Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Well, let's just finish off the year in right wing lunacy, to clear the decks for 2016- which, like global temperatures, promises to set a new record in contentious, ridiculous lies.

Today's Wingnut Wrapup of course dedicated to World Net Daily's man of the year:

I mean, who else could it be?

Matt Barber, Town Hall:  "The Gift of Religious Freedom...Last Tuesday, Kentuckys new governor, Matt Bevin, issued an executive order that eliminates the names of all county clerks from marriage licenses and protects the unalienable constitutional rights and religious freedoms of Kim Davis and all other clerks in Kentucky."

Leaving aside that the above is complete bullshit, this and so many other right wing articles forgot to mention that he took the vote away from 140,000 mostly Democratic voters, and lowered the minimum wage.

Just for reference about those 140,000 voters, Bevin won the Governor's race by 85,000 votes.

Cortney O'Brien, Town Hall:  "Cruz Tells State Dept to Close the PLO Office in DC, They Reject"

Ted, and here I thought you were a lawyer.  You never heard, I guess, that Senators can't "tell" the State Department to do anything.  You'll just have to wait until you are President to do that, if it turns out that our country really is living under a curse.  'Till then, why not try asking nicely?

No, not bloody likely, I guess.  We are talking Ted Cruz here.

AP News:  "The Latest: Obama returns home after round of golf"

What a miserable, worthless bum, playing golf on his vacation.  How dare he?  And now, more golf:

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "Deadly Tornadoes, Storms and Flooding Kill 24 But Can’t Keep Obama Off the Golf Course"

Of course, Obama was about four thousand miles away at the time, so he probably barely felt the tornadoes.  Still, why was he not in sackcloth and ashes because something bad happened.  No mention of the time that George W. Bush went to a birthday party during Hurricane Katrina, of course.

Streiff, Red State:  "Hillary Clinton is trying to grift her way into the White House because of her genitalia."

Yup, they certainly are going that low.  I guess it is her genitalia that make her such a superior candidate to the collection of miserable racist boors the Republicans have dug up to run.

Streiff, Red State:  "One of the negatives that has been hung on Ted Cruz is that he is too abrasive to win. "

No, it's that he is an obnoxious, lying, megalomaniac jerk, and clinically mentally ill to boot.  That's the negative on Ted Cruz.  The positive?  He can hate with the best of them.  That balances out the rest, to Republicans.  In case you haven't noticed.

Susan Goldberg, PJ Media:  "Taylor Swift's Girl Squad Feasts on Men for Survival"

I'm not sure if she meant that literally, but I wouldn't be surprised if she did.  Okay, the issue of their diet never came up again in the article, but I did read a little farther:

"In what universe would Julia Roberts and Joan Baez hang out with Taylor Swift? "

Well, Susan, in the universe where successful actors and musicians tend to know each other.  That would be this universe.  In case you really weren't sure.

Aleister, Gateway Pundit:  "UH-OH HILLARY: Democrat Jim Webb Eyeing 2016 Run As An Independent?"

Oh my God!  There go, what, five votes?  I guess it's panic time.

Michael Bresciani, Renew America:  "Ted Cruz: A Founding Father returned?  Ted Cruz comes to us today in the purpose and mission as one of our founding fathers. He is a bit of Washington, Lincoln and Madison all rolled together, and perhaps a bit of Reagan"

What a firm grasp on the founding of our country this guy has, right?  I mean, who even knew Reagan was one of the founding fathers?

Washibngton Examiner:  "Obamacare repeal to hit president's desk soon"

It will hit Obama's wastebasket immediately after that.


And now a couple of titles of articles posted one after other at American Thinker:

"Iraqi army on the verge of big victory in Ramadi"

"Obama's former intel chief: The president's strategy us 'not working'

Even if things are working, don't you dare give credit to Obama for making progress without having a war and spending three trillion dollars in the process.  That would just be un-American.

Michael Patrick Leahy, Breitbart:  "A Century Before Donald Trump, Churchill Warned ‘No Stronger Retrograde Force Exists in the World’ Than Islam"

Yeah, and Churchill was a life long right winger who was virtually personally responsible for the problems in the Middle East today, when he was administrator of the British mandate after World War I.  Not the best guy to have on your side, really.

