‘No more than right wing politics turned up to eleven’

Donald Trump

Josh Marshall, like many other political observers, is still trying to explain why Donald Trump remains the front-runner for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination. He has led the polls since he announced his candidacy in July.

Parties and politics inflect and harness trends in the broader society. They don’t create them. There’s nothing new under the sun about Trumpism. It’s just a turbo-charged, more media savvy version of the resentment politics the GOP has been tapping for fuel and riding for decades.

…Trump, in his current incarnation, is no more than right wing politics turned up to eleven.

BTW kudos for the Nigel Tufnel reference from the hilarious “This is Spinal Tap” (1984). Yes, what Trump is saying isn’t really different – only he says it louder.

The right-wing and the Republicans have merged into what I starting calling the Tea-GOP last year (after John Boehner famously said that there was no difference between the Tea Party and the GOP). This means that there is no way for Trump’s primary opponents to attack his actual policy positions as too extreme. On the contrary, they copy his rhetoric.

Before this election cycle, Tea-GOPers used to talk about a border fence (e.g. John McCain’s call to build the “danged fence”). Now everybody calls it a “wall” because Trump wants a wall. When Trump started complaining about so-called “anchor babies,” even John Ellis (“Jeb!”) Bush started using that derogatory term. Now Trump is setting the terms of the hysterical debate regarding Syrian refugees.

None of the serious political journalists think Trump will emerge as the eventual Tea-GOP presidential nominee. Josh Marshall is predicting either Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz or Marco Rubio. Even if he doesn’t win, the Tea-GOP brand is now defined by Trump – and he’ll be giving a big speech at the nominating convention.

More info:
Nate Silver: Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls


Practical Joke Gone Mad?

Who's The Crazy One Here?

Who’s The Crazy One Here?

The “clock boy” saga continues.

We’ve all heard about the kid who supposedly engineered a clock that looked exactly like a terrorist bomb and took it to school. After a couple of days, hearing more facts and seeing the “clock”, I was inclined to think the poor kid was probably being harassed at school because he looked like somebody from the middle east, and decided to hackle some feathers.

We’re talking about America in 2015 here. White Americans are terrified of dark skinned people from everywhere. It defines us – at least on the “news”. When the American media decided to make Charles Manson the face of the hippie movement in the sixties, I wanted to paint a picture of Manson on the back windshield of my Chevy Nova. That was just a thought I never carried out, but I did think about it.

Today, my first inclination is to side with everybody that the majority of congress wants us to fear. African Americans, Hispanics, old people, poor people, former felons, students, non-whites…

You know… potential voters!

So, I would be glad to see the facts come out. Was it a clock designed to look like a bomb, which caused a few of our leaders to come out in support of a brave kid who’d had enough bullying?

I’d like to think I would have done that as a fourteen year old, or a politician.

Cause some trouble; do no harm. :)


Bears Ears National Monument

Bears Ears NM proposal map

For Native Americans, it’s a sacred place of healing. Twin buttes on Elk Ridge that form a landmark called the Bears Ears (Orejas del Oso on old maps).

The Bears Ears national monument designation for 1.9 million acres would include the existing Natural Bridges National Monument, Dark Canyon Wilderness, part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest and part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Lands surrounding these areas and adjacent to Canyonlands National Park are long overdue for national recognition and protection.

Conservationists have been very patient. Wilderness proposals have been made and talked about for more than 30 years with no action taken by Congress. Now we have an opportunity to do something significant. President Obama ought to proclaim the Bears Ears National Monument before he leaves office at the end of next year.

Petition: Ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears Now

More info:
Bears Ears Coalition
Tribal coalition in Washington, D.C., pushing for Bears Ears National Monument
Explore the Proposed Bears Ears National Monument!


