Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bigotry and Flop Sweat

It's not like people didn't already know that Mike Pence hates gay people:
Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said Tuesday that he wants legislation on his desk this week to clarify that a religious freedom law there does not allow businesses to deny service to anyone.
He insisted that the law, in its current form, allows no such thing. And he said that people have "smeared" the law by claiming that it sanctions discrimination against gays or anyone else.
But he referred to a "harsh glare of criticism from around the country" since he signed the bill last week.
"We'll fix this, and we'll move forward," the governor, a Republican, told reporters in Indianapolis. "I believe in my heart of hearts that no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love or what they believe."
This is some potent bullshit. Mike Pence has a long, proud history of hating gay people and trying to make it the law of the land to spread hate:

Future of conservatism demands traditional marriage

The future of conservatism demands that we stand for the traditional definition of marriage. Marriage was ordained by God and instituted in law. It is the glue of the American family and the safest harbor to raise children. Conservatives must defend traditional marriage by passing the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Source: Speech at 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 8, 2008
Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
HR3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated. Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Inapplicable to associations that are exempt from religious discrimination provisions.

If it wasn't for the rude and ill-mannered demand that human beings be treated equally, Pence and his supporters in Indiana would have been able to ram another law into existence allowing people who bake cakes for weddings to turn gay people away from their shops. Now everybody has to bake cakes for gays. The people of Indiana voted in the majority for Pence to save them from baking cakes for gays and he has utterly failed them.

Why is everyone blaming Pence, whose jackets are soaked with the flop sweat of failure and panic? He's a known hater of the gays and he's all for protecting the rights of Christian cake bakers. You're just now waking up to that reality? This is a guy who made his career on hating people. He was elected governor. Indiana is full of people who pulled the lever for this guy. He's merely the instrument of a democracy that hasn't figured out that you can't take cakes away from gays and not suffer serious economic consequences and run afoul of Federal law.

Who wants to bet that the next governor of Indiana wins on a platform of being sneakier than Pence about allowing cake bakers to turn away gays? Because, after all, this is what America is supposed to be about, isn't it? Pretty soon, Ted Cruz will ardently support anti-gay cake baker protections and deride any and all who say otherwise.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Martin O'Malley's Devastating Attack

This is what they call a kick in the pants:
He stopped short of declaring his plans to run for president, but former Governor Martin O'Malley did tell ABC's This Week today, that the presidency is, "not a crown passed from family to family."
O'Malley did not say if he was referring specifically to the Clinton or Bush families, only "two families."
If you really think 2016 is going to be a cakewalk for the Democrats, think again. The conventional wisdom in this country aligned in 1999 to anoint Bush president precisely because people wanted to pick someone who could be the president and not challenge their thinking. They wanted the choice made and they nearly ended up with Al Gore because there was, I believe, a lingering doubt about picking "another" Bush.

This will undercut Hillary Clinton in ways people don't quite seem to grasp. You can fully believe that she is the best person for the job, and I would agree with that. You can grab onto her experience and qualifications and justify the historic choice of a woman. You can make the case that she's better than anyone else that the Republican Party can put up there.

And yet, there will be people who won't vote for her because Americans inherently reject dynasties. They rejected Ted Kennedy. They didn't give anyone named Eisenhower or Reagan a second look at anything remotely powerful or political. Giving Caroline Kennedy a Senate seat was laughed out of town just a few years ago. There was no desire to see that and I don't think there ever will be an acceptance of handing the "crown" down from one generation to the other.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More Conservative Scholarship From Veronique de Rugy