And now a high point in denialist economics:

Christina Rousselle, Town Hall:  "Shocker: Raising the Minimum Wage Doesn't Help Fight Poverty"

It will, I am sure, surprise you not in the least to discover that there is not one scrap of statistical evidence to support this conclusion in the article.  Christina bases her "reasoning" on the theory that, since many poor people do not have jobs at all, raising the minimum wage doesn't help them.  No comment on the tens of millions of people who do make the minimum wage, or what effect a raise might have for them.

Victor Davis Hansen, Town Hall:  "California Is Leading From Behind"

In front, behind, despite their supposedly horrible business climate and tax rate, California is still leading, Victor.  Deal with that.

Justin Holcomb, Town Hall:  "John Wayne's Daughter Endorses Trump"

Man, that is impressive.  An endorsement for a warmongering draft dodger from the daughter of another warmongering draft dodger.

Michael Van Der Galien, PJ Media:  "Major Australian Church to Palestinian Activists: No, Jesus Was Not a Palestinian"

Oh, those deluded Palestinians.  Everybody knows Jesus was a white guy.


And let us give the appropriate amount of attention to Larry Klayman's nomination for Muslim of the Year:


I mean, who else would he pick?

Breitbart News:  "Do Not Disturb: Obama Enjoys Luau as Floods Devastate Midwest"

Now, no longer is he not allowed to play golf when anything is happening anywhere in the world, he isn't even allowed to eat when it's raining.  Back in 1927, when the Mississippi flooded, they just forced all the black males they could find, to work building the levees by hand.  Why are we not treating Obama the same way, that is what I was wondering.  Drag him out of Hawaii and send him to a labor camp, where he can finally put in an honest day's work, hauling sandbags.

And that's that for this year.  Happy New Year abd see you in 2016.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Violence Has Got to Stop

Not the violence of brown people or people with strange religions.  Today, I am talking about the violence perpetrated with impunity on us by our own police.

A little investigation will determine that the approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement personnel killed somewhere around 1,000 Americans this year.Exact numbers are impossible to obtain, thanks to pressure from police not to collect this information.  On the other hand, the 320,000,000 American citizens killed 42 police officers.  A little calculation reveals that this is a per-capita disparity of about 8,400 to one.

As an aside, you might want to remember this the next time some asshole starts spouting off about the higher crime rate in black neighborhoods.

Anyway, of course this particular diatribe is motivated by the rigged prosecution and release of the police officer in Cleveland who leapt from his car and within two seconds started shooting down a twelve year old with a toy gun.

And let us remember that Ohio is an open-carry State.  Even if the gun had been real, this kid had a perfect legal right to be carrying it in public.  But of course, he had the misfortune to be black, and of course open carry does not apply to black people.

So the prosecutor in this case, a miserable excuse for a human being named Tim McGinty, rigged the grand jury indictment hearing by presenting all sorts of bogus "expert" testimony claiming that the cop had a perfectly valid reason to be afraid of this twelve year old, and of course the grand jury bought this nonsense, so the cop goes free for a recorded act of blatant, unquestioned first degree murder.

Well, it's time for someone to say this openly, and I am going to do something I have never done before, put it in big letters, so the cretins that believe this nonsense can read it:

BEING AFRAID IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR MURDERING SOMEONE; PARTICULARLY A TWELVE YEAR OLD KID.

When you start shooting at someone, you had better have a good God damned reason to do so, and "being afraid" before you even get out of your police car sure as hell isn't that good reason.  And this is a universal rule that applies to cops just as much as it applies to civilians.  No matter how scared you are, you don't have a right to kill someone unless you are really in danger.

AND, GUNNING DOWN SOMEONE WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION IS MURDER, NO MATTER HOW YOUR TRIAL IS RIGGED BY PEOPLE WE PAY TO PUT MURDERERS IN PRISON.

This is a secondary issue, but you know that, if your friend killed someone, and you helped them take the body and throw it in the river, you would be an accessory after the fact, and subject to the same penalty as the murderer.  Why then, is not this McGinty jerk, who consciously conspired to let a murderer escape justice, not also an accessory after the fact?  Well, he is, as far as I am concerned, but in our rigged system, he is just as untouchable as the murderer himself.

Now, back to the subject:  how long can this sort of thing go on before the American people determine that the police are not on their side, but are their enemy?  How long before people are justified in determining that the mere presence of armed police is a sufficient cause of fear, that they are allowed to gun the police down too?  After all, a thousand of us were killed by police this year, and exactly zero police were killed by twelve year olds with toy guns, not even by black twelve year olds.  Who really has a reason to be afraid for their lives?  And who has a real reason to start shooting at the sight of people of the other kind?