A persuasive argument on refugees

For quite a while, I have been pretty against the idea of immigration and I do have my left wing reasons. After all, there is poverty, crime, the environment, employment and a whole lot of issues that we need to take into consideration, but this doesn’t change the fact that they are human beings who live human lives and have human needs just like us. Of course This issue is not black and white. We put ourselves in danger by letting these people in, but we put these refugees in even greater danger by not letting them in. There is no easy answer and it boils down to this question. Is the life of an American worth more than the life of a foreigner? The answer is no it isn’t. As someone who is a Youtuber and frequently goes online, I understand that friendship, brotherhood and understanding is not restricted to the soil we are born on. I have befriended an Australian, I debate politics with a Norwegian, I play video games with a Brazilian, I made Youtube videos for a German and I fell in love with a Canadian. Just like the person in this video, these are people who I would lend my couch to and I would risk my very life to protect these people.


First person accounts of the Paris Attacks

Via Huffington Post.

I’m shocked and dismayed and horrified.



More Evidence For Worst President Ever

Condi Rice
Worst National Security Advisor Ever

Politico provides even more evidence, some of which was left out of the 9/11 Commission’s report, that the Worst President Ever had the Worst National Security Advisor Ever. Not that we needed any more evidence.

By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.”

…The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat—“getting into the Afghan sanctuary, launching a paramilitary operation, creating a bridge with Uzbekistan.” “And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’” (Translation: they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.)

…That morning of July 10, the head of the agency’s Al Qaeda unit, Richard Blee, burst into Black’s office. “And he says, ‘Chief, this is it. Roof’s fallen in,’” recounts Black. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw.” Black and his deputy rushed to the director’s office to brief Tenet. All agreed an urgent meeting at the White House was needed. Tenet picked up the white phone to Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. “I said, ‘Condi, I have to come see you,’” Tenet remembers. “It was one of the rare times in my seven years as director where I said, ‘I have to come see you. We’re comin’ right now. We have to get there.’”

Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.’” [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”

“What happened?” I ask Cofer Black. “Yeah. What did happen?” he replies. “To me it remains incomprehensible still. I mean, how is it that you could warn senior people so many times and nothing actually happened? It’s kind of like The Twilight Zone.”

Just as a reminder, several of the al-Qaeda operatives involved in the 9/11 terror plot were already in the USA. Their identities were known to the FBI. If the Bush administration had heeded the numerous warnings, could the pieces of the puzzle have come together before September 11, 2001?

More info:
Ex-CIA director: White House ignored months of warnings about 9/11 to avoid leaving ‘paper trail’ of culpability


Is anyone surprised an anti-abortion Republican is afraid of research into abortion?

To be honest, there are so many gob-smacking details in the story it’s difficult to know which deserve the most mockery.

Let’s start by noting that the Missouri state senator involved is chair of the Missouri senate’s interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life.  Let’s just pause and let that sink in.

What the actual fuck?!  The state of Missouri’s senators are so far gone that they actually have a Committee on the Sanctity of life. The duties of said committee are spelled out here and are genuinely stunning in multiple, utterly nonsensical ways: Read the rest of this entry »

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Salon Wins Today’s “Best Headline Award”

The GOP debate was a blizzard of garbage: Sorting through last night’s mess of lies and crazy

You gotta read it.

Here’s a taste:

For just a second, it was possible to glimpse an actual debate in the middle of this blizzard of garbage. Here were two men representing competing strands of the Republican Party – the libertarian wing of Rand Paul versus the heirs to Reagan’s tax-cuts-and-imperialism-because-AMERICA branch that has found in Marco Rubio its perfect, pliable spokesman. Here was a meta-debate in the making, with a child tax credit as the Trojan horse by which the GOP would smuggle into the silly season a meaningful talk about the contradictions between its conservative philosophy and its actual practices, the entire existential crossroads that the party has been standing in front of since the George W. Bush administration.


Trump: Your Wages Are Too High!


Last night’s Tea-GOP presidential debate was a miserable slog through two hours of lies, myths, and disinformation. I gave up after the first hour. But Donald Trump set the tone right away with the very first question from Neil Cavuto. And the Wisconsin audience must have been composed almost entirely of millionaires, because they applauded for every one of the deeply unpopular proposals coming from the eight candidates.

