Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Give Howard Dean Whatever He Wants

I think it is high time to return to the 50 state strategy and give Howard Dean whatever he wants so that he can rebuild the Democratic Party in time for 2016.

If we fail to heed what he's telling us about organization and structure, you can count on having the Republican Party gerrymander itself into a permanent lock on the House of Representatives.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another Proud Day in American Jurisprudence

The law simply doesn't work for a vast number of Americans. It works well for the police, and for a power structure that has money and the phony construct of race on its side. It does not work well for African Americans or people of color or the poor. Another American city burns tonight because people are like, no, you may not execute us in the streets and leave us to lie like dead dogs. How uppity of them.

Of course we should elect more Republicans. That'll solve everything. Sheesh.

Bill Cosby and Cultural Literacy

When you see pieces like this, you come away with the realization that many commentators are not equipped to deal with big stories. Bill Cosby's public meltdown has been the biggest story of the year, culturally speaking, in this country. His downfall is even bigger than the sad story of the suicide of Robin Williams.

In the case of Williams, a man who was far more successful artistically than Cosby experienced a late-in-life decline in health that led him to depression. These factors caused him to take his own life. Cosby's artistic accomplishments are largely forgotten by American society because Cosby himself was an utter failure in the movies. He made movies that were so indulgently bad he managed to make Chevy Chase look like a genius of American cinema.

What we now know is that Williams was loved. Countless people cried at the news of his death. Cosby is still very hated and despised by those who came into any kind of contact with him that involved money or sex, but there is still nostalgia for one of the many sitcoms he has peddled over the years,

England just went through this same exact thing. Jimmy Savile was a boiling scumbag of a human, cigar always in place, looking for the next victim. The visual comparison is there--Savile and Cosby, cigars at the ready, horny and empowered to act without accountability.

That's not to say that Cosby isn't still being considered innocent and powerful right now. He is due a small amount of credible innocent-til-proven-guilty that wouldn't pass the muster in the English system of law, which allows for multiple victims to make a credible case against the accused (we don't do that here).

Cosby's power derived from him being able to intimidate and talk down to other human beings. That has been on the wane in recent years. You may have forgotten his CBS sitcom or any of a number of shows that have attempted to monetize the Cosby personality and outlook--many of them were short-lived and had to be disposed of when they stopped working. The CBS show was choleric and miserable at times, but they threw an Emmy at it anyway. I remember it as televised amateur hour and Madeline Kahn should have been afforded the chance to do something else.

Cosby appears to have been feared by those who knew him and loved only in the abstract. He used moral authority to secure a place in the American consciousness that looked to him as a necessary scold. Cosby reinforced the idea that black people were to blame for their lack of success and he was rewarded for this stance. What legitimized him was the money he made on television and the degrees that he acquired.

Robin Williams was terrified of his own celebrity at times; Cosby demanded that people remember his celebrity, always. Has there ever been another man so adept at giving America one version of himself that didn't look anything like who he really was? He was the Nixon of comedy, and I have no idea why people are still expecting him to make a comeback, either.

You are witnessing the downfall of a man who once owned prime-time television in the 1980s. The view from the bottom has to be depressing enough. It is readily apparent that Robin Williams didn't have that kind of a career trajectory. Williams exploded and then rose and fell based on his choices and the material. People did tire of him, like they tire of everyone. But Williams was insistent on doing solid things and worked like an artist for as long as he could, struggling through a late-career foray into television that didn't embarrass anyone like having to sit through a Doug E. Doug scene, carried out like a lazy ad-lib at a time when Cosby couldn't have been more irrelevant.

He has not been relevant in years. He has been able to make money talking down to people and we, as a culture, really need to examine the lives of the people who we have hired to tell us what's wrong with us. When someone can tell Cosby to pull his own damned pants up and mean it in the worst possible way, something is seriously wrong.

Anyway, I choose to celebrate Williams even more now, knowing full well that he probably did some horrible things and was imperfect. I don't recall him ever using a PhD to lecture people about how they went about their lives. The only person he seemed to want to knock out was himself.

Chuck Hagel Just Got Fired

Chuck Hagel is gone:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down amid criticism of the president’s national security team on a series of global issues, including the threat posed by the militant group known as ISIS.
Senior defense officials confirmed to NBC News Monday that Hagel was forced to resign.
The officials say the White House has lost confidence in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon. According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”
Another senior administration official said that Hagel has been discussing a departure from the White House "for several weeks."
It will be fun to watch the confirmation hearings for whoever the Obama team convinces to accept the job. I can't think of any candidates for the job, other than former senator James Webb, who would be about as difficult as Hagel to predict or manage.

We need to get out of the nation building business and get into a leaner and meaner version of what we have now, with an emphasis on people, not miracle weapons. My suspicion is that we are going to go the other way and Hagel may have been actively trying to pursue an agenda that came into conflict with the idea that everyone in the world wants to be just like us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi

Lies, Lies, and Damned Lies from Fox News

Benghazi was a Republican attempt to use a violent attack on U.S. personnel overseas for political gain, plain and simple, and now these bastards have to eat crow:
The Republican-led House Select Committee on Intelligence on Friday released its report on the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and it found that the military and the Central Intelligence Agency responded appropriately during the attacks.
The investigation, which took nearly two years and thousands of hours of work, found the CIA had "ensured sufficient security" and "bravely assisted" the night of attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The panel also found no intelligence failure prior to the attacks.