We'd better find some decent answers to those questions, because the answers that we have today- that police have permission to kill for any reason or no reason at all, and civilians have no right to even be afraid of being murdered by police- are going to do nothing but lead the country into a deep hole that we may never be able to dig out of.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ISIS Reaches a Milestone in Jurisprudence

We all are dedicated to the rule of law, and therefore I am sure you will be as happy as I am at the news that ISIS clerics are devoting themselves to detailing what is legally acceptable and what isn't:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when "owners" of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females."

Because we all know that the followers of ISIS only want to have sex with their female slaves when it is legally acceptable.

I don't want to go over every stricture of this carefully reasoned document, but here are a couple of the sensible restrictions imposed by the clerics who wrote it, to see that a man who purchases a woman and then rapes her does not do it in an unacceptable manner:

If a man has a female slave that he is raping, and she has a daughter, he cannot rape both of them.  He has to pick one or the other.

If a man owns two sisters, he is only allowed to rape one of them.  If he rapes both of them, he has done something very wrong.

Tough decisions, what?



There are numerous other conditions imposed upon ISIS men who have purchased women on the open market, but that should be enough to give you a sense of the legal reasoning at work here, which is certainly in a class with the legal pronouncements of great jurists like Antonin Scalia.  Speaking of which, if you get your sex slave pregnant when you rape her, you are not allowed to get her an abortion.\, so perhaps this is fine with our right of center brethren here in the U.S.

Well, that's enough, really.  If you want to see more, you can find the whole thing here.  Now, to continue with the original article:

"The ruling or fatwa has the force of law and appears to go beyond the Islamic State's previous known utterances on the subject, a leading Islamic State scholar said."


Well, we are all glad when the law moves forward to deal with current needs.



Note:  Video embedded at the insistence of my wife.  She's so sensitive about things like this.

A Case Study in Privatization

Here is a story that Atrios has been covering for some time, which is a perfect parable of what privatization of government services is all about.

So, the Philadelphia school system was having trouble finding substitute teachers.  In fact, for the last year that they were doing this on their own, they were only able to fill 64% of their need.  Well naturally, we all know by now that government can do nothing but screw up, and that private enterprise and the free market are the answer to all of our problems.  So, the school system contracted with a private company, which they agreed to pay a couple of million dollars to take over the task.  The company promised that they would supply 75% of the need on their first day of operation, and quickly raise that number to 90%.

The actual numbers?  17% at the start, which they have now managed to raise to a sky-high 37%.  This, in return for those couple of million dollars to do a job that the school system was already doing far better.

But, of course, that is not the whole story.  If this private company was treating the substitutes the same as the school system does, there would be no reason why they could not have maintained the inadequate 67% figure, and presumably raised the number somewhat, through their recruiting expertise, which is what the school system was supposedly paying for.

However, that is not what they did.  They slashed the pay of substitute teachers, and eliminated unions, thus denying teachers not just money, but benefits and job security too,  Well, someone had to cough up the dough for the millions paid to the company's executives.

Let me digress.  My grandfather was a Chicago gangster back in the day.  He ran a lot of gambling operations.  Here is what he told us:  The house only pays out three quarters of what it takes in.  Consequently, his observation was that no one could win at gambling in the long run.  He always said that if he had to do it over again, he would have been a veterinarian, because the vet is the only person he ever saw walk away from the track with money in his pocket.

What does this have to do with anything?  How can anyone be so idiotic as to think that you can adopt a system where a large part of the money is skimmed off the top, and expect better results?  Yet that is exactly the preposterous basis for all calls for privatization, justified by the malicious falsehood that all government workers are mindless, lazy bureaucrats, while all corporate CEO's are altruists just looking for a way to make things better for everyone.  The whole thing is demented.  Of course, it is no more demented than supply side economics, austerity, or any other cant from the right, which has only one real purpose, and that is to justify taking money away from average people to give to the rich.  And since that is the only purpose of privatization, I guess we might as well admit that this example of it worked very well indeed.

Monday, December 28, 2015

What the Hell is the Matter With This Country?

In an annual Gallup poll, the American people ranked Donald Trump tied with Pope Francis, for their second most admired person in the world.

What in the name of all that is holy could lead people to do that?  I could speculate, but I can't bring myself to bother.