Dumbassery in the form of a Daily Beast column from Veronique de Rugy arrives with this charming piece of conservative scholarship and deep thinking:
The ExIm Bank has been around for decades. Its primary activity is to extend cheap loan guarantees and direct loans to foreign companies to buy U.S goods under the pretense of boosting exports and creating jobs.
Don’t buy it. Economists have shown that these kinds of export credit subsidies will never raise the overall level of trade. The subsidies are also hurtful (PDF) since they simply redistribute wealth away from unsubsidized American firms, employees, and consumers and direct it toward a tiny number of beneficiaries.
And that is where Democrats have some explaining to do: The bank’s data show that it overwhelmingly benefits some of the biggest, most politically connected firms in America. In fact, in 2013, 64 percent of the bank’s activities benefited 10 companies, such as Boeing, General Electric, and Caterpillar. And these companies’ customers aren’t poor either. For instance, the bank subsidizes wealthy foreign borrowers—like mining heiress Gina Rinehart, owner of the Ex-Im-financed Roy Hill Iron Ore Mine and Australia’s richest woman. She could easily find private capital without government privileges. It also subsidizes numerous state-owned companies in wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia and fast-growing airlines (PDF) like Lion Air and Air Emirates.
Conservatives have been gunning for the Ex-Im bank for a long time. The problem is, eliminating it would be stupid because it actually makes money for the taxpayer!
The central fact about the Ex-Im Bank is that, in the $3.5 trillion federal budget, it is a pygmy. It has about 400 employees. In 2013, its operating budget — its overhead — totaled $90 million, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). But these expenses were fully paid by fees and interest from Ex-Im’s private customers. There was no direct drain on taxpayers. Indeed, the bank turned a profit in 2013 and paid $1.1 billion to the Treasury. If it were eliminated, future deficits would probably increase, albeit by small amounts.
So, there you have it. And, if you've forgotten how ridiculous Veronique de Rugy truly is, let's go back in time and revisit this masterful piece of conservative scholarship...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Conrad Hilton Gets Away With Threatening to Kill the Peasants

You should not be surprised to learn that Conrad Hilton III is not going to go to prison:
Conrad Hughes Hilton III, Paris Hilton's youngest brother, will plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of simple assault Tuesday in a July 2014 incident in which he allegedly threatened to kill crew members and the co-pilot of a British Airways flight.
Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend probation for Hilton, 21, in a plea deal that saw them drop felony charges of interfering with a flight crew, which could have sent the young millionaire to prison for 20 years, according to court documents.

The FBI said in the original complaint that Conrad, the great-grandson of the Hilton hotel chain's founder, had to be restrained by five flight attendants on board British Airways Flight 269 last July during a series of profanity-laced tirades in which he accused the flight crew of "taking the peasants' side," threatened to fight the pilot, accused a fellow passenger of planning to "gay rape" him and threatened to kill a co-pilot and a flight attendant.
He also allegedly told the co-pilot, "If you wanna square up to me, bro, then bring it on and I will [EXPLETIVE] fight you," according to an affidavit.
You fucking peasants and your ridiculous laws. Master Hilton will adjust his cravat and leave you to your filthy lives. He has more important things to do than spend a moment in jail or accept responsibility for committing a blatant series of hate crimes while issuing terroristic threats on an international flight.

Do not forget this one serious aspect of his crime--it took five other people just to restrain him because of how violent his threats were.

Even the media is complicit in downplaying Hilton's hate crimes:
Paris' Brother Conrad Hilton to Get Probation in In-Flight Ruckus
It's a ruckus when a healthy young man threatens to gay-rape another human being? It's a ruckus when said young man threatens to kill someone? I'll remember that. Apparently, you can just call terroristic threats a ruckus and it all goes away.

There is no rule of law for the rich. None. What a travesty.

The Derp is Strong With This One

Oh. My. God.

Someone finally went for the full technicality and threw a bullshit flag that ended up landing in their own buttcrack.

Congratulations, Deroy Murdock. You deserve the slow clap of a million fans, ringing out in the distance as everyone watches you step on your own dick. Your post is an attempt to walk back the single greatest diplomatic fuckup of the last decade, if not the entire 21st Century by a newly empowered Republican Senate caucus that can't walk and chew gum and read the text of the letter which, as you'll note below, explicitly tells the leaders of a foreign nation that the Executive Branch of the United States of America can't do what it can do and gets everything wrong.

Look at the letter. 

See the confusion? I certainly don't. Sedition and treason never looked more apparent.

When you publish an "open letter" specifically addressed to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, you're basically encouraging the diplomatic corps of that nation to make certain that the message of the letter is, in fact, delivered to your leadership.

These people get stupider and stupider and stupider and there is going to be a moment in the not too distant future where all you're going to hear are face slaps and moaning and the sound of a grown man saying, "it would be irresponsible not to speculate."

The Whole World is on Fire

Here's the good news--Obamacare is working like a champ. Our working media doesn't care because it doesn't have a sexy angle to it, like Hillary Clinton actually having a working E-mail system that the GOP can't scrub clean in order manufacture more phony scandals.