The committee said bit found no evidence that the military was ordered to "stand down" during the attacks in Benghazi, as some had claimed, and that "appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night." It also found no evidence of similar claims that the CIA was involved in arms shipments or other unauthorized activities.
The report did say that the initial narrative by the White House that the attack stemmed from a protest was not accurate, but it blamed that on contradictory intelligence assessments in the attack’s aftermath rather than an effort to obscure the truth. The committee said it found "no evidence that any officer present during the attacks was intimidated" to prevent them from addressing Congress or revealing what they witnessed.
The lying bastards almost got away with it. They dumped this on a late Friday night before Thanksgiving week for one reason and one reason only--so you wouldn't notice.

They lied about what they knew--and, trust me, what you see above is what everyone knew mere weeks after the attack in Benghazi--and they used this tragedy for political gain. They politicized an attack on Americans and tried to turn Benghazi into some sort of foreign policy Watergate. They couldn't handle the fact that President Obama gave the order to get Osama bin Laden--they tried to make something up and use the bodies of dead Americans to attack the President of the United States.

These are the people who now hold the gavels. They have oversight over the government. And they have now spent untold millions of dollars and have yapped themselves into a farce of Biblical proportions by manufacturing a phony scandal. They own Benghazi. This is a FAIL like none other for the substance-free Republican Congress.

America--these are the clowns you handed the car keys to and this is what happens when you expect people to be reasonable after they've spent years--years--acting like jackasses and fools in public.

Cherish the next two years because now, someone has to find another Benghazi.

This is the Smartest Move Ever

The best way to ensure that African Americans feel safe and that their right to protest has not been infringed upon is to flood the area with FBI agents before anything happens.

Did I get that right?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bill Cosby and Serial Rape

It would appear that Bill Cosby has a problem with being accused of committing serial rape in this country. Did he commit any crimes overseas? Is there any way to bring him to justice in another jurisdiction? Why is he getting away with it?

The statute of limitations has rendered Cosby untouchable. He will likely go the way of Joe Paterno, disgraced but wealthy and confused about his status.

This country can forgive a lot of things. Cosby raped his way through a lot of lives, it would appear.

Norman Rogers is a horrible, horrible man. He was said, in effect, that an adult male can use the $300 hooker to solve a lot of problems.

"A fifty dollar whore is good in a pinch, but she is desperate and sometimes unattractive. If you pay $300 for the services of a professional working girl, you can expect that she will be reasonably attractive and unwilling to turn on you. Bill Cosby could have hired a $300 girl every week of the year. That's $15,600 per calendar year, including your Christmas Ham Boning or whatever you want to call it. Over the course of forty years, that's a grand total of $624,000 spent on discreet, professional sex workers."

As Norman horribly explains, this would save many men a great deal of grief.

"Bill Cosby could have spent a mere $15,600 per year playing hide the baloney and all he would be guilty of is being a horndog. I am not condoning legalized prostitution--I think what they have in Las Vegas is a good model for what we should have in every state. We need special economic zones where regulated adult behavior is tolerated and controlled. Stephen Hawking uses professional women and people consider him a saintly genius. If Cosby were a mere whoremonger, he would likely be making over $10 million a year right now. Contrast that with a controlled budget for getting some ass on the side."

"What an old fool. He reminds me of Tiger Woods, who lost over a hundred million dollars for sex that would have cost him, at best, a few hundred thousand dollars."

It should be pointed out that Norman Rogers is a horrible man and his views are neither condoned nor understood.

The Pride of Minden, Nebraska

Minden, Nebraska is the home of at least one asshole. The rest of the people may be nice but I have it on good authority there's one a-hole living there and he makes his own signs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Don Lemon is a National Embarrassment

Let me just say up front--considering the sad decline of television news, Don Lemon fits in perfectly with his colleagues. He's no worse than Sean Hannity or Ed Schultz. He's a complete and utter buffoon and a clown in a nice suit who can read well on television. He's a national disgrace:

Speaking on “CNN Tonight” with Joan Tarshis, one of the women who has recently come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her, the reliably clue-deficient Lemon went down a particularly unorthodox line of questioning. Speaking with the now 66 year-old Woodstock resident, he gently led with “Can I ask you this, because — and please, I don’t mean to be crude, OK?” Lemon inquired about her assertion that Cosby had given her something to drink and that the next thing she remembers is being undressed on his couch, and coming up with a hasty fib to stop him. “You lied to him and said ‘I have an infection, and if you rape me, or if you do — if you have intercourse with me, then you will probably get it and give it to your wife,’” Lemon said, and she assented. “And you said he made you perform oral sex,” he said, and again she assented. That’s when he came back with, “You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”When she replied that “I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have,” he told her, “Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right? As a weapon. Biting.” To which she simply replied, “Ouch.”
Lemon's approach to being a television news anchor extends into asking questions no one should ask. As in, "did a black hole swallow Malaysian Flight MH370?" as if that were a viable option. And it is true--Lemon himself has been subjected to awful comments and unfair criticism.

Should he even be on television? That's not my call. I don't think he has any credibility left. If that means he can thrive in the news business, hey. So be it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Never Do Anything Smart or Funny

Someone somewhere is going to be highly offended and put out by the adaptation of Paddington for the big screen. This is a reflection of the culture--no matter what you do, expect phony outrage and bullshit for your troubles. We live in a culture where there are genuine racist and improper statements made all the time. Because the people who legitimately react to these slights are given a tremendous amount of media coverage and moral authority, others pile onto the bandwagon.

Paddington is thus a bandwagon for phony outrage. Never offend anyone ever. Don't even make a dandruff joke about being a stuffed bear. It will lead to hurt feelings and Tweets and screaming.

