Friday, July 31, 2015

Just Another Little Fact

I read today that in my home State, California (a total failure in every way, according to Republicans,) Obamacare has reduced the percentage of uninsured people by 68%.

That's what happens when you make an honest attempt to implement laws, instead of spending billions to poison people's minds against them, so rich people can steal everything.

No, Of Course We Don't Have a Police Problem in Our Country

The following stories from the last two days, on my Facebook feed this morning:

"Video shows Georgia cop slammed elderly black man’s head on concrete and lied about it" 

"Alabama cop admits to lying to protect colleague who viciously beat a handcuffed man" 

"SC cop killed teen with two shots to the back during weed bust — and didn’t even report it: attorney" 

"San Jose cop followed black family home and held them at gunpoint for no reason: lawsuit" 

"COP KICKS SUSPECT: The Delaware Attorney General's Office has indicted a Dover police office on assault charges after he was caught on camera kicking a suspect in the face, knocking him out and breaking his jaw" 

"This Alabama jail really did torture an inmate with a Burmese python"

 I have to mention a couple of stories I heard recently on Thom Hartmann's show.  The first involves a guy who was refused a chance to be a policeman because he scored too high on an intelligence test.  He took the police to court, and lost.  The judges ruled that they had a perfect right to reject him because he was too smart.  The second involves a discussion that Thom had with someone who alleged that a very large percentage of police are steroid users- and if you think about the shape of most policemen you run into, and their belligerent attitude, sort of makes sense.  So, stupid steroided-out guys.  Just who we want wandering around the streets with guns.  I can't confirm that last story, but something is desperately wrong with our police forces in this country.  Maybe they are all just violent right wing bullies.  But whatever it is, I think it's time to stop it.  Don't you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How the Republican Propaganda Game Functions

The latest example:  So, Barack Obama, in concert with five other world powers, let's remember, manages to pull off what is probably the greatest example of Middle Eastern diplomacy in decades. Here is how this is reported.  First, there is a phase where at least some people are reporting and discussing the actual details of this agreement.  But you see, that can only go on about a week or ten days, at which point the truth is pretty much out there for those who are interested.

This limit does not extend, of course, to the people who are lying about the agreement.  They can continue telling their nauseating falsehoods indefinitely- my God, they are still at it with Benghazi- with the playing field left to them, because the truth has already been told.  And every time they broadcast another lie, a few more people fall for it.  And soon, Americans think Obama increased the budget deficit, the stimulus didn't generate any jobs, Obamacare is a grotesque failure, and on and on.  And with the "mainstream" press so invested in carrying water for the Republican party, there's really no way to prevent the lies from drowning out the truth.

The Insanity...

The dishonesty.  Apparently, Jon Stewart has actually been at the White House TWO TIMES!!!!!! during the Obama administration. Cue the insane right wing freakout over this disgraceful revelation:

“Secret visits, unprecedented access...It’s Official: Jon Stewart is an Obama Shill.” we know that there was a coordinated effort to control which Administration foibles got ha-has, and which were exposed for actual critique. It’s not a particularly shocking revelation, but it does serve as one more layer of slime covering the travesty that is the relationship between liberals and the media.”

Just a small sample of the synthetic outrage today over this utterly meaningless fact.  Click the link to the article at Alicublog for much more, if you are interested.

Two obvious things to point out about this latest Republican outrage.  First of all, they have succeeded in their Pavlovian task of training their minions to react with hatred and anger to anything about the left, no matter how meaningless; and more importantly, the endless recurrence of this sort of idiotic non-scandal shows perfectly well what an honest, well intentioned bunch Democrats are, by and large, that after six years, after spending millions of dollars in "opposition research,"  this is the level of "scandal" they have been able to find in the Obama administration.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Most Redneck Thing In History


"OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday she was trying to be a good mother when she let her daughter park a "nice trailer" on the grounds of the governor's mansion, but that the vehicle runs afoul of an obscure state regulation and Christina Fallin must move the home on wheels."

God in heaven above, how can things like this be true?  Maybe she could also have a couple of trashed 1970's cars up on concrete blocks, or an old washing machine or two.

The Electoral Stacked Deck

I'd like to deal with two incidents in the last week that show just how difficult it is going to be for Democrats to have a fair shot of winning the 2016 election.  Those of us who actually pay attention to what goes on in this country spend their time in a constant semi-daze at the thought that, after its performance the last few decades, the Republican party is afforded any credibility whatsoever by the electorate.  By now, the Republicans should be as lost to history as the Whigs or the Know Nothings, but there they are, seemingly taken seriously around the country.  A buffoon like Donald Trump is treated like the Conservative equivalent of Bernie Sanders, while a malignant, corrupt liar who has devastated everything he ever touched, like Scott Walker or Chris Christie, is treated as a suitable opponent to Hillary Clinton.  How does this happen?  How does this madness continue?  Well, here are a couple of examples of how this magic trick is pulled off.

The first one has to do with the reporting of the New York Times regarding a fabricated e-mail scandal involving Hillary Clinton.  The Times published a story headlined “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email”  stating as a clear fact that there was a criminal inquiry into Hillary's behavior itself.  As the days went by, first of all, it turned out that the supposed inquiry was not about Hillary at all, but about how some of the e-mails had been handled after she turned them over to the government.  What's more, the inquiry was not a criminal one in any way.  It turned out that some of the information in a couple of the e-mails had been classified long after Hillary left office, and the inquiry was designed to make sure that the later treatment of the e-mails, by people utterly unrelated to Hillary, did not reveal information which was only classified after Hillary left.  There was never a suggestion that Hillary herself did anything wrong- not a suggestion, that is, except in the New York Times, which as much as accused her of being a criminal.  And where did this information that the New York Times relied upon come from?  From the usual unnamed "high government sources," i.e. lying Republican operatives, whose word is as good as gold to the New York Times.

And now, let's look at a couple of excerpts from an article in the Washington Post, by Jennifer Rubin.  Now, given that Jennifer Rubin has a years-long history of dishing out the most abominable Republican lies to the American people, it's stunning that she can get any job in journalism, let alone one at the vaunted Washington Post.  Well, here's Jennifer a couple of days ago, lying her ass off about the Iran nuclear deal:

"As we learn more about the Iran deal — the side agreements, the lifting of the arms and missile embargoes, the loophole-ridden inspections regime — the more apparent it is that only people so enamored of their own work, so gullible to embrace the Iranians’ soothing words and so desperate for glory could have negotiated this deal. Rather than acknowledge the criticisms on the merits, the administration sinks lower and lower, casting aspersions on critics.