I mean, it's obviously the worst thing ever:
At the first of two stops in New Hampshire yesterday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told more than 100 people that the country has nearly reached the “point of no return” and “if we go four or eight more years on this path, we risk losing the greatest country in the history of the world.”
The Texas Republican, who in the past week has also spoke in Iowa and South Carolina, hinted that he could soon announce that he plans to run for president.
At Turbocam in Barrington, the high attendance of Cruz’s speech caused the turbomachinery development and manufacturing company to shift the location into a bigger room. Cruz shook hands and took photos with dozens of attendees on his way in, eventually beginning his remarks about an hour after the scheduled start time.
If he were president, he said, he would work to “repeal every word” of Obamacare and Common Core State Standards, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and adopt a flat tax simple enough “so that every American can fill out his or her taxes on a postcard.”
Here's the bad news--your WHOLE FUCKING WORLD IS ON FIRE!!! FIRE!!! FIRE!!!
“The Obama economy is a disaster, Obamacare is a trainwreck, and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind – the whole world is on fire,” he said.
The bit about the world being on fire was news to 3-year-old Julia Trant of Londonderry. She piped up from the front row to clarify: “The world is on fire?”
Cruz responded: “The world is on fire. Yes! Your world is on fire. But you know what? Your mommy’s here and everyone’s here to make sure the world you grow up in is better.”
I guess we're going to burn together, and at least more of us have health care. That is, until President Ted Cruz (which cannot happen because Cruz was born in Canada) fucking sets the whole fucking thing on fire like a demon. Which would be entertaining if he were a heavy metal act instead of a United States Senator.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Slice of Life on the West Bank

The Israeli Army is woefully short of experienced NCOs and this is where that leads to:
TEL AVIV, Israel — Masked and armed Israeli soldiers have been recorded forcefully entering Palestinian homes and waking up, photographing and questioning children as young as nine.
The videos highlight Israeli efforts to track down young Palestinian rock throwers in the occupied West Bank, according to an Israeli rights group.

"We are getting reports of nightly searches by soldiers demanding that Palestinian kids be woken up," Sarit Michaeli, an activist working for B'Tselem human rights group, told NBC News. "The Palestinians in the West Bank live under Israeli military law so currently the army doesn't need a warrant or permit to enter Palestinian homes."
Since 2007, B'Tselem has handed out about 200 video cameras to Palestinians living in the West Bank so they could document their treatment at the hands of Israeli soldiers. The surge of documented night operations targeting children, however, is more recent.
 If you want to conduct these operations, you do it in the open. You announce yourself and you show yourself and you mix experienced men in with younger men. You conduct your operations so that there won't be criticisms like this and you do it in such a way as to avoid handing your enemies a propaganda tool.

The tactics used by Palestinian paramilitary groups are far worse, you can be rest assured. That's another lost piece of context.

This video opens the Israelis up to criticism precisely because there was no attempt to handle an interrogation operation like a professional army of occupation would handle it--and therein lies the point. Why are the Israelis acting like an army of occupation? Where are the actual police forces and why isn't there better tradecraft being practiced?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Another Republican

Look! Another liberal hit job!

Some clown named Mark Zalcman (buy more vowels, sir) has spoken in a less than kind manner about Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois:
"I don't think he [Schock] represents the values of our district very well," Zalcman said. "He seems to be more interested in raising a lot of money and traveling to Saudi Arabia. This is a farming area and people here would rather see a more down to earth person."

Mr. Zalcman, shut up! You have no right to attack your Congressman. You should be out raising money for Aaron Schock instead of scheming to take away his office so you can decorate it like some troglodyte cave. I'll be willing to bet you that if Mr. Zalcman finds his way to Congress, paper napkins will rain down on his guests like a phony attempt at connecting with regular folks. Come on, dude. You don't go to Congress so that you can dab yourself with a Dog n' Suds napkin. You go to Congress with an eye towards actually solving problems in places like Saudi Arabia. Duh!

It is getting to be impossible for anyone with class or dignity to function out there in a world full of insane liberal media hit jobs and howling mad backwater constituents. These are knuckle draggers with no idea of how difficult it is to function in the setting of a modern office without proper wainscoting. Their attacks are irrelevant. How many more attacks like this are we going to see? How about we open up Ted Kennedy's old office and see how he lived?

If you want to install picture rails and the proper kind of molding for an office, you could do a lot worse than the so-called Downton Abbey themed trim found in Schock's office. All of that sounds like the stinging rebuke of a liberal hypocrite, if you ask me. They'll spread hate and lies about a good man and then luxuriate in their Ethan Allen appointed drug den, high on whatever they can sneak into the building and ready for the next phony outrage.

