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What Did and Did Not Happen at that Pizzeria in Washington DC

Jesus fucking Christ.

A man who chose to “self-investigate” opened fire at Washington DC pizzeria which, according to fake news, is at the center of a child sex abuse scandal.

Let’s review – motivated by fake news some moron with a gun opened fire in a restaurant.

That is what happened.

What did not happen was the child abuse and sex trafficking.

Great, now we have people shooting people over fake news.

Thanks Donald Trump!

 

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You wanna know something? Evangelical Christians are, bar none, the biggest crybabies in America today.

Seriously, I am so sick to death of their endless whining and whinging and carrying on about their supposed “victimhood.”

Grow the fuck up you pathetic whiny ass titty babies.

The latest example is the ear-splitting cry about some articles (one at Buzzfeed, one at Cosmopolitan) asking if Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of a popular HGTV show, are anti-gay in light of the fact that they attend an anti-gay church.

It’s a fair question given that HGTV (Home & Garden TV) should be renamed “Homo Gay TV”.

HGTV responded quickly with a press release proclaiming their support for LGBT persons and renewing their commitment to nondiscrimination.

The Gaines?  Well, pretty much silence as far as I can tell.  Their pastor preaches that gay people are really just sex addicts, that being gay is the result of abuse and that gay people can “change” – you know, pray away the gay. For some reason, gay people aren’t supposed to find his twaddle offensive – it’s his “faith.”  Well fuck his ignorance and his hatefilled faith.

The religious right is getting its dander up. Todd Starnes, the dimwitted but apparently prolific Fox news opinionist, has written an attempt at a scathing article.  Mostly, it’s just trademark evangelical Christian whining about “The gays are so mean to us” with a few sad jabs at Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  Starnes seems to forget that right wingers were in an uproar about Wright for months in 2008.

Another piece, from the American Family Association’s Pravda-esque website, One News Now, describes the Buzzfeed article as a “hit piece.”

Below the main article, comments bewail the horrific and imaginary persecution visited upon Christians.  It’s a sad spectacle of people who are angry they can’t just get their own way and not be bothered by having to think about anyone else.

Think about this – until 2003 – yes, two fucking thousand and three – it was illegal in Utah for same sex couples to have sex.  That the law was rarely enforced or even ignored is irrelevant. It was illegal for same sex couples to have sex, they could face criminal charges for engaging in consensual sex. Until 2013, same sex couples could not marry in Utah.

The special snowflakes in American culture aren’t the gays – it’s the Christians with their endless, churlish whining about their victimization.

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The Healthcare Reform Debate Revisited: What exactly is Obamacare?

Since, apparently, the Republicans have committed themselves to a strategy of “repeal and delay,” I think it’s timely to stop and ask “What exactly is Obamacare?”

Repeal and delay means, simply, that Republicans will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act but do so with a proviso that it remains in effect for anywhere from 18 months to 3 years while Republicans craft a replacement.  There are a host of problems with this approach that you can read about at Vox.

Despite having been the law since 2010, Obamacare remains widely misunderstood.

First off, there is no such thing as “Obamacare”; you cannot go enroll in Obamacare, it’s not a discrete program like Medicare or Medicaid. The term itself was used by Republicans as shorthand for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is a sizable piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law in 2010 by President Obama.  The bill itself was debated for months.

If there is no program known as “Obamacare” what, then, is it? Read the rest of this entry »

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What did not happen in Twin Falls, ID

If you’re not familiar with Pamela Geller, chances are you aren’t rabidly anti-Muslim.  Geller is, arguably, the most unhinged anti-Islamic activist in the US.  She’s been described as a mix of Ann Coulter, a crazy cat lady, and Sarah Palin at her awkward word salad peak. Geller’s anti-Muslim/anti-Islam rhetoric and antics have made here noteworthy if not actually newsworthy.

Since June, Geller has been pushing a story about an assault that took place in Twin Falls, ID.

Unsurprisingly, Geller has almost all of her facts wrong. That hasn’t stopped the spread of the tale into the right wing internet ecosystem (growing ever more lurid and hysterical as it continues).