The administration sounds more unhinged with each passing day, no doubt because it is not convincing Democrats to stand with the White House in defense of a rotten deal...An Obama administration assessment of the Iran nuclear deal provided to Congress has led a number of lawmakers to conclude the U.S. and world powers will never get to the bottom of the country’s alleged efforts to build an atomic weapon, and that Tehran won’t be pressed to fully explain its past."

This "rotten deal" has been praised as a phenomenal diplomatic breakthrough everywhere, by governments, diplomats and disarmament specialists, except among right wing Americans, and a few pathetic Likud members in Israel who, like the former Republican operative Netanyahu, seem to be more interested in the fate of the Republican party than the security of their own country.

"Details of the report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, indicate the deal reached this month could go ahead even if United Nations inspectors never ascertain conclusively whether Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program—something Tehran has repeatedly denied.

In other words, the administration caved on PMDs and the deal would go into effect without ever forcing Iran to disclose information necessary to conduct adequate inspections. (“Outside nuclear experts said understanding Iran’s past nuclear work was critical to verifying the new agreement because it establishes a baseline for what Tehran has done in the past.”) Democrats who insisted on a credible inspection process and know that it depends on our understanding of Iran’s past nuclear weapons program have a choice: Cave (as the president did, thereby sacrificing their own credibility) or insist the president go back (with additional leverage in the form of new sanctions) to obtain what Kerry once promised he would get"

Of course, it is what happens now and in the future that is important.  What happened in the past was never what these negotiations were about, and will have absolutely nothing to do with whether the negotiations are a success.  Rubin simply invents this meaningless issue, because the truth is, as the whole world knows, that Obama has cooperated with five other countries to pull off an amazing diplomatic agreement, without a shot being fired.

"No wonder the administration is throwing a fit, louder...with each passing day. The president and his advisers desperately want to divert attention from their own grossly defective deal... "

I haven't really noticed the administration "throwing a fit," unless it counts as a fit for Democrats to show any satisfaction in a job well done.  This article is so intemperate, so filled with lies and so vicious that it belongs at Gateway Pundit or Breitbart, not on the pages of what is supposedly one of our top newspapers.  And, of course, we have already illustrated what we're getting from the other one.

Fast on the heels of this comes the news that the supposedly left-wing cable news network MSNBC is replacing Ed Schultz, a reliable liberal, with Chuck Todd, whose only journalistic skill on earth seems to consist in not showing the slightest negative reaction as Republicans come on his show and lie in his face over and over again.

And this is our liberal press.  I'll tell you what: I'm sick of the pundits that (when they rarely seem to notice this malfeasance) blame it on a love of the "horse race," or on their all possessing emotional developments on the level of middle school kids, like Maureen Dowd, or some other psychological defect that results in this sort of coverage.  After decades of this sort of thing, which always, always works to the benefit of Republicans, when will people face the fact that it is the product of a corrupt fifth estate, bought and paid for by the rich, thanks to Reagan era deregulation, and operating exactly as Reagan and his handlers have always intended?

As I have said before, the Democrats could whip the Republicans within an inch of their lives without any problem whatsoever.  What they can't beat is the Republicans and the press working together, which is what we have had in this country for decades now, with the predictable result that our way of life is unraveling with no prospect of things ever getting better.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Current Take on Donald Trump

So, the real likelihood is that Trump is just a really rich guy who loves being the center of attention, and is willing to pay for it.  But here's another possibility that I haven't heard anyone suggest:

Trump is actually the Republicans' answer to Bernie Sanders.  The Republicans can see the utterly unexpected degree to which Sanders' populist message is resonating with people, and they are deathly afraid that their own supposed populists, the teabaggers, will hear him and respond to what he has to say.  So, their only possible response (short of actually doing something that benefits anyone but the Koch brothers, but let's stick to reality here) is to find a candidate that can keep those people on the reservation.  Well, Trump is the perfect choice- he loves the media coverage, and he knows that he won't get the nomination, so it's just a fun carnival ride for him.  And they can keep him in the news as long as Bernie Sanders continues his surge.  Because, to a Republican, the notion of a Presidential candidate actually getting people to support him by putting forth an honest, middle class oriented message, is totally beyond their comprehension.

Then, when Bernie withers like all of their own one-month-wonders do, Trump can get bored and go home.  That's the plan, anyway.  Because, as I said, the one thing they never thought of in their worst nightmares is an honest politician. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Good Guys With Guns

From an AP story:

"LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police investigating the death of a Los Angeles man uncovered an arsenal inside his home and garage — more than 1,200 guns and about two tons of ammunition, authorities said Monday.
Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith called the number of rifles, pistols and shotguns staggering.

There were no signs of foul play."

Well, I'm just glad that his guns proved so useful to him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Greetings from Baton Rouge!  Well, I want to start out today with a wonderful picture circulated on the internet, by that sterling Conservative intellectual, Dinesh D'Sousa.  Yes, just a couple of weeks out of prison and he's at it again.  And here's the picture:

Of course, the photo was not online for more than about ten minutes before someone found the original, which naturally didn't have the Confederate flag.  But that wasn't fast enough to keep it from spreading to a whole bunch of other right wing sites.  As to why Hillary, when she was a student at Wellesley who grew up in Illinois, would have a Confederate flag in her dorm room, well, who knows?

And while we are on the subject of right wing lies, get ready for an avalanche of coverage about a video made by a friend of professional liar James O'Keefe, purporting to picture a person from Planned Parenthood, selling baby parts from aborted fetuses for $30-100.00.  I'm not going to waste your time explaining what a miserable smear this is, but I will tell you that it has been picked up by just about every right wing website I looked at today.

Well, on with the rest:

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Party in New Hampshire: Romney Hosts Rubio and Christie "

Boy, that must have been one hell of a shindig.

