campaign of Ted Cruz:

    Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign has started leading weekly prayer calls for supporters, each led by one or two of the many conservative pastors and Religious Right activists who have endorsed the Texas Republican’s presidential bid.

    At bat today was North Carolina-based pastor and anti-gay activist Michael Brown, who, before leading the callers in prayer, said that he believed that if God is behind Cruz’s campaign, He will send a “miracle” to propel the Texas senator to the White House and insisted that Cruz would be a “godly president” who could help believers bring about a “radical change” in America. […]

    “We must have a Gospel-based moral and cultural revolution,” he added. “It can only flow from the church, it can only flow from the people of God, but if the people of God across the country were united with a godly president, we could see radical change come.”


  187. says

    Details from the anti-yoga tributary of the rightwing swamp:

    Extremist right-wing activist Theodore Shoebat dedicated his most recent video to railing against the evils of Hinduism, […]

    After complaining, without a hint of irony, that he regularly gets compared to ISIS for his beliefs, Shoebat proclaimed that he would not hesitate to invade India and force all Hindus to convert to Christianity while also outlawing the practice of yoga in America.

    “You need to Christianize the land,” he stated. “We need to destroy these false religions, end of story. Hinduism is an evil, demonic, anti-Christ religion. It needs to be uprooted from the earth and it has no place in the world.”

    “Yoga? Outlawed,” Shoebat continued. “And anyone who teaches yoga? Punished by the state … I think the U.S. government needs to crack down on this evil, demonic thing called yoga … You’re teaching yoga, have the SWAT team bust open the doors to that place and just arrest everybody.”


  188. says

    Ted Cruz’s religious buddies are planning to meet a few days after Christmas:

    […] “at a remote ranch in central Texas, where Cruz, his wife and several key financial backers will visit with some of the country’s most prominent evangelical leaders for private conversations and a public rally.”

    The ranch is owned by Farris Wilks, who with his brother made billions in the fracking business and has since become a major funder of far-right, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-church-state separation organizations. […] Farris Wilks is also a pastor who portrays gays as child predators and mocks environmentalism. […]


  189. blf says

    Teh Mighty Moose Marauders are moaning, A charm offensive: conservative Canada irked by the magnetism of Trudeau:

    Justin Trudeau’s charisma and popularity on social media has drawn unprecedented global interest in Canadian politics but at home, the traditionalists are unamused
    Like [JFK], Trudeau is an exemplar of public magnetism, his wit sharp, his teeth gleaming. (He even went to McGill, the Harvard of Canada). His international reception has been duly effusive — particularly on social media, where photographs of the self-professed fitness enthusiast posing shirtless aroused an unprecedented global interest in Canadian politics. At home, meanwhile, the traditionalists are unamused.

    Conservative voters are irritated, indignant — quite fed up, a month into his tenancy, with all that energy and charisma. [… I]t grates on them to just to look at [Trudeau].

    […] The humorlessness of the anti-Trudeau contingent reached an embarrassing zenith in the matter of selfies. “Call him Prime Minister Selfie,” the Sun declared after Trudeau’s first week in office; he’d quickly earned a reputation for obliging the requests of enthusiastic passersby and onlookers as indiscriminately as other politicians shake hands. You wouldn’t believe how often this point is belabored — nor how vigorously. You’d think Trudeau was the one taking the selfies, rather than simply posing for them. [Emphasis in original –blf]

    “While Trudeau was posing for selfies in Paris,” the National Post scoffed, “the dollar was falling, the stock market plunging.” As though standing still for three seconds as someone snaps a picture on an iPhone is tantamount to desertion of duty.

    Stephen Harper, Canada’s former prime minister, was a vacuous, anodyne nothing, as magnetic on the public stage as the podium he spoke from. His occasional efforts to ingratiate himself to younger voters — or rather the efforts of his staff to make their boss seem plausibly nonrobotic — ranged from dismal to pathetic, such as a kitty-petting photoshoot so unconvincing that you fear for the safety of the cat.

    And a few comments:

    ● “Well, so far he is doing what he promised to do. He hasn’t lied to us, he isn’t trying to dismantle the country for the benefit of himself, his friends or his party donors. So he can look like Brad Pitt or he can look like a Cess Pit and he can be Prince Charming or he can be Stephen Harper’s long lost boring cousin, it really doesn’t matter — the fact is, so far we have a demonstration of honesty, integrity and fairness and the country is so much better for it.”

    ● “Oh for heavens sake. The man is 43 years old, still in love with his wife, and genuinely enthusiastic about his job. And for that he is slammed? Find something else to whine about.”
    In reply: “[… W]e heard similar whines down here with the elections of JFK, Clinton and Obama.”

    ● “Repellent to some, I appreciate that he is reversing the odious paranoia and secrecy of the Harper administration. The eye candy is just a bonus.”

    (There are many, many, more comments…)

  190. blf says

    Follow-up to @201, Ok, so we have teh gonif khnyok momzer oysshteler prostak shtik drek pratzi. Are we missing any letters of the alphabet there? </snark>

  191. blf says

    After yet another shooting (albeit no-one died), yet another blithering eejit self-imagined “hero” wanting extrajudicial executions, Wisconsin state lawmaker says armed citizens can defend against ‘scumbags’:

    Bob Gannon suggested after weekend mall shooting that concealed carry gun permit holders with ‘careful aim’ can take down potential gunmen

    After a shooting last Saturday at a Wisconsin mall, a state representative has said citizens holding concealed carry gun permits could “clean our society of these scumbags” by taking “careful aim”.

    “Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law-abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scumbags,” Republican state representative Bob Gannon wrote in a Monday press release.

    A small kudo for possibly realizing having panicked people blazing at each other is not a good idea. However, murdering people, either in the state’s own torture chamber or outside the rule of law is neither a solution nor an improvement.

    Gannon’s office published the statement in response to a shooting that occurred over the weekend at East Town Mall when two groups of male teenagers started arguing. One of the teenagers shot a gun during the dispute, but no one was killed.

    Gannon, who has a concealed carry permit, said he has never been to the mall because he will not shop anywhere that bans guns.

    Ok, so we know how to avoid this nitwit.

    “Criminals no longer have any fear of our courts or our prisons, so it’s time that the citizens of this fine state stand up and fight back,” Gannon said. “A gang banger in the mall with a gun is going to think twice if there could be a law-abiding CCW holder standing behind them fully prepared to shoot center mass, as this is how you’re trained to eliminate the threat these creeps pose to you, your family, and all law-abiding citizens unwillingly dragged into their public crime spree.”

    All that’s missing is the “sieg heil!”

    When asked whether his comments went too far, Gannon told reporters that he was not calling for vigilantism, but “self-defense”.

    His Democratic colleagues quickly struck down his remarks. “Representative Gannon is living in a James Bond dream world,” said state representative Chris Taylor. […]

  192. says

    Arizona has put a woman who is a walking loony bin of conspiracy theories and anti-science dogma in charge of the Arizona Senate committee that handles education legislation. This “professional fruitcake” (the Phoenix New Times description) believes the earth is 6,000 years old, that chemtrails are poisoning us, and that Agenda 21 will turn U.S. sovereignty over to the United Nations.

    Way to go, Arizona.

    Senate President Andy Biggs on Monday named Allen to lead a committee that acts as a gatekeeper for education-related legislation, such as Common Core and spending. Allen succeeds Sen. Kelli Ward, who resigned last week to run full-time in next year’s GOP primary against Sen. John. McCain.

    “She understands what Arizona students and parents need in our education system,” Biggs said in a prepared statement. “She is a very experienced legislator and I know she will do a wonderful job.”

    12 News Arizona link.

    Here are a few lowlights from Ms. Allen’s career in the Arizona Senate:

    […] Allen has pushed for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, backed state funding of a militia run by the neo-Nazi J.T. Ready to guard the Arizona-Mexico border, opposed Medicaid expansion, suggested only half-jokingly that mandatory church attendance be imposed, encouraged an anti-semitic Holocaust denier to testify before the state senate, rejected mandating reduced carbon emissions and denied that humans are causing climate change. In 2011, she supported eliminating health-care coverage of 280,000 Arizonans, saying that people should do more to take care of their health and thus avoid having to see a doctor. “This isn’t the only time in our history when people had to choose between food and medicine,” Allen said. […]


    Allen seems to have Tea Party backing and mormon backing. She is a mormon, like her predecessor, Jeff Flake. She is a resident of the mormon-dominated community, Snowflake.

    The guy who put Sylvia Allen in charge of education legislation, Andy Biggs, is also a mormon.

    Moments of Mormon Madness alongside Tea Party and Republican political madness. Pity the school children in Arizona.

  193. says

    Faux News let Donald Trump off the hook for his vulgar comments about Hilary Clinton. (See comments 196, 198 and 202.) How did they let him off the hook? They simply didn’t ask any questions about the misogynistic stuff during an interview that covered just about everything else.

    Faux News is also not playing the misogynistic soundbites in heavy rotation. Your crazy uncle who only watches Fox News will never know it happened.

    Other media outlets covered the vulgarity and the misogyny, but not Fox News. There’s a summary of all the coverage, and the lack of coverage by Faux News, here: Media Matters link

  194. says

    This is a followup to comment 192.

    The mental health care situation in Kansas is worse than was first reported when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut off funds to a facility in Osawatomie, Kansas.

    That mental health hospital was also the site where a worker was raped. Safety and oversight measures had been ignored.

    Two patients saved the worker from further harm. The patients came to the rescue before any security or other staff showed up.

    […] Originally set for 501 employees, more than 40% of the staff positions within the facility lay dormant as recently as May, leaving employees overworked, tired, and sometimes unprepared.


    How does your decision to cut mental health care funding look now, Governor Brownback?

  195. says

    This is a followup to comment 210.

    There’s one more mormon connection to Arizona Senator Sylvia Allen: the neo-Nazi militia leader, J.T. Ready, the man that Allen proposed the state pay to guard the border … that guy is also a mormon, or was.

    […] Ready was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in 2003 and ordained as an elder by politician Russell Pearce. In December 2010, a fellow church member described him as “no longer active” and Ready described himself as a “recovering Mormon” […]

    Ready did form a militia group that took it upon itself to guard the border. He also joined and then left the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. In 2012 Ready shot his girlfriend, her daughter and granddaughter, the daughter’s fiancé and himself. And so ended Sylvia Allen’s attempts to put him in charge of state-paid border-guarding duties.

  196. says

    Donald Trump is still trying to pretend that he didn’t make a misogynistic remark about Hillary Clinton:

    When I said that Hillary Clinton got schlonged by Obama, it meant got beaten badly. The media knows this. Often used word in politics!

    Nope. Wrong again Trump-Prat.

    […] a Nexis search of the word “schlonged,” from 1990 through December 20, 2015, turns up a number of instances of the use of the word. Five, to be exact.

    There was a 2007 episode of The Man Show where, during a segment on pornography, there was a deep discussion about “spunk,” “neanderthal women pleasuring the wooly mammoth,” “delightful vaginas of yesteryear,” along with their “donkey-schlonged male counterparts” (which are apparently “angry, purple and veiny”).

    There was a 2010 review of an undoubtedly charming cable TV show called Hung, that followed the adventures of a “formidably schlonged sports coach.”

    Then there was a 2011 episode of NPR’s now-defunct Talk of the Nation, where host Neal Conan, speaking on the death of Geraldine Ferraro, noted that she was the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, but “that ticket went on to get schlonged at the polls.”

    In a 2014 article about the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, his role in Boogie Nights, where he played a “gauche gay boom operator with a crush on long-schlonged superstar, Dirk Diggler” was cited.

    And finally, there’s a 2014 gossip column talking about a participant in a British reality TV show who was described as “pint-sized and long-schlonged.”

    So there you have it. It’s just an often used, common political expression … assuming you’re discussing the size of a candidate’s penis or a woman losing an election to a man.


    The media knows you are wrong, Trumpster. I guess that’s why you hate them.

  197. blf says

    US stops British Muslim family from boarding flight to visit Disneyland:

    […] Family of 11 had been granted authorisation to fly online in advance

    A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport amid concerns of an American overreaction to the perceived terrorist threat.

    US Department of Homeland Security officials provided no explanation for why the country refused to allow the family of 11 to board the plane even though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned 15 December flight.

    [… A] growing number of British Muslims are being barred from the US without being told the reason for their exclusion.


    Mohammad Tariq Mahmood was one of the family members turned away from the flight. He was travelling with his brother and nine of their children. Mahmood told the Guardian that no officials had told them why their entry was barred […]

    He said the children had been counting down the days to the trip for months, and were devastated not to be able to visit their cousins as planned.

    He said that the airline told them that they would not be refunded the $13,340 cost of their flights. They were also forced to return everything they bought at the airport’s duty-free shops before being escorted from the airport.

    Apparently the reason their money was confiscated (by the airline!) is “Norwegian Air’s small print states that if you are refused entry it has no liability — and without any information from Homeland Security, the family cannot query whether this clause is invoked on fair or unfair grounds.”

    The original article goes on to describe “being ‘trumped’ — that widespread condemnation of Donald Trump’s call for no Muslim to be allowed into America contrast[ing] with what is going on in practice”.

  198. says

    Further response from Hillary Clinton regarding Trump’s comments that her bathroom breaks are “disgusting” and that she was “schlonged” by Barack Obama:

    “I think he has to answer for what he says, and I assume that others will make the larger point about his language,” Clinton said. “It’s not the first time he’s demonstrated a penchant for sexism.”

    Clinton’s comments were made in an interview with the Des Moines Register.

    There’s a good video of the interview at the link, along with more text.

    “I really deplore the tone of his campaign, the inflammatory rhetoric that he is using to divide people, and his going after groups of people with hateful, incendiary rhetoric,” […]“Nothing really surprises me anymore. I don’t know that he has any boundaries at all. His bigotry, his bluster, his bullying have become his campaign. And he has to keep sort of upping the stakes and going even further.”

  199. says

    blf @215, I hope that story of a Muslim family being “trumped” gets really wide coverage. Donald Trump makes small children cry, for no discernible reason.

    In other news, the newly elected governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, just stripped about 140,000 citizens of their right to vote. We’ve discussed, and rightly excoriated, Matt Bevin before. He’s a self-righteous blowhard of far rightwing politics.

    […] Republican Gov. Matt Bevin reversed a move by his Democratic predecessor that had restored the voting rights of about 140,000 former felons.

    Those impacted, who are overwhelmingly African American and lower income, had already completed their felony sentences but remained permanently disenfranchised. […]

    Bevin’s move Tuesday night goes against promises he made during the campaign to keep the restoration of voting rights in place. He even told reporters in November that he would stand up to his own party on the issue and convince them it was the right thing to do. Now, thanks to his order, tens of thousands of Kentuckians will not only lose the opportunity to regain their voting rights, they will also be permanently unable to serve on a jury, run for office, or obtain a vocational license. […]


    Making the justice system in Kentucky even more unjust, thanks Governor Bevin.

  200. says

    This is a followup to comments 139, 141 and 191.

    Mike Hengel, the Las Vega Review-Journal’s top editor is stepping down. Hegel told his staff that the buyout of the newspaper by rightwing billionaire Sheldon Adelson “had the makings of an adversarial relationship.”

    A few more comments from the respected editor:

    “I think it would have been a long shot to think that I would have been able to continue on for very long in this role. That’s just my opinion. I don’t want to speculate. I just don’t think that it would have been something that I would have been comfortable with,” Hengel reportedly explained.

    And, according to a tweet from one of the reporters present, the outgoing editor opined that his resignation “probably comes as a relief to the new owners, and it is in my best interest and those of my family.”


    I think Adelson only believes in freedom of his press outlets to express his opinions.

  201. says

    Clinton added that she thought Donald Trump would “deny and try to ignore the consequences of his comments.” A followup to blf’s comment 215.

  202. says

    Oh, FFS. More anti-LGBT legislation disguised as “religious freedom”:

    […] The latest such bill was pre-filed last week in New Mexico. Despite the fact its sponsors have called it a “religious liberty” bill, the legislation blatantly carves out exemptions so that LGBT people — and only LGBT people — can be legally discriminated against.

    […] the bill begins by expanding the state’s already-broad definition of the legal term “person” to include “a limited liability company,” “any legal or commercial entity,” or any “business trust, estate, trust.” This ensures that all businesses of all sizes are recognized by the bill’s exemptions.

    The bill then adds a definition for “free exercise of religion”: “an act or a refusal to act that is substantially motivated by religious belief.” Thus, if a wedding vendor refuses to serve a same-sex couple, it wouldn’t matter if that action would constitute a violation of the state’s nondiscrimination law. Such discrimination would simply be a religious act and thus entitled to the bill’s protections. […]

    Think Progress link

  203. says

    Bobby Jindal is a lame duck Republican governor, but he not letting his lame duck status keep him from screwing a few more poor people before he leaves office.

    Less than three weeks before he leaves office, outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is refusing his replacement’s request to spare 31,000 of Louisiana’s poorest from a needless hardship.

    Jindal moved in October to reinstate a 20-hour-per-week work requirement for the small subset of food stamps recipients in the state who have no dependants and are able-bodied enough to work. Governors are encouraged to waive those supplemental work rules when their states’ job markets are too weak, and Louisiana qualified for a waiver throughout 2016.

    Governor-elect John Bel Edwards (D) plans to reverse Jindal’s decision when he takes office next month. But in the meantime, many people will lose their benefits at the turn of the calendar.

    The rules in question are supplemental to the core work rules that all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries face regardless of circumstance, such as the requirement to accept a job if they can find one. Jindal is one of a growing number of state leaders who imposed the additional rules even though federal economists say job markets are too weak to sustain them.

    Jindal’s move doesn’t save the state money and doesn’t create jobs for SNAP recipients who want them […]

    Think Progress link.

    Happy holidays from Bobby Jindal, screw you.

  204. says

    Ted Cruz is one of many Republicans who have questioned global warming, coming very close to calling global warming a hoax. Cruz thinks the Obama administration (and Dems in general) use climate change as an excuse to “[…] propose jacking up the cost of millions of Americans’ day to day living. Jacking up your car bill, jacking up your electric bill, jacking up the cost of people who are struggling.”

    Now Cruz has come out with a new policy statement, if he is elected president he plans to withdraw from Paris agreement. Cruz is a walking disaster.

  205. says

    Rand Paul is pissed off about the plans Fox Business has for the next Republican debate, which will be held in January.

    “I won’t participate in any kind of second-tier debate,” the Kentucky senator said on Kilmeade and Friends. “We’ve got a first-tier campaign. I’ve got 800 precinct chairman in Iowa. I’ve got a 100 people on the ground working for me. I’ve raised 25 million dollars. I’m not gonna let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign. […]


    Fight! Would love to see Rand Paul storm a stage on which he has no podium, a stage he has been kicked off of thanks to his low poll numbers. The whole Republican idea of choosing main stage debaters based on poll numbers always was a bit whacky — let’s see the blowback in action.

  206. blf says

    In @217, Lynna said: “I hope that story of a Muslim family being ‘trumped’ [see @215] gets really wide coverage. Donald Trump makes small children cry, for no discernible reason.”

    This might be starting to happen. In today’s dead-tree edition of the International New York Times (ex-IHT), there was a short article on the incident. Its source was acknowledged to be The Grauniad, and it omitted some of the most powerful statements (like the children being “devastated” or the family’s payment being confiscated), but it did seem to be accurate, albeit abridged.