Good Time Charlie

Did you know that Charles Manson is getting married?
Charles Manson and his fiancée, who already considers herself his wife, have gotten a marriage license, a source close to the couple told CNN on Monday.
Manson intends to marry Afton Burton, who goes by Star.
Several years ago, she moved from Illinois to Corcoran, a small central California city that's home to Corcoran State Prison, where the 80-year-old convicted murderer has lived for the past 25 years.
She talks to Manson almost every day by phone and visits him on most weekends.
No date has been set for the wedding, the source said. The couple has 90 days to exercise the license without having to reapply.
According to Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the wedding must happen on a visiting day.
Manson and his fiancée will be allowed up to 10 guests from outside the prison, in addition to an officiant of their choice, and two additional guests from inside the prison, the spokesman said.
In all of American history, is there anything sicker or weirder than Charles Manson? The man never killed anyone with his own two hands and yet he sits in the hoosegow, mindlessly squirming in the fountain of his own freak out. He's been in prison so long, they're going to have to build a new facility to accommodate him and the new wife, who will end up pregnant with his baby if she isn't already. Given how the legal system works, any child born to Charlie will automatically end up with a sentence of life in prison, right?

The Failed Presidency Meme

If this is what a failed presidency looks like, wait til you remember what it was like to live during the Bush years:
They say failure can be a good teacher, but, so far, the Obama administration is opting out of the course. The post-midterm period has been one of the most bizarre of the Obama presidency. President Obama has racked up some impressive foreign-policy accomplishments, but, domestically and politically, things are off the rails.
Usually presidents use midterm defeats as a chance to rethink and refocus. That’s what Obama did four years ago. Voters like to feel the president is listening to them.
But Obama’s done no public rethinking. In his post-election news conference, the president tried to reframe the defeat by saying the turnout was low, as if it was the Republicans’ fault that the Democrats could only mobilize their core base. Throughout that conference, the president seemed to detach himself from his own party, as if the Democrats who lost their jobs because of him were a bunch of far-off victims of some ethereal malaise.
Usually presidents at the end of their terms get less partisan, not more. But with his implied veto threat of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, President Obama seems intent on showing that Democrats, too, can put partisanship above science. Keystone XL has been studied to the point of exhaustion, and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that it’s a modest-but-good idea. The latest State Department study found that it would not significantly worsen the environment. The oil’s going to come out anyway, and it’s greener to transport it by pipeline than by train. The economic impact isn’t huge, but at least there’d be a $5.3 billion infrastructure project.
And there's that word--malaise. Obama is Jimmy Carter, you see! Conventional wisdom dictates that because this President's political party lost seats in the Congress during the mid-term election of his second term, well, he's a failure and a poof and it's winter and everything might as well be dead for all we know.

Rhetorical question--how much more peace and prosperity do you need?

Unemployment is down. The deficit is plunging. Gas is less than $3 a gallon. America has no existential enemies because Vladimir Putin cannot seem to go nipple to nipple with the sad sack clown running Australia and hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops are in garrison, not Baghdad. For the first time ever, you can get sick and reasonably expect to not go bankrupt because the health care insurance provided by this president at a massive political cost is making lives better for millions of Americans. There is still an American auto industry. There are still places in America where people make things that the world wants to buy. Oh, and if you're a woman, watch out. Everyone who was just elected to Congress wants to stick a transvaginal probe into your private parts to convince you that the abortion you are considering is going to be illegal as soon as they can run more clinics out of business.

Every single indicator mentioned above was flying in the wrong direction during the last 18 months of the Bush Presidency. It was a whirlwind of fear and failure to defy reason. All of the indicators going the right way under Obama were sailing into the stratosphere under Bush. I mean, good Goddamn people. It wasn't even a decade ago.

This president has given people something better than hope. He provided a little less fear. He made it okay to consider things that, seven years ago, weren't possible (like finding a job, having a retirement, and selling your house). And, for that, people like David Brooks give him the back of their hand and make silly comparisons to Jimmy Carter on the sly.

Neither president has ever deserved the criticisms he has faced given the debacles of the last three Republicans to hold the office of President. I mean, for fuck's sake, what's it going to take for people to get it? President Obama can only kill Osama bin Laden for you clowns once.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shameless and Nameless

What is happening in Ferguson, Missouri is a shameless attempt to escape accountability. The evidence from the Grand Jury proceeding will show, and I'm guessing here, that Michael Brown was just culpable enough in his own execution to justify letting Darren Wilson escape justice.

Was this an example of really bad police work? At the local level, absolutely. Was this an example as to how unarmed black males are executed on a regular basis in this country? Yep, Will anyone be held accountable? Nope.

There's no telling what will happen. Maybe everything and maybe nothing. But we have lost another opportunity to talk about race and class in a way that fixes the problems. We have another example on our hands as to how the tribes will stay divided and how the rule of law benefits whites.

Name names. Shame those who fail to police this country appropriately. Let the jurors be ready to explain themselves. Let the country decide whose country this is at the end of the day. It never belonged to anyone who didn't already have most of the guns.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Only 25 Kids?

Did you think Idiocracy was a documentary? I know, me too!
A Memphis man with at least 25 kids by 15 different mothers is at it again.
More women claim he’s fathered children, and he’s still not paying up.
We first told you about Terry Turnage two years ago.
They called him the worst deadbeat dad ever. As we’ve found out since then, he’s wanted in another state by more women.
“Everybody tells me, ‘What you doing talking to him? How you didn’t know he had all these kids?’ Uh duh, I’ve been in school. I wasn’t out like that,” 22-year-old Paula Stewart said.
Stewart says she now knows the father of her 2-year-old son is the father of many.
Turnage shows up in court in rags, but around Forrest City, he’s known as the flashy club owner that drives fancy cars and goes by the name TYB. Those who know Turnage say it stands for ‘Take your B—-!’
Miesha Davis said she found out about Turnage when she called the Forrest City child support office.
“When I called. She was like, ‘Who?’ I said Terry T. Turnage. She was like, ‘He’s famous,’” Davis said.
That's not the good kind of famous, by the way. That's small town baby daddy fame.