Michael Brown Town Hall:  "Oregon Declares War On Christian Faith"

That's right, troops are massing in the streets in front of churches, waiting for the order to start shooting...oh wait...this is actually about a court upholding a fine against a right wing Christian.  Guys, you really ought to look up the word "war" in the dictionary.  I don't think it means what you think it does.

Leah Barkoukis, Town Hall:  "By the Way: More Than 42 Million Muslims 'Support ISIS' "

Well, that amounts to less than 2.5% of all Muslims in the world.  I wonder how many right wing Christians support attacking Iran?

And now for some really unexpected news:

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Bill O'Reilly Rips San Francisco Politicians, Obama Administration"

Who would have ever expected that?

Byron York, Town Hall:  "Some conservatives have seen efforts to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and also from other public places around the South, as the beginning of a slippery slope in which roads and landmarks named after Confederate figures are changed, monuments are removed, and a significant part of American history is obscured from view."

How about the fact that the Civil War having been about slavery has been "obscured from view" for 150 years by Byron and his friends?  Let's deal with that one first.

Bill Kristol, Twitter:  ""The Left's 21st century agenda: expunging every trace of respect, recognition or acknowledgment of Americans who fought for the Confederacy"

Well, you've almost got that right, Bill.  We'll leave them with the same amount of respect and acknowledgment that we give to Heinrich Himmler's personal office staff.   How's that for a fair compromise?

Bob Barr, Town Hall:  " Is Trump America’s “Strongman”?

Well, only in the sense that he is a sideshow act.

Moe Lane, Red State:  "Republican heroes go after horrible, Democratic-imposed, school lunch restrictions...The GOP is gearing up to go after the Democratic school lunch horror-show."

And there it is- what Obama has reduced the  Republicans to.  This is the issue that is supposed to outrage their base.  Democrats want kids to eat healthy food.  Not really as scary as wanting to annihilate them with weapons of mass destruction.  Still, to a Conservative, pretty frightening.

Seton Motley, Red State:  "Democrats Want Big Government Crony Socialism – Why Are Some Republicans Giving It to Them?"

Only mentioning this item for the first occurrence I have ever seen of a new meaningless Republican insult:  "crony socialism."  Man, that's really scary.

Brad Jackson, Red State:  "How to Fix America’s Public Pension Crisis"

By stealing trillions from retired government workers.  Hey, who is going to stop them?

RopeGate: Vintage Video Emerges of Clintons Corralling Press in 1992...Now we know where Hillary's aides got the idea."

Well, stop the presses!  Hillary's campaign is over now!  She corralled the press!

Sorry, guys, this isn't going to register with anyone until she starts using a branding iron on them.

Michael van der Galien, PJ Media:  "Ted Cruz Makes Waves: Raises $51 Million in Second Quarter"

Does that make him sane?  I don't think so.  It does mean, however, that some suckers just threw $51 million down the sewer.

Jordan Debbink, Renew America:  "Jindal has sharpened tool for 2016"

Watch out, Bobby.  Don't stick it in your eye.

Matt Vespa, Town Hall:  "Medicaid Is A 'Humanitarian Catastrophe'

It's actually much more humanitarian to just let poor people die.

John Hawkins, Town Hall  "The Fight Over the Confederate Flag Has Turned Into a Hateful Smear Campaign Against Millions of Southerners"

Not enough hate on earth to give them what they deserve.

David Limbaugh:  "Hillary's Tired, Demagogic Economic Proposals"

As opposed to the new, never heard of before, Republican economic proposals- cutting taxes on the rich, and less regulation of business.

Erick Erickson, Red State:  "We already know what is going to happen with Iran. In a few years, there will be an underground nuclear detonation signaling that Iran has learned to make a bomb and is deploying a nuclear arsenal. It will destabilize the region and provoke a war that is even now foreseeable."

This from the same people who suggested that the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage would cause God to hit the United States with an asteroid.

Streiff, Red State:  "Obama caves to Iran on every issue"

Of course, the text of the agreement has not been released, but Streiff already knows what is in it.  Mental Telepathy, I guess.  And by the way, since Russia was in on this also, I guess Conservative hero Putin caved to Iran on every issue too.

Erick Erickson, Red State:  "Did you see Hillary Clinton’s press conference yesterday?  She claimed to be in favor of a tomorrow and future, but then attacked tech companies like Uber and AirBnb..."

Uber and AirBnb are tech companies because you reach them online?  That's like saying your supermarket is General Motors because you get to it in your car.

Gavin McInnes, The Greg Gutfield Show:  "Trump Is a Snowplow Who Will Move Out and ‘BOOM! Ted Cruz, President!”

Ha ha.  Fairy tale time.  Then, we'll all drink some chocolate milk and take a nap.

Michael Walsh, PJ Media:  "Slain L.A. Football Player’s Dad: Trump Is Right on Immigration"

Slain L.A. football player's dad...boy they are really going for the government policy experts now.

James Jay Carafano, PJ Media:  "How Twitter Can Get You Killed"

Maybe if you go on twitter and threaten a Mexican drug lord?

Chuck Baldwin, Renew America:  "Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that what we see happening in the United States today is an apt illustration of why the Confederate flag was raised in the first place. What we see materializing before our very eyes is tyranny...The Confederate flag needs to be raised, not lowered"

Right, Chuck, you go with that.  Pig.

Newsmachete, American Thinker:  "What will happen to our military when it's led by soldiers with gender dysphoria?"

Whatever it is, it couldn't be worse than what happened to it when it was led by Republicans in Iraq.  Deal with that, sucker.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Greece and Collapse

What led to the current Greek fiscal calamity?  To hear our betters in the economic world, it is all a result of the Greeks being shiftless, irresponsible borrowers who spent themselves into penury, and must now pay the price.  But if that is so, why is it that the bankers that lent them the money, year after year, encouraging them ever more strongly to keep taking more, and who are presumably able to tell a good loan from a bad one, didn't cut them off, and make them live within their means, for their own good?

Well, you see, that's the way things used to work, at least from the thirties until the nineties.  The wise old mortgage lender wouldn't grant you a loan you couldn't handle.  That might have been frustrating at the time, but in the long run, it saved you from disaster.