    (Apologies for the lack of a link — since no(?) new information was given I haven’t bothered looking…)

  207. says

    More stupid battles in the never-ending war on christmas:

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday ordered that a nativity scene showing the nation’s founding fathers kneeling over a manger that held the Bill of Rights instead of baby Jesus be removed from the state Capitol, a local Fox affiliate reported.

    The exhibit, which went up on Dec. 18, had permission to be in the Capitol through the holiday, according to KTBC. Sponsors of the exhibit included the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Democratic state Rep. Donna Howard.

    But Abbott said in a letter to Texas’ Preservation Board that the agency had “no obligation to approve displays that purposefully mock the sincere religious beliefs of others.”

    The governor added that the exhibit “does not educate” and instead “promotes ignorance and falsehood as it suggests that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson worshipped the Bill of Rights in the place of Jesus,” according to KTBC.

    Earlier this month, Abbott had urged one Texas city to keep up a nativity scene outside of its city hall. Fearing a legal battle, the City of Orange removed its nativity scene after an atheist group requested a “happy holidays” sign be hung next to it.

    Touchy, prickly, so easy to set off. Christians like Abbott are little fury bombs waiting to go off.

  208. says

    This is a followup to comments 139, 141, 191, and 218.

    In an exclusive report from writers at Think Progress, we see that Sheldon Adelson has already damaged the journalistic integrity of Nevada’s largest newspaper.

    Adelson bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal, blathered on about how he would not interfere with reporting, (or rather, he had someone else do the blathering for him), and then proceeded to interfere. Addison is a far rightwing billionaire doofus, and he is downgrading freedom of the press in Nevada by throwing big bucks around, and by threatening retribution if things don’t go his way.

    […] If you are a subscriber to the Review-Journal, you would have read a grand total of 79 words on Wednesday about Hengel’s departure. According to the story, which did not have a byline, the decision was “mutual” and “he did not believe he was forced out.”

    That wasn’t, however, the original story that was written by a Review-Journal reporter and approved by its editors. The actual story of Hengel’s departure was killed by the paper’s management team who now answers to Adelson, according to a source in the Review-Journal newsroom who spoke to ThinkProgress on the condition of anonymity, fearing retribution from the new ownership.

    […] the unpublished story revealed that Hengel was “offered” a buyout — but only after a public confrontation with Jason Taylor, the newspaper’s publisher, in a December 11 staff meeting.

    At that meeting, Hengel confronted Taylor about why he personally removed quotes in the middle of the night from a different story about sale of the newspaper. The quotes Taylor cut were from Hengel himself, raising concerns about the new ownership, whose identity was being kept secret. […]

    Taylor made it clear that, in his capacity representing the paper’s management, he would continue to personally review any stories about the sale of the paper to Adelson.

    “He didn’t make any secret about him treating stories about the Review-Journal differently than other stories. […]” the source, who attended the meeting, said. […]

    Hengel told the L.A. Times that “he first learned of his acceptance of the buyout” when someone read him an editorial by the Adelson family published Tuesday night that mentioned he had agreed to leave.

    Ha! That makes me laugh, but it is black comedy. The guy didn’t know he had accepted a buyout until he read it in an Adelson family post. Skullduggery.

    That article claimed the buyout offer was made by the “prior owners,” which was not true, […]

    I snipped details of other skullduggery that amounted to manipulation of the news in a way that favored Adelson, and in a way that unfairly attacked a judge Adelson didn’t like. And there’s plagiarism. A swamp of ugly proportions, all paid for by Adelson.

    Adelson is one of the biggest Republican donors in the United States, spending over $100 million to influence the 2012 election. He is being heavily courted by the current field of Republican candidates.

    So without an editor — or full control over editorial content — how does the staff of the Review-Journal forge ahead?

    According to our source, it won’t be easy. “There so many questions about everything that it’s hard to know what to believe. It’s hard to know who is telling the truth, if anyone.”

  209. says

    This is a followup to comment 217.

    Not only did newly elected Governor Matt Bevin strip voting rights from 140,000 Kentucky citizens, he also lowered the minimum wage in the state. Then he bowed to Kim Davis and changed the marriage licenses so she wouldn’t have to sign them, a kick in the face to same-sex couples.

    Bevin reversed former Gov. Beshear’s move to raise the state’s minimum wage for government workers and contractors to $10.10 an hour, bringing it back down to $7.25 an hour. About 800 state workers who have already gotten raises will be able to keep them, but new hires will now have to start at the lower pay rate. In the order, Bevin hinted that he would prefer the state have no minimum wage at all: “Wage rates ideally would be established by the demands of the labor market instead of being set by the government,” he said.


    Bevin also used his new executive power to grant the wish of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to remove all clerk names from marriage licenses to accommodate religious objections to same-sex marriage. Though all gay and straight couples retain the right to marry, thanks to the Supreme Court, LGBT rights groups in the state lament the governor’s move. “It’s a clear signal to Kim Davis and her camp that if you object to doing portions of your job — even if you’re an elected official — the executive branch will give you an out,” said Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign.

    Others claim the governor is overstepping his legal bounds and inviting lawsuits by making unilaterally changes to the state marriage license form. […]

    Bevin is a far rightwing Republican.

  210. says

    Two Faux News hosts teamed up to make a connection between secular humanists “sucking the joy out of Christmas,” and “the rise of Islam.” I think this makes Pharyngulites responsible for ISIS.

    […] “She said that they’re just sucking the joy out of Christmas,” Starnes explained. “That’s exactly what they’re doing.”

    “Just sucking the joy out of Christmas,” Varney repeated with a theatrically heavy heart, at which point the conversation turned very serious.

    “And look at what’s filling the void,” Starnes replied. “You’ve got the rise of Islam across Western Europe right now — I think we need to start paying really close attention because here in this country, we are right on the cusp of that purge, getting rid of Christianity from the public marketplace. And what’s going to fill the void? It will be secular humanism.”


  211. blf says

    Convicted of rape based on a dream, man relishes freedom after 28 years:

    In 1987, a woman accused Clarence Moses-El of a brutal assault yet a judge’s recent ruling to release him on bond is the latest twist in an embittered campaign questioning the tactics of the Denver police and district attorney’s office

    On a summer night in 1987, a Denver woman was out drinking with three men, and after saying goodnight and returning home, was severely beaten and raped in her apartment. Her facial bones were broken and she lost sight in one eye.

    The victim first told police it was too dark to identify her attacker, then said it was one of the three men. A day and a half later, she said it came to her in a dream that the assailant was her neighbor, Clarence Moses-El.

    Oh for feck’s sake. Based on a dream? That’s even stooopider than “eyewitness” testimony, which is notoriously inaccurate. But it gets worse…

    Based on that, Moses-El, who said he was innocent, was convicted of rape and assault. But last week, a Denver judge overturned the convictions and on Tuesday afternoon, after serving 28 years of his 48-year prison sentence, Moses-El was released on bond.


    The ruling on Monday by Denver district judge Kandace Gerdes unlocked a case that the Denver district attorney would rather have kept closed. Ever since the cuffs were slapped on Moses-El in 1987, an embittered campaign against the Denver police and later the district attorney’s office has been waged on his behalf, one that often accused the justice system of evidence tampering, media manipulation, and blatant ignorance of the facts.

    A rape kit of DNA evidence was collected at the time, but never tested. A blood sample from the scene was, though, and it did not match Moses-El’s, according to his attorney.

    “The victim came to court and identified him in court based on what had come to her in her dream,” Eric Klein, one of Moses-El’s attorneys, said on Tuesday. “There was no other evidence against him, no other witnessing.”

    The district attorney’s office is standing by the case against Moses-El. “Those who now argue that he was convicted solely on a dream are either unaware of the complete facts or disregard them,” Mitch Morrissey, who has been district attorney since 2004, said in a statement last week. “She testified during the trial and was cross-examined at length. The jury believed her testimony that she was attacked and raped by Clarence Moses-El.”

    For feck’s sake, that is a prime example of why lawyers simply cannot be trusted: No concern for plausibly, no concern for verifiable evidence, words trump all, and sputters with rage. Will this imbecile be censored or debarred? Past experience says No!, he’ll probably be elected to a position involved in making “laws” though he seems to have no concept of justice. I totally distrust lawyers, and here you have a prime example of why — an eejit, still practicing “law”, who puts “dreams” ahead of testable evidence, who has no obvious compassion, and who is deeply embedded in his position instead of being rotated out. The legal “profession” often seems to be complete crock and here is an example why.

    […] In the mid-90s, [Moses-El] began working with Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project, a national organization that works to clear the falsely accused, and a court order was issued to test the rape kit.

    After the order, the untested rape kit remained in a police storage locker for four more weeks. Then, despite being labeled “Do Not Destroy”, the evidence was thrown in the trash.

    The USAlwaysgulity “legal” “profession” at it’s finest — eliminate evidence when it is no longer possible to suppress it. (Kudos to Mr Scheck for being allowed to get that far.)

    A new glimmer of hope arrived in 2013 when Moses-El received a letter from LC Jackson, one of the three men who was drinking with the rape victim that night in 1987. “Let’s start by bringing what was done in the dark into the light,” the letter read. […]

    Jackson, who was in prison for raping a mother and daughter in 1992 less than two miles from the 1987 crime, later confessed that he was the one who beat the victim, and that they had had sex that night, but claimed that it was consensual.

    Despite the confession, the district attorney’s office declined to retry the case.

    In his statement last week, Morrissey said that investigators for the DA had found Jackson’s confession “implausible”, and that he had recanted his confession in 2015, saying that he had made it up because he didn’t believe he could be charged and wanted to help Moses-El. Klein […] contested that the confession had been recanted.


    “Just trying to tell people the story, it requires so much time. Everything that could go wrong during every decade of it did go wrong,” [Susan Greene, editor of The Colorado Independent] said. “Mitch Morrissey has done everything in his power to defend his office, and try to cover up the fact that they and the Denver Police made not just one egregious mistake, but about twenty.”

    “She has an interesting way of reporting the facts,” said Lynn Kimbrough, communications director for the DA, declining to comment on Greene’s accusations.

    Typical USAlwaysguilty lawyer: The press cannot be correct because our interpretation must be correct, seig heil!

    There is a retrial provisionally scheduled for May 2016, enough time for the local legal begals to concoct new “evidence”.

    Dreams… FFS. Not-matching blood samples… FFS. Destroyed rape kits… FFS. An estimated twenty mistakes?! FFS!

  212. says

    blf @229, destroying the rape kit, that’s a huge travesty on top of a whole pile of other injustices. One has to wonder if a white man would have been convicted based on a dream.

    In other news, Jeb Bush said some more stupid stuff about the Confederate flag.

    “The problem with the Confederate flag isn’t the Confederacy, the problem with the Confederate flag is what it began to represent later,” Bush said while on a campaign stop. “And that’s what we have to avoid to heal those wounds.”

    “I moved all of the flags off the state premises, into the Florida museum, where they would be honored, because it was part of our heritage, but it would not be a visible sign of what Florida is about,” he said, adding that he avoided a big “political fight” because he did so “unilaterally.” […]

  213. blf says

    Someone being reasonable, xians can’t stand that, Chicago professor suspended over Islam comments has no plans to resign:

    Despite Christian college’s suggestion that Larycia Hawkins requested terms of separation, the tenured professor said she has never brought up resigning

    A tenured professor at a Christian college in suburban Chicago who was suspended for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God has said she has no plans to resign.

    Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton college, said she wouldn’t accept an offer by officials to teach again, which was contingent on her agreeing to revoke her tenure for at least two years.

    The 43-year-old professor, who has been with the evangelical college for nine years, announced earlier this month that she would wear a hijab as a demonstration of “human solidarity” with Muslims, in the wake of the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, which authorities said was inspired by Islamist terrorists.

    Hawkins said the decision was made as part of her Christian advent worship and has prompted “pushback almost exclusively from other Christians”.


    As a result of her comments, the college placed Hawkins on administrative leave. […]

    Despite Wheaton’s suggestion on Tuesday that Hawkins requested terms of separation, the professor said she has never brought up resigning from the college.

    “I have tenure,” Hawkins told the Guardian. “So I am insistent that my tenure should not be revoked,” adding: “That’s a non-option as far as I’m concerned, because{…} I’ve committed no offense. It’s inexplicable to me why that’d be the best possible scenario.”


    The decision to place Hawkins on administrative leave prompted an intense backlash on social media from students, who called on Wheaton to reinstate the professor […]


    Hawkins is preparing to return to her hometown in Oklahoma for the holidays. She said she plans to wear the hijab indefinitely, as she’s “committed to my message of solidarity”.

    “The thing that prompted me to show solidarity is really the living out {of} these principles that I teach for my students,” she said.

    In the coming days, Hawkins said she’d like the dialogue to shift away from her situation with Wheaton, and toward the ongoing rhetoric in the US about Islam.

    Not mentioned in the article, but obvious from the pictures, is Professor Hawkins has black skin. I presume that is an (unstated) additional reason for the jackbooted brownshirts attacking.

  214. blf says

    I read Senator Sander’s opinion piece in today’s dead-tree edition of The International New York Times (formerly the IHT). Here is The Grauniad’s report, Bernie Sanders vows to curb Wall Street by purging Federal Reserve of bankers:

    Democratic candidate says ‘Wall Street regulates the Fed’ not vice versa […]

    Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders warned on Wednesday that if he wins the White House he will “fix” the Federal Reserve by throwing bankers off its boards and increasing transparency and regulation as a way of reining in Wall Street.

    Sanders criticized the pivotal decision by America’s central bank a week ago to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.

    He declared that the move was “the latest example of the rigged economic system”, in an opinion article for the New York Times on Wednesday.

    “Wall Street is still out of control,” he said in the article.

    He pointed out that most of the country’s leading financial institutions are larger now than they were during the 2008 economic catastrophe when some had to be bailed out by the government, in order to prevent global financial meltdown, because they were deemed “too big to fail”.

    “If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time,” he said.

    He aimed his left-leaning sights squarely at the Fed. “To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve,” he said.


    He accused the central bank of being influenced by the big banks “and their supporters in Congress” as they warned repeatedly in recent years that “runaway inflation is just around the corner”.

    Senator Sanders (and also Paul Krugman at the New York Times), point out the obvious — there has been no inflation to speak of. Krugman also says there is nothing to indicate significant inflation is close to returning. Both pointed out the people saying otherwise have not only been wrong, but do not admit that have been wrong — nor do they explain why the catastrophe they imagine keeps on being delayed.

    [… Sanders wants to remove the commerical bank’s] incentive to stash excess reserves with the Fed in return for interest, which has created an “insane” pot of $2.4tn that is not circulating in the economy, he said.

    Meanwhile Sanders flagged as a conflict of interest the fact that executives at some of the largest financial institutions commonly serve as directors of the Fed — their regulator-in-chief.

    “If I were elected president, the foxes would no longer guard the henhouse,” he said.

    Senator Sanders has an interesting point here, and I’d like to see what Krugman has to say about it (I am not aware of Krugman addressing this conflict-of-interest previously, albeit I could be mistaken). Sanders suggests the President-nominates Senate-confirms model, which currently seems to be badly broken, so I myself am a bit dubious about the “fix”… And with a Wall Street robot like Ms Clinton, I am even more dubious about the fix…

    [… S]tarting with the Fed, he warned: “The sad reality is that the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate Wall Street; Wall Street regulates the Fed. It’s time to make banking work{…} for all Americans, not just a handful of wealthy speculators.”

    Not just people trapped in USArseholierthanthouistan, Senator. The commercial bank’s manipulations of the Fed have impacts and implications far beyond that one cesspool.

  215. says

    We’ve discussed before the closures of DMV offices in Alabama. The state closed driver’s license dispensing offices, ostensibly to save money. But the closures disproportionately affected counties with majority African American residents.

    The closures will negatively affect voting in those counties because of new Voter ID laws that require an ID with a photo, most commonly, a driver’s license. Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton are now fighting over this issue. Not surprisingly, Cruz is on the wrong side.

    […] “It’s not surprising to see a Democrat like Hillary Clinton coming in and attacking states, particularly Southern states,” Cruz said. “Frankly, it’s a bigotry from the Democrats. They look down on the Southern states like we’re a bunch of hicks. […] We’ve had seven years of a president who looks down on the American people. Hillary Clinton thinks we’re just a bunch of ignorant rubes, and we need to be governed by what she deems as moral and philosophical betters. I think that’s complete nonsense. I believe in the American people.”

    No Republican candidate has actually criticized Alabama’s decision, which was condemned by Democrats after it was announced in October. Calling the decision “a blast from the Jim Crow blast,” Clinton echoed the voting rights advocates who asked why rural counties, where black voters had delivered huge margins for Democrats, seemed to bear the brunt of the closures. […]

    […] the Obama administration has launched investigations of decisions like Alabama’s DMC move, to determine whether they violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. But Republican candidates for president have, like Cruz, portrayed the Democrats’ complaints as politically-motivated searches for bias that is no longer there. […]

    “Hillary Clinton is fighting to expand people’s voting rights, and that’s a case she’ll make anywhere, anytime,” said Christina Reynolds, Clinton’s deputy communications manager. “[…] Instead of offering insults, Senator Cruz should discuss why he’s consistently supported efforts that make it harder for Alabamians and many Americans to vote.”

    Washington Post link

  216. says

    blf @232, I will be interested to see the followup to proposals from Bernie Sanders. He said that Wall Street regulates the Fed instead of the other way around, which is quite close to past comments made by Elizabeth Warren.

    I would like to see this issue become a priority in the presidential race.

  217. says

    When other conservatives look at Donald Trump, what do they see? Doom, mostly. Here’s what George Will, conservative pundit and panicked Republican, sees:

    If you look beyond Donald Trump’s comprehensive unpleasantness — is there a disagreeable human trait he does not have? — you might see this: He is a fundamentally sad figure. His compulsive boasting is evidence of insecurity.

    His unassuageable neediness suggests an aching hunger for others’ approval to ratify his self-admiration. His incessant announcements of his self-esteem indicate that he is not self-persuaded.

    Now, panting with a puppy’s insatiable eagerness to be petted, Trump has reveled in the approval of Vladimir Putin, murderer and war criminal.

    In 2016, a Trump nomination would not just mean another Democratic presidency. It would also mean the loss of what Taft and then Goldwater made possible — a conservative party as a constant presence in U.S. politics […]

    One hundred and four years of history is in the balance. If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2016, there might not be a conservative party in 2020 either.

    Washington Post link

  218. says

    This is a followup to comments 139, 141, 191, 218 and 226.

    The fallout from Sheldon Adelson buying Nevada’s largest newspaper has reached Connecticut.

    A Connecticut newspaperman resigned Thursday after the publisher of his newspaper was accused of adding plagiarized content into the paper and acting as a spokesman for Sheldon Adelson, newly minted owner of Nevada’s largest paper.

    Steve Collins, who has covered Bristol for various outlets since 1994, announced his resignation from The Bristol Press via an open letter on Facebook. He said he was quitting because his paper’s publisher Michael Schroeder […] was caught using the name of a fake reporter to allegedly strong arm a story in the Connecticut paper that condemned the rulings against Adelson by a Nevada judge. Schroder has refused to comment to multiple outlets that reported on the alleged plagiarism.