On the plus side, the two people that the mainstream press and the Republicans assure us are the most hated man and woman in the country, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are actually the most admired.  Hillary, incidentally, has won this award 20 times.

So, when you are told over and over again that Hillary can't win because so many people hate her, well, just chalk it up as one more gigantic Republican lie.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Fascism?

I guess it is on everyone's mind these days.  No sense discussing the fact that, unless you are using the term in its most restrictive form, to refer to Mussolini, who really popularized the term, and his government, there is really no agreement about what the term means.  There is, however, a very interesting list, compiled in 2003 by Lawrence Britt, of fourteen characteristics of a Fascist government.  Here it is:

        Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

Supremacy of the Military

Rampant Sexism

Controlled Mass Media

Obsession with National Security

Religion and Government are Intertwined

Corporate Power is Protected

Labor Power is Suppressed

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fraudulent Elections


Those of you who have never seen this list may be unpleasantly surprised to realize that the Republican party has now managed to unapologetically enshrine every single one of these fourteen characteristics as being essentials to what it means to be an American.

I think it can no longer be of any doubt that, when the Republican party sold itself lock stock and barrel to the hyper-rich, it started itself on an inevitable hundred year downhill road to becoming an openly Fascist otganization.  The only real question is, can they pull off turning our country into a Fascist dictatorship?

Looking at the classic Fascist governments: Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain, Argentina under Peron, you can see one historical characteristic that, so far, is missing in the United States today.  That is the existence of large armed, intransigent groups of armed thugs, dedicated to crushing civil opposition by force.
Sturmabteilung at funeral of Ernest Rohm

Blackshirts in Italy

There are, however, hundreds of smaller groups of would-be thugs and murderers around- the militias, the border patrol jackasses, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, and many others.  I believe that the major question facing this country today is whether a right wing demagogue like Donald Trump can so fill these people with hatred that they coalesce behind him and allow him to direct them as a single force.

If that could happen, the game would be on.  Now, of course, the members of these militias, etc. are largely out-of-control lunatics, each going off in his own direction, and united by nothing but a single thing- the desire to find someone that they can kill without remorse.  Well, the first step to changing that seems to be to find an American leader who is eager to take them en masse to that place; and Republicans certainly seem ot have found one.  There is nothing that I am watching more closely these days than for signs that Trump is casting aside the final vestiges of cover, and working to unite these people under his leadership.  Certainly, his open hatred and approval of violence at his rallies are suggestive.  I guess we will learn more in coming months.  And let's remember that, even if he cannot succeed, he has taken a giant step toward making authoritarian rule acceptable in the United States.  He's opened a door that we may never be able to close.

The vast majority of Germans, even those who supported the Nazi party in the 1920's and early 1930's, had no idea what they were signing on for.  I am sure that the same thing is true in this country right now.  The American right is playing with a time bomb, and if it explodes, it will engulf all of us.

Happy Holidays

And here's Green Eagle's traditional holiday greeting.

I hope you are as happy tomorrow as this guy seems to be.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ending the Middle East Disaster

Since no one with a real political voice, not even Bernie Sanders, has had the courage to state the real way out of the current Middle Eastern mess, I guess I will give it a try.  In fact, the answer is not complicated nor is it difficult, except when we run into the hatred and abuse that are the inevitable tools of the right when they want to protect their right to be as subhuman as possible.  Anyway, here's my plan.

1.  Absolutely as a first step, the American people must give up the simplistic notion that the whole problem between us and them is a matter of religious fanatics gone wild, or people who "hate our freedom."  It is time that we all need to accept the fact that the people of the Middle East are perfectly justified in being suspicious and angry toward us.  The West in general, particularly England, France and the United States, has a history stretching back over two hundred years of invading the countries of the Middle East and butchering their people, to achieve its own interests.  This history stretches back before 1800, when Napoleon invaded the Middle East on his way to conquering (briefly) Egypt.  And it is not a history of a time that has passed.  Our own country overthrew the democratic government of Iran, and imposed a vicious dictator on their people, to suit our own business interests.  And barely more than a decade ago, we committed an act of criminal aggression against Iraq, destroying their stable society, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and leaving chaos behind.  We placed our troops in Lebanon.  We supplied weapons to the Iranian Mullahs.  We have kidnapped and tortured their citizens.  We supported a grossly corrupt government in Afghanistan, with the result that the only thing to show for our 13 year occupation is destruction.  And now, our political scene is dominated by demagogues who talk about nothing but bringing more damage and suffering to them.  What possible reason could they have to trust us to be constructive partners with them, in bringing a fair life to their people?