But then, something happened.  Rich people, and their stooges, like Reagan, Bush, Gingrich- you know the names- decided that they just didn't have enough money, so they tilted the playing field in their direction, and the bucks came rolling on down, beyond the wildest dreams of old fasioned rich guys.  That was great for them; I mean, who wouldn't like a 230 foot yacht?  But there was one problem:  what do you do with all that money?  You can't keep a few billion in your mattress, so you have to invest it somewhere.  It seems like there could be nothing greater for banks and brokerage houses than to have a bunch of rich guys bring them all their money, but this just creates another problem.  Banks have to pay interest on that money, and if they can't lend it out to other people, they are going to end up broke; particularly because those rich guys are hardly going to be satisfied with the measly percent or two that the rest of us have to deal with.  But with economic troubles constantly on the horizon, there just isn't anywhere for the banks to safely invest their rich clients' money. 

So, the banks just abandoned their principles and used less and less discretion in granting their loans.  This was true in this country with banks giving mortgages to people who could obviously never pay for them, and it was just as true with the big international banking institutions, virtually forcing their money down the throats of hapless saps like the Greeks.  What's more, anyone who has read this far can see that this entire process is inevitably going to end up in a giant smash.  Of course, when that happens, the banks expect the victims of their irresponsible greed to pay the price, and that seems to be the way it always goes.

But you see, there is a simple and obvious answer to this endlessly repeating situation:  If you don't cram too much into the pipeline to begin with, it won't explode on you.  Allowing rich people to have too much money is the cause of financial crises, and for the sake of all of us, this must be brought to an end, probably by some vast increase in upper tax brackets, combined with enough regulation to prevent them from looting whatever business they get their hands on. 

For your information, this is exactly what happened in the nineteen twenties.  At that time, there was a vast increase in the share of the nation's wealth that was going to the rich.  All sorts of inscrutable investment vehicles were created to give them a place to put their money; and contrary to the popular misconception that no one predicted the final result of this, many economists warned of the inevitable collapse that was to come.  Of course, we were under Republican rule, so there was no more chance that any of those guys would get their hands on the levers of power, than that President Romney would appoint Paul Krugman to head the Fed.  No, instead, President Calvin Coolidge made Andrew Mellon, the head of a gigantic banking house and one of the richest men in America, to be the Secretary of the Treasury, where he remained until 1932, doing everything he could to increase the portion of the nation's wealth owned by the rich, and thus doing everything he could to see to it that the Great Depression would be as catastrophic as it was.

I am making no argument for fairness here, although that would be a legitimate argument to make.  I am stating that letting the rich have more money than they can meaningfully invest is a guaranteed recipe for economic disaster.  It is a matter of self defense for us to take back the ill-gotten gains of these rich sociopaths.  If we don't the world is doomed to endless replays of the economic collapse we have seen in 1929 and 2008.


So, the Republicans are screaming their heads off over the deal just reached with Iran.  A little sample, from their Presidential field:

Mike Huckabee:  "Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' and bring 'death to America.'

Marco Rubio:  "Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security. President Obama has consistently negotiated from a position of weakness"

Chris Christie:  "After two years of humiliating concessions by President Obama, he has made his deal with Iran"

And on and on.  Here's one thing about all of this, which no one in the mainstream press seems to have noticed:  for months now, the Republicans have been talking as if this was some sort of deal between Iran and President Obama personally.  They forget that there are six  world powers who have been involved in this negotiation every step of the way.  They don't care to mention that, even if the Republicans manage to totally destroy the United States' participation in this process, the other five countries are going to take this historic deal.  Republicans want to trade away our participation in a major step toward peace in the Middle East, for nothing but a chance to poke Obama in the eye again. 

And let us not forget that it was the United States that overthrew Iran's democratic government, resulting in what they have now, and it is the United States alone that is filled with politicians constantly agitating for war with Iran.  We're lucky they were willing to trust us enough to even include us in the negotiations; and in case this is not clear, it is the personal trust they had in Obama that allowed that.

So, they're off to the races, trying to turn a major foreign policy achievment into a disaster.

And let's not finish without a shoutout to that Republican in Likud clothing, Benjamin Netanyahu, whose intransigent, piggish attitude has apparently succeeded in destroying about eighty percent of the support Israel used to have around the world, just a couple of years ago.  Netanyahu lived in the United States and was a Republican operative before he ever involved himself in Israeli politics; I believe that he is really more of a Republican than an Israeli.  He knows that his bread is going to be buttered by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, so he is deliberately selling the Israeli people down the river to curry favor with these rich psychopaths.  The israeli people are just not prepared to recognize the threat of an American politician using American techniques to manipulate them, but we are.  It's time for us to focus on just who this guy is, and on the fact that he is destroying his country the same way the Republicans are destroying ours.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Let's be clear about what is going on in Greece.  A bunch of European banks made big loans to Greece, and Greece could not pay them back.  All of this "austerity" is about making the Greek people pay the banks back for their bad investments.  None of the money raised by these measures is going to Greece- it's all going to the bankers who made their bad investments.

Well, you know what?  Here's how I thought capitalism is supposed to work:  You make an investment, and if it works, you make money.  If it doesn't work, you lose.  Instead, it is now seemingly established that if you are a big enough bank or brokerage, you have to get your money back, even if that involves crushing the democratically elected government of a country like Greece, and looting your money from innocent people who had nothing to do with your bad loan. 

This is the death of democracy, at the hands of a rich elite who feel so entitled that they believe that someone else has to bear the cost when their gambles don't work out.  I think I need hardly point out that this is exactly what happened in this country after the 2008 collapse, and it's what Republicans did in response to the last depression too, and we know how that worked out.

We are at the point in the US where a few rich people are on the verge of being able to buy the entire country.  These people believe that we owe them a profit on their investments, no matter how foolish or malicious they are.  They also believe that they have the absolute right to overthrow any government that tries to stand up to them.  And every single Republican is fighting as hard as he can to prove that he can sell his soul to them faster than anyone else.

And people call Bernie Sanders crazy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Jeb's Excellent Dogwhistle

So, Jeb! opened his big fat mouth and made what people all over are calling a gigantic, Romneyesque gaffe:

"The 2016 candidate said that to grow the economy, workers must do more.  Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday made a proposal that may fail to gain widespread popularity.  In an interview with New Hampshire’s The Union Leader, Bush said that to grow the economy by 4%, “people need to work longer hours.