A sitting member of the U.S. Congress is supposed to flop around in folding chairs and IKEA furniture?


Join me in supporting Aaron Schock and help a brother out. Stop Zalcman and his paper napkin populism. Thomas Ferguson Irish linens or nothing! This is what adorns my table and it should adorn yours as well unless you hate America.

The BBC Has a Jeremy Clarkson Problem

Somebody did somebody wrong at the BBC:

With Clarkson being an already heavily contentious media personality in the U.K. following remarks over the past few years that have been deemed racist and xenophobic, the news has made headlines nationwide, sparking widespread debate over his future and that of the show, which airs in more than 100 countries and brings in some $220 million for BBC Worldwide.

Within minutes, an online petition calling for the BBC to “Bring Back Clarkson,” was posted online. It has been signed by more than 250,000 people as of Wednesday morning London time.

On announcing the suspension, the BBC also confirmed that the episode of Top Gear due to air this Sunday would not be broadcast. A spokesperson has now confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the following episode, the penultimate one of the current season, has also been canceled, while they haven't yet decided on the final installment. "It's a moving situation," they said.

If you were of the opinion that Clarkson is an out of control asshole who brings in hundreds of millions of dollars for his employer, you'd probably have a lot of soul mates at the BBC. They are caught between the liability this man brings to their venerable business and the profits generated by a show that, quite frankly, could be successful if the right person were to appear.

Why not do it with Jason Statham or Clive Owen? Why not give Liam Gallagher a call? Hell, you could do it with Bez and no one would notice.

On second though, yeah. They would notice. Clarkson is almost irreplaceable, giving him a lot of power. He'll come out the other side of this with offers if they fire him.

Leave People Alone

I know I am a jackass for saying this, but the best thing that a policeman can do is leave people alone.

If you're not breaking the law, you expect to be left alone. That moment of uncertainty when a policeman stops you or approaches you is stressful enough. There are times when you don't want to inadvertently scare people by introducing authority figures into their daily routine.

Really, free stuff is just not worth the aggravation. Leaving people alone is a priceless practice in modern American society.

Homeopathy is Just Another Word For Fraud

Homeopathy has never appealed to me. I know, I know--you'll hear endless stories of how "it worked for me!" and "it cured all of my ailments!"

Bullshit is bullshit. And when science calls you on your bullshit, sell as much of your stock as you can and get into the business of healing people with magical crystals.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Exactly What Those Fuckers Needed


This needed saying:


It's not the most offensive thing in the Morning Joe segment, but my long big pet peeve with Villagers is their regular (if declining) pretense that swear words make them hit the fainting couch and represent the downfall of civilization. I don't spend much time there anymore, but I used to go to DC fairly regularly for various things. People swear. Reporters swear. Politicians swear. Senators I met five seconds ago said the "f-word." I'm sure the f-word gets dropped in the Morning Joe Morning Zoo show green room regularly. It is not alien to the culture, and that some blackity black man dares to use the "f-word" (that would be "fuck" you fucking fucks) in a song does not suggest anything about black culture, rap, hip-hop, or anything related, other than that in this modern age sometimes black people get to talk just like powerful white people do. By saying fuck, you fucking fucks.

The Uselessness, it Burns

Applying basic fact checking to anything Ted Cruz says is like standing on your roof and throwing all of your common sense into the wind.
The literally translated King James Version of the Bible contains just over 800,000 words. There are as many as 3.7 million individual words in the IRS tax code. (Another count places it as low as 2.6 million words without substantive words such as “is” and “and.”) This number came from copying the text of the code, pasting it into a Microsoft Word document and using the word count function. That means it includes everything from page numbers to annotations. Using this method, the fiscal 2016 federal budget document contains 73,000 words. The text of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, contains about 385,000 words.
Oh, goodness! Thank you for saving everyone's bacon for them! Thank you for cutting and pasting text into Microsoft Word and then looking down at the bottom of the window for a word count. America has been given a new lease on life, fact checkers, and your Presidential Medal of Freedom is in the mail.

How useless do you have to be to take something Ted Cruz says about a subject that is beyond his comprehension and then literally do a word count of the Bible so that you can proclaim what he has said to be true!

Here's the truth--the tax code is the law, and the law doesn't need to be "smaller" or have vast sections of it eliminated because it is the only thing that keeps people from stealing money from the government. The tax code should be complex because it makes it harder for thieves to shove money in their pants. We do not live in a Christian society because Christians tithe; tax cheats thrive when a dumbass can gut the rules and run hog wild.

