More fun and games at CPAC

As I have mentioned, CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) that is currently going on is basically a closed feedback loop where extreme right-wingers come to hear extreme right wing speakers pander to their deeply held prejudices and fact-free views. Michael Steele used to be head of the Republican National Committee in the years 2009-2011. He also happens to be black. At a dinner on Friday evening for the attendees at CPAC, Ian Walters, a spokesperson for the American Conservative Union that sponsors CPAC, said that “We elected Mike Steele as chairman because he was a black guy. That was the wrong thing to do,”
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Iona Craig wins Polk award for her report on the killing of Yemeni civilians by the US

I linked a year ago to a news story by Iona Craig that described the horrific killings of civilians by the US during a botched raid on the Yemeni village of Al Ghayiil. This was a raid to supposedly capture an al Qaeda leader that was hailed by the Trump administration and much of the mainstream media in the US as a ‘success’ when it was anything but and it was Craig’s report with photographs that revealed the devastation that was wreaked on an impoverished village in a remote area. The Pentagon’s top Middle East commander ‘investigated’ the case US and, despite the evidence, concluded that “he found no signs of “poor decision-making or bad judgment” in a January raid in Yemen that killed 10 children and at least six women, as well as Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens”.
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Baby Winter Olympics

I mentioned before that the only Winter Olympic sport I would care to watch is curling but since I do not have cable TV, I could not see any because the network broadcasts only show it at weird hours. But I got lucky on my long flight last week because the airline had various TV channels and while surfing through, I managed to catch the US vs. Switzerland women’s curling contest. It was fascinating. The level of strategy involved and the precision with which the teams can aim the ‘rock’ towards the ‘house’ (I am slowly learning the jargon) is amazing.
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Data? We don’t need no stinkin’ data! Skin color is enough!

CPAC (The Conservative Political Action Conference) is an annual gathering of nutty and hate-filled right-wingers, aka the Republican party faithful, and it is currently going on. This is where speakers throw red meat to the attendees, the redder the better, attacking all their favorite targets with hyperbolic rhetoric. Alice Ollstein reports on one session on immigration that quickly went off the rails when a speaker tried to buck that trend and persuade the audience, using actual data, that immigrants are actually good for the US.
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The ugly face of Billy Graham

The famous evangelist died last week at the age of 99 and we are now going through an orgy of official mourning that would have delighted the adulation-seeking Graham. I have been sickened by the fawning praise that has been rolling in from all quarters for the so-called ‘America’s pastor’, ignoring the many bad things he said and did. So it was a relief to read this article by Bob Moser that paints a very different picture of the man.
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Stephen Colbert nails it

As we know, Florida senator Marco Rubio got an earful from a stadium full of people outraged by his abject subservience to the NRA. Stephen Colbert has a telling segment about one moment during the event and how many in the media commented on the fact of his showing up for it.

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The Lawrence Krauss affair

The BuzzFeedNews article that appeared yesterday about Lawrence Krauss has brought out into the open things that had been just whispered about over the years. As we have seen with so many cases in these past few weeks, the pattern is distressingly familiar. A star-struck young person (usually but not always a woman) is flattered by the attention paid to them by a celebrity or powerful person (usually but not always a man) who proceeds to try and take sexual advantage of their admiration. The behavior described is at best gross and demeaning to the young person and at worst criminal.
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The failed attempt to smear Jeremy Corbyn

A sign of the growing fear among the British elites about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s increasing popularity are the attempts to smear him. Robert Mackey writes about one such attempt by the right-wing British tabloid press led by Rupert Murdoch to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of having been a spy for the Czechoslovakian secret service during the Cold War. This was taken up by Conservative prime minister Theresa May and some of her cabinet members but the attempt failed miserably.
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