The Democratic National Committee released a statement calling Bush’s statement “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle,” and citing them as proof that Bush would not fight for the middle class."

Forget the fact that, like every dickish rich Republican asshole, Bush want's to blame all of the nation's problems on the moral failings of people who do not happen to be rich, or the fact that the United State already forces its workers to work far more hours than all of the successful industrialized countries. 

Because when did facts ever matter to Republicans.  No, what actually interests me here is the universal assumption that Jeb's remark was a mistake.  I do not believe this to be true.

Jeb's only real competition for the Republican nomination, which is always decided by the rich guys, is Scott Walker, the Butcher of Wisconsin.  No one that knows the Republican party can possibly believe that anyone else in their vast array of lunatics can gain the trust of the Koch Brothers, the Waltons, Sheldon Adelson, etc, and so none of them will ever have the money to mount a real challenge.  And Bush's remark is all about sending a clear message to those rich psychopaths:  Scott Walker may be a lying, heartless savage who will steal anything on behalf of the Koch Brothers, but Jeb wants to establish in public that he is just as prepared to sacrifice the American people on behalf of the rich.  He is saying, "you don't have to turn to him- I will be just as heartless and morally bankrupt as he could ever be."  And that is why the attempts to walk Jeb's remarks back have been so lame- he doesn't really care what anyone thinks about him except the guys who can write the billion dollar checks.  He's running his campaign for them and them alone, and he doesn't really give a damn about the rest of us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


I just read about this at Daily Kos,- while everyone has been watching Greece, the Chinese stock market has undergone a colossal crash over the last couple of weeks.

 I don't have a clue what to make of this, but it sure sounds crazy.  You might want to take a look at the article.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Strange Descent of Antonin Scalia

North of Arkham, the hills rise dark...Oops, wait a minute, wrong monster story.  Let's start over again.

It has always amazed me that Antonin Scalia has been held up so long as a paragon of legal brilliance.  As long ago as the Bush v. Gore decision, it seemed to me that what he had to say was a patently fallacious justifiction for the five Conservatives' action, as brilliantly outlined in Vincent Bugliosi's short book, "The Betrayal of America."  I began to watch the comments of this supposedly great legal mind, and again and again, he seemed to be engaging not in a search for the truth, but for a justification for a predetermined decision, filled with sophistry and contempt for his listeners.  Needless to say, this is just about the worst basis on which a judge can operate; yet he has long reigned as the supposed intellectual champion of the Conservative judiciary. 

I have really wanted to write about this mystery for a long time, but extensive quotes from Supreme Court decisions do not a blog make, particularly one like mine, so I never did it.  What's more, I am not a lawyer, so I suspected that what I had to say, no matter how obvious, would simply be dismissed as the ravings of an ignorant autodidact.  So, I collected some source material and did nothing more.

The intemperate, nonsensical statements of Scalia over the last couple of weeks, however, have pushed me over the edge.  So, I am finally going to say something about his place in the history of American Jurisprudence.  I am going to leave Bush v. Gore to Bugliosi's capable hands, for those who really want to see a Supreme Court Justice eviscerated, and in fact, am going to deal with only two issues: his recent comments, and some of what he had to say in the gun control case of District of Columbia v. Heller, from 2008.  They illustrate two clear phases in his decline, I believe.  I will start with the latter. And just to keep things clear, lets remember the actual text of the second amendment:

"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."

Well, here is a little of what Scalia had to say about this seemingly clear single sentence, with a bit of a response from admittedly non-legally trained Green Eagle.  Let's see the masterful logic and grasp of the law demonstrated by Scalia:

"The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home...

The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause."

In other words, even though the framers of the Constitution deliberately put this remark in the second amendment, the only time in the whole Constitution that they qualified one of its passages, it doesn't really have any meaning.  Even though the amendment speaks about the militia, it doesn't have a thing to do with the militia.  I don't think you have to be a constitutional scholar to see that for the absurd rationalization that it is.

 "The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."

In justifying his position, Scalia cites all sorts of supposed evidence; among them State Constitutions, failed alternatives to the second amendment and even supposedly analogous English law.  What it does not cite is Federalist Paper #29, which along with its brother, Federalist Paper #28, contains the explicit explanation of the intent of the people who actually wrote the second amendment:

 "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured...the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable"

Scalia replies:

"The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing  army or a select militia to rule.  The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved."

But of course, the Antifederalists lost the argument, in favor of the Federalists, people who intended the militia to be controlled by the Federal government:

"If standing armies are dangerous to liberty, an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions. If the federal government can command the aid of the militia in those emergencies which call for the military arm in support of the civil magistrate, it can the better dispense with the employment of a different kind of force. If it cannot avail itself of the former, it will be obliged to recur to the latter."

Still, in Scalia's interpretation, thei Antifederalists' word (because it supports his own intent) counts for more than the actual statements of the people who wrote the amendment.  Of course, the Constitution was the result of negotiation between different factions.  But, in Scalia's mind, only the ones who agree with him count for anything.  But then, this is always the Conservative interpretation of original intent.

It should be noted that this absurd argument parallels his treatment of the recent Obamacare case, in which he gave immense weight to the claims of people who had fought the law for years, and no weight at all to the  clear statements of the people who voted for and passed the law.  Opinions only count to Antonin Scalia when they agree with Antonin Scalia; again, not a very desirable quality in a Supreme Court Justice.  And let us remember, we are hearing these all-too-familiar bogus arguments coming not from one of the endless legions of ignorant gun nuts you can find online, but from Antonin Scalia, in whose hands we have placed the fate of our system of laws.

"The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms."

What three State Constitutions say is highly relevant in Scalia's mind; the amendment's "drafting history," i.e. the actual words of the amendment's writers, as detailed in the Federalist Papers means nothing.

And let's be clear about this:  there is absolutely no chance that Scalia is not familiar with the Federalist Papers, so this cannot be written off as innocent confusion.

Well, there is so much more, but this should suffice to give you a taste of the Scalia of a decade ago- a person with utter contempt and indifference for anything which does not enable him to do what he wants.  This is the worst sort of judicial reasoning, and makes a mockery of the impartiality that we expect of judges.  However, things were about to take a serious turn for the worse, as we can see when we examine some quotes from his current decision:

"When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases."