Fact checkers--the new excuse for not having to pay attention.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Institutionalized Racism

 It just gets worse for Sigma Alpha Epsilon:
New revelations are fueling the outrage at the University of Oklahoma and beyond. Some members of the school's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity face disciplinary action. A video surfaced Sunday showing members chanting a racist songcontaining the "n-word."
Another video surfaced Monday night showing Beauton Gilbow, the fraternity's 78-year-old "house mother" known as "Mom B," using that same racial slur in 2013.
The fallout from the scandal already hit Greek life on campus over the weekend, and extended elsewhere on Monday when a top high school football recruit de-committed from the football-crazy university after seeing the video.
This wasn't the first time they sang about people they hate, and this wasn't the only fraternity or sorority engaged in such activity. All across the country, Greek organizations are probably ruining scads of underwear, hoping this blows over before their own embarrassments are brought to life.

What you have seen here is institutionalized, normalized, and broadly accepted racism and white supremacy. How can it be otherwise?

Oh, and I would put David Boren in charge of the NCAA if he really follows through and destroys this fraternity and kicks out all of the offending students. I would put him in charge in a heartbeat. Either that, or make him the commissioner of the NFL. Someone has to do the right thing.


The answer, my friends, is no.

People can vote for "change" but they won't actually get it and then they'll be all mad and promise not to vote again and then they'll go ten years without giving a crap and then someone will market change at them and they'll go what the hell and then they'll vote for change and what they'll get is some version of change they didn't want and then they won't vote anymore and then, the next thing you know, someone is elected a Bush or a Clinton for the eighth time.

We are well and truly fucked but we forgot how it happened and that means we'll just get fucked again.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Confederate Dunces of the Senate

Signing the Treaty of Ghent, 1815

The United States Senate has decided to allow members of the Republican persuasion to conduct American foreign policy as if precedent, history, and the law do not matter in the least:
A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran's leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama's administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.
Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber's entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.
“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
That's all well and good, but, really, you just witnessed an act of treason. It is treason to put the interests of a foreign power ahead of that of the United States. It is treason to subvert the foreign policy of the United States and undermine the actions of the President. To give Iran a reason not to agree to a treaty with the President is to give aid to the interests of that country against the United States and it harms the foreign policy goals of the Executive Branch. To give aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States constitutes treason.

These men are confederates; they have ceased to behave like American lawmakers. They are agents of the Israeli government in word and in deed. As if that wasn't a WTF moment in American history, you would have to be insane not to notice that this is one of those moments when the collective ignorance of the media is squarely to blame for people not freaking out right now.

Then there's this. Whoops!
Josh Rogin reports that a “group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.” Here is the letter. Its premise is that Iran’s leaders “may not fully understand our constitutional system,” and in particular may not understand the nature of the “power to make binding international agreements.” It appears from the letter that the Senators do not understand our constitutional system or the power to make binding agreements.

The letter states that “the Senate must ratify [a treaty] by a two-thirds vote.” But as the Senate’s own web page makes clear: “The Senate does not ratify treaties. Instead, the Senate takes up a resolution of ratification, by which the Senate formally gives its advice and consent, empowering the president to proceed with ratification” (my emphasis). Or, as this outstanding 2001 CRS Report on the Senate’s role in treaty-making states (at 117): “It is the President who negotiates and ultimately ratifies treaties for the United States, but only if the Senate in the intervening period gives its advice and consent.” Ratification is the formal act of the nation’s consent to be bound by the treaty on the international plane. Senate consent is a necessary but not sufficient condition of treaty ratification for the United States. As the CRS Report notes: “When a treaty to which the Senate has advised and consented … is returned to the President,” he may “simply decide not to ratify the treaty.”
This is a technical point that does not detract from the letter’s message that any administration deal with Iran might not last beyond this presidency. (I analyzed this point here last year.) But in a letter purporting to teach a constitutional lesson, the error is embarrassing.
Well, it's more than a technical point:
The Constitution provides that the president "shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur" (Article II, section 2). The Constitution's framers gave the Senate a share of the treaty power in order to give the president the benefit of the Senate's advice and counsel, check presidential power, and safeguard the sovereignty of the states by giving each state an equal vote in the treatymaking process. As Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist no. 75, “the operation of treaties as laws, plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.” The constitutional requirement that the Senate approve a treaty with a two-thirds vote means that successful treaties must gain support that overcomes partisan division. The two-thirds requirement adds to the burdens of the Senate leadership, and may also encourage opponents of a treaty to engage in a variety of dilatory tactics in hopes of obtaining sufficient votes to ensure its defeat.
The Senate does not ratify treaties—the Senate approves or rejects a resolution of ratification. If the resolution passes, then ratification takes place when the instruments of ratification are formally exchanged between the United States and the foreign power(s).
Most treaties submitted to the Senate have received its advice and consent to ratification. During its first 200 years, the Senate approved more than 1,500 treaties and rejected only 21. A number of these, including the Treaty of Versailles, were rejected twice. Most often, the Senate has simply not voted on treaties that its leadership deemed not to have sufficient support within the Senate for approval, and in general these treaties have eventually been withdrawn. At least 85 treaties were eventually withdrawn because the Senate never took final action on them. Treaties may also remain in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for extended periods, since treaties are not required to be resubmitted at the beginning of each new Congress. There have been instances in which treaties have lain dormant within the committee for years, even decades, without action being taken.
Again, this is not about whether or not the treaty itself is a "bad deal" so much as it is about making sure that this president is not allowed to function as the actual President of the United States. This would be the end of the world if the president were a Republican. Instead, it's a half-assed trip through the fears expressed by men who have no idea how their own branch of government is supposed to function.