    Bringing additional attention to Collins’ resignation is that Schroeder is the manager of the company that recently purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, of which Adelson’s family is the main investors. Adelson’s involvement in the purchase of the largest newspaper in Nevada — an early primary state — prompted a host of ethical complaints because of Adelson’s known political ties and because the overall secrecy with which the purchase is carried out. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

    Ah, yes, rightwing billionaire has, (surprise!), no ethical core. And he pays minions to also have no ethical core. Addison dislikes media outlets he does not own, and he seriously despises “mainstream” or “liberal” media. Now we know why. They won’t lie when he tells them to lie.

    Here’s the open letter from Collins:

    I have learned with horror that my boss shoveled a story into my newspaper – a terrible, plagiarized piece of garbage about the court system – and then stuck his own fake byline on it. He handed it to a page designer who doesn’t know anything about journalism late one night and told him to shovel it into the pages of the paper. I admit I never saw the piece until recently, but when I did, I knew it had Mr. Schroeder’s fingerprints all over it. Yet when enterprising reporters asked my boss about it, he claimed to know nothing or told them he had no comment. Yesterday, they blew the lid off this idiocy completely, proving that Mr. Schroeder lied, that he submitted a plagiarized story, bypassed what editing exists and basically used the pages of my newspaper, secretly, to further the political agenda of his master out in Las Vegas. In sum, the owner of my paper is guilty of journalistic misconduct of epic proportions.

    Read more:

  219. says

    This is good news, some NBA stars have joined other activists to make a PSA against gun violence.

    Stars from the National Basketball League have joined Everytown For Gun Safety, an advocacy group founded by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, for a series of spots to air Friday condemning gun violence. […]

    The ad does not mention the words “gun control” nor any specific advocacy work. The collaboration between the advocacy group and the NBA was brokered by filmmaker Spike Lee, […]

    Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah and others appear in the PSA.

  220. blf says

    Lynna@237, The NBA itself is involved and making available both the players and the commercial airtime during the matches, N.B.A. Lends Its Name and Its Stars to Campaign Against Gun Violence:

    The National Basketball Association, alarmed by the death toll from shootings across the country, is stepping into the polarizing debate over guns, their regulation and the Second Amendment with an advertising campaign in partnership with one of the nation’s most aggressive advocates of stricter limits on firearm sales.

    In a move with little precedent in professional sports, the N.B.A. is putting the weight of its multibillion-dollar brand and the prestige of its star athletes behind a series of television commercials calling for an end to gun violence.


    The N.B.A.’s involvement suggests that a bloody year of gun deaths […] may be spurring even some generally risk-averse, mainstream institutions to action.


    The N.B.A. said it had little internal debate about working with Mr. Bloomberg’s group [Everytown for Gun Safety], although it emphasized that its partnership was with Everytown’s educational arm and not its political lobby.

    “The public service announcement airing during our Christmas Day games highlights victims’ and a few of our players’ experiences with gun violence and is solely intended to raise awareness about the issue of personal safety in our communities,” said Mike Bass, the N.B.A.’s chief spokesman.


    Kathleen Behrens, the league’s president for social responsibility and player programs, said the league had not shown the ads to team owners but added, “We’re not worried about any political implications.”

    […] Everytown for Gun Safety paid for the production of the commercials, and the league donated time that it controls during games on ABC and ESPN, which will broadcast the ads.

  221. says

    Oh, dear, has it really come to this? A company in Alberta, Canada is selling bottled air to people in China.

    […] The startup has been capturing that air in “massive cans” through a clean compression process, which according to Vitality Air, “lock[s] in the pure air without any contamination.” The siphoned air is taken back to the company’s bottling facility, where “we begin filling our convenient delivery cans to the brim with excellent air.”

    Vitality Air’s pitch might read like a throwaway joke on Silicon Valley, but the company has found a market for their version of Canada Dry. People in smog-filled Chinese cities have been buying up the cans in bulk. […]


  222. blf says

    There are(? were?) “Oxygen bars” where one could breathe bottled oxygen. I have no idea if any still exist, or if it was anything more than an NYC / Tokyo / … fad.

  223. says

    Hmmm, has the MDP been secretly lobbying for a new job?

    […] I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin.

    That’s right: a penguin. […]


  224. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin as Claus von Cheese Claws? Well, she wouldn’t have problem with drinks, not even the eggnog, nor the cookies, but a few changes would be made. None of that sliding-down-chimneys business for instance, she’s much more partial to entering through the wall. Usually at speed and aiming for the cheese, but it’s theoretically possible to temporarily recalibrate her, so that she enters via the wall at speed and collects the eggnog, cookies, and cheese before exiting. Oh, and also the presents of course. She’ll probably leave the tree.

    Sleighs and parasite-filled disease-ridden vermin won’t do at all, instead, trebuchets would clearly be involved.

    And the writer seems a bit confused, saying “Most importantly, [penguins are] never scary (in contrast to, say, polar bears and reindeer).” She(the writer) probably thinks peas are edible.

  225. says

    blf @245, Yeah I was think somewhat along the same lines. The writer has not personally met the MDP, (a.k.a. Claus von Cheese Claws).

    In other news, some doofuses tried to set a mosque on fire in Houston.

    Authorities are investigating a two-alarm fire at a mosque in southwest Houston as possible arson. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said the fire “appears suspicious” because it had “multiple points of origin.”

    Investigators are now analyzing surveillance footage to see if they can get a glimpse of any possible suspects, reports KHOU. Firefighters were able to quickly put out the fire at the Masjid mosque that broke out about an hour after around 200 people took part in Friday afternoon prayer services. […]

    Slate link

  226. says

    Libby Shaw writes about having The Texas Blues:

    OK so we’ve had a series of god awful laws passed recently, namely open carry in which it will soon be legal in Texas for gun owners to openly wear their guns in public. Big guns, small guns, long guns, very long guns and penis replacement guns. Few of us wanted this travesty of a law passed, especially those of us in large urban areas, but oh well. The Tea Party Republican and the Texas Taliban lawmakers don’t pay much attention to much of the public’s needs and desires. For all are far too busy sharing steaks, beer and golf with the NRA and all lobbies known to the once great state of Texas. Lots of money changes hands. […]

  227. says

    Yes, the governor of Alabama, a Republican stalwart, is using funds from the British Petroleum oil spill to fix up a mansion for himself:

    As storms once again battered the state of Alabama over Christmas, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley moved to divert funding from the 2010 BP oil spill recovery effort to finance the renovation of a second Governor’s mansion on the Gulf Coast.

    Yet that beachside mansion, which Alabama governors beginning with famed segregationist George Wallace have enjoyed, was not damaged by the BP oil spill. It was damaged more than two decades earlier by Hurricane Danny, and has sat empty ever since.

    While Alabama’s oyster industry and coastal communities continue to suffer from the effects of the massive Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout, the repairs to the governors’ mansion are estimated to cost between $1.5 million and $1.8 million. Though Bentley says he will stay there only “on occasion,” the administration said the property would be “primarily” used to wine and dine corporate executives considering the state for investment. […]

  228. says

    This is good news. More people are coming to the realization that private prisons are a bad investment, and a net negative for our justice system.

    The public University of California (UC) school system will no longer invest in private prison companies. As a result of mounting student pressure to divest, UC removed its $25 million shares from the Geo Group Inc and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) — controversial companies linked to human rights abuses across the country. […]

    Today, 16 percent of federal prisoners and roughly 6 percent of state prisoners are housed in private correctional facilities, including the ones run by CCA and Geo Group. Because they profit from filling beds, private prisons try to incarcerate as many people as possible, even for minor, low-level offenses. The two companies rake in a combined $3.3 billion every year, and spend millions lobbying the government.

    And both are well-known for their gross human rights violations, such as feeding inmates spoiled food, housing them in moldy cells, forcing them to defecate in plastic bags, profiting from free prison labor, and denying them adequate medical treatment. Many prisoners have died under suspicious circumstances. […]

    “Divesting $25 million is a good step towards shutting down private prisons by starving them of capital,” Yoel Haile, ABC’s political director, said in a press release. “This is a clear example of Black Power and what we can achieve when we work in unity. This victory belongs to the masses of our people languishing behind America’s mass incarceration regime.” […]

  229. says

    Porn and politics, racism and politics: in other words, more news from Pennsylvania:

    Over the past 15 months, beleaguered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has released a steady stream of messages retrieved from a state email server that show state officials and employees trading pornographic, racist and misogynistic messages. […]

    A small sampling: A photo of a pantsless woman on her knees performing oral sex on a man is captioned “Making your boss happy is your only job.” A picture of a white man fending off two African American men while carrying a bucket of fried chicken reads “BRAVERY At Its Finest.” […]

    “When you see these emails . . . it’s just a swamp of misogyny, racism, homophobia and white privilege. It taints everybody, especially in the judicial branch,” said Bruce Ledewitz, associate dean of academic affairs and a law professor at Duquesne University School of Law. “Some of these things are really disgusting. You get the impression that every white male office holder in the state is a creep.” […]

    “Nothing in Pennsylvania [political] history even comes close to this drama, with the complexity and ongoing nature of this, the potential ramifications and multiple moving parts,” said longtime politics watcher G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.

    One complicating factor in the sprawling scandal is that it is hard to separate the “creeps” from the heroes. Kane, the first woman and first Democrat elected to that office, faces a criminal indictment for felony perjury and multiple misdemeanors in an unrelated case for allegedly leaking grand jury information to embarrass a political rival and then lying about it under oath. […]

    Kane, whose office uncovered these scandalous emails through an unrelated investigation, has long maintained she’s innocent of the charges. She has cast herself as a victim of a powerful, political “old boys network,” angry that she’s shared their darkest emails. […]

    Thus far, the scandal has resulted in the firing of at least six state employees and the resignation of a state Supreme Court judge. […]

    At least 60 people working for the attorney general’s office were reprimanded because of sexually explicit content found on their state computers.[…]

    But beyond the graphic and insulting nature of the exchanges, a larger problem is the seemingly chummy relationships the emails reveal between prosecutors and judges, court watchers said.

    “[…] When we learn that they are so close they are exchanging horribly improper emails with each other, we lose faith not only in the independence of the judiciary but also the judgment of both parties,” said Marc Bookman, director of the Philadelphia-based Atlantic Center for Capital Representation. […]

    During her 2012 campaign for attorney general, Kane accused Gov. Tom Corbett (R) of mishandling the sexual abuse case against former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky for political reasons. […]. Kane implied that Corbett slowed the investigation so as not to lose the votes of thousands of Penn State alumni. […]

    the Sandusky investigation uncovered a trove of inappropriate emails. Once media outlets began to report the existence of these emails, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille demanded Kane release them. She provided 4,000 of the emails, including ones that show a political rival, Frank Fina, […] Fina was part of the team that investigated and prosecuted Sandusky. […]

    Fina is linked to many of the offensive emails — sending as well as receiving them. An email sent from his account with the subject line “FW: New Office Motivation Policy Posters” featured a photo of a woman having anal sex with the caption, “Take advantage of every opening.” […]

    State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D) suggested that a better name for the scandal would be “Hategate” […] these prosecutors were biased against women and minorities.

    “For anyone to say these were personal thoughts and they’re regretful and they can separate them from their jobs, that’s about as credible as me saying I can fly to the moon,” Williams said. “By myself.”

    Washington Post link

  230. blf says

    Whilst Senator Sanders’s analysis is quite plausible, I’m not convinced it is complete, and tend to doubt he can actually do what he says he can do, Bernie Sanders: I can win the backing of Donald Trump supporters:

    Democratic presidential hopeful says Trump has taken real fears based in income inequality and ‘converted them into anger’ against Mexicans and Muslims

    […] Bernie Sanders said Sunday that he believes he can boost his own standing in the race by swaying supporters of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump to back his campaign.

    Sanders [said in a series of interviews] that many of Trump’s supporters have legitimate fears stemming from income inequality that Sanders is best positioned to address.

    “What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears, which are legitimate, and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims,” Sanders said.

    “In my view, that is the not way we are going to address the problems facing this country,” he said.

    Instead, Sanders supports a platform of bringing citizens together to push Congress to pass laws that address income inequality. He said that many of Trump supporters are “working class people and they are angry” because they are losing their jobs to overseas firms, cannot afford to send their children to college and are working longer hours for lower ages.

    Sanders also sent out a release on Sunday saying that Trump is “getting nervous” about working families getting a better understanding of his policies.

    “Trump insisted on Thursday that the US must keep wages low in order to compete with other countries, one day after he dug in on his assertion that ‘wages are too high’ in America,” Sanders said.


    “It appears that Mr Trump is getting nervous that working families are catching on that his policies represent the interests of the billionaire class against almost everyone else,” Sanders said.

    […] Sanders said: “The real issues are not Donald Trump’s vulgarity — and he is vulgar — it is the fact that Donald Trump does not think we should not be raising the minimum wage, he believe wages in America are too high,” Sanders said. “Meanwhile what he wants to do is divide our country between Latinos and Americans and Muslims and everybody else. That’s not the kind of America we need.”

    That last quote(assuming it is accurate) could have — and should have been — better phrased, it vaguely reads like the Senator is suggesting Latinos and Muslims are not quite, somehow, “Americans”. (I wonder if an “Africian-” is missing, as in “… Latinos and African-Americans and Muslims and everybody else”?)

    I am puzzled how the Senator will transform the not-rational anger and expressed hated into a more useful outlet (and the extreme income disparity is a very good cause, and connected-to other very good causes). Add the not-insignificant point that, at the moment, Clinton and himself are jostling for the Democratic nomination, whilst teh trum-prat and the other twits are brawling for the thug nomination. I suppose a not-yet-shown ability to convince trum-prat supporters to lose their froth and vote for him might help him win primary votes and then the nomination (i.e., a clear ability to take votes from the thugs, including those who jump ship in anger / horror at the thugs either nominating or not-nominating teh trum-prat).

    Or maybe he’s just trying to sow doubt in the foaming morass baying for teh trum-prat. Or, more obliquely, in those supporting Ms Clinton, who is often perceived as being (mostly-)in the pocket of the 1%.

  231. dianne says

    Meanwhile what he wants to do is divide our country between Latinos and Americans and Muslims and everybody else.

    Mr. Sanders, Latinos born in or naturalized to the US ARE (US-)Americans. “Latino” is an ethnic designation, not a country. Your freudian slip is showing and I’m creeped out by this statement.

  232. blf says

    I doubt the Senator was restricting himself to “born in or naturalized” people (e.g., “Muslim” and “everyone else” are also not so-restricted). Nonetheless, that statement, as quoted, was badly put. However, it probably should not distract much from the points being made on both teh trum-prat’s divisiveness and his economically oppressive farts.

  233. dianne says

    “Muslim” doesn’t tell you anything about whether or not someone is a US-American or not either, for that matter. My apologies for the “all about me”-ish element of my initial comment. What bothers me is that Sanders appears to himself think in terms of “Latino OR American” and “Muslim OR American”. He wants to unite us all, great, but until he acknowledges that some of us already are US-Americans AND Muslim or Latino, it’s going to feel like charity to the second class citizens, not trying to bring justice. Or maybe I’m just being too sensitive. The Trumpet has me a bit paranoid right now, as you might imagine.

    OTOH, I can’t do much, directly, about Trump. Sanders versus Clinton is a decision I expect to need to make first. After that, really, it’s no decision for me: I’m voting for the winner of the Democratic primary. Possibly from Namibia if it looks like Trump or Cruz or any of them has a chance of taking the election, but for the Democrat nonetheless.

  234. says

    WMDKitty @251, very appropriate, and funny. I needed that.

    blf @252, I think Bernie Sanders gives Trump supporters too much credit for being being able to accurately assess their financial situation, and then vote in their own best interest. Sanders also gives them too much credit when it comes to paying attention to and understanding policy positions. I think most of Trump’s supporters prefer (even love) to be angry in an emotion-driven and incoherent way.

    Despite the best efforts of Bernie Sanders, most of the people who support Trump will vote against their own best interest. Other Republican candidates also count on a significant percentage of low and middle-income people voting against their own best interest, and that has been true for years.

    Still, I give Bernie kudos for making the effort. It would be lovely if he peeled off a few Trump supporters.

  235. says

    dianne, I agree with you. Sanders often makes remarks that unintentionally distance him from not only Latinos and Muslims, but also from African Americans. I can tell that he means well, his heart is in the right place, and that counts for something. Also, I see him slowly improving when it comes to the way he talks about Americans who are not white. I hope he improves some more. I think Bernie is on a learning curve.

  236. says

    Anti-Muslim hate crimes continue. This one is from California:

    […] Amrik Singh Bal was confronted by two white males while waiting alone on a street corner for his ride to work at 6:30 a.m. After attempting to cross the street to get away from the two men, who were shouting obscenities at him, they backed their car into Bal, knocking him to the ground. They then exited the vehicle and began beating the 68-year-old, striking him in the face and upper body. […]

    Ike Iqbal S. Grewal, a member of the Sikh Council of Central California, told the Bee that “Sikhs have been mistaken for terrorists and radicals and continue to suffer after 9/11.” […]

    Talking Points Memo link.

  237. blf says

    I presume Sanders is (and Clinton certainly is, she has made comments on, or at least alluding to, this point) aware that comments like those of teh trum-prat can cause / are causing problems elsewhere (not in the States) which have no say in the election. That is, the rest of the world.

    Hence, I suspect what may sound like “either US-citizen or Muslim/whoever” is a false exclusive-or, he means the implicit inclusive-or (frequently written “and/or” to try and avoid confusion). In this case, using “and/or” probably isn’t any better. I admit I am struggling to suggest a wording that I plausibly believe a politician might say, but am too cynical myself to do it…

  238. blf says

    Senator Sanders seems to have caused teh trum-prat to contradict himself, After Sanders criticism, Donald Trump flip-flops: US wages ‘are too low’ (The Grauniad’s edits are in {curly braces}):

    ● Republican frontrunner appears to change mind about wage levels
    ● Trump and Sanders now in agreement on wages, Wall Street

    Donald Trump, billionaire Republican presidential frontrunner, has changed his mind about wages: Americans aren’t earning enough. He’s also not keen on Wall Street. The shift has Trump on a collision course with Democrat Bernie Sanders — while oddly agreeing with many of his points.

    “Wages in are {sic} country are too low, good jobs are too few, and people have lost faith in our leaders. […]” Trump tweeted on Monday.

    The opinion appeared to reverse what the Republican frontrunner said in November during the fourth Republican debate. Asked if he was sympathetic to the protesters demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Trump said: “I can’t be.”

    “{T}axes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave {the minimum wage} the way it is,” Trump said at the time. “[…] But we cannot do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.”


    The frustration and anger felt by Trump’s supporters makes them into potential Sanders supporters, according to the Vermont senator. Trump disagrees.

    “Strange, but I see wacko Bernie Sanders allies coming over to me because I’m lowering taxes, while he will double & triple them, a disaster!” he tweeted on Monday.

    An analysis of Trump’s tax proposal revealed that the most generous tax cuts would be received by the rich, since the poor Americans that Trump spoke of already do not pay income taxes.

    Trump’s recent comments on wages come as he has also stepped up his disparagement of Wall Street — characterizing hedge funds as “getting away with murder”. His comments have drawn puzzlement from bankers familiar with the financing of the presidential candidate’s business empire.