2.  We must LEAVE THEM ALONE.  Until we prove to them that we are finally willing to keep our greedy, violent hands off their countries, they will never trust us, nor should they.  Yes, I admit the problem with this:  It will take 50 or 100 years of decent behavior, before we can regain the trust of people in the Middle East, which is totally understandable given what we have done to them.  But the only alternative is to just going on with a policy of continuing to kill them until they do what we want.  I think at this point, it should be pretty obvious that this  approach is worse than useless.

Well, there it is.  Simple, really.  When we show them that we are capable of treating them as human beings, they will stop hating us.  It really has very little to do with religion, and virtually everything to do with not being fodder for someone else's profit.  Fat chance, huh, with one of our two political parties having dedicated itself to hatred and violence.  So, there is one more necessity to end the chaos in the Middle East"

3.  The Republican party, as it exists today, is driving the country into a violent oligarchic dictatorship, which will never give up the use of violence, both domestically and internationally, to get what it wants.  This party must be destroyed.  The chance that they will give up this march to Fascism is virtually nonexistent, so another way must be found to terminate their power, once and for all, they have no constructive role left to play in our society; in fact they have had no constructive role for a hundred years.  Enough already.

If we do this, at least our part in creating the Middle East disaster will come to an end.  And as our part has been a massive one, this strategy can be nothing but a benefit to us all, on top of saving us from a couple more three trillion dollar aggressions.



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Green Eagle Gets In The Christmas Spirit

At least, Republican Christmas.  In case you have never seen this, here is the award winning Spanish short film, "Fist of Jesus."
If you are unfamiliar with it, watch it at least through the scene where he raises Lazarus from the dead.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Today's Wingnut Wrapup respectfully dedicated to the thirty percent of Republicans who support bombing Agrabah, the home city of Aladdin in the Disney movie.  Let's lob a few cruise missiles at Mordor next.

Actually, the wingnuts have been so piggish lately that I haven't found all that much to laugh at.  That's why the unusually long gap between Wingnut Wrapups.  Trust me- you didn't miss much.

Cortney O'Brien, Town Hall:  "New, More Accurately Worded Poll Shows Majority Wants to Defund Planned Parenthood"

The old, inaccurate question?  "“Do you think federal funding for Planned Parenthood should be eliminated – yes or no?”  A very large majority of Americans, despite the malicious lie campaigns we have seen the last few months, still answered no to that question.  So, the need to add some mumbo-jumbo about transferring the money to "community operated clinics," something we know will never happen, just to make the question more "accurate."  A perfect illustration of why Conservative polls were so on target during the last Presidential election.

John Hawkins, Town Hall:  "Why I Joined the NRA Yesterday"

Because you are a flaming asshole who would really like an excuse to kill some people.  That's my guess.

Cortney O'Brien, Town Hall:   "Fiorina Not Happy With Cuomo’s Suggestion Her Pro-life Rhetoric Influenced Planned Parenthood Shooter"

Of course she is not happy about it.  It reveals what a hate filled little liar she is.  Well, too bad, Carly.  You are just going to have to be unhappy with it, because it is true.

Cortney O'Brien, Town Hall:  "Groups Pressure Hillary to Distance Herself From General Who Called For Internment of American Muslims"

Those damned liberals, trying to force common decency down our throats again.  They just never stop with that.

Moe Lane, Red State:  "Democrats find new and exciting way to keep people from watching their debates!"

Well, I'm not sure if it is a new way, but apparently actually discussing the issues, instead of inviting a piggish reality TV star into their debate to pander to haters, is a recipe to cut down on viewership.  I wish I could disagree, Moe.  You are right there.  You'd get an even bigger audience if you invited Charlie Manson to participate- think about it.  Everybody in the country would tune in. It could work for you.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "DNC Eagerly Trying to Tie Republicans to Trump"

Whereas, in reality, the Republican party has absolutely nothing to do with Trump.  Nothing, I tell you!  Yes, he is by far the frontrunner to be the Republican nominee for President, and he has been for months, supported by far more rank and file Republicans than any other candidate. And every other Republican contender has sworn to support Trump if he wins the nomination.   But that does not mean that he has anything to do with the Republican party.  No way!  Look over there- Hillary, Benghazi, e-mails!!!!