The Sweaty Nutsack

Charles Pierce and an image that will be burned into your brain forever:

A lie is apolitical, or at least it should be. If there is one thing that unites clear-headed Americans, it's a belief that our leaders must be transparent and honest. And yet, there seem to be two types of lies in our political discourse: Those that hurt "my party" and "my policies"; and those that don't. We condemn the former and forgive the latter-cheapening the bond of trust that enables a society to progress.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Google.
Karl Rove exchanged e-mails about Pat Tillman with Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier, under the subject line "H-E-R-O." In response to Mr. Fournier's e-mail, Mr. Rove asked, "How does our country continue to produce men and women like this," to which Mr. Fournier replied, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight."
If you have at any time in your career as an alleged professional stroked the sweaty nutsack of Karl Rove, who never has exhaled a breath in which he didn't "cheapen the bond of trust that enables a society to progress," you have lost the ability to lecture people about bonds of trust ever, forever.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Obama Bounced Another Probe Off Of a Comet

Dammit, Obama!

Somehow, the bouncing of a probe onto a comet is the President's fault. I suspect that he had ACORN pay the European Space Agency to write Alinskyite messages onto the comet's surface, thereby spreading the works of Bill Ayers all over the heavens so that we'll stop talking about his Birth Certificate Fraud.

And this is why Benghazi happened, too!

Wait--it's not 2011 anymore?


Friday, November 7, 2014

Jameis Winston Will Debauch a Toll Road Before the Year is Out

The list of crimes this young man has been accused of grows by the week. You'd think that Florida State would have hired "handlers" for Winston by now, but that's not the case. They're simply allowing him to have the run of the place.

Shouldn't someone point out that Winston's education is more important than anything else? Shouldn't there be some tacit acknowledgement that his Heisman Trophy is rented, not owned at this point? No? Okay, then.

There aren't many crimes left--bigamy, carnal knowledge of a goat, failure to remove cheese from a sales display before the freshness date passes, dancing without a permit on Sunday. This young man in the wrecking ball that the NCAA simply wasn't designed to stop.

How is it that he's allowed to play football? And I should add, "ever again?"

Mocking the Megawealthy

The brutal application of satire has long held a place of warmth in my heart. Great satire eliminates the lines of defense that keep the clueless from being held accountable. Paul Krugman embraces the Krugmanization of a billionaire who can't see past the Hamptons.
Now, it's true, if you're a billionaire who's interested in decorating your high-end real estate with high-end art, then, yes, your personal inflation rate is higher than others. But tough luck. (I'm pretty sure you'll manage). The Fed, you see, isn't worried about the Billionaire Price Index. It's worried about inflation on goods and services we all face. And that, despite zero interest rates, is still below the Fed's 2 percent target. That's not going to change anytime soon, either. Indeed, just because the super-rich are bidding up the prices of houses in the Hamptons doesn't mean that middle-class people, whose wages are flat, are going to bid up the price of, well, anything.
This reminds me of the brutal Soviet architecture of the 20th Century.

It defies satire because it is so massive and thick and impervious to everything, except of course raindrops, which destroys the cheap concrete and renders the whole thing ludicrous. You'd have to be willfully indifferent to facts, evidence, and common sense to see things that aren't there, like functionality or beauty.

People like Singer are enamored with their own brilliance and impervious to slights or criticism. As a monument to capitalism, he looks a lot like the building above.

Thanks, Obama

If the jobless rate has hit a six year low, and if Obama has been President for six years, then all of this is his fault. The voters just punished a sitting President for successfully creating jobs and ending unemployment for millions of Americans during his presidency.

Remember when nobody had a job and nobody had any money and the world economy was in freefall and everything was broke and stuff?

Me, neither. Thanks for nothing, Obama.

The Butt Grabber

John Epps Jr. is a serial butt grabber.

Epps Jr. has been accused of inappropriately touching two middle school females in Montgomery County. It's all on videotape, apparently, and his actions caused Montgomery County Public Schools a tremendous amount of embarrassment (which is what we call legal liability) when it was revealed that he had worked at nearly 60 different schools in the district.

In the old days, you would call him a pervert or worse. Now, you just call him a contractor:
So, how did Epps Jr. manage to gain access to nearly 60 schools in a day and age when student safety and wellbeing are two of the highest priorities? MCPS administrators were quick to point the finger at the 44-year-old's employer, Rockville-based Netcom Technologies, Inc.
In May, Netcom, Inc. hired Epps Jr. from a temporary staffing agency. Yet, instead of running its own independent background check, Netcom, Inc. accepted the paperwork the temp agency had on file. MCPS says those documents were grossly inaccurate.
"Going forward, Netcom has said [it] will do full checks on any temporary employee hired to work in a school. We are also reminding all of our contractors who work in our schools what their obligations are under the law and requiring they re-run checks on their employees working in schools," MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig said in an email sent to ABC 7.
Netcom, Inc., which has earned tens of millions of dollars in contracts from MCPS over the last 20 years, did not return our phone calls seeking comment.
Going forward, Netcom Inc. will still make a lot of money putting perverts on their payroll and pretending to know something about the people they hire. Profit margins being what they are, does anyone really expect this company to sweat a little butt grabbing? That's for the lawyers to work out.

Epps Jr. has made a career out of butt grabbing. Let's hope someone finally registers him as a sex offender (another failure documented in the article) and keeps him away from school kids.