  239. says

    OMG, did Trump really tweet a comment in which he should have used “our” but used “are” instead? Surely he can afford to pay someone to proofread he tweets.

    Just for fun: check out #SandersOnAPlane on Twitter. Yes Bernie flies coach and lots of people take selfies that include him. It looks like a love fest.

  240. says

    Oh, FFS, you couldn’t find someone more worthy to admire? A new poll finds that Pope Francis and Donald Trump are tied for second most admired man by Americans.
    NBC News link

    Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the most admired woman and man.

  241. blf says

    On the “are” – “our” thing: I do similar tpoys, it might have been “auto-forget”, I mean “anti-correct”, I mean “ah-shoo!”, feck, whatever, blah, blah, blah, amusing but not, by itself, indicative of anything. Meh. His consistently ungrammatical speech, resembling a syllable-salad dropped on the floor and hastily-reassembled in a rusted dirty wok, does seem indicative of something — poor understanding of cause-and-effect, perhaps?

  242. blf says

    A new poll finds that Pope Francis and Donald Trump are tied for second most admired man by Americans.

    Seem reasonable: One anoints sadistic torturers and slavers, the other would relish the opportunity to be a sadist torturing slaver; both duck serious issue (AGW one, the other, child rape); both are zillionaires; one already has his own country and other is trying to acquire one; both are near-constantly in the news and bask in the droolings of the misguided; one considers himself a magic sky faerie and the other is the faeries’s grand vicar; both never make a mistake, and say so; and so on…
    Position-wise, one used to command armies and alliances and the other wants to; one wants to ban or attack people he doesn’t understand and the other has over a thousand years practice in doing so; and so on…

  243. says

    Mike Huckabee now claims that he never supported pedophile Josh Duggar after all. That was just something the media made up. Right.

    Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told an Iowa radio host last week that he never offered support to former reality TV star Josh Duggar after it was revealed that he sexually abused his sisters as a teenager. […]

    “I really didn’t support Josh,” Huckabee insisted. “I supported his parents, if you’ll go back and look at what I said. There’s no support for what he did.”

    […] Josh Duggar was found to have molested five girls when he was a teenager, including four of his own sisters, and to have cheated on his wife through adultery website Ashley Madison.

    When these shocking stories were first made public, Huckabee did not make the same effort to distance himself from Josh Duggar. On May 22, just one day after news of Duggar’s past sexual abuse broke, the GOP candidate wrote a lengthy Facebook post accusing the media of “sensationalizing” the story and framing his actions as a “regrettable” youthful mistake.

    […] In his interview on Des Moines-based radio station WHO last week, however, Huckabee told Conway, “I’ve never defended Josh and I don’t defend him now because there’s nothing to defend. What he did was absolutely hideously wrong and despicable.” […]

    “There’s something wrong here,” Conway said on air in June. “And it’s not good enough to turn around and say, ‘They’re being picked on because they’re conservative and they’re Christian.’ There’s something wrong and it’s disturbing.” […]

    Yeah, you are reaching Huckabee, you are reaching so far that you are about to fall over.

    I suppose the next thing we’ll hear is that you never supported Kim Davis.

  244. says

    As you all know by now, the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper called Donald Trump a “crude blowhard.” Pretty accurate, I’d say.

    Trump is fighting back in his usual manner, like a crude blowhard.

    During a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump called the Union Leader a “dishonest” and “failing” newspaper, and described publisher Joe McQuaid, who wrote the editorial, as a “low life” and a “sleaze bag.” […]

    Trump wrapped up his rant about the Union Leader and Christie by throwing a copy of the paper from the stage and calling it a “piece of garbage.” […]

    In a Monday night interview with MSNBC, McQuaid responded to Trump’s attacks and said the real estate mogul’s claim that Christie directed the Union Leader to endorse him was “nonsense.” […]


  245. says

    This is a followup to comment 268. Here’s an excerpt from the New Hampshire Union Leader, a conservative newspaper:

    Trump has shown himself to be a crude blowhard with no clear political philosophy and no deeper understanding of the important and serious role of President of the United States than one of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowds.

  246. says

    Playing schoolyard bully, Republican State Senator Bill Carrico threatened to remove the governor’s security detail. Why? Carrico doesn’t like the governor’s and the attorney general’s stance on gun control. Yeah, that’ll show them. Sheesh.

    […] After Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring announced Dec. 22 that Virginia would no longer recognize out-of-state concealed carry permits from 25 other states starting Feb. 1, 2016, Republican state Sen. Bill Carrico called the move “all political” and told the Bristol Herald Courier he would move to cut McAuliffe’s [Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s ] security detail in January.

    […] “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

    Brian Coy, a spokesman for the governor, told the paper that “reactionary temper tantrums may play well on right-wing blogs, but they don’t make anyone safer.”

    McAuliffe vetoed several pro-gun bills backed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2015, and signed an executive order to ban open carry of guns in some state-owned buildings in October.

  247. says

    Trump made another wild claim, a claim that adds to his list of anti-Muslim comments.

    “These people in California, people knew he had bombs all over the floor, people knew it, why didn’t they turn him in?”

    More from the transcript of an NPR interview:

    […] we have Muslims – they’re wonderful, we have wonderful people. But there’s something going on there. They have to turn in, like, for instance, these people in California, people knew he had bombs all over the floor, people knew it, why didn’t they turn him in? You got to turn ’em in. Because it’s their culture, they’re around each other, they know each other, they what’s … you gotta turn ’em in.

    Just to point this out: no one has proven that “people knew he had bombs all over the floor.”
    And there were people to whom white supremacist Dylann Roof had revealed his plans to gun down people at a black church, but nobody turned him in.

  248. says

    Donald Trump is trying, repeatedly, to tear Bill Clinton down before he has stepped onto the campaign stage to back Hillary Clinton. Trump was not always so anti-Bill Clinton.

    In 2008, Trump said:

    He lied! [Bush] got us into the war with lies! And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant, and they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense.

  249. says

    You might remember Kevin Swanson. He’s the über rightwing pastor that hosted a conference where Ted Cruz, and other Republican presidential hopefuls spoke. Swanson predicted dire consequences if U.S. citizens did not immediately reject birth control, burn Harry Potter, and start executing gay people.

    Swanson has new dire warnings for us today.

    […] America must repent or God will punish the nation through the election of Hillary Clinton, who will in turn lead “tremendous majorities of American kids” down “the track towards homosexuality” and other sexual sins.

    Swanson got on the subject while discussing a recent case in Massachusetts in which a judge found that a Catholic school violated a state nondiscrimination law when it pulled a job offer from its food services director after he listed his husband as an emergency contact.

    [Snipped more anti-Harry Potter stuff] Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’” whom he says are gay.

    [Snipped pro-home-schooling and anti-public school statements]

    If America fails to repent, he asked, “Why wouldn’t Hillary Clinton get full rein upon this nation to continue the destructive pattern, destroy the social fabric of the nation — the family, of course — so that of course there will be 75 percent of kids born outside of wedlock to single mothers by the year 2030, so to be sure that tremendous majorities of American kids are taken down the track towards homosexuality, towards the destruction of sexuality with pornography habits, illegitimate divorce, the shack-up rates being 30 times what they were in 1970 and so forth?”


  250. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category. Donald Trump has been kind of shy lately when it comes to owning his Birther conspiracy theories, but he has not stopped hanging out with birthers.

    Trump will be the keynote speaker at a conference dense with Birthers in March. At that conference, Rush Limbaugh will present a “Hero of Freedom Award” to chief Birther, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily.

    […] Farah, along with WND “reporter” Jerome Corsi, has been one of the most enthusiastic pushers of the birther myth, writing as recently as this month that Trump was right to call Obama’s birth certificate a “fake” and wondering if the promise of a payout late in life might prompt Obama to finally reveal the truth behind his “eligibility scam.”

    Back in 2011, Farah credited Trump with raising the profile of Corsi’s book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” (published by WND), which debuted on the best seller list shortly after President Obama publicly released a copy of his birth certificate. Even after Obama made the certificate public, Farah said he was suspicious of its authenticity and added that even if it was authentic, Obama could be ineligible for the presidency anyway since his father was born abroad. (Farah quickly forgot his concerns when the Canadian-born Ted Cruz, who also has one foreign-born parent, started talking about running for president.) […]

    The Western Conservative Conference will also feature another prominent birther, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was honored at last year’s event with a roast full of racist jokes.


  251. says

    This is a followup to comment 274, sort of.

    Speaking of WorldNetDaily and their Birther theories, the site has proclaimed President Obama to be “Muslim of the Year.”

    The far-right news outlet WorldNetDaily didn’t even take Christmas off from promoting conspiracy theories about President Obama, publishing a column by insurrectionist birther attorney Larry Klayman on Christmas Day “satirically” naming the president 2015’s “Muslim of the Year.”

    Klayman gives the president the honor since he is “someone who has cleverly through various means, radically changed the world order and most furthered the Islamic caliphate based on the death of all infidels to Allah.”

    “No other Muslim has done as much, particularly given his power as president of the United States, to further Allah’s goal of a Christian and Jew-free world,” he adds. […]


  252. microraptor says

    Lynna @273:

    If Hillary gets elected and the sexual sins aren’t delivered, are we allowed to sue for false advertising?

  253. Saad says

    A sampling of misogynistic remarks from Trump

    “26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

    “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

    “I mean, we could say politically correct that look doesn’t matter, but the look obviously matters,” Trump said to a female reporter in a clip featured on “Last Week Tonight.” “Like you wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful.”

    “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”

    “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

    “While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.”

    “All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

  254. says

    microraptor @276, I think we will have to sue Kevin Swanson. Hillary didn’t make the claim that she would “destroy the social fabric of the nation,” and that she would lead a majority of our children to turn to homosexuality. Make that “tremendous majorities,” (which sounds like a Trumpism.)

    Saad @277, yeah, when you put some of Trump’s statements together, you see even more clearly that he is a misogynist through and through.

    Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been standing up to Trump, denouncing his sexism. Here’s my favorite response from Bernie Sanders.

  255. says

    You may have already heard this. The Republican field of presidential candidates has been reduced by one as George Pataki left the race. Now there are only 12 candidates left. Still too many.

    In other news, Bernie Sanders attacked the sacred cow, the Department of Defense:

    At an event Monday night in Storm Lake, Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that, “when we talk about making government more cost effective, it doesn’t simply mean cutting Medicaid and food stamps.” “What it does mean is taking a hard look at an agency which receives $600 billion per year where there is an immense amount of waste and fraud,” Sanders said. “We have massive cost overruns with defense contractors, we’ve got deployment after deployment for our soldiers, and we’ve got military families on food stamps.”

    Real Clear Politics link

  256. says

    Ted Cruz is currently beating Donald Trump in Iowa polls. So what does Trump do? He does what he always does, he takes the lowest road.

    […] “You gotta remember. In all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, OK? Just remember that, OK? Just remember,” he told the crowd in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “When you’re casting your ballot, remember.” […]

    The real estate mogul made a similar comment earlier in December during a town hall event in Des Moines, Iowa.

    “I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba,” Trump said on Dec. 11.

    Trump and Cruz have largely avoided criticizing each other throughout the presidential campaign, but as Cruz has gained momentum in Iowa, Trump has begun to bash the Texas senator. […]

  257. says

    Oh, FFS. Trump’s national spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, is threatening (half jokingly) to wear a fetus around her neck.

    After catching criticism for wearing a necklace made of bullets in a national news interview, Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson threatened tongue-in-cheek to “wear a fetus next time” as an anti-abortion message.

    Appearing on “The Lead,” Pierson told CNN’s Jim Sciutto, […], that Trump attacking former President Bill Clinton for his past sexual misconduct in office is “fair game” ahead of Bill hitting the trail to stump for Hillary in January.

    Maybe I’ll wear a fetus next time& bring awareness to 50 million aborted people that will never ger to be on Twitter.

    In a later tweet, Pierson said of her remarks: “of course it will be interpreted literally. Never min [sic] the point being made. Smh.” In response to a follow up tweet about the necklace from Sciutto, Pierson said the necklace was made of real ammunition by a local small business owner in Texas.

  258. says

    Speaking of Kevin Swanson, here are some more rightwing prophecies that failed.

    The “blood moon” in September was supposed to mark the arrival of Shemitah. Financial disasters, earthquakes, divine punishment, etc. All of that came mostly from Jonathan Cahn, and was then propagated by WorldNetDaily.

    John Hagee and Jim Bakker also got in on the blood moon prophecy scam with predictions of disaster:

    Jim Bakker, a televangelist who himself claims to receive personal messages from God and regularly had Cahn on his program to discuss the Shemitah/blood moons prophecy, and made a few predictions of his own about September 13.

    “There is going to be a crash on September 13,” Bakker warned his viewers, also predicting that something would happen to Pope Francis during his September visit to America.

    He also said that on September 13, the U.S. could be hit by a typhoon, earthquake, bombing or financial meltdown: “God spoke to me.”

    Right Wing Watch link

    Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio told us that if the Supreme Court struck down the ban on marriage equality, there would be “violence in the streets.” I saw some wedding celebrations in the streets.

    Joseph Farah prophesied that millions of Americans would leave the USA to escape the horrors of gay marriage.

    Scott Lively predicted the arrival of the Antichrist on September 23.

    There were all sorts of predictions related to President Obama that didn’t come true:
    – he would invoke military rule
    – he would take over Texas
    – he would put patriotic men in internment camps
    – he would launch a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack against Texas
    – he was raising a private army
    – he would start an anti-white genocide
    – he would round up conservatives and put them in camps
    – he is importing Syrian refugees to up the Democratic Party vote and to bulk up his personal army
    – he will use Black Lives Matter activists as part of his personal army
    – he will deputize members of the Crips and the Bloods gangs

  259. says

    Remember when John Boehner sang Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah and walked out of the Speaker of the House job because the ultra right-wingers were so nutz they were driving him nutz?

    Paul Ryan replaced John Boehner. The result is that now the ragged edge of the Republican rightwing is driving him nutz.

    […] most people don’t fully realize just how overwrought the entire Republican base is over this latest budget deal. Political observers knew that when Speaker John Boehner resigned the fix was in for a budget deal for this year.

    His swan song deal to set the top line numbers for two years paved the way for the new speaker to pass an agreement during his honeymoon. There was a little hiccup with the presumptive successor Kevin McCarthy turning out to be a dolt whose loose lips sank Trey Gowdy’s ship on national TV, but eventually they brought in the BMOC Paul Ryan to get the job done.

    Unfortunately, the rabid GOP base does not observe such antiquated concepts as political honeymoons and they refuse to admit that shutting down the government is not a useful tactic. […]

    Every day since the budget deal was reached, the inboxes of conservatives have been filled with angry, vitriolic screeds denouncing Paul Ryan for his treachery […]

    The entire activist base of the GOP is having an extended tantrum over this. They are now even comparing Paul Ryan to the hated Obama by calling him a Muslim — for growing a beard. The only reason it isn’t a bigger story is that Congress isn’t in session and the Trump Show is sucking all the energy out of everything else. (Rush actually begged Trump to add a criticism of this Omnibus “sell-out” to his repertoire of immigrant and Muslim hate-mongering.) […]

    Salon link

    I see no hope for the Republican Party, nor for so-called moderate conservatives. Paul Ryan is growing a beard.

    I mean, Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, announced his departure from the Republican Party. It’s in splinters.

  260. says

    Politicians who have been bought by the NRA and other gun-rights activists have once again voted to ban some of the research needed to get a handle on the gun violence problem in the USA.

    […] A key obstacle to progress on this issue is the lack of data. Some research on gun violence and its effect on public health has been done, but not nearly enough, and that’s because we have an unconscionable ban on federal research, which has been in place for nearly two decades.

    “Last week,” as The New York Times reported, “Congress, doing the bidding of the gun industry, quietly killed a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would have reversed this ban. In so doing, it left intact an anti-science smokescreen that has helped the industry and its lobbyists deny and dispute the facts of the gun violence that takes more than 30,000 lives a year.”

    Whatever your position on guns, there’s no reason to oppose research of this kind unless your aim is to subvert the truth. If you’re a passionate defender of the Second Amendment, if you oppose gun control because you think it makes us less safe, you should welcome this research. […]


  261. microraptor says

    Lynna @278:

    Sorry, that’s who I meant to say we should sue. Sometimes I get typing fast and think I wrote more than I actually wrote.

  262. says

    microraptor @285, not a problem. I didn’t mean to sound like I was correcting you. I was just enjoying the idea of suing Kevin Swanson. It would be great if we could, eh? That guy makes money off his whacko predictions. Plus, he is influencing various gullible religious people to vote for Ted Cruz. It’s bad all around.

    Kind of funny, in a black comedy way, to think of Hillary Clinton creating “tremendous majorities” of gay teens.

  263. says

    The state of Maine has Republican leadership, with Governor Paul LePage at its head. LePage has worked to make it difficult to impossible for people in need to get food stamps. Yes, LePage is that awful.

    The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is violating federal law and now ranks last among all states for its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program, or food stamps.

    A sharply worded, Dec. 7 letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture put DHHS on notice.

    “The State’s chronically poor performance in timeliness is in direct conflict with the application processing statutory and regulatory provisions meant to protect low-income household’s right to receive nutrition assistance benefits in a timely manner,” wrote Ken Messner, the acting regional administrator for the USDA’s northeast region.

    Governor LePage has thrown 40,000 people in Maine off of public assistance. He has created a food insecurity crisis.

  264. says

    Republican legislators really messed up in 2015 when it comes to staffing the U.S’s federal court system.

    […] The Senate only confirmed 11 federal judges this year — the lowest number in more than half a century. At the same time, court vacancies jumped from 42 to 66, and the number of courts with “judicial emergencies,” where judges face staggering, unmanageable caseloads, more than doubled. […]

    It’s all part of a broader effort by Senate Republicans to prevent President Barack Obama from putting his picks on the federal bench. They’ve delayed votes on judicial confirmations for years, but when they took control of the Senate in January, they starting slowing things down even more, in hopes of holding up the process until a Republican is elected president.

    The Senate adjourned in December without confirming 19 judicial nominees who were ready for a vote. None are controversial; they all cleared the Judiciary Committee without opposition. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed them into next year to drag out the process.

    It’s hurting the court system — and the people it serves. Civil cases are being delayed for years at a time. Judges are burning out trying to keep up. Semi-retired judges are pulling full-time hours to help keep their courts from collapsing under their own weight. The Senate is effectively strangling parts of the judicial system. […]

    There’s also the paradox of Republican senators blocking their GOP colleagues’ nominees just to spite Obama. […]

    Some conservative groups are pressuring McConnell to cut off the judicial confirmation process altogether, though.

    “Why are Senate Republicans giving any more judges to President Obama in his lame duck year when their goal should be to bottle up the remainder of the Obama agenda?” said Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government. […]

    Huffington Post link

  265. blf says

    “Darth von Clownsick” teh trum-prat vs Reelity, Revenge of the quiff: Donald Trump blasts Barack Obama for watching Star Wars:

    Republican primary frontrunner criticises US president for White House screening of The Force Awakens and calls for leader with ‘real priorities’

    It’s the eternal battle for control of the most powerful force in the known galaxy, but this time there are no X-wings or TIE fighters, and the Millennium Falcon is not in sight. […] Donald Trump has launched a US presidential campaign advert attacking Barack Obama for supposedly prioritising Star Wars over the battle against terrorism.