By this reasoning, of course, it would have been a great crime to end the institution of slavery, or to extend the vote to women.  And now a bunch of his miscellaneous remarks:

"But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003."

"The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic."

"It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so." 

"Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say."

"The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

It has also descended from any sort of legal reasoning to cheap taunting on the level of an eighth grade playground argument.

"Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall."

"This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it re-writes the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare."

Note that Scalia reserves to himself the right, as we have seen above, to cite any unrelated thing as a justification for his behavior; he also, as with the second amendment, allows himself the privilege of utterly ignoring what the people who wrote and passed this legislation (still living in this case) had to say about what it meant.

And finally, a little more of this contentious nonsense:

"The Court's next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves..."

"Pure applesauce. Imagine that a university sends around a bulletin reminding every professor to take the "interests of graduate students" into account when setting office hours, but that some professors teach only undergraduates. Would anybody reason that the bulletin implicitly presupposes that every professor has "graduate students," so that "graduate students" must really mean "graduate or undergraduate students"? Surely not."

"The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed ... will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence."

As I mentioned, I am not a lawyer, but like a lot of people, I've had the opportunity to read a few legal documents in my time.  The intemperate phrases above are not a legal opinion; they are a scream of anger at the notion that anyone would dare challenge him.  I would venture to say that the most provincial county court judge would be enraged to think that a submission like this was made to him, with the implication that he could be so confused about the law that it would possibly affect his judgment.  It is simply the scream of a toddler at not having his desires instantly gratified.  It is absolutely shocking that a Supreme Court Justice could permanently  and deliberately degrade the status of the court, and of the American justice system as a whole by placing a statement like this in its eternal record, with the implication that it is legitimate to make decisions based on such name calling and insults.

Again, there is lots more.  But this should be sufficient to chronicle the descent of a supposedly brilliant legal mind into first, a dishonest hack willing to use his position to advance the partisan interests of his backers without regard to truth or decency; and finally into a screaming, angry tyrant with no respect for the country's laws, and a heart filled with rage at the thought that anyone would dare to disagree with him.

Now comes the fun part- taking a stab at why this could happen to someone.  There is a suggestion that Scalia has descended into senility, his once great mind dulled by the passing of years.  I do not believe that is the case, but first a seemingly unrelated digression.

Serial killers are widely regarded as among the hardest criminals to catch.  Their lack of relation to their victims presents a painful problem for detectives, so that often they can go on killing until they make a serious mistake.  Experts in the subject have often remarked that these people, who start out with a belief in their own vast superiority to the common victims they sacrifice, grow more and more convinced of their invincibility with each successive crime, and consequently take less and less effort to cover up their real nature.  This growing lack of respect for their adversaries leads them to let their guard down step by step, until they are identified.  This is, I believe, what has happened to Scalia.  As the years pass; as he has succeeded in removing the real President from office and replacing him with a tool of the rich, as he rules nonsensically that corporations are people, as he defends religious fanaticism and open corruption without ever seeing his reputation and status diminished, as he writes that States are justified in executing people who they know to be innocent,  as he writes opinion after opinion that he knows are utter rubbish, without ever being challenged for his malice, let alone for his legal irrelevance, he has become more and more careless about disguising his belief that his supposedly supreme intellect allows him to do whatever he pleases, without concern for anyone or anything else.  Now, he has reached the point of openly mocking his fellow Justices for their inability to halt his malicious behavior, as certain serial killers have done with the police.  He is not senile, he is an out of control monster, a serial killer of the American Judicial system, turning its rulings into a contest of who has the power to force their will on the country, regardless of right and wrong.  And I give Scalia this much: I do not believe there is a thing the rest of us can do about it.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Well, a couple of Supreme Court decisions and a right wing terrorist really have the wingnuts up in arms these days.  Here's a taste:

Alan Keyes, Renew America:  " The demand to take (the Confederate flag) down has more to do with fomenting racial division for political purposes than with any concern over racial bigotry and conflict. Many of the same people who make a show of grieving over the Christians murdered in Charleston have greeted the likelihood of America's Obama-led complicity in arming the Christian-slaughtering terrorists of ISIS without batting an eye."

"The likelihood" of Obama-led complicity in arming the Christian-slaughtering terrorists of ISIS...  "The likelihood."  I guess I don't have to explain what that means, do I?  If he had the flimsiest shred of evidence, he would be screaming it from the rooftops.  But, boy is it "likely" that The Kenyan Usurper is helping ISIS kill Christians.  Yes sir, it surely is.

Alan (a black man, remember) has more to say, about the Civil War:

"Never was a war so righteous fought on lines more susceptible to evil. From Lee's allegiance to Virginia to Sherman's infamously destructive march to the sea, the Civil War foreshadowed the dilemma of Hiroshima"

You see, Lee kept his allegiance to his State, while Sherman was infamously destructive, just like Hiroshima.  It's pretty obvious which side were the good guys in Alan's opinion.  It's a mystery how anyone, let alone a black man, can say something like this, without immediately going out and throwing themselves in front of a train.  Oh well, there is an upside to Alan's position.  If his side had won the Civil war, at least Alan himself would never have been allowed to learn to read and write.

And just to make it clear that it's not just black men that can be colossally stupid when Renew America comes calling, here's a black woman:

Sylvia Thompson, Renew America:  "It is now time for civil disobedience"

Not when your government was destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of helpless people in this country, many of them black like you, no...not when they were killing millions in criminal wars of aggression, or selling millions more into little more than slavery, so the rich could grow even richer... not when cops are gunning down whoever they want, without a shred of, that was not the time for civil disobedience.  Now is the time, when the government is going to let anyone have a marriage license.  Well, you go, girl.  Anyone think Sylvia and her friends will get the same beatings and tear gas that we got back in the day?

Cliff Kincaid, Renew America:  "Overthrow the judicial dictatorship...Commentators have missed the real significance of Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent in the gay marriage case. He calls the decision a judicial "Putsch," an attempt to overthrow a form of government – ours. His dissent, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, was written "to call attention to this Court's threat to American democracy."

It's all okay until the second they make a decision the wingnuts don't like.  Then, string them up.  Because only God, i.e. the American right, can make a judgment.  Cliff continues:

"Scalia understands the power and meaning of words"

Well, Scalia certainly understands the power and meaning of a tantrum.  It's just taking the rest of the country a little while to get used to tantrums from the Supreme Court bench.