Russia Continues a Policy of Permanent Invasion

Right on cue:
Kiev (AFP) - A column of 32 tanks and other heavy weapons has entered Ukraine from Russia, the Ukrainian military said Friday, after the latest fighting left five dead and at least 31 injured.
Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said a convoy made up of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer cannons and 30 trucks of troops and equipment crossed the border into the rebel-controlled Lugansk region on Thursday.
With American foreign policy in disarray, and with winter approaching, Russia moves troops into Ukraine for three reasons:

1. Because they can

2. Because no one wants to disrupt the flow of natural gas to Western Europe

3. There is no viable alliance of NATO countries with military capability

These troops will root around in Ukraine, and then they'll leave in order to be replaced by others. At some point, Ukraine is going to run out of troops and equipment and then the Russians will have what they want. Opposing them or driving them out would require logistical support from NATO which could, through the costly application of air power, assist Ukraine in taking control of the skies. We would lose a lot of planes and pilots, but so would the Russians. There is no stomach for any of that.

Western nations don't understand the Russian people. They are used to being deprived of things that we cannot live without. They're a tough people, and they will snap the necks of the Ukrainians while we worry about nonsense.

What will happen when Russia invades Finland? Will that be another nothingburger? This is what's happening right under our noses:
Finland and Sweden plan to work more closely with Nato by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations, officials said on Wednesday.
The move comes as Nato prepares for a summit next week in Wales amid heightened tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300km (800-mile) border with Russia.
The Finnish government said the host nation support agreement applies to situations which include "disasters, disruptions and threats to security". It also enables joint training exercises and military cooperation.
Finnish defence ministry senior adviser Mika Varvikko said Finland intended to sign the agreement at next week's summit. Sweden is also expected to do so.
Both countries, which already train and work closely with Nato in international operations, insisted the agreement did not mean they were moving closer to joining the alliance.
"There is a very sharp difference between being a member and not being a member," the Swedish defence minister, Karin Enström, told the Associated Press. "We are an active partner with Nato and we want to deepen our partnership with Nato."
From October:
Seven months ago, when Russia seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Finns seemed relatively unconcerned. The world's northernmost country shares some 800 miles of border with its huge neighbor, but just a quarter of Finns said they felt threatened by Moscow. And a similar number told pollsters their country should consider joining NATO in interest of self-defense.
Since then, Russia's behavior has become more provocative, and not just in eastern Ukraine. During one week in August, Russian military aircraft conducted three unauthorized overflights of Finnish airspace. The Finnish public reacted accordingly. A poll last month by Finnish daily Aamulehtishowed that 43 percent of those polled perceived Russia as a danger, an increase of nearly 20 percent from March.
But support for Finland joining NATO remained almost unchanged: a mere two percent higher, the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) found. Why hasn’t Finnish wariness translated into stronger support for NATO membership? And what, if anything, would persuade Finns to join the defense pact?
 And a fine example of blaming the victim:
Do Finland want to start World War III? It's something to think about if Finland wants to join NATO, warns Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal envoy Sergei Markov.
It's not Russian hatred against Finland, but if Finland joins NATO, it shows that the country has a Russia-complex, said Markov, who is a political scientist, to the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.
NATO will not save Finland, no matter what the treaty says. The Finns should embrace their Russian overlords and hope for mercy. They won't get any help from the West unless someone finds oil or natural gas in abundance somewhere in a part of Finland that is conducive to extraction and exploitation. What's happening in Ukraine is a forecast of what will happen for the frontier of Russia over the next decade.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This is Why the Democrats Lost on Tuesday

Your newly segregated America:

Brad Paisley:
"Accidental racist" Brad Paisley, one-half of the Country Music Award's hosting duo on ABC last night, tried to make a joke about Black-ish, the show that would have normally aired during the time slot. Shockingly, it didn't land!
"If any of you tuned in to ABC tonight expecting to see the new show Black-ish—yeah, this ain't it. In the mean time, I hope you're all enjoying...white-ish." Haha? Kacey Musgraves and that one woman from Nashville were not laughing.
Paisley is the nervous spokesman for a people beset on all sides by things that are popular and black. Country music isn't one of them, of course. Under their breath, you could hear the collective gasp of a people afraid of losing their job because of their hatred for the President of the United States of America. The sickening thing is, these people consider themselves the only real "Americans" left in the country. Their ignorance only makes them more popular with a rapidly dying population.

Anthony From San Diego:
The caller, who gave his name as Anthony from San Diego, California, identified himself as a Republican and started out talking about the direction he thinks the new GOP majority in Congress should take.
"I would just like to say, that the Republicans — and I'm a Republican — please do not overreach," the caller began. "I know they're going to overreach but I'm telling you, if you advocate for the repeal of Obamacare and you get too extreme, then Hillary Clinton will be elected president in 2016."
"This is about race," he added. "The Republicans hate that nigger Obama."
Well, someone finally spoke truth to power. William F. Buckley, your seat at the table has been ready all week--too bad you're not around to vocalize Anthony's salt-of-the-Earth missive and turn it into something genteel enough to repeat at breakfast with the Rotary Club.

Oh, and who could forget the fight to restore Colonel Reb?
A Mississippi heritage group has launched a proposed ballot measure which would amend the state's constitution to recognize Christianity as the official religion of the state and English as the official language of the state.
The 12-part measure would also establish "Confederate Heritage Month," which would provide a curriculum base for school children to learn about "Mississippi's Confederate history, heritage, achievements, and prominent people," the initiative reads.
The initiative has been endorsed by former Miss America and Mississippian Susan Akin, Mississippi author Julie Hawkins and former state Rep. Mark DuVall, who tried and failed to pass legislation while he was in office in 2011 that would have allowed the restoration of Colonel Reb as Ole Miss' mascot.
America is segregated by those who are trying to live their lives and those who hate the President because he's black. The apathy of the former empowers the latter.

Race is a social construct, by the way, and does not exist. But, you know, the Army will let you self-identify as a Negro so it's all good. The rebranding of the Republican Party continues in the same direction it was always headed. All we need now are white sheets and torches.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Never Give the American People Peace and Prosperity

The worst thing you can do for someone is a favor.