The Twin Falls City Council found themselves overwhelmed by citizens outraged at the attack, demanding answers to questions based on imaginary “facts” spread by people like Pamela Geller (as for example, the myth that police didn’t act due to a “language barrier” when in fact they acted as expeditiously as possible and there was no language barrier). The City Council members, who for obvious reasons knew little about the case, were blindsided by the sudden appearance of all these angry people.  As the story has metastasized throughout the wingnutosphere it has grown more lurid and bizarre – with allegations that local authorities are trying to cover it up, that they have engaged in a deliberate campaign to impugn and attack the vicitm’s family and that victim’s family was driven out of their home as a result of harassment by refugees setting off fireworks outside their apartment with the (apparently) tacit cooperation of local and state authorities. Later tales have spread (by the victim’s family) that claim local authorities are deliberately trying to harm the victim and her family.

Geller, and others including an anti-refugee group in Idaho, have attempted to use this case to attack refugees and immigrants and to stop refugee resettlement in Twin Falls.

Like many of the right’s most treasured confabulations, this one has a kernel of truth. What actually happened very likely will never be publicly known; the case involves a girl (age 5), and three boys (ages 7, 10 and 14). As a result of the ages of the persons involved, the case is sealed.  The police and local DA are trying to actually handle the case professionally and to give out only absolutely necessary information.  Local law enforcement have confirmed that there was a crime committed, they are clear that no rape took place, although they are clear that there was some form assault. Many of the facts (i.e. at a gang rape at knife point and the perpetrators’ families celebrating said attack and so forth) are simply wrong and/or imaginary. Snopes, as usual, has a good summary of the who squalid controversy.

The pattern here is recognizable to anyone who pays attention.  Some story spreads throughout the conservative internet – hopping from site to site, sometimes with additional details, sometimes with partial details.  Readers go into a fury.  The mainstream media and government officials are accused of covering up the story.  Outraged citizens descend upon elected officials who usually have no idea what’s coming at them because the facts and the story being spread on the right are not the same. Elected officials, of course, are caught flat-footed by the whole controversy which only fuels the speculation that they’re covering things up.  Efforts to accurately report on the story are dismissed as bias.  Eventually the real world resolves whatever issue came up – actual news of what actually happened permeates the right (which steadfastly believes in the earlier conspiracies).  It all vanishes – except in right wing mythology where it remains accepted as gospel truth.

These lies and distortions float around conservative circles, emerging periodically to be refuted by facts, which many conservatives flat out reject as biased.

Part of the problem is the way in which conservatives have colonized the minds of journalists who now, too often, do a weird dance in which they say, “Well it is alleged that”, knowing it’s untrue but afraid to say the allegations are unfounded, distorted or twisted.  As a result, too few people know the facts; a large portion of the population either writes it off as a pointless feud or ignores the whole thing altogether.

We then see conservatives who are murderously certain of untruths confronting people who are genuinely stunned by their passion and anger over falsehoods.  There are too few responsible voices on the right who call out people for spreading these rumors.  So the rumors go unchallenged, to emerge periodically into the light of day before slithering back to the shadows.

It distorts our public debate, poisons the possibility of reasonable discussion and needlessly harms the public good.

I wish I knew the solution, but I know we have to start confronting these stories more effectively.

 

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Hillary Recounts Her True Character

What has turned out to be a recount fiasco could have turned out very well for Hillary and showed us we were all wrong about her.
 
She could have taken the high road and simply made a statement that the election is over and neither her nor the Democratic Party will take part in any recount nor accept results of any recount. This would have been consistent with her statements in condemning Trump for stating he may not accept the results of the election.
 
But that did not happen.
 
True to form she became what she condemned and became the sore loser and danger to democracy that she accused Trump of being.
 
She showed the world her true character and validated America’s decision to want nothing to do with her.

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Trump is Unhinged but Not Crazy

In a post at DKos, entitled “Now Trump’s claiming anti-Trump’voter fraud’ in three states. Our president-elect is unhinged.” DKos front pager Hunter observes:

There are two possibilities here. One, the president-elect is getting his news from conspiracy nuts and/or conspiracy websites even as he refuses to sit for classified intelligence briefings. Two, the president-elect is an unapologetic liar who is announcing crooked information that he indeed knows is crooked—a naked, post-truth propaganda attempt.

There is no choice three.

Much of the discussion focuses on Trump’s apparent craziness.  Trump is not crazy, although I would agree with the assessment that he unhinged.  It’s part of public persona and it’s working for him.

Trump’s tweet (“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”) is utter nonsense.  But it’s nonsense with a purpose.

Trump supporters already believed the system was rigged. They are prepared to believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted. Trump voters are primed to believe that he won the popular vote. With the real possibility of a recount, Trump has to inoculate his supporters against any outcome other than “Trump won.”