Wes Vernon, Renew America:  "BOOK REVIEW: 'Adios America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole'

Too late, Wes.  The right already beat them to it.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "From a moral standpoint, 6/26 has become our 9/11. On this day, June 26, 2015, five justices of the Supreme Court became moral jihadists who blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. They did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny.   June 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy."

Oh come on, Bryan...lighten up.

Mike Huckabee, Washington Times:  "Conservatives can ignore gay marriage ruling like Lincoln ignored Dred Scott"

Well, of course, Lincoln did not "ignore" the Dred Scott decision, nor did he have any tantrums, nor did he call for the Supreme Court to be eliminated, or claim that they were traitors.  What he did do was give a very famous speech, which catapulted him into the national spotlight, in which he said that the Supreme Court had changed its mind before, and that he was confident that they would change their minds about this.  Another Conservative lie about history told in order to get their way, when they know they are in the wrong.

Todd Beamon, Newsmax:  "Ted Cruz on Court Rulings: 'Darkest 24 Hours in Our Nation's History'

Darker than Pearl Harbor.  Darker than 9-11.  Darker than the day the South started the Civil War.  Sheesh, what an idiot.

World Net Daily:  "Don't let U.S. flag become extinct on July 4!"

What, are there no breeding pairs left?  Are hunters killing flags for their ivory?  Oh, thank heaven, it's just another try to get money out of their stupid followers, by buying a flag for July 4th. 

Doug Wead, World Net Daily:  "Why Rand Paul reminds me of Reagan"

Because you're really stupid?  Because Rand Paul is really stupid?  Okay, I give up...what lunatic nonsense are you trying to force down our throats now?  Oh, forget it.  Let's just move on.

Ann Coulter:  "The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army. "

Yeah, I'd like to see them go up against the Wehrmacht.  Let's see how Lee's army responds to an attack by a bunch of FW-190's, or maybe eight or ten thousand tanks.  Listen, Ann: the issue is not what a great fighting machine they were; the issue is that they were a bunch of traitors fighting to maintain one of the worst barbarisms in world history.  Got it straight now?

Guy Benson, Town Hall:  "No, Mr. President, the Obamacare Debate Isn't Over"

Why would we think it is?  The debate over your fucking Confederate flag isn't even over.  And here's a little more from Mr. Benson:

"Fail: Another Terrible Week for Obamacare "

Another few terrible weeks like this one, and Obamacare will be declared the greatest written document since the Bible.

Hank Adler, Town Hall:  "GOP - A Bold Response to the Supreme Court...Immediately, Congress should pass very straight forward, concise and meaningful changes to Obamacare."

They haven't done anything but blab about that for five years.  I just know things are going to be different now that the court slammed the door in their faces.

Brent Bozell, Town Hall:  "So Much for the Free-Speech Left..To look at virtually anything produced by Hollywood is to register confirmation that the libertine left cherishes clogging our popular culture with vulgarities."

Listen, Brent:  "Hollywood" is not the left.  You've been screaming about Hollywood for years now- one would think you would have figured that out already. Hollywood is a bunch of huge corporations shoving each other out of the way as hard as they can to snatch a few dollars out of the hands of people all over the world.  That's not my idea of the left- it's actually like virtually every corporation on earth.  Although at least Hollywood has some kind of scruples.  I mean, they haven't made a blockbuster movie glorifying slave owners since 1939. That's something.

Humberto Fontova, Town Hall:  "While liberals applaud how the smiling, slobbering, tail-wagging Obama recently rolled-over yet again for Raul Castro (plan to open U.S. embassy) Cuba-watchers remind that the U.S. Constitution is again being trashed. "

Imaginary slobbering is violating the Constitution?  Well, I guess it is, if that's all they've got.

Justin Haskins, Town Hall:  "Supreme Court May Have Saved Obamacare, but It Doomed Young Americans’ Health Care Options"

Yeah, it doomed their option to have no health care coverage at all.  I'm sure they will be very angry once they realize that.

Daniel Davis, Town Hall:  "Unspeakable: ISIS Has Executed Over 3,000, Including 74 Children"

This must be particularly painful to Republican favorite Rick Perry, who only managed to preside over 278 executions.  No children, but a few mentally disabled people.

Charlie Martin, PJ Media:  "Let’s Start Calling Public Schools What They Are: One of the Biggest Swindles in History. What else would you call it?"

I'd call it a sacred obligation that we owe to future generations, and which you Republicans are too God damned greedy to acknowledge.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "Revealed in Hillary Emails: 2009 Iran Hostage Case Got Special Attention..."

And this is the smoking gun that they found after reading thousands of pages of e-mails.  Well, I guess she's finished now.

Andrew McCarthy, PJ Media:  "No, GOP Candidates Did Not ‘Embarrass’ Themselves in Rebuking the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling"

They aren't capable of feeling embarrassment.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "When it becomes illegal for Christians to hold public office...The Supreme Court last Friday, through an act of judicial tyranny, made sodomy-based marriage a part of the Constitution.  Mark my words on this. The ultimate outcome of this unconscionable act is that one day, before too long, it will be officially illegal for Christians to hold public office in the United States."

Yeah, sure.  I'm putting my money on the Cubs winning the World Series.  Nine times in a row.  That will happen before Bryan's prediction comes true.  Bryan continues:

"The left will argue we cannot let an individual with such antiquated and virtually racist views assume public office. We must have officeholders who will uphold and defend the entire Constitution, not just the parts he likes, and see that all its laws, not just the ones he likes, are faithfully executed. This man will not in good conscience be able to do that, liberals will argue. He must not be allowed to threaten our entire system of government through his refusal to endorse this most fundamental and basic human right."

Well, that is what decent people have been arguing for years.  But of course, we restrict ourselves to voting out jerks like that when we can, not, say, getting some fascist billionaires to rig the system so good politicians can't win, like Bryan's side does.

Donald Hank, Renew America:  "What's behind Bolivia's economic success?"

Cocaine?  That's my guess.