The voters handed the Senate to the Republican Party. The next year and half should be terrifying and horrifying all at once.

An Act of Courage

This is what it looks like to stand up for your principles:
A civil rights leader who helped organize the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" procession in Selma, Alabama, refused to participate in a 50th-anniversary commemoration march this weekend because former President George W. Bush was involved, she said in an interview Saturday.

“I refused to march because George Bush marched," Diane Nash, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, told "NewsOne Now" host Roland Martin. “I think the Selma movement was about nonviolence and peace and democracy, and George Bush stands for just the opposite – for violence and war and stolen elections."
Nash said that Bush's legacy was at odds with that of the Selma movement, saying that the commemoration "should have been a celebration of nonviolence.”
The former President's attendance was "an insult to me and people who really do believe in nonviolence," she added.
I think he also stands for indifference to the plight of anyone who makes less than a bajillion dollars a year and for letting an entire American city drown, but that's another story. Nash is probably going to be condemned for her beliefs, but that's wrong. She is not going to cash corporate money and pretend to get along with the other side of the political divide because those people actually tried to kill her once. Let's not forget that the conservatives in this debate excused the actions of the men who tried to slaughter these marchers.

This is what consistency looks like. Sure, we can all get along. And we can forgive and forget. But the people currently dismantling the right to vote aren't too far from the same people swinging clubs and blowing up churches.

Not everyone has to make nice. Showing up does not excuse what has happened in the decades since Selma. And, remember--the only president you're allowed to disrespect is a Democrat.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Can You Believe This is Happening in 2015?

You would think that Ferguson, Missouri Police Chief Tom Jackson would have tendered his official resignation by now. You'd be wrong: 
Ferguson, Missouri (CNN)Ferguson's police chief is ducking questions about his department and his future there in the wake of a scathing federal report.
"I need to have time to really analyze this report so I can comment on it," Chief Tom Jackson said Thursday.

He spoke one day after the Justice Department released its 102-page report, which found rampant racism within the Ferguson Police Department.
It specifically faulted officers for seeing residents as "sources of revenue," a practice that disproportionately targeted African-Americans.
When asked what he thought about the report, and what he planned to do about it, the chief said he would "take action as necessary."
Asked whether that meant he would remain at the department, Jackson repeated himself: "I'm gonna take action where necessary."
My reaction to all of this is to shut down the blogs and run for the hills. That's what I want to do when confronted by institutionalized racism on a scale that enriches a community and allows an entire population of people to be terrorized year after year.

What do you do in the face of something like this? It's not normal. This is not what America was supposed to end up being for these citizens. That's not what an American town is supposed to look like. And this is a man trying to hold onto a job he failed at because he refused to change the things that were wrong. He's no different than a thief because his salary has been paid many times over by the money confiscated from the African American citizens of the city that he's supposed to protect. This man has a wad of cash in his pants that he didn't earn because he never said no to the idea that created Ferguson in the first place. He never said stop.