Ted Kruiser, PJ Media:  "'Washington Post': Republicans are Totally Racist, We've Got Studies!"

And they do have studies to prove it, but so what?  Who cares about studies?  We all know that the truth is determined by whoever shouts the loudest.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "3 House Committees Join Forces to Investigate Whitewashed ISIS Intelligence"

Oh boy!  Does that mean they have finally given up on Benghazi?

Hans Von Spakovsky, PJ Media:  "Scourging Scalia: The Left’s Latest Hissy Fit"

Because only a bunch of liberal pansies could care if a Supreme Court justice is a race hating Fascist.  I mean, don't haters have a right to representation on the Supreme Court too?

 Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "Tantaros: More Americans Support Donald Trump than Polls Are Showing"

And how do we know that?  Because someone on Fox News told us so.  Well, that settles that.

Sylvia Thompson, Renew America:  "Why must Donald Trump give details of his plans?"

Yeah, why?  isn't enough that he is promising to solve every problem on earth?  Sylvia continues:

"I am not so much interested in the details of how candidates will do what they say they will do."

No, of course not.  You are only interested in which candidate will spread right wing hatred the longest and loudest.

Clarice Feldman, American Thinker:  "Obama is not who we are"

And a lucky thing, too, Clarice, because you are a hate-filled, lying racist.  Clarice continues:

"he becomes ever more desperate to stifle mounting criticism."

Interesting.  Well, whatever.

Jerry Newcombe, Town Hall:  "Is Cruz Like Goldwater or Reagan?"

Oh, I don't know, how about Reinhard Heydrich?

Alfredo Ortiz, Breitbart:  "OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL FAILS JOB CREATORS"

Because it didn't pander enough to really rich people.  No, really.  This guy is infuriated that the spending bill did not do away with a ruling that makes huge companies like McDonalds responsible in some minor way for the behavior of their franchisees.  The $700 billion dollar extortion that had to be payed to get any bill through at all just wasn't enough for them- they want more freedom to screw people too, because what good is it being rich if you can't make other people poor at the same time?

Andrew McCarthy, National Review Online:  "How Dinesh D’Souza Became a Victim of Obama’s Lawless Administration"

This article explains how Dinesh D'Souza got caught committing a felony, was sent to jail, and it was all Obama's fault.  But then, isn't it always Obama's fault?

And now, the most spectacularly stupid attack on Obama lately:

William Levinson, American Thinker:  "The occupant of the Oval Office gained his position through the commission of a felony."

And what is that dastardly felony?  He held a raffle among small contributors and selected some of them to meet with him personally.  Note that outright selling access to the President for $100,000 or so, a common practice among Republicans, is just fine for people like William, or committing treason by negotiating with our Iranian enemies before the election, as Reagan did, or just using corrupt Supreme Court Justices to rig the election- well these are just fine.  But it is, of course, the whole purpose of nonsense like this article to obscure the utterly illegal nature of the Reagan and Bush Presidencies.

Jeannie DeAngeles, American Thinker:  "Is it Time to 'Refresh the Tree of Liberty?'

I.e. is it time for rednecks to start up the shooting?  Well, Jeannie certainly thinks so:

"This isn’t about recognizing the absurdity of being asked to believe that our mortal enemies will become our friends if we treat them as if we’re walking on shards of glass."

Something which Obama himself tried for six years, and look where it got us.

"Instead, it’s about the American people finally wresting from the clutches of oppression that which was purchased for us with the blood of patriots who recognized tyranny and then refreshed the tree of liberty accordingly."

So, get out your guns, guys, it's time to shoot us some brown people.

Carl Jackson, World Net Daily:  "CAN CARLY GET HER GROOVE BACK?"

Carl, hate to break this to you, but Carly never lost her groove.  It's just a really ugly and hateful groove.

Renew America:  "Ryan dupes House conservatives on budget deal"

Because, apparently, they are not fluent enough in English to have read the bill before they voted for it.  Hey, I'll buy that.

Well, see you soon.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Seven Hundred Billion Dollars

That's the extortion that we had to pay to the 200 hyper-rich families who control this country, in order for them to allow our government to keep on operating.

That's it- I've got nothing more to say about it.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The More Things Change

I hope you will take the time to read the following statement, which I found in a piece by Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo, and make a guess about where and when it is from:

"We assert that during the last twenty years, leaders of the Government of the United States under successive Democrat Administrations, and especially under this present Administration, have failed to perform these several basic duties; but, on the contrary, that they have evaded them, flouted them, and by a long succession of vicious acts, so undermined the foundations of our Republic as to threaten its existence. 