    Speaking at his final press conference of 2015 on 18 December, Obama signed off by saying he had to go and watch the new episode in the long-running space opera, The Force Awakens. Trump’s latest ad suggests the US president should have been focused on more serious matters.

    Kicking off with footage of the November Paris attacks and the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, which has been linked to Isis, the advert then cuts to images of Obama signalling his passion for the sci-fi fantasy.

    “Our president is busy with another war,” continues the ad. “Time for a leader with real priorities. Trump. Make America great again.”

    The Obama administration hosted a screening of The Force Awakens at the White House on 18 December. A number of children from families whose relatives were killed in the Iraq war met US first lady Michelle Obama […].


    Trump’s antipathy for Star Wars appears to be reciprocated. [… E]arlier in December, Harrison Ford dismissed comments from the mogul that he enjoyed the actor’s patriotic performance as a terrorist-battling president in the 1997 thriller Air Force One.

    “Donald, it was a movie,” said Ford, looking into the camera and shaking his head. “It’s not like this in real life. But how would you know?”

    Trump’s lack of connection to the Force has not stopped wags from linking him to the dark side. A YouTube video posted earlier this month dubs the hotel mogul’s pronouncements over the deep baritone of James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader in the original trilogy.

    Hum… so teh trum-prat does have one not entirely loathsome characteristic (maybe, keeping in mind how frequently he lies): He dislikes Star Wars. Despite this hint of sanity — more likely the accidental firing of neuron, or perhaps just a case of stuck-clock syndrome — the only position he is an viable candidate for is test pilot on a one-way rocket trip into the Sun.

  266. blf says

    This is interesting. I don’t recall ever hearing of this (new) law before, which is also a first-of-its-kind, Landmark California gun seizure law takes effect 1 January but amid concerns:

    ‘Gun violence restraining order’ law raises questions from pro-gun groups and lawmakers about civil liberties and how effective it will really be

    A California gun statute going into effect on 1 January gives the police or family members the option to petition the courts to seize the guns and ammunition of someone they think poses a threat, the first law of its kind in the country.


    Modeled after firearms prohibitions in domestic violence restraining orders, the statute allows for law enforcement or “immediate family members” to ask a judge for a restraining order if they feel that someone is a danger to themselves or others. The order would also bar the person from purchasing a firearm by placing them on the state’s do-not-buy list.

    Former California assemblywoman Nancy Skinner introduced the bill, AB 1014, in 2014, just two days after a 22-year-old man, Elliot Rodger, went on a murderous rampage in Isla Vista, California, killing six people and then himself.

    “The shooter’s mother and his father were aware that this man was basically threatening violence,” Skinner, a Democrat, said this month. “They did everything they felt they had the ability to do to try to intervene to stop their son from doing something violent, but they didn’t have any tools.”

    The article then goes on to explain how the process works. It seems fairly-well thought out and workable (perhaps because, as per excerpt above, it is modeled on an existing similar provision used in different circumstances?). As one of the commentators puts it, “Not much different than requesting revocation of a driver’s license from an incompetent person by reason of, for example, failing eyesight.”

    The mass murder fetish prazis are, of course, ahem, up in arms and shooting spittle at their screens. You can probably guess the stoopid…

  267. says

    It looks like the Bundy family is addicted to backing up criminal activities with guns, and then calling their activities patriotic protests.

    A loosely organized group of self-styled patriots is convening in rural Oregon Saturday in hopes of provoking another showdown with the federal government, this time in support of a father and son ranching duo convicted of torching public land.

    Dwight Hammond Jr., 73, and his son Steven Hammond, 46, are due to report to federal prison Jan. 4 for starting a series of wildfires on federal lands in 2012, a crime that carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

    Now a cast of right wing-rabble rousers are coming to their defense, including the infamous anti-Muslim activist Jon Ritzheimer and Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy […] Ritzheimer posted a “call to action” video on Dec. 26, in which one activist calls on “all patriots, constitutionalists, militias, and good Americans who believe in the Constitution” to converge on remote Burns, Oregon, to show their support for the Hammonds. […]

    The conflict harks back to Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in 2014, when a 20-year dispute over unpaid grazing fees escalated into a fully armed standoff with nearly 1,000 protesters, including members of the Oath Keepers militia. Federal authorities finally abandoned their efforts to seize Bundy’s cattle over concerns that tensions would lead to a shootout.

    Talking Points Memo link

    This latest “protest” in Oregon is also being styled as “standing up for the constitution.”

    The question that remains in my mind is why did the Hammonds start a bunch of wildfires in the first place?

    The local Sheriff is not cooperating with the dunderheads, so the dunderheads sent the Sheriff a few death threats and labeled him “an enemy of the people.”

  268. says

    This is a followup to comment 292. I found a source that tells us why the Hammond’s set fire to public land in Oregon.

    […] Steve Hammond and his father, Dwight L. Hammond Jr., are on trial in Pendleton on nine counts, including conspiracy and setting fire to public grazing lands in Harney County between 2001 and 2006. A superseding indictment May 16 alleges the father and son ranchers illegally burned public rangelands, a practice used to reduce juniper growth and improve grazing areas. The indictment also alleges a fire the pair started in 2006 threatened to trap four BLM firefighters, one of whom confronted Dwight Hammond at the fire scene. […]


    It sounds like a couple of ranchers started to treat public land as their own.

    I see from other sources that, like the Bundy family, the Hammonds do not think the federal government has a right to own or to protect large swaths of public lands.

  269. says

    blf @291, that sounds like a workable law to me. The petition to take someone’s gun(s) away would still have to go through the courts, so there would be ample opportunity for the gun owner to make his/her case.

    In other news, the Jeb Bush campaign pulled $3 million in advertising buys from Iowa and South Carolina media outlets. I guess they figured out that all of that TV advertising was not raising Jeb’s poll numbers. They are going to spend the money on staffers for their ground campaign instead. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  270. blf says

    The difference between Bush I!I and the Titanic is, at the time the deck chairs were being moved about, the Titanic was still above water.

  271. says

    The guy who ghost wrote Donald Trump’s book, “The America We Deserve,” got to know the Trumpster really well. The result, the writer would never vote for Trump.

    […] he’s not voting for the outspoken real estate mogul, who he said has shown “no class” on the 2016 campaign trail.

    Writer Dave Shiflett said Trump deals in themes, rather than policy specifics. […]

    “I used to think it was my first work of fiction,” Shiflett said of the book, timed for release when Trump was first toying with the idea of running for president with the Reform Party. “Who knows where he stands on anything, he’s a thematic sort of person.” […]

    “I’ll tell you what really bugs me about him, where it really ripped it with me and Trump was the stuff he said about McCain,” he said. “McCain suffered severely, and I had a son who did two tours in Middle East during the last war and we had kids from here who went over there and some of them got hurt. […]”

    He described Trump’s politics as “progressive” and “very liberal” back in 2000, when the mogul favored single-payer healthcare and tax increases for the very wealthy.

    Shiflett also noted Trump’s disdain for former politician Pat Buchanan, whom he said had said “too many outrageous and controversial things” to ever be considered a viable candidate for president.

  272. says

    A bunch of New Hampshire voters were surprised to find that the Trump campaign had listed them as “town chairs” for the Trump presidential bid.

    No, they did not sign up for that job.

    Trump has been getting some criticism for his lack of a ground game in early voting states. I think the response has been, in part, to pad the roles of his supposed volunteers and other ground staff. It’s more fiction than fact.

    […] Daymond Steer, a reporter with the Conway Daily Sun in New Hampshire, noticed last week that he was listed at Trump’s town chair in Tamworth even though he does not remember signing up for the role.

    […] “When I went to the Trump website, the boxes were prechecked to be a volunteer, so perhaps in reaching out to the Trump campaign I should have unchecked a box. I can’t say for sure how that happened.” […]

    Another New Hampshire resident, John Hartman, told the Conway Daily News that he was also listed as the town chair of Eaton despite never signing up for the role. He is the town’s Republican party chair and said he has tried to be careful about “staying neutral.”

    The Valley News, a paper based in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, also reported that at least three residents were listed as town chairs for Trump who were unaware that they had signed on. […]

    […] the Trump campaign was confused by the reports that New Hampshire residents were unknowingly listed as town chairs. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks […] “everyone on the list we made public submitted their support and acceptance of this voluntary leadership position in writing.”



  273. says

    Speaking of ships already under water, some of Ben Carson’s top aides have resigned.

    Multiple sources reported Thursday that Doug Watts and Barry Bennett, two top aides to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, have resigned from the campaign. […]

  274. says

    This is a followup to comments 3, 49, 60, 159, and 281 in which Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson is found to have said various stupid and outrageous stuff.

    We have a new addition, doing stupid and outrageous stuff, (some of this was mentioned earlier by blf, but we now have more details).

    Katrina Pierson, the national spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, collected at least $11,000 in unemployment benefits while she was still working. […]

    Receiving unemployment benefits while she was still working would seem to go against the grain of the message being pushed by Trump and the Republican Party, who have often been quick to blame minorities and immigrants for being on the government dole, supposedly taking up resources that should be going to white Americans (in reality, whites are the most likely to receive welfare benefits).

    The spokeswoman, who recently made news in a CNN appearance where she wore a necklace made out of bullets and promised to wear one stylized like fetuses after gun violence prevention advocates called her out, also had an arrest for shoplifting. She stole clothing from a JC Penney store in Plano, Texas. She had her child with her.

    Addicting Info link

    And that’s Trump’s National spokesperson. Sheesh. The company he keeps.

  275. says

    There’s a massive hotel fire in downtown Dubai, but the city is going right ahead with even more massive fireworks displays. Seems a bit odd in the circumstances.

  276. says

    Oh, FFS. Really?

    WorldNetDaily has named Donald Trump “Man of the Year.” That’s not all that surprising, but this is: Donald Trump is honored, honored I tell you. I didn’t think even Trump was that dumb.

    Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump took to Facebook on Thursday morning to thank a right-wing conspiracy website for the “amazing honor” of naming him its Man of the Year. Trump told the publication, WorldNetDaily, that he “very much” appreciates its “informative polls and coverage.”

    WorldNetDaily’s founder and editor Joseph Farah is one of the nation’s leading purveyors of “birther” conspiracy theories — the repeatedly debunked notion that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya — publishing more than 600 posts on the topic. Even after Obama released his long-form birth certificate indicating his birth in Hawaii, Farah claimed that this proved nothing. Trump has frequently repeated these claims and Politico reported in 2011 that Farah frequently advised the billionaire investor and former reality show host.

    But Farah’s and WND’s conspiracy theories do not end with the president’s birthplace. In a 2011 column, he accused Muslims of promoting a “homosexual agenda” to help destroy America. That same year, he called a minor earthquake in Washington, D.C. a punishment from God for “disobedience and indifference to our Creator,” while warning that the city “deserves” worse. In 2012, he claimed that Obama’s re-election would mean that he and other conservatives would be “hunted down like dogs.” And earlier this month, Farah wrote on the site that the Obama administration is “facilitating, enabling, and empowering” terrorist attacks “by jihadis.” […]


  277. says

    Ah, yes, those Ted Cruz fans. They may be more bonkers than Donald Trump fans, though I know that’s hard to imagine.

    I think (Ted Cruz) is very intelligent man, and I think he knows what’s going on behind the scenes better than the American people does [sic]. And, uh, we don’t need a president like Obama no more! He’s ruined our country. He’s ruined our Christmas; he’s let the Muslims in. […] They’re not allowed to have Santa in the schools! […] We’re gonna take our country back, so watch out, Obama—we’re comin’!

    That’s a female fan speaking.

    ​(Political correctness) is totally out of control! The smallest minorities in this country are ruling what takes place. And the quiet majority folks—like ourselves, and probably you also, are just voiceless!

    That’s a male Cruz supporter speaking.

    Video at the link.

  278. says

    First Jeb Bush told us he didn’t think there was any need for a federal investigation of the Tamir Rice case. Then, Jeb compounded the impression that he is clueless when he answered a reporter’s question in a way that revealed he thought Tamir Rice was shot in Chicago. This guy has a problem.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday responded to a question about Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old black boy who was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, last year, by discussing the Chicago police department.

    “I think that Chicago’s got a lot of work to do to rebuild trust. The level of violence is abhorrent,” Bush responded when asked about a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who shot Rice, according to video from CNN.

    The reporter then told Bush that the incident happened in Cleveland.

    “Oh, I’m sorry. My bad,” Bush replied.

    “In every community where you have these cases, the elected officials and the police chief need to engage with the community to rebuild trust, but the process worked. If there’s a grand jury that looks at all the facts and doesn’t indict maybe there’s reasons for that,” […]

  279. says

    Faux News rang in the new year by hosting Donald Trump and his family. The Faux News hosts kissed Trump ass for 29 minutes, and then messed up so badly that they missed the countdown. Lots of unintentional comedy. Daily Kos covered the amateur infomercial for Trump, and you can view the video, plus more commentary at the link.

  280. says

    Skywriting over the Rose Bowl:

    “America is great. Trump is disgusting.”

    “Dump Trump.”

    “Anybody but Trump.”

    “Trump is a facist.”

    “Trump loves to hate.”

    An “arial advertising firm,” AirSign, is taking credit for the stunt. It’s unclear if someone else financed the effort. The messages promote an anti-Trump site,


  281. blf says

    ‘Holy war of justice’: Kim Jong-un warns against provocation in New Year speech: “North Korean leader uses regular rhetoric against ‘invasive outsiders’, but stays away from past nuclear weapon and missile threats”.

    ‘Trumpet war about me’: Teh trum-prat warns against rivals and his penis size: “Master of the Universe uses over-the-top rhetoric against everyone, but stays away from discussing his penis size problem”.

    [… North Korean leader Kim Jong-un New Year’s speech] comments stuck to the well-worn propaganda designed to lift his image for the elite residents of one of the world’s poorest, most closed countries, and could be read as an attempt to keep ties with rivals Washington and Seoul from getting worse so he can try to turn around a miserable economy and further solidify his leadership.

    Leader of All, teh trum-prat, babbled into new areas of propaganda with no obvious coherent thought at all, to lift his image for the drooling mouth-breathers in the world’s largest Third World country (albeit the only one with nuclear weapons), and could be read as an attempt to insult anyone he hasn’t already insulted so he has another “reason” to press the button.

    “We will continue to work patiently to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional stability. But if invasive outsiders and provocateurs touch us even slightly, we will not be forgiving in the least and sternly answer with a merciless, holy war of justice,” said Kim.

    “Ah will bomb patients to negoiate — which I’m greeaaaat at! — to lead — which I’m greeaaaat at! — more money for me — which I’m greeaaaat at! — and reduce taxes by firing — which I’m greeaaaat at! — all. Everyone! Makes me — which I’m greeaaaat at! — American greeaaaat at again!” teh trum-prat burbled.

    While largely a repeat of the kind of propaganda that appears daily in state-controlled media, Kim’s words on state TV will be pored over by North Korea analysts for hints about the country’s intentions for the coming year.

    No-one has the foggest idea what teh trum-prat meant, including the teh trum-prat. When asked to clarify his remarks, he accused the reporter of lying, and after listening to a recording, said that was proof she had cooties and lied.

    […] Analysts say it is likely Kim wants a push for tangible diplomatic and economic achievements before a convention of the ruling Workers’ party in May, the party’s first since 1980, when he is widely expected to announce major state policies and shake up the country’s political elite to further consolidate his power.

    Tea-leaf readers say it is likely teh trum-prat wants to start some wars before his coronation at the thugs’s national convention, to somehow emphasize his expected decree that reality isn’t real. Attempts to understand the logic here are reported to have failed.

  282. blf says

    Unsurprisingly, it has happened, Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants use Donald Trump in recruiting film:

    The Islamist group al-Shabaab has released a recruitment film featuring the Republican frontrunner calling for Muslims to be banned from the US

    Somalia’s Islamist militant group al-Shabaab has used a clip of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump in its latest recruitment film.

    The group released a recruitment film in the form of a documentary [sic] about racial injustice in the United States featuring Trump’s recent call to ban all Muslims from the country […].

    Trump […] was shown in the 51-minute film making his case for America to ban all Muslims from the country as his supporters cheered.

    The footage of Trump appeared between two clips of militant leader Anwar al-Awlaki […] saying Muslims in the United States would face a choice between leaving for Islamic countries or staying at home to fight the West.


    Al-Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government and impose a strict version of sharia, […] has links to the international militant group al-Qaida and has carried out attacks in Kenya and Ethiopia.

    A few of the less-nutty comments:

    ● “One nut job provoking the the other nut jobs.
      “Still, with Saudi [Arabia] executing 47 yesterday [including] a Shia cleric, maybe the next recruitment film Shabbab can make will be about how wonderful the justice system is in that country. […]”

    ● “Well done Donald..your crass stupidity is now fomenting the very terrorism you are against..what an ignorant man you are.”

    ● “I wonder if he gets a kickback?”

  283. says

    blf, thanks for the analysis of the Trump-Prat in 306. Next we will hear Trump saying of Kim Jong-un, “Yes, but I am taller, a lot taller. I am yuuge, and my hair is more awesome. Having said that, Kim is a great guy, a really great guy.”

    The terrorist recruiting video featuring the Trumpster was inevitable. I’m surprised it took them so long. (Comment 307)

    In other news, proof of what we already knew:

    Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.

    Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. […]

    Associated Press link

  284. says

    There’s bad, damned bad and treason. Some would put this offense by Republican congress critters in the “treason” category.

    In a bombshell report from the Wall Street Journal, it is revealed that Israeli officials, including Bibi Netanyahu, bribed members of Congress to vote against the Iran deal. This information comes from the NSA program of surveillance on “friendly” countries. […]

    […] A U.S. intelligence official familiar with the intercepts said Israel’s pitch to undecided lawmakers often included such questions as: “How can we get your vote? What’s it going to take?” […]

    Daily Kos link

  285. says

    Here’s a Talking Points Memo link for Donald J. Trump’s cameo appearance in a terrorist recruiting video.

    […] The video is the second in a series of two Shabab recruitment videos highlighting American born jihadis fighting for the group in Somalia, according to the terrorist monitoring group SITE. The video features archival clips of Awlaki castigating the West and predicting that the United States will eventually turn on its Muslim population. This is followed by video of Trump’s December 7th rally in South Carolina, where he called for his now-notorious Muslim immigrant ban. […]

  286. says

    Who knew? The majority of judges in Utah’s justice court system do not have a law degree. Some judges do not seem to understand the constitution.

    The vast majority of court cases in Utah — including most criminal matters — are overseen by judges who may not have a law degree or license. […]

    […] proposing legislation to clear the way for such reform — a step that would require amending the Utah Constitution, which now bars the Legislature or courts from requiring justice court judges to be licensed attorneys.

    Utah district courts, which handle all felony cases and the most serious misdemeanors, are run by judges who must have degrees and backgrounds in law. But it’s a different story in justice courts, where a majority of judges — 54 of 98 — are not lawyers. […]

    Needless to say, most of those judges are also mormons. They get the job via an old-mormon-boy nomination network that perpetuates a flawed system.

    In the Utah justice system, things work out poorly for poor people.