It’s a simple scenario – Trump (who may or may not believe his own words) is an insecure, puerile manchild.  He is all about being the “best” and coming in second in the popular (and by a sizable distance) is a blow to his fragile ego.  He’s trying to assert a right to a mandate he does not have.  He’s setting up his supporters to reject any outcome other than “Trump wins big”.

Recognize the behavior for what it is – gas lighting and propping up Trumperdinck’s ego.  Not much more.

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The Electoral College Can’t Save Us From Ourselves

There’s no small amount of hope that the Electoral College will save us from ourselves and vote against Donald Trump when its members gather to vote.

So far as I know, there’s no existing mechanism to prevent Electors from voting against Trump even if he won the popular vote in their states.  In theory, Electors are free to vote as they wish; some state laws require electors to vote for whichever candidate won the majority in their state (but there’s some question about the actual enforceability of those laws), at the federal level, Electors are free to vote their conscience; it’s not inconceivable the Electoral College could vote against Donald Trump.

I would love that outcome but it would leave unresolved all the tensions and pressures which led to Trump’s nomination and the election outcome. I also think it is unlikely.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Since CNN seems unclear: Yes, Jews Are People

Because, in point of fact, this was an actual discussion topic on CNN yesterday.

No, it’s not clickbait.  It actually fucking happened.

Fuck CNN.

You can watch the segment here.

 

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Hey Trump Supporters – You’ve Been Had

Yep – it seems after a year of encouraging shouts of “Lock her up” and vowing, in the presidential debates, to prosecute her, Trump has decided to not pursue charges against Hillary Clinton.

Although the billionaires will be getting their tax cuts.

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These People Are Evil and Have NO PLACE in American Public Life

Oh.  My.  Fucking.  God.

This video from The Atlantice is genuinely horrifying – White Nationalist (aka neoNazis) shouting “Hail Trump” while the entire room gives the Nazi salute.

If you aren’t horrified and offended, you need to take a deep breath and realize that actual Nazis are celebrating Trump’s victory.

 

 

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Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Tea-GOP government

Trump

Actually Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government.” But ever since former Speaker John Boehner famously declared that there is no difference between the Tea Party and the Republican Party, I have always used the term Tea-GOP.

What is to be done? Well, trying to work with Trump isn’t an option.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ):

Given everything we know about Donald Trump — and everything we don’t know — I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.

Under ordinary circumstances, we would welcome a plan to invest in infrastructure — even if that plan came from the other side of the aisle. Especially if it came from the other side of the aisle!

But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician. He is a con artist. He has refused to give the American people reason to believe that he is not in this to enrich himself. In fact, he has bucked tradition by maintaining his family’s interest in a private corporation.

And, unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.

Democrats, progressives, and independents have to fight Trump using every means available.

Trump is tremendously unpopular, and he will rapidly lose support. Did Trump voters know that they were voting for more tax cuts for the rich and corporations and Medicare phase-out? No, they were lied to. Oh, and Trump’s first “job creation” idea is a federal government hiring freeze.

Anyone who yelled “Drain the swamp!” at a Trump rally cannot be encouraged to learn that Trump has already established the most corrupt administration in our lifetimes, and he still has two months to go to Inauguration Day.

In the quite reasonable assumption that Trump, imitating former President George W. Bush, racks up vacation days while outsourcing policy to Speaker Ryan and an assortment of extremists appointed to key posts like the National Security Advisor and Attorney General, he is on track to inherit Bush’s title as Worst President Ever.

According to some economic indicators, economic stagnation may have already tipped over into recession. If our new Tea-GOP government is able to enact tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for everybody else, this recession could be worse than the last one.

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So, about Trump’s Muslim Registry

A registry of Muslims, on its face, violates the Constitution.  It is so blatantly a violation of religious freedom that it should not be even be considered.  Trump himself is trying to back away from it (see this clip from last night’s Rachel Maddow show), despite the fact that just yesterday Kris Kobach said he was considering it.

Lots of Trump supporters love the idea. It was part of his appeal to many of is voters.  It played into existing fears, stoked by conservatives, that Muslims are “the enemy.”  A Georgia legislator had proposed a ban on Muslim headscarves (but has backed off after a backlash).

Like many people, I’m horrified at the idea. I have no reason to believe Donald Trump won’t try to create some sort of Muslim registry – he’s on tape saying he supports it.  If it exists, I expect every conservative Christian who has ever worried about religious freedom to be first in line to register.

 

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