We charge that they have arrogantly deprived our citizens of precious liberties by seizing powers never granted. 

We charge that they work unceasingly to achieve their goal of national socialism. 

We charge that they have disrupted internal tranquillity by fostering class strife for venal political purposes. 

We charge that they have choked opportunity and hampered progress by unnecessary and crushing taxation. 

They claim prosperity but the appearance of economic health is created by war expenditures, waste and extravagance, planned emergencies, and war crises. They have debauched our money by cutting in half the purchasing power of our dollar. 

We charge that they have weakened local self-government which is the cornerstone of the freedom of men"

Sound familiar?  This is from the Republican party platform of 1952.

The same old lies.  The same old fear.. The same old cries of victimization.  Nothing ever changes for them, because it works.  It has handed the power in this country over and over again to people who do nothing but despoil everything they touch.  And people still fall for it, because greed and hatred will never die, and for most people, apparently, they are more powerful than any sort of human decency.

This is what really causes Fascism to arise.  If we should have learned anything from Germany and Italy, it is that the most civilized societies on earth have no real safeguards against this calamity; not when the people who should know better are either intimidated, bought off, or just too damned lazy to speak the truth.  The monster lurks beneath the surface of the world, needing only a little human collaboration to break free.

That's what we have in this country today.  Not a pleasant prospect.

Carpet Bombing

One of the more malicious obsessions of the mainstream press that has emerged from the latest Republican infomercial is the issue of "carpet bombing," i.e. the question of when it is okay to kill a whole bunch of civilians in order to get a few enemy combatants.  I'm certainly not about to get involved in this stupid and ugly debate, but I would like to write briefly about the supposed historical precedent that is cited to justify this sickening behavior: the Allied bombing of  Germany in the later years of World War II.

The gung-ho warmongers (almost all of them Republicans) who are happy to destroy lots of civilians, as long as they are far away, ignore the facts of that Allied air campaign.  First of all, the strategy of mass bombing of civilian areas, mostly associated with the head of English Bomber Command, Arthur "Bomber" Harris, was never universally accepted.  Even at the time, large numbers of officials thought the process was counterproductive, and as it went on, there was little evidence that it accomplished its goals. Today, I think I may say, it is regarded as having been a failure.  Second, let us remember this: by the time that Allied carpet bombing became widespread, tens of millions of people had already died in the war; the stakes were vastly higher than they are in the Middle East today, and they made it possible to justify actions for which there is no excuse today.
Bomber Harris

Well, I don't want to belabor the issue.  After all, people that can find it in their evil hearts to justify torture, imprisonment without trial and criminal aggression against foreign countries, can hardly be expected to feel bad about a little "collateral damage."  Still, it is probably a bad idea to dignify this sort of behavior by pretending that it is the conduct of decent human beings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's Come To This

In the background of a recording of a Trump appearance from yesterday, as they were ejecting a black protester, you can clearly hear people shouting "Sieg Heil."

No one in the crowd expressed any displeasure at this occurrence, and Trump himself has had nothing to say about it.

I hardly think it is necessary to say anything about what something like this means.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Both-Siderism Rides Again at the New York Times

Today, the following article from the Times:

"All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others."

An article featuring the following graph:


The author of this article, who I will not name to avoid humiliating her, claims to have been fact checking politicians since 2007.  Apparently, there is one thing that she totally failed to notice about this information she compiled, because she sure as hell never mentioned it in her article:  Not one single Democrat on the entire list scored higher as a liar than every single Republican.  That is, apparently, a much more insignificant conclusion to take away from her efforts, than the fact that "Politicians lie."

And this is in spite of another unmentioned reality:  anyone who has followed "fact checkers" from mainstream news outlets over the years knows that they fall all over themselves to find an excuse to justify calling out something a Democrat says as false, to falsely balance the daily bombardment of deliberate lies that is all Reublicans have to offer.  But even so, the fact remains that, to put it most directly, all Republicans lie more than all Democrats.

Do you think that was too insignificant a result of their efforts, to be worth stating clearly?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

For Americans Only?