Six years ago, President Obama did everyone a favor by running for President and winning, thereby keeping John McCain and Sarah Palin from being in charge of breakable things (imagine that world, if you will). At precisely the moment he was being elected, the Republicans in the Congress came up with a great idea. They would obstruct everything and fight the President tooth and nail, denying him everything possible in order to wreck the country and regain power.

Yesterday, they accomplished what they set out to do, rewarded for their efforts by an electorate so misdirected and manipulated that this will go down as one of those hungover moments in American democracy. If ever there was a time to get corporate money out of politics and a Federal voting standard established into law, it was yesterday. After doing everything possible to wreck the American economy, the Republicans escaped accountability for their institutionalization of kooky ideas and took over the Senate and are now poised to impeach the President of the United States.

My perspective is this--1994 was much, much worse. 1986 was terrible. This year was bad but not shocking if you understand the history of how the American voter enjoys whacking a President as he leaves office. So if you think this batch of nutters is bad, imagine Newt Gingrich being in line for the Presidency and knowing it.

By the way, gas is about $2.78 a gallon in case anyone, you know, is paying attention. And yeah, you are better off today than you were in 2010, especially if you have health insurance, a job, or if you've gotten a raise in the last couple of years.

The President will be impeached about a year from now, in my opinion. Come November of 2015, we will be treated to long-winded speeches and a confused media perspective, giving us chapter and verse as to how the President abused his power and should be removed from office. That's my gut feeling after yesterday, given that so many crazies won.

And, really, this President will be impeached for the peace and prosperity he has brought to the nation. Under virtually every criteria we have, he has been successful in his sacred duty to bring peace and prosperity to the American people. He coddled Wall Street and saved the world economy, angering his base and inviting the obsession of critics who thump their one idea again and again until coins fall out. He killed bin Laden and invited the wrath of privacy advocates down upon him for failing to acknowledge their right to be boring and racist on their iPhones without assuring them that some some fantasy phantom government operator would not be listening in. He found a way to bring health insurance costs down and save untold thousands of families from bankruptcy and ruin. Unemployment is down, the deficit is way, way down, and no longer are Americans dying every day in Iraq or Afghanistan. I mean, this is literally the peace and prosperity people craved six years ago. A freedom from fear and death.

I can't stress it enough. Freedom from being afraid is an essential American thing. We do not appreciate where the world was headed six and a half years ago. We had fear and death staring us in the face. Now, we have a fear of Ebola, which one single American now has.


Gone. Eliminated from the American vocabulary. When was the last time dead Americans coming home in caskets were the story? When was the last time economic uncertainty was causing us ruin here at home (uh, that would have been when Senator Ted Cruz shut down the American government).

I understand why people voted to "punish" Obama for a doggone website failing to load. When Obamacare's rollout failed, you just knew it was fodder for every jackass in the land who can't understand why Pornhub works at work but Obamacare was slow for a few weeks.Worst sin imaginable--a website that doesn't work in zippy, easy fashion.

Let us see how much peace and prosperity a Republican Congress will bring us. Let's give John McCain some car keys and turn him loose on foreign policy. Let's see the Koch-friendly legislation that rolls out of committee and express joy every time it further erodes the slipping grip of a Middle Class that threw out the wrong set of bums. Let us all become enamored by the idea that any woman anywhere should control her reproductive choices only if approved by a white Republican male with a trans-vaginal ultrasound in one hand and a dog-eared copy of his family Bible in the other.

When you give the American people peace and prosperity, they give you the finger. That's how that works. When you save the auto industry and relieve millions from the fear of being bankrupt after getting sick, and when you give them jobs and idle workers at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, you can expect a firm kick in the pants from the American voter. They want Those People to suffer. They want asses kicked abroad. They want planes to deliver bombs not diplomats. They want our cities to be cesspools of screaming misery so that living in the 'burbs looks better and better.

Give them the good times, they'll give you the Bronx Cheer they gave Bill Clinton (oh, wait--when Clinton went into his second term mid-term, we had peace and prosperity then and he didn't get beat like a cheap drum). Oh well.

Thanks to President Obama, we now have the luxury of being able to amuse ourselves with nonsense because the world isn't on fire anymore.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Arbeit Macht Frei Gate Stolen From Dachau

The bastards:
An iron gate with the notorious Nazi slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" has been stolen from the former Dachau concentration camp in Germany, officials said.
The slogan, which translates as "Work sets you free," became emblematic of the forced labor camps of World War II in which so many inmates died.
The gate was stolen overnight from Saturday to Sunday, officials at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial said in an online statement.
While this is the first such theft at Dachau, it's not the first time that the slogan has been targeted by thieves. The famous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland was stolen in 2009. It was discovered shortly afterward cut into three pieces.
Having been there, and this is my personal photo of the gate in question, I can tell you--I am not surprised that it was removed and stolen. In the general vicinity of Dachau are any number of places to put a truck or a vehicle capable of driving away with the gate. Security exists, but this is in the middle of the town and is situated next to a road lined with businesses. All it would take are two or three individuals who can carry several hundred pounds a few hundred yards and that's all.

Anyway, it's a shame. This is a denial of history (or a feeble attempt to make a little money).

Nobody Cares About Climate Change

If the president’s party loses big on Tuesday, as appears likely, much of the loss will be due to 3 C’s—competence, coherence and credibility. Competence: The administration has shown little talent for or focused interest in running the federal government well, and has managed the executive agencies very poorly. Coherence: The administration has been unable to explain persuasively the reasoning behind its current priorities (global warming? really?) or its decisions in areas from foreign policy to Ebola in a way that has allowed the public to follow their thinking. Credibility: If you want your doctor you can keep your doctor, red lines, it’s highly unlikely Ebola will come here, there’s not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS, etc. It’s a terrible thing when a president loses his credibility.
This was said with a straight face, by the way. Global climate change is raising the level of the oceans, causing polar bears to drown and cities to begin planning for their own demise. When someone on the right says "global warming? really?" and sneers about that being a priority for the administration, look closely at the future of humanity. We haven't spent enough time preparing for it or trying to slow it down because we sure as hell aren't going to stop it.