See, it's bad enough that there was a mindset in Ferguson that saw African-Americans as a cash cow for the municipal police force. It was there, for example, twenty years ago. And, as each year went by, cops came and went. People moved in and out of the community. America's economy rose and fell. Our grasp of American society changed--attitudes changed. And, year after year, the people running this American city saw fit to continue a policy of stripping wealth from people based on the color of their skin entirely because no one said anything as simple as stop.

This police chief never said stop. He was the status quo and he remains the reason why there has been no progress on race. He's one of the many, in fact, because no one fired him. No one under him quit in protest. The people who held power knew they had a problem and they continued that problem well into the year of our Lord 2015 because stop wasn't in the vocabulary of anyone decent or brave. Hey, maybe someone did say stop. Nobody listened. The chief never listened. He's made a nice living for himself, a comfortable Middle Class life based on forcing people to give every penny they could lay their hands on to keep themselves from ending up in jail.

Think of the human misery of Ferguson. Citizen after citizen, caught in petty crimes, given bogus tickets, threatened with warrants and further fines. Think of the pain caused by having to pay a simple ticket for someone who doesn't have the money. Think of the kids who went without food, clothes, shoes, toys, or comfort because the man you see above couldn't say stop.

Federal control of this city wouldn't bother me in the least. It should be considered occupied territory until the civil rights of the people living there are restored.

What a disgrace.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Army That Never Was

Peter Galbraith writes:
The Iraqi Army and Shiite militias have now launched an operation to retake Tikrit, a Sunni city 95 miles north of Baghdad that was Saddam Hussein’s hometown. The Americans are standing back. The U.S.-led coalition air forces are not flying missions in support because this is essentially an Iranian-organized and -led operation dominated by Shiite militias that answer to Tehran as much as Baghdad.
This may be the shape of things to come.
In mid-February, a Pentagon official made headlines by announcing an April-May time frame for an Iraqi offensive to take Mosul from the so-called Islamic State. Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq. As The Daily Beast reported last week, the Pentagon now says the April/May date is no longer operative. The Iraqi Army, it was explained, is not ready.

There never was an Iraqi Army in the post-Saddam era. If, as noted above, there were 100 battalions and now there are virtually no battalions, the battalions themselves were an illusion created to distract the American people from the fact that Americans are going to have to die to save people who hate us from ISIL.

Go ahead. Send the military forces we don't have and the trillions we will have to borrow to make sure that liars escape culpability.

This Will Teach People Not to Leak Information

Oh, to be a general in modern America.

General David Petraeus handed the woman that you see pictured above some of the Pentagon's most sensitive material and his punishment is little more than a slap on the wrist. In any other line of work, he'd face felony charges and have a criminal defense attorney huddled next to him, trying to come up with a way to remove his ass from a sling.

I mean, this is hilarious:

a $40,000 fine and two years of probation.

That'll convince people that there's a single standard of conduct, won't it? Preferential treatment? Hells no, baby.

You can rail about Chelsea (Bradley) Manning all you want, but the material he leaked was no where near as sensitive as the material intentionally mishandled by the good General. He can look forward to a long life of pension and benefits for himself and for his family.

Does that poor woman get her career and her good name back? Of course not. She is the debris left behind by people who apply the law to the elites in a manner fitting of their station. You peasants, hush.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

You Can't Call Him Dave Just Yet

Somewhere in all of this is an agreement to allow General David Petraeus to keep his rank, privileges, and his full retirement from the United States Army. He is still a general; he is merely inactive at this time. I would be willing to bet you that he has an excellent legal team that is well versed in getting people off. Someone in the DOJ is getting a bonus if this plays out.

Does anyone seriously believe he will see the inside of a jail cell? That would set a marvelous precedent. It would do wonders for the credibility of the people who enforce the nation's classified information rules. They could point to round-shouldered Dave, stripped of his rank, his retirement, and his freedom, and reassure everyone signing a non-disclosure agreement of what will happen should they betray their country. But first, practical matters. Would they let his hot girlfriend come see him?

If his rank and benefits are actually stripped from him, his wife would have no reason to stay. She is an accomplished woman and is the only truly aggrieved party to all of this. There will be no pardon; when you step on your dick like this, you're on your own.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hillary Clinton Can't Be President Now

Damn, dudes. You should have told her about this.

Now Hillary Clinton can't run for President. What are we gonna do?