    […] two reports recently released by the Utah Judicial Council [look] at problems in the state’s legal defense for poor people.

    A report prepared by the Sixth Amendment Center, found numerous cases where defendants’ constitutional rights to an attorney were blatantly, if unintentionally, violated.

    In one example, a young woman in a rural justice court was sentenced to jail without being offered the right to counsel because she admitted to drug use and the judge said she needed mental-health treatment for depression.

    In another case, a defendant in an urban justice court asked for an attorney, saying he couldn’t afford one. The judge told him if he pleaded guilty he would suspend the 90-day jail sentence, “so I can’t give you an attorney at taxpayer expense.” The report pointed out that that denial of counsel was illegal because if the defendant violated terms of his probation, including failing to pay the $300 fine, he could land in jail. […]

  287. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness: a dating site, “,” that is based in Utah does not let users search for gay partners, but does allow users to search for polygamous partners.
    Salt Lake Tribune link

    91% of the people who live in Utah are white, so they already meet mostly other white people.

    Not necessarily political, but definitely indicative of the prevailing culture in Utah, a culture that seeps into politics at every level.

  288. says

    Hmmm, Chris Christie seems to be following in LePage’s bigoted-against-poor-people footsteps. (See comment 288 for the LePage story). Christie is going to make it impossible for some New Jersey residents to get food stamps.

    About 11,000 New Jersey residents are set to lose their food stamps after Gov. Chris Christie (R)’s administration said it won’t seek any waivers from the program’s work requirements.

    Since 2009, state governors have been encouraged to get waivers from the federal government for the requirement that able-bodied, childless adults work at least 20 hours a week to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, thanks to a weak economy where jobs have been scarce. […]

    Christie and other governors can seek county and municipal waivers for the areas in their states that still have struggling job markets. Forty-two cities, counties, and townships in New Jersey will qualify as “Labor Surplus Areas” in 2016, according to the Department of Labor, meaning that there are too many job seekers for the number of available jobs. […]

    Now those who had been getting food stamps thanks to the waiver will have three months to meet the work requirements in order to keep receiving the benefit. Unlike many other safety net programs, spending time searching for a job won’t count, so anyone who can’t find employment or a spot in a training program will automatically be cut off. […]

    […] unemployed, able-bodied, childless adults on SNAP have an average gross income of just $2,200 a year for an individual. Their job prospects are also limited, as they are more likely than others who receive food stamps to lack basic skills like reading, writing, and math.

  289. says

    Donald Trump is trashing Hillary Clinton with coded references to her age and gender (Trump is near the same age as Clinton — he is 69, she is 68), and with a new message that she is weak and lacks stamina. If Hillary Clinton’s stint as Secretary of State, her full campaign schedule, and the 11-hour Benghazi testimony marathon have shown us, it is that Hillary Clinton has stamina.

    Nonetheless, here is Trump in his fact-free zone:

    […] “She’ll do a couple of minutes in Iowa, meaning a short period of time. And then she goes home,” the GOP presidential front-runner said in Davenport, Iowa, a few weeks ago, as his attention turned to those areas. “You don’t see her for five or six days. She goes home, goes to sleep. I’m telling you. She doesn’t have the strength. She doesn’t have the stamina.” [….]

    “I think that my words represent toughness and strength. Hillary’s not strong. Hillary’s weak, frankly. She’s got no stamina; she’s got nothing,” the billionaire said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “She couldn’t even get back on the stage last night.” […]

    That last comment is a reference to the fact Hillary took longer to return to the debate stage than did her male counterparts. Fact: Clinton’s top aide let someone else into the bathroom, so the room was not free when Clinton showed up during the break. Clinton also had to walk further from the stage to the bathroom than the guys did. And, yes, it may take her more time to rearrange her clothing after peeing. Trump’s obsession with this is weird.

    “Hillary is a person who doesn’t have the strength or the stamina, in my opinion, to be president,” Trump told ABC’s “This Week.” “She doesn’t have strength or stamina. She’s not a strong enough person to be president.”[…]

    “She’s even lower-energy than Jeb Bush,” he told a South Carolina crowd on Wednesday. […]

    Washington Post link

    Yeah, Trump, we get it. You think you’ve hit on the perfect anti-Hillary campaign strategy. Fecking stupid, in my opinion.

    Just some of the facts:

    […] as the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary approach, her trail schedule is kicking into high gear. In the first week of 2016, Clinton has three New Hampshire events, five Iowa events and two appearances in Nevada in the space of four days. […]

    Clinton’s campaign released her medical fitness report, which shows her healthy.

  290. says

    Bernie Sanders continues to get a lot of grassroots support.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $33 million in the final quarter of 2015, bringing his total for the year to $73 million, according to a release sent out by his campaign on Saturday.

    More than 1 million individuals donated more than 2.5 million times to the Vermont senator’s campaign for the Democratic nomination, according to the release, with Sanders ending 2015 with $28 million cash on hand. Sanders’ campaign touted its outreach efforts to small donors, with an average donation of $27.16. […]

    Politico link

  291. blf says

    Teh trum-prat burbles again, Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is ‘constantly playing the woman card’:

    Republican frontrunner says such comments are ‘only way’ Democratic rival — who ‘caused tremendous death’ as secretary of state — can get elected

    Donald Trump has taken another shot at Hillary Clinton, [babbling]: “She’s constantly playing the woman card. It’s the only way she may get elected.”

    The [eejit] also said Clinton […] had during her time as secretary of state in the Obama administration “caused tremendous death with incompetent decisions” regarding the Middle East.

    “And all of this has led to Isis,” he said. “All of this has led to the migration. All of this has led to tremendous death and destruction. And she, for the most part, was in charge of it, along with Obama.”

    Never mind that both Bush I and (especially) Bush ][, started pointless wars (plural) in the region. Or the valid criticism of Obama (and probably also Clinton), extrajudical execution-by-drone.

    “She is pandering to the public,” Trump continued [She is pandering? Geesh! –blf]. “And she’s pandering to women. And when she did it with me, she talked about sexist. And I said, ‘Me?’ I have more respect for women by far than Hillary Clinton has. And I will do more for women than Hillary Clinton will. I will do far more, including the protection of our country.”

    Excuse me while I vomit-up my lunch…
    NO, you, Donald Jackarse Trump, do not have any “respect for women”: You have a weird fixation on your daughter, female reproductive cycles, toilets, and are patently unable to comprehend that a woman is completely capable of being smarter than you, more competent than you, and does not carry cooties.

    There is a lot of further stoopidity but I am too enraged right now to excerpt…

  292. blf says

    Fruitcakes spouting rotten fruitpeas, Norquist declares Star Wars on Obama: ‘Darth Vader supports gun control’:

    Grover Norquist comes out against proposed executive actions […]

    The anti-tax activist [sic] Grover Norquist has waded into controversy over President Obama’s attempt to bypass Congress on gun control, with an invocation of Star Wars’ evil empire.

    On Saturday, Norquist tweeted: “To understand what Obama wants in our future{…} Watch the Star Wars movies and imagine that only the storm troopers have guns.”

    The day before, Obama said he would meet attorney general Loretta Lynch on Monday to discuss the use of executive actions as a way to bypass the Republican-controlled Congress and tackle “our epidemic of gun violence”.


    But where the prospect of executive actions gives a new hope to supporters of gun control reform, gun rights advocates see only the empire striking back.

    Faced with an angry internet reaction to his first tweet on Saturday, Norquist asked: “Why does Obama rant about gun control? We could solve 2/3 of gun deaths by outlawing suicide. Let’s try that first.”

    Interesting, the c.67% number seems to be correct-ish (this surprised me): According to Ye Pfffft! Of All Knowledge, “in 2013, firearms [… caused] 11,208 deaths by homicide [and] 21,175 by suicide”. Even so, if “outlawing suicide” (and taken at face value, how the feck would that work ?) worked, that still leaves roughly twelve thousand gun-assisted murders. In ONE year. EVERY year.

  293. says

    This is a followup to comment 292.

    A continuation of the Bundy/Militia occupation of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas in Oregon.
    Rolling Stone link

    Here are some additional details about the stand off in Oregon:

    […] The building seized by the militants is at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge — a remote, marshy oasis in Oregon’s high desert famed for its spectacular migratory bird populations. The standoff is in the remote southeast of the state — far closer to the Nevada line (124 miles) and Boise, Idaho (217 miles), than to Portland (305 miles). The closest city is Burns, Oregon, population 2,800, 30 miles to the north. […]

    The ranchers, Dwight Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son Steve, 43, were convicted of federal arson charges, stemming from a pair or fires on federal land near their ranch. The first was reportedly set in 2001 to cover up their illegal poaching of a deer on government property. It burned 139 acres. The second was reportedly set in 2006 as a defensive measure, to protect the ranch from an approaching lightning-sparked wildfire. That arson reportedly endangered volunteer firefighters camped nearby. The government would seek $1 million in damages. […]

    The ranchers’ case became a cause celebre in the patriot/militia movement because the pair were sentenced for their arson crimes under a provision of a law called the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. […]

    The federal law in question doesn’t just deal with terrorism. It created a five-year mandatory-minimum sentence for arson on federal land: “Whoever maliciously damages or destroys… by means of fire…any…real property…owned or possessed by…the United States…shall be imprisoned for not less than 5 years…”

    The first federal judge to handle the case concluded that the mandatory sentence was too stiff and gave the pair far lighter sentences, which they served. But the U.S. attorney in the case called foul; the federal government took the rare step of appealing the sentence. In October 2015, the Ninth Circuit imposed the mandatory minimum, ruling that: “given the seriousness of arson, a five-year sentence is not grossly disproportionate to the offense.” […]

    But this odd re-sentencing, under a statute that makes it sound like the cattlemen were being prosecuted for terrorism, inflamed the paranoid passions of the anti-government patriot and militia movements, and brought the militants to Burns for a rally […]

    Ammon Bundy [declared] “We have basically taken over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And this will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come and be housed here and to live here. And we’re planning on staying here for several years.” Calling his group “the point of the spear,” Ammon Bundy called on like-minded militants to “bring your arms.” […]

    […] another Bundy son, Ryan, laid out the militants’ demands: that the Hammonds be released and that the surrounding federal lands be ceded to local control. […]

  294. says

    This is what Trump said:

    Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!

    This is what Bernie Sanders said:

    I think, you know, we have enormous problems facing this country and I think we have got more things to worry about than Bill Clinton’s sexual life.

  295. says

    This is a followup to comments 292 and 318.

    A bunch of white guys with guns seize a federal building. How does the media describe them? “Peaceful.”

    These white guys, led by Ammon (a mormon name from The Book of Mormon) Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, said they were willing to kill and to be killed. Doesn’t sound “peaceful” to me.

    […] Observers pointed out that a group of armed men pledging to use violence to defend their anti-government views could more accurately be described as domestic terrorist actors. […]


  296. says

    Ah, yes, More news on Hillary Clinton’s bathroom break during the last Democratic debate.

    Turns out she had to walk about two minutes to get to the bathroom. Could have something to do with the fact that 83% of registered architects are male.

  297. blf says

    Could have something to do with the fact that 83% of registered architects are male.

    Possibly. Probably, even. However, I suspect another factor is the Uniform Building Code (UBC), which is a set of guidelines designed to be incorporated by reference into building codes / laws (with local modifications (e.g., extra earthquake measures in, say, California)). Whilst my knowledge of the UBC is now mostly from memory and decades-old, as I recall it did not require “equal access” to toilets, only a certain ratio of male:female toilets (I have no recollection of the number, other than female toilets outnumbered male toilets).

    As far as I can recall, the UBC said nothing about female toilets being as easy/quick-to-reach as male toilets, or visa-versa. So whilst there might be, say, a minimum of 2.5 female toilets per male toilets, the male toilets could be a five second stroll whilst the female toilets could be a five minute stroll out the back in the freezing rain.

    The UBC is, overall, quite a good thing. But reoccuring problems, especially across state-lines, quite possibly have one origin in the UBC. On the other hand, since it is designed to be incorporated by reference, updates/fixes to the UBC theoretically, “automagically”, become law (or at least current). I have no idea how often the UBC is updated, nor the process by which it is updated.

  298. says

    More on the white guys who seized a federal building in Oregon:

    “I didn’t come here to shoot I came here to die.”#bundymilitia, (will ID only as “Capt. Moroni”) </blockquote.

    Yeah, that's right, "Moroni" is from The Book of Mormon. Also the name of angel atop the Salt Lake Temple.

  299. says

    This is international political news: Saudi Arabia is severing diplomatic ties with Iran.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says his country is severing diplomatic ties with Iran amid spiking tensions over the execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric.

    Al-Jubeir said late Sunday evening that Iranian diplomatic personnel had 48 hours to leave the country and all Saudi diplomatic personnel in Iran were being recalled home.

    Demonstrators in Tehran broke into the Saudi Embassy early Sunday morning to protest the execution of Shiekh Nimr al-Nimr, a leader of the country’s Shiite minority.

    Iranian officials harshly condemned the execution, with Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying that Saudi Arabia would face “divine retribution.”

    The ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and Shiite powerhouse Iran have waged a bitter struggle for regional power for years. The two countries each back opposing sides in civil wars in Yemen and in Syria. […]

    These guys are getting their feelings hurt way to easily. They are not yet at war directly (though they are by proxy), but they look like they want to bite each other’s head off.

  300. says

    Trump said some more stupid stuff:

    Hillary Clinton said that it is O.K. to ban Muslims from Israel by building a WALL, but not O.K. to do so in the U.S. We must be vigilant!

    18% of Israeli citizens are Muslims.

  301. blf says

    More on Saudi Arabia’s attempts to start a war, Saudi Arabia cuts diplomatic ties with Iran after Nimr execution (see @307 and @325):

    Riyadh [Saudi Arabia] gives Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave after two days of protest and the burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran follow death of Shia cleric

    Saudi Arabia says it will cut diplomatic relations with Iran in a sharp escalation of tensions between the two regional foes following the execution of the Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told a news conference that Iran’s diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave. He said Riyadh would not allow the Islamic republic to undermine the Sunni kingdom’s security.

    The move on Sunday evening comes after two days of outrage among Shia communities across the Middle East and in south Asia at the death of Nimr, a prominent critic of the Saudi and Bahraini monarchies, whose cause as a prisoner since 2012 had been championed by Tehran and the United Nations. It signals a further hardening of Riyadh’s position towards Iran, with which it is locked in a bitter battle for regional influence.

    Muslim leaders had stepped up their condemnation of the execution of Nimr on Sunday, urging a robust response from Riyadh’s western backers, as protests spread to Pakistan and Indian Kashmir. Anger remained palpable on the streets of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and in Bahrain and Baghdad, hours after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was set ablaze by protesters angered by the execution of the senior cleric. […]

    [… I]n what appeared to be a move to calm tension, the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said the attack on the Saudi embassy was unjustifiable, and urged the capture of the perpetrators. “I have no doubt that the Saudi government has damaged its image, more than before, among the countries in the world […],” Rouhani said.


    Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Saudi’s western backers to condemn the execution, which came three years after Nimr’s arrest over his vocal support for anti-government protests in Bahrain and in Riyadh.


    The Iranian leader criticised “the silence of the supposed backers of freedom, democracy and human rights” over the execution. “Why are those who claim to support human rights quiet? Why do those who claim to back freedom and democracy support this government?”

    The UK’s Treasury secretary [… was] the most senior UK figure to react to the execution, claiming al-Nimr’s death was a “worrying development”. The US State Department had earlier said the move risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”.


    The execution took place despite pleas for clemency delivered personally by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. “Sheikh Nimr and a number of the other prisoners executed had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process,” Ban’s spokesman said.


    Saudi officials had been convinced that Nimr was a central figure in attempts to stir dissent among the country’s Shia minority, which makes up about 15% of the population and is viewed by Riyadh as being a subversive threat, urged on by the Iranian leadership.

    Kill the leaders of an oppressed minority, and rely on your friends to cover-up the tyranny. Monarchy as usual.

  302. says

    Now that three of Cliven Bundy’s sons are involved in the armed occupation of a federal building in Oregon, let’s take a look back at the Repbulicans who supported Cliven Bundy when he refused to pay grazing fees to the federal government.

    Buddy’s supporters included:
    Rand Paul
    Ted Cruz
    Ben Carson

    Donald Trump almost supported Bundy: “I like him, I like his spirit, his spunk and the people that are so loyal…I respect him. He’s in a great position to cut a great deal and I think that’s what he should do.”

    Buddy returned the favor by supporting Trump for president.

    “He certainly wouldn’t be supporting Donald Trump if he didn’t believe in him,” said Jerry DeLemus, a Republican activist in New Hampshire best known for his support of rogue Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who officially became a Trump supporter over the weekend and called Lewandowski a “really decent man.”

    Politico link

    Mike Huckabee sort of supported Bundy.

    “There is something wrong when a government believes that some blades of grass that a cow is eating is so…an egregious affront to the government of the United States that we would literally put a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him over it,” Huckabee said, drawing applause from the crowd.

    Republicans who opposed Bundy:
    Jeb Bush
    Marco Rubio

  303. says

    I see that autocorrect changed a lot of “Bundy” spellings to “Buddy” in my posts above. Sorry I didn’t catch that and make corrections.

    In another update to the militia takeover of a federal facility in Oregon, we take a look at the “Goodbye” videos made by some of the militia members. Link

    Additional link

    YouTube link
    Militiaman Jon Ritzheimer sheds some tears in his video.

  304. dianne says

    Donald Trump almost supported Bundy: “I like him, I like his spirit, his spunk and the people that are so loyal…I respect him. He’s in a great position to cut a great deal and I think that’s what he should do.”

    So Trump advocates negotiating with terrorists. Good to know.

    Also, it’s a sad, sad day when Jeb Bush is looking like the rational one.

  305. says

    Jeb Bush “looking like the rational one” is not only sad, but it will sink Jeb’s campaign for president even lower. His campaign is already sunk.

    More on Ted Cruz and his support for people like Bundy:

    In his 2015 memoir “A Time for Truth,” Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) described how he and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) bonded over the issue before Cruz began running for the Senate.

    “There is no reason for the federal government to own huge portions of any state,” Cruz recalled. “Mike pointed out to me that the value of all that federal land was roughly $14 trillion. At the time, the national debt also happened to be $14 trillion. That suggested to us an obvious and elegant solution for eliminating the debt and moving as much land as possible — other than national parks — into private hands.”

    What Ammon Bundy said:

    At Sunday’s news conference, Ammon Bundy said the refuge’s creation was “an unconstitutional act,” one that removed local ranchers from their lands, thrusting the county into an economic depression.

    In a video interview with reporters on Saturday that was posted on his Facebook page, Ammon Bundy said the group is standing up against government “overreach” because “the people have been abused long enough.”

    Land use bills that are similar have shown up all over the western states. It’s not just Mike Lee of Utah that backs the idea of taking large swaths of land out of the hands of the federal government. You will not be surprised to hear that all the bills are similar because they were written by the doofuses running the “American Lands Council.” That’s an organization backed by the Koch Brothers front group, Americans for Prosperity. By “prosperity” they mean income for themselves and for other extractive industries.

    Mining, oil and large ranching companies are looking for profits. They already reap a lot of profit from taking advantage of fairly lax regulations governing the use of public lands. As is their way, they want more profits and less regulation.