It's a massive disconnect in priorities. Our planet is going to hell and a powerful segment of our population has become enamored with the sound of their own ignorance. 

Oh, and there's one American with Ebola. Just the one. So, you know. That happened.

Peggy Noonan has never embraced the historical verdict on Republican governance. George W. Bush was legendary among a pantheon of our most prolific liars, and there isn't much argument for his candor or competency. America's inability to remember anything will make it easier for his brother to continue the legacy of lies. Far be it from someone like Noonan to bother with any of the facts, ever.

I would normally welcome the shift of control of the Senate, but all it means is that we are rewarding the intersection of racism and greed. We are denying minorities the vote so that the wealthy can keep their privileges. Control of the Senate doesn't mean much because the Democrats haven't done enough to reverse this reality so I don't think the Republicans will be able to do much damage, especially since there's little left to further destroy..

Their ascendancy is the prize normally reserved for those in desperate need of a reality check. It will put a lot of attention towards the crazies who think Noonan matters. Unfortunately, all that means is that a lot of people are going to suffer. That's what I lament the most--when Republicans run things, people suffer and they suffer mightily. Their benefits are cut, the things they need are taken away, and their rights become a joke in a discussion about how much more we can give to the wealthiest micropercentage of Americans.

Today's just another day for the crazies to howl across their own graveyard of bad ideas.

Out on a Limb With the Ratfuckers

This is how you ratfuck someone.

Here it is, election day, and one of the great non-scandals of our time (the IRS scandal, whereby the IRS looks at people involved in politics because they're laundering and handling money in exchange for ratfucking, among other things, from both sides of the political spectrum) explodes in the blogosphere.

The media are all over it. Well, almost.

If you look at the "sources" for all of this, you have Tucker Carlson's pathetic attempt at relevance, the Breitbart Kidz, the Stupidest Man on the Internet, and not much else. Oh, and the sad and frustrated Mickey Kaus, who has to work for Tucker. This is a fevered pitch from snake oil salesmen. This is a circle jerk enabled by ignorance. This is a monument to the folly that is the idea that our working media are saving us from crazy ideas. Will this matter? Probably not, but nobody's going to jail for this and nobody is going to be held accountable for the money used to finance this nonsense. Our laws just aren't as sophisticated as the ratfuckers.

Damn the luck.

I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that this is a non-event in a non-scandal that has surfaced only because someone wants Shaheen's seat in Congress and they have, so far, failed to buy it outright for themselves.

Our politics are s suck-ass business, and the ratfucking will continue unabated.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Howard Dean Was Right

Did you know that there are at least ten Senate races that are still too close to call? And that Election Day is tomorrow?

How'd that sneak up on everyone?

How is it that this race isn't a referendum on race relations? It should be. The Republican Party has coddled racism since the First Inaugural. Why do they support policies that blatantly keep minorities from voting? Why do they believe in rewarding people who question the birthplace and religion of the President of the United States? Why do they support policies that cripple our economy through obstructionism in the Congress? They should be answering those questions every day.

Nate Silver believes that the Senate will flip Republican, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen. It is very hard to unseat incumbents, but it's even harder to elect a Democrat in a Red State. We are, effectively, looking at a terrible Senate cycle and that's what gets almost no coverage. The Senate map this year makes it almost impossible for Democrats to hold the Senate by winning in Republican-controlled states that went for Romney and McCain the last time around (North Carolina being the exception, among others).

Presidents always take a beating in mid-term elections--that's nothing new. But when you add in the crappiness of the map we're looking at and the inability of the media to properly identify craziness, well, you end up with Ted Cruz making threats BEFORE he's won anything.
In a last-minute gift to Democrats on the eve of the midterm elections, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has announced his plan to push for Senate Republicans to declare a rightist war against Democrats if the GOP wins control of the Senate. Set aside the campaign pitches of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Colorado Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (R), Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R), Georgia GOP Senate candidate David Perdue and Alaska GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, who promise to end gridlock in Washington and govern for "all of the people." Cruz says they are all wrong. Cruz wants a political war against Democrats. Cruz is the real voice of what will happen if Republicans take control of the Senate.
Oh, that's comforting.But this is all posturing. Ted Cruz doesn't care about governance. He cares about television appearances and the money that rolls in when he does something stupid that costs someone else politically or otherwise. He should be the face of the Republican Party right now. The Democrats ran on what this time? Not sucking? Being not that friendly with Obama?

Senator Michal Bennet was handed the stink bomb of 2014 and so I look forward to people blaming him (well, I would but he is a non-presence in the race and nobody knows who he is). I would fire the head of the DNC and get rid of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and I would go back to a 50 state strategy (or a 48 state strategy and just write off Mississippi and Alabama).

The title of this post says it all. Howard Dean was right and he paid the price for it. He was destroyed by Rahm Emanuel for being right about everything that has gone wrong in this country. We should ask Dean to come back and run things. We won't, but we should. Maybe, after tomorrow, we make the next race about how these people are incapable of governing and are besotted with lunatics.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Student of the Game

Attendance at college football games is declining rapidly in this country. It may have something to do with the fact that college football programs are in decline as well:
Despite the ready availability of tickets at University of Michigan's “The Big House”—the largest college football stadium with the capacity to hold 109,901 Wolverine fans—sales have dropped precipitously in their student section. In 2013, the Michigan student section had about 19,000. This season, that number is somewhere between 13,000 and 14,000. In response to declining student attendance, athletic director Dave Brandon announced a decrease in student season ticket prices by 37.5 percent for next year.
That was published today. Michigan football is in the toilet--the team sucks, Dave Brandon is already history, and kids are paying way too much for an education that won't get them decent jobs.