Seriously, though. This is the government. Nobody wants you to get your grubby mitts on their E-mails. I'm surprised a mail server wasn't accidentally erased or something. Someone somewhere drafted a legal opinion covering Clinton's use of personal E-mail and she was granted an exemption and we will learn that there is a legal precedent and blah, blah, blah. Oh, and Bush did it, ten times worse, so we're done here.

Nothing ever sticks to a person named Clinton, up to and including an abuse of power or a neglect of toll road or a debauchment of property or a violation of standards because they're the Clintons, dammit. Their enemies make up stuff on a regular basis that never, ever accomplishes anything other than handing them more money and giving them more power.

There are only endless months ahead for people to reveal the abuses of power conducted by the Clintons, all of which mean they can't be co-President again. I can't wait! It's like Christmas and your birthday, all rolled up in a Ding Dong and deep fried in love and pancake batter.

Pat Robertson is Still Saying Weird Things

Did a day go by?


Did Pat Robertson get on television again by appearing on the network that he owns?


Did he say something designed to make liberals crazy that someone wrote for him because they are part of a massive conservative movement to troll everyone through the method of sticking nutty things in an old man's mouth because he can make them plausible enough to scare old ladies into sending him checks?


It's March 2, 2015. Korean War hero Pat Robertson is still bugfuck crazy and on the television network that he owns.

The Always Violent and Angry Elizabeth Warren

Warren Buffet is just the latest unhinged wingnut to attack Elizabeth Warren (or whatever). And that's fair--she's wrong because she's an old woman, you see, and everything that makes sad, old white men uncomfortable is worthy of a mighty attack. Everything is a racket, you see, and pointing out that fact makes you "angry" and "violent."
In an interview Monday morning with CNBC, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and billionaire Warren Buffett was asked what he thinks of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her views of Wall Street.

“I think that she would do better if she was less angry and demonized less,” he responded. “I believe in hate the sin, love the sinner, and I also believe in praising by name and criticizing by category.”
He continued that while there are “plenty of other candidates” whose political style he doesn’t agree with, “I do think it’s — I think it’s a mistake to get angry with your, with people that disagree with you,” he said of her. “In the end we do have to work together… And it does not help when you demonize or get too violent with the people you’re talking to.”
Here's Elizabeth Warren getting all violent on your ass, plutocrats:
US Senator Elizabeth Warren blasted government profits on student loans in a speech at Suffolk University’s Law School on Saturday, firing up a crowd of law students, education researchers, and financial specialists.

“This exploding debt is crushing our young people,” Warren, a Democrat, said in her speech to attendees of a two-day student loan symposium. “These students didn’t go to the mall and run up a bunch of charges on credit cards. They worked hard to learn new skills that will benefit this country. . . . They deserve our support, not an extra tax for trying to get an education.”

Warren’s speech, peppered with the familiar battle cries that buoyed her election campaign, outlined policy changes she has long sought on student lending, a signature issue for the first-term senator.
See? She's not hating on Wall Street. She's not hating on capitalists. She's calling out the government for profiting from student loans. I guess that's what's so violent about her--she's talking about how little people are being crushed.

The sad fact is, they are being crushed, their labor is being stolen from them, their education is over priced, and far too many are profiting from the need to have a college degree in order to chase a Middle Class dream that is evaporating before our eyes.

Hollywood Does Not Make Movies For Americans Anymore

How can you blame Hollywood for chasing the Chinese movie-going public?
China’s monthly movie revenue edged out Hollywood’s for the first time ever in February, making it the world’s leading box office. Chinese theaters took in $650 million, while the U.S. monthly total came in at $640 million, according to research firm Entgroup. A surge of movie sales during the Lunar New Year holiday helped China take the lead. The top-grossing film in China for February was The Man From Macau II followed by Dragon Blade. Prior to February, China’s biggest box-office total was $580 million in July 2014.
The market for films that appeal to the Chinese public is going to continue to expand if wages and employment keep rising in China. From a film perspective, that means two things. One, the more expensive American films are going to be crafted and tailored to entice more and more Chinese customers (look for crossover stars, product placement, subtle shifts in attitude towards China, and even a pro-Chinese bent to action films and superhero movies). Two, old farts like me are never going to see Dragon Blade.

I don't have the time or inclination. Sorry, but China's soft power is not going to appeal to me. Younger people in this country will probably want to see this kind of fare. Chinese cinema, in general, has always appealed to genre aficionados, and I would imagine that this will mean that there will be more fare, more entertainment, and more choices.

If you loved Dragon Blade, get ready for a thousand different variations on that. Snobs like me are going to keep watching television.