    Michele Fiori, the Nevada Republican state Assemblywoman that issued a christmas card featuring everyone in her family armed to the teeth, introduced bill AB 408. That bill demands that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) relinquish management of all lands in Nevada and it goes on to say “Washington has no say in any land and water rights discussion, […].”

    Most of the above text was cross posted to the “Business as Usual” thread.

  306. says

    Here are some excerpts from President Obama’s weekly address:

    […] Seven years ago, our businesses were losing 800,000 jobs a month. They’ve now created jobs for 69 straight months, driving the unemployment rate from a high of 10% down to 5%.

    Seven years ago, too many Americans went without health insurance. We’ve now covered more than 17 million people, dropping the rate of the uninsured below 10% for the very first time. […]

    Seven years ago, there were only two states in America with marriage equality. And now there are 50. […]

    Last month, we remembered the third anniversary of Newtown. […]

    And yet Congress still hasn’t done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families. Three years ago, a bipartisan, commonsense bill would have required background checks for virtually everyone who buys a gun. Keep in mind, this policy was supported by some 90% of the American people. It was supported by a majority of NRA households. But the gun lobby mobilized against it. And the Senate blocked it. […]

    A few months ago, I directed my team at the White House to look into any new actions I can take to help reduce gun violence. […] share my belief that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms; and who share my belief we can protect that right while keeping an irresponsible, dangerous few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.

    And, of course you knew this was coming, Donald Trump said something stupid about President Obama’s planned executive orders to make gun control more effective.

    There’s an assault on the Second Amendment. You know Obama’s going to do an executive order and really knock the hell out of it,” Trump said. “You know, the system’s supposed to be you get the Democrats, you get the Republicans, and you make deals. He can’t do that. He can’t do that. So he’s going to sign another executive order having to do with the Second Amendment, having to do with guns. I will veto. I will unsign that so fast.”

    Trump also claimed that President Obama doesn’t want to work too hard on gun legislation, that Obama would rather play golf.

    One of Obama’s goals is to expand background checks on gun sales. That seems doable.

  307. says

    Some Wisconsin Republicans make no sense at all … unless you consider the fact that they seriously want to reduce the number of people who are allowed to vote. First they passed a law that required a photo ID card to vote; now they want to pass a law that local governments cannot issue those photo ID cards. WTF?

    Wisconsin Republicans are pushing state legislation that would block local governments from issuing voter ID cards […]

    Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo are floating a proposal that would bar cities and villages from issuing any photo ID card […] It also would require that any ID issued by local governments to state clearly that it does not meet the state’s voter ID requirements. Nor can local government IDs be used for any public benefits program, under the proposal.

    Oh, I see. It’s a twofer. You don’t allow people to vote and you also make it much harder for them to receive public benefits like food stamps. Cool. /sarcasm

    The memo being circulated claims that the legislation would prevent fraud […]

    The legislation appears to be a direct response to a program in the works in the Milwaukee area that would fund the issuance of a photo ID for residents to use when seeking health care, obtaining library cards and setting up bank accounts. The local IDs are meant for Milwaukee’s immigrant and homeless populations, as well as victims of domestic violence, runaway youths and transgender people who also face obstacles obtaining state IDs. […]

    “While it’s regrettable that Republicans deny marginalized people food and health care, they also know that Milwaukee IDs will not prove eligibility for safety net programs either — don’t worry, they’ll still be hungry,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, told the Journal Sentinel. “The Milwaukee ID program is a great example of a local government responding to grass-roots voices and stepping in to provide basic services to constituents when the state and federal government have failed to do so.”

  308. says

    This is a cross post from the Business As Usual thread.

    Ammon Bundy told local Oregon media that there were 150 armed people at the wildlife refuge center. Reporters who have been near the facility say that Bundy is exaggerating wildly, that he is claiming about ten times the actual number of people holed up there.

    There are also reports that Bundy tried to recruit local men to join his group, but that he was rebuffed.

    And this is a followup to raven’s comments up-thread about ranchers paying grazing fees:

    There are about 16,000 American ranchers who graze animals on BLM lands. Only 458 of them have not paid their grazing fees for use of that land. Even among those delinquents, the vast majority are two months or less past due on their fees, which are $1.35 per animal per day. Scofflaws like Cliven Bundy, who has racked up a debt of over $1 million to taxpayers from unpaid grazing fees and subsequent trespassing fines, are extremely rare.


  309. says

    Donald Trump is running TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ads are disgusting and stupid.

    […] “He’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on,” a narrator states in the television spot. “He’ll quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil. And he’ll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on the southern border that Mexico will pay for.”

    As the narrator speaks, images of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California terror attack flash in the background, followed by images of what appear to be masked terrorists standing in front of Arabic lettering and an aerial shot of people running across what could be the U.S.-Mexico border. The ad closes with Trump shouting at one of his rallies, “We will make America great again.”

    The ad, expected to hit the airwaves this week, will air in Iowa and New Hampshire ahead of the Iowa caucuses next month as the presidential primary season heats up. […]

  310. says

    Cross posted from the Business as Usual thread.

    The Bundy’s, Senator Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and the Koch Brothers don’t really have a case when it comes to claiming that public lands should be removed from federal government control.

    […] The Constitution provides that “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” Moreover, the Supreme Court unanimously held in Kleppe v. New Mexico, that this constitutional provision provides that “the power over the public land thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations.”

    The federal government may own land, it may enact regulations governing that land, and it may do with its own land as it chooses, regardless of whether that land is within the borders of a state.

    Indeed, even the Heritage Foundation, the bastion of conservative purity led by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), rejects Bundy’s apparent belief that the federal government cannot criminalize arson on its own land. […]


    Bundy’s interpretation of the Constitution is wrong. He also does not have a Supreme Court precedent to back him up. What he does have are a lot of radical fringe groups:
    – The Tenth Amendment Center (states can invalidate federal laws)
    – Americans for Prosperity (Koch brothers)
    – OathKeepers
    – Fox News, especially Sean Hannity and so-called “senior judicial analyst” Andrew Napolitano

    Meanwhile, most Republican candidates are being shyer about jumping on the Bundy bandwagon this time. They got burned after the Nevada incident when Cliven Bundy stated that blacks where better off as slaves.

    Ted Cruz did manage to blame the Oregon standoff on President Obama: “[This is the] unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on.”

  311. blf says

    From Trump to Clinton, the race for the White House is powered by delusion:

    With the presidential primaries only weeks away, both political factions have their head in the clouds

    We have reached the point of the long presidential primaries where some clarity has normally been reached. After several months of overproduced TV debates, over-hyped candidate interviews and over-examined polls, the first votes are just one month away. Several candidates have already dropped out of the race; several more donors and hacks have either jumped or been pushed out the window. As George W Bush liked to say, it’s voting time.

    But instead of clarity, the invisible primaries of this cycle — the phoney war phase — have brought us to a state of delusion. The chief culprit is Trumpmania […]

    Delusion lies at the very heart of Trump’s appeal. His crowds want to believe that their country hasn’t and isn’t changing. […]

    Trumpmaniacs hold their opinions truly, madly, deeply — and without any foundation in reality. They are the inheritors of what used to be a reactionary fringe of American conservatism. They are the modern-day version of George Wallace’s segregationists in Alabama; of the anti-international kooks of the John Birch Society; of Ross Perot’s anti-trade campaigners in the 90s; of Pat Buchanan’s anti-establishment “peasants with pitchforks”; of the anti-Obama Tea Party movement.

    The problem is that their views no longer position them on the reactionary fringe of the Republican party. Given the positional and tonal overlap between three of the top Republican candidates — Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson — the Trumpmaniacs represent almost two-thirds of the Republican party’s voters today. Their rise has tipped the formerly rational leadership of the conservative movement [Eh? –blf] into the kind of disbelief that is clouding its own judgment. For months, the pundits and political establishment have insisted — against all the polling data — that Trump simply cannot win the Republican nomination.


    But delusion also fogs the Democratic view of the landscape. Many Democrats watch smugly as Hillary Clinton holds the centre ground of American politics. After all, her unlikely challenge from the Senate’s sole socialist, Bernie Sanders, is now dying in Iowa and struggling in New Hampshire.

    Many of those Democrats mistake the weakness of the rest of the field as proof of the strength of the former secretary of state. […]

    Turnout will be key for Clinton, and apathy — or downright disbelief — remains her greatest opponent. She will need the Democratic abuelas [Latino grandmothers] and the party’s African-American base to show up in numbers sufficient to swamp what is now overwhelmingly the Republican support base: of white voters without a college education.

    This is why Clinton’s best political friends are Trump and Obama: for both, in different ways, can drive minority voters to the polls — and towards a Democrat ticket — much more effectively than she can. […]

    The abuelas is reference to a Clinton stunt that backfired: “Clinton has styled herself as a compassionate grandmother, but the reaction has not been warm and cuddly. Her media team targeted Latino voters last month with a listicle about the seven ways the no-nonsense former diplomat was just like your abuela.

    “The result was multiple postings from real Latinos about how she was nothing like their grandmother, along with the hashtag #NotMyAbuela.”

  312. blf says

    Oregon militia [sic] occupying wildlife refuge aims to overthrow government, says sheriff:

    Harney County sheriff speaks of ‘alternative motives’ while Ammon Bundy’s group puts away firearms to convince media it is civil rights issue

    On the second day of its armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Bundy militia shifted tactics. From a state of lockdown it moved to a charm offensive, inviting a small media contingent inside its redoubt, with warm smiles and waves.

    The local sheriff was not convinced.

    “These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Sheriff David Ward said in a statement, “when in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”


    The journalists [Ammon Bundy] spoke to had driven the 30 miles (48km) from Burns through heavy snowfall. Greeting them, Bundy was accompanied by a man who would identify himself only as his bodyguard. A few others lingered. There were no guns in sight.

    Everything was calculated to project an image of calm and reason and the absence of any threat. Just after 11am, Bundy opened his media conference.

    “Your role is very important,” he said. “We do believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that the American people have a right to know what’s going on.”

    For Bundy, the re-sentencing and re-imprisonment of Steven and Dwight Hammond is simply a civil rights issue; his armed militia members are simply civil rights protectors. The Hammonds were persecuted by the federal government, he said, because they refused to “sell their ranch so it can be added to the Malheur wildlife refuge”.


    Nevertheless, the sunshine policy turned out to go only so far. Bundy confirmed that fire observation towers at the refuge were now occupied by marksmen, for “safety”, and said he was “absolutely” prepared to use force if he thought the situation warranted it.

    In his statement, Sheriff Ward said he was working with local and federal authorities to keep citizens safe and to quickly and peacefully resolve the situation. He asked people to stay away from the refuge, but did not think any other parts of the county were in immediate danger.

    At the refuge, Bundy admitted that only “a small percentage” of the still unknown number of militia members on site were from Harney County, but said locals were offering support and supplies.


    “Harney County at one time was the wealthiest county in the state,” Bundy said. “Because the federal government came in and blocked access to resources, it fell into economic depression. We intend to reverse that.”

    In discussions about the decline of areas formerly dependent on ranching and logging, the federal government makes a convenient scapegoat. On Sunday, no one was present to tell a more difficult and complex story.


    He would not say what his end goal was, except to return the land to “ranching, trucks and recreational vehicles like it used to be”.

    Asked if law enforcement officials had communicated with his men, he said: “No, not since we made this stand.” Anyone who was not a law enforcement official would be able to access the refuge, he said, while the militia were there.

    “This is your land. Although it makes it complicated for us, we are not about restricting.”

    The article ends with what the loon says is how gubermint works: “The federal government’s job is to protect the states from the outside world. The states’ job is to protect the counties from the federal government. The counties’ job is to protect the people from the states.” Ah yes, ye olde county sheriff trumps all fantasy. Slightly awkward then the local sheriff is calling this an armed rebellion.

  313. says

    This is funny. There’s such a strong mormon connection to the standoff in Oregon that LDS church leaders felt they had to issue a public statement distancing themselves from the Bundy fiasco.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out against the militant takeover of a federal building in rural, eastern Oregon in a statement issued Monday.

    “Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles,” the Mormon Church’s statement read. “This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis.” […]


  314. says

    This is a useful article about the history white supremacist movements and the fascist “Silver Shirts” movement in Oregon.

    […] As Daniel Levitas explains in “The Terrorist Next Door,” his 2002 book on the history of the militia movement, the ideology of today’s antigovernment extremists is built on the ideas first formulated by William Potter Gale, a racist and anti-Semitic California preacher who argued in the 1960s and 1970s that local “posses,” under the leadership of a county sheriff, hold the true law enforcement power in the country and must resist an oppressive federal government. But Gale’s ideas really took off when they were plagiarized and distributed by Mike Beach, a former member of the fascist “Silver Shirts” movement living in Oregon. […]

    This background goes a long way toward explaining the standoffs that took place earlier at a gold mine in Oregon, as well as the current support from some Oregonians for the Bundy show.

  315. says

    It never ends. More rightwing whackos are claiming that the takeover of a federal building in Oregon is a “false flag” event. And President Obama, George Soros and the Southern Poverty Law Center and being this conspiracy.

    […] In a message today, Alex Jones of InfoWars warned that government agents and plants sponsored by George Soros and the Southern Poverty Law Center have infiltrated militia groups in order to launch “false flags” that pave the way for martial law.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, don’t let Obama be successful when it comes to starting civil unrest and riots in this country,” Jones said. “They will use that as a civil emergency to bring in a type of soft martial law.” […]

    Jones said that while the Bundy family, whose members are among the leaders of the Oregon effort, has “legitimate issues” with the federal government, he suggested that their actions will only lead to more government power and “distract” from President Obama’s executive actions on guns.

    He said that “the timing of this now allows the whole debate to not be about the gun-grab, to not be about all the gun control, to not be about the victim disarmament, but to be about citizens with guns taking over buildings,” adding that the family the militia members are claiming to defend don’t even want them involved.

    “We are literally walking into their trap and you know there’s provocateurs there on the ground,” Jones added […]


  316. Saad says

    Sexist homophobe Ben Carson’s new campaign chairman wants women and gay people out of combat positions in military

    Ben Carson’s new campaign chairman, retired Major Gen. Robert F. Dees, says it’s time for the U.S. to reevaluate military policies like letting women serve in combat positions and allowing openly gay troops to serve.

    Carson is debuting his “reinvigorated” campaign after a holiday shakeup that included the departure of a handful of top advisers and new leadership, including the recently promoted Dees, who sat down with Carson for an interview Monday with CNN’s Jake Tapper at his Alexandria campaign headquarters.

    The retired Army major general has in the past been outspoken about the nation’s military, blasting “social engineering” he contends is degrading the national defense.

    Under President Barack Obama, the military has allowed gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military and opened up all combat positions to women — who were previously banned from serving in certain roles.

    Dees stood by his criticism Monday, saying “the military is designed to provide for the common defense of our nation.”

    “Everyone is not good at everything,” Dees said. “We have tried experiments within the military, such as the role of women in combat.”

    Dees said while “some women” could perform “certain tasks” in combat, “most” would not be able to carry a sizable male soldier off the battlefield if needed to save his life.

    “There are just certain realities where men can do certain things better, women can do certain things better,” Dees said. “We don’t need to throw everybody into every position as an experiment just because we’re trying to be appear to be fair to everyone.”

    As for gays and lesbians serving, Dees said the advice of military experts needs to be taken seriously, and he criticized Obama for disregarding input.

    “The first priority again is cohesion, and the second priority would be that the commander-in-chief listen to the best military advice,” Dees said. “The administration has said, ‘Do this, do this, do this,’ apart from military and defense considerations.”

    Carson did not say whether he shares Dees’ views, but did suggest he would consider revoking the Obama administration’s moves to open the military and combat roles to LGBT troops and women.

  317. says


    Dees said while “some women” could perform “certain tasks” in combat, “most” would not be able to carry a sizable male soldier off the battlefield if needed to save his life.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. There’s a fucktonne of men in the military who would not be able to carry a sizable soldier off the battlefield if necessary, either. That’s why two or three people would cooperate in carrying or dragging a person away. Golly, who would have ever thunk it.

  318. says

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s first television campaign commercial falsely portrays a Moroccan border as the one between Mexico and the US — but his camp insists that was done intentionally.

    “No sh*t it’s not the Mexican border but that’s what our country is going to look like,” campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told NBC News on Monday. “This was 1,000 percent on purpose.”

  319. says

    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Tuesday that his brother, George W. Bush, is still “very popular” and could join his struggling campaign.

    During Fox News interview, host Brian Kilmeade asserted that George W. Bush would be a good addition to the candidate’s list of surrogates because he is embraced by conservatives in the same way that Democrats are fond of former President Bill Clinton.

  320. says

    As expected rightwingers are frothing at the mouth over President Obama’s relatively modest changes to gun control laws (expanding background check regulations to include more gun sellers, beefing up enforcement of existing laws, more funds for mental health care).

    Trump erroneously claimed, “Pretty soon, you won’t be able to buy guns.”

    Paul Ryan called the executive actions, “a dangerous level of executive overreach.” (Worth noting: Ryan supported expanded background checks in 2013.)

    Representative John Culberson (Texas) said:

    The next twelve months will be an especially dangerous time for Americans who treasure our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

    I have formally notified Attorney General Lynch that I will aggressively protect our Second Amendment rights using Congress’ power of the purse. I notified the attorney general that if the Department of Justice attempted to create new restrictions on our Constitutional rights that I would use every tool at my disposal to immediately restrict their access to federal funding.

    The Hill link

    There’s no doubt that the next twelve months will be dangerous. More than 100,000 people per year in the USA are shot (a stat that includes suicides, murders, other assaults, etc.)

    Republicans are threatening to shut down the government over the expanded background checks. Seems kind of petty.

  321. says

    Ammon Bundy does like the federal government. We know because he told us. He also doesn’t like people mooching off the federal government, unless that person receiving benefits is him.

    Quite apart from the benefits his family has received from grazing cattle on public lands, Ammon Bundy has used other government services, services for which we the taxpayers footed the bill.

    Ammon Bundy runs a Phoenix-based company called Valet Fleet Services LLC, which specializes in repairing and maintaining fleets of semitrucks throughout Arizona. On April 15, 2010—Tax Day, as it happens—Bundy’s business borrowed $530,000 through a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program. The available public record does not indicate what the loan was used for or whether it was repaid. The SBA website notes that this loan guarantee was issued under a program “to aid small businesses which are unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace.” The government estimated that this subsidy could cost taxpayers $22,419. Bundy did not respond to an email request for comment about the SBA loan.

  322. says

    In comment 349, “Ammon Bundy does like the federal government” should be “Ammon Bundy does NOT like the federal government.” Apologies for the error.

  323. says

    Ah, yes, those dunderheads who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge look even worse when you dig into their past, including their recent past.

    Right wing radio host Pete Santilli acted as a spokesman Monday for the armed militia movement in rural, eastern Oregon in an interview with Fox News.

    “They’re here to enforce the supreme law of the land, which is the U.S. Constitution,” Santilli said an episode of Fox News’ afternoon program “Happening Now.”

    Santilli came under fire, including an investigation by the Secret Service, after he threatened to shoot former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “in the vagina” in 2013. […]

  324. says

    This is a followup to Caine’s comment 346.

    Trump’s posse is now saying that the footage of Morocco that was included in the ad was a mistake.