When you have student loan debt through the roof, nobody is going to reach deep in their pocket and give to an alumni association. That's because they're broke paying back loans.

The "duh" factor in this story is incredible.

Who Gets Shot After a Fleetwood Mac Concert?

Earlier this evening, Fleetwood Mac played the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. 

And what happened is something out of a nightmare because, when you drop off your kids so they can see the rock band play that rock and a roll music, it can all go south when someone takes the Angel Dust or the brown acid or a little of the Bolivian Marching Powder and starts confronting people about their preference for the sublime work of Peter Green...

Wait, is this 1977? Is this 2014? Because I can't tell anymore. Bizarre just ain't the word for it:
Three adults were shot and wounded near the Verizon Center late Friday night after a concert let out, authorities said.

Gunfire rang out near the intersection of 7th and F streets, in an area that had roughly 25 officers deployed over a couple-block radius in the hopes of keeping Halloween night safe, police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters at the scene.

All three shooting victims suffered non- life-threatening injuries, according to the chief.
So, the takeaway here is, when you go to a Fleetwood Mac concert, run! Bullets gonna fly!

Somewhere in an ambulance, this got said tonight. "Dude, you got shot coming out of a Fleetwood Mac concert. What did you think was gonna happen?"

What went on at this concert to freak people out and cause a shooting spree? Wavy Gravy showed up and the kids did the marijuana again, didn't they? Oh, wait. Gravy is a little old even for the Mac. Did Mick Fleetwood show up without any drumsticks? Did the bass cabinet fall over? The piano lid crashed down and a roadie lost a hand again, right? Did they fail to play Paper Doll? Did Lindsey muff a solo somewhere?

Has anyone ever gotten shot after a Fleetwood Mac concert? Ever? Well, the answer to that question is, hell yeah, because, tonight, someone got shot coming out of a Fleetwood Mac concert.

I mean, you go to see The Who and you just know you're gonna die. You go to see the Rolling Stones and bodies roll. You go to see Pearl Jam--yep, you're dyin'.  You go to see Jose Feliciano--automatically dead. You don't die when you go to see Slipnot because everybody's cool and nobody fights. You go to see Lady Antebellum--you die. Inside, you die when you have to listen to Nickelback, so we got that reference in without a fuss. The band Great White is on tour, if you can believe, it, as we speak.


Great White.

They played the Deerfoot Casino with Slaughter. Tonight. You can't make that up. How is it that Great White can still go on tour after a hundred people died because that was their only entertainment option one night back in 2003? Oh, you silly fool--they've been on the road for years. Years. It's as if nothing happened and it's not like anyone's paying attention.

You'd expect a body count after those bands. Kanye can go play and nobody dies.

But Fleetwood Goddamned Mac? Really?

I have seen Rush play three times. Nobody died. You can't get shot coming out of a Rush concert because Rush fans don't get worked up about perceived slights to Bob Welch and they can't carry guns because their fanny packs are full of Magic the Gathering cards. They carry multi-sided dice, a picture of George R. R. Martin and hand lotion. I'm sorry, but these are the things that come up between friends.

I'm an old, old man. And Fleetwood Mac are just too freakin' old for me. I mean, talk about your moldiest middle of the road sort of crap. And there's such a demand for tickets that they couldn't play Merriwether or the 9:30 Club or Wolf Trap--they had to play Verizon Center?

Really? Someone got shot coming out of a Fleetwood Mac concert.

How do you go into work next week and explain how you got shot coming out of a Fleetwood Mac concert? Explain that conversation with Human Resources and management to me.

Remember talking about it on Friday afternoon before you ducked out, found some ditch weed from six months ago, and snuck down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway with your honey and her two dumb friends, trying to remember how you ended up bringing them in the first place? Remember explaining to everyone at work who was still listening and under the age of fifty how Fleetwood Mac were once A Thing and how they used to be a really popular band?

Bigger than The Cars, they thundered? Oh, yeah. Bigger than THE CARS. Not bigger than Hootie when the first album came out but damned bigger than Hootie now. And do you recall how you had to explain why you paid money to see that tired bunch of hacks get up there and wheeze away? Because you couldn't get tickets to see the Turtles or the Beach Boys? Or tickets to see the Caps blow a 3 goal lead?

As a cultural marker, if you're getting shot after a Fleetwood Mac concert, you're carrying a particularly strange load of baggage around with you. I have sympathy, but I do not have advice or understanding.

That's gangsta. When a thug goes down in a hail of bullets after they close with Go Your Own Way, props to your homies. Or something like that.

Fleetwood Mac? They're all still alive? I love Stevie Nicks. Is she still dating Don Felder? Someone's gonna call Don and say, "hey Don--some people got shot coming out of a Fleetwood Mac concert." And all Don's gonna say is, "man, that Stevie Nicks was &^%$@! crazy but she was amazing in bed. I bet I still have one of her gypsy scarves around here somewhere."

What the hell is wrong with me?

Then you start to say, well, it's a tragedy that anyone got shot. I'm not making light of the fact that someone got shot. I'm saying you got shot coming out of a Fleetwood Mac concert. And my brain broke in half trying to process this information. I could not put it in one side of the mind and bring it out the other without going--who gets shot after watching your dad's eighth favorite band play AM radio standards?

Tragedy--yes. Culturally impossible combination of events and situations and factors--oh, the hell yeah on that one.