Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mainstream Republican Freakout




Let's get one thing straight--none of these people were mad when Republicans were really good at being racist in a polite manner. None of these corporations are shy about associating with Republicans who pass laws restricting women from getting health care. None of them are afraid to get in bed with politicians who marginalize minority workers and take away their collective bargaining rights. Nobody here is upset that a Republican introduced legislation hurting working families. No, far from it--they want to get in bed with them and get cozy. These are the things they love. Mainstream Republican policies are the gift that keeps on giving, right in the kiester (don't ask).

What they don't love is how their hired flacks are going to spend the next year explaining their bigotry through close affiliation with Donald Trump:

Some of the country’s best-known corporations are nervously grappling with what role they should play at the Republican National Convention, given the likely nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose divisive candidacy has alienated many women, African-Americans and Hispanics.

An array of activist groups is organizing a campaign to pressure the companies to refuse to sponsor the gathering, which many of the corporations have done for both the Republican and Democratic parties for decades.

The pressure is emerging as some businesses and trade groups are already privately debating whether to scale back their participation, according to interviews with more than a dozen lobbyists, consultants and fund-raisers directly involved in the conversations.

Apple, Google and Walmart are among the companies assessing their plans for the convention, which will be held in Cleveland from July 18 through July 21.

In addition to Mr. Trump’s divisive politics, there is the possibility that protests, or even violence, will become a focus of attention at the convention. Mr. Trump has suggested that there will be “riots” if he is not chosen as the party’s nominee, and the city of Cleveland recently sought bids for about 2,000 sets of riot gear for its police force.

Oh, for the love of God. Please don't point out that we love someone who hates people like a shaking, vulgar manifestation of white privilege in decline. And it would be shrill to point out just how much of a shock it was to have Pat Buchanan run around the 1992 Republican National Convention with his brownshirt hanging out.

Don't Blame President Obama




Honestly, this is no surprise at all:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe torture can be justified to extract information from suspected terrorists, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a level of support similar to that seen in countries like Nigeria where militant attacks are common.

The poll reflects a U.S. public on edge after the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino in December and large-scale attacks in Europe in recent months, including a bombing claimed by the militant group Islamic State last week that killed at least 32 people in Belgium.

Here's what the President says about torture:

Throughout our history, the United States of America has done more than any other nation to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world.  As Americans, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to our fellow citizens who serve to keep us safe, among them the dedicated men and women of our intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency.  Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, these public servants have worked tirelessly to devastate core al Qaeda, deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupt terrorist operations and thwart terrorist attacks.  Solemn rows of stars on the Memorial Wall at the CIA honor those who have given their lives to protect ours.  Our intelligence professionals are patriots, and we are safer because of their heroic service and sacrifices.

In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country.  As I have said before, our nation did many things right in those difficult years.  At the same time, some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values.  That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad.

Today’s report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details one element of our nation’s response to 9/11—the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which I formally ended on one of my first days in office.  The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests.  Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners.  That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.

As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people.  We will therefore continue to be relentless in our fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists.  We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals.  That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today’s report.  No nation is perfect.  But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.  Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past.  Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

Here's what Donald Trump says about torture, from the article above:

Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has forcefully injected the issue of whether terrorism suspects should be tortured into the election campaign.

Trump has said he would seek to roll back President Barack Obama's ban on waterboarding - an interrogation technique that simulates drowning that human rights groups contend is illegal under the Geneva Conventions. Trump has also vowed to "bring back a hell of a lot worse" if elected.

Here's what America knows:






 

Basically, the American people have been sold a bill of goods through the incompetence of the media and the lazy storytelling of the popular culture. When was the last time anyone let the President's words be the reason why we don't torture people?

Do you know what would happen if he instructed the Justice Department to indict officials in the Bush Administration for torture? The whole government would fly apart like a cheap lawnmower. Everything would come to a halt and nothing would happen because the Republican majority in the House and Senate would bring impeachment proceedings within days. The media would enrage the populace by bringing up a phony "both sides have done it" meme and we'd hear countless stories about throwing Vietcong fighters out of helicopters and we'd hear about waterboarding during the Spanish American War and all of that other bullshit. You never, ever hold anyone accountable for anything once they leave office. Americans never revisit their historical mistakes and make amends. And if you try to, guess what--game over on that because we have a two party system that requires everyone to cooperate or nothing gets done. That's the threat that keeps our history of torture under wraps--it's not truth, it's not justice, it's not the American way. We tortured people and they got away with it because holding them accountable would shut down the proceedings of the government and replace it with regime change through legislative chicanery.

Torture doesn't work in the real world. The President knows this, but the message doesn't get through because everyone thinks there's a ticking time bomb somewhere and oh no! We have to stick the barrel of a gun into the wound to make the bad guy talk! Ain't that how it works?

When did anyone like Donald Trump bother to learn how the world really works before shooting off their mouth about something?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A New War in the Falkland Islands




What did you do on your holiday? Well, I started worrying about the Falkland Islands because, well, you know, that's what people do.

The British claim to the Falkland Islands is going to get weaker and weaker as time goes on:

A United Nations commission has determined that the Falkland Islands lie in Argentinian waters. The decision marks the latest chapter in the dispute between that country and Britain over the territory, which included a bloody battle in 1982. The UN commission ruled that Argentina’s maritime territory extends over the Falkland Islands. “This is an historic occasion for Argentina because we’ve made a huge leap in the demarcation of the exterior limit of our continental shelf,” said Argentinian Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra on Monday. “This reaffirms our sovereignty rights over the resources of our continental shelf.” The Falkland Islands are self-governing, with Britain responsible for the area’s defense and foreign affairs. The British government is arguing that islanders should not be obliged to live under Argentinian rule against the their will.

Whose navy is going to sail to the region and reaffirm the British claim? Why, if memory serves me, it's not going to be the British navy because there, effectively, is little or no British navy anymore. What they have is now a rather fleet that emphasizes submarine operations; they have a small surface force and could project some measure of power into the South Atlantic.

I am not arguing that the British are helpless; far from it. They could mount a devastating defense of the Falklands. Is there any stomach for that in British society right now? Would their allies give badly needed logistical assistance? Britain's role in the world has changed significantly since the 1980s. And there has been a huge backlash against the use of military force thanks to the Iraq War. 

The question is, how long could they sustain operations? What if the Argentines deploy a series of surface-to-ship missiles sold to them by, say, the Chinese, who would love to see their technology tested against a Western navy? What if the Russians decide to tweak the British and send a care package?

A war in the Falkland Islands would likely include the U.S. Navy. Do we want that? America is paralyzed with partisan political posturing right now. Can you imagine what something like this would do to the everyday ridiculousness of a presidential campaign? Holy cow.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Nancy Reagan Was Nuts




Yeah, let's just gloss over everything and forget what happened in the 1980s:

President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are both deeply interested in astrology, the White House spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, said today, and two former White House officials said Mrs. Reagan's concerns had influenced the scheduling of important events.


A California astrologer said she had been consulted by the Reagans regarding key White House decisions, but Mr. Reagan said astrology had not influenced policy.


Followers of astrology believe the alignment of stars and planets influences human affairs. Such people consult charts, based on their birth dates, for clues concerning many decisions.


Mr. Fitzwater said Mrs. Reagan is particularly worried about the impact astrological portents can have on her husband's safety. But he declined to say exactly how Mrs. Reagan had used astrological information. And the President, answering a question at a photo-taking session, said, ''No policy or decision in my mind has ever been influenced by astrology.''


The issue was stirred up by reports, first published in Newsweek, that Donald T. Regan, the former White House chief of staff, discusses the role of astrology in his memoirs. The memoirs are being published later this month by Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, and excerpts are scheduled to appear in the May 16 issue of Time Magazine. Inauguration After Midnight.


The book will detail the ''kinds of decisions that were made'' under the influence of astrological readings, according to a former Administration official.


Another former official said the President timed his announcement that he would run for re-election after he and his wife consulted astrological signs.


Early in his political career, Mr. Reagan scheduled his inauguration as Governor of California in January 1967 to take place at an odd time, 12:10 A.M. News reports at the time said the decision was made to take advantage of favorable astrological portents.


Did anyone pay a political price for this? Of course not. And you can thank the fawning "liberal" media for all of the other things they ignored because they wanted a "daddy" figure in charge.




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Nancy Reagan Was Nuts


Yeah, let's just gloss over everything and forget what happened in the 1980s:
President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are both deeply interested in astrology, the White House spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, said today, and two former White House officials said Mrs. Reagan's concerns had influenced the scheduling of important events.
A California astrologer said she had been consulted by the Reagans regarding key White House decisions, but Mr. Reagan said astrology had not influenced policy.
Followers of astrology believe the alignment of stars and planets influences human affairs. Such people consult charts, based on their birth dates, for clues concerning many decisions.
Mr. Fitzwater said Mrs. Reagan is particularly worried about the impact astrological portents can have on her husband's safety. But he declined to say exactly how Mrs. Reagan had used astrological information. And the President, answering a question at a photo-taking session, said, ''No policy or decision in my mind has ever been influenced by astrology.''
The issue was stirred up by reports, first published in Newsweek, that Donald T. Regan, the former White House chief of staff, discusses the role of astrology in his memoirs. The memoirs are being published later this month by Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, and excerpts are scheduled to appear in the May 16 issue of Time Magazine. Inauguration After Midnight.
The book will detail the ''kinds of decisions that were made'' under the influence of astrological readings, according to a former Administration official.
Another former official said the President timed his announcement that he would run for re-election after he and his wife consulted astrological signs.
Early in his political career, Mr. Reagan scheduled his inauguration as Governor of California in January 1967 to take place at an odd time, 12:10 A.M. News reports at the time said the decision was made to take advantage of favorable astrological portents.
Did anyone pay a political price for this? Of course not. And you can thank the fawning "liberal" media for all of the other things they ignored because they wanted a "daddy" figure in charge.




Friday, March 4, 2016

The Silver Fern of New Zealand




I haven't been this excited about a national flag since Scottish independence went into the crapper:

The New Zealand flag, which has flown for more than a century, features multiple symbols representing the country's former status as a British colony. In addition to the union jackin the upper left corner, it also features four stars of the Southern Cross constellation, paying homage to the country’s former status as a southern outpost of the British Empire.

The silver fern, by contrast, is a popular national symbol, appearing on the country’s $1 coin as well as in numerous military and sporting contexts.
If New Zealand votes in favor of the change, it will not be the first country to replace its flag to distance itself from a colonial past. This summer, Fiji will likely replace its flag,which also contains the union jack, with a new one featuring more indigenous symbolism.
But it appears that a main motivation for New Zealand replacing the flag is actually another issue entirely: It looks a little too similar to Australia’s flag for comfort.


I have no problem with this because, well, it's fucking New Zealand and they can do whatever they want. If Australia follows suit, what will they use as a national symbol? The kangaroo? The koala bear? Or will they simply take a Fosters beer can to the old flag and scream incoherently?





Colonialism is such a bad word that we now see people changing their national flags in order to run away from it.





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The Silver Fern of New Zealand


I haven't been this excited about a national flag since Scottish independence went into the crapper:
The New Zealand flag, which has flown for more than a century, features multiple symbols representing the country's former status as a British colony. In addition to the union jackin the upper left corner, it also features four stars of the Southern Cross constellation, paying homage to the country’s former status as a southern outpost of the British Empire.

The silver fern, by contrast, is a popular national symbol, appearing on the country’s $1 coin as well as in numerous military and sporting contexts.
If New Zealand votes in favor of the change, it will not be the first country to replace its flag to distance itself from a colonial past. This summer, Fiji will likely replace its flag,which also contains the union jack, with a new one featuring more indigenous symbolism.
But it appears that a main motivation for New Zealand replacing the flag is actually another issue entirely: It looks a little too similar to Australia’s flag for comfort.
I have no problem with this because, well, it's fucking New Zealand and they can do whatever they want. If Australia follows suit, what will they use as a national symbol? The kangaroo? The koala bear? Or will they simply take a Fosters beer can to the old flag and scream incoherently?

Colonialism is such a bad word that we now see people changing their national flags in order to run away from it.





Thursday, March 3, 2016

Governor Pudding Bag is Not Resigning




This is nice and all, and it has undercurrents of sweetness in it, but Chris Christie doesn't plan on resigning from anything:

Gov. Chris Christie has made it abundantly clear that governing New Jersey is a distant second priority for him, far behind the demands of his personal ambition.


He has answered every crisis with neglect during his disastrous second term.


Atlantic City is about to go bankrupt, and yet he sat on a reform package for six months without explanation. The transit system is in disrepair, with our link to New York City vulnerable to a crippling breakdown, and he watches passively as the transit fund drifts toward bankruptcy. New Jersey's fiscal crisis is the nation's second worst, and he has charted no viable path toward a political deal.


All this is infuriating when you consider that Christie possesses the political talent to steer the state towards safer ground. He made that clear in his first term, when he scored substantial wins on a centrist agenda.


But if his first term showed that he has the talent, his second term has shown that he lacks the character.


His craven endorsement of Donald Trump is only the final blow, the moment when he lost any last shred of credibility. His fulsome praise of Trump, after his stinging condemnations only a few weeks ago, is impossible to believe.


At some point, the people of New Jersey are going to have to wake up to the fact that Christie is going to settle some scores as he leaves office. He is going to set the state on fire, watch it burn to the ground, and then he's going to urinate all over everything while screaming through his eyes. He's going to deliver ruination and loss and walk away with a bag full of riches. And, given the weird nature of New Jersey politics, Christie will walk away with smiles and laughter behind him.





In Republican circles, destroying an entire state is preferable to the idea that people can be governed effectively. Christie will show generations of citizens that government is useless and corrupt and can be left by the side of the road like a shopping cart full of dead skunks covered in flaming motor oil.





Hey, you knew who he was when you elected him. Chris Christie hasn't changed at all. He's the same bag of pudding he always was. 





Suckers.






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Governor Pudding Bag is Not Resigning


This is nice and all, and it has undercurrents of sweetness in it, but Chris Christie doesn't plan on resigning from anything:
Gov. Chris Christie has made it abundantly clear that governing New Jersey is a distant second priority for him, far behind the demands of his personal ambition.
He has answered every crisis with neglect during his disastrous second term.
Atlantic City is about to go bankrupt, and yet he sat on a reform package for six months without explanation. The transit system is in disrepair, with our link to New York City vulnerable to a crippling breakdown, and he watches passively as the transit fund drifts toward bankruptcy. New Jersey's fiscal crisis is the nation's second worst, and he has charted no viable path toward a political deal.
All this is infuriating when you consider that Christie possesses the political talent to steer the state towards safer ground. He made that clear in his first term, when he scored substantial wins on a centrist agenda.
But if his first term showed that he has the talent, his second term has shown that he lacks the character.
His craven endorsement of Donald Trump is only the final blow, the moment when he lost any last shred of credibility. His fulsome praise of Trump, after his stinging condemnations only a few weeks ago, is impossible to believe.
At some point, the people of New Jersey are going to have to wake up to the fact that Christie is going to settle some scores as he leaves office. He is going to set the state on fire, watch it burn to the ground, and then he's going to urinate all over everything while screaming through his eyes. He's going to deliver ruination and loss and walk away with a bag full of riches. And, given the weird nature of New Jersey politics, Christie will walk away with smiles and laughter behind him.

In Republican circles, destroying an entire state is preferable to the idea that people can be governed effectively. Christie will show generations of citizens that government is useless and corrupt and can be left by the side of the road like a shopping cart full of dead skunks covered in flaming motor oil.

Hey, you knew who he was when you elected him. Chris Christie hasn't changed at all. He's the same bag of pudding he always was. 

Suckers.





Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Republican Party is a "Gay Foam Party"




Don't yell at me. Yell at Robert Morrow, your new chair of the Travis County Republican Party:

The newly elected chair of the Republican Party in the county that includes the Texas Capitol spent most of election night tweeting about former Gov. Rick Perry’s sexual orientation and former President Bill Clinton’s penis, and insisting that members of the Bush family should be in jail.


He also found time to call Hillary Clinton an “angry bull dyke” and accuse his county vice chair of betraying the values of the Republican Party.


“The people have spoken,” Robert Morrow, who won the helm of the Travis County GOP with 54 percent of the vote, told The Texas Tribune. “My friends and neighbors and political supporters — they wanted Robert Morrow.”


Morrow’s election as Republican chair of the fifth-largest county in Texas left several members of the Travis County GOP, including vice chair Matt Mackowiak, apoplectic. Mackowiak, a Republican strategist, immediately announced over social media that he would do everything in his power to remove Morrow from office.
“We will explore every single option that exists, whether it be persuading him to resign, trying to force him to resign, constraining his power, removing his ability to spend money or resisting any attempt for him to access data or our social media account,” Mackowiak told the Tribune. “I’m treating this as a coup and as a hostile takeover.”


Every time one of these assholes assumes office and gains a little power, the pearl clutching apparatchiks in the Republican Party lose their minds. This is the rank and file--this is a mainstream Republican, circa 2016. These are people who don't hesitate to assault other people at rallies, wear their Klan robes to church, and who eagerly await proof from Alex Jones that Obama has been selling nuclear weapons to the Mullahs.


Here's the hilarious quote that should have been the lede, by the way:


Morrow, who’s also tweeted that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is “very likely a gayman who got married,” said he supports the brand of Republican politics he most closely associates with Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.


“The Republican Party, I would hope, is about limited government with a libertarian perspective,” Morrow said. “But it’s a big tent, and there are many factions in it, and that’s okay with me.”


Morrow’s main complaint is with “establishment” Republicans, who he does not believe should hold elected office, he said. Last week, he tweeted that the Republican National Committee was just a “gay foam party.”


Morrow has a long history of critiquing prominent state Republicans in vulgar, and often sexually explicit, terms. For years, he has alleged that Perry is secretly bisexual; in 2010, he referred to him as “Gov. Skank Daddy” in an email.


With these guys, it is an embarrassment of riches.








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The Republican Party is a "Gay Foam Party"


Don't yell at me. Yell at Robert Morrow, your new chair of the Travis County Republican Party:
The newly elected chair of the Republican Party in the county that includes the Texas Capitol spent most of election night tweeting about former Gov. Rick Perry’s sexual orientation and former President Bill Clinton’s penis, and insisting that members of the Bush family should be in jail.
He also found time to call Hillary Clinton an “angry bull dyke” and accuse his county vice chair of betraying the values of the Republican Party.
“The people have spoken,” Robert Morrow, who won the helm of the Travis County GOP with 54 percent of the vote, told The Texas Tribune. “My friends and neighbors and political supporters — they wanted Robert Morrow.”
Morrow’s election as Republican chair of the fifth-largest county in Texas left several members of the Travis County GOP, including vice chair Matt Mackowiak, apoplectic. Mackowiak, a Republican strategist, immediately announced over social media that he would do everything in his power to remove Morrow from office.
“We will explore every single option that exists, whether it be persuading him to resign, trying to force him to resign, constraining his power, removing his ability to spend money or resisting any attempt for him to access data or our social media account,” Mackowiak told the Tribune. “I’m treating this as a coup and as a hostile takeover.”
Every time one of these assholes assumes office and gains a little power, the pearl clutching apparatchiks in the Republican Party lose their minds. This is the rank and file--this is a mainstream Republican, circa 2016. These are people who don't hesitate to assault other people at rallies, wear their Klan robes to church, and who eagerly await proof from Alex Jones that Obama has been selling nuclear weapons to the Mullahs.
Here's the hilarious quote that should have been the lede, by the way:
Morrow, who’s also tweeted that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is “very likely a gayman who got married,” said he supports the brand of Republican politics he most closely associates with Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.
“The Republican Party, I would hope, is about limited government with a libertarian perspective,” Morrow said. “But it’s a big tent, and there are many factions in it, and that’s okay with me.”
Morrow’s main complaint is with “establishment” Republicans, who he does not believe should hold elected office, he said. Last week, he tweeted that the Republican National Committee was just a “gay foam party.”
Morrow has a long history of critiquing prominent state Republicans in vulgar, and often sexually explicit, terms. For years, he has alleged that Perry is secretly bisexual; in 2010, he referred to him as “Gov. Skank Daddy” in an email.
With these guys, it is an embarrassment of riches.