    One day after Republican Donald Trump’s campaign manager said using footage of Morocco in an ad about the U.S. border with Mexico was “1,000 percent on purpose,” the billionaire’s lawyer called the move a “mistake.”

    Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said on CNN Tuesday there’s “no doubt” someone made a mistake […]

    “I think the point is well taken that we have 2,000 miles of open border at the southern border and, well, whoever the person is I’m sure I’ll be sending them a letter very soon on behalf of Mr. Trump, but the bottom line is it’s the same thing,” Cohen told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “The point is that they’re coming through.”

    He went on: “Yeah, I’m going to have a conversation with whoever made the mistake – there’s no doubt about that – but the truth is people are pouring through our borders which are open.” […]

  325. says

    Rachel Maddow looked back at the 2012 Republican primary, focusing particularly on the few weeks when Donald Trump pretended to be running and when Trump topped all of the polls. This look at ultra fringe-ish rightwing birther Trump is scary and informative.

    2012 was not long ago.

    The video is 15:35 minutes and is the best roundup of the Trump-Prat’s modus operandi that I’ve seen.

  326. says

    Marco Rubio seriously dissed Senators and Congressmen.

    “I have missed votes this year,” Rubio said when asked about his voting record during an Iowa town hall. “You know why? Because while as a senator I can help shape the agenda, only a president can set the agenda. We’re not going to fix America with senators and congressmen.” […]

    In 2013, Rubio said:

    Whatever the administration says might be very interesting, but they’re not the lawmaker. I know that sometimes in the last few years we’ve lost focus on that in this country. Even the press and the way it covers the process has come to believe that somehow the president’s job is to create laws. That’s not the way the republic works. Lawmakers is the legislative branch — the House and the Senate. The president’s job is to either sign that law, veto it, or let it go into law without doing anything about it.

  327. says

    Paul Ryan, House Speaker, said a bunch of stupid stuff:

    From day one, the president has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding. He knows full well that the law already says that people who make their living selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of venue. Still, rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens. His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.

    No matter what President Obama says, his word does not trump the Second Amendment. We will conduct vigilant oversight. His executive order will no doubt be challenged in the courts. Ultimately, everything the president has done can be overturned by a Republican president, which is another reason we must win in November.

    Ryan went on to claim that President Obama made the gun control announcement most to offer “distractions from his failed record.”

  328. blf says

    Authorities plan to cut off power to militia [sic] at occupied Oregon refuge:

    Armed militants [note that: “Armed militants“, someone gets it –blf] will begin their third day at the wildlife refuge and have vowed to remain for months in protest at over the treatment of two local cattle ranchers

    Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that has been taken over by militia, exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out.


    A federal government official told the Guardian that authorities were planning on Monday to cut the power at the refuge.

    “It’s in the middle of nowhere,” said the official, who is based in Washington, DC, and has knowledge of the planned response to the militia. “And it’s flat-ass cold up there.”

    The official, who asked not to be named, said they were not privy to the FBI’s plan of action. However, they said the US Park Service, which is leading the crisis management reaction to the occupation in liaison with the FBI, planned to cut the power to the building where the militiamen are spending their nights.

    “After they shut off the power, they’ll kill the phone service,” the government official added. “Then they’ll block all the roads so that all those guys have a long, lonely winter to think about what they’ve done.”

    Snowstorms are expected in the wilderness surrounding the refuge on Tuesday […]. At night, temperatures are forecast to plummet to -8C (18F).

    The militia, numbering few more than a dozen, have been building fires to stay warm […]


    [Ammon] Bundy has repeatedly said the group is prepared for the long-haul. However during a tour of the site earlier in the day, the Guardian was shown a food storage room that did not look like it could sustain a dozen men for more than a few weeks.

    It included a cardboard box of apples and oranges, a few dozen pots of instant ramen, 24 cans of chicken noodle soup, a similar number of cans of sweetcorn, peas, beans and chili, and 20 boxes of macaroni and cheese.

    There were also three sacks of potatoes, one bag of flour, another of rolled oats, boxes of raisins, a single bag of pretzels and one granola bar.

    [… Meanwhile, t]he Hammonds [the arsonists –blf] surrendered to federal authorities on Monday for the start of an extended prison term.

    In an interview on Monday, Cliven Bundy distanced himself from the takeover of the federal parks building spearheaded by his sons.

    [… Cliven Bundy] said his sons researched the dispute involving the Hammonds for months[! giggles… –blf] before planning their protest. […]

    Brace yourself for the next bit. Put down any drinks or munchies. Fasten your seatbelt, and add extra padding to your forehead. Also, check to make sure you have a spare desk to replace the one you are about to headbash into very very small peices…

    Ok, ready? You sure? Well, Ok — don’t say you weren’t warned!

    Cliven Bundy said that as far as he knew, his sons weren’t armed. […]


    The Bundy brothers […] are known to have spent weeks in Burns in the lead-up to the protest in an attempt to drum-up support for a hardline protest, with limited success.

    There is little evidence of locals joining their occupation. Instead, they appear to have drawn a motley crowd of rightwingers.

    [… T]he militia includes Jon Ritzheimer, a former US marine and notorious anti-Muslim protester who has reportedly been on the radar of the FBI due to his incendiary online provocations.

  329. says

    From an article in The New Yorker:

    […] Harney County was largely Paiute land until the Civil War, and later settler pressure and violence eroded the tribe’s claim to lands that were nominally reserved to it. The age of settlement lasted a few generations in eastern Oregon, beginning with the bloody dispossession of indigenous peoples and ending with the rather gentle conclusion of federal privatization. […]

  330. says

    An excerpt from the warning that the birding community (and wildlife photographers) put out to Ammon Bundy and his ilk:

    […] For years those of us who are wildlife photographers, birdwatchers and carers of wildlife, have been documenting the activities of you poachers and criminals around many of our nation’s wildlife refuges. […] we have found and documented your illegal hunts, your illegal traps and all sorts of illicit activities, and are constantly feeding that information to law enforcement […]

    We have a just fear of nature from experience, but we don’t fear you gun-toting thugs in the least. You will never see us, but we and our cameras will always see you. We will #takebackmalheur from you terrorists, and will not rest until every one of you thugs and poachers is behind bars where they belong.

    You may think that your communities support you, but the majority do not and as many as support you, many more despise you, and your every move is being documented in great detail. The birding networks are ablaze right now about everything going on in Malheur. We know the nearby trailer park, who is supplying you with food, and a tourist boycott of them is already in the works for all birders for this upcoming bird season. We know who everyone is coming in and out, and why, and every shred of information is going straight to law enforcement and across every birding network in America. […]


  331. says

    Rightwing media certainly did not like to see President Obama’s tears during the speech about gun control.

    From Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros: “Check That Podium For Like A Raw Onion … It’s Not Really Believable”

    National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke: “All The Best Laws Are Made By People Who Can’t Control Their Emotions.”

    Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro: “HEADLINE: Obama Cries!!!!!!!1!!!! Give Him What He Wants!!!!!1!!!!”

    Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo: “Gotta Change Those Wet Pants.”

  332. says

    More rightwing reaction to Obama’s speech about gun control.

    Fox’s Andrea Tantaros: “Essentially, this is a congressional law professor holding a pep rally over the torching of the U.S. Constitution.”

    Glenn Beck:

    Now, if you’re a gun owner and you know that the government is going to find out that your son or daughter or you or your wife, they’re going in for medication for depression or whatever, and you know that once that’s reported, the government will come in and take your guns, how many people are going to say, ‘No, no, no, let’s not go to a doctor.’

    You’re going to see depression, suicide and everything else skyrocket. Think of the things now that this is going to create black markets for. Black market doctors; this will become back alley medicine for people with depression, people with kids who are having problems, they will look for doctors who will not report anything. This is nuts. Absolutely nuts. […]


  333. says

    Some rightwing politicians and activists are advocating violence against the judge who ruled in the Oregon case against the Hammonds.

    [Gordon] Klingenschmitt, the Colorado state representative/televangelist/demon-hunter/exorcist/conspiracy theorist, shared a post on his Facebook page suggesting that the judge presiding over the Hammons’ case is guilty of treason and should be hanged.


  334. blf says

    MPs to debate banning Donald Trump from UK:

    Parliamentary hearing triggered by 560,000-signature petition after Republican presidential candidate called for US to bar Muslims

    MPs are to debate calls for […] Donald Trump to be banned from the UK following his controversial comments about Muslims, after more than half a million people signed a petition.

    The government signalled last month that it would not refuse Trump entry after he was widely criticised for saying that Muslims should be banned from entering the US.

    However, the call for the sanction to be imposed on the businessman will now at least have a hearing in parliament after the House of Commons petitions committee announced on Tuesday that it was scheduling a session in Westminster Hall on 18 January.

    More than 560,000 people have signed the petition demanding the billionaire businessman be barred. Politicians will also discuss a separate petition opposing such a ban, even though it only gained about 40,000 signatures — well below the 100,000 threshold for triggering a debate. [I read that as a signal its already been decided teh trum-prat won’t be banned. Deciding the results of debates in advance is UK-government-as-usual… –blf]

    I myself wonder if there is a case for putting teh trum-prat on the “no-fly” list?
    I abhor that list — or at least how it is operated (totally in secret, with no way to find out if a person is on it, why a person is on it, or how to get off it, and known to be riddled with absurd entries / errors) — but being a daesh-recruiter(-by-proxy) could be a plausible reason for being put on the list.
    Tongue-mostly-in-cheek here, but ideally he’d be put on the no-fly list whilst he’s on a flight between from the States to the UK, with both countries co-ordinating — the UK banning his landing there and the States concurrently banning his return / landing — so he has to ditch, land and be arrested / deported, or is stuck on some ideally-barren rock in the middle of the pond…

    The UK’s adult population is c.50 people, so 0.5 million signatures is (ignoring issues of duplicates, frauds, and so on) roughly 1% of all adults. Which is rather impressive, especially when it is obviously self-selecting (those people had to deliberately go through the bother of finding & signing, they were motivated to sign).

  335. says

    According to Ted Cruz, Trump is just too soft on immigration. WTF?

    And in fact, look, there’s a difference. He’s advocated allowing folks to come back in and become citizens. I oppose that.

    Maddow Blog link

    So Cruz kicks out 11 million plus immigrants, and then he will not allow them to apply for reentry.

  336. says

    Trump continues to go full Birther against Ted Cruz: “Ted Cruz, born in Canada, is he eligible to be president of the United States? Well, if he was born in Canada, perhaps not. But I’m not sure where he was born.”

    Here’s the double or triple down:

    Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: “Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?” That’d be a big problem. It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.

    I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.

    The quoted text is from an interview with a journalist from the Washington Post.

  337. says

    So, yeah, Volkswagen, one of the largest automakers in the world, rigged cars shipped to the USA to cheat on emissions tests. Very wrong. The Obama administration is holding Volkswagen accountable, with the company likely to pay billions in fines. Fine. Good.

    There’s also a class action suit pending in California

    But, oh no, here come the conservatives in the House of Congress. They don’t think Volkswagen should suffer any financial pain.

    […] a Republican-backed bill that could make it much harder to mount a class-action case against Volkswagen—or any class action at all, for that matter. The House is expected to vote this week on the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is tiny, just about 100 words long. But it would hand a big advantage to corporations opposing suits from aggrieved customers and employees, legal experts said.

    In a statement released after the bill passed out of committee this summer, Joanne Doroshow, director of New York Law School’s Center for Justice and Democracy, said the new law would “wipe out one of the most important tools for justice in America.” […]

    Goodlatte’s bill would raise the bar for plaintiffs to join a class action, requiring each of them to have “suffered the same type and scope of injury.” In other words, in order to qualify as a class, plaintiffs would have to prove that they were all affected in exactly the same way. […] But it could create a situation where even minor differences—for example, the number of miles driven on a Volkswagen, or whether it was purchased from a licensed dealer or a private seller—could make it impossible for the plaintiffs to qualify as a class. […]

    “This bill is particularly insidious,” said Lori Andrus, a San Francisco attorney who is representing Volkswagen customers in one of the pending lawsuits. “It uses very few words to do great damage to consumer rights.” […]

    The Supreme Court is now considering a case involving Tyson Foods. That company has asked the court to throw out a class action brought by employees claiming wage theft, arguing that because each employees’ working situation was different, they don’t qualify as a class. […] “if every individual worker screwed out of overtime pay at Tyson’s Iowa plant had to file a separate lawsuit, no lawsuits would ever get filed, and the practice would persist because no lawyer would take a case with such a low dollar value.”

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Tyson case and the Goodlatte bill have a key character in common: the US Chamber of Commerce, […] the Chamber has also lobbied Congress on Goodlatte’s legislation, according to federal records. […]

    Congress, the legislative body that passes laws to screw consumers and workers more thoroughly.

  338. blf says

    Ah, the raping children cult has their panties in a twist over a cartoon, Charlie Hebdo anniversary cover disrespects all faiths, Vatican newspaper says:

    The Vatican’s newspaper on Tuesday criticised French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo for a front cover portraying God as a gun-wielding terrorist to mark the first anniversary of a terrorist attack on the publication’s offices in which 12 people died.

    A million copies of the special edition hit France’s newsstands on Wednesday with a cover featuring a bearded man representing God with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “One year on: the assassin is still out there.”

    I have to admit when I saw the cover this morning in the newshop, I couldn’t quite work out who the figure was representing. In retrospect, looking at it now again, it’s obvious. I hadn’t had my morning coffee then…

    A week after the Charlie Hebdo attack, pope Francis condemned killing in God’s name but warned religion could not be insulted. “To kill in the name of God is an absurdity,” Francis told reporters on the papal plane on an Asian tour.

    While defending freedom of expression, he also cautioned “each religion has its dignity” and “there are limits”.

    “[…] You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faith, you cannot mock it.”

    Are you auditioning for Scalia’s job, or just practicing your instructions to him?

  339. blf says

    More people are telling the Bundy bozos to feck off, this time by people with a much stronger historical claim to area than the militants, Oregon armed militia [sic] are encroaching on sacred land, says Indian tribal leader:

    Paiute tribe leader says two dozen militia at Malheur national wildlife refuge are endangering their children and that ‘armed protesters don’t belong here’

    The leader of an Oregon Paiute Indian tribe joined the chorus of local residents calling for the armed militia camped out at a local federal wildlife refuge to give up their fight and go home.

    Tribal chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique stood before 100 people — including many of the 420-member tribe — at a press conference on Wednesday, saying that the Bundys and their gang were encroaching on land considered sacred to the Paiute people.

    “Armed protesters don’t belong here,” she said. “By their actions they are desecrating one of our sacred traditional cultural properties. They are endangering our children, and the safety of our community, and they need to leave. Armed confrontation is not the answer.”


    On Tuesday, Ammon Bundy […] posted a message on Twitter that made many in this community of 5,000 residents scoff: comparing himself to a well-known African American civil rights figure.

    “We are doing the same thing as Rosa Parks did,” he wrote of the militia members. “We are standing up against bad laws which dehumanize us and destroy our freedom.”

    No, you and the rest of the militants are trying to ferment an armed rebellion. Ms Parks and the civil rights movement did not advocate either, had the Constitution on their side (you don’t), and very much wanted to be part of the civil community in the States (you aren’t, don’t, and probably do not understand what is meant).

    The local Pauite tribe uses the refuge for many sacred religious and cultural ceremonies, such as collected plants for medicine and crafts.

    Rodrique called the Bundys and their followings [sic] dangerous people with a mindset that precludes negotiations. She said she would not dignify their presence with a visit.

    “The protesters have no claim to the land,” she said. “It belongs to the Native people who continue to live here. The Malheur wildlife refuge is an important place for us. We have no sympathy for those who are trying to take the land from its rightful owners.”

  340. blf says

    Update on @231‘s xian opposition to being reasonable, Christian college moves to fire professor who said Muslims worship same god

    Larycia Hawkins, a tenured associate professor at Wheaton College, made headlines after wearing headscarf following San Bernardino shooting

    A Christian college in suburban Chicago has launched termination proceedings against a tenured professor who was suspended last month for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

    Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, confirmed the decision at a press conference on Wednesday. [She] drew national attention in December for her decision to wear a headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims, following the mass shooting in San Bernardino […].

    [… Last month she said] “[What’s very bad is] tolerance toward the bigotry, for the Islamophobia, for the political rhetoric — and {how} we don’t check politicians.”

    The college has not taken a position on Hawkins’ decision to wear a hijab, but has previously said her statements on social media about Christianity and Islam required “further theological clarification” before she could return to work. […]

    Hawkins’ comments, the college said, conflicted with its statement of faith, which is a guiding set of religious beliefs at the core of Wheaton’s education that faculty members sign and must abide by.


    “I am flabbergasted at the actions taken by Wheaton College,” Hawkins […] said. The professor was flanked by Wheaton alumni, activists and religious clergy, including the Rev Jesse Jackson.

    Students and supporters of Hawkins, who has been with the evangelical college for nine years, have rallied on social media in recent weeks under the hashtag #ReinstateDocHawk, calling for Wheaton to reinstate the professor. An online petition has gathered over 54,000 signatures.

  341. blf says

    Nebraska routinely holds children in solitary confinement, report finds:

    A civil rights report has found that young offenders in detention facilities can be put in isolation for days, weeks or months for ‘relatively minor infractions’

    Solitary confinement is a commonplace experience for children held in Nebraska juvenile detention facilities, a report has shown, with minors routinely detained in isolation for days, weeks, even months at a time.

    To varying degrees, in each of the state’s nine juvenile facilities children are placed in solitary confinement for “relatively minor offenses” such as keeping too many books [WHAT?! –blf], according to the report compiled by the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter. Other infractions triggering the “overused” practice included talking back to staff members or refusing to follow directions.


    “The youth placed in solitary confinement are often in need of support — not a cage,” Danielle Conrad, executive director of ACLU Nebraska, said in a statement. “The experts agree — what Nebraska is doing is harmful to youth and does nothing to improve public safety.”

    Isolation practices include putting a child alone in a cell for several hours or days, restricting contact with family members, limiting access to reading and writing materials [WHAT!? –blf] and providing limited educational programming [WHAT!? –blf], recreation, drug treatment [WHAT!? –blf] or mental health services [WHAT!? –blf], the report found.

    Experts warn that extreme isolation can pose severe risks for children, including psychological, physical and developmental harm. The report cited increased suicide rates, stunted development and hampered education as by-products of juvenile solitary confinement.


    Nebraska has the third highest per capita number of youth under 21 in juvenile detention centers, according to the Kids Count Data Center. Some facilities surveyed in the report had no policies governing or tracking the use of solitary confinement.

    Nebraska is an outlier in its isolation practices, as other states across the country limit and track the solitary confinement of children, according to the report.

    About the only appalling thing the nebrazis are not doing is using the confined children for target practice.

  342. blf says

    Hillary Clinton urges moderate gun owners to take on the NRA:

    [Secretary Clinton] said there ‘needs to be a rival organization to the NRA’ […]

    Hillary Clinton urged moderate gun owners to band together against the National Rifle Association […].

    “There needs to be a rival organization to the NRA of responsible gun owners who know that their hunting rights, their shooting rights, their collection rights{…} all of that is not going to be affected,” Clinton said […]. “So I’m going to keep beating the drum, and I’m delighted that the president announced the actions he did today.”

    Clinton recalled an exchan