I'm so sickened with the outpouring of hatred from the right these days, that I haven't been able to pay much attention to it.  There is one issue, however, which has cropped up among Conservatives once agqain, which I would like to deal with.  That is the malicious notion that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are restricted to U.S. citizens only.  This groundless claim has been used in the past, and is being used again, to justify all sorts of plans to promote their nationalistic hatred in one way or another.

Debate over Bill of Rights


Now, I must admit that certain of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights do seem to be reserved for American citizens.  These can be identified, I think, by references to "the people;" which I think can legitimately be taken to mean citizens of the United States.  It is clear why that would be true.  The two most notable examples are in the first and second amendments.  It is obvious, I think, why the right to assemble might be restricted to U.S. citizens; a foreign mob that crossed our borders (unlikely as such a thing is) would not have that right.  And the same is true of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, which would not extend, say, to a foreign army that invaded our territory.

Other than where specificied this way, there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that restricts these rights to American citizens only.  No decent person would suggest that a foreign citizen gives up his right to freedom of speech or religion when he visits our country, or that it is okay to arrest him without charges or deny him a fair trial.  Nor would any reasonable person suggest that it is permissable for non-citizens to "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

Once again, Conservatives have promoted a totally fictitious account of what the Constitution actually says, in order to justify their miserable behavior.  Those who insist that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is absolute and inviolable, owe us at least the decency to read the rest of the Bill of Rights in the same  manner, and realize what we all know: that with certain obvious exceptions, these rights are intended to be universal.

Not, of course, that I think that right wingers can ever be expected to pay any heed to consistency, or even common human decency.  Still, we don't need to fall for their distortions.




I have attached the text of the first eight amendments of the bill of rights below, in case anyone wants to see if what I have claimed is true.  The ninth and tenth amendments are not relevant to this comment.
________________________________________________________________
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Another Great Day's Work

Accomplished by Senate Republicans yesterday:

      Another vote to destroy Obamacare

      A vote to defund Planned Parenthood

      The defeat of a vote making it illegal to sell guns to people on the terrorist watch list.

Working for the American people, yes sir.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bye Bye Persian Gulf

Don't have enough to worry about these days?  Think two or three million refugees from Syria is about as bad as it can get in the Middle East?  Think climate change is a pack of nonsense?  Consider the following, from the Washington Post:


"Persian Gulf may be too hot for human survival by 2090...A study predicting deadly heat waves in the Persian Gulf by the century’s end has underscored concerns about the effects of rising global temperatures on cities in other parts of the world, including the United States. 

Monday’s report in the journal Nature Climate Change warned that Persian Gulf cities could experience extreme summer temperatures that are literally too hot for human survival."

I heard about this a few weeks ago, and I have been thinking about what it means, and not just to the United States.  Here's a map of the Middle East, showing the area that might be rendered uninhabitable if these predictions are correct- and let's remember that scientific predictions about global warming have almost always proven to be too optimistic:

I spent a few minutes trying to estimate the number of people who may be living in this area.  I can hardly claim that my methodology was that scientific, but I think that I can't be too far off.  My estimate is that the number of people living in this area is about 123 million.

So, two or three million refugees are destabilizing the Middle East and Europe.  Imagine if all of these people are driven out of their homes.  This would be a catastrophe unprecedented in the history of the human race.  It would sweep away a large part of civilization in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and utterly destroy the economic structure of the world.  It would make the World Wars look minor by comparison.

This is the fate that the corrupt leaders who deny the reality of climate change are bringing to their grandchildren.  So far, no one has found a way to stop their treason against the entire human race.  And the world center of this evil is right here in the United States, in the Republican party.  When, I wonder, does their betrayal become so great that we sweep them into oblivion?  Or do we just agree to send our descendants to hell, so a few politicians can rake in their share of the energy companies' wealth?


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chicago- The Fix Is In

I've been in a strange period of writer's block, trying to respond appropriately to the Planned Parenthood terrorism that is sweeping this country, as well as the almost ignored story of five white supremacists who took guns to a Black Lives Matter demonstration, and found an excuse to fire into the crowd, injuring several people.  In the meantime, I just want to point this out: There is no way that it will be possible to prove that the lunatic policeman who fired sixteen shots into an innocent person was acting "with malice aforethought."  On the other hand, the  guy has unquestionably committed second degree murder.  By only charging him with first degree murder, and not allowing the jury a possibility to find him guilty of second degree murder, the Chicago prosecutors have made it certain that he will be acquitted.

And another day passes in the Greatest Country In The World.