Well, enough.  See you soon.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gaza Delusion Reaches a New High

Here, from a recent article in the Washington Post, are a couple of interviews with Palestinian spokesmen, about the issue of whether the state of Israel is occupying Gaza.  Since there is not one single Israeli in Gaza, this would seem to be an easy question to answer, but things are never that simple where Palestinians are involved.

First, let's remember the background.  Israel withdrew all of its military and Jewish civilian population in 2005, in an act of what might be considered self-ethnic cleansing:

"The Israeli disengagement from Gaza (Hebrew: תָּכְנִית הַהִתְנַתְּקוּת, Tokhnit HaHitnatkut; in the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law), also known as "Gaza expulsion" and "Hitnatkut", was the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza, and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Four small settlements in the northern West Bank were also evacuated...The Gaza Strip contained 21 civilian Israeli settlements...

The disengagement was proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005. Those Israeli citizens who refused to accept government compensation packages and voluntarily vacate their homes prior to the August 15, 2005 deadline, were evicted by Israeli security forces over a period of several days. The eviction of all residents, demolition of the residential buildings and evacuation of associated security personnel from the Gaza Strip was completed by September 12, 2005..."

Well, on with the story:  The Washington Post interviewed two Palestinian spokesmen for their views on this issue, Raji Sourani, human rights lawyer for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza and Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian lecturer of political science at Birzeit University in Ramallah, West Bank, and a former Palestinian minister.  Here is some of what they have to say, punctuated predictably by a few squawks from Green Eagle.

"Q: Does Israel still occupy Gaza?

A: Gaza is definitely still occupied, and Israel is still the belligerent occupying force, and they have no right to enforce this illegal, inhuman collective punishment. It is entirely against the Geneva Convention."

The first incident in the entire history of the human race of Occupying From Another Country.  Those tricky Jews.

"Q: Israel says it withdrew from Gaza, so how can you say it's still occupied?

A: This is a very well-known trick. Whenever they want to, they can occupy Gaza again...This claim is ridiculous."

Note that by this standard, the United States occupies Canada, since we could occupy them any time we want.  By the way, doesn't the statement "they can occupy Gaza again" pretty much admit that they are not occupying Gaza now?  Those tricky Jews again- they can occupy a country even when they are not occupying it.  Could there be a greater example of patent absurdity?  And yet, most of the nations of the world seem to accept this nonsense as a legitimate argument.

"Gaza has not been rebuilt since the [Israel-Gaza war] of 2008/09, and it is not rebuilt after three wars because Israel does not want to do that."

Well, how about if someone else does it; say the Palestinians themselves?  They get plenty of foreign aid money, and they can bring the supplies in via their border with Egypt, but of course they have other uses for that money- namely to enrich their leaders, who cannot, of course, be changed because Hamas did away with elections after it took control.  This is, predictably, Israel's fault

"Israel can decide to kill anyone anywhere in Gaza. They can do what they want in Gaza they are the secret power."

The "secret power."  I see.  You know what? Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and a whole bunch of other countries can do whatever they want in Gaza too.  So I guess they are all occupying Gaza.  In fact, any country with an air force could do the same.  Gaza-occupied by about eighty countries at once.  No wonder things are so bad for them.

"If there is no occupation power, then why is there a siege on Gaza?"

Maybe because otherwise, Gaza would be flooded with weapons for another attack on Israel?  Oh no, who could think a religious leadership like Hamas would do that?

Q": Does Israel still occupy Gaza?

A: Yes, it does, and this is not only the view held by Palestinians. It is also seen this way by experts in international law, who confirm the Palestinian understanding that Israel did not withdraw from Gaza but merely redeployed from inside Gaza to around it."

This is one of my favorite comments in a long time.  Israel did not "withdraw" from Gaza, but merely "redeployed" by removing all troops from Gaza.  In fact, since there are no Israelis in Gaza, there is no way that they could satisfy demands to cease "occupying" Gaza except by committing mass suicide. 

This sort of thinking, by the way, is the result of humoring the Palestinians about their endless distortions of their history.  They are at the point where (sort of like Republicans) they no longer feel a second of shame at uttering the most preposterous, malicious falsehoods.

"The presence of the Israeli army inside Gaza was removed, but the Israeli military still controls the borders of Gaza, meaning the Gazans do not have control over their borders and, consequently, their movement and movement of goods going into and out of Gaza.

I am not a legal expert, but I would say that Israel’s control over the borders is a continuity of the occupation."

Well, I am not an expert either, but as far as I can remember, when you pull all your people out of a country, you are no longer occupying it.  So, now they insist that Israel abandon control of its own borders with a country whose government  is at war with it.  I'd like to know of the last time that was ever considered a fair demand.  During World War II, for example, was it a war crime for England to not allow free entry to German troops?  That is the standard of non-occupation the Palestinians are demanding of Israel, and it serves as a perfect example of how irrational their position is.

"Q: Israel says it has relaxed restrictions on goods and people going in and out of Gaza, and figures from international organizations show the numbers of both are up in 2015.

A: Israel increasing its restrictions or relaxing its constrictions confirms the idea that Israel is controlling the border. When it is in Israel’s interest, they relax restrictions. This means that Gaza is under Israeli control."

Even relaxing restrictions is a sign of evil intent. Because, Jews.  And because the Palestinians know that no matter how vicious their claims are, a large part of the world will just swallow them whole.

"Q: Israel says it controls the crossings because of Hamas rocket fire.

A: The Israeli restrictions, Hamas rockets and all other aspects of the conflict all take place within the framework of an illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. We have resistance and rockets; sometimes it's legitimate and sometimes it's an illegitimate means of resistance, but it's all because of the occupation."

Translation:  Anything we want to do- aggressive war, terrorism, sabotage, it's all fine because we say that we are the good guys.

"Evacuating part of Palestinian territory, changing the form of control from inside to outside, does not mean the Palestinians should give up on their efforts to get complete freedom."

And in case you don't get what the guy just said, according to him, evacuating part of "Palestinian territory" is not enough.  Nothing is enough until all Jews in Israel are slaughtered and the country is obliterated, so this currently vibrant, economically strong state whose two million strong Arab community enjoys a standard of living about ten times that in the surrounding countries, can join its neighbors as a war torn hellhole of ethnic slaughter.

And don't forget- a large part of the world's supposedly sentient residents will buy into all of it.