[Emphasis added]


…And so we begin. Candidates, as we gather tonight in this very august theater, just outside and across the country, picketers are gathering as well. They’re demanding an immediate hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Just a few hours ago, near Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed doing the same for all state workers, the first governor to do so.

Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?


I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.


So do not raise the minimum wage?


I would not do it.


We all laughed when John Ellis (“Jeb!”) Bush told Americans to forget about a raise, just “work longer hours.” Last night, Trump said roughly the same thing.

Americans work an average of 47 hours a week. Our wages have stagnated since 1979. None of the Tea-GOPers on stage last night offered any help at all for the struggling middle class or entry-level workers. Nor did they address the injustice of the low-wage business model, which forces taxpayers to subsidize some of the nation’s most profitable corporations when their employees are not paid a living wage.

More info:
Unemployment keeps going down. So why aren’t wages going up?
Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil
Americans are spending $153 billion a year to subsidize McDonald’s and Wal-Mart’s low wage workers


Netanyahu Wants A Raise – No, Seriously!

Netanyahu wants a raise

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to the White House next week, looking for more of our money. Israel currently gets $3.1 billion per year in U.S. military aid, which has been used to finance war crimes. After Afghanistan, Israel is already the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.

Now Netanyahu wants a new 10-year deal for $4.5 billion a year, which would be close to a 50 percent raise. The answer ought to be a resounding NO. The current Israeli government is adamantly opposed to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, they are meddling in American politics, and they are a strategic liability, so why are we paying them anything?

More info:
Netanyahu Is Bringing a $4.5 Billion-a-Year Arms Wish List to Obama
US only country to oppose UN holding Israel accountable for war crimes, yet again
Israel is supposedly the only democracy in the Middle East, yet 4.5 million Palestinians under its control can’t vote


Tea-GOP Predictions of Economic Collapse Overtaken By Events

Romney promises 6% unemployment

Via Think Progress.

When he ran for President in 2012, Willard (“Mitt”) Romney claimed that by repealing Obamacare, replacing Dodd-Frank, reining in the EPA, and cutting government spending — he could reduce unemployment to 6 percent by January 2017.

The top-line unemployment rate currently stands at 5 percent, which is close to what economists call “full employment.” Wages for most Americans remain flat, however, and there is significant under-employment.

Today, the Department of Labor announced that 271,000 jobs had been created in October. Overall, there have been 68 straight months of job growth creating 13.5 million new jobs. It is the longest streak of job growth on record in American history.

In 2011, former Speaker John Boehner predicted that Obamacare “will bankrupt our nation, and it will ruin our economy” during a press conference where he used the phrase “job-killing” once every two minutes.

All the Tea-GOP wailing about the Obama administration’s supposed “job-killing” policies seems to have been an exercise in projection or wishful thinking, because it was actually the Tea-GOP committing economic sabotage at every opportunity.

More info:
4 Predictions Republicans Made About The Economy That Are Really Embarrassing Now

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The Purity Culture’s Stew of Terror and Misinformation Boils Over

I’ve been trying to make sense of the antics on display at the Omaha Public School hearing about making changes to their thirty year old sexuality education program.

It had the hallmarks of a moral panic:

A moral panic is a public panic over an issue deemed to be a threat to, or shocking to, the sensibilities of “proper” society. This is often fanned by sensationalistselective reporting in the media and exaggerated accounts offered by “moral entrepreneur,” a category that includes politicians on the make and activists in search of a cause. Moral panics can result in what is a real phenomenon being blown way out of proportion, or in what is not a real phenomenon in the first place being widely believed to be real. Moral panics often feature a caricatured or stereotypical “folk devil” on which the anxieties of the community are focused, as described by sociologist Stanley Cohen who coined the term in his study Folk Devils and Moral Panics, which examined media coverage of the mod and rocker riots in the 1960s.[1][2]

Read the rest